Review: Man of Steel movie (2013)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Let's talk about Man of Steel, shall we?

[Spoilers for Man of Steel, and maybe a little for Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness, too]

I would rate Man of Steel as a fair movie, maybe 5 or 6 out of 10 stars. For comparison, I'd rate it just a smidgen higher than this season's Iron Man 3, though I could be convinced otherwise -- I'm more partial to Superman, but Iron Man had a villain twist and better humor than Man of Steel. Surely, Man of Steel doesn't hold a candle to such superhero movie greats as Dark Knight or Dark Knight Rises, nor Avengers or the years ago first X-Men or Spider-Man films. At the same time, Man of Steel was definitely a head and shoulders improvement over the Green Lantern movie.

Probably my biggest knock against Man of Steel is that I thought it was just too long. That fight with Faora and Non in Smallville, and even the climactic battle with Zod, just went on and on. It's a superhero action flick, sure, but at times the action became so chaotic (I saw it in 3D) that I couldn't necessarily tell who was beating on whom, and in all the movie seemed to devolve into a typical superhero flick at these moments -- there was little in one guy punching another that really said "Superman" to me, whereas I didn't think the action sequences in the Dark Knight movies suffered from the same problem.

In all, I was often bored. And while I liked some of the changes the movie team made to the Superman mythos, I was surprised, with the opportunity to completely reinvent Superman for the twenty-first century, just how much they left alone. The destruction of Krypton, the banishment of Zod, Clark gets in trouble at school and then Pa shows him the spaceship that, yep, they're still keeping in the barn. As an introduction to Superman, I can see how an unfamiliar audience might enjoy seeing Clark Kent in Smallville, how he gets his costume, how he learns of his heritage, etc., a la Batman Begins (which I thought was the least of the three Dark Knight movies, for similar reasons), but as a tried and true fan, I felt I'd seen a lot of this before, many, many times.

I did like the cast very much, though I wished they'd had a better script to work with. Henry Cavill did fine as Superman and, turning back to the script, I appreciated that the movie team did seem to know who Superman was (or, seemed to share my perception of who I believe Superman to be) -- that this was not a dark or angsty Superman, but rather a good-humored Superman who earns the trust of the US military, who takes the time to tell the people on the Smallville streets to take cover because it isn't safe. I felt comfortable with this movie Superman as a descendent of the Christopher Reeve Superman, the controversial end of the movie aside.

Amy Adams comported herself well as Lois Lane throughout; I enjoyed that the movie thought to pair Adams and Jor-El Russell Crowe for a few scenes (this might've been the most surprising moments of the movie). Adams and Cavill have good chemistry, and the movie's other inspired change (the kind of risk I wish they'd taken more of) was having Lois be smart enough to uncover Clark's identity from the start, and then to stick with it and not "kiss it away" in homage to Superman II (I did appreciate immeasurably that Man of Steel was not to Superman II what Star Trek Into Darkness was to Wrath of Khan). There's a Lois and Clark vibe to the closing scene (and how has no one used the line "Welcome to the Planet" before?!) that I liked and that I look forward to being built upon in the inevitable sequel.

Lawrence Fishburne was a fine Perry White with good interplay with Adams; I have questioned whether the Superman mythos really needs Perry White, but he offered a good "man on the street" perspective. Certainly I chuckled when I understood this other Planet reporter was Steve Lombard, and it was a nice call-out to fans -- but then again, with the inclusion of Emil Hamilton, Pete Ross, Lana Lang, even Whitney Fordham for crying out loud (plus Kenny Braverman in the credits), I again rather wished the team had made up their own stuff instead of working to hew so close to what had come before.

And then, of course, Superman breaks Zod's neck. Now can we have a collection of John Byrne's "Supergirl Saga," DC?

Thematically, I totally get it. Clark was raised human, he feels human, but he's got Krypton's whole genetic code (or something) inside of him, he's been fighting the last survivors of his home planet, and when it comes down to it, he has to choose -- let the humans he's adopted die, or kill the very last existing member of his own species. Clark chooses the humans, of course, and he effectively orphans himself a second time. The triumph and tragedy of being Superman.

But Superman doesn't kill ("Supergirl Saga" notwithstanding), as those of us know who've been around long enough to have seen Clark find that darn spaceship in that darn barn at least three or four times. And there's no way the movie team didn't know that, too. Which, if we want to be cynical about it, makes this kind of a funny Superman recreation -- the team does enough fan service to include Steve Lombard and Whitney Fordham, and then wham! -- a bit of adolescent violence at the end just to underline this isn't your grandma's Superman, "suckerz." I don't think that's quite the truth, but it's one way of looking at it and to that extent, I find Man of Steel vaguely insulting in that vein.

But moreover, I think it was bad moviemaking. For one thing, if you're going to have a scene where Superman has no choice but to kill his enemy, you really need Superman to have no choice. Zod was spraying the people with his heat vision because Superman had him in a headlock, so maybe Superman should have let him out of the headlock -- it's not the best option, but it's an option. Another would've been for Superman to have put his hands over Zod's eyes. I'm sure the team has explanations for why all of these wouldn't work, but the bottom line is that the moment needed to be airtight, and it very clearly wasn't. The audience needed to feel Superman had no other choice, and I don't think they did.

The perhaps greater problem, however, is that even as I understand the moment thematically, it's not well built in the movie. Clark never has a moment where he's interested in Zod or his disciples as representatives of Krypton, so we don't really feel Clark's loss here (Man of Steel's Zod is also too one-dimensional, a far cry from Geoff Johns's recent take on the character). We have absolutely no idea, either, how Clark feels about killing his enemies before this point, nor how Ma or Pa Kent would feel about him doing it. Clark doesn't want to kill Zod, but then he does, and then he screams, but it's hard to say which of these things Clark is necessarily screaming about. And then the movie immediately cuts to a happy-go-lucky Superman in a scene where a female serviceman calls him "hot"; Superman's killing of his enemy in this way holds no more consequence than a moment's hug with Lois.

I don't expect this, but it would go a long way toward redeeming Man of Steel in my eyes if the next movie actually dealt with the consequences -- actual or emotional -- of Clark killing Zod (this you can say of "Supergirl Saga"; they surely made a lot out of it). If this is meant to be "Superman Begins," as it were, then perhaps we can hope Man of Steel is the first part in Superman's evolution toward deciding not to kill -- he killed once, didn't like the hero it made him, vows never to do it again, and then that vow would be tested, say, in battle with Lex Luthor, where Superman is in a position to kill Lex but then finds another way. (There, I wrote the sequel for them.)

That would be worthwhile to me -- not a movie where Superman kills his enemy in the end as is modern fashion, but a trilogy where Superman comes out the other end understanding that killing is not the answer. Again, I don't expect it, but that's the hope I'm holding in my heart now.

Man of Steel accomplishes its goal of giving DC Comics a new movie franchise on which it can hang its hat after the end of the Dark Knight movies, and that's a good thing that I'm happy about. But strangely enough for a comic book fan, between Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, and Star Trek Into Darkness, I'm beginning to think superhero/big budget sci-fi movies just aren't for me; they're not impressing me this season the way they once were. Help me, Wolverine, I guess -- you're my only hope.

What did you think of Man of Steel? (Bonus: enjoy frequent guest reviewer Zack King's review of Man of Steel.)
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20 comments:

  1. I read a story recently that talked a bit about the decision to have Superman kill Zod. Apparently it wasn't in the original script, and both Goyer and Nolan were against it, but Snyder wanted it to happen. Snyder basically said that it's a way to underline that Superman doesn't kill. I may be extrapolating a bit from what Goyer said, but I think they wanted to have Superman kill this once so that he can truly realize he can never do it again. With all of his powers it would be very easy to solve all of his problems by killing his enemies, but this solidifies that he won't be doing that. Or that's my argument, anyway. And if that's truly the case then I think it definitely works.

    You can read the quote from Snyder and judge for yourself: http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/27487/goyer-snyder-talk-man-of-steel-ending

    I really enjoyed the movie overall. I liked Cavill and Adams quite a bit. I enjoyed the action scenes and thought they gave us a Superman who was appropriately super. I think the ending setup the Superman status quo perfectly. Is that really the first time a Superman writer has used the line "Welcome to the Planet?" Because that was such a perfect way to end.

    Besides killing Zod, a lot of people are angry about the amount of property damage and lives that were likely lost in the fight with Zod. How did you feel about that? It didn't bother me very much because Clark has only been Superman for a couple of days. He just learned to fly. He's not yet the perfect hero we know that he'll become.

    Plus, I think this gives them a great way into the sequel. A big chunk of Metropolis has to be rebuilt (but not that big a chunk...did you see how big the city was?? it looked like it was 10x the size of New York) and Lex Luthor is the man to do it. And after rebuilding he'll decry the alien who brought destruction down upon them. Just about every superhero sequel finds the hero considering quitting and questioning whether or not they really make a difference (Superman 2, Iron Man 2, Dark Knight). I could easily see the sequel be about Lex turning the public against Superman, and it would be a much better use of Lex than making him a bumbling real estate tycoon.

    Anyway, those are my long, rambling thoughts.

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    1. Well, I hope that is the case, that Superman killing Zod was the means to a certain end and not the end in and of itself. I maintain the movie didn't "earn" it -- we don't really know how Superman felt about the Kryptonians or about killing and what it "cost" him per se.

      I'd also argue that even if the team is playing a long game, a long game is maybe a difficult thing to play in a movie. Maybe the second movie will recast all of this and we'll come away from the second movie understanding "killing is bad," but I think a child, especially (and this movie has definitely been marketed to children even if it's not "for" children), may come away thinking "sometimes heroes have to kill to win." There was not enough for me in Man of Steel to have the inkling, even, that the movie thought Superman shouldn't have killed -- certain Metropolitans being afraid of Superman and etc. (Letting alone that a sequel was not guaranteed going in to this, such that Superman killing Zod could have been "it" for the series.)

      So I hope you're right, but for me that would only partially redeem the team, not make the approach seem any less mis-handled to me.

      The property damage didn't bother me so much. Mark Waid wrote eloquently on this and I see his point, but for me "Superman saving absolutely everyone" (my words, not Waid's) isn't as important to me. I accept that this Superman is young and so may not be as adept at it all as "our Superman" (though the movie, too, doesn't really make this point, never showing Superman trying and failing to save people, etc.). For my personal suspension of disbelief, I was willing to grant that Zod and company were a big enough threat that the ruined Metropolis with Superman and Superman was too encumbered fighting them off to do anything else; that worked for me, though I understand how others' results may vary.

      Equally good sequel suggestions; I'd watch that movie, too.

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    2. I know this movie is targeted towards kids but the fact that we do have to kill to win is a truthful statement in itself. For instance, the avengers killed multiple bad guys in that movie and people wasn't in outrage about that? Is that because no one important to the plot died? Is it because it wasn't a character we were attached to? Is it because we expect them to?

      More related we send our soldiers, brothers and sisters into battle everyday with the goal of serving but killing to win. Ideally no one would die and everyone would be happy but that's not life. Sometimes you need to cheat to get ahead and sometimes you need to make the ultimate sacrifice.

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    3. I grant that killing is an unfortunate reality for law enforcement, military, and such -- I wouldn't say forgone conclusion, but certainly an unfortunate reality. Those people make sacrifices for us every day and we should honor them for that.

      But it's kind of like the question of why don't we ever see the superheroes go to the bathroom -- the thing is, it's fiction, not reality (see Grant Morrison rather brilliantly on this point), and it's not about what is, but what could be or what we aspire for things to be like.

      The Avengers don't traditionally (to my knowledge) have a compunction against killing; Superman traditionally does. For me, the "but that's life" argument doesn't hold up; I made my peace with Batman killing in the Dark Knight precisely because I acknowledge that "times have changed," but I draw the line at Superman. Even if killing is an unfortunate reality, Superman has a long-standing tradition of being the hero who doesn't kill -- for kids, for adults, for everyone, Superman should be the aspirational symbol that maybe there's a solution other than killing (I also love the short Joe Casey run on Adventures of Superman in which Superman never used violence against his enemies; "unreal" and probably unsustainable, but a fascinating thought experiment).

      So I do think there's a difference between Man of Steel vs. Avengers and Man of Steel vs. real life, though I do appreciate your comment.

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  2. Stellar review as always, CEB! I go back and forth between this and Iron Man 3; I think the Marvel movies tend to be more comic-booky (whatever that actually means), where DC tries to hew closer to a Nolan-inflected realism. (Example: Dark Knight Rises takes Batman to rock bottom for a gravitas-laden epiphany about inner strength; Iron Man 3 steadfastly refuses that epiphanic plot turn in favor of smirk and snark - which, in the hands of RDJ - is a more than successful "alternate take" on that meta-narrative.)

    Honestly, I didn't have a problem with Superman killing Zod. I guess I'm not convinced by "Superman doesn't do this" because this isn't Superman - not yet. The film takes great pains to remind us this is Kal-El trying to find his place on Earth, and if I remember right the word "Superman" is only said once, in a highly skeptical tone. As Pa and Jor-El say, this movie is about Kal finding his place in the world - and, I think, about Snyder finding Superman's place in the movies. On first flinch, I was upset about Zod just like I was upset about Mandarin-Trevor, until I remembered - the films are basically all Elseworlds. This doesn't have to be "my" Superman, but I do think it recognizes the important features about my hero.

    That being said, I think the film needed a moment where Superman talks about this impossible decision; Cavill really sold that heartwrenching scream after killing Zod, but the film might have benefited from a "With all my powers, I couldn't stop him... never again." I'm sure that scene is coming in the sequel (maybe that'll be how Lex demonizes him?), if not in the 3-hour director's cut Snyder is rumored to have.

    Shameless plug? I reviewed the movie over at my blog and had only good things to say about the cast and, especially, Hans Zimmer's score, which I thought was brilliant without ever invoking John Williams. http://cinemaking465.blogspot.com/2013/06/man-of-steel-2013.html

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    1. Sure, how this team presents Superman certainly doesn't change "my" Superman as I interpret the character -- I'm more worried about how the rest of the world, those who never saw the Christopher Reeve movies and woke up to superheroes with The Avengers, will walk away conceiving Superman. That's my trouble with Superman killing Zod. Definitely would have loved an "All my powers" line -- now that would've been a worthy callback.

      Added a link to your review in the main post; meant to have done that before.

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  3. I think the movie sucks big time, and these are my reasons:

    * There are no elements that tells the audience why Superman is Superman.

    * You see, Jonathan Kent was always his moral compass when he was growing up, while Jor-El was a guidance about his world and heritage.


    * In the movie, Jonathan Kent's driving in the ENTIRE film is "Don't show up what you can do or the boogeyman (U.S. Army) will take you away. You will be cast out. No one will love you...". He even died so Clark don't show his powers in public (which is far less significant than a heart attack, and Clark realizing that even when he have great power, he's not all powerful. He's not beyond death). Although the inevitable phrase "You were sent here for a reason" is here, there are no moral nor ethical values from Pa Kent... never!! So, why Clark was retracted from the world? Out of fear to be an outcast. Not because of respect for life or him wanting to do good and he just couldn't find the way yet.

    * On the other hand, Jor-El goes "I put the Codex inside my son so Krypton (not him) can never die!". All of a sudden, at the beginning of the third act he goes (out of nowhere) "You will guide the people of this planet, and they will follow you into the sun...". Where the F***K did that came up?? Why the virtual Jor-El suddenly vows for people of Earth? That wasn't his goal!

    * I love Amy Adams, and I LOVED her introduction as Lois: "Now that we end measuring dicks, can we move along?", or something like that. Brilliant! That's Lois. Then everything else falls apart. Amy's voice lacks authority. Her voice was so tiny at times, that I was actually waiting for her to start singing some Enchantress songs. Plus, Lois is the character that never takes NO for an answer. Here, she goes "Ok, Perry. I won't even fight about it"

    * I like Lawrence Fishbourn, however his Perry White is too Morpheus for my taste.

    * The action? What action? I just saw destruction. Dumb destruction scenes. Michael Bay in steroids kind of destruction. A celebration of excess.

    * No emotional weight on the fight except "punch, punch, plain exploding, buildings collapsing, punch, punch, super-speed punch, buildings collapsing, and more punch".

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    1. CONTINUING...

      * The only scene in which I thought it might be good was when Zod grab Ma Kent from the neck and Superman punch him saying "you think you can touch my mother!!!!". I was emotionally invested in that moment, but it all ends as soon as it begun. And then again "punch, punch, plain exploding, buildings collapsing..."

      * For the infamous kill scene. Superman doesn't kill. Never. His moto is "There's always other way". That's what makes him Superman, and that's what makes him the symbol (not the superhero) that he is.

      * Let's say I let that pass. Superman killed Zod because there was no other choice. Fine. Kill him! But... why are you crying now? Why are you screaming? There is NOTHING in the script that shows any moral code against killing, or a supreme respect for life... any life. Nothing that shows this Superman is against killing or felt bad for doing it. So again... you killed Zod... why are you crying now? Because Superman doesn't kill? F***k you!

      * I have to quote you on this, CE. You say: "this was not a dark or angsty Superman, but rather a good-humored Superman who earns the trust of the US military" Hummm???

      * The Guardian actually believed in him because Superman saved his ass from Faora, but after that? What did he do to earn the US Military's respect or trust? Absolutely nothing. In fact, they should be scared and calling Luthor so he can create the Nuclear Man as a response measure, and I'll tell you why...

      * After Superman and the Kryptonians completely LEVELED Metropolis, and then he showed the world he is completely capable of killing, the VERY next scene we can see Superman throwing a plain (or satellite) a few yards from a US General!!! WHAT!!!??? And then saying "you can't control me". Really? That's how you make friends? Throwing heavy stuff to someones head so you can show your power levels? I mean, he could just be in front of the car, and when stopping, he can say "by the way, I picked up that satellite that was trying to spy me. That won't be necessary anymore" or something like that.

      * And then of course, because Zack Snyder thought that his movie is extremely dark and he must have at least a comedy scene in the lot, they add the most stupid, irrelevant and out of place line in the whole movie... "I think he's kind of hot". Gee.....


      I feel so sad about this because I love Superman. I had such of high hopes for this film, but it ended up being a loud, stupid, poorly written, blunt and obvious movie.

      Such a shame

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    2. Good thoughts. I've heard people call this movie joyless, but I don't think it was joyless per se. Superman wasn't angsty, necessarily, in that he didn't like himself; he was pretty happy flying around in that costume till Zod showed up. I was worried it _would_ be an angsty Superman, so when he was saving the military and Stabler said "This man is not our enemy," etc., I appreciated those parts; that's why I said "good-humored." At the same time I agree with most of what you've said above, too.

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  4. One of the big issues is people really need to divorce themselves of the other superman movies. This isn't Christopher Reeves and these arn't his movies it's time to deal with the fact that this is a different superman with a new story not yours. As for the destruction of the business section of Metropolis, when you have 2 or more god like people slugging it out damage tends to happen. I found the lack of damage in Avengers to be a bigger problem. I was fortunate to stumble upon an article that shows why the all of peoples complaints are unfounded.

    http://www.craveonline.com/film/articles/521147-editorial-shut-up-about-the-man-of-steel-controversy

    Everyone is entitled to there opinion but I think alot of people are blinded by there own opinion and because of that there missing out on a pretty good movie.

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  5. Good review. Since you took a swipe at Star Trek...

    Sorry you didn't like Into Darkness. I think it's by far the best film of the summer. It had all the heart and wit Man of Steel was lacking. And to top it off, it was a beautiful homage to Wrath of Khan.

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    1. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS AND BATMAN: CITY OF OWLS SPOILERS

      I know people who wouldn't touch Trek for their lives who love the new Star Trek movies, and for that I'm exceptionally grateful. I'll watch Pine, Quinto, and company on screen any day.

      But I tell you, I've been through Smallville and Superman: Earth One and then Superman: Secret Origin and the New 52 Action Comics Superman origin, and then Batman Begins and Batman: Earth One, plus Justice League: Origin, and I tell you I'm so sick of origin stories I could cry. And then I'm really digging Scott Snyder's Court of Owls stories and then bam! -- he's doing the Thomas Wayne/Owlman shtick again. And I am just begging, begging for someone to tell me a new story, not a new version of an old story I've already been told before.

      *ahem*

      Loved the first Star Trek movie. Seen it at least three times now. Think it's a brilliant story and great moviemaking -- there's twists and turns with the destruction of Vulcan and such that I'd never seen before and totally didn't see coming.

      But Into Darkness was for me just so predictable, from John Harrison being Khan to Kirk going to die when he went to go fix the reactor to immediately, immediately I knew they'd bring him back with the Tribble blood (which had no reason to be in the movie other than as a device to resurrect Kirk). Again, I was being told a story I'd heard before, and even if we call it a homage, for me the homage overtook decent storytelling, especially at the end.

      But yes indeed, Into Darkness had the heart and wit that Man of Steel didn't. At the same time, the Man of Steel team restrained themselves from using "kneel before Zod," when the Into Darkness team went ahead with "Khan!" So my feelings are mixed.

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  6. I would give this movie an 8 out of 10. People forget, that this is one of the most difficult superheroes to put on screen, and keep it realistic. I thought that killing Zod was a great idea and not just for Shock value, it drove home the point that he was here to stay to protect earth as one of them. I know this will be debated until eternity, but im glad the did it. Also major props to spending a good 30 minutes in krypton developing an origin story that people hadnt seen on screen. Russel crowe as jor el Id give a 10 out of 10. I liked that they skipped alot of the smallville stuff bc its been overdone and we had a supervillan fight that tore up the whole city, bc that is most likely what would really happen if two aliens with superpowers went at it. Could have used a bit more backstory and dialouge and slightly less action, but im not going to fault the movie for it bc thats what a superman movie has needed for so long and the set that up for the sequal. Bring on Doomsday and the death of superman for the sequel and then the rebirth for the finale!!! Just my 2 cents.

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  7. Good review! I mostly agreed with you, but I still gave it 8/10 (5 or 6/10 ouch!). The good (cast, characterization) far outweighed the bad (overly extended fight sequences, grimness). The heart and themes of Superman shine through the gritty action and sometimes clunky script. And I don't mind the origin story again because it was just different enough to be refreshing.
    I thought MOS was fresh enough for general audience and classic enough for comics fans, so I'm surprised it's getting such mixed to bad reviews. =/ Seems to me the problem is the public thinks perfect, over-powered, boy scout Superman is boring so they want him more relatable, while the fans want to keep him as the paragon for us to aspire to, not bring him down to our level. I think the point of MOS is that he can be both, human and the ideal of humanity; he just has to learn and grow (hopefully in the sequels, dealing with the consequences of his actions), like everyone else (and in turn, we can all be Super, too, if we grow as people).

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    1. Oh, and you're right about Zod's death being used as a foundation for Superman's No Killing Rule. Goyer basically says so in Empire Podcast's interview. They wanted to create a reason for every part of Superman's mythos (like his suit being Kryptonian "chainmail"), so I think this will be addressed in the future.
      Also in that podcast is the interpretation that Zod forced Superman to kill him--the warrior's "reward of a good death" in combat--because he had nothing else to live for (besides killing Earthlings to torment Kal).

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    2. Mayhaps this will turn out to be an excellent trilogy. I still maintain it's an awful risk to have Superman kill now so that two or three years from now there can be another movie where he thinks, "Maybe I shouldn't have done that." I shudder to think of the kids playing Superman on the playground -- "Dude, I just totally snapped your neck!" My two cents but I appreciate the comment.

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  8. I had a lot of mixed feelings about MOS. On the one hand, it had fantastic special effects, lots of action (albeit potentially "too much" - some of the battles started to feel repetitive, but I can overlook that), I didn't mind SOME of the changes they made, like with Krypton, Jor-El, the costume, etc., and I didn't mind the storyline. I think if it had been "Ultraguy" or whatever, then I'd probably have no issues with the movie at all.

    But it's Superman. And, while I'm not a huge Supes fan, as a big DC guy I have read plenty of stories with Supes in it (and some Superman-specific stories like Man of Steel, Death/Return of, Red Son, etc.). Then there's what came before in the original Superman movies, the Superman animated show, Lois and Clark, and Smallville (was a big L&C fan but only saw a few Smallville episodes).

    So things I didn't like:

    - We saw bits of Clark in Smallville, which was fine, but as an adult there was no "Clark Kent". It was basically like the Incredible Hulk (or Littlest Hobo, for you Canadians) TV show - wander from town to town, laying low, doing odd jobs, until he has to reveal himself to save someone - then he moves on to the next town. The fact that he did this until he was 33 I find pretty amazing! Maybe it's because of the shift to focus on Clark in recent times (Lois and Clark, Smallville) that made this lack of Clark more noticeable, but I felt like it was really missing that element of it. Once he stops being a drifter, he's basically all-Superman, no Clark (until the post-battle scenes).

    - Kind of tied into the no-Clark thing was the Lois relationship. Lois, after being saved by Clark, then first "meets" him after already figuring out his secret identity? If they don't want to do the "Lois is so close but can't figure it out" thing, and avoid the Clark-Lois-Superman love triangle, then fine, but I think I would have preferred if she had met Clark (as Clark, not as some drifter) and met Superman and then quickly figured it out from that.

    - Similarly I guess, while I "got" a lot of what the story was trying to do, I thought the way it was done didn't quite sell it for me. The death of Pa Kent was fine, no objections there to the "I can't save him for fear of revealing myself" thing (although he later goes on to reveal himself ALL THE TIME as a drifter, after a small group of Smallvillians had already seen it too), but I found the part where Pa tells Clark to take the girl and he'll go get the dog as kind of contrived; why wouldn't Clark just go get the dog if the girl was already safe?

    - The death scene with Zod didn't sell me either. The whole time I was thinking "Uh, just cover his eyes with your hands!" I am actually okay with the idea that he killed Zod as an absolute last resort, knowing that he couldn't stop him any other way, and this becomes the basis of his code against killing, and so on. I'm also willing to look past the whole "thousands of people must have been killed while the buildings were collapsing" thing. But I felt like they movie didn't do a good job of setting up that idea or selling it.

    Overall, the end result for me was that it felt like they missed the "core" of who Clark Kent/Superman was, and so it didn't feel right to me.

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  9. Killing Zod ruined the film. Superman ALWAYS finds the way without killing. It was lazy script writing, without ideas. It traded sensationalism for Kal's values. It bankrupts the character.

    I was also dismayed with the destruction of downtown Metropolis! How many thousands did Superman kill by fighting in the center of the city?

    The other thing that irked me was that the only color on Krypton was black! How has a society so advanced not discovered the color spectrum.

    And lastly, Superman is a science fiction character and should be surrounded by mind blowing SF ideas, like in Grant Morrison's ALL STAR SUPERMAN.

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  10. Finally got to watch this move, and while I did have problems with it, they had more to do with sitting through yet another re-telling of Superman's origin (which has been done better and more succintly) and the flat dialogue. Goyer may be good when it comes to crafting a story and making it plausible, but I really hope WB hires someone else to polish his draft for the inevitable sequel.

    As for the thousands of people Superman supposedly killed while fighting Zod in Metropolis, I think people are mentally adding bodies where there are none. Superman as portrayed (very well, might I add) by Cavill may be inexperienced, but he has perfect control of his enhanced senses, so when he punches Zod through a building, I'm pretty sure he used his X-ray vision beforehand to make sure there was nobody inside, and the fact that no one is actually shown getting killed seems to corroborate that.

    I also understand why Superman didn't simply cover Zod's eyes with his hand, because it certainly didn't occur to me. In that moment, all he could see were innocents about to be killed, and since he already had his arms around Zod's neck, he couldn't contain the impulse to break it.

    What I really enjoyed about this movie were the action scenes. Every rescue was exciting and well shot, and that mid-air Superman/Zod fight was just what I hoped to see ever since the Wachowskis showed how it's done in Matrix Revolutions. Good thing I sworn off 3D upconversions due to how much those artificial depth effects crippled my enjoyment of both Avengers and Star Trek into Darkness, because they certainly would have gotten in the way. I give Snyder a lot of credit for how impressive Superman's feats looked on screen, and if he's willing to come back for the sequel, I'm fine with that, as long as he has a better script to work with.

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    1. I have pretty well sworn off 3D at this point, too; for me it "fuzzifies" and makes murky more than it adds.

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