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Off My Mind: Why 'Man of Steel' Wasn't a Superman Movie

There was a lot to love in the movie but sadly it fell short in big ways. Note: there will be spoilers.

Man of Steel hit theaters this past weekend like Superman punching through a brick wall. It was a spectacular movie with great visuals and some truly touching scenes. Yet the movie didn't seem to be the Superman movie some wanted.

Let's be up front and clear on this. This is strictly my opinion. You've already seen Gregg's Comic Vine review for the movie. We even debated some of the things we did and didn't like over email. We are all entitled to different opinions. I am not knocking the creative process of this movie. It just didn't really feel like a "Superman movie."

Let's also note there will be spoilers for the movie.

Who is Superman supposed to be? He is a hero we can all look up to. Some of those that complain about him refer to him as the "Big Blue Boy Scout." He's the hero that can do no wrong. And as mentioned in this movie and comics, he's supposed to be a symbol of HOPE.

In a day where many young kids aren't too familiar with Superman (there isn't an ongoing show and the title of the movie and trailers make no mention of his name). This could have been a huge leap in connecting with new fans of all ages. Perhaps it still can and will. The problem is a huge part of who Superman is supposed to be was altered in big ways.

The movie did have some great moments. We got to see the struggle of young Clark trying to fit in and showing restraint against the bullies of the world. Kevin Costner did a superb job as Pa Kent, doing everything he could to protect his "son." There were many scenes filled with emotion and it looked like we were getting the Superman movie we've been waiting for these past several years.

Even thought this was nearly two and a half hours, there were parts that felt rushed. Lois Lane managed to easily uncover Clark's trail that must have covered years of his life. Yes, she is one of the greatest reporters around but, in the movie, it felt like she had no difficulty in tracking down this mysterious super-man to the Kent Farm. Clark may have grown up on a farm but he did manage to wiggle his way as part of the crew in a top secret government research center. The passing of time also flew by when Clark finally discovered who he was and quickly put on the suit. But these are things I could easily overlook.

Once we see Superman in costume, he seemed to not possess that need to put all others above himself. Yes, I know he makes a sacrifice at the end, we'll get to that in a moment. Whether it was Pa's words of wisdom in putting himself first, Clark seemed to struggle back and forth with the notion. He did give himself up to Zod in order to save the entire planet. Unfortunately when the attack against his mother occurred, he made no effort to try to remove the fight to a safer location. Downtown Smallville had to fend for themselves. He did manage to get Zod away from the farm but also left the other Kryptonians there with Ma.

Superman made no effort to try to protect the innocent townspeople of Smallville. During the big showdown in Metropolis, the same could be said but on a massively larger scale. Did most residents in Metropolis manage to evacuate before the buildings started to topple? Again, Superman made no effort to try to move the fight elsewhere. Granted, up against others with the same level of power, it wouldn't be the easiest thing. Even in the aftermath when it appeared Zod was defeated, Superman just stood there while thousands were likely trapped under rubble. "Hey Lois, how you doing?"

Again, even this could be overlooked. He was still a "new" hero. He may not have been as heroic as we expect Superman to be but he did push himself as far as he could. He did overall save the day. The fact that many innocents were harmed probably was meant to give the movie a bigger feel. It made the danger more severe.

Then there was that final scene with Zod. Why didn't the movie simply end with Zod pouting in the ravaged destruction of Metropolis? Instead, Superman does the one thing he's not supposed to do. He kills Zod.

You could call this heroic. He gave up his personal moral (that we assume he had) and ended one life in order to save others. He showed an extreme level of remorse and you could utterly feel his pain. The scene was simply completely unnecessary. I'm not a prude. I'm not old fashioned. I just don't see why we have to have a movie, one that introduces Superman to a new crowd, where the hero has no choice but to kill.

Isn't Superman supposed to be better than us?

Why is Hollywood determined to have the villains die at the end? Norman Osborn in Spider-Man, Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, Two-Face, Ra's al Ghul, etc in the recent Batman movies. I understand this was a PG-13 movie but Superman doesn't kill in the comics. Lois also doesn't say "dick" and so on. Is killing and profanity the only way to appeal to the average movie-goer?

I am aware that Superman has killed before. He did kill Zod before, a Zod from a "pocket dimension" (in SUPERMAN #22 in 1988). He was so filled with remorse and questioned his place. This lead to Superman exiling himself into space.

Superman shouldn't have to kill. In the scene in question in the movie, maybe he didn't have another way. That's debatable. Perhaps it would take careful scrutiny and a repeated viewing. Could he have blocked the heat vision with his hand? Could Superman have found the strength to overpower Zod, just as he managed to overpower that gravity machine? Maybe Superman was just really tired, right?

I wouldn't go so far as to say it was a horrible movie. I did enjoy moments of it. Am I too close to the character since a Spanish Superman/Flash comic was the first comic I ever saw or because I used to have a Superman MEGO that I played with until his leg fell off or because I have a tattoo with Kryptonian writing? There should always be another solution. And the filmmakers could have come up with another angle/ending.

Man of Steel may have been a good movie. It just wasn't the Superman movie I was hoping for.

692 Comments
Posted by Saren

This thread should be fun....

On-topic, I do agree that it should have been more than what it was. Personally I blame Goyer's screenplay.

Moderator
Edited by theTimeStreamer

'no son. don't save me. let the tornado kill me.' and no 'kneel before zod'. and amy adams.

Edited by straightedgejoe

Thank you. I feel like I'm in the minority I was really let down by this movie it just didn't feel like superman to me and him killing Zod just sealed it, this wasn't a superman movie.

Edited by Veshark

I actually have a bigger problem with the civilian collateral, as opposed to the final scene. Whatever the moral implications about the character regarding the killing of Zod, at least it was justified within the movie's context. I can buy it, and the moment was powerful.

But the massive amount of people dying in Smallville and Metropolis as a result of Superman's fight? I tried justifying it by saying that it was circumstance, and Superman was still a novice. Goyer himself responded by saying that the destruction might upset some, but my issue isn't with the actual deaths. It's that Supes never seemed to do anything to prevent them. I don't know, it bugs me.

Posted by longbowhunter

I really liked the movie but had many complaints over the same issues. Mostly Superman's lack of concern for civilians. I also thought it was a little too dark at moments even though I did enjoy the over all melancholy feel the movie had. I'm hoping whatever they managed to miss with this one they can correct in the next.

Edited by Teerack

Then I guess the Nolan Batmans aren't Batman movies.

EDIT: This post his been quoted/responded to over 30 times and it has proven to me that his community doesn't think at all before writing their post. Please stop making this site look dumber as a whole and leave me alone.

EDIT: People continue to respond to me eager to prove their stupidity... *sigh*

Edited by sentryman555

These complaints are the same complaints I've been hearing everywhere about the movie. I'm just kinda ticked no one made these same complaints for the avengers movie. We didn't see the avengers really trying to save people in that movie, only scene I remember is the part with captain america and the bomb. Buildings are destroyed all the time in the JL cartoon, I know it's a cartoon but why isn't the complaint the same?

I'm very mixed about the ending. It is definitely interesting because Superman willingly killing someone hasn't really been done except for in alternate universe type stories, to my knowledge. Really I think it all depends on the next movie with how Superman deals with what he had to do. I really hope they don't just brush it off, which is my complaint, that that's what they make it seem like he does at end when he puts on the Clark disguise for the first time.

Posted by webling

I loved the movie. Honestly the civilian thing did not bother me, in a fight you do what you have to. The Zod moment was a shock but I felt it gave the scene some real finality. I'd compare the fight to Doomsday, Clark is going to die if he doesn't go all out and kill this creature. Lois saying "dick" doesn't bother me, she's an army rat, and I don't really rate that word very high on the profane list. The liberties they took with the mythos I thought was really fun to watch unfold because it left the viewer with the sense that this is something different and anything could happen. That being said I'm not a huge fan of that philosophy on The Walking Dead show but it worked here.

I thought Pa Kent dying for a dog was pretty dumb and my friend found the Zod laser scene at the end corny, but I thought it worked. I thought the movie was a blast, but it had more action and special effects than were necessary, some of that time could have gone to characterization. Overall I'd give it a ComicVine 5/5.

Posted by OmgOmgWtfWtf

The issues I had was with Superman's lax morals. While it was Warner Brother's attempt to make Superman 'hip', I feel they had to butcher him too much in order to accomplish it. The whole 'Man of Steel', instead of calling it a 'Superman' film comes to mind. It seems the studio was intentionally trying to make this modern Superman different from previous incarnation. They are more focused on his powers, rather than his morals/character it seems. Also, the collateral damage, while spectacular to the senses, was misplaced. Superman made no effort to save people. I think it would have made more of an impact, if Clark had to risk himself to save civilians over fighting Zod and his army, but still manage to beat him anyways. Overcoming great obstacles, both mentally and physically, is an enduring quality of any hero. However, it seems that modern audiences and studios are more inclined to think 'brawn over brain' in nearly every scenario. This goes back to my initial point about how the title 'Man of Steel' invokes Superman's physical attributes and place it foremost, in my opinion, in regards to everything else. The 'Big Blue Boy Scout' is placed in the back suit, or entirely ignored. The whole killing of Zod in the end proves this. While, many people would say he had no choice, Superman ultimately did have a choice. This leaves me wondering how Bruce and Clark are going to interact in the upcoming Justice League movie. Both are killers, which kind of annoys me, since their entire moral principle is based on a 'no-kill' ideology. It goes against the dynamic relationship they have in the comics. Would they just start killing every villain they come across?

Edited by Mild_Karl

I want to write up something longer that sums up my thoughts on the film, but Superman killing Zod is explained off by Snyder & David S. Goyer (the screenwriter) as their take on the classic hero. This is the film where we discover why Superman doesn't kill, where we discover how taking the life of another- a man who knew his father, who was one of the very last of his kind- molds him into the icon that we know & love today. I think it was an extremely risky direction to take for the character, but I applaud the crew for doing so.

The less said about the surprisingly bland Lois Lane character, the better. Love Amy Adams but she didn't have much to work with here. This Lois is an amazingly competent reporter but lacks the spunk & fire that you'd expect from the character. Thought Faora was fantastic though, but it's a shame that the female characters consist of two moms out-shined by their husbands, a perfunctory love interest, a Kryptonian who is almost asexual in her hate for the human race & a private who thinks Superman is "kinda hot". Also wish the film lightened up a wee bit, it's quite morose & joyless.

As for the destruction of Metropolis, I chalked it up to blockbuster logic: when the Autobots level Chicago in order to save the world from the Decepticons, no one bats an eye that Bumblebee punches through a 50 story building, probably killing hundreds in the process. You don't think about that stuff. I do understand (and agree with) your criticisms, however. Chalk it up to a very passionate & emotional young man who doesn't quite grasp the ramifications of his actions.

Posted by consafo80

How do we know there was any civilian deaths caused by superman crashing through buildings? We didn't see any bodies. Maybe superman with his X-ray vision and abilitiy to see things down to the quantum level knew to avoid any people. Also just cause we didn't see him help clean up the city doesn't mean he didn't.

Maybe him killing Zod is when he vows never to kill again. Maybe he needed to kill to feel how awful it was no matter if it's justified or the only course of action seemingly available.

Edited by VioletPhoenix

I truly think that it was deliberate to setup for issues Superman has to deal with in the sequel(s) along with other superheroes:

  • can Superman be trusted?
  • what would stop a being so powerful from killing us?
  • does a true hero disregard civilian safety?
Edited by bloggerboy

There's a fundamental clash of idealogies when combining superhero stories with action blockbusters.

Comic books work (in theory) as decade long soap operas. The villains don't get killed or if they do they will return. In theory if a death can be avoided in the promise of a future storyline then the character will survive.

Action movies and movies in general should work (again in theory) on their own, as independent properties. There are franchies but before Empire Strikes Back came out sequels usually had their own independent stories. Even today not every sequel is a new chapter of the same story. There are still sequels with a new story that just happens in the same universe.

What I'm getting at is that a movie should have a beginning, middle and an end. And the end of any action movie usually is about the villain dying in the hands of the hero. Think of Die Hard, The Terminator etc. This trend is not going away and it certainly isn't going away with superhero movies. Burton's Batman kills The Joker. Nolan's Batman kills Two-Face and Talia (and let's Ra's be killed when Batman could have knocked him out and carry him off with him - think of Rachel). Of course there is variation to the theme. Domino kills the main Bond villain in Thunderball and Catwoman kills the main villain in The Dark Knight Rises. But the main villain usually dies. Of course there are exceptions like The Joker but the movie had a follow-up scene where Two-Face dies, someone who The Joker created.

Now I'm not saying Superman should have killed Zod. Tell you the truth I haven't even seen the movie yet because it's not out where I live. 26th, c'mon!

I'm just saying that the genre's self-imposed cliches and the studio honchos must weight heavily on these decisions. If the wheel isn't broken, don't fix it. I think Hollywood (as a some sort of abstact collective) still doesn't understand superheroes.

One of the producers of Man of Steel, Jon Peters definitely doesn't understand Superman. Just watch the Kevin Smith videos. It basically comes down to Superman being faggy and uncool.

"So make 'im snap some necks and make Superman fight a giant spider!"

Posted by Mucklefluga

I had issues too. Superman should have been written as wanting to protect others more. However i wasnt as fussed with the ending.

Edited by Pokeysteve

Wow at this article. I can't wait for the nit picking of this to be over.

What would have happened if he tended to the hundreds of people in the rubble? Zod and crew would have gone on about their business with no interference and it'd be over for Earth.

Before the final fight with Zod he moves towards the rubble and then catches Zod moving. Maybe you just forgot the part where he lets the oil tower fall on himself to get those workers out.

With his mom, the others weren't assaulting her. Zod was. He says as much immediately after the tackle.

The ending seems to be the biggest issue and I don't understand why. I was a little iffy with it right when it happened but the remorse he shows just really worked for me. What if he did manage to beat Zod unconscious. What happens when the guy wakes up? He's just gonna chill in prison haha. Zod made it perfectly clear. It ends when one of us is dead. He told Clark flat out that he was going to kill every single person on the planet. What other way out was there? Every second that fight continued people got hurt.

When a movie comes out that is amazing there is always that group of people that pick apart the stupidest details. This nailed Superman's character way more than Nolan did Batman.

Edited by EnSabahNurX

I agree with you Tony, the superman killing thing really didn't sit right with me or many of my friends(even non-comic readers) If they did the Phantom Zone right, they could have used the Phantom Zone projector to banish zod in the last second or use some of that Kryptonian tech to restrain him(freeze him like they were before krypton exploded)

I really hated Pa Kent in this movie, the fact he said it may have been ok to let clark's classmates die just to protect his secret was disgusting and his death felt pointless. Smallville the Tv show had MANY flaws, but Pa Kent's morale lessons for clark were better.

This movie was kinda awful since no one really felt fleshed out and Lois' investigation was like a two second marathon that looked like minimal effort.

The pacing was just all over the place.

Posted by Bigwalt

I have a lot of thoughts. I need a 2nd viewing to confirm said thoughts

Edited by theTimeStreamer

@teerack said:

Then I guess the Nolan Batmans aren't Batman movies.

yep. they are NOT batman movies. they are batman's villains movies with an idiot in a batman suit.

Edited by UltimateSMfan

@teerack said:

Then I guess the Nolan Batmans aren't Batman movies.

^basically......the aim of this movie was that they wanted it grounded in reality. If we got Comic Superman,we would have loved it but the mainstream audience wouldn't take to it like us. In my Opinion this was a very good, Mature representation of Superman in the real world.Also,IMO the way the movie panned out, Zod's death was completely necessary otherwise he wld have continued on to get more powerful,kill kal and then the world. Plus this was an origin so i guess the learning curve is over and now we have a Sequel to look forward to! Superman morals and all will probably come across more in that one.

Edited by nappystr8

While I am no huge fan of this film for several reasons, I did not have a problem with the way that Superman acted. What we need to understand is Superman is completely new to being a superhero. He saved the odd person here or there, but from what the film showed, he had probably never been in a fight in his life. Add on top of that the fact that the people he is fighting are the only thing that has ever been capable of hurting him, it is understandable that he would be very flustered. Collateral damage is something that in that moment an inexperienced and endangered Superman would not have been thinking about. He saved an entire planet of billions, I think we can forgive the guy for a few thousand deaths he may have overlooked.

And as a comic nerd I was disappointed that Superman killed Zod as it seems like something out of character that they did just to be "dark" and "edgy". When I honestly think about it on a rational level, however, Superman didn't really have any other choice. Anyone would have done the same thing given the course of events in this film. As long as they use the scene the right way: as the inspiration for Superman adopting a no-killing policy from this point forward, I don't have a problem.

Posted by clumsyninja

I wish there would have more Johnathan Kent than Jor-el. Killing Zod may be was something that he'll regret later on and something that Batman comes to hunt him. I was hoping Jimmy showed at some point but maybe on a sequel. Can't wait for the sequel and for the JL movie. i wonder if they'll do a Bat/Sups or just go straight to JL?.

Posted by Superboy101

Wow at this article. I can't wait for the nit picking of this to be over.

What would have happened if he tended to the hundreds of people in the rubble? Zod and crew would have gone on about their business with no interference and it'd be over for Earth.

Before the final fight with Zod he moves towards the rubble and then catches Zod moving. Maybe you just forgot the part where he lets the oil tower fall on himself to get those workers out.

With his mom, the others weren't assaulting her. Zod was. He says as much immediately after the tackle.

The ending seems to be the biggest issue and I don't understand why. I was a little iffy with it right when it happened but the remorse he shows just really worked for me. What if he did manage to beat Zod unconscious. What happens when the guy wakes up? He's just gonna chill in prison haha. Zod made it perfectly clear. It ends when one of us is dead. He told Clark flat out that he was going to kill every single person on the planet. What other way out was there? Every second that fight continued people got hurt.

When a movie comes out that is amazing there is always that group of people that pick apart the stupidest details. This nailed Superman's character way more than Nolan did Batman.

Everything you said I agree with.

Posted by UltimateSMfan

@pokeysteve: just read what you wrote and our views are very much identical :)

Posted by lorex

I do agree that this was not the perfect depiction of Superman but its probably as good as we are going to get given the state of movies these days. I don't have a problem with the destruction or even him killing Zod but with the fact that Superman barely made any attempt to move the fight out of populated areas, that seemed very un-Superman like to me. Also while I don't dislike Amy Adams as Lois Lane I always found Lois to be much more high energy and in your face than Adams portrayed her to be.

Edited by bloggerboy

@teerack said:

Then I guess the Nolan Batmans aren't Batman movies.

^basically......the aim of this movie was that they wanted it grounded in reality. If we got Comic Superman,we would have loved it but the mainstream audience wouldn't take to it like us.

Because the mainstream audience hated The Avengers...

Edited by Terrific_T

The first time I saw it, when it all came down to the THING, I literally thought I might be having a nightmare, especially with everyone around me cheering and clapping while my mouth was hanging open in horror and I pretty much forgot about everything else that happened before it and didn't care very much about what happened after it.

Then I watched it again, and I actually came to respect the THING. I feel like it was a really bold move. And, at first, I resented the idea of a bunch of movie-makers sitting around in a room, saying, "Okay, guys! We're gonna do the unthinkable! Superman is going to kill in this movie! Isn't that exciting? Okay, how can we make this happen?" But after watching the movie a second time, it really didn't seem like that was what that was about.

If you think about it, half of the people Superman is surrounded by in this movie are in the National Guard, and they are depicted as honorable and noble. We know, just by their uniforms, that they have been trained and taught to kill when necessary. We know that a lot of them probably have killed when necessary and that ALL of them are supposed to kill when necessary. And again, they are depicted as heroes in this film -- which I think is a pretty important reflection of what Superman went through here.

He was put in a very realistic situation where he had to make the choice to either end Zod now or let Zod go on destroying the city and the world, and it speaks heavily to choices that real people in the real world have to make every single day. And I, for one, am thankful for those people who have the strength of character to make decisions like that. And so, watching this movie a second time, not being ambushed by the image of Superman killing a man with his bare hands, I really began to appreciate what this movie was about. It was about putting Superman in a nearly impossible situation and testing his character to find out what choice he would make between his own innocence or whatever and the fate of humankind. And what did he do? He did the responsible thing. And seeing him put through that actually makes me admire him in a brand new way.

This movie was not the Superman movie I was hoping for either, I do wish it had given me a more hopeful Superman-ish feeling and I feel like there were quite a few things that should've happened character-wise that got sidelined by the excessive action and destruction. I can't stand that Superman was made to look irresponsible because Zack Snyder just loves to see things get blown up, and I never EVER expected to see Superman snap a dude's neck in a movie. And I still wonder if that was a good move for an origin story, BUT I will say that I respect the decision and thought it was handled well. It made me see Superman a whole new way. And I like that because I wasn't expecting to.

Posted by nappystr8

@teerack said:

Then I guess the Nolan Batmans aren't Batman movies.

The Nolan Batman trilogy is very consistent with the way Batman is portrayed in the comics. Batman was a dark and gritty character from his inception and Nolan's films are dark. Batman is not a killer in neither the comics nor the Nolan films.

Superman has almost never been dark and gritty, and when he is, it's usually in elseworlds stories. The tone taken with Snyder's Superman is a huge departure in that regard whether you think it works or not. Superman has a no killing policy. Superman very decisively kills in this film.

I don't agree that this isn't a real Superman film, but there is a very valid reason why Tony thinks that it isn't.

Edited by Pokeysteve
Posted by Johnni_Kun

Clearly these are bias people, with opinions on Superman that are still stuck in the silver age. It's sad to see this film unfair judge. I'm very glad of the changes. It makes the reboot seem worth it, and not some Donner knock off.

Posted by bloggerboy

@teerack said:

Then I guess the Nolan Batmans aren't Batman movies.

The Nolan Batman trilogy is very consistent with the way Batman is portrayed in the comics. Batman was a dark and gritty character from his inception and Nolan's films are dark. Batman is not a killer in neither the comics nor the Nolan films.

Except when Batman let Ra's die in Begins instead of even trying to drag the dude along. Batman killed Two-Face and pretty sure crushed the dude in the garbage truck with the Tumbler. Batman also dropped a dog off a ledge in the Prewitt building. Then Batman shot the truck with missiles ending up killing Talia.

And no, "the fall killed 'em" isn't an excuse to most to these cases.

That said I freaking love Nolan's Batman movies even with their FLAWS.

Posted by UltimateSMfan

@ultimatesmfan said:

@teerack said:

Then I guess the Nolan Batmans aren't Batman movies.

^basically......the aim of this movie was that they wanted it grounded in reality. If we got Comic Superman,we would have loved it but the mainstream audience wouldn't take to it like us.

Because the mainstream audience hated The Avengers...

No, but for some reason they hate Superman( Too Good, Too Powerful, Not Relatable) and plus the Avengers kill all the time,atleast thats how they portray it in the movies,their "Morale" is nothing compared to Superman's

Posted by bloggerboy

Clearly these are bias people, with opinions on Superman that are still stuck in the silver age. It's sad to see this film unfair judge. I'm very glad of the changes. It makes the reboot seem worth it, and not some Donner knock off.

Newsflash: A Superman who doesn't kill is not the Silver Age. It's CANON. When and if Superman does kill there should be good reasons and repercussions.

Or alternatively: Clearly these are bias people with opinions on Superman that are still stuck in the Golden Age.

Because be it Silver Age or Modern Age, Superman doesn't kill as a past time or as a necessity.

Posted by jaytiz27

I was wondering what your opinion was tony. I really enjoyed it but had a big problem with the city being so destroyed, and that bit where Lois was falling at the end seemed like really bad acting.

It seemed like it was a Invincible movie more than a superman movie with zod being conquest.

I thought Henry played superman very well.

Posted by Strider92

We didn't see the avengers really trying to save people in that movie, only scene I remember is the part with captain america and the bomb..

And Hawkeye and Black Widow pulling people out of the bus's and generally protecting civilains. The bigger guys were all involved with bigger fish hence why it made sense for the more street level characters to be saving the civilians.

Online
Edited by FoxxFireArt

A movie about Superman, doing super things, and having spectacularly super fights wasn't a Superman movie? Huh? Perhaps if Superman was more like this movie, the comics might do better.

Much of the city was well in the process of being destroyed. Do you imagine people are just going to be hanging out and waiting as the city is slowly crushed? The movie even shows people running in the masses out of buildings. They're going to run away from the thing trying to kill them.

There should always be another solution. And the filmmakers could have come up with another angle/ending.

In life, there isn't always another solution. You have to make a split second choice. Any hesitation could end in people dying. Anything else is Monday morning quarterbacking. Making judgement calls on a choice he had to make in a second. The thing that gets boring about mainstream comics is that they go to such length to try and prevent the protagonist from ever having to make a hard or moral choice. There's always some way out that has no consequence.

I love that they had Clark make the moral choice of killing to save the innocent. It's not as if it was an easy choice to make. He was pushed to the wall, and he made the right choice. These sort of decisions are made by people in the police and military all the time. Why should Superman get a pass on having to even make a choice? Zod was an eminent threat. He wasn't just going to walk away with his tail between his legs. It was a kill or let innocent people be killed situation. Any cop or soldier would make the same choice.

Movies often need the villain to die at the end. Comics keep villains alive to an absolutely ridiculous degree. In a real world setting, the Joker would have been executed long ago. Being crazy doesn't absolve guilt. Movies are contained events that need finality. It needs to end. Comics are serialized that need a constant threat.

I also felt that Zod was not just excellently cast. His character was more than a two dimensional villain. He honestly felt he was in the right in trying to help his people. He was a product of the folly of Kryptonian selective birth. He was born and raised to life, think, and feel as a general. It was the only way he knew.

My only real complaint about the movie is that I'm afraid they went too big with the first threat. I don't quite know who they could possible top or even equal what happened here. Superman saved the entire planet from a people who equaled him in strength. Zod and his faction are an easy threat to explain to the audience. These Nolan based films try to ground the characters, and I'm afraid much of the rest of his villains are too fantastical. Also, you can't keep obliterating the city ever movie.

Posted by nappystr8

@bloggerboy: Batman's actions have led to the death of villains, but it was never murder. Not going out of your way to save a man who's own genocidal schemes brought about his death is not murder. Batman taking a split-second opportunity to save Jim Gordon's son was not murder, if he had planned to kill Dent in that act he would have found a way not to also mortally wound himself in the process. Batman fired upon the truck, not upon Talia. Villains die all the time in the comics too, but it's not murder. What Superman does in Man of Steel is pretty much the most overt form of murder possible. The two franchises are apples and oranges in that regard.

Edited by noj

This idea that Superman couldve moved these fights to a safer place is fairly ridiculous. HOW!? The people he were fighting were near as powerful as himself and outnumbered him in Smallville. Do you SERIOUSLY think that if Superman had said something like "now friends I know we have our differences but could we please move this altercation to a different location to prevent unnecessary loss of life" Faora and her buddy wouldve listened? Its a absolutely ridiculous criticism.

Every single member of the Avengers is a murderer yet for some reason they are exempt from criticism. Heck I cant even imagine how many people died in the Chitauri attack of New York when Iron Man sent a massive space whale hurtling towards the populated streets or when the Hulk went smashing through buildings. Holding Superman to this different and frankly impossible standard simply isnt fair.

Superman killing Zod was something I took issue with at first but at the end of the day Superman II was no better. Supes destroyed Zods hand and threw him down a seemingly endless pit while smiling. Hell LOIS killed Ursa with a smack to the face that sent her hurling down the pit to her death. He showed no remorse and its treated as a triumphant moment yet Superman purists seem to praise that movie.

Posted by ARMIV2

Thank you. I feel like I'm in the minority I was really let down by this movie it just didn't feel like superman to me and him killing Zod just sealed it, this wasn't a superman movie.

You're definitely not alone there. My brother-in-law, a huge Superman fan, told us right outside of the movie theater that he didn't like it. In his opinion, they changed too much around and took away from Superman.

My biggest concerns with the film would have to be the pacing and occasional bits of over-toning. I felt like they rushed through a lot of the first part of the movie just to get to the action (which was awesome) while expecting us to piece everything together. Certain plot elements could've been built up or elaborated on better. And the tone...it was good, but I felt like they were really trying to hammer in the melodrama at times when they really could have pulled it back some.

Edited by ahgunsillyo

The debate about the choices and changes they made regarding Superman's character in Man of Steel is certainly an interesting one to have. I personally thought the movie was pretty great, and though I did recognize that significant changes were made to the origin and foundation of Superman, I also recognized that the film presented a completely separate and unique interpretation of the character and treated it as such.

I didn't really have much of a problem that there was a lot of ridiculous destruction throughout the major fight scenes in the film. What I did think was a bit interesting, though, was that when Superman and his enemies were being launched through buildings, none of those buildings, save for the IHOP where Pete Ross worked, seemed to have anybody in them. At one point, Superman gets knocked through a skyscraper in the battle against Zod in Metropolis, and those floors through which he passed seemed completely devoid of people. I figured that at that point, everybody had evacuated those buildings and were at ground level, so I just left it at that and continued watching the action.

I will say that it would have been beneficial to show Superman trying to save people amid the chaos in Smallville and Metropolis. However, considering the nature of the action and the combat in the film, having those types of scenes also could potentially be picked apart. If Superman is giving his all just to fight these enemies who can move incredibly fast, would he reasonably have enough time to save everyone? Considering that in majority of the fight scenes, Superman and his enemies were within very close proximity and only far away from each other long enough to regain their composure and fly right back into each other's faces, could Superman have enough time to lift heavy debris off of injured civilians or carry them to safety before Zod or whomever he was fighting slammed right back into him?

I actually also didn't really have a problem with Superman killing Zod at the end because of the nature of the scene and how it played out. I liked that it was clearly a very difficult decision of Superman to make and he immediately openly regretted having to do that despite it being the right thing to do. After a while, I did think about the ways Superman could have tried to get around that situation, such as covering Zod's eyes with his hand so as to block the heat vision, flying them both out of the area, and so on. However, considering that Superman was struggling as hard as he could just to hold Zod in place, it probably wouldn't get him very far to do either of these options. In that case, he likely wouldn't have been able to hold Zod in place and withstand the heat vision without Zod breaking free. I do question how Superman managed to snap Zod's neck despite Zod being as invulnerable and strong as Kryptonians tend to be on Earth, but I guess I can understand that, given the characters' relative strengths and power levels and what have you. In the end, the situation and the scene made sense to me, and I thought that how it played out was pretty powerful.

It is especially interesting that many people have a problem with Superman killing in this film and saying that "Superman doesn't kill" or "Superman would never kill," when there are actually a few instances throughout his long history in which he has done so. When Superman "died," so did Doomsday. The threat he faced was so great that he saw no choice but to punch Doomsday until he was dead, even if it was at the cost of his own life. Now, I realize that both Superman and Doomsday both returned from the dead soon after, but that act of the story ended with Superman killing Doomsday. And in The New 52, Superman killed Parademons in the first few issues of Justice League and killed that big Kryptonian dragon thing in Lobdell's Superman. Now, it can be argued that the Superman that exists in The New 52 "isn't the REAL Superman," but that is honestly one particular debate that could get even more out of hand than the one being discussed currently.

And @teerack brings up a good point. Though Batman made it a point to spare The Joker in The Dark Knight and one of The Joker's main missions in the film is to make Batman break his "one rule" of not killing, every other major villain in Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy dies, more often than not by Batman's hand (with the exception of Scarecrow, who really has the best luck of anybody in those films, if you think about it). He refuses to save Ra's al Ghul and leaves him to die, he shoot missiles at Talia's truck, causing her to die, and he doesn't seem to have any problem with Catwoman shooting Bane with the cannons on the Batpod. Yet, and I could easily be wrong here, but people, or at least those in the Internet enthusiast press, didn't seem to raise as much of a stink with those films having Batman kill his foes than they are right now with Man of Steel. So teerack is right. If Man of Steel isn't a Superman movie, then by a lot of that same metric, Nolan's Dark Knight films aren't really Batman movies, either.

On a separate note, I don't really know if you can point to Norman Osborn's death at the end of the first Spider-Man movie as evidence of Hollywood being "determined to have the villains die at the end." His death is actually one of the most comics-accurate endings for a villain in a superhero film, so you could say that he died as a way for the story of the film to be more like those of the comics rather than a Hollywood agenda to kill the villains at the end of the films.

I think Man of Steel is a good film, and more importantly, it is an interesting and thought-provoking take on Superman as both a man and a hero. By doing something different, changing his foundation, and pushing the bounds and limits of the character, it has sparked many a discussion of who and what Superman is and why he is so important that probably would not have happened if the film had portrayed a more traditional or standard version of Superman.

Posted by sentryman555

@sentryman555 said:

We didn't see the avengers really trying to save people in that movie, only scene I remember is the part with captain america and the bomb..

And Hawkeye and Black Widow pulling people out of the bus's and generally protecting civilains. The bigger guys were all involved with bigger fish hence why it made sense for the more street level characters to be saving the civilians.

Maybe its cause I haven't seen the movie in awhile but I don't remember that scene. In Man Of Steel we have Superman rescuing the military people. He can't be doing everything while fighting 3 super powered criminals.

Edited by GalacticPunt

Just came back from the theater, and most everyone there came out of the movie RAGING. "Man of Steel" joylessly drags Superman's name through the mud, but more importantly, it's just bad cinema. I know it made good money and the sequels are inevitable, but I pray that they will be helmed by a different screenwriter and director.

The supposed narrative arc of this movie is that Superman's two fathers both implore him to be a force for good and inspire people. OK, great. How does that work out?

The world doesn't even see him until his fellow aliens start killing people to get at him. He saves the world from a crisis that he is the cause of. Thousands die. He kills Zod in front of a family (and the scene was staged in such a way that there were about 17 ways he could have stopped Zod without killing him). The fallout from the shocking act of Superman taking a life in his first movie? He feels sad for a minute, and gets a hug. Then it's back to being cocky and smiling, and female soldiers thinking he's "cute."

After all the death and destruction caused by Earth's first contact with an alien race, the real ending of this movie should be everyone in the UN working out a plan to make Superman leave or die. It makes no sense for anyone in the world to see him as heroic, when the only thing they know him for is saving them from his own legacy. That, and snapping the neck of the last of his race in front of some kids. Way to go, Kal.

Edited by JHorton10

This Film was Brilliant, doom on you

Edited by SuperPenguin

Yes the movie may have had its minor flaws, but overrall i thought it was briliant. I'm glad they got rid of the cheesy quoutes that situated quite regularly in the original series. It was much darker, just like the Dark Knight trilogy, which i personally thought made the movie more exciting with a better storyline, yet still keeping its original feel.

I like the way the movie wasnt linear, with flashbacks as such to tell the story. This made the movie flow more easily. In Superman II General Zod is killed much more easily while Superman doesnt really care. The fact that it hurt him to have to kill Zod was good as it showed that he did care for him because he was also one of the last Kryptonians.

Overrall I'd say that Man of Steel was one of the best films i have ever seen.

Posted by HellknightLeon

Have not been on Comic Vine in sometime... Just thought I would check to see what you guys thought of the film... and... I don't hate the movie... but man oh man do I agree with you on this one... IT WAS SO DUMB... in a good way but not the comic book way... kinda... you know what... nevermind. XD

Posted by theTimeStreamer

@johnni_kun: i'm glad you enjoy the visuals with little to no story or characters. you will enjoy sucker punch.

Posted by InnerVenom123

Superman in this movie is supposed to be inexperienced. Essentially, that's why so many bad things happen. The fact that the threat was team-up level didn't help Clark either.

So, in that way, you're right; it isn't a Superman movie.

Edited by Johnni_Kun
Edited by Psykhophear

I do notice some flaws in the movie like the cutting back in between flashbacks and current time (which was awfully done), the movie being too dark, and the fact that Clark Kent saved a bully but not his dad, but overall, I enjoyed Man of Steel. I liked the fact that it didn't have romance and humor but instead, focused more on the origin of Superman and his purpose on Earth. It was really deep and with the terrific performance by Russell Crowe as Jor-El, it added a lot of substance in the story.

The one thing that I wanted to see in Man of Steel (aside from a good story) was non-stop action and destruction; and this movie delivered. It was mayhem everywhere and I loved it. To me, that's what Superman is all about; not some lovey-dovey emo crap like in Superman Returns.

I give this movie 4/5 stars. I look forward to a sequel.

Edited by theTimeStreamer
Edited by Outside_85

The point of the movie was to update the Superman movies to the modern age and not simply continue a tradition.

I agree with the notion that Clark's and Lois' journey felt rushed, as did the whole military involvement.

The thing about collateral damage when people like Superman start throwing down with someone on equal power, I thought, was justified, because getting someone like Zod out of a given area should be damn hard even for one who has the same power. And even if it's managed (as it was) he will just come straight back again. It was the same thing with Doomsday, despite how much Superman and everyone else tried; hundreds ended up dead (story is very likely the same whenever a city or a large portion of one is wiped out). Added, as mentioned, Clark is at this point in time totally green in large scale situations.

As for the killing of Zod, well Zod said he would never stop because of what Clark had done and had sworn he'd kill the entire planet if he could. Then you have the trouble of the movie universe having no way to contain him, they sent that option off with Zod's cronies. And finally you had that final scene where Clark was put in an impossible situation, he couldn't block Zod's heat vision indefinitely with a hand or and arm because it would burn through it eventually and moving him bore the risk of loosing his grip or turning the beams on someone else. It was a moment where killing Zod was the only option he had, and the reaction he gave after it was evident enough that Clark couldn't think of anything else.

The preoccupation in movies about killing bad guys I think has to do with most of them being planned for much shorter life spans and not to be an unending story like comics, so they can allow for more final (and realistic) solutions to criminals that would have been put down in the real world. Imagine if the Nolan Joker showed up again in a movie, unlike comics, the mafia groups will have learned from the last encounter and promptly kill him if he showed up on their doorsteps. Also it is perhaps a tiny bit silly to think villains always end up going to jail, regardless of how many lives they've taken or how much damage they've caused. (Not to mention it's not exactly new; the Joker, Two-Face and the Penguin all ended up dead in the earlier Batman movies.)