My Thoughts on Man of Steel (Spoilers!)

17 Jun

Superman and Batman are arguably the two most famous superheroes in the world.  I have always had an unusual history with the two.  I have blogged previously about my thoughts on Batman.  I have almost always loved his movies and TV shows but rarely think the comic book writers “get” Batman.  Jeph Loeb did several times.  Scott Snyder does now.  But otherwise, the comics have been “off” to me, while the movies have showed what Batman could and should be, especially when done by Nolan.  Or on the opposite end of the Bat-Spectrum, The Brave and the Bold.  At the same time, I have always hated Superman movies but loved the comic books (until the new 52).  The movies just seemed overly simplistic in the threat levels.  Yes, Superman fought rogue Kryptonians, but it wasn’t a long fight and not a lot of damage is seen onscreen.  Yes, Superman fought the Nuclear Man.  But that was Superman 4: The Quest for Peace, and let’s be honest.  The less said about that movie, the better!  Meanwhile, the comics have allowed Superman the opportunity to fight huge, epic battles on a sweeping scale.  He has fought gods, demons, and Sun-Eaters (one guess what that one does!).  And if you get bored with those types of fights, he fights Lex Luthor, who in the comics is the most dangerous criminal alive, unlike his movie counterpart, thus far who…..doesn’t do much.  I say all of this, to say, I now live in a world with awesome Batman movies and a good Superman movie!  No one was more surprised than me. 

I wasn’t looking forward to the movie when I heard Zack Snyder was directing.  I was not a fan of 300 or of the Watchmen movie, even though like many, I believe it to be one of the greatest comics ever.  And having not been a fan of previous Superman movies, I wasn’t expecting much when I heard Zod was going to be the bad guy.  Once again, like many, I did believe Superman 2 was the best of the old Superman movies, but to me, that wasn’t saying much.  But when I heard Chris Nolan and David Goyer were involved, the duo who had rescued Batman after the Batman and Robin debacle, I decided to give the movie a shot. 

Now, I will be honest, the movie is DIFFERENT.  And from this point on, there will be spoilers, so don’t read ahead if you haven’t seen them movie and don’t want the movie spoiled. 

 

 

 

 

 

I will confess I was shocked by the notion that Lois figured out Clark’s identity before he even became Superman.  But as my mind processed the concept, it made sense.  Lois is supposed to be an excellent investigative reporter.  In fact, throughout much of the characters’ histories, she has spent a great deal of time believing and trying to prove that Clark is Superman.  For once, she actually uses her brains and figures it out.  I don’t really mind that.  It is done in a believable manner.  She doesn’t automatically know that Superman is Clark.  She tracks evidence of stories of man of amazing abilities all the way to the conclusion of the story. 

The other major issue that I know many will have a problem with is the resolution of the Zod story.  Toward the end of the movie, using information received from Jor-El’s message, Superman, Lois, and the army send the majority of the Kryptonian criminals back into the Phantom Zone, but Zod is too far away to captured.  The two begin a furious fight before Superman grabs Zod in a hold.  At that moment, Zod tells Superman that he will never stop trying to destroy Clark’s adopted homeworld.  To prove his point, he begins using his heat vision to attempt to fry a family in the building the two are fighting in.  With no other clear alternative, Clark does the unthinkable and kills his enemy.  He is then shown to be very upset over this development.  I know many will say that Superman does not kill.  And normally, this is the case.  But exceptions have always been made to this rule.  In the Golden Age comics, he killed several people.  In the last Silver Age story, he kills the villain and retires.  In the modern age, he killed three criminals (Zod included) before deciding he would never kill again.   But even then, later, he kills Doomsday (who promptly gets better, but you can’t blame Clark for that).  The point is Superman does not want to kill but sometimes realizes he has to if he wants to save people. Another point could also be made that with this being his first outing as Superman, he acted rashly, and will think of ways out of similar situations in the future (like flying the villain into outer space to a prison planetJ). 

Other than those two possible problems though the movie is a fantastic movie showing what the world would be like with real super-powered individuals in it.  Clark’s adopted father struggles to rise a boy into a man and the relationship between the characters was handled wonderfully, just in time for Father’s Day.  Likewise, Jor-El gets a much bigger role than in previous movies.  Clark’s moms also do a good deal more than previous showcases. 

Clark’s other relationships, like with the military, were handled much better than in previous movies too.  I hardly believe the US government would be thrilled to have someone with Clark’s abilities flying around.  But a respect was developed slowly and naturally between the two.  Another interesting relationship dealt with Clark’s faith.  Clark kept his faith even in the difficult situation he found himself thrust in, and sought advice from a minister to know he was making the right choice. 

This movie offered a brilliant examination of what super-powered individuals would bring to the world.  It also had a great deal of sci-fi fun in it, which works well because Superman was created by a pair of guys who fell in love with science fiction at an early age.  It has a nice message about faith and the value of family.  And it made a ton of money in its first week, insuring a sequel and hopefully a potential Justice League spin-off.  Way to go DC!  

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