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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 Rixec

IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR SUPERMAN TO DO IT.

Superman is a hero who never kills, but why is that? It's easy to say you won't do it but in situations like that how can someone who has never held that choice know what to do? Superman had to kill Zod so from now on he can be like "How could I kill again?"

Now that Superman has faced that situation he can live a better example and be Superman without killing anyone else. When ever he's in another situation he can think back to Zod and go "No. I'm not doing this again." This was basically the origin for why Superman never kills anyone, even if they deserve it. He already went through it and never wants to again. Zod will serve as the example for Superman's moral qualities.

Posted by I_Stay_Puft

True dude, if Batman had used a gun to shoot and kill the Joker I think those movies would have lost all meaning. Same here, Superman killing somebody put a dagger through my 5 year old nephews heart who sees his father as the man of steel. Imagine trying to explain this one to him, oh boy.

Posted by AndresZR

if they put hulk in the final battle instead of superman, the result would be the same, so whats the point in superman, isn't he supposed to be the example to strive forward?

Posted by MuyJingo

@nappystr8 said:

@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.

This. Just to add, a point a lot of people miss, Ra's wouldn't be at risk of death if Batman hadn't sabotaged the train. It was akin to cutting the brakelines and bailing out while he still could.


The ending of The Dark Knight seemed to indicate there was a manhunt against Batman 'cos of the "crimes" he committed. I'll grant you that they could have just blamed The Joker but at least there was a reason for Bruce to lay low. The other reason would be that there was no organized crime in Gotham anymore. Blake even jokes about going after people with overdue library books.

When trouble's brewing (Bane) Bruce immediately jumps at the chance to be Batman again. Alfred states he feared Bruce would want to get back into the game, not that he'd die after so much downtime.

Batman was wanted for taking the fall for killing harvey dent. There was no indication that he had done any further stuff as Batman between TDK and TDKR.

Also, it's kind of BS that there was absolutely no crime in Gotham. I mean....come on.

Posted by ccraft

@dfwsw: Thanks for sharing that!

"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."

Glad they changed it, the ending was epic.

Posted by Deranged Midget

@muyjingo said:

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...

Good point but that could easily be argued by the fact that part of the plan was to utilize the Phantom Drives in Clark's ship and they had no time to fly across the world to utilize it while Clark could get there in seconds. It was a plot point but one that made sense.

Moderator
Edited by GeekOfKrypton

@leokearon. Remember who you are dealing with? Criminals from Krypton. They could not reasoned with. Also remember that they have been searching space and wandering since their planet got destroyed. When they reach Earth, Zod realizes that they can finally stop wandering the great abyss of space and put down roots.

Posted by joshmightbe

I do think its a little weird that Superman fans are pretending like massive collateral damage has never happened in a Superman comic. Metropolis has been nearly leveled like 500 times.

Posted by elayem98

@webling said:

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.

Posted by Lightburst

@pokeysteve: I think you are the only few people who truly knew what was going on and didn't expect stupidly outrageous "I can save EVERYONE" superman while fighting zod and his Peeps.

you sir I agree with.

Edited by Guardiandevil83

@noj: Clark did beat the dude up in Superman 2. He basically broke the guys hands, put him on the the bar stool, then began to spin the guy around repeatedly. And he was Superman, he had just got his powers back and went to the bar with the intentions of revenge. That was after he killef Zod And the others at the fortress.

Posted by SandMan_

As far as collateral damage, most of it was done by the world engine, but what do you expect of 2 Superpowered being clashing in to each other? I guess Supes didn't care about people in buildings in here either:

And many, many, more.

Edited by AndresZR

@skulexander: there is a part zod push a inflammable truck to superman, and superman just jump it and let that truck explode in the building.

Edited by SandMan_
Posted by Arkhamc1tizen

I loved this film.

Posted by noj

@guardiandevil83: oh! I thought you were talking about the scene in Man of Steel where the guy in the bar humiliates Clark. I haven't seen Superman 2 in ages so I guess I completely forgot that part.

Posted by Pokeysteve

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.

I think that tied in the to when they banished Zod at the beginning. He told Lara her son was gonna get it.

@pokeysteve: So in other words, not at all.

You actually thought Nolan's Batman trilogy was spot on for Batman? Where Bruce can't do anything for himself and then quits being Batman after barely a year AFTER he spent 7+ years training? Ok then.

Posted by kriminal

ill go as far as to say it was a perfect superman. i felt you could understand that he is not just some cheater with every power but a man trying to fit in our world. the lois thing was a bit annoying but its not like she never knows. then the fighting. great. dc kicked marvels ass this year after losing last year

Posted by sasquatch888

mark waids review >>>

At its emotional climax, at the moment of Superman’s ultimate “victory,” MAN OF STEEL broke my heart. I mean, absolutely snapped it clean in half.

I went in ready to forgive a lot. I knew we wouldn’t get much, if any, of the secret identity–“Clark Kent” as we know him, as a reporter in glasses, as in “disguised as…”, appears only in a cute nod, and I’ve said all my adult life that a Superman story without Clark Kent in it never really feels like a Superman story. But I was willing to give that a pass. And I suspected they’d front-loaded the story with so much Kryptonian backstory that it would end up being a science fiction movie, not a super-hero movie. But the music was good and the look of Kal-El , at least from the waist up, was good, and I had to suffer through four seasons of LOIS AND CLARK Superman with no spit-curl, so while I missed the ‘do, it was hardly a deal-breaker.

And I genuinely enjoyed the first two-thirds or so of the movie. Krypton was great. Zod was great. Really, there was a lot to like there. And I got my first of many proud-papa BIRTHRIGHT glows when we cut straight from the rocket’s entry to Clark as an adult, and I grinned like an idiot at the many, many other BIRTHRIGHT moments. I can’t really describe for you what it feels like to me to see evidence that I really have been lucky enough to add a few lasting elements to the Superman myth.

And I think you’d be surprised to find that I loved everything about Jonathan Kent. I loved his protectiveness, even when it made him sound like an asshole. (“Maybe.”) And I loved, loved, loved that scene where Clark didn’t save him, because Goyer did something magical–he took two moments that, individually, I would have hated and he welded them together into something amazing. Out of context, I would have hated that Clark said “You’re not my real dad,” or whatever he says right before the tornado. And out of context, I would have loathed that Clark stood by frozen with helplessness as the tornado killed Jonathan. But the reason that beat worked is because Clark had just said “You’re not my dad,” the last real words he said to Pa. Tearful Clark choosing to go against his every instinct in that last second because he had to show his father he trusted him after all, because he had to show Pa that Pa could trust him and that Clark had learned, Clark did love him–that worked for me, hugely. It was a very brave story choice, but it worked. It worked largely on the shoulders of Cavill, who sold it. It worked as a tragic rite of passage. I kinda wish I’d written that scene.

But about the time we got to the big Smallville fight, my Spider-Sense began to tingle. A lot of destruction. A lot of destruction–and Superman making absolutely no effort to take the fight, like, ONE BLOCK AWAY INTO A CORNFIELD INSTEAD OF ON MAIN STREET. Still, saving people here and there, but certainly never going out of his way to do so, and mostly just trying not to get his ass kicked. (I loved Clark Kent’s pal, Pete Ross, and not just because they cast pre-teen Mark Waid as Pete Ross.)

And then we got to The Battle of Metropolis, and I truly, genuinely started to feel nauseous at all the Disaster Porn. Minute after minute after endless minute of Some Giant Machine laying so much waste to Metropolis that it’s inconceivable that we weren’t watching millions of people die in every single shot. And what’s Superman doing while all this is going on? He’s halfway around the world, fighting an identical machine but with no one around to be directly threatened, so it’s only slightly less noticeable that thousands of innocents per second are dying gruesomely on his watch. Seriously, back in Metropolis, entire skyscrapers are toppling in slo-mo and the city is a smoking, gray ruin for miles in every direction, it’s Hiroshima, and Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich are somewhere muttering “Too far, man, too far”…but, you know, Superman buys the humans enough time to sacrifice many, many of their own lives to bomb the Giant Machine themselves and even makes it back to Metropolis in time to catch Lois from falling (again), so…yay?

And then Superman and Lois land in the three-mile-wide crater that used to be a city of eight million people, and the staff of the Planet and a couple of other bystanders stagger out of the rubble to see Superman and say, “He saved us,” and before you can say either “From what?” or “Wow, these eight are probably the only people left alive,” and somehow–inexplicably, implausibly, somehow–before Superman can be bothered to take one second to surrender one ounce of concern or assistance to the millions of Metropolitans who are without question still buried under all that rubble, dead or dying, he saunters lazily over to where General Zod is kneeling and moping, and they argue, and they squabble, and they break into the Third Big Fight, the one that broke my heart.

See, everyone else in Zod’s army has been beaten and banished, but General Zod lives and so, of course, he and Superman duke it out in what, to everyone’s credit, is the very best super-hero fight I’ve ever seen, just a marvel of spectacle. But once more–and this is where I knew we were headed someplace really awful–once more, Superman showed not the slightest split-second of concern for the people around them. Particularly in this last sequence, his utter disregard for the collateral damage was just jaw-dropping as they just kept crashing through buildings full of survivors. I’m not suggesting he stop in the middle of a super-powered brawl to save a kitten from a tree, but even Brandon Routh thought to use his heat vision on the fly to disintegrate deadly falling debris after a sonic boom. From everything shown to us from the moment he put on the suit, Superman rarely if ever bothered to give the safety and welfare of the people around him one bit of thought. Which is why the climax of that fight broke me.

Superman wins by killing Zod. By snapping his neck. And as this moment was building, as Zod was out of control and Superman was (for the first time since the fishing boat 90 minutes ago) struggling to actually save innocent victims instead of casually catching them in mid-plummet, some crazy guy in front of us was muttering “Don’t do it…don’t do it…DON’T DO IT…” and then Superman snapped Zod’s neck and that guy stood up and said in a very loud voice, “THAT’S IT, YOU LOST ME, I’M OUT,” and his girlfriend had to literally pull him back into his seat and keep him from walking out and that crazy guy was me. That crazy guy was me, and I barely even remember doing that, I had to be told afterward that I’d done that, that’s how caught up in betrayal I felt. And after the neck-snapping, even though I stuck it out, I didn’t give a damn about the rest of the movie.

As the credits rolled, I told myself I was upset because Superman doesn’t kill. Full-stop, Superman doesn’t kill. But sitting there, I broke it down some more in my head because I sensed there was more to it since Superman clearly regretted killing Zod. I had to grant that the filmmakers at least went way out of their way to put Superman in a position suggesting (but hardly conclusively proving) he had no choice (and I did love Superman’s immediate-aftermath reaction to what he’d done). I granted that they’d at least tried to present Superman with an impossible choice and, on a purely rational level, and if this had been a movie about a guy named Ultraguy, I might even have bought what he did. But after I processed all that, I realized that it wasn’t so much my uncompromising vision of Superman that made this a total-fail moment for me; it was the failed lead-up TO the moment. As Superman’s having his final one-on-one battle with Zod, show me that he’s going out of his way to save people from getting caught in the middle. SHOW ME that trying to simultaneously protect humans and beat Zod is achingly,achingly costing Superman the fight. Build to that moment of the hard choice…show me, without doubt, that Superman has no other out and do a better job of convincing me that it’s a hard decision to make, and maybe I’ll give it to you. But even if I do? It’s not a victory. Not this sad, soul-darkening, utterly sans-catharsis “triumph” that doesn’t even feel like a win so much as a stop-loss. Two and a half hours, and I never once got the sense that Superman really achieved or earned anything.

The essential part of Superman that got lost in MAN OF STEEL, the fundamental break in trust between the movie and the audience, is that we don’t just want Superman to save us; we want him to protect us. He was okay at the former, but really, really lousy at the latter. Once he puts on that suit, everyone he bothers to help along the way is pretty much an afterthought, a fly ball he might as well shag since he’s flying past anyway, so what the hell. Where Christopher Reeve won me over with his portrayal was that his Superman clearly cared about everyone. Yes, this Superman cares in the abstract–he is willing to surrender to Zod to spare us–but the vibe I kept getting was that old Charles Schulz line: “I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.”

Look, I know everyone involved in MAN OF STEEL went into it with the best of intentions. And trust me, there are not rivers or coastlines on this planet long enough to measure just how much I wanted to love this movie. If you don’t know me, you can’t imagine. And there were certainly things to like. But there was no triumph to it. None of Superman’s victories in this movie are in any way the kind of stand-up-and-cheer events you’d think necessary in a movie with Superman in it. Did it succeed in what it sent out to do? I think probably so. But what it set out to do, as it turns out, leaves me cold. With the exception of the first-flight beat–the smile Superman gets when he first takes to the air–it’s utterly joyless. From start to finish. Utterly. Joyless. And I just have no interest in relentless joyless from a guy who can fly.

Edited by Guardiandevil83

@noj: Well I didn't see MOS yet. Lol maybe that scene was to pay homage.

Posted by HexThis

I haven't seen it yet but....

Lois totally would say "dick", comics just can't let her.

Edited by AlexanderGray

@violetphoenix: I agree, and we all know the man who will be asking the questions. The huge destruction at the end bring Lex's views into reality. Plus, isn't it just Batman with the no kill rule and Superman is more don't kill the humans rule? Also if I had the mind**** problem of fighting against the last of my species over my adopted planet, I don't think I'd be thinking further than that to be honest.

Posted by joshmightbe

Okay so let me get this straight about people's thoughts on Superman, He never kills despite having killed before, He never allows collateral damage despite nearly every fight he's ever been in caused massive property damage, and saving a few hundred people is a perfectly justified reason to let around 7 billion die and then allow the few hundred you just saved to die as well because of the giant teraforming machine that he ignored to save them. Were any of you people actually paying attention to the movie or know anything about Superman's comic history? Something is missing from your point of reference.

Edited by Azura_Thena

Can anyone come up with more than a handful of examples of Superman taking the fight OUT of Metropolis in the comics? Seems to me that he is happy to duke it out right in the middle of the city on a weekly basis.

Edited by Guardiandevil83

@ultimatepunchrod: Cap also told the Cops he saved to set up a perimeter, to keep the fight contained, and to evacuate the people in the buildings by using the basement levels so that they would not blindly run into the line of fire from the Avengers, Cops, and Citurari

Posted by MyNameWasDeleted

the great philosophers Bevis and Butt-head once said...

"The more things change, the more they suck." "Yeah- heh heh- suck!"

Posted by The Average Bear

I saw the Zod death scene to be sort of like Superman symbolically aligning with Earth as his home planet and that he puts humans before the needs of his fellow Kryptonian.

Posted by SpitfireINK

Superman killing Zod - proved that he is "human" after all.

NOT a Superhuman a Superman with super powers but human after all.

Posted by RoTheKid

Oh man, here we go. Tony @g_man, I really like you, however, I have to disagree with you on multiple points. You said that Superman shouldn't have to kill, however, you then pointed out that he has killed before in the comics. I'll get back to this later on.

Also, why would you think that Zod would just give himself up? Did anything in the movie even remotely suggest that Zod would do such a thing?? Zod was so passionate about his cause and that's why I thought he made such a compelling villain. He wasn't cookie cutter like Loki or Green Goblin or Abomination or Doc Oc or Sandman or Venom or Deacon Frost or Red Skull or Whiplash or Obadiah Stane.

And in terms of the collateral damage--I think it would have been silly to see Kal try to save everyone. Do you really think that Faora or Zod or that other big guy would just allow Kal El to save humans while in a big fight? Also, you said that Superman essentially just grabs Zod and leaves the other criminal Kryptonians to face his mom. Uum, where I grew up, it was common knowledge--you want to stop an unruly gang, take out the leader. So, I totally understood that scene. Also, they were looking for the codec and they assumed that Kal was still captured in their ship. So, naturally, when Kal came in to take Zod, it threw them off by surprise and they, of course, went to go help their leader. They had a more imminent threat on their hands.

The Lois Lane factor: I thought it felt fine the way that she uncovered his identity. I didn't think that the passage of time went by as quickly as you thought. She was clearly investigating this guy for a while now and we were brought into the point where her investigation was hitting a pivotal point in the film.

Finally, back to Superman's killing of Zod. I thought it was necessary. Zod was clearly angry and mortified that not only his army was gone, but Krypton's future was gone. He was not going to forgive Superman nor the humans of Earth. He also told Superman that in order for the battle to end, either Superman was going to die or he, himself was going to die. Zod was in it to the death and again, I don't think he would have given up at the end. Zod's dream died, therefore he was ready to die.

Anyway, Tony, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the film as much as I did, but hopefully, your views can change over time.

Posted by RoninLoganX

People complaining about Superman killing really annoys me. He's not like Batman who's taken a strict vow to never kill, he just rarely needs it as an option since he is Superman. There's been times, in canon, where as an absolute last resort he's killed a Villain. Doomsday immediately comes to mind as an example.

Posted by sasquatch888

Can anyone come up with more than a handful of examples of Superman taking the fight OUT of Metropolis in the comics? Seems to me that he is happy to duke it out right in the middle of the city on a weekly basis.

i totally agree

Posted by Jonny_Rogers

I don't mean to trample on people's opinions, but does the damaging of the city and killing of Zod even matter?

Well, I know it does - but what makes this view of Superman any different to any other interpretation? I understand that people want the values that they like in a character to be shown to a more mainstream audience, but didn't the Romans and Greeks retell and remake aspects of their mythology to highlight the point that they wanted to make to their audience? Why is this any different?

Like Grant Morrison said - Aboriginal tribes paint over the work of their ancestors. If the only reason you don't like the film is that you don't accept that Snyder has a glossy coating to the Superman mythology, then you will only ever let yourself down. Of course he wanted to change something!

I know it may seem frustrating, but you can't change this from happening - so go with it!

I am a Superman fan, and I have always thought that the beauty of the character is that he means different things to different people. To the citizens of Metropolis, he is a modern God... to Lex Luthor, he is the only thing that could stand in the way of his path to fame and fortune... Okay, Snyder may not see the same thing as many of the other Superman fans, but didn't you find the film to be a fascinating insight into the minds of the creative force behind the film? I certainly thought it was.

I know what Superman means to me... so why should that stop me from finding out what Superman means to other people? Isn't that the appeal of DC's elseworlds and multiverse? I thought this film to be an alternate Superman story... that just so happened to be a film.

Besides, I saw the destruction and killing to be building a foundation for a deeper history. It now makes more sense that Superman never kills - he knows how hard and painful it is like to take someone's life, and (presumably) will not do so again.

...and with the destruction of the city... how else will Lex Luthor earn the respect from the people of Metropolis?

Posted by k4tzm4n

My biggest gripe is they don't let the tragedy really sink in. Cavill delivers such a powerful scream and then shortly after we're an unknown amount of time ahead and in a fairly comedic scene. Additionally, I would have loved to see Superman help with the clean up effort, but instead everything ends with Metropolis apparently being all fine and dandy. It's almost like a comic book in that regard. MASSIVE BATTLE AND MASSIVE DESTRUCTION IN TIMES SQUARE! Next issue: New York is perfectly fine.

Staff
Posted by Nheritor

@rixec: I completely agree with this. was also taken back by superman's lack of care for the civilians and him killing Zod, but Superman is new at this, he probably sees himself as a protector of humanity as a whole rather than a hero who strives to protect every individual. We all need to remember that this is a origin story and realize that he doesn't have the morals that make him Superman yet. This is mostly like to cause the public to blame and bash him in the sequel, which could help develop these morals.

Posted by Azura_Thena

@rothekid said:

Oh man, here we go. Tony @g_man, I really like you, however, I have to disagree with you on multiple points. You said that Superman shouldn't have to kill, however, you then pointed out that he has killed before in the comics. I'll get back to this later on.

Also, why would you think that Zod would just give himself up? Did anything in the movie even remotely suggest that Zod would do such a thing?? Zod was so passionate about his cause and that's why I thought he made such a compelling villain. He wasn't cookie cutter like Loki or Green Goblin or Abomination or Doc Oc or Sandman or Venom or Deacon Frost or Red Skull or Whiplash or Obadiah Stane.

And in terms of the collateral damage--I think it would have been silly to see Kal try to save everyone. Do you really think that Faora or Zod or that other big guy would just allow Kal El to save humans while in a big fight? Also, you said that Superman essentially just grabs Zod and leaves the other criminal Kryptonians to face his mom. Uum, where I grew up, it was common knowledge--you want to stop an unruly gang, take out the leader. So, I totally understood that scene. Also, they were looking for the codec and they assumed that Kal was still captured in their ship. So, naturally, when Kal came in to take Zod, it threw them off by surprise and they, of course, went to go help their leader. They had a more imminent threat on their hands.

The Lois Lane factor: I thought it felt fine the way that she uncovered his identity. I didn't think that the passage of time went by as quickly as you thought. She was clearly investigating this guy for a while now and we were brought into the point where her investigation was hitting a pivotal point in the film.

Finally, back to Superman's killing of Zod. I thought it was necessary. Zod was clearly angry and mortified that not only his army was gone, but Krypton's future was gone. He was not going to forgive Superman nor the humans of Earth. He also told Superman that in order for the battle to end, either Superman was going to die or he, himself was going to die. Zod was in it to the death and again, I don't think he would have given up at the end. Zod's dream died, therefore he was ready to die.

Anyway, Tony, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the film as much as I did, but hopefully, your views can change over time.

I agree with all of this.

Posted by Azura_Thena

@azura_thena said:

Can anyone come up with more than a handful of examples of Superman taking the fight OUT of Metropolis in the comics? Seems to me that he is happy to duke it out right in the middle of the city on a weekly basis.

i totally agree

Thanks! It's nice to see others realizing this.

Posted by Ninjablade09

Well the thing with Zod, was actually Zack Synder's idea. The original story was Zod gets trapped in the Phantom Zone with the others..................... again.

Edited by Xwraith

"Is killing and profanity the only way to appeal to the average movie-goer?"

In 21st century America, the answer is an unfortunate yes.

Edited by RedheadedAtrocitus

I agree with what you said in your second paragraph...this movie does have a chance to connect current young generations tot he Superman mythos but it was so rearranged that it is hard to say what they'll connect to. Sadly I see that as true but also reminiscent of the times. This day and age I don;t think the young generations of today will understand the Superman (Christopher Reeve) of our time and I think Zack Snyder was only trying to play to a modern audience knowing that the old interpretation just would've fallen short to today's movie goer.

I was also plenty nitpicky about many things in the movie. Amy Adams as Lois Lane for one. But I had an open enough mind to look past all the changes to still enjoy this movie for what it is and what it set out to do. In all fairness, @g_man, you do have to admit this was a remarkable improvement over Superman Returns from 2006, don't you think? Would love to have your input!

Posted by Jonny_Rogers

Just to add... isn't Superman all about moral dilemmas?

It seems that most people would not agree with the moral path that the filmmakers chose to take, but at least the film has got us interested in the morality of a hero that the general public saw to be boring just a few months ago?

In a weird way... it worked.

Edited by Ama_Sama

I know that not everyone will agree, but it's still how I feel.

The thing is, I really don't know how Superman was supposed to conveniently sidestep his fellow Kryptonians to stop a few buildings from falling as the mayhem all went down. He was in those buildings being tossed about like a rag doll. I think the movie was trying to shine some realism on the Superman franchise, in its own way. It wasn't that he didn't want to save people. Those on the oil rig, the kids on the bus, even the soldiers who got in the way in the Smallville brawl: Clark tried to save who he could. I think it's the point that it is impossible to save everyone, even if you're Superman.

Furthermore, the Zod issue did not bother me. I'm pretty sure he "killed" Doomsday, so it isn't like he's never killed anyone. Either way, there was no other option left to Superman in context of the film.The Phantom Zone had been closed, so there was no way to toss him in there. There's no suitable prison strong enough, anywhere on earth at this point in time, to lock Zod up in. He can't chuck him into space because he'll fly right back. Zod is not the kind of villain to play pussy and pout over losing everything. I feel like that would've been a ridiculous ending to everything. Zod is a general, a warrior, and so he acted with what he knew: violence. It was Zod's neck or the innocent family he was about to barbecue. Clark was out of options and could barely fight to keep a headlock on the man by the end of it all. In the end, he exhausted all of his other options. I think his remorse in the action was the real Superman shining through.

Edited by drgnx

I only really have 3 majors point of contention, on the part of the critics!

Collateral Damage

Superman saving pilots while getting his @$s kicked, but oh, he didn't save the empty buildings or people we didn't see, and have no way of knowing he saw (because, you know, he does occasionally filter and focus his senses while fighting for his life...), and still don't even know were harmed in the first place, so BAAAADDD Superman, BAD!

Lets also forget the part where he warns people to get to safety. Lets also forget he bloodlusted despite Snyder clearly stating he was angry because of his mother!

At best,nobody was hurt because of his fought were he did, at worst, it acts a point for "Character Development" that everyone is crying for (in future movies of the series)!

Who Saves Metropolis

Lets not forget the Humans took out the ship with the actual phantom drive, that's why they needed the phantom drive from Superman's ship. The machine Superman took out didn't have a phantom drive (I believe it detached from the main ship). So if Superman used the device and saved metropolis, who would stop the one in the Indian ocean? Superman barely took it out as it was, the longer he waited the harder it was supposed to be! Lets not forget the whole "leap of faith" theme of having Humans save humans!

Character Development

Watch all Smaillville, nonstop for the next 2 weeks. Did Clark become Superman after the first episode? In the last few seasons, it was clear they were stretching things out as they seemed to find flaws in Clark to exploited out of thin air; Superman's character does not really evolve once he becomes Superman, it is sad but also a good thing, it seems to me Snyder is aiming for a character that will evolve over the course of the series.

Posted by RoTheKid

@azura_thena Thank you!! Thank you for reading my "geek rant". Much appreciated! :)

Posted by novi_homines

This is what I posted in Katzman's review thread awhile back, on release day. Thought it goes with exactly what you're saying:

To add a point, every film seems to have the characters personality, as the flavor of the film. IM trilogy was more wild, and filled with witty comments, much like the character. Cap: TFA had a more serious, all american, flavor to the film. Much like the character. But when thinking of Man Of Steel, this film did not have a superman flavor to it. And that's where it fails for me. They took superman, and gave it batman's flavor, and that's where the disconnect for most people comes from.

I was supposed to have a smile on my face while watching this film (not from jokes). Theres a difference between comedy making you laugh, and a movie evoking the feeling of joy.I was supposed to be walking out of the theater filled with joy, happiness, while smiling. It was supposed to be uplifting.This is Superman, and it's what I expected from this film. I wasn't supposed to be thinking about the action. A superman movie should have bigger aspirations than that. I was supposed to be thinking about life, and how I personally can be a better person. It was supposed to be moving, and it was supposed to evoke all of these thoughts. It simply did not. And this is where all of the "cold", "disconnected", "not superman" comments from critics come from. The movie wasn't filled with joy, it wasn't filled with happiness, it wasn't filled with hope and inspiration. They took these things away from this film, and they lost the character in the process. It's a shame really, in a world such as this, where everyone prefers "dark", we could've used a little "light".

Edited by superior_prime_maybe

Thankyou!

This felt more like an invincible movie.

I would have preferred if it was closer to new52 action comics first arc. They could have shown a less obvious disguise for Clark Kent.

And the 'whats so funny truth justice and the American way' ideology was heavily disregarded.

Posted by buttersdaman000

I find it funny that people say nothing against Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers blatantly killing in their movies and then go up in arms against a justified, necessary killing from Superman. How many people did Tony and his armours kill in IM3? The chitauri were self aware beings, who, even though they did kill a lot of people, weren't set on killing them all. Yet, the avengers slaughtered them. Yes, it was really a kill or be killed situation for them but....wait...wasn't the fight with Zod? Zod clearly stated that he will kill every person on the planet and that the fight will end with one of them dead. Do you really think Superman couldve knocked out Zod and thrown him in jail? Exile him? What? There was no way to permanently stop him save for death. Superman made the right decision. People need to stop being so nit-picky and hypocritical

Posted by k4tzm4n

And the 'whats so funny truth justice and the American way' ideology was heavily disregarded.

That Superman was more than adept with his abilities and used them to disable his powerful foe in a non-fatal manner. Additionally, technology existed to incarcerate the individual. This version of Superman did not have any of those luxuries against Zod.

Staff
Edited by kid Apollo

im not a Superman fan, im sorry, but its true. ive never felt a connection, ive never ran to the comic shop to pick up one of his books, and i could count the number of books ive read with him in it on one hand. but this movie was the first time i saw a side of him that i could get on board with.

for the first time i saw that he isnt this super god-like being that he always seems to be, hes a man with the same moral, and emotional issues that everyone has. hes torn between family and duty, between what he feels is right and what he has to do to survive. if he didnt kill Zod, could anyone else put him down? NO. if he didnt kill Zod, could they keep him locked up in prison along side the rest of the Kryptonians? NOO. by killing Zod you end his threat for good (i know, i know, were talking comic characters) but theres a finality to it.

i also liked how he was more of a fledgling hero in this movie, sure hed saved people in the past, but not on this scale. sure he probably should have flown off and started saving people in Metropolis, but the guy jus fought an army of Super-Men/Women. give him a breather for Gods sake!

if this movie sets the tone for the future DC characters and eventual Justice League movie, then count me in! i liked this movie quite a bit, and im down to see what else they can produce

p.s. im not justifying killing people, but that moment could be what triggers Kal's zero tolerance point of view on killing

Posted by Lunacyde

Personally I liked the End of the Zod fight. It was realistic. There are going to be situations where either you kill the bad guy or he kills innocent people and there is no other choice. What should he have done? Let Zod vaporize innocent bystanders? It makes the character more dynamic and allows him to be something people can connect with. Was it necessary? No, but it gives the audience some credit and gives a more realistic experience of what would happen if someone was put in that situation.

Posted by Scantenii

This movie is the equivalent to the first Micheal Bay Transformers film to me...