Monday, June 17, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel

Spoilers ahead for those who haven't read everything else written about this movie. And this is going to be a sort of rambling stream-of-consciousness sort of thing. So if halfway through you think it is inscrutable, feel free to bail.

In 2003, The Matrix Revolutions came out and I was there. While I was completely disappointed with the movie, the climax scene has Neo fighting Agent Smith in a city ... flying, punching, and smashing their way through a brutal brawl. At the time I said to myself that I had just seen the template for a future Superman movie.

It turns out I was prophetic.

Three days ago, I saw Man of Steel, a movie which culminated with the hero and villain fighting in a city ... flying, punching and smashing their way through a brutal brawl. But more on that later.

Like many, I have been looking forward to Man of Steel since I heard it was being made. I was optimistic given that writer David Goyer wrote the critically acclaimed Dark Knight movies and Zack Snyder brought a visceral feel to 300. In the same fashion, I was wary because I thought some parts of Dark Knight Returns and Dark Knight Rises felt off. I thought the Dark Knight Returns went on too long with too many 'climaxes', so many that by the time James Gordon Jr. is being threatened by Two-Face I no longer had energy to care. And I saw the flaws in Snyder's style in Watchmen and Sucker Punch. Man of Steel was the very definition of cautious optimism ... and it was founded.

Because there are parts of Man of Steel I very much like. And there are parts that feel so wrong  that I don't know if I can recommend it. It is the problem with Superman ... he is supposed to be above us and inspire us. But it is hard to look that long at the sun. We want to make Superman more like us, bring him down to our level, to make him interpretable to us. When, in fact, we should be trying to understand him.

The film starts on Krypton where the world has become sterile and stale. Children are born in pods that look suspiciously like the battery towers of the Matrix. Those newborns are made via a scientific mix of Kryptonian DNA. The babies are programmed with their lot in life. They know what they will be (I suppose what guild they will belong to) immediately. Kal, on the other hand, is a 'naturally born' baby, the first in centuries. Already there is a specialness about him, something new and vital. General Zod tries to unseat the existing government and Jor steals the Kryptonian Genome, imbues Kal with its knowledge and sends Kal on his way.

But this scene, as it unfolded, felt too long and complicated. The information about the Genome Codex and the state of Krypton was conveyed. But I also have to digest scenes of the military fighting Zod's men. We see Jor-El flying a winged horse-thing. And we see Jor-El and Zod engage in a fistfight that Jor-El wins! Kal is rocketed away and Zod kills Jor-El. It is some time later that Zod is imprisoned with his men in the Phantom Zone and the planet explodes.

I didn't need to see 'Action Hero' Jor-El flying through a battle and throwing punches. I certainly didn't need to see Zod kill him. And by delaying the destruction of Krypton, we lose the famous scene of the planet crumbling around Jor-El and Lara as they make their decision to rocket Kal to Earth.

The next hour of the movie is really the high point of the movie for me. We see Clark struggling to find his place on Earth, trying to lose himself in menial jobs and hiding his powers until he must reveal them to save people from danger.

In flashbacks, we see how troubled his life in Smallville was. He is constantly picked on by the other children. And Pa tells him to hide his powers until the time is right, until the world is ready to look up to something. But he is loved but the Kents and accepted. Even the death of Pa, being swept up in a tornado while telling Clark to stay back and not reveal his powers, worked for me. It showed the depths of Pa's convictions. It showed Clark how personal sacrifice needs to happen sometimes to save people.

In the end, Clark discovers his origins when he enters a Kryptonian ship which crashed on Earth 18,000 years earlier. A key from his rocket opens up Jor-El AI which explains everything. Jor-El (and his AI 'ghost) has a way bigger role in this movie than I anticipated, popping up and having a crucial role in saving the day.

Meanwhile, Lois, played tremendously by Amy Adams, shows just how good an investigative reporter she is, witnessing Clark in the spaceship and tracking her leads all the way back to Smallville. Adams is perfect for Lois ... smart, tough, and determined ... inserting herself into the story.

Of course, Zod arrives, looking for the Kryptonian Codex and Superman has to reveal himself. The scenes that follow where Superman talks to Ma, talks to a Smallville priest, turns himself into the military and talks to Lois work too. There is a sort of 'aw shucks' innocence to Henry Cavill's Clark, a guy who is unsure just what he is supposed to be, just what he is supposed to do, yet understanding he needs to go public and become a hero.

But once these scenes are over, what is left is a long brawl between Clark and the Phantom Zone villains. And this is where the problem lies. I know I am echoing Mark Waid's recent review but frankly I would think that Superman would be trying as hard to protect us as he be interested in fighting.

The first fight scene takes place down Smallville's main street. With people scurrying around, Superman engages Zod's troops, fighting in enclosed spaces like an IHOP filled with patrons. I can think of a million explanations for Superman to take the fight somewhere else. But he doesn't.

After destroying Zod's plans to turn Earth into New Krypton, after Lois helps zap Zod's troops back to the Zone, we have the second long fight scene ... an absolutely gratuitous violent melee that levels most of Metropolis. We see Superman and Zod throwing each other through buildings, rippling through skyscrapers, tossing cars at each other. And all while we see citizens in the background running for cover. The damage Superman and Zod do to the city easily must have killed hundreds of thousands if not millions of people.

Where was the scene we have all witnessed in comics. Superman flying into the villain, bear hugging him, and taking him somewhere deserted. That could have been done here. Heck, we could have simply been told that a portion of the city was evacuated. Instead we see Superman more intent on fighting than saving, literally bringing the city down onto the heads of its people.

And then, to make matters worse, Superman ends up killing Zod.

So much for having the people of Earth being inspired, of seeing someone we can look up to.

Superman recklessly brings a city down around him and kills his opponent. Sure, we see he immediately regrets it. But still ... Superman kills someone.

Yes, the effects are incredible and the fight scene is slickly done. Yes, it shows just what the destruction would be if two super-beings fought in a city. But, this is Superman. And Superman simply doesn't kill. Nor does he bring down a city on top of its citizens, most likely killing them indirectly.

On top of that, I felt that whole scene felt like the end of Dark Knight Returns again. The climax of the movie should be the return of the villains to the Zone. Surely there must have been a way in the script to put in the fight scene between Superman and Zod earlier, have him fling Zod back to his troops and then send them on there way to the Phantom Zone.Instead it comes later and ends with Superman executing someone.


There was only one part of the movie that gave me goose bumps. While Zod and Superman fight, Superman blasts the 'birthing towers' that Zod has found, very physically putting Krypton behind him and embracing Earth as his home. When Kal screams 'Krypton had her chance' while heat visioning the place, I was on the edge of my seat. It is a great moment.

( Aside: There was a lot about Superman Returns I did not like. A lot. But the scenes where he saves the plane and the scene at the end when he risks his life to hoist the growing K-riddled land mass into the sun gave me goose bumps. That's two goose bump scenes to one.)

I know I am glossing over the good parts a lot, the solid middle hour plus of the movie. This was good story-telling. And it was great to Superman push himself to the limits. But the character building and evolving relationship between Lois and Superman, between Superman and the people of Earth, was sort of forgotten after the loud ending. It is hard for me to dwell on the good things when there was (at least for me) such a major misstep at the end.

I do wonder if people not so tied to the mystique of Superman will like the movie more.

Overall grade: C

PS: This also gives me great pause when thinking about Supergirl appearing in the second movie. I can imagine them making her a hard-line Kryptonian, questioning Clark's decisions, and turning her into the villain. Hopefully, if she appears in a movie, it is as a hero.


Saranga said...

I was absolutley fine with the film until Superman kills Zod. That is wrong. Superman doesn't kill. At that point I realised the film makers had missed the core part of the character, the symbolism, the meaning, the hope that Superman inspires. There was next to no hope in that film, and all that could have been changed with Supes defeating Zod in another way.

Count Drunkula said...

I hated the movie. The opening on Krypton set a discouraging tone that the movie kept trying to recover and kept failing. Like you, Anj, I couldn't understand why we had to see Jor-El acting like an action hero (other than maybe that's in Russell Crowe's contract), and when he actually defeats Zod in a fist-fight I was ready to check-out right there. If the planet's chief science officer can beat down it's chief military commander, yeah, I guess that society has earned the right to self-destruct. Couple that with the unneeded double jeopardy of Krypton's pending destruction while Zod is staging a military coup and the delayed death of the planet. It seems like Jor-El sent his son off into the unknown not to save him from the planet's destruction, but as a big F-U to Zod and the elders council.

As for Pa Kent's fate in the tornado scene… I understand why you and Mark Waid feel that the scene worked, but I just can't agree with it. I hated that moment almost as much as Superman killing Zod in the end.

I also found myself cringing during the prolonged climaxes that destroy Smallville and Metropolis. Yes, visually, they were stunning, but they were also exhausting. I felt like I had been beaten up by a Kryptonian by the time it ended. Toby Ziegler from THE WEST WING saves the day while Superman is fighting robot tentacles on the other side of the world. At ground level the city looks like a desolate wasteland… but when Superman and Zod take to the skies to fight through the city, the panoramic shots show an almost pristine skyline that dwarves Manhattan… So was the city affected by their battle or not, because no on acts like millions of people are dying. Certainly not Superman.

The other part that bothered me--because I felt like they were hitting me over the head with a fire extinguisher--was Clark Kent in the church. The Christ symbolism was too much, too obvious, like everything else. When he leaves saying, "I'm not sure mankind deserves to be saved," I kind of feel like he still doesn't know at the end of the movie and that's why he DOESN'T save them.

Amy Adams as Lois Lane was solid, though, for most of the film, as were Pa and Ma Kent.

Martin Gray said...

Thanks Anj, I enjoyed that piece, and agree with so much of it.

I missed the iconic scene of Superman's birth parents waving goodbye, but enjoyed seeing actual Krypton creatures for a change. And Kel-Ex the robot!

The Kryptonian tech being akin to those puzzle/games in which tiny pins can capture your face was daft, but interesting. But Superman fighting a slinky? Oh dear.

As for Superman killing Zod? All kinds of wrong.

And I couldn't concentrate on the final act for frustration that Superman didn't take the fight elsewhere - had he learned nothing from the Smallville scrap?

While I loved Crowe's Jor-El, I hatehatehate the Smallville-style deux-ex-machina hologram business, even though I enjoyed him leading Lois around the spaceship and teling her where to shoot - a quick info-giver hologram, yes, but not one that interacts like a person. Complete with footsteps.

And Jonathan Kent. I'm not one for theatrical sighs, but >SIGH<. There is not a chance in a million of any version of Pa Kent ever suggesting Clark should let people die at the cost of his secret. You save people first, deal with the consequences later. And Clark couldn't save his dad secretly during a tornado? Blimey - I was almost glad to see Pa hoist on his own you-know-what.

And yes, the Christ symbolism, complete with crucifixion pose as he falls to Earth. Too much.

The Phantom Zone punishment seemed more like the pre-Zone rockets into space business.

The film was too long, and too loud ... I got a headache.

That said, I liked the performances (Cavill is a gem), acknowledgements that Luthor is around, having such lesser-known characters as Hamilton and Lombard in there, that the Earth folks contributed to the Kryptonians' defeat, seeing Jimmy Olsen cross dressing a la the Silver Age, having Faora rather that that copycat Ursa ... but by the end of the film, Kal-El is not yet Superman. He has lessons to learn.

Luis Diaz said...

I think the movie was great and a new adaptation of the old Superman mythos. I think it's as pertinent to our times as Reeve's Superman was to us as we were younger. In a world of Terrorism and mass extinction not killing someone is a treacherous act on it's own knowing very well that if the person escapes he/she will kill again. In comic books Batman and Superman and many other heroes don't kill and can't kill because they need those villains to strike again in the future. It's not realistic to think Superman can't or won't kill. I think his good natured upbringing did come through and he did scream for his pain of losing the last Krypton and killing someone. I also think that when Superman has any kind of climatic fight scenes there are always casualties though the comics probably never show that, but in real life there would be hundreds if not thousands that would perish and in New York or Metropolis there may be even more. I thought the movie was on the mark. Not perfect, but a well executed film based on an updated Superman story. I'm willing to set aside my Superman comic book attachments for this film version.

Luis Diaz said...

I think the movie was great and a new adaptation of the old Superman mythos. I think it's as pertinent to our times as Reeve's Superman was to us as we were younger. In a world of Terrorism and mass extinction not killing someone is a treacherous act on it's own knowing very well that if the person escapes he/she will kill again. In comic books Batman and Superman and many other heroes don't kill and can't kill because they need those villains to strike again in the future. It's not realistic to think Superman can't or won't kill. I think his good natured upbringing did come through and he did scream for his pain of losing the last Krypton and killing someone. I also think that when Superman has any kind of climatic fight scenes there are always casualties though the comics probably never show that, but in real life there would be hundreds if not thousands that would perish and in New York or Metropolis there may be even more. I thought the movie was on the mark. Not perfect, but a well executed film based on an updated Superman story. I'm willing to set aside my Superman comic book attachments for this film version.

Anonymous said...

Goyer & Snyder getting their mitts on the Supergirl franchise is a thought to chill the blood of ALL of the fans in her base from Kara loyalists on out to E2 Powergirl, Cir El and the Earth Angel.
Beware these people they are a mortal threat to our favorite.

John Feer

Martin Gray said...

(I swear this isn't snark - or treachery - but ...) Cir-El has fans?

LJ-90 said...

Anj, I agree with you in a lot of points. My kind of Superman doesn't kill, and I've been talking with my friends about this (one of them doesn't jave a problem with Superman killing, saying it's kinda cool and at the end he didn't have other choice), my answer is "There's always another way".
I was ready to love this movie, I went happy and during the show every time some cool or we had a superman moment I squezzed my girlfriend's hand and smile, but then, the disaster porn happened and, after the smallville fight I told her "wow, Smallville most likely is dead" and she said "no kidding", and at the end, when Superman killed Zod I was left with my mouth hanging, and the scream of Superman echoed my own feeling right there.
She loved it, and my friend loved it, and they asked me what would I have done. I wouldn't have written the movie that way, I said, because it's a fictional story, and part of the fantasy of Superman is that he always finds another way. That part spitted in the face of movies like "Superman vs The Elite". I asked them "Does this movie inspire you?" and they said no, that it was only really cool, and I told them that there was the problem, Superman is supposed to inspire.

There was a lot of problems, the scene you say, when Clark destroys the birthing towers, I mean...does those count as babies? Cause if they do Superman just killed a bunch of kryptonian babies.

I don't know, I was expecting a deep movie with blockbuster action, I saw a blockbuster with some deep scenes.

Anyway, the movie was cool, there was a lot to like, the fight scenes were great, but it's sad that there was a major mistake (for me) in the end. I don't want Superman to be more like us, I want us to be more like Superman.

Sad thing, there's a lot of Superman fans that don't care that he killed, and a lot of people cheered in theaters when that happened...that's sad, for us, because that says to me that maybe the time for good old fashioned heroes has passed, and that's sad (and I'm only 22!) It's like a reverse Superman vs The Elite, everybody's giving props to the killing, and saying that not killing is old fashioned, and even Superman failed in that.

I'm glad you gave this movie that score, at least there's people who have problems with Superman killing, and that's great.

Gene said...

I am surprised given how well it did financially despite the less than stellar movie reviews. Are fans willing to overlook the movie's flaws just so the franchise can continue? Is Man of Steel this generation's Star Trek: The Motion Picture, where enough money was made to green light the far superior Wrath of Khan sequel? Time will tell...

BTW, the thought of Supergirl being introduced into the franchise as it stands now does not fill me with confidence (Sucker Punch) but if there is one thing the Maid of Might has taught me... it is optimism.


Argocub said...

Would post a comment but its way too nevermind

valerie21601 said...

I found it too long, boring, joyless, no sense of fun in any way.

It broke almost every single Superman cannon there was and what they put in its place was a insult to his mythology.

No one cheered in the audience at the end of it. Almost everyone, even kids said they didn't know what to make out it. So many adults and senior citizens was silent and disappointed by MoS.

Anj, Did you hear about the travesty Dc is going to do to the Superman/ Wonder Woman relationship that was announced today? URGH!!!

Clearly someone lied when they said Superman and Wonder Woman were going to break up..

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna go out on a limb and ignite a real controversy by saying clearly that I didn't think Henry Cavill did the role any better than Brandon Routh...Yeah Cavill has a Steve Reeves type physique (and I mean that as a compliment) but performance wise he eclipsed no one at all.
Oh and SuperKiller? Just drag Kal El down to the level of Wolverine, why not give Superman a cigar to smoke afterwards so he can look all Marvel Kewl?


tony said...

I think Goyer said Superman gets his "never kill" policy because of zods death.
Doesn't Superman kill Zod in every version in the comics?

Pa Kent was scared shitless about his kid being grabbed up and experimented on,that's why he had such a hard line on public herring,yeah it was not like the comics,but it's not supposed to be.

I think this movie had way more depth to it than any of the other campy silver age movies that came before it.

I look forward to the next movie,cause he is set up at the Daily Planet,Lois knows(that I love),zods armor is sitting there waiting for Luthor to retrofit it for himself,and jimmy Olsen will probably be in it.

Kara would be great in the movie,but I would like a lex or govt created kon-el/superboy a lil more,think he would fit nicely with the military being a big part of the movie,and the awesome super powered fighting.

Unknown said...

I was wondering what you thought about the changes to the mythology-birthing towers/clones,codex (the Codex+the Omegahedron=?),the Kryptonian imperialism that we KNOW Kara is involved with from that strange little comic that hardly anyone has seen. When the movie people blew up Romulus and Vulcan in the Star Trek film the studio made all the 'continuity' change. I wonder if that will happen with DC and if it will be a bad thing? It would make more sense then what they're doing now.

Actually, what I really thought about when I was watching the whole Jor'El/Zod fight at the beginning was that plot line from a few years ago when Zor'El was trying to kill Jor'El.Then Zod goes searching in the 'Colonies' for survivors. I wonder if he found Kara out there or not.Did she hide from him and try to make her way to Earth on her own for a Supergirl film. Or did Zod find her & she becomes one of his army-maybe Luthor finds her in the Kryptonian arc-fall; we've seen that story line before too.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to explain to me the purpose of Terra-forming a planet in which one of your own kind has lived for 30+ years with no health issues and apparently it gives you God-Like powers? Did I miss something?

There was a couple of neat ideas buried in the story, especially their take on Lois's investigation into Clark, but there was hardly an opportunity to explore any great beats or moments, due to Goyer/Snyder need to move on to the next great action sequence.

And I'm fine with Supes killing Zod. I am not fine with Supes making out with Lois moments after the complete destruction of a major metropolitan city in which tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of people died.

It's too bad they wasted the military/public concern with Superman for the middle act, because it would have been far more appropriate after the Superman/Zod battle. I can't imagine the general public would be that thrilled with Superman after that catastrophe in Metropolis.

Anonymous said...

I really wanted to like it more but having had a few days think about I've come to the conclusion that it was no better than Superman Returns. That had a bit more soul and at least had the iconic theme in it as well. I know it's a "reboot" so they wanted to sever all ties with the past but it really does make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when that music kicks in. Maybe that would have helped here instead of Hans Zimmer's score? I can't say I remember any of it really. That's not to say it's bad (and I know Returns only "borrowed" the theme) but really amazing music can add something to a film, especially if it's kinda lacking in emotion/soul.

To be honest, there were times when I felt I was watching another Star Wars prequel, or one of the Matrix sequels, or a Thor variation or - God help us - a Transformers film (nooooo!!!!). The first part of the film was fairly good (it had a few duff bits but overall was going in the right direction). The last part was just CGI SMASH SMASH SMASH another building's collapsing SMASH SMASH and another one SMASH CGI SMASH SMASH thousands dying but who cares SMASH SMASH kiss SMASH snap!


I cringed watching the trailer for Pacific Rim that was on before the film started because it was just like watching a video game. It looks like the sort of film a pre-pubescent kid might dream up as being really "kewl" but anyone who kinda likes a bit of plot and genuine excitement would avoid like the plague. If I'd seen any trailers for Man of Steel that had used footage from the last part of the film then I'd have had the same sort of feeling I had watching the Pacific Rim trailer.

Maybe it's what audiences want? I don't know. Studios do still make the odd decent film nowadays but it's as if "they" have forgotten how to make a genuinely entertaining film. You've only got to look at how amazing something like The Empire Strikes Back was compared to the dross that are the Star Wars prequels to realise that despite being able to seemingly create anything you want on-screen, it's the plot, it's the characters, it's the emotion, it's the dialogue that makes a film truly great, not just a load of visual effects. Besides, CGI looks like CGI. A really great model or a practical effect/stunt looks solid/real. I'm just bored of watching endless pixels on-screen. You can use CGI subtly and it's great but it's just overused, as if somehow being restricted in what you could show on-screen used to make people write better screenplays.

In a nutshell: first part ok, last part vacuous :(

Anj said...

I can't thank everybody enough for the great comments here. Really loving the conversation here. In fact, there are so many I feel too overwhelmed to reply individually.

It seems to me that there are some universal feelings out there. The destruction is incredible, amazing to see but brutal. The killing of Zod is a lightning rod. There is little whimsy or joy in this movie.
Superman doesn't seem happy.

There needs to be some brightness and joy and hope in Superman. Something lacking here.

But Adams' is great. And I like Cavell's understated performance.

I think much of this can be remedied if (as mentioned by Tony) the sequel opens with Superman saying he will never kill again.

A few more things now that I have seen it again.

First, my 14yr old daughter seemed much more willing to deal with the killing of Zod, saying the regret Superman showed afterwards was important. She gave it 4.5/5 stars.

I saw a couple more Easter Eggs I missed the first time - the shattered moon of Wegthor and a Lex-Corp truck.

Lastly, a couple more lines I liked on second listening. 'This man is not our enemy' line by Chris Merloni. 'I am here to help' by Superman. And the double meaning 'welcome to the Planet' by Lois at the end.

I don't think the second view improved my grade of the book because the dourness and killing in the film was soul-crushing.

Martin Gray said...

I definitely saw a LexCorp truck in the Metropolis battle - am I right in thinking it was a similar vehicle on which Clark hitched a ride to Smallville after his travels? It was only in the frame for about a second, at the edge, so I could be wrong, but I think I saw the Big L logo.

Landry Q Walker said...

Zod's death bothered me a lot less than the hundreds of thousands who must have died in Metropolis. Problem with that is, there is no way our culture would ever accept Superman after that. Even if it wasn't his fault. Even if he saved all the lives he could. His presence instigated an attack that makes 9/11 look like Sunday brunch and our world would never, EVER believe he was a hero.

All of that is fine for a first movie. But where do you go from there?

Anj said...

Agreed that Metropolis looks completely destroyed and with that must be millions of casualties.

That's why there needs to be some scene in the sequel where this is addressed. Where Superman says how effected he was by killing Zod, by how many died in that fight ... and that now he holds life completely precious and will never cross that line again.

If that scene doesn't happen, I'll be furious.

Katherine Ann said...

While I enjoyed this as a popcorn flick, I simply couldn't get over Superman killing Zod.

When I was a girl, I looked up to Superman because he had neat powers and always beat the bad guy. As an adult I still look up to Superman. Not because he always wins but because of the ideals for which he stands. To be good. To be just. To be honest and forthright. To, even in the face of enormous odds and personal cost to yourself, stand by the ideals that you lay down for yourself.

That's what Superman means to me. And that's why I hated watching him being dragged down to my level. Into my mud.

Superman is supposed to be better than that. Not to mention, his "needing" to kill Zod wasn't even believable. Hell, I don't have super powers and I could have come up with SOMETHING better than snapping Zod's neck. Just poor writing, there.

Saranga said...

This is a really fascinating comment thread! Different views are sort of makign me want to see the film again, but then I remember the deaths cene and I go sour again. gaaah.

elknight20 said...

Same here, Saranga. Same here.

Argocub said...

This is going to be a long comment so bear with me guys.

I happen to disagree with you guys,i thought the movie was really good and that it was a different interpretation of

the Superman mythos,While this is a reboot,the have change some things that may be good and may not be good,I

mean you can't always tell the same story twice,you have to change somethings to bring in a new crowd, In this

comment I will post what liked and don't like

What I liked:

Krypton: I thought it was interesting to know how the planet was dying,in all of the stories, they talked about

the planet's core being unstable but never gave a reason as why it became unstable. Also I liked that Jor-el did

everything to protect his son from harm and had a battle with zod.As for the performance on Jor and Lara,I

thought they did a great casting job.

Now what I didn't like
Krypton: I didn't like the fact that then didn't add more scenes to flesh out what the rest of Krypton looked

like,or they didn't add any cameos of Argo City(so disappointed)

Argocub said...

What I liked: I like that they started him as a guy who is trying to understand who he is and why he is the way

he is,The flashbacks where his powers begin to manifest to the point that as a kid he gets scared to the point

where he begins to understand that he's not part of this world but at the same time wants to understand where he

came from was a good transition.

The scenes where he finally finds out who he is and has a sense of what he could be proves that the character has

been grounded and is ready to take on the job of being a hero.I am glad they add Jor as a AI ghost to guide him

and help him understand who he can be and let him know that he has the ability of "choice"

When he tries to fly was a nice homge to the orig comic book from the 30's ,even when he flies around the world

flies thru Africa and sees all the animals run,kinda reminded me of the scene in supergirl where she flies around

and sees horses for the first time.

As for the fight scenes with zod and faora and the other bud guy,i thought they did a great job. Most people

tell me that it was too violent but then again look at the comics,Superman always has a a bad guy to fight and

sometimes its too violent(Doomsday). But then i tell them that what do you expect? Its Superman! What do you

want? A pussy Superman who wont hit people but instead throw flowers at them and tell to stop, The Superman i want

is someone who will fight for what is right and protect those who are in need,He can try and talk someone down

from starting a fight,but sometimes it wont just work.

The final Scene where he fights Zod could have been different and could have been played out in a way that could

have been better,I do agree that he could have knocked him out and put back in the zone,but at this point since

the zone all ready took the others and it's self into the zone,What do you do? No prison can hold zod and in time

he would kill again, Superman was left with one choice, Kill a life to save a lot of lives or save a life and kill

millions. When he killed Zod and screamed in pain was because he had no choice and that't is what angered him,the

fact that he had no choice and became something that he prob didnt want to become. I am pretty sure in the next

film he will have some regrets of what he did to zod and that might make him question himeself or that it will haunt him.

Also lets not forget that in the comics: Superman did kill Zod and Faora and someone else with green K after taking their powers away.

Argocub said...

As for those birthing tubes, I thought then wer just bubbles that if he wanted to "rebirth" Krypton,all he had to
do was used one blood drop and i am sure it would create a kid or two..or three,so i dont think he killed a lot
of babies. just the pods that could be used to create them.

What i didnt like: Nothing ! I thought the actor's performance was flawless.
3: Lois Lane

I am a huge fan of Amy Adams ever since i have seen her in "Psycho Beach Party" and so on,(But i did hate Juile and
Juila)I like that she was a tough reporter and that they gave her chance of being a fighter instead of being a
damsel in distress. While she isn't Margot kiddle's version of Lois because no one can beat out MK's version of
Lois. I am so glad they didn't make her campy or annoying or whining.
What i didn't like: Nothing Same as what i said about the actor's performance

4 Zod,Faora and the Brute

I thought they all did great jobs at portraying the "Phantom Zone Villains" Michael Shannon as Zod,brought a certain evilness to the character but they gave him a reason for why he is the way he is, The actress who played Faora reminded and looked a lot like "Ursa" from superman 2 and by most i thought she was a better villain to take on superman then zod,up untill the end,when zod loses it over what he was "Program/Born for" which was to be a protector.

Over all I give this movie a "A" in great storytelling, great acting and good SFXs

Anj said...

Thanks for the continued discussion.

And thanks for the indepth review Argo. I like to hear the differing opinions to see if there is anything I missed or overlooked. So I appreciate it and agree on some parts.

The idea of Superman killing is so foreign to me (yes I read Moore's Whatever happened story and Byrne's Supergirl Saga) that I just don't know if I can get past it despite his clear regret after doing it.

PRgirl1294 said...

I've been reading a lot of these comments and I just want to give my own opinions, which are probably similar to what Argocub is saying.

For those of you who dislike the movie because of Superman killing Zod, I understand where you're coming from, but you shouldn't weigh the rest of the movie so heavily on that one scene. When I saw that scene, it didn't bother me as much because of the huge regret that he showed after doing it, and from that regret and from what the creators are saying, it seems that we won't be seeing him kill anybody again. I know that it's hard to get past it, but you shouldn't let that one scene keep you from enjoying the rest of the movie.

As for those of you who dislike it for other reasons, it seems that you need to get your heads out of the Christopher Reeve movies and into the real world of the 21st century, 'cause that's obviously where this movie is supposed to be set. You can't expect Superman to be smiling all the time with the childhood that he's had (which, by the way, is very realistic for someone like him) and the struggle that he's had to first keep his powers a secret and then protect Earth from Zod. He's in a very dire situation and he understands that clearly so of course he's gonna be serious about it. That's actually how he's portrayed in the Post-Crisis comics most of the time and this movie did that portrayal justice. And there are some humorous moments in the movie that you just have to look for. As for the action and the destruction, what else do you expect when you have two powerful beings that are in conflict with each other. It is very realistic for Clark and Zod to be causing some serious damage in their fight. And this is Clark's first time fighting like this, so he is not going to be as careful as he would in his later fights.

Overall, this was a really good movie, as Argocub has said, and it was clearly made for this current generation. Everybody needs to stop comparing it to the Christopher Reeve movies because that era is long over and this is a Superman reboot of the 21st century. And this is only the beginning of a new movie franchise not just for Superman, but possibly for the whole DC universe, as the sequel has already been green-lit and there have been some talks about a Justice League movie.

PRgirl1294 said...

Also, I recommend watching CK61938's reviews of "Man of Steel" on You-Tube. He really gives an in-depth, unbiased look at the movie and he explains what it really is about.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments PRgirl.

While I am a big fan of the Reeve movies, I understand all too well those movies wouldn't work in this time. I watch them with nostalgia and enjoy them.

But I am not stuck in amber. I understand characters must grow.

That said, the overall sentiment of the Donner films, of a Superman 'here to help', is timeless.

I don't think it is a generational thing to say Superman shouldn't kill. I don't think it is a problem of which era you follow to say Superman shouldn't watch millions of people die because he is in a fistfight.

People often say this when I talk about wanting similar sentiment in Supergirl. When I say I want a Supergirl trying to be a hero, trying to help, but not being angry or disaffected, people say I am stuck in the Silver Age and want 'Linda' back in an orphanage. And I always have to say that isn't true ... it isn't a generational thing ... it is the core of the character for me to want the overall tone of the character intact.

If we made a pacifist James Bond, or a Tarzan who hated animals, or a Robin Hood who used a slingshot people would balk and say you were ripping out the core of the character.

Why couldn't DC see that about Man of Steel.

Now as I said, if this is handled up front and powerfully in the next movie, I might roll with it more. (After all, in the comics Superman did kill pocket universe Zod ... but went despondent and banished himself from Earth.) But this movie ends with a smiling Clark in an intact Planet building.

GettinJiggly said...

After seeing the movie last Tuesday I have to say I really enjoyed it. I see the points made about the destruction and the killing but I just believe it goes with both him being new at the job and like others have said having no choice. I did a little rant about it on my blog if anyone cares to see my full opinion.

PRgirl1294 said...

When I said that people needed to get their heads out of the Christopher Reeve movies, I wasn't referring to the complaints about Superman killing Zod. That I can understand and I agree that it's not a generational thing, though I believe that scene should get in the way of enjoying the rest of the movie. What I was talking about was those other complaints about the movie being too serious and Superman being too serious and the action being too long and too loud and too violent. I believe those complaints to be uttered out of mere nostalgia for the Richard Donner movies, which had much more levity and much less action and realism.

As for Clark quickly getting over killing Zod, remember that there was a time gap between that scene and the next one, so he probably had some time off-screen to grieve. And I'm sure that it will come back to haunt in the future, especially with Lex Luthor showing up in the sequel to damage Superman's rep.

Martin Gray said...

PRGirl writes: "What I was talking about was those other complaints about the movie being too serious and Superman being too serious and the action being too long and too loud and too violent. I believe those complaints to be uttered out of mere nostalgia for the Richard Donner movies, which had much more levity and much less action and realism."

You're making a big assumption,PR Girl. I make the same complaint about any film that meets one or all of these criteria - it's nopthing to do with nostalgia,more to do with modern trends in cinema.

Anj said...

It wasn't nostalgia for Donner that made me feel this way. It is understanding Superman as well as good story-telling.

I just keep thinking so much of the division about this movie could have been avoided.

You want a Zod/Superman fight with destruction to show how real it would be for two super-being brawl? Fine. I can understand why. Have them fight in an evacuated industrial park or construction site. Have Superman lead him somewhere else. Best of both worlds - insane action without the darkness of overwhelming death.

As for Zod's death, I just think it wasn't needed and didn't add anything to the story. As I said, if it is dealt with in the sequel I might be more forgiving.

And I agree. Luthor is perfect for the sequel because he can show how Superman isn't good for the world by highlighting the devastation unleashed by Kal's hands.

Flame said...

I'll bet you the majority of the people complaining about Superman killing Zod, have never gotten too deep into other Superman media.
Superman has killed Zod and Co. before in the comics.

Oh... And remember Superman II? Remember what happened to Zod and his cohorts there?

Oh that's right, Superman tossed Zod into a bottomless pit in the fortress of solitude.

I'll admit this was a bit more visceral, but I hate it when people whine that Superman killed Zod, when he's done it before, multiple times. In the comics, he outright kills Zod and company with kryptonite. In the Animated series, he tosses Jax-Ur and Mala, (the stand-ins who serve the same purpose) into a black hole.

as for the "leveling" of the city,I'd like to remind you that the World Engine did almost all the damage. The damage caused by Superman and Zod fighting, was minimal by comparison. It's nothing more than we've seen in other Superman media, such as cartoons.

The Main one said...

You clearly Don't understand Superman nor good story (around Superman).
First of all Donner never did fight scenes for Superman II. That was Lester.
Donner did comics called The Last Son, go look up over there how collateral damage between Superman and Bizarro or Superman and Kryptonians looks there, the actual Richard "Dick" Donner's co-made super-fight scene. Also very faithful to the Puzo's script in terms of how real and devastating it is.
That's a first. And Donner isn't Siegel. His or any non-Siegel writer's words or actions are just as valid as any other non-Siegel individual. He didn't create character, he can't be the ultimate arbiter over anything. And closest Siegel (in his true vision before it was ultimately taken from him) came to super-fight was in World's Finest Comics #6 Superman vs Metalo, which actually pretty accurate with what we see in Man of Steel over Superman vs Nam-Ek

Zack Snyder's film is only non-comic book instance that had an actual original Siegel's philosophy. That Pa Kent told Clark to hide his powers and in general that people will also fear Superman. Just like in original. And in both cases for pretty valid reasons too. Siegel's philosophy was never about "what would Superman do", rather than to tell stories involved alien(-human from another planet with similar structure to us but million years more advanced, but that's not the point) that is raised as human and thinks of himself as one, but who has these tremendous gifts. And just like any human he makes mistakes and is impulsive some times, but generally means well and stands for those that can't stand for themeselves.

Even snapping Zod's neck was in Action Comics #805, before Zack. He is truly the brave master and all honest Superman actual fans (not fans of 1% of Superman media and even then not even of original comics, and even then very selectively too).
He (and Goyer,and Terrio) truly combined 75 years of vast and diverse and contradicting origins and ways of the character, for the first time ever in live action AND starting with original version instead of excluding it. And tried to make some sense through it. There was never a better starting point for any Super-newbie than it is with Man of Steel 2013 and its two (true) sequels.

Truly it was created For the fans With genuine philosophical love. Only quasy "fans" that love only five or six selective panels or clips on YouTube are against it. And it shows. But then again, back when John Byrne made Kents alive into Superman's adulthood people sent him hate mail, in 2011 DC once again killed Kents when Clark turned 18, "real fans" blamed creatives for making Superman into Batman. This story is as old as anything and Superman is in particular weak spot because unlike Batman or Spider-Man or most other main characters he doesn't have truly solidified origin elements. Every single time someone retells it they always remove or add something , imagine if uncle Ben suddenly alive in That particular Spider-Man story (I guess you all now can with MCU and it's Home trilogy arc, in a philosophical way) or if Waynes were alive, yet it is constantly like that with Superman + constant "real fans" mentality of seeing only what they want to see even inside their favorite things (nobody remembers when Superman punched giant Solar Super-Computer onto the civillians cars in All-Star Superman clearly pancaking them or when he and Super-Luthor went through train, undoublty driving at least 1 person into years of heaviest injuries).

10 years annyversary in this year for grand masterpiece that forever changed everything. Man of Steel's school years era.

Anj said...

@The Main

I am glad you enjoyed it. And very long thoughtful post.

This will never be a grand masterpiece for me.