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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.

678 Comments Refresh
Edited by whitelantern64

Superman has killed aliens before. I recall reading this in a comic when he was talking to batman about killing aliens. He has just never killed a human being before though. So him killing Zod wasn't uncharacteristic of him. And the fact is if you want a movie where superman goes all out, then civilians will die and collateral damage will be taken. that's a simple fact of life that when two god like beings fight, s@%t hits the fan big time. And in those fights, you don't want the good guy taking his eye off the other guy to look out for innocents cause then he'll get killed by the bad guy. Its like in war when soldiers have to keep fighting on even though they see their fellow soldiers die in the crossfire. it's sucks and is horrible but it happens and is realistic even for superman because he is facing soldiers with the same powers and abilities as him. Criticism based on that is only warranted if supes was facing an easier enemy like lex luthor or cyborg superman.

Posted by StMichalofWilson

That was pretty much how I felt about the movie too, but what's done is done. Hopefully Snyder and Goyer and Nolan (if he comes back) learn from the comments and make the sequel a whole lot better.

Edited by alexelfeo


This topic is what I been expecting since I saw the movie. Yes, I also think that Man of Steel doesn't feel like a Superman Movie. But let me explain... theres a difference from the Supermans across the years: Theres the original Superman that Siegel and Shuster created on the early issues of Action Comics. In those years Superman was powerful and righteous, but it was also a misterious figure. As a reader you knew he was Clark but in a world with the technology and comunications of the '30s you could figure out that nobody else knew it. Then little by little Supes was getting much more character. He wasn't just a guy that escapes from Lois and turn into Superman. Clark was the representation of the underdog. Clark was like the boys that read his adventures. He pretend that he was clumsy to keep his secret. That automaticly make a conection with the readers. We all want to put on a cape and straight thing up with bullies, and Clark a regular guy from Kansas, a clumsy reporter from the Planet, a secret worshiper of Lois fit exactly in our fantasies, mostly because we need to think that we were not so clumsy, not so regular and finally because all of us want to think that all we have to do is to put on a cape and get the girl at the end. Some writers made Clark really anoying, almost wimpy, others (like on the tv series with George Reeves, or much later with Dean Cain) give a strong fiber to Clark (the clearest example in comics is maybe the John Byrne run on Superman books). Clark and Superman change with time and the authors. Some give Clark a mayor role being Superman just a mask. Some give Superman the main role and Clark was just the glasses behind Supes hides. What is certain is that the character gets more personality across the years. I like the movie because it was Ma and Pa Kent the ones that we saw in it. I like the movie because I recognise Jor-l as the rebel version that I knew over the years. Those people made Superman, that was something that I like. I like certain changes in the mythology, like the death of Pa Kent, it wasn't the way that it's writen in the comics, but you have to recognise that on this days, is much harder that the situatios depicted in Superman comic book history make sense. Instead of explain how the goverment skip the search for Supes rocket, the writers gave us the constant fear of a father for protecting his son, the need that Johnatan Kent has for giving him time to be strong enogh to confront a world that would see him with fear. I like that it was a good touch to make Pa Kent a strong character on this movie.

The whole killing and heroic thing. I think that the part that I missed particularly was the heroic part. It wasn't enough. I wanna see Supes in much trouble to save people, needing to use all his powers to be on any place posible. That's what I missed. I don't think that Supes has to be better than us. I think that is a character that was created for us to feel related to him. I missed a part that clearifies me why this guy, that has powers beyond belief, that losts his father for fear of what humanity would do if knews about him, cares for us. Yes I know is his mother, but I need a frase, something, because on the movie it wasn't clear, and on action scenes that feeling is always hidden by the explosions.

But inspite of if all, I was thrilled about the fight with Zod. It was spectacular. I felt that I was seeing the fight of Supes and Doomsday. That's the power level of that fight. As every comic book movie, it has that you don't believe... but hey the times has change. I recognise the characters. I recognise Clark/Superman, and this 2013 version of a character created on 1938, is quite good. I really enjoyed it.

Edited by sasquatch888

@ben3000 said:

I agree with you Tony, this was in my books a good Sci-Fi movie. I don't think I could call it a Superman movie. I always feel as though with any superheroes they should be able to find another way without resorting to killing. Superheroes are supposed to be able to do the impossible and not take the easy way out. Something in most of these Comic Book Movies, the heroes are taking the easy way. Hopefully Man of Steel two will fix the problems I had with this movie. Then again David Goyer will be writing it and he doesn't know how to write "fun" in any of his movies. So here's to hoping the Superman I envision will be on screen.

whatever you're living in the past dude . Superman kills now get over it. imagine if they just did tim burton batman movies and never did the nolan batman movies. THE RICHARD DONNER ERA ENDED WITH SUPERMAN RETURNS <<<ITS OVER >>>SUPERMAN ISNT A BOYSCOUT ANYMORE <<<<<HES BEEN REBOOTED LEARN TO LOVE IT <<< THIS IS A CHARECTER THAN WAS CREATED IN 1938 BEING REBOOTED IN 2013 TIMES CHANGE IF YOU WANT THE OLD SUPERMAN WATCH LOIS AND CLARK ON DVD.

Posted by bloggerboy
@hart7668 said:

@bloggerboy: As memorable as his stories have been, yes history isn't worth squat. Create your own image, don't get bogged down on the past.

Second of all, killing villains isn't a slippery slope. The threat the likes of Zod and Doomsday present is far more serious than a rapist. I completely disagree with the premises of Injustice and the Justice Lords. Who says just because you kill a sociopathic supervillain you all of a sudden want to control the world? That's the showing of a control freak, not a level headed mature hero.

At some point you gotta know when to put down Old Yeller. Quarantine can only go so far. Particularly when we talk about the rogues gallery of Barman and Superman.

And that's why Man of Steel retold Superman's origin again and had him fight against Zod again and...

Seriously though you are right about some villains. Maybe I'm just looking at this too much from a Superman mythos stand point. Aside from escaping every once in a while the Phantom Zone has worked pretty least compared to Arkham Asylum (which is not a high selling point I admit). And it's true, Superman did kill Doomsday in a very similar surrounding/situation and that story is considered as one of the best Superman stories there is. Killing a super threat won't turn Superman into a despot. I just hope Zod's death will have an everlasting impact on Superman. I don't want it to become a trauma for him, just a reminder.

Posted by UndeadHippy

I haven't seen the film, though even as not a Superman fan I do want to, but I think the idea is that it sets up potential stories for the rest of the Justice League; DC seems to be going for a much darker universe than that of Marvel, and I think we'll start seeing films where heroes are shunned for their carelessness, something akin to Marvel's Civil War. I think especially in the Justice League movie we can see encounters between Batman and Superman, for example, where Bruce questions Clark's morality and sees him as a potential enemy.

Posted by SandMan_

You have to understand that this is Superman day 1. He is inexperience.

Posted by weaponx

I am okay with him killing Zod, it was emotional and pretty well done. I can even over look the loss of life and carelessness.

I am not okay with all the stupidity of the movie, all the things that don't make any sense at all or are just purely nonsense. I also HATED Lois' character, and I think was the worst version I've ever seen.

Edited by Skulexander

In regards to the "countless people he killed smashing through buildings during his fights", Superman has x-ray and supervision. He most definitely could see where everyone was and made sure not to let anyone get caught in the crossfire of his battles. They probably should have done a better job showing this, but I think if you think about it, it's evident. They also probably should have shown Superman moving people out of the way of falling debris and such, but whatever. He was probably too occupied with the villains smashing him in the face.

As for moving the fight elsewhere, that wouldn't be so easy. You could clearly tell he was ramming into his enemies and flying them off, but they would always stop him and do the same to him. It wouldn't be very easy to move the fight out of the town/city because of that.

As for the final scene with Zod, that one's tricky. Sure he probably could have stopped Zod from immediately killing the civilians that were there at the time, but the problem comes from when Zod said he would "never" stop trying to kill "everyone on earth". If Superman doesn't kill him, what's he gonna do? Constantly fight him forever? Eventually one is going to wear out. What if it's Superman? Then Zod can have his way with Earth. Because Zod is a trained soldier (perhaps the best on Krypton), and once he gets control of his powers more, he'll most certainly be better than Superman. So it was either kill him, or risk Zod winning and killing everybody.

Posted by Lady_Shadow

My mouth dropped when he snapped Zod's neck. I could overlook all the careless destruction he was doing but when he killed Zod I was completely shocked.

Posted by weaponx

I think Kevin Costner did a great job as Johnathan Kent, Russel Crow did a great job as Jor-El and the guy that played Zod also did a great job by the end of the movie, though it took me awhile to accept him as Zod, something didn't really fit, but by the end his attitude and role was pretty well played. The best part of the movie was the fight/action scenes. They were really well done and seemed very powerful and epic. Part of a city was destroyed due to the fight which was epic and the power and speed was shown very well. Despite this, I HATED the shaky cam bull crap!! I have NEVER liked it and there is a lot of it used in this movie and I kind of get the idea of what is happening, but sometimes I am just guessing and I would really like to SEE what is happening, how they are fighting, who is hitting who etc. I loved the show of speed but there were moments where Zod and Superman were fighting at very fast speeds and I couldn't tell what was happening. I think they should have shown them going at super speed so you could get the idea that they were fast and then go in slow motion so you could see what they were doing. Over all though, the fight scenes were epic. I also liked that they didn't use kryptonite at all in the film! I am usually annoyed how they use it so it was better to leave it out all together. Another thing I liked was in the beginning where he was just a normal dude doing random things until disaster struck and he saved the day. I really liked that actually, and wished they had more examples of him doing that, like traveling the world, getting a soul searching experience trying to live a low key life and then showing how time and again there would be some disaster where he would have to save the day, showing his abilities, which would then force him to move to another remote location.

Some things I did like: I did think the tornado scene was really dumb though, I mean for one thing would you forget your dog? No! Even if you did, would you let the immortal person go get the dog or a fragile human vs a tornado? That made no sense to me. It was also obvious that Johnathan was in trouble for quite awhile and Clark just stood there, he could have ran at fast human speed as to not give away his identity and help his dad or at least get sucked into the tornado with him and shield him. In any case, that scene was very emotional and it was very good besides the unrealistic aspect to it. It was a strong moment and well done in the end though. What was the deal with the atmosphere? The atmosphere gives him powers? So when you take that atmosphere away he is normal human level? Okay... so how does he fly and have super strength in space?! That really really annoyed me. Another thing I really didn't like, was Amy Adams as Lois Lane was a terrible choice. I didn't buy it at all, she was awful, didn't look the part, didn't act the part very well, and found out about his identity way too easily and quickly. I liked absolutely nothing about her! I also didn't feel like there was much chemistry between her and clark, I mean there were some smiles and stuff (mostly from lois) but there wasn't much there between them to warrant the kiss they had near the end.. maybe she was in shock that she almost died..? Oh, and how convenient that she just happens to get thrown out of the plane as it crashes into the ship?! Also, this version of clark killed zod, which I liked and the acting was good because you could see he was conflicted and didn't want to kill.... yet he blew up a gas station and several buildings in his fight, haha. I thought that was fine I guess, because I wanted to see the destruction and power, but it was weird that at times he was concerned for human life, and other times he definitely wasn't. Another dumb thing was when zod had the heat vision going toward those people and clark was holding his head to stop him... well, all zod had to do was move his eyes and look over at them lol! I can't really think of much more right now, but that is a lot I am sure.

Some more things: I thought the krypton thing jumped around a bit and I couldn't tell any sense of time. One moment Zod killed Jor-El, the next they are banished, and the next the planet explodes?! The gap between the last two events really though me off, as it seemed the council was saving Zod and the others by sending them to the phantom zone, as the planet is destroyed. That bothered me a lot. Oh, and I thought it strange that Jor-El, a man genetically engineered to be a scientist defeated Zod, a man designed to be a warrior....Another thing that I forgot about was the fact that all the codex thing was encoded in the blood of clark right? Well they took a blood sample!! They should have the information then, unless the needed ALL the blood to get all the information because there was so much of it, but that wasn't clear to me.

Posted by bloggerboy

the movie was dark..the action intense tired of clark kent being portrayed as a clown...this superman was ripped and serious ,,he wasn't a funny guy and that was good ,,,that funny bull killed green lantern ....the battle in smallville was awesome and so was the end battle....zod was awesome, jor el was awesome...krypton was amazing .(we need to see more of krypton in flashbacks in future movies).non stop action on a planetary level with mass levels of destruction .. buildings destroyed , jets , helicopters , the army ,missiles, spaceships aliens planets exploding and not bogged down with too much love story crap ...tons of action a great supporting cast ...the dark tone of this movie would fit perfect with batman ...whats not to like?? the movie was great ...stop hating if you want the old superman then watch those old richard donner films of superman returns ...if they would have done the same type of superman movie a bunch of 40-50 year old guys would be happy seeing superman smiling ,saving cats from a tree and catching burglars and the new generation of fans would have dismissed superman as "a has been" like people dismissed superman returns . its easy to say you know what superman would have done but remember superman is new in the comics ,,,he's five years into his super heroics and hes not the boyscout he was before the reboot in 2011 ...its time to move on and accept change not hold on to a fading memory of a Christopher Reeve superman fighting Richard Pryor ...stop hating sure you went into the theater with preconceived notions looking for any and all faults real of imagined

It was the bad script that killed Green Lantern not that it was too humorous or too serious.

You seem to imply that it's either or. If someone has problems with MoS it doesn't automatically mean that person considered Donner's movies any better. When you jump from one extreme, from lame (Returns) to the next (MoS) extreme it's not necessarily any better. Having Superman be indifferent about people needing help (even if there isn't anything he can do about it) and kill is out of character behavior for Superman similar to Emoman Returns who was a deadbeat dad.

Edited by ccraft

I disagree with this forum. I disagree with everyone who say's

"Superman should have fought in a field" yeah that would have been epic.

"Superman shouldn't have killed Zod" explain to me what he could of done, there was no other way.

The complaints for this movie is too harsh, the movie was amazing and a great "Superman" movie.

Edited by ultimatepunchrod

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.

Posted by blkson

People are pressed because Superman killed???Like seriously? He has killed before in comics! That isn't nothing new.

nice article BTW.

Edited by leokearon

My main problem with the movie was the obvious plot hole.

Zod wants to terraform a planet in great a new Krytpon and has a World Engine to do it, Supes has the codex (and a seed ship) which Zod needs to bring back the Kryptonian Race. So instead of trying to terraform Earth (which Supes is against) why don't they go to an barren world and terraform that? Therefore no-one has to die, Earth is saved, Kryptonian society returns, and Zod would have no reason to hate Supes. Instead they just fight each other.

Edited by NovaRichRider

In between fighting for your own survival as well as the planet's, shit happens. It was a great movie.

Posted by leokearon

@ccraft said:

I disagree with this forum. I disagree with everyone who say's

"Superman should have fought in a field" yeah that would have been epic.

"Superman shouldn't have killed Zod" explain to me what he could of done, there was no other way.

The complaints for this movie is too harsh, the movie was amazing and a great "Superman" movie.

He could have applied enough pressure to Zod's neck to make him pass out, or flown him and Zod out of the building or as G-Man mentioned Covered Zod's eyes.

Still I liked the movie, it was a shame though Zod did die he was great. Still maybe all of the damage Supes and co did could be used by a villain to stir up anti Superman vibes in the next movie

Edited by RustyRoy

I didn't enjoy the movie really, it was an average movie and it had many problems - no character development, bad editing, bad writing, pacing was messed up, Cavil's performance was bad, Lois and Clark's relationship was handled poorly and they completely changed Lois's character and story, underuse of the actors and characters, Jor-El was the only memorable character of the movie, the action was nothing special, Zod was a weak villain and many more. It never felt like a Superman movie, I got a few glimpses of some really cool moments from the comic books but they were never fully utilized them. It was a very forgettable film, just another average Sci fi movie, that's why WB is rushing the sequel so they can utilize the success before everyone forgets about the movie. As for the Zod's death, it didn't have any impact, if they had shown before that Clark was very much against killing then the moment could've been so great but it just came off as a Wtf moment. It wasn't a bad movie but Superman deserves more. Nice article @g_man , I agree with you completely.

Edited by Smart_Dork_Dude

Three words for you. Golden Age Superman.

Golden Age Superman killed plenty!!! Superman would still probably kill if it wasn't for the then newly enacted Comics Code Authority which lead to him swearing never to kill again.

Also in this movie his has only been Superman, in terms of becoming publicly known, for about a day or two. He's brand new to this kind of stuff!

Besides, how does he react when he kills Zod? He screams in agony. He HATED doing it. He's still new at this and is still learning.

Also need I remind everyone this isn't the first time Superman has killed Zod in a movie?

Edited by blkson

@pokeysteve said:

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.

Agreed 1000%

Somebody that makes sense.

Posted by sketchman33


no they weren't. they were "hi im Christopher Nolan and im gonna ruin an iconic hero and his mythos for future generations" films

Posted by Perfect 10

totally agree with you G-Man in every way. this is NOT superman, that doesnt make it a bad movie or take away whatever greatness those who enjoyed it felt but the haters just dont get that. but i got your back.

Edited by Aluthor

Superman is a pragmatic character that has to constantly choose who to save. With all of his power he still can't be everywhere and that means dealing with the consequences of choosing who lives and who dies. My problem with some comic fans is that they want regurgitation, same character, same story, over and over and over again. What better way to establish someone doesn't want to kill than showing the struggle? If Clark didn't have a problem with it he would have just ended Zod right away. Lois holding him afterwards firmly established the toll it took on Superman to make the decision. I'm not a fan of villains always dying but in this situation it was clear that if Superman let Zod live he would have let down humanity. It's like the classic "Why doesn't Batman kill the Joker?" argument. After all Zod had done and threatened to do, letting him live would have been the potential death of millions more.

As for collateral damage I felt it was pretty obvious that Superman cared about innocents but none the less was pretty overwhelmed fighting off these Kryptonian soldiers. The modernization of Superman and friends isn't excessive violence and swearing, it's pragmatism and approachable people. Lois talking about dick measuring was actually an appropriate statement for someone involved with news and standing firm in her motives and goals. That's common newsroom talk, for better or worse. Lastly, her figuring out Superman's location quickly worked for me because I finally felt like Lois Lane was as competent as the world's greatest reporter in a fantasy story should be.

Edited by drgnx

Here is a thought; lets have Superman perfect, doing everything right, spend half the movie as Clark Kent (child and adult) and have all character growth based on Clark growing up and courting Lois! Every sequel we can introduce a trivial personal flaw that he never exhibited previously on the series (or one we thought he overcame), so he can overcome that flaw, for the sake of Character Development, while still courting Lois as both Superman and Clark.


Lets treat this movie as a chapter on a larger, revamped story, with new dynamics, where Clark will evolve over several movies into the Superman people feel they deserve?

Edited by Barkley

funny he looked like Superman....saved lois lane twice.... fought bad guys....saved the earth from utter destruction......seemed like SUPERMAN MOVIE to me it just wasnt that dated old DONNER superman movie....its today's Superman who struggles and cant back up time by flying around the planet

Posted by Xaos

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!"


Edited by DanteTheRedKnight

I felt the same way!

Posted by GeekOfKrypton

You know what Tony? I can appreciate your opinion on this movie but it is just that... a movie. Movies aren't perfect. I personally loved this movie! All can't be explained even in 2 hrs 23 minutes. You had a problem with Lois uncovering Kal-El quickly but that is not so, the movie may not have explained it or showed it to you but remember when he was in the military facility? He explained that he has been here on Earth for 33 years. I am certain that he left high school, graduated college and all the while was helping people around the world. Hence the mystery and unknown that surrounded the whole thing and that Lois found it so news worthy that she pursued it. She must have been following this for years. Even the guy she eventually turned her story over to knew what was happening and have been posting these mystery occurrences on his web site.

Yeah the movie showed mostly his adult life and the last we saw of his teenage years was when Pa Kent died. I read an article that explained why Zack made him kill, it was to show that going forward this is NOT the way to solve his issues. The singularity destroyed his spaceship and any other Kryptonian spacecraft we saw on Earth there was no way for him to successfully subdue Zod... no way! the only way was to end him. He couldn't send him back to the phantom zone either.

Zack did warn us! and I believe most fan boys knew this to begin with. He said that this is a superman for the 21st century. I understand that you have kids and there are many other Superman fans out there that grew up reading his books and watching his TV shows, cartoons and movies about this character but things and times have changed. Sorry if they "held back" like the Avengers movie did.

I mean, look at the fight between the Hulk and Thor...that alone should have completely destroyed the heli-carrier and the fight between Thor and Iron Man was "conveniently" pushed into a forest. They did kill a lot of trees but nobody complained. Now please don;t get me wrong! I am not comparing the lives of human beings to trees!!! I am NOT doing that but still. Even when the Loki attacked New comically was that? it's like nobody died! there was just minimal to medium destruction in the city.

Comic books these days are not for the very young anymore, if they are then why is a blood thirsty maniac with adamantium laced bones and razor sharp claws the most popular hero out there now? The man kills more people (Enemy of the state) than anyone else in the Marvel universe! I'm going off tangent here and i digress but movies are never going to be perfect or what we want or fully expect. I do agree with you that these comic book movies seem to all want to kill the villains and most of them so far could have been avoided.

I did have a problem with him smooching with Lois when all wasn't over and done...maybe he didn't know realize or know?? And I also think that one he donned the uniform that they should have shown him doing good in it, they didn't have to show his face. It also seemed to me that even tho he cared for his adopted world , from the moment he found out he was an alien that he became conflicted and so he had to learn to love this world again and appreciate it more seeing that the ONLY people he has ever met from his home world are maniacs.

Overall I liked it and have been monitoring all the reviews and postings from fan boys all over the Internet and even tho most are trolling, a lot give honest and contrite postings about their review.

I say yay DC!

Man of Steel forever!

Edited by ManofStrength

I agree with every point you made, Tony. I had the same qualms, the same sense of being underwhelmed at a movie where the writer doesn't quite understand the beats of the character, even if it is a character growth movie. As for things being rushed, this was my biggest problem. There is no dramatic build up or sense of triumph that comes from finally putting on the suit, finding the ship, flying the first time, etc. These things are necessary to a superhero movie and Goyer carried this over from The Dark Knight Rises.

One thing slightly off-topic I have always wondered. David Goyer has never really been known as one of the great screenwriters of our day. How did he end up with one if its greatest directors? I am hoping that with the eventual sequel that they go with a different writer. Zack Snyder has visual flair, but no nose for story yet. He has it in him, but he hasn't discovered his track yet. But I put only a fraction of the blame on him. Many of us could have done much better than Goyer's writing, which makes it all the more frustrating. Here's to hoping the sequel writer makes it all better.

Posted by ccraft

@geekofkrypton: well put!

He could have applied enough pressure to Zod's neck to make him pass out, or flown him and Zod out of the building or as G-Man mentioned Covered Zod's eyes.

Still I liked the movie, it was a shame though Zod did die he was great. Still maybe all of the damage Supes and co did could be used by a villain to stir up anti Superman vibes in the next movie

Cover his eyes? That wouldn't work, but lets say Superman did prevent Zod from killing the family then what? They would fight again and again creating more chaos and destruction threw Metropolis.

Still I liked the movie, it was a shame though Zod did die he was great. Still maybe all of the damage Supes and co did could be used by a villain to stir up anti Superman vibes in the next movie

Exactly, Lex Luthor!!!

Posted by lrtaylor02

Considering who General Zod was, there's no way he would have just pouted and given up. Everything he was fighting for was gone. He had nothing. So he wanted to make Superman suffer and the people suffer as well. There was no choice. Any situation that would have left Superman with a choice to leave him alive would have meant General Zod suddenly being out of character. His actions in the end were consistent with who he was. He wasn't going to give up and sulk. And I think they can build on this in future movies. Now Superman has to deal with the guilt of killing. And we will probably see him trying everything he can to make sure he never has to kill to stop a villain again. But here, I don't think he had a choice because Zod wasn't going to give up. He was going to continue to kill. People say it's out of character because Superman doesn't kill. I still think the way the scene played out was true to his morale. He begged Zod to stop. Before that, he tried to just send Zod and his crew back into the Phantom Zone. And his reaction after showed just how much it pained him to do that.

Edited by OblivionKnight

The thing about te city you answered yourself. He was fighting three enemies who had the exact same powers he did(albeit, without his competency with them.) Not to mention they are all from the military branch I believe, so they likely outclassed superman in skill. It's reasonable that he had trouble movin away from there. He tried to save several people and succeeded, but encountered much difficulty. Heck, even when trying to escape from the environment they stopped him.

The killing part. Well, superman went through a lot. I mean, he was visibly tired after destroying that gravity machine. Then he traveled back around the world to save everyone from zod. And all of this was after fighting three other kryptonians and saving people. He deserved to be tired. And we saw that supermans heat vision could harm that one kryptonians face, so it could arguably harm his hand. In which case, zod could turn the tides of the fight. The entire time zod was struggling against superman, so I'm not too sure if superman could've flown up without zod creating an opposite force.

This is just my take on it. I can't wait until a doomsday sequel: THAT will be epic.

Posted by AndresZR

i agree perfectly with the article, so... maybe this is a great movie, or the best superhero movie for someone who doesn't know what superman is all about, for me it was a awful movie because is not superman for me, is a movie that use the name of superman but doesn't represent he.

i think that the critic made in the movie superman vs the elite or kingdom come is just exactly what is happening with this movie.

everyone is like alright he had to kill, he had no choice, this is a new take on superman, is a new era, he did kill before, he did kill in superman II the movie, etc, etc

yes that's exactly what the critic of the things i say first is, in superman vs the elite based on the What's so funny about truth, justice, and the American way? some new "heroes" appear applying the easy way, if something is bad you have to finish it, and the people is like "yes!!, cause superman is so nice but he never finish the problem" is seem like superman in this movie is the elite and your alright with it.

in kingdom come he is an outcast, dropout by the world cause they don't understand his ideals, of not killing and his way to do things, and all the heroes that appear as superman is gone, are all like doing fast and easy choices.

im 20 years old, im too young but i have seen many things about superman, and i haven't seen the old movies (1978....) complete. but i think that this movie is giving a bad name to superman, cause this movie will succeed or it seems like that, and every time in the future that they want to do a new movie, they will say this movie went great, and will say lets see what it got... lot of destruction, it has to be many destruction, lots of people dying everywhere, it has to show superman fighting every-time going through buildings full of people, and if the enemy is to powerful superman have to take the enemy himself cause there is no other way.

sad, cause i thought that superman was all about the message of hope, but in the movie there is not a real message, someone can tell me the message, the message that superman always tell us to be better persons, better HUMANS.

superman for me in this movie was pa kent, how sacrifice his life for saving people, for saving a dog and teaching a lesson to clark in the process, how the things are done.

but is like superman doesn't learn anything from that masterpiece of scene, is simple logic, the first he have to do is save the people, doesn't matter what happen with you, superman is pa kent, zod an co is the tornado, the dog are the humans "an inferior raze", is simple but is like they took that scene out of a comic book, and didn't understand the meaning, is that spirit of sacrifice, what is superman all about.

apart from that i think the movie has everything, great soundtrack, great cast, great acting, especially great effects, great dialogues, some memorable quotes, but is lacking the morality of superman in my personal opinion.

and one more thing, i apologize for my English and from Colombia and here we speak Spanish.

Posted by ccraft

@barkley said:

funny he looked like Superman....saved lois lane twice.... fought bad guys....saved the earth from utter destruction......seemed like SUPERMAN MOVIE to me it just wasnt that dated old DONNER superman movie....its today's Superman who struggles and cant back up time by flying around the planet

They must have forgot about that lol, ppl are just too hung up on the fact that he killed Zod.

Edited by AndresZR

@geekofkrypton look for the movie superman vs the elite or the comic whats so funny about truth, justice and the american way? there is the answer to if the world in the 21 century still needs the old superman.

Posted by ThreadPool

@barkley said:

funny he looked like Superman....saved lois lane twice.... fought bad guys....saved the earth from utter destruction......seemed like SUPERMAN MOVIE to me it just wasnt that dated old DONNER superman movie....its today's Superman who struggles and cant back up time by flying around the planet


Posted by AlKusanagi

@teerack: They really aren't. Dark Knight came the closest, but Begins and Rises are pretty terrible interpretations of the Batman from the comics. They're fine as their own thing, but definitely not a definitive big screen version of him (that title still belongs to Mask of the Phantasm).

Posted by RavenVice01

This Superman is definitely a big improvement from the originals or Singer's Superman Returns. As for being the movie that everyone was hoping for like G-Man suggested. I mean come on. Every superhero at one time or another is pushed into a corner and is forced to kill their arch nemesis. Wonder Woman killed Ares in her comic book series to prevent another war. Nolan's Batman allowed Ra's al Ghul to die on the runaway subway train. U can't expect our superheroes to uphold their morals every time.

Haven't u noticed that our superheroes show sympathy to conflicted villains even though these rogues may have brought so much destruction on others. In the Spider-Man films, the villains always seem to kill themselves after Spidey tries to bond or reason with them. Zod on the other hand, was a monster who believed "the ends justify the means." He never regretted a single thing he had done for the preservation of Krypton. Plus Superman stopping Zod's heat vision with his hand wasn't much of an option since Clark used his heat vision to get Faora's foot off of his face.

Personally, I would like it if movies would follow the story lines set by the comics but then certain things would be predictable or anticipated. I think the deaths of villains or heroes should be the only thing followed according to the comics. Zod's death in this movie is an exception to this statement that should be acknowledged. Zod would have been like the Joker is to Batman, he will just keep coming back if he is allowed to live. However, Batman won't kill Joker because it would be too damn easy and he would sink to Joker's level or maybe he won't kill the Joker because he feels pity. Batman knows Joker's former life and he was the one who unintentionally created the crazed clown. For Superman, he was raised to be good man by the Kents but even a good man must make hard decisions. Even though Superman killed Zod, Superman still showed remorse, a characteristic that Zod lacks.

As for Superman tending to the helpless or protecting the innocent in Smallville, he did tell the people to take cover. If I were smart, I would just evacuate. I wouldn't need some guy in tights to tell me to go for safety. Plus this proves the point that Superman can't be everywhere to protect everyone at the same time. Its a harsh truth that every superhero must contend with when battling a villain. Batman deals with this truth by playing "big brother" and establishing Batman Inc but of course, Batman has this rooted need to rescue which often strays into an obsession. Superman on the other hand, takes these long vacations to be alone with his thoughts then he comes charging in when he is conveniently needed again.

Man of Steel was fast paced. It never got boring. The dialogue was moving as well as charismatic. One potential flaw though Superman's secret identity as Clark Kent is spoiled too soon because Lois Lane does some digging around. The metaphor for Clark Kent is best described by David Carradine in Kill Bill Vol 2:

Other than that, everything was top notch despite Nolan's involvement. Still didn't like Amy Adams version of Lois Lane. Hopefully she only had a contract for one movie.When you see the movie, Emil Hamilton's fate is undetermined. He could have died when the Phantom Zone reopened and closed or he is now trapped in the zone. We shall see if he returns as Superman's foe Ruin or if he will become a little wiser about Kryptonian tech. Plus Superman's fortress of solitude wasn't established in the film. It should have been created when he found the vessel that carried him to Earth or by the scout ship in the Arctic.

Jax-Ur makes an appearance as Zod's medical officer and torturer of Superman. Lex Luthor's influence is briefly mentioned when Zod crashes into a oil tanker with LexCorp printed on the truck. Now with Metropolis in ruin, Luthor can step in and rebuild Metropolis. Kryptonite is mentioned but only in an atmospheric environment on Zod's ship. We shall see what Snyder comes up with next. We can only hope that Luthor will create Metallo and Parasite or join forces with Brainiac in the next film.

Posted by batarang614

can anyone say this was a worse movie than the avengers? At least this had emotional resonances actual character development and a developed plot and threat. I enjoyed it immensely, and honestly, most of the problems with it seem like nitpicking. How can people claim man of steel was so shit and be okay with Batman '89, a movie I also loved but took serious liberties with the character, especially his no-kill policy?

Posted by MuyJingo

Nicely said Tony.

Although I find it odd you've never made an article like this for Batman, where his killing on film is far more prevalent and longstanding. Nolan's Batman didn't even show remorse for killing.

Also, I have a bigger issue with him not caring about collateral damage than I do killing Zod. He should have gone to attack the world machine in Metropolis and save millions of people, not the one in the Indian Ocean...

Edited by dfwsw

Found this on Dark Horizons, thought it would help answers a question about the ending:

Goyer & Snyder Talk "Man of Steel" Ending

By Garth Franklin Tuesday June 18th 2013 10:44AM

Much debate has raged this week following the release of Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel". While the critical consensus is notably divided regarding the film's merits, one common complaint appearing is the sheer level of violence in the film's third act.


Like with "Superman II," the film portrays a fight in the middle of Metropolis between General Zod (Michael Shannon) and Superman (Henry Cavill). Unlike the Chris Reeve film however, the level of destruction is catastrophic.

Buzzfeed contacted a Technical Consulting firm to come up with estimates. They came back with 129,000 known killed and an initial estimate of $700 billion in damage.

This has naturally upset quite a few people. Even more debate though has raged over the decision to kill Zod, essentially breaking Superman's rule not to kill. Speaking on the Empire podcast, director Zack Snyder claims that wasn't the original ending.

"In the original version of the script, Zod just got zapped into the Phantom Zone. But David, Chris and I had long talks about it, and I said that I really feel like we should kill Zod, and that Superman should kill him. The 'Why?' of it for me was that if was truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained… I wanted to create a scenario where Superman, either he's going to see [Metropolis' citizens] chopped in half, or he's gotta do what he's gotta do."

Writer David Goyer added that one person who wasn't convinced initially was producer Christopher Nolan.

"[Chris] originally said, 'There's no way you can do this.'… I came up with this idea of heat vision and these people about to die, and I wrote the scene, gave it to Chris, and he said, 'Okay you've convinced me.'"

Posted by AndresZR

@oblivionknight: if superman can kill him, he can leave it disable.
and they had not the same forces either, superman has been under the sun 33 years in the movie, even with all the training and mentality they have, superman must be much stronger just for that fact.

Posted by KnightofSteel

Nothing too much bothered me about this movie. This was the Superman movie I was waiting for. Not only were the

action and effects amazing, but the film had emotion and that's what clinched it for me. I just can't understand...people wanted something different than the underwhelming Superman Returns and we got it with Man of Steel: oh no! too much rubble, too much action, too much destruction. I guess everyone was expecting a perfect Superman movie, even then it would be picked apart and overanalyzed. I thought Man of Steel was the best superhero movie to date, I absolutely loved it!

Edited by FlashDamn

@g_man:So u didnt like the movie from what I just read.

Posted by SandMan_

I feel like I've already said my piece a few times throughout different threads prior to this but I'll do so again. First and foremost, thank you for the article Tony and while I don't agree with your opinion, I still respect it completely. After all, it is your own opinion! :)

So, in a sense, I do agree with you in regards of this not being a Superman film in its entirety. Why? Because for the better part of the film or for almost the entirety of it, Clark isn't Superman yet. This is the point of the film, it's a starting point, an origin story. It's unfortunate because people seem to neglect that fact. This takes place before Clark becomes the Superman the world comes to know, that all the comic book readers and die-hard Superman fans (such as myself) have come to idolize and adore.

Which brings me to the next point. Clark is severely inexperienced with his powers, that much is clear throughout almost the entire film. He doesn't even learn how to begin to control his powers or utilize them properly until he meets Jor-El. I think it's unfair to compare this film's version of Clark to the Donner films and especially comics, the best example constantly being reused is "What's so Funny about Truth, Justice and the American Way?". As I stated earlier, this Clark doesn't have the benefit of having years of experience under his belt, he hasn't tested his limits, grown with his capabilities and been able to learn he who or what he wants to be. I mean, once he gets the suit and begins to learn the extents of his powers, he's thrusted into an alien invasion with time to breath.

As for the destruction caused and especially the controversial Zod death scene, I will have to admit here that my first viewing of the film was severely ill-received due to the latter development. I, like many people especially Tony and Mark Waid, were irked by the fact that Clark killed Zod. Although, the more I thought about it, the more I understood it and why that scene was so brilliantly written and how I applaud the writers greatly. In the comics, Superman always has some ridiculous plot device that aids him in stopping his enemies, especially those as powerful as he is. He's in a world full of spectacular people such as himself who can aid him, who have the benefit of advanced technology to imprison such beings.

With Man of Steel, none of that is the case. The last of the Phantom Drives were used up or destroyed when Faora and the other Kryptonians were sent back into the Phantom Zone. Some may argue that there possibly may have been the Phantom Drive left on Clark's "Fortess of Solitude", but that's not the case. Even if it was still operational, how would Clark be able to get Zod back across the city and have the time to utilize it? Zod was clearly showing that he was just as powerful, if not more so than Clark was with the addition of his warrior nature edging out the favour. That's why it worked here. Clark didn't have any other option of stopping Zod.

I told myself in my first viewing, "Why didn't he fly up through the ceiling, why didn't he knock his head down, why didn't he cover his eyes with his hand?" How would that aid him? Clark would potentially lose his upper hand with the choke hold and even if he did knock him out? Then what? There is not a single thing on the planet that could hold Zod or Superman. He would just get back up and start causing even more unwarranted destruction. Clark's decision to kill Zod was the only way of stopping him and protecting the billions of people on Earth from potential annihilation as it was clear that Superman was beginning to lose that fight. There is no comic book plot device that could save Clark in this situation and we see a character, one of the most iconic in the world, put into a situation with no other choice.

Which leads me to my final point that connects with all the others. Clark is not Superman yet and definitely not the one we know. I believe that decision he made is what causes him to create that unbreakable moral compass, that one moment that reminds him what he should strive to avoid at all costs in the future. To me, it feels like a behind the scenes look at what helped build Superman into the person we know and who comes to inspire humanity to be greater than itself and it's something I am sure the sequel has plenty of room to cover.

So to close things off, is Man of Steel a perfect film in my opinion? No, not even close. But it greatly succeeds in what it set out to do and I applaud the crew for not taking the liberties with the character and trying something unique and different.

Rant over :)

Exactly this isn't All-Star Superman. He still has a lot to learn to be close to that. Its kinda funny and ironic ain't it? People complain that Superman is too perfect and invincible( When he really isn't), we then say to defend him that he is flawed, and when they finally show him flawed, everyone freaking complains. They where expecting god Superman who saves everyone with a smile on his face and saves cats from trees...That Superman came out due to experience. He had a lot to prove and fell on the stairs a lot to become the hero people know and love.

it was said from the beginning that this movie's Superman was going to be very flawed, it was going to show his more human side. And last time I checked we human do make a lot of mistakes and it was also said Superman was going to make mistakes. While the movies does have flaws, this isn't one of them. The flaws either fall to Goyer or Snyder. And you know this sets up for a lot of things in the future, like Lex, people's perception of Superman, trust, Superman finally creating his unbreakable moral code of no killing, like freaking GA Superman did, ect. There are a lot of themes here to explore. Most people who where disappointed were the ones with the highest expectations.

The sequel will be much better. I'm pretty sure they will tone down the action and it will be more personal.

Posted by KnightofSteel

Best superhero movie to date I think. I loved Man of Steel. I don't understand... so many complained about Superman Returns and demanded a better Superman movie, I think we got it with Man of Steel...this is a story that I'd love to read in a comic book. If it achieves that, well I'm not gonna complain or overanalyze. I'm gonna go see it again as soon as I can.

Posted by GeekOfKrypton

@threadpool Exactly what I'm saying! Don't have him doing things he can't do! Don;t add abilities that he never possessed. The only thing we didn't see him doing in this movie was running at super speed or using his ice breath.

People, this is the first movie and his origin to boot. He is learning and even tho in it he said that he has been around for 33 years now. I don't believe he has reached his prime or optimal strength/power levels yet.

Posted by Ancient_0f_Days

My only gripes with the film are that they didn't show Superman rebuilding Metropolis (or not have Metropolis be completely decimated in the first place), fortifying his Fortress of Solitude or even getting it back, using his old facial reconstruction power as a way to explain how he can to mask his identity and hide it from Lois, keep Hamilton and Hardy alive due to their essential roles in Superman's later career, kept Pa Kent alive, introduced Jimmy Olsen, and put Zod in the Phantom Zone ......

Killing Zod didn't bother me since it was justified and I think he could actually recover from having his neck broken with a little suntan .... the casualties didn't bother me since what do you think happens when Superman usually fights in the city? The World Engine was what was really destroying the city, and Zod was knocking Superman into most of the buildings. Superman had the grounds to go all out and do some damage since the whole city already went to sh*t, and besides, they rebuilt it at the end. Daily Planet is up and running, Clark's fresh out the phone booth (even though he never used one in the movie, and I don't think they ever will), everybody's working the city's booming again etc ... It can easily be speculated that Superman undid the damage that was done and rebuilt the city, but there was no mention of it at all. But looking past it since the city got rebuilt anyway, the movie was great and well acted and deserves all the hype it's getting, every single last bit of it. H8rz gonna H8 ....