It is no spoiler to say that, in this weekend’s Man of Steel, chaos and mass destruction are leading players, just as deserving of a spot on the marquee as Henry Cavill and Amy Adams. As the marketing material makes clear, the survivors of Krypton have little regard for our planet’s puny architecture, which they reduce to neat piles of shattered glass and twisted metal, like wood chips for their superhuman playground of death.
Quick, run to your nearest theater!
This is nothing new, of course; we’ve come to expect mass destruction in our summer movies, which allow us to envision from an air conditioned place of comfort the global meltdown we’ve been trained to expect by years of alarmist political rhetoric. It’s like a game of chicken; if one movie destroys half a city, the next one must one-up it and wreck the entire thing. With a huge number of gigantic blockbuster films out this summer, it’s worth examining just how much carnage we’re paying big money to see, and taking stock of all the urban zones that are being leveled on the big screen. Is your hometown being blown apart this year?!
3. Man of Steel: Metropolis
After Supes and Zod tear apart the main drag of Smallville — which is dotted with many businesses, all nameless aside for the 7-Eleven, Sears and IHOP — they take the action to the glimmering skyscrapers of Metropolis, which they promptly turn into gigantic piles of rubble.
5. Iron Man 3: Los Angeles
Bad news for Tony Stark: your home and all your possessions are now waste at the bottom of a cliff. Good news: at least it took a bunch of missiles to get that done, so you really had a nice spread there for a while. The Chinese Theater in LA also got blown to pieces, which is pretty cool because the company that owns it paid for that to happen.
6. World War Z: Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston, Rome, Newark, St. Louis, Houston, Jerusalem
Hordes of Brangelina-hating zombies flood the streets of the world’s major cities like the running of the brain-thirsty bulls. Even Israel, which was supposed to be all smart about preparing for such an invasion, gets roughed up. Maybe all those re-shoots were about upping the disaster factor?
7. This Is The End: Los Angeles
The whole world is experiencing the fiery wrath of the lord’s final judgment, but we only get to see the hell-bound sinkholes and flaming rain of Los Angeles. Of course, this is a comedy, so it’s all in good fun, but still, even our laughs are coming amid complete and utter disaster!
8. Pacific Rim: San Francisco, Manila, Dubai
A highly anticipated, mega-budget Transformers-versus-Godzilla epic from Guillermo Del Toro, this looks to be what we call smart sci-fi, a display of cataclysmic damage that really means something. The trailer itself name checks San Fran, Manila and Dubai as being crushed by these giant alien monsters, but it’s hard to believe that they’re going to limit their damage to those three cities.
9. Elysium: Basically Everywhere
Set in the year 2159, Earth is largely a wrecked, smoking graveyard for poor people, while the rich live in a giant spinning rim in space.
11. Honorable Mention
Fast and Furious 6 did some damage to London and really destroyed a long, elevated highway in Spain, so don’t forget that!