Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Man of Steel -- Spoil It All You Want!

Doug:  Have at it -- lay your souls bare on all things Man of Steel.


Edo Bosnar said...

Haven't seen it yet (don't worry about spoiling, folks, I usually see all of these films way after the fact when all of the details are general knowledge). I just have to comment on that photo: is that just a still from the movie or a publicity shot? Either way, I can't believe the blatant product placement for 7-Eleven - and in front of an American flag to boot.

Fred W. Hill said...

I've read reviews in other comics blogs, mainly at sequart.com, that are all over the place on Man of Steel, including commentary on Christian allegory in the film, while others are aghast that Superman purposely killed General Zod (to prevent Zod from murdering more innocents). The latter didn't bother me, especially after Zod caused such mayhem that would have killed at least tens of thousands of people. Of course, in comics, such villains can be vaporized, their ashes scattered to the four winds, and somehow they'll still manage to come back to life to cause more carnage. That aspect has gotten beyond ridiculous. Back to MOS, I fully agree with criticisms that Superman should have shown more concern for the damage the fight was doing to the city. The film apparently tried to make it appear that the city was virtually emptied out, not showing people in those buildings that were being destroyed, but that just doesn't seem all that plausible (yeah, yeah, this in a film about a guy who can fly and get back up after being punched through several buildings, ready to fight some more!). And that flashback to Pa Kent demanding that Clark stand by and do nothing while a tornado approached that would kill Pa was, um, weird. Ok, I get the explanation -- that Pa was concerned how regular people would react to realizing there was this person with vast powers among them -- but it still doesn't quite cohere for me.

J.A. Morris said...

I didn't care for it. I thought the actors were okay, but the story was dumb. Pa Kent's death is one of the silliest in motion picture history-A misguided, manufactured attempt to give Superman an Uncle Ben or Thomas & Martha Wayne to mourn. I guess losing his birth parents and home planet wasn't enough?

And how about the collateral damage? Did everyone in Smallville survive when they were told to go inside? Did everyone evacuate when from the Metropolis high rise buildings? Would've been nice to hear Superman/Lois/Perry acknowledge this (sort of unrelated:remember the days after 9/11 where news anchors & entertainment "reporters" spoke in hushed,sober tones about how we'd never see scenes like these in movies ever again?).

The battle scenes went on forever and got old fast.

On a positive note, I thought the scene where Superman learns to fly was well done. And the bit at the end where he & Zod fly into each other, creating a crater was a nice touch.

But in my book, a Superman movie should be fun, and 'Man Of Steel' wasn't.

david_b said...

Oh, I'll read the spoilers, since I'll never see this film.

I'll be passing it by like I did Green Lantern (and should have with Hornet and the current Batman franchise..).

- David 'The Zuvembie delegate from Wisconsin irrevocably declines' from Wauwatosa

Doug said...

I thought Man of Steel was typical 1990's-and-beyond fare, as has been the recent Batman franchise. A whole lot of grim-and-gritty. That is not to say that I hated it. While Christopher Reeve made me believe that a man could fly, Henry Cavill et al. made me understand a bit more about invulnerability.

That being said, while I am one of the detractors on the ending scene where Superman (named as such only ONCE in the film -- now we have movies without masks and without names) kills Zod, I get it. The death of one of them, sans a recreation of the Phantom Zone (say, why wasn't Zod sucked back into that thing when all of the Kryptonians were -- I know I missed something there), was the only way it was going to end. And yes -- the amount of property destruction and presumed loss of life was awful to watch.

Side note -- RE J.A.'s comment about the post-9/11 reactions. I do not understand why films like Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down (are those the same movie, just retitled?) are "entertaining". As one who travels to Washington often, and as one who loves my country in spite of its warts, I don't find films of mass destruction of American landmarks to be even remotely entertaining.

I think I was supposed to be touched by Pa Kent's demise -- I wasn't. As J.A. said, it was some sort of morbid twist on "with great power there must come great responsibility" or whatever. Weird.

I didn't care much for the Lois Lane character. And how the heck does she get in a military helicopter during a serious operation?

Did they say why the Kryptonian vessel in the ice had been there for 20,000 years? I know they said the ice around it was 20,000 years old. Again, I missed something.

Looking back to our query of a few days ago, about Christopher Reeve "owning" the role, I think my opinion of that was carved in granite after watching Man of Steel. Henry Cavill had a great body for the part, although at 6'1" he's just a bit short. But Christopher Reeve "is" Superman.

Speaking of, Cavill may be the worst looking Clark Kent ever!

I may add more as others come along. Advantage is still to Marvel and their studio. I am not at all optimistic about a JLA film.


Doug said...

OH -- I wanted to address Edo' comment about the 7-11 sign.

I asked my summer economics students what they thought about the product placements and they said they either a) didn't notice it all that much or b) it didn't bother them. One young lady commented that we have such things as 7-11, IHOP, and Budweiser (I use those as my examples, as honestly they are the only ones I noticed, other than a tanker truck with LexCorp on the side), so it's no big deal that they are in the film.

I agreed -- while I get that companies pay for such "advertising", I find it far less distracting than having to sit through three commercials and five movie trailers before the main feature runs.


david_b said...

With my obstain still firmly in place, I will say this about the outfit, solely looking at the posted pic.

Did him and Spidey get their fabric from the same manufacturer..?

Both fabrics look like basketball rubber.

Color me curious.

Anonymous said...

Didn't see it and don't plan on it. But, based on some of the comments of you "heavy hitters" (said with true affection and respect), I have just a few thoughts on the whole "invulnerability" thing.

Superman's inability to be stopped or hurt is what has traditionally made him boring to me. So you had the Achilles' heel of Kryptonite but that was the opposite extreme. He went from super powerful to a pile of jello. So it seems like rather than shy away from these mega-powered types, recent films have decided to go crazy in the opposite direction. Special effects can now show how truly awesome superheroes are. Marvel did the same thing with the Hulk in the Avengers. Most people I know, especially those not really into comics, would say that the Hulk stole that show. I wonder how much the Hulk's role in that movie impacted what type of film Superman would be, or how he would be portrayed, physically.

So, I guess movie execs and all the powers-that-be figure that since movie goers are just gobbling up these superhero films lets just go off the charts with effects, explosions, whatever. To heck with any real depth. We're just trying to appeal to a mass audience for a couple of hours.


Doug said...

Tom, I think you are exactly right. And David B., you must be right, too, because the texture is very similar. On the other hand, if you've seen any stills from the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2, the cloth costume does look pretty bad. So at least on film, there is something to the rubber suits. This new Spidey suit is much of an improvement on what he wore on The Electric Company!

For those of you wanting the spoilers and swearing off the film, you should know that there is no kryptonite (and doesn't appear to be any in the future, although Superman does display a weakness for Kryptonian atmospheric conditions at one point), and Lois knows that Clark is Superman right from the start. This ain't yer daddy's Superman mythos.


Doug said...

Typo: "This new Spidey suit is much of an improvement on what he wore on The Electric Company!"

There should have been a not in there concerning the improvement of the costume.


William said...

Here are what I thought were the PROS and CONS of "Man of Steel".

I'll start with the positive.

PRO: The Krypton stuff at the beginning was pretty cool. Although they made a major change in that Jor-El was not around to witness the destruction of Krypton.

PRO: I liked Lawrence Fishburn as Perry White. I thought he did good job. In fact, he was one of my favorite things about the movie.

PRO: I liked the part where Clark saves all the people on the burning oil rig. That was his most heroic (and Superman like) moment in the whole movie.

PRO: The special effects were very well done.

CON: Movie was too dark, violent, and destructive for a Superman movie.

CON: Superman/Clark didn't have much of a personality. He basically had one emotion-- "melancholy".

CON: The costume redesign. An completely unnecessary change just for the sake of change.

CON: Superman sucked as a hero in this movie. How many tens of thousands of people must have died because of him? (Not to mention the trillion dollars in property damage). I really don't think too many people would be cheering for him after everything was said done. After all, he was 100% the reason these violent super powered aliens came to earth in the first place. Then he "saved" everyone by destroying most of Smallville and Metropolis. "Gee thanks Superman, you friggin' a-hole!! We're really glad you came to our planet."

CON: Pa Kent committing suicide by tornado, for really no good reason at all. (He could have just let Clark go back for the damn dog). That was probably the stupidest scene in the whole movie for me. And one of the most senseless deaths ever put on film. It did nothing but establish early on that this Superman isn't much of hero. After all he stood by and watched his father die when he could have easily saved him. And the garbage about "The world's not ready for you yet." was a pretty lame excuse. It was really just too stupid for words.

CON: Amy Adams as Lois Lane. She just didn't read Lois Lane to me. I also didn't like Lois knowing who Superman is from the get go. Lois Lane not knowing that Clark Kent is Superman is a big part of the Superman mythos, and them changing it just seemed really unnecessary to me. Plus, if she figured it out that easy, it would take the government about 10 seconds to do the same.

CON: SUPERMAN SHOULDN'T KILL PEOPLE. Not even someone like Zod. I don't understand the fascination people have with superheroes having to be killers these days. If you are a super-powerful god-like being trying to earn the publics's trust, you might not want to go around using your powers to kill people before they've had a fair trial. Just saying.

CON: Having to have everything about the Superman myth explained to death! Like why he wears an "S" on his chest. Oh wait, "It stands for hope." Give me a break!!! Plus, Lois had to tell Superman it was an "S", uhm, wasn't he raised as a human, and didn't he go to public school? I think he would have known what an "S" looks like, but instead he acted surprised when she pointed it out.

CON: No JImmy Olsen character in this movie.

CON: Every time Superman flew, he took off like a rocket and left cracks in the ground. Going to make it hard to take off from the room of the Daily Planet in the next movie.

Sorry for the long post.

William said...

"Going to make it hard to take off from the ROOM of the Daily Planet in the next movie."

Sorry, that should have said ROOF.

Karen said...

There's a lot of great comments here already, pretty much covering what I have to say, so I don;t know if I'll add much to the conversation. But of course that won't stop me from blabbing anyway.

I agree with everyone: this Superman caused way too much destruction! When I think of Superman, I think of a hero who puts the well-being of others ahead of his own needs. If the Donner films got anything right, it was that. Think of the battle in Metropolis in Superman II. Superman's need to protect the people was used against him by the villains. And that made perfect sense -that's who he is. In this film, he doesn't seem to give two sh!ts about the people. I was excited when he came to the rescue of Ma Kent, but horrified when he slammed Zod into a gas station and then did nothing to put out the fire! AS William said, there is no reason at all for humanity to cheer this guy or see him as anything other than a menace. The next film had better show him working hard to fix that relationship.

When we came out of the theater, my husband and I of course discussed Superman killing Zod. He said, "Well, he really had no choice," but my response was, the film-makers had a choice. They were the ones who chose to put Superman in that situation. It was a conscious decision to show him willing to kill. I read an article (http://www.cosmicbooknews.com/content/man-steel-ending-superman-kills-zod) with Snyder and Goyer interviewed and they have different answers as to why they did it. Snyder says it was to help explain his 'no killing code' alter on (I call BS on that), and Goyer seems to say it was both for shock and to 'redefine' Superman. In either case I think it was a terrible decision. It shows me that they really don't understand the character at all. That's one thing I'll give Marvel: in all their movies, they may fiddle with their heroes, but the core of the characters remain true to the books. Having Superman kill on his first appearance, way to go DC and Warner's.

I still have mixed feelings about this movie. I like the actor a lot; the early elements of the story I enjoyed. It's the last third that bothers me.

Oh, and the guys who made Alien should ask for some money for having their designs ripped off for Krypton!

Anonymous said...

I know all the "spoilers" already, but plan to see it Friday (Very few stories are actually a surprise, to me the appreciation of a story is how it is put together and presented, not necessarily in what happens).

While a lot of it sounds problematic to me, I need to see it for myself - and plus it is an excuse to hang with friends, and have what is sure to be an interesting discussion afterwards. :)

- Osvaldo

Anonymous said...

The movie seems to have less in common with Silver or Bronze Age Superman comics than with disaster movies, Spider-Man, and the Dark Knight. Not only the grimdark tone, but (like Batman Begins) turning the parent into an Uncle Ben to give the hero a guilt motivation. And the climax must have left a lot of people thinking, "If that's how the hero handles a crisis, I'd rather take my chances with the villains."

Doug said...

I'll say this --

As nasty as Ursa was in Superman II, I'd rather tussle with her than this Faora chick. Jeez...


Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, re: product placement. I know it's been there forever in films and TV, and I know it's become really prevalent over about the past 20 or so years especially, and I know things like 7-Eleven, McDonald's and Coke ads are prevalent in the urban landscape of North America, and well beyond in the case of the latter two. However, sometimes I find it just jumps out and really annoys me. This is one case, because there's two iconic images, Superman and the American flag, juxtaposed with a 7-Eleven sign of all things.
On that note, I think product placement was best handled in the first Wayne's World movie, in which there was this brief segment in the middle in which they did all of their product placement at the same time like an extended TV commercial (with Wayne and Garth consuming or wearing all of the products), while making fun of the whole concept at the same time.

By the way, several commenters here mentioned the next Supes movie. Given all of the mixed to negative reviews I've seen online, and the really negative reactions from comic fans, I'm wondering if there's going to be a next one...

Doug said...

Back to the top and the discussion about product placements. The small town of Plano, IL was used as the setting for "Smallville, KS". Plano is maybe 1 1/2-2 hours northwest of where I live, and is pretty typical of small towns in that part of the state. I don't know if they have an IHOP or not, so maybe that was inserted for the filming. But as to the overall look of the town, it's pretty authentic.

I would add that there is a quarry near where I live that gives scuba diving lessons. After the film was released, our local paper ran a story that had been hush-hush: Russell Crowe and Henry Cavill actually came to town and trained at that quarry for the underwater scenes that each appeared in. Not sure of the connections that would have brought them here, but a nice bit of local trivia.


Doug said...

Edo --

We were typing at the same time.

The flag, I believe, was on that wall in Plano before the filming, but I get what you're saying.

Another comment, playing off of what others have said about this grim and gritty version of Superman: How about the line near the end where he says he'll help Earthlings, but on his own terms. Say what? Not exactly the Big Blue Boy Scout, huh?


Karen said...

Mark Waid went apoplectic about the film; I'm sure most of you have seen his comments elsewhere.

I guess because I'm not as attached to Superman I haven't felt as strong a reaction. But if Marvel had had Captain America put a gun to the Red Skull's head and blow his brains out in his film, I'd be pretty upset.

William Preston said...

Hello. Good comments.

Doug, re: stuck-in-the-ice (maybe someone answered and I didn't see it): Krypton had had a colonization/exploration programs tens of thousands of years ago. This colony must have experienced some internal disaster (as did they all) and ended up sitting there while the ice flowed over. I did note the empty stasis chamber. Supergirl?

In addition to the problems other people have mentioned, I thought the film was hard to watch: the visuals were muddy, partly because the palette was so muted, but also because the shaky-cam rendered it difficult to view. Did anyone--anyone--walk away with an image solidly in their heads? I doubt it, since your eyes couldn't settle on anything. The verite style ended up keeping everything at arm's length (which is how I feel about Malick's style as well); right from the get-go, we had a shuddery, out-of-focus shot. I feel like I didn't get a really good look at anything.

That's especially a shame because the art direction and costume design was outstanding. My favorite part was the historical recreation by Jor-El; it looked like Soviet realism combined with WPA-era murals. A great design. But your eye couldn't linger.

The music was a disaster. I like the main theme a lot, but all there was to the score was bombast. (And wasn't the soft, tinkly theme the same chord progression as the anthem? John Williams has officially left the house.)

My problem with the death of Pa and the killing of Zod is that, in the Golden and Silver Ages, writers had to come up with solutions to problems every month. Sure, the solutions were cheesy, but the hero always proved smart enough to find some way around or through a dilemma. That's why they're heroes. They don't just slug and slug. (Thus the lameness of Batman's approach in the last movie; having lost a slugfest to Bane the first time, his big plan the second time is, yes, another fistfight.) A smarter writer would have found a clever set of solutions for Supes. Does he do anything except try harder when faced with a problem? He never uses his brain. Trashing the drone at the end was another example of this.

I don't know how anyone can praise the work of the minor characters such as Perry White: we barely meet them, the camera doesn't help them or establish them in scenes, and their personalities aren't revealed in dialogue. The saving grace is Jenny (yes, she was cast as Jenny Olsen, taking the Jimmy place, but we don't even meet her until her crucial scene; I'm assume something got cut so that we could see another building get demolished). I think the actors did what they could (though Adams couldn't quite bring the flintiness to her lines that they required; but I guess she walks really softly, which is why Clark couldn't hear her following him), but the director undercut them constantly. I think the best person at pushing past those limitations was Zod's second, Faora. She was pretty awesome, though still underused.

MattComix said...

Did a review of it on Flashback Universe Blog if anyone feels like checking it out.


Doug said...

Matt --

Thanks for the link, as I appreciated your detailed review!

Bill P. --

Thanks for the explanation on the Krypton colonies. As I said, I'm sure I just missed that early on in the film. Nice to know there were issues with the sound (no, I'm not using that as a cop-out) in other theaters. We saw it in our best theater in town -- big screen in a large auditorium, but their sound system generally stinks. So I thought it was just our theater.

Some have commented on how beautiful Diane Lane is and her nice performance as Martha Kent. I'd add that Ayelet Zurer was just as captivating portraying Lara.


William Preston said...

Zurer was good, but she and Costner were both given the moronic task of standing still while the world is collapsing--a variation on the walking-away-from-exploding-building motif.

Zod explains--rather rapidly--the ancient Kryptonian mission failures (I think I missed why they failed; a friend said there was always internal conflict), and the Kryptonian space program is alluded to twice by Jor-El as well. I liked that aspect of the film, that sense of a larger narrative for Krypton. I also liked how the film moved between present and past, finding clever ways around "info-dumping."

William Preston said...



Humanbelly said...

Refering to a snippet of Doug's:

"Another comment, playing off of what others have said about this grim and gritty version of Superman: How about the line near the end where he says he'll help Earthlings, but on his own terms. Say what? Not exactly the Big Blue Boy Scout, huh?"

OMG. Really?
I haven't seen the film yet, but. . . that simply strips any facade away from there being any grown-up writer or director in charge of the film at all. That line in that circumstance is exactly. . . EXACTLY. . . the kind of immature, bad-ass anti-hero attitude drivel that you'd expect from a mid-90's or so Liefeld or McFarlane book. Picture it being uttered by an overstylized Cable or Rogue or Scarlet Witch or Wolverine or Havok, say, as they stand sort of sideways over a still-smoldering landscape, scowling down upon it all. Ugh.
"His own terms" in this context doesn't even MEAN anything. It's just stupid tough-guy anti-hero speak--- it sounds "edgy" coming from the lips of this traditionally (and correctly) four-square, straight-up character. What the flip are "his" terms, does one suppose?? Unless Clark is completely, innately benevolant, the only natural path would be for him to head down one of those alternate-earth paths where he decides to run the planet himself, and become the uber-bad guy. Yeah. . . that's a movie I'm gonna want to see. (OMG-- do you suppose this is just a grand rip-off of Star Wars 1-3??).

Okay, okay-- I do need to SEE this film before I get even more disparaging of it, right?


MattComix said...

Honestly, I liked the "my own terms line" if only because I feel like this is a Superman will NEVER be the government stooge we saw in Dark Knight Returns. I think it's even possible that Goyer may have been attacking that idea specifically with the line.

@Doug. Hey, you're welcome!

Humanbelly said...

But. . . the condescending "other"-ness in the way it's put. . .

Ahhhhhhhhhh, I just called the HBSpouse, and she says HBSon & I can go catch it at our little neighborhood multiplex (Boy, THERE'S a phrase that wouldn't have existed 30 years ago!) in a couple of hours. Then I can offer informed belligerancy, rather than the half-baked variety I'm presently offering. . .


Doug said...

It's been a great conversation today! Thanks (so far) for everyone's participation.

I got an email today about a sale at Tales of Wonder. When I checked it out, I knew there would be folks here who would be interested. It's a 60% off DC sale, so that means some Archives are selling for $20. Check it out at --



MOCK! said...

I don't comment here often, but have always felt "safe" when I do.

Superman "killing" was spoiled a ways back for me, along with lots of "Christopher Reeve was far superior" on lots of other sites, so here is my question...weren't Zod, Non and Ursa essentially "killed" in "Superman II"? It's been awhile and maybe there was a line of dialog, but my wife commented that they were depowered and dropped down an ice chasm....

J.A. Morris said...

I thought the product placement was annoying as well.

However, in fairness (sort of) to 'MOS', I recently re-watched 'Superman II' for the 1st time in a decade and there was just as many product placements in that film. Yes, it's much better than the new one, but you get Coke, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Marlboro ads shoved into a whole bunch of scenes.

Doug said...

I'm just not understanding everyone's aversion to the product placement. Don't you think it adds realism to the fantasy that is the film? I would be the first to say that as consumers we are inundated with advertising, but I would not for a second think that Clark Kent doesn't eat Cheerios or shop at Target (for examples -- I don't know, were those in the movie?).

I have a far harder time accepting the ads that either anchor themselves in the corner of my television screen, or the animations or actual little films that walk their way onto the screen, right in the middle of the show! I don't know if anyone saw it, but years and years ago Johnny Carson did a routine spoofing what was then the creeping of ads into our television lives. He and Ed McMahon did a sports bit, with "This kick-off brought to you by X", etc. Well lo and behold, he was a prophet.

So watching "real people" do real things in a movie doesn't bother me in the least. It's the intrusion into the tv, as an ad, that irks me way more.


Fred W. Hill said...

while perusing these comments and recalling the recent discussion about that alien superhero we discussed just the day before, Captain Marvel, I thought of some comparisons of the two. Superman, of course, is the first costumed comicbook superhero, created over 75 years ago by two poor Jewish kids, and is by far the most famous even if it's been a while since he's been the bestselling. Mar-Vell, on the other hand, was created to take advantage of the name of one of Supes most popular rivals while it happened to be in legal limbo, and gradually the Marvel Comics "space-born hero" became a weird-synthesis of Supes and the Big Red Cheese -- a hero from another planet who occasionally changed places with a kid. Of course, Mar-Vell arrived on Earth as an adult rather than an infant, with the initial intent of helping his people conquer Earth before changing his mind. Yet he remained a warrior. Starlin took the rather odd tact of metamorphosizing the Kree Captain from his warrior stance to that of a protector. A change in outlook more than anything, although of course he also got a new hairdo, relinquishing his "silvertop" to join the ranks of Marvel's blonde heroes. This idea of being a protector rather than a warrior seems to fit the most popular view of Superman. Yeah, he's so strong he can pick up and juggle mountains in popular imagination, but his main concern isn't to go out looking for fights but to help and protect people in need. Man of Steel, however, focused too much on fighting and mass destruction, minimizing Superman's role as a protector. Captain Mar-Vell had a decent run but was never one of Marvel's bestselling characters, was killed off and has mostly stayed dead for over 30 years and will likely never star or be featured in any blockbuster film, but perhaps the makers of Man of Steel should have perused Captain Marvel #29 and thought about the difference between a warrior and a protector and how they wanted to depict that more famous starborne hero.

Garett said...

I haven't seen the movie, but good reading the reviews here. I'm not going to rush out to see it, probably watch when it's on DVD. Sounds like I won't be thrilled!

I wonder what the people who grew up with Superman in the '40s thought of the Christopher Reeve movies--anyone here know someone that age who saw them? I think they wouldn't have liked the Flash Gordon movie from 1980 with its campy vibe (I loved it though, as a 12 year old!). On the flip side, anyone with kids here who've seen this Superman and the Reeve versions--what did they think?

When I watched Superman again last year, I was impressed by Glenn Ford's version of Pa Kent.

Garett said...

Thanks for the DC Archives tip, Doug. What a bizarre decision to put a new Frank Miller cover on a classic Supergirl archives book! If someone likes the classic Supergirl art, would they really want this? :p

Rip Jagger said...

What's it say about the level of violence in the movie that I actually thought Superman might rip Zod's head clean off.

Liked the movie, but the violence was off the charts, which sad to say folks is what the modern audience craves. I do think the fights were well structured and not that long really considering how much build up had been done.

This the Superman II we wanted to see so long ago, the one in which the fight is is truly unbridled.

The Pa Kent thing was hard to grok at times and he did seem oddly fatalistic. Maybe the evidence of Kal-El crushed his understanding of the universe, so that's what he thought others might be feel.

Faora was awesome scary.

Rip Off

Fantastic Four Fan 4ever said...

I was very happy I chose not to see this film. What I am reading wants to make me wait for the Wal Mart $5 dollar bin. Superman never killed Zod in the comics. It makes me embrace the Christopher Reeve version all the more. I was just watching Superman I and II with Chris last night. I really didn't want to spend the $10 dollars to go see it. Now I am glad I saved my money. Zack has patterned this movie in the same gritty mold as 300 and Watchmen and that approach doesn't work with Superman. What happened about Superman being the defender of Truth, Justice and the American Way? It took a back seat to selling tickets.

Fantastic Four Fan 4ever said...

I wish Tom Welling had gotten the role of Superman or there was a Smallville movie. I liked his portrayal much better. Last year I just discovered the show on DVD. I bought all ten seasons because not only was it well written and acted, it updated the Superman mythology in a very intelligent way. I don’t know how many people on this board show Smallville. However I prefer that version of Superman over the one in this movie. They film makers attempted to force Superman in the Dark Knight mold and it does not work.

Anonymous said...

"Superman never killed Zod in the comics." - Fantastic Four Fan 4ever

Actually, he did. Superman (vol2) #22

Also, what about the "Death of Superman" storyline? Didn't he say (think?), "This is it, I've got to put everything I have left into this last punch." or words to that effect? Do people assume his context was, "I've got to punch Doomsday so hard it'll put him into an irreversible coma from which he'll never awaken!"? No, his intent was to take out Doomsday before he himself was taken out.

What's important is, especially in the former and in the movie, he doesn't WANT to do it. And afterward he's horrified at having done it.

He can / should still have a "code against killing", but that doesn't mean he doesn't find himself in situations where he has to break that code. It's like chivalry; it's an ideal, and sometimes we don't always reach that ideal. Even Superman.

William Preston said...


I object less to his killing Zod than to the lame set-up. The scene read like a first draft, and it was so awkwardly directed (especially the shot with Lois coming down the steps, but also the way the extras were used), it took me right out of the moment.

Teresa said...

I enjoyed the film. I read everyone's comments here and I respect them. The fact that we can debate a Superman film is wonderful.

Con: The pacing was uneven and the flashbacks got a little distracting.

Pro: This was Superman Year One. I liked his inexperience in this story.
Memo to (Kal-El) Self "Learn to catch the gasoline tanker, don't just dodge it."
Many other Year One examples, but so much has been said already, positive and negative.

Con: Lois Lane. The relationship is stale as is. I do like that she knows his secret ID. Even the original creators wanted to ditch the Lois/Superman/Clark Kent drama.

Pro: Pete Ross. I like the bond between him and Clark. I hope it comes up in the next movie.

Con: I was ok with the property damage. But it went on longer than I wanted and too much detail.

Pro: Mass property damage. Fodder for Lex Luthor to use against Superman in the next film. That rubble will be a solid foundation for Superman's detractors. I hope Luthor is the power behind a new enemy.

Con: I had flashbacks to the Miracleman vs. Kid Miracleman battle of London. Right down to Zod's black suit. That was a gory comicbook. I respect the work, but it was a difficult read. I read all of Miracleman.

Pro: Krypton. So much background material that can come up later. It blended the sterile dying culture of Byrne with the Golden Age Sci/Fantasy.

Con: Jonathan kent, I respected what they were doing and the moment the presented. But I felt the character had more to give and his death could have come later. I would have loved an interaction between him and Holo-Jor-El. Those two actors really could have pulled that off.

Pro: The Death of Zod. He committed suicide by Superhero.
Clark will be haunted over the death of Zod. Even more so when he learns his powers. He will then know a multitudes of ways the situation could have been avoided.

I wont keep prattling on. I liked Man of Steel. But I am nodding at some of the negative comments in agreement.

William said...

I really wish Nolan (and Snyder for that matter) would keep their hands out of the superhero genre altogether. As neither obviously has any love for, nor any understanding of the iconic characters they have been entrusted with bringing to life on the big screen. In fact, they seem to have a genuine disdain for superhero comics to the point that they try to completely eliminate anything remotely fun or comic-bookish from their movies.

What I don't understand, is that if you don't really like comics, then why would you want to make movies based on classic comic book characters? And if you do like comics, why would you trash all the comic book related stuff that made these characters the icons that they have become? I really just don't get it.

Humanbelly said...

Kudos to Teresa for some thoughtful pro/con commentary.

HBSon really summed it up well as we sat through the credit roll (six of us saw the film at the 7:15 showing last night. . . yikes!): there were elements of a good movie in there trying to get out, but the director, writers, producers and cinematographers kept preventing it from happening (to paraphrase).

I'll hit some points concisely (hopefully)-- dead-beat from laying linoleum tile in the kitchen all day.

1) This is huge, because it's so pervasive in a lot of "edgy, hip" films these days, and it's such a STUPID CONVENTION: the blasted reliance on this Shouldercam/phonecam bull$%%* HAS GOT TO GO! It DESTROYS the visual effect of every blasted big film that it gets into. It doesn't add verisimilitude, it MAKES IT HARD TO SEE! The badly-shot moment mentioned above, w/ Lois after Clark kills Zod? And he puts his head against her stomach in despair and exhaustion? Should have been touching-- BUT, the FRIGGIN CAMERA WAS BOUNCING UP AND DOWN THROUGHOUT!! A moment that needed to rely on an extremely rare moment of stillness was made trivial and ineffective because of the obtrusive movement. It's like having a coughing fit during silent prayer.

2) Not only was Pa Kent's death a deal-breaker (one has to assume that the director/writers/producers simply must not have kids of their own. . . or Dads), he lost us completely by berating Clark for saving the schoolbus full of kids, justifying it with something along the lines of well, sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good. I feel like the movie was trying REALLY hard to make that a reasoned, wise position. . . and it's simply sick and wrong, I'm sorry. I'd be curious as to how Costner felt about the way his character was written. And I'm sorry, NO loving son would ever let his Dad die if he had any power to save him-- (HBSon heartily assured me of that)-- the scene was beyond stupid.

HB pt 1

Humanbelly said...

3) Not enough actual scenes. The Clark/Lois relationship got from point A to point C or D w/out ever going through a "getting to know you" Point B. I'd bet money that scene was filmed, and then cut to make time for more mayhem.

4) Yes, too much mayhem by easily a third. The opening demise of Krypton came in at a level that would be the climax of most films. Just from a structural standpoint, that's bad. It immediately desensitizes the audience, so that Armageddon becomes the new Daily Commute. The fights themselves just barely made sense as long as you were keeping up with a lot of rationalizations. Clark should not have been able to beat Zod or any of those guys, though (Although thumbs-up to Jor-el for taking out Zod in hand-to-hand!). Also, Clark really wasn't directly responsible for circumstances of the mass destruction or loss of life until after he took out the world-breaker thing and started fighting Zod. BUT-- at that point it seriously hurt the film, as he was actively and visibly (you had to be looking carefully) bringing down buildings on bystanders himself. The FIRST order of business. . . and he couldn't possibly have missed it. . . is to take the fight elsewhere. It's one of the oldest comic book conventions ever, AND it has precedent in real-life law-enforcement. I mean, I would have done it myself.

5) Okay, I do get him killing Zod-- and it had a terrible cost for Clark. It was an unwinnable circumstance for an inexperienced hero. Again, I think I would have made the same choice. It obviously didn't come lightly.

6) "His own terms" worked just fine in context and in that moment. I totally got it, and really had no problem with it. Not gonna be a government/military pawn.

7) This may ruffle some feathers, but I found the female army captain (a CAPTAIN, mind you) at the end going, "I really think he's kinda hot, tee-hee, giggle" unforgivably offensive. . . especially at a time when viewing our women soldiers as soldiers and not as silly girl-objects is such a big issue in our armed forces. How about if the general were a woman, and the tee-hee giggle came from an openly gay officer? I know it was a throwaway, but it rubbed my 180-degrees the wrong way in that moment.

Liked really the whole cast quite a lot-- although Amy Adams simply isn't Lois Lane. She doesn't have that hard, whip-crack tongue and driving ambition-- as an actress, she's just not that type. I believed HER, I just didn't believe she was Lois.

Wow-this got long and is all stream of consciousness-- let's see if it fits. . .

HB pt 2

Teresa said...

"I really think he's kinda hot, tee-hee, giggle"

"Unforgivably offensive."

So right! I strongly agree!

(I think I blanked that scene out.)

As an adult, that also happens to be female, I rolled my eyes at her horrible characterization.
I realize it was supposed to be jokey.
But the scene was a tense one. He knocked the drone out of the air and sorta threatened them. She is a soldier. She has an obligation to her commanding officer.
I would have loved to see her get between her boss and Supes. Pull a gun on him and say "Just because you are cute, doesn't mean I won't shoot you."
So it could have been jokey and serious. That's probably not a great example. But I'm not a screen writer.
Thank you for the compliment too, btw.

Doc Savage said...

I''m with you. Except I won't even pay $5 to see this...I'll wait till it's on TV. Looks AWFUL, sounds worse than it looks.

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