Is Man Of Steel true to Superman?

Feature Seb Patrick 18 Jun 2013 - 06:56
Superman: Man Of Steel

How close to Superman lore does Man Of Steel fly, and are its changes for the better, asks Seb...?

WARNING: This feature contains lots of spoilers for Man Of Steel.

A little over two years ago, I was at a screening of Zack Snyder’s film Sucker Punch, which also featured a Q&A with the director himself beforehand. Despite the protestations of the PR people and the fact that nobody was able to ask questions about a film they hadn’t yet seen, Snyder had only days earlier been announced as the director of a rebooted Superman film. As such it meant that the Man Of Steel was heavily on the agenda.

I was one of the audience members who asked a question that night, and was met with a dismissal of sorts by Snyder when I asked if there were any particular storylines, graphic novels or runs on the character that would be informing his vision for the film. He thought I was fishing for plot information, but I really wasn’t – I simply wanted a sense that a director who, and let’s be frank, is largely known for flashy but superficial takes on his source material, had a strong sense of the world he was taking on. I just wanted him to maybe namecheck some of the great Superman comics of recent history, like All-Star Superman, Superman: Birthright or The Man of Steel – in much the same way as Christopher Nolan would repeatedly mention things like The Long Halloween or Year One in connection with Batman. I didn’t need to know what stories he might base the film’s story on – simply that he knew what it took to craft a good Superman story.

Two years on, with Man Of Steel out in cinemas, we can now find out whether or not Zack Snyder and scriptwriter David S Goyer know their Superman or not. Ideas and interpretations are crammed intensely into the film, which is at times a jarringly liberal take on the character and his mythology. But just how true to the previous seven decades’ worth of established Superman lore is the film? Are the changes it makes for the better, or the worse? And does it really 'get' the character of Superman at all? Let’s take a look…

Krypton

Man Of Steel has a greater preoccupation with the doomed planet than any Superman film before it – but at the same time, it's a very different Krypton from any we've seen before.

In conception, the style of Snyder and Goyer's alien world owes more than anything to the Silver Age Superman stories – in which Krypton was frequently portrayed as an immense, technologically advanced world filled with wonders both mechanical and monstrous. In execution, however, the look of the planet is far removed from that cooked up by classic artists like Wayne Boring. Gone is the colourful sheen of those comics, replaced with a largely grey and orange colour palette that owes more of a debt to recent large-scale blockbusters – Lord Of The Rings if you're feeling charitable, John Carter if you're less so.

While the purpose of showing Krypton as a magical, enthralling place back in the old days was to present Superman as having come from a world that's simply bigger and better than ours, however, in Man Of Steel the planet is shown as being – despite all its technological marvel – a crippled and backwards society. The notion of Kal-El being born into a world hamstrung by excessive genetic control is fresh to the mythos, but seems to owe more than a small debt to John Byrne's mid-80s revamp, where Jor-El similarly saw fit to rebel against what had become a cold and sterile society. This is crucial to Clark's later decision to reject the world from which he's come in favour of the one that has adopted him.

Jor-El & Zod

Speaking of Superman's natural father, the increased focus on Krypton in Man Of Steel also means a greatly expanded role for Jor-El – with the fact that, in this version, he's killed even before Kal's rocket leaves the planet apparently no barrier to his making frequent reappearances as a walking, talking hologram (never really an idea from the comics, but an expansion of the 'giant floating Marlon Brando head' from the Donner films), even able to join in with fighting Zod's minions on their ship.

That his death comes at the hands of General Zod – rather than being allowed to perish with his wife Lara as their planet does – is the beginning of a major change Man Of Steel makes to the mythos. In the comics, Zod was generally presented simply as a generic Kryptonian villain, with no particular connection to the El family. It was the Donner movies that added in the idea that Jor-El himself had confined Zod to the Phantom Zone – sending him on a quest for bitter revenge – but Man Of Steel goes in a different direction.

Here, the notion is that the pair were actually, once upon a time, friends – before their clashing ideologies turned them into enemies. If this all sounds familiar, then it might be because it feels like Goyer attempting to give DC its own version of Professor Xavier and Magneto. It's not an inherently bad idea, but the film does struggle to pin down whether Zod is actually regretful of his actions or not – the times he's shown as an out and out murderous maniacal villain contrasting with these attempts to give him any kind of moral complexity.

The various interpretations of Superman's origin that have appeared in print over the years have tended to differ on whether or not Jor-El deliberately aimed his son at Earth or simply fired him off desperately into space. Man Of Steel plants its foot very firmly in the former camp, making it a particularly significant element over the over-arching plot. The notion that there were other Kryptonians on Earth many years before Kal, meanwhile, is entirely new to this film.

The Kents

It hasn’t been a constant in every single interpretation of the legend, but it’s a pretty frequently recurring idea nevertheless that Jonathan Kent’s role in the story is as Clark’s 'Uncle Ben' – he’s there to impart the most significant of lessons before promptly shuffling off this mortal coil, thereby signifying the moment where Clark goes from boy to man. In both the 1978 movie and Grant Morrison’s All Star Superman, Jonathan’s death is presented as the pivotal moment where Clark realises that despite all his powers, he won’t ever be able to save everyone, giving him some measure of acceptance of the impossible role that’s been hoisted upon his shoulders while simultaneously affirming his drive to succeed in it.

Man Of Steel goes for a different tack, setting Jonathan up as the direct opponent of Jor-El’s message. While Clark’s natural father insists that his son’s role is to serve as a very public shining light for humanity (even, oddly, giving him the costume in which to do so), Jonathan is reticent, acknowledging that while Clark’s powers are a gift to the world, they also put him at risk of being feared and hated by it. It’s this belief which, in a particularly major twist to the mythos, leads to Jonathan’s death – in almost every other telling of the story, the character dies of heart failure or similar, rather than being killed by an event that Clark might have been able to prevent.

Powers

Another aspect of Clark that different comics and film/TV interpretations have generally failed to agree on is the rate of development of his powers. Man Of Steel, sensibly, completely eschews the Golden/Silver Age era existence of Superboy, instead going with the previous movie and post-Crisis canon of his powers developing gradually through childhood and adolescence. Indeed, at the point at which we meet 'adult' Superman, he’s still yet to fully get to grips with his power even at the age of 33, which is later than in pretty much any other version of the story.

What this does mean is that in the sequence where he’s learning to fly, he initially does so by leaping rather than full-on flying – which is, of course, how his power of flight was originally portrayed in the early 1940s.

Costume

There’s arguably never been a version of the Superman story that successfully comes up with a compelling reason why he’d dress the way he does – so the idea that it’s an outfit presented to him by Jor-El is as good an explanation as any, really. What’s not explained is why the red and blue colours are so prominent when every single other Kryptonian is dressed monochromatically, but there you go.

As far as the 'S' symbol goes, for forty-odd years in the comics the 'S' was indeed simply a stylised letter; it was in the 1978 movie that it was first established (implicitly) as being the El family’s personal crest, which was later retrofitted into the comics via Superman: Birthright (prior to that, in the post-Crisis continuity, Clark and his father had designed the symbol themselves, the comic remaining ambiguous as to its actual meaning). That same series also then posited it for the first time as a Kryptonian symbol meaning 'hope'. And yes, it does kind of make more sense this way.

Lois & Clark

Of all the changes Man Of Steel makes to established Superman lore, there’s surely none greater than in its redefining of the Clark and Lois relationship. The idea that Lois actually knows who Clark is – powers and all – before he’s even put on the Superman costume for the first time is dramatic and bold, but whether or not it’s a good change is something the film didn’t really get a chance to explore. It’s clearly something that’s being set up for potential sequels – see also below – but it’s not something that in and of itself feels like a bad idea.

What it does do is almost entirely negate the role of Lana Lang (who does actually appear in the film, fleetingly, in flashback) in Clark’s backstory, as the major elements of her character, as the 'first love' who knows his secret, have instead been folded into Lois.

In terms of character and personality, meanwhile, Amy Adams’ version of Lois is a pretty straight-down-the-line take, underserved in terms of screen time/interactions rather than any glaring flaws in the interpretation.

The Planet

Superman may not have the most memorable rogues gallery in comics – emphasised by the fact that we’ve had four movies with Lex Luthor in, two with General Zod, and two with villains created specifically for the films – but what he does have is a well-known set of supporting characters to go along with his secret identity in Metropolis. From classic friends and colleagues like Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, to 90s creations Cat Grant and Dr Emil Hamilton, assorted versions of the story have been able to devote significant time to his life outside the costume (even making it a major feature of the Lois & Clark TV series).

Man Of Steel, while it does introduce some of the Planet staff, does little with any of them. Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White shows all the stereotypical gruff editor-ness usually associated with the character (although it’s a little odd that as a major news editor, he’s so reluctant to run a story for no reason other than 'the public aren’t ready for it'), but any other characters shown are simply there to provide rescue-fodder in the film’s final act. Despite advance rumours, the intern known as Jenny isn’t a gender-swapped version of Jimmy Olsen (a different surname is visible on her staff pass), while another character is arbitrarily given the name 'Steve Lombard' as little more than an easter egg right at the end.

Again, we would assume that as the film ends with Clark actually meeting all of these people for the first time, any sequel would hopefully give them much more prominent roles to play. Poor Dr Hamilton, meanwhile, serves as something of a waste of actor Richard Schiff, and rather than being a mad inventor who eventually befriends Superman, is simply a pretty characterless military scientific advisor before (presumably) being killed along with the others in Zod’s ship.

The Spirit

All superficial details aside, the most important element for Man Of Steel to try and capture is, surely, the essence, spirit and meaning of the character as established by 75 years of previous interpretations. Unfortunately, it’s on this count where the film falls down the most.

Of course, there’s a danger in being overly prescriptive in saying how a character who’s existed for three-quarters of a century, and been through countless changes in storytelling style, backstory and the rest, should be portrayed. Neither should Man Of Steel have felt so constrained by the past that it shouldn’t have struck out with its own interpretation.

Nevertheless, there are certain simple elements that are the difference between 'telling a Superman story' and 'not telling a Superman story', and in the way Man Of Steel handled these, for me at least it fell very firmly in the latter.

One moment that’s been especially controversial is the manner in which Superman kills Zod – a moment that caused Birthright’s writer Mark Waid particular distress, as he eloquently described on his own blog. I have slightly less of a problem with this than some, mind – I can fully accept, as I did when reading a similar event in writer/artist John Byrne’s Superman run in the late 1980s (where Clark uses Kryptonite to summarily execute Zod and two other Kryptonian criminals from another dimension who have literally murdered the entire population of an alternate Earth), that it’s the moment where Superman finally, fully becomes the character we know. He's forced to take a life in one extreme set of circumstances, and he realises that he must never again do it. It’s not an essential part of the story, but if handled correctly, I don’t think it’s ruinous.

The problem with Man Of Steel is what happens for the hour or so beforehand – in which the film, having up to that point not yet really established Superman as a hero (bearing in mind that he only turns himself over to the government a short while after putting on his costume for the first time), utterly fails to lay out that his prime motivation is to save people. Okay, sure, he stops the planet from being terraformed – although there’s something uncomfortable about his major act of rescue taking place on the other side of the world from a Metropolis that we see crumble, and that it also relies on the sacrifice of a number of humans to stop the Kryptonians – but aside from that, and following his early scenes as a bearded, shirtless mysterious rescuer, he doesn’t actually do a lot in the way of protecting.

Throughout the entirety of his two big fight scenes – first with Faora and co in Smallville, and then more devastatingly with Zod in Metropolis – there’s not a single moment where Superman looks to take the fight elsewhere to avoid collateral harm, or pay attention to the fact that he’s slinging Zod through shattering buildings (buildings which the film never mentions might have been evacuated). It’s not even so much that we don’t see him catch a single falling person (save for Lois, right at the end), but that in some cases, he’s clearly directly responsible for innocent deaths. It’s a far cry from Superman II, where he shows genuine, frantic concern over a small group of people in a bus that Zod happens to be threatening to pound him into the ground with.

(Another comparison to be made with Superman II is that in that film, Zod and his gang arrive on Earth by chance – whereas in Man Of Steel, they actively hunt Kal-El down. In other words, absolutely none of the intense amount of death and destruction the film presents would have happened if Superman weren’t on the planet, which is the precise argument Lex Luthor has been making in the comics for the last 30 years. So he’s going to be in a pretty strong negotiating position come the sequel, put it that way).

Of course, many of us who like Superman will take different things out of the stories that feature him. It was artist Kevin Maguire (who drew the character most prominently in his Justice League International days) who said on Twitter over the weekend, 'If you like Superman because he’s the most powerful man in the world, you loved MoS. If you like him ‘cuz of his moral code and as protector of humanity, you were disappointed.'

That’s about the best way I could think of to put it, too – and for me, Man Of Steel, for all its impressive visuals (we’ll leave a the problems with the script to one side for now), and for all that Henry Cavill cuts a great figure in the costume and shows flashes of the warmth and charm beneath the character, is simply not true to any version of Superman that has ever been worth reading about.

But at least it does make clear that they have read All-Star and Birthright

Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here

Disqus - noscript

Aw come on, he saves the man falling from the helicopter as well, the man that was shooting at him just seconds before. And he saves the bus full of kids, even though they're little brats who are bullying him.

Couldn't agree more on his complete lack of interest in protecting civilians. Remember in Superman Returns when those windows blow out and he actually goes to the effort of turning round and using his heat vision so the glass doesn't fall on the people below? Just a little bit of glass! He happily lets entire buildings drop on people in Man of Steel and it just seems a bit uncharacteristically careless to say the least.

Agreed. I think part of the destruction caused is due to his inexperience as a major savior. He is still young and one sighted. At the time he is fighting Zod, he is fighting Zod to stop him. He's not thinking about moving it to a open field. This is part of making him more human than just being portrayed as a perfect boyscout. I think a lot of people have missed this point.

I was literally writing the exact same thing. This is a Superman we've never seen before. He looks fully formed, but still got a long way to go before he's reached his full potential It'll be interesting seeing him against an villain who doesn't require such a physical, one-on-one interaction, like Luthor.

"If you like Superman because he's themost powerful man in the world, you loved MoS. If you like him ‘cuz of his moral code and as protector of humanity, you were disappointed."

I think Kevin Maguire has hit the nail on the head. The movie is dividing opinion, and it mostly seems to be over this issue.

It would have been nice to see some standout mid-fight rescuing moments (like the bus full of people in Superman II) but I felt that there were still plenty of 'saviour' moments for me. He rescues the school kids at the start - including the guy who just bullied him - and goes out of his way to rescue the oil rig workers at the start.

Personally, I liked it a lot and cannot wait for the sequel.

I agree. I think they did a fantastic job of creating a fresh take on the character and making him very 'human' and relatable. I thought this would prove impossible - delighted to be proved wrong.

A pretty good article. I may not agree with it all, but a good article nonetheless.

I just have a little nitpick:

"The notion that there were other Kryptonians on Earth many years before Kal, meanwhile, is entirely new to this film."

Actually, Smallville showed that Kryptonians had been visiting Earth for a very long time. So it's not really entirely new to Man of Steel.

Like I say, just a fanboy nitpick. Sorry.

If this Superman lived in my city I'd be ****ing my pants. As soon as any super-powered villain turned up I'd be packing my bags and moving to the other side of the world. The devastation he was partially responsible for was unimaginable - I was left wondering how frightened America must be of Superman, and how bitter at the hundreds and thousands of lives that were lost. That said though, I really enjoyed the film.

again i don't understand why critics do not grasp the fact , this is early superman coming to terms with his powers and responsibilities. And he will make mistakes. Which humanises him. Rather than the invincible intensely moralistic "boy scout" . Which to be honest if superman was not fallible makes him boring. Batman made mistakes in batman begins . And these actions and consequences defined his later choices and modus operandi. The sequel will show superman aged about 7 years or so i guess

I took the same thing from these scenes too. While I found the action a little excessive in parts, I felt they portrayed Superman as a conscious individual, one that was completely inexperienced with his powers and how to handle a small of army of Kryptonian warriors.

Loved Man of Steel the first time, liked it much less the second due to a lot of these criticism. I think people are hitting it on the head when they say that he just didn't have the capacity to do any more, he was literally just about holding it together fighting them off. That being said, Snyder and Goyer could have made this a little more obvious....

I don't buy the "it's early Superman, give him a break" argument for the simple reason that he's aged 33 in the film (purely so they could make the ridiculous, and utterly point-of-the-character-missing, Christ comparisons). If this is "early" Superman, then how old has he got to be before he actually becomes the hero we know and love?

This film is about as true to superman as batman begins was for batman and I hear no complaints about that any more because people refer to it as the nolanverse batman now.
Its seen as its own universe set apart from the comics and savoured just as much now

"there’s not a single moment where Superman looks to take the fight elsewhere to avoid collateral harm

The whole reason he ends up in Smallville town centre was in order to take the fight away from his mother and after that he doesn't get a chance as Faora and Zod are much more skilled warriors than that. He does try to take the fight away in Metropolis by sending Zod into space but he heads straight back down to Metropolis afterwards.

"or pay attention to the fact that he’s slinging Zod through shattering buildings (buildings which the film never mentions might have been evacuated)."

It doesn't mention it explicitly but it is clearly the case as until we get to the station we never see another civilian. Supes is in touch with the military so he'd already know that.

As to the other side of the world engine, he's doing what he has to do as he can't attack the Black Zero ship directly and he's the only one who can stop the attack on metropolis. Even in Mark Waid's own Birthright he leaves a man screaming in the street for help in order to concoct a plan with Lois. He sometimes has to do what is necessary for the greater good.

As a final point Kevin Maguire did not draw Superman in Justice League International as he was never a member. He drew him in one issue of Superman (which was mostly done by Ed McGuiness anyway). Compare this to Dan Jurgens, who is pretty much the definitive Superman artist, who has pubicly said he really likes the films, much more than the Donner or Singer versions.

Great comment

Being an "early Superman" means that during the movie, he was not yet a hero, he was just a guy with powers who wanted to stop his planet from being remodeled/destroyed.

I think it will be in Man of Steel 2 that we will see him saving people during a fight, when he will be able to have thought about his actions in the first film.

>Kevin Maguire did not draw Superman in Justice League International as he was never a member

He drew him in issues #7 (when President Reagan consults him over the chartering of the JLI) and #10 (part of the Millennium crossover, where Superman leads a gang of heroes to the Manhunters' home planet).

And I love Jurgens' art and his take on the character (I'm a big fan of '90s Superman comics), but that doesn't make his opinion on the film any more correct than anyone else's! In much the same way as Mark Waid, despite writing some of the most definitive Superman comics, isn't objectively "correct" either (although I do happen to agree with him rather than Jurgens).

(I'd also quibble that, as much as I do like Jurgens' version, he could be called the "definitive" Superman artist. Er, Curt Swan, anyone?)

No one seems to mention this (and I'm not sure if it's just me not understanding it properly), but in this film have they not altered the source of Superman's power? I thought in superman lore, his powers come directly from the sun. But in the film, they've put a lot of emphasis on the atmosphere defining the strength of his powers. I get how the whole atmosphere fits into the film's plot, but just surprised no one's spoken about this as surely that's a key feature of superman.

Hmm..To be honest i'm mixed on this film. I don't think we should be 5 starring everything as we tend to do these days. It was fun, but way too much action in comparison to the character progression and the editing was pretty poor if we're being honest. Cutting from seeing the suit to seeing him learn to fly for example or when he speaks to the general and is then suddenly with Lois on a beach. It seemed forced to me.
It's interesting that Batman is the hero who won't kill, more now than superman.
I didn't like the neck break, he should have found a way to send him back to the phantom zone, THAT would be superman. He chooses not to stop destruction and actually take part in it despite saving the man in the helicopter. He throws a kryptonian straight through a petrol station, how many are likely to have been killed? I didn't like a lot of things in this movie but i also loved a lot of it too. The action was epic, Cavil is a good Clark and a Great superman. Some of the more touching scenes seemed forced but they worked, i would have liked to see more ma and pa kent scenes and a tad less Jor-el. It would have been cool to hear him telling Clark about his powers instead of just wordy chatter but the scenes were still good.

I'm not knocking this film, but at points i felt it strayed a little too far for my liking. Superman does have high moral standards but he is no longer a moral beacon of all things good imo. Even if we would see it as moral to kill to protect others, he is NOT supposed to cross that line regardless of any argument. That was part of what made him endearing and different.

3 stars, 3 and a half at a push. I prefer MOS over Avengers but avengers had better pacing and character development. What happened to Krypton having a red sun? Superman struggling to breathe and choking but then flying in space, huh? All of that annoyed me but it was a good start to a new series. Just please, less over the top transformers style action and more Superman using his powers to help people, kick ass and STOP buildings from being destroyed.

Just an opinion, it is no more correct or incorrect than yours if you disagree with it, we are ALL superman fans and the mythos means different things to all of us.

They put a lot of emphasis on atmosphere being a weakness - really it was more or less just Kryptonite but it hasn't been discovered yet. Needless to say I imagine it will be by the second film.
Earth's atmosphere/gravity made him a little stronger but as always it's the Sun that enhance his cells and make him super.

Jar-El says at the start of the film Earth has a young yellow sun, he will be a god etc etc

The thing that ruined it for me was Jonathan Kent. I loved Costner's acting, but the character himself was terrible. Let the kids on the bus die??? Good grief! And his death just filled me with rage. There is no fricking way MY Clark Kent lets his father die like that. Besides being the one who should have gone after the stupid dog in the first place, he surely would have disobeyed his father and saved him, damned the consequences (which were what? his father's scolding? who the hell else was gonna see anything in that storm?). And the whole POINT of Jonathan Kent dying by heart attack was that it was something Clark COULDN'T prevent! Ugh. The more I think about this movie, the more I dislike it.

There's been a lot of talk about Jonathan Kent's motivation - which leads to his death - is fundamentally different to the comics, and I've been wondering how that has a knock-on effect on Martha. She must be a saint not to resent him. From a story perspective Pa Kent now contrasts more with Pa-El, but I just don't buy that Clark would let him die - and then Ma Kent welcomes him back happily. He could have saved her husband and he did nothing

"he is NOT supposed to cross that line regardless of any argument"

But he has, in the comics, more than once. He has very strong morals but he isn't Batman. The life on one versus the life of everyone else. Also there was no way to send him to the phantom zone, no prison that could hold him so what else could he do. Not to mention Zod wanted to die and forced Supes to kill him

"What happened to Krypton having a red sun?"

The Sun was very old and had a red hue. It doesn't need to be so literal and be bright red

"Superman struggling to breathe and choking but then flying in space, huh?"

There wasn't Kryptonite in Space

As for the rest, you're right, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, be boring if we all liked the same stuff

I wasn't saying it made his opinion more valid, it was more disputing the original articles use of Kevin Maguire to support the argument. You can find many different artists and writers who have different views. E.g. Waid hated it, Busiek is mixed and Simone loved it. I'd forgotten about those couple of panels though, thanks.
Yeah it's debatable who is more important Swan or Jurgens, that's why I said pretty much...

Clark didn't let him die, Jonathon saved Clark. Hence the scene with young Clark and pretend cape etc
As for Martha - as has been the same with EVERY Superman story - they agree when he's a baby that they will protect Clark no matter what even giving up their own lives for him. That's as much a part of the Superman mythos as the sun

So I'm not entitled to my own opinion on the points that you personally feel i'm not? Just everything else, right? Post your own comment instead of telling me why i am wrong, you should read my last lines in my post. I disagree with you, i won't bother telling you why because as i said it means different things to all of us and you will probably disagree. I agree about your point on kryptonite though but it was handled poorly to me.

I'm curious what you took of superman miraculously smashing into a satellite in space where there is more room than on all of earth. ;) I'm sure you can make something up for that as well.

I didn't quote Maguire because his opinion is more valid as someone who's drawn the character, though (I only mentioned that he had so that readers unfamiliar with him/his work would know that it wasn't just some random person online). I quoted him because I thought what he said was particularly apt and summed it up better than I could.

(And JLI #10 isn't a "couple of panels", it's an entire issue in which Superman is basically the lead character, he's on the cover and everything. This doesn't affect the actual argument one way or the other, I'm just making the facts clear!)

Ah okay, as I read it sounded it like you were trying to use it claim validity for the argument. Glad that's cleared up.

Yeah, the "and so-and-so should know!" argument would get pretty flaky pretty fast in either direction - since, as you say, there's such clear disagreement between various creators over whether or not it nails the character (and 'twas ever thus, really)!

Are you on crack?!

The stuff I replied to weren't opinions. 2 were questions, I answered them.

The other one you stated as a fact not an opinion. You didn't say I like it better when he doesn't kill you said
"he is NOT supposed to cross that line regardless of any argument" That's not an opinion.
He has killed more than once!!

Example - Your opinon was that when he chooses not to kill that it sets him apart from other heroes. My opinion - I disagree as 90% of superheroes don't kill. In my view what sets him apart is being near immortal and having god like powers but also being raised by 2 loving parents with good morals. That's 2 differing opinions, neither stated as a fact or question

See the difference???

*edit - what did I make up btw???

Ah sorry, It's been ages since I've read the Millenium crossover so I don't recall him being the main character (I mostly just remember the Green Lantern stuff).

The satellite - just a nice easter egg for fans. Brother Eye is watching you

*fans of DC I mean before you correct me. Batman storyline

>It's been ages since I've read the Millenium crossover

That's probably no bad thing. It's not very good. Although said JLI issue is pretty good fun, because hey, G'Nort.

Given that literally that same scene had just shown Clark arguing with Pa Kent, why on Earth would his rebellious streak end here?

Okay, so, why couldn't Jor-El and Mrs get a spaceship away from Krypton? Why would the most logical thing to do be to send the kid off on his lonesome? This may be a problem with the origin too, but here it was really laid bare. The Kryptonians HAVE spaceships, they've even travelled to Earth in groups before... why would they not get one together?

At first I thought the same as you, how could he let him die?

But then it all makes sense when he breaks Zods neck. It seems that all that anger he had growing up, being bullied, being different, knowing he didnt save his own father, came out at once when he killed Zod. Then he lets out that huge scream like he has finally let out all his anger at once.

i LOVED this film. Seen it twice now, second time was better.

I posted this comment but moderated as contains a link so put in again with no link.

For a good counter article and/or if you just liked the film and want to read something that revels in the great moments, read this

Total Film's feature - 50 best moments of Man of Steel

Reading all 50 made me want to leave work and go watch it again now :) Also great paragraphs on Pa Kent's death, killing Zod etc Why Total Film is the daddy of film mags :)

Ah damn, I thought I would be the first to point that out.

What I thought about in MoS is that the ship had been on earth for 20,000 years. However, it seemed to be of the same tech as the more modern Kryptonian tech. Jor-El was the top scientific mind..... so are we saying that the tech hasn't advanced all that much in 20,000 years??? or do they have time travel?? or are they genetically enhanced to not age as quickly.

Something I read mentioned Kals cousin being the one who crawled out of the open stasis pod. If she went in there 20,000 years previous, How can she be a close cousin, unless Kryptonians live a really long time.

Am I missing something on the timeline front?

Its been shown that some men/boys do not fully mature until their 30's(usually the brain fully matures around 25), so I can agree with your view that he is still young and short sighted. How many of us did stupid things when we were in our early 20's that we wouldn't do when we were in our early 30's?

I did think there would be some play on the fact he had been here 33 years, and so "his cells had drunk in the sun's radiation" for a long time. I thought maybe he would be stronger/faster than the other Kryptonians for a while, as it would take some time for the radiation to build up. However, Zod and the gang were supercharged from the get go.

Also, didn't the Head Stone say Pa Kent died in 1997, making Clark 16 at the time??? Surely that 16 year old clark should have been a different actor?

Don't shoot me for saying this, but I felt the main highlight of this film was the visuals. They (at times) provided the only nice thing to look at.... was this film as good as the first Ironman or Batman Begins? No... at times the storytelling seemed simply lazy - "Oh, I know, we could make it so that Superman is all new to the stuff and he has to struggle with a deep emotional bond. Oh and make sure there are lots of buildings and stuff to get smashed up.... in fact, let's make everything get smashed up."
Hmmmm. It wasn't terrible but it wasn't great. It was.... alright I suppose. Meh.

Yeah I thought so too. Was one of the few complaints I had. They were too strong too quick. Maybe should've had a battle, realised they were outmatched and took a ship to the sun to charge (maybe they did it before?)
I suppose in their favour they would all have been much better fighters than Supes as they were trained soldiers but still doesn't explain the strength/power thing

The only real issue I had with the story line is this. It took Kal 33 years to get fully "powered up" but the Zod Cabal is hurling locomotives in 24 hours. I didnt agree with this at all, he should have been three or fours times stronger than Faora, and able to handle 2 of them simultaneously, if not outright manhandle Zod and crew,

That awkward moment when The Iron Giant is a better superman film than Man of Steel

Me and another poster (paul) were just discussing this now :)

Yeah all I could think of during the pivotal fight scene with Zod was how many civilians may have died during all the building smashing!

Just had a thought actually. It could MAYBE explain it away. What if Zod and the rest have previously been to planets with a yellow sun? Totally clutching at straws lol
Unlikely as I think Krypton was already empty of resources and there was no exploring in Zod's time then again that open pod in the ship was Kara's (Supergirls) I think and she is younger than Zod.
Man of Steel 2 - Luthor and Supergirl?

I can understand the reasoning; they wanted to create the emotional connection for the audience (it's easier to do that by showing the same actor than by having a younger actor play the role). Still, 16? No chance.

He just started being Superman, he's not our beloved superhero yet. He was just a guy with powers who wanted to protect earth (in general), so he wasn't able to think about his actions before doing it.

I think what they were getting at there was that Jor-El felt kryptonians were currently failing themselves, with all newborns' roles being determined in advance being one of the issues. With Kal being naturally conceived, they felt he'd have a better chance of restoring what it meant to be kryponion, if that makes sense.

The kryptonite thing isn't bad explanation, although the bit that gets me is on the ship with krypton's atmosphere. He supposedly re-adapts to that atmosphere, as although he doesn't have his powers when he wakes up, he doesn't seem to be struggling like when he was first exposed. Green kryptonite on the other hand is always toxic when he's exposed to it.

Now if the film had stayed true to superman's source of power, even if the ship was such that the sun's radiation couldn't enter it, superman should still have his powers. They would just get drained quicker. I get that they do this in the film to get superman on even ground with the other kryptonians without weakening all of them, it just bugs me a little that such a fundamental aspect of superman has been altered.

As a newcomer to Superman, I'd like to say hello to all you loyal fans. He's a great character, and I'm thankful that Nolan, Goyer, Snyder and Cavill and Co have introduced me to him. I have seen Returns, but felt left out of that film as it wasn't for newcomers, it was for the fans. I never felt as strong a kind of connection before to a superhero character as much as this Man of Steel, as he was literally filled with tragedy and alienation and a genuine struggle to understand himself and the world going on around him, all the meantime trying to survive. I haven't read any of the comics, but I intend to start immediately! I was wondering if you could recommend what I would like best after loving this film?

For me, reading your complaints about his moral code, I feel that it's unrealistic to expect a man only three weeks ago discover he can fly, to save absolutely EVERYBODY in Metropolis. He is a raw superman, he is not in control, he doesn't know his limits, there is going to be collateral damage, that is the power of the Kryptonians. He isn't even Superman for me until he starts at the daily planet, and becomes his purpose. Yes it isn't clear why he wants to save humanity, apart from his father telling him he should lead them into the light.

So hopefully the sequel will develop upon this moral code, and be tested by somebody interesting enough to reveal more about what Kal is capable of, and the fantastic potential between Lois and Clark. I mean, we all know who he is, and would spend the entire film willing her to find out, so why not let her know and let that relationship develop?

For the whole gradual development of superman's power's, they could be doing it like in smallville where his powers develops as he develops physically and mentally into an adult. Yes 33 years does seem a long time, although just thought, Jor-El said he needed to test his limits, so Kal probably never tried to do just that beforehand.

For the kryptonions' powers, I didn't mind them having all their strength, speed etc. But I agree that superman should have had a clear advantage, as he has more experience with using his powers.

yes credit where its due to the brilliant writer! Seb Patrick!

what was the significance of that ship?!

I think what a lot of people are missing is that this Clark has spent a childhood being hounded by humans and is wary of them, even in the face of his wanting to save people. I think that this battle with Zod and the Kryptonians could be looked at as Superman coming to grips with his choice of Earth over Krypton and his own internal struggle of choosing this adopted world over his birth world.
The amount of destruction and presumed loss of human life could also engender a deep reflection in him later to do all he can to save people from harm and death. I looked at it as a coming of age and sensibility story for Superman in that this event will change his views on everything concerning death and bring about the nobility of the character in future installments.
Everyone has had singular moments in their lives that has shaped them into the person they ultimately become -- I feel that this event in Kal'Els life will shape him into the true Superman we all believe he should be.

I think a point a lot of people are missing with this film is that he isn't Superman until the last 5 minutes. The next film is going to be Lex Luthor's rise to political power based on a platform of 'Superman destroyed our city, I will rebuild it' and label Superman as much as an outlaw as Zod. None of that would be possible if Superman had dragged Zod off into the middle of the desert and quietly dispatched of him. Yes, none of the things he did defeating Zod we're particularly 'Supermanesq', but he wasn't Superman yet. There will be nothing of that level in the next movie.

yeah, he did seem to have that advantage, the whole focus on the island etc and in Smallville Zod couldn't handle the xray vision and the super hearing. Then all of a sudden in the final battle Zod is all "Oh, BTW I trained for years to focus my senses" PING.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the film, and I am happy to say my son will love it when I take him on my second viewing. He would never watch the Reeves era films, it's just way before his time. Do the new film does it's thing, reintroduces Superman to a younger generation, and gives us geeks something to drool over.

I just really hoped the way Supes defeated Zod was down to his moral code. In the smallville battle, his morality and humanity was pointed out as his weakness, so I hoped it would become a strength.

Also, trying to save the family at the end, for true tragic comedy value superman should have just said to Zod "You're kidding right? We just smashed half the city and thousands are dead, and a lot of people are going to be really pissed at me.... do you think saving these 4 will make any difference?"

And yet everyone sh*t on Superman Returns for emphasizing people-saving instead of superfights.

"it’s a little odd that as a major news editor, he’s so reluctant to run a
story for no reason other than 'the public aren’t ready for it'"

That's not quite accurate. White's reason for refusing to run the story is because Lois has no corroboration for many of the claims she makes in it. It's White's *opinion* that the world isn't ready for the revelation of ETs.

Absolutely not. of course, this movie is embarrassed of having anything to do with Superman.

That awkward moment when you show everyone what an idiot you are.

Personally the writers dont understand The Charachter at all. They stole the template of Donner's film but they failed to provide The Heart. Superman does not need to break necks or cause the death of thousands by collateral damage.

I am 37 so I am strongly in The Donner camp but I loved the trailer of Man of Steel and I wanted to enjoy it.

Superman is fun with a nod and a wink not this tonal mess of a film.

My Issues

1) Krypton. Russel Crowe is a frustrated action star, Zod is one note EVIL,
The Costumes are DULL and we chuck in a meaningless 'Prequel' battle in the background.

2) The Oil Rig. No build up, He jumps off the boat in broad daylight and saves people. No one on The rescue Helicopter has a Camera phone. This act of heroism banished from the script after it happens.

3) Condensed, It is a tonal mess and where was 'the hero's journey'? No crane shots, jeez the last flying shot of Chris Reeve in IV was better than anything this fake mess contributed. I wanted to have fun and I just didn't.

Why? As Zod said, they were all trained as warriors since birth. Clark trained... never. Of course the soldier is going to fight better than Clark.

They changed Kara from a cousin to an ancestor, and the whole idea of MoS Krypton is that their entire species plateaued.

I view this movie in the same light as I did Casino Royale. James Bond didn't "become" 007 until just before the closing credits.
In the same way this was about Kal "becoming" Superman.

I also loved the way the heroism of normal people was played up, from the military, to the police, to even Perry White, trying to save Jenny.

I think this is what inspires Kal and in turn, he will reflect the hope and greatness he's seen in the human race

Trained as warriors is fine, but being just as strong as Supes in 24 hours, when it took him 33 years just doesn't make any sense..

It didn't actually take Clark 33 yrs to "Power up" as people keep saying, he was a baby when he came to Earth. The powers manifest after the body reaches a certain stage of maturity; Zod and co. being full adults is why they immediately have their power, and this is consistent with the comics. John Byrnes 80's era Superman explored the Krypton idea of controlled genetics and social roles for the people, and this aspect was handled very well by Snyder.

You are spot on Kris. I tire of the "He would NEVER cross that line" arguments. He not only WOULD he HAS. In that scene, there was no time to do anything else but what he did. It was that or watch Zod vaporize a woman and her children. Sorry, Kal El did the RIGHT thing in that moment.

The prequel comic they put out depicts Kara, Supergirl as being sent to Earth in that ship, she is in statis on board somewhere for Mos 2 presumed.

Not just Smallville, recent DC comics showed that Jor El teleported Thomas Wayne, Batman's father to Krypton and gave him the tech that gave Wayne enterprises a huge advantage in the technology industry.

His age is completely besides the point, though... The film makes it clear that he has been struggling to find a sense of identity throughout his life, and he really has only just started to become the hero that, as you put it, we know and love. Just as importantly, he has only just found this identity and, again, the film makes it clear that he is still processing it. To quote a cliche, Rome wasn't built in a day.

You're missing the point completely, in my opinion. As Seb states, that character is intended to be the polar opposite of Jor-El, and it is done very effectively. The whole point of Jonathan dying the way he does is to illustrate, very effectively, that Clark is not YOUR Clark Kent at that point. The Clark at the end of the film would have done things differently. I think it's also worth noting that Jonathan dying, especially the way he does, removes him from the board as a possible opponent to Jor-El's ethos.

Just didn't feel the emotion in the film, I really missed the old score and I know everyone has slagged S Returns off but couldn't help but get a tear in my eye and goosebumps when I was sat in the cinema and heard the old Supes theme! Also certain scenes brought a tear to my eye such as the actual return in the baseball stadium, the sacrifice of pushing the island into space and the scene outside the hospital when it showed his mother, nothing in the new movie made a lump come into my throat and thought the CGI was game standard in some areas.

Interesting article, and you have made some good points, but there are still a few problems with it...

"(...)director who, and let’s be frank, is largely known for flashy but superficial takes on his source material"
Um, no? Watchmen was far from superficial, it was about as good and faithful an adaptation that could be made of the comic. The few changes that Synder did make, I mostly liked.

"aside from that, and following his early scenes as a bearded, shirtless mysterious rescuer, he doesn’t actually do a lot in the way of protecting."
You're right, other than saving THE WHOLE PLANET, he does almost nothing in the way of protecting anyone. *facepalm*

"there’s not a single moment where Superman looks to take the fight elsewhere to avoid collateral harm, or pay attention to the fact that he’s slinging Zod through shattering buildings (buildings which the film never mentions might have been evacuated)."
In regards to that specific incident, given that the city had been victim of a major catastrophic attack along the lines of an earthquake, I think it's a more than logical conclusion to make that those buildings had indeed been evacuated by that point. In general, however , you make a valid point here.

Oh I understand that, I understand their reasoning for making him biologically as opposed to scientifically... but why not go with him anyway? Or at least leave Krypton? They didn't even seem to consider this option, despite the fact that their son might need looking after if, say, another Kryptonian hunted him down and tried to destroy the planet he was on. What if Zod had arrived when Kal-El was still a child?

Its an Extinction level event.....what do you expect loads of people were gonna die, if nobody had been killed you same people would have said it wasn't realistic enough and was a bit soft!!!

The moment he killed he ceased being Superman. Period.

That's not Superman then, he always thinks of protecting innocents, that's part of his integral character... even in his first outing as the Man of Steel, there's no way he would let utter carnage happen by virtue of his actions, he is NOT someone who believes the ends justify the means and that collateral damage is acceptable in stopping the bad guy(s), he's supposed to represent the very best of humanity, and the new film clearly doesn't get that fact in their pursuit of big CGI action sequences!

The Donner film(s) remain the definitive take on the character, Christopher Reeve remains the definitive portrayal of that character... when Superman battles the Kryptonian villains in 'Superman II' he leads them away from Metropolis to avoid any further civilian injuries, he didn't tear up the city trying to stop them... and THAT'S the big difference between the two adaptations, the latter is more representative of the character, whilst the new adaptation sacrifices that for mere spectacle...

The earliest depiction of Zod and Jor-El as former friends and allies, that I know of is Kevin J. Anderson's 2007 novel: The Last Days of Krypton. There might be an earlier use in the comics or other media, but I don't know about it.

First off, Pa Kent doesn't tell him to let the kids die he says something to the effect of "maybe, I don't know", which shows hi struggle with the situation. Hence adding depth to the character of Sups dad. Second, it's refreshing to see a new take on the material rather than the same old "one dimensional" all good, totally flat Pa Kent character. Third, Pa goes after the dog, wich would infer a moral depth, which you're arguing he doesn't have, And makes sense that he'd want Clark to keep Martha safe. Further, sups havin to make Choice not to save his father because he signals him not to solidifies the moral struggle that will fulfill his character arch later in the film. I don't remember any of the other films having an arch for Sups, which is another reason why this adaptation has more going on than just action. It seems like the haters need to tak some time to decode what's happening in this film as most of the arguments (or all in this article) are focusing on their hurt expectations rather than focusing on the REAL problems with the film.

He could be 40 and still coming to terms with his powers, the early superman idea is so important to how to view this film. he has no idea how the world will view him, he's scared, not confident and even at 33 he's trying to find himself. What is the point in his life?

My biggest issue with superman on film so far is he is presented as an absolute, complete in every facet of his personality, there is no character arc, no growth and no grey areas. that is more unbelievable than how he is presented here. Now we have a chance for character growth, he will grow in confidence and become the upstanding hero we know, his journey to becoming that man has never been explored on film before and it is refreshing.

Regarding him killing Zod again really well done and shocking, how do you hurt an invincible character, how do you make him struggle and make the journey hard? you have to hit him with these impossible choices, make it painful and make it hurt and that's what Zods death did. Niether option was good for Supes but he chose to save the earth family and it was painful, you never see any other super hero on film have to make a decision like that made my jaw drop.

the other point about the volume of destruction, well we live in a world where unfortunately we have all seen what really happens when a plane hits a city so for this to work the destruction had to be on that scale, our technology can do a lot of destruction so how much damage would alien tech do. and as for him not taking the fight from metropolis, who for one minute thinks Zod would let him. Zod made quite clear that his intention was to kill as many humans to make clark hurt, even if Clark had tried to lure Zod out zod would have kept on pummeling the city as he knows Clark would come back and it hurt him.

Now Clark is more sure of his place in the world, he know what he can do and he knows to a large extent how the world views him, he can now become that hero

I'd imagine that if the World Engine in the Indian Ocean was near, or right on top of, the Indian Plate then a major tsunami catastrophe, caused by continuous earthquakes, that would likely have killed considerably more people than in Metropolis at the time, would have probably occurred. So it makes sense to me that Superman would want to stop that one first.

People seem to forget that in Superman 2 he steals Zod's power, crushes his puny mortal hand then throws him off a cliff, whilst Lois punches out Ursa with a similar fatal result all the while wisecracking to one another. In MoS at least he was conflicted and this may be a root cause of his aversion to killing in sequels.

I think they thought that they themselves were part of the failing kryptonion society. So having Kal on his own would be deemed as a completely fresh start.

That being said I get what you mean. Even if Kal's parents believed they were all doomed, other kryptonions would surely try and escape via their own spaceships

It just seems odd that, given they had sent ships out into the universe thousands of years ago, they couldn't get off the planet as it was exploding. Now, in previous iterations I don't recall there ever being ships sent out, in which case Kal-El's pod might be the only space bound ship ever built (and Zod's triangle, which seemed pretty directionless), presumably by his father in a desperate attempt to save his son. But here they fairly obviously had time to use spaceships... and didn't?

(I could be wrong about no spaceships; I'm not that well versed in Superman lore)

u missed the point, it's not in his character to cause collateral damage and they messed that part up big time!
good movie though.

returns sucked....see 1978 version friend and u will see why all the fans are disappointed.

defend this movie all you want, clark wouldn't let him die.

cliff? what cliff?
they were in his fortress and he didn't kill him.

Yes I agree that a few examples of him trying to limit the damage being caused would've been a nice touch but I certainly don't think that means they "didn't get" the character like some have been saying.

Surely we have to allow the writers some leeway if they're trying to do a fresh take on the character. This character is a much bolder and more ambitious version of Superman than the Donner one and I'm pleased that it is.

Kryptonite wasn't introduced until the 60's so at that point that wasn't "the character" either. And that is a far bigger difference than saying the character evolves, learns and grows to become the Superman we know.

If the various great Superman writers over the last 75 years had the same attitude as you seem to have - nothing new can be added; characters cannot be developed; nothing can be changed - the character would have ceased to be before we were born.

Ranting because somebody dares to alter YOUR Clark Kent in any way doesn't help anything.

I love the fact that they were prepared to add new ideas and develop old ones - which is exactly where Bryan Singer's movie fell down.

As a Superman newbie, you seem to have somehow grasped that the writers did the right thing in evolving the mythos better than the majority of existing fans. (Many of whom, it seems, would have the Superman universe remain unchanged for the rest of our lives - how boring?)

As for comics, Man of Steel, Birthright, All Star Superman and Secret Origin are all clear influences on this movie.

As for non-influences, Luthor, Secret Identity and Red Son are all awesome.

I would say, though, that the Superman we see in this new movie is a more rounded, developed, flawed and human character than we have seen before. They did a great job.

Brilliant. Couldn't agree more.

Exposure to the yellow sun and Earth's atmosphere gives Kryptonian's all of these abilities. Unless I missed something, the movie didn't say longer exposure results in greater strength?

Clark's powers developed as he got older as he was a young man and still growing.

It's the new fortress of solitude. And how Jor-El teaches Supes about Krypton and who he is.

true, i'm just happy they didn't try to do a 78 version cause that movie is one of a kind.....man of steel has more to like than dislike.i cause my point is this Luke fighting with a light saber in a crowded room and hacking and slashing innocent people while fighting a sith wouldn't happen, he would surrender or at least try to get out of the room.
Boy i can't wait til 2015! :)

Changes are fine, as long as they aren't dumb. Jonathan Kent proposing that Clark hide his abilities to the extent of allowing people to die when he knows full-well the worst that's going to happen is that his precious farm might be overrun by reporters and the government is not just dumb, it's criminal. It removes Superman's step-father from the reason this kid with super powers turns into a good and decent human instead of a selfish, all-powerful alien. And Martha's laid-back complicity in her husband's death? Beyond dumb and into unbelievable. I liked the end where he asked the General to trust him because "I'm from Kansas"...but what did he learn from his Kansas parents? Hide your powers...maybe even to the point of letting people die, because...what? They're going to not like you? They're going to kneel before Kent? Yes, I believe they would have hidden him and might have been worried about him showing his powers off with abandon (like using it to win a football game or something petty and selfish), but if I'm a kid that can lift a fricking bus out of the water and save his classmates, I'm not going to take getting scolded over it just because my dad's scared to be found out, and I'm certainly not going to stand by and let him die just 'cuz he tells me to!

I know of Superman's strong moral code and I loved the movie. Here's the thing that people fail to realize about the implications of two super-powered beings fighting each other. If one of them stops engaging the other every time a person is in danger, then that will only prolong the fight and put more people in danger. During the fight in the town, Faora keeps putting people at risk and, had Superman tried to pull them out of the town, they would have just kept picking off civilians and soldiers until he came back. They knew he was fighting for his chosen world even then. In the final battle, it was pretty clear that most of the buildings were evacuated by the time Superman got there. There were simply no people involved until that final, fateful moment.

Ah yes, but Luke in his first weeks as a Jedi hacking and slashing innocent people (unintentionally) and then being told by Obi Wan "that's not how we do things" and - as a result - learning from that. That would work in my opinion.

I think that Goyer, to an extent, has been a victim of how unique and original he has tried to be. We are used to seeing the events that lead Clark Kent to become Superman. We are not used to seeing Kal-El trying to find his place on an alien planet and learning how to become Superman mentally and emotionally.

This is what Goyer has created (superbly, for me) and has led to cries of "but he wouldn't kill Zod!" or "he wouldn't cause collateral damage". This is a more realistic take where, for the first time, the character has a real arc and grows a lot between when we first see adult Clark and the final scene.

He is not the iconic Superman we all know until the very last scenes, culminating with the great line: "Glad to be here, Lois".

That's how I see it anyway.

Here's my thoughts on some of your points:

1: "Jonathan Kent proposing that Clark hide his abilities... when he knows full-well the worst that's going to
happen is that his farm might be overrun by reporters and the
government"

No, the worst that will happen is that his son will be treated like an outcast, persecuted, hunted and experimented on. This is mentioned on numerous occasions. The fact that Jonathan says "maybe" just shows how conflicted he is. You call this dumb. I thought it was a smart piece of writing adding layers to the character.

2: "what did he learn from his Kansas parents? "

How to control his powers. This is one of the first scenes when he's a kid and Martha calms him down. He says to Zod later something like "my parents taught me how to focus my abilities". It was loud and clear to me that he would've been nowhere without their help. He even says "I grew up in Kansas. I'm as American as it gets".

DC can't make a decent Superman film. Good luck trying to catch Marvels money making machine with the rubbish I just saw.

It was too long, and the characters were poorly developed. They went for a humour free serious tone, so that failing killed the film. The CGI sequences were too long, I was bored by the fight scenes in a damn super hero film. Just because you can blow up 3 million buildings in an endless flying CGI fight scene doesn't mean you should.

Ironman 3 was fun and the Batman films showed you could make a serious super hero film. All this film shows is rebooting the superman franchise is really difficult.

I get what you mean, the best bit of Superman returns was the score, through I didn't care for the rest of the film.

The current film, If they had killed Superman, or had blownup the Earth, I would have shrugged my shoulders, and carried on eating my popcorn. I didn't care who won the endless CGI fight scenes, or about the clunky exposition of why character X was doing what.

It just wasn't fun. I think the big problem is too much superman, not enough Clark Kent. Superman is an idealistic borring character, Clark Kent navigating the world, and doing this while having to keep his secret identity, that is interesting.

Zod fell into a deep smoke filled chasm beneath the Fortress as did Non and Ursa. Pretty certain they were killed. You're right, it was in the Fortress, I was using 'cliff' as a flip term for 'bloody great height not survivable by those without superpowers'. Apologies for the confusion.

It's a reboot and a fresh take so they're trying to show how Clark REALLY becomes Superman, much like how Batman Begins shows how Bruce becomes Batman (you know, Bruce's trip). Because during his fight with Zod, he was not yet a superhero, he was just trying to shoo them away.

Maybe in the next film, when he will have had time to think about his actions and deal with its consequences, he will finally be Superman.

Thanks John, you are backing up what I originally pointed out and Soloner ignored. First, that everything that happens in this film serves the character arch and main plot. Second, the detractors are focused on te limitations of their own expectations as opposed to finding ACTUAL problems with the film. Hence, why the best argument Soloner can come up witth is "it's stupid", which is juvenile at best.

Here we go again. I often wonder if you people that say these things as definitive answers have read any comics? Or for that matter actually watched the film.
Guessing you meant MY (your) Clark Kent? I have seen Superman retconned countless times, there is no your Clark Kent. All comic book characters change over time I don't get upset about it when something changes.
I'm not defending the film as you say, merely saying what actually happened in it...
Last time, real slow for you...he did not let him die! But if that's what you think or want to keep complaining that this isn't your version of Superman then carry on.

To be honest, I think the whole "not being able to save people" thing was part of the idea of making Superman, well… more human. When you watch the film, you can see that the idea was to try and make it more realistic.
While I understand the "protector of humanity" status and how it has seemingly been neglected in the film, I prefer it the way it is. With the sheer amount of destruction caused, it would have become quite repetitive for him to fly around saving the civilians whilst he is caught in a fist-fight of colossal proportions. I never really bought into that, and I liked the way that he actually saved less people than usual in what was supposed to be an origins story, and therefore the first time he has used his powers.
I was a big fan of the comics as a kid, and I do completely understand where people are coming from. Hell, maybe they should have put at least one scene in which he is forgetting about what is happening to save the civilians.
But honestly, I think that fidelity to source material is given far too much providence in society. They have taken the original material, and they have tried to make it their own, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Although a pretty far removed example, look at what Kubrick did with The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, and even 2001.
Sometimes I appreciate it when the producers/writers/directors take liberties and risks with the original texts. But I would imagine that I am in the minority on that one.

I think your expectations point is right. Before I saw Man of Steel, I wanted something new and fresh. I wanted to see a new take on the character in line with what they did with The Dark Knight - something a bit more serious and grounded with a deep, relatable main character. It lived up to what I was hoping.

What I didn't want to see was a bright, fantastical, cartoony movie which doesn't take itself too seriously. Nothing wrong with that approach, but that style has been done definitively in the brilliant Donner/Reeve movies.

It seems a lot of other Superman fans just wanted to see the same old tried and tested formula again. In which case, I'm glad they've been disappointed.

clark would have died?
and i like the film but just don't understand a few things that's all...i'll see it again.

I don't think the fans know what they want. I wanted to see Singer "Xmen 2" Superman, but no one liked the first one. So we got the opposite with the new film and everyone is bitching. Sups fans need to figure out what they want.

No he wouldn't have died but Jonathan was protecting him nonetheless. It was Jonathan's wish for Clark to leave him, accepting his fate for the sake of his son. The conversation after the bus was key I think, his dad (and having kids I understand) made it clear that he believed that there was almost no cost too great to protect him from the world. Also the bit where he watches a younger Clark play about with the cape was him seeing that one day he would be something special, a hero to the world. To be that hero though he had to be hidden from the world until he was an adult.

If Supes had saved him then everyone under the bridge would've seen him do it, he was only a teenager so from that point forward he would have been under a microscope with no chance of a normal life growing up. Who knows what the government would do to him etc When things like that happen when someone is young it never ends well, it may have ended up with Kal being a destroyer rather than a saviour. I suppose it was also a lesson too, you can't save everyone no matter how much you want to and sometimes the greater good comes at a cost.

No matter what is retconned in Superman what never changes is his mum and dad will always do anything to protect him even at the cost of themselves. I actually seen quite a few parallels with Smallville in Man of Steel, Jonathan trying to get Clark to hide away but ultimately realising his destiny is bigger than everything and doing what he can to protect Clark until he is an adult and ready to realise it, which ended up with Jonathan dying protecting him. I mean his mum becomes the Red Queen of Checkmate in Smallville to protect him.

Anyway that's my thoughts, written in a rush as at work so apologies if bits didn't make sense or I rambled. Also I may have been a bit harsh with previous comment I was just getting annoyed with some peoples only complaint being "Clark wouldn't do this" or "My Superman wouldn't do this or that". As a comic book fan I long ago accepted that characters change over time or need re-imagined for new generations. I mean if Superman never changed from when he was first written he wouldn't even fly! And imo there wasn't even anything in the film that didn't fit with the character of Superman

I couldn't agree more. My heart just sank when the fight scenes brought down building after building...I couldn't take my mind off the thousands of lives being sacrificed. I kept hoping Superman would find a way to save everyone. It was disconcerting to say the least.

Change for the sake of change.

I'm not sure how you can say that when the previous Superman movie (which changed the character of Superman very little - even down to casting somebody who looked like Christopher Reeve) has been heavily criticised and is regarded as a failure.

Something new was definitely required - and this is it. Not change for the sake of it at all.

I didn't get this part until the second viewing. Jonathan Kent is his father figure. Despite the teenage boy row he'd just had ("you're not my real Dad") Jonathan is still the one true authority figure Clark has ever known.

Pa Kent knows exactly what he's doing the moment he hands Clark the child to take to shelter. He doesn't know he's going to die, but he knows Clark won't be able to control using his powers if he's on the front line, and will throw himself into harms way to risk that. He's one step ahead.

In this way, Jonathan is a fantastically heroic role model to Clark. It also screw Clark up emotionally, as he feels forever guilty about who he is.

thanks for letting me know! sounds awesome, do you think they will be an ally? Would they be older? would they be wiser? an older woman perhaps? or a villain? or could they use this alien thing as wonder woman - but then that would fundamentally change her origin and she wouldn't be wonder woman at all? just thinking how on earth that character is going to be given the movie treatment that works?! i am excited by this Kara though!

Good points. I agree with the oil rig scene. No connection and no build up. They didn't go over why Clark cared about people. There were decent parts to the film but overall I felt superman was absent.

The only time I felt superman was in the movie was in the childhood flash backs. The bus scene and then when he strikes the classic pose with the blanket around his neck. It was like saying the hopeful and inspirational superman only exists in our pasts.

True that the film borrows from Birthright, All-Star and others but it hugely borrows from Superman Earth One which came out 3 years ago (literally, its the template for the film and in some ways does things better).

Like the film, Ka-el has to make a choice to reveal himself to the world against a villian named tyrell who threatens to destroy the earth if ka-el does not reveal himself to him. (very similar to Zod). What I like about the graphic novel is that it has a more complete ending than the film (like an aftermath) and I like that there's a page dedicated to the what metropolis thinks of Superman.

But yeah, pick up the books that people have recommended. Earth One is more of a modern re-imagining but most of the other books have a lot of the essence of the character. If you get around to watching the first two Donner Films (they're great and I wasn't born yet when they came out) read Superman: Last son of Krypton (make sure its the one by Donner and Geoff Johns). It incorporates superman mythology from the comics and the Donner Films.

yeah he killed a lot of people from the fight scene. Maybe thats why The Dark Knight will confront superman in the sequel.

It's funny how people want to explains the lack of interest in saving civilians and the killing of Zod like it's something you begin to learn after you put a suit well designed for you by your father (a future usb flash drive) when you were just born. These notions were supposed to be taught to him by his parents. You know them? They are two "characters" that could have been important in the story if Goyer knew how to write a character. Oh let's kill Kevin Costner, we already heard all his lines in the trailer... I agree almost completely with this article, but the friendship between Zod and Jor-El comes from the Geoff Johns run of Superman. Goyer couldn't even had this idea. The best thing he's capable of is pushing the amount of plot holes to the limit of ridiculous. I think the best way to understand the two different opinions about Man of Steel is the quote at the end of the article: 'If you like Superman because he’s the most powerful man in the world, you loved MoS. If you like him ‘cuz of his moral code and as protector of humanity, you were disappointed.'

Man of Steel was for the Marvel fans. I'm not saying this to insult Marvel fans and I'll try to put it respectfully. I love DC because in the best stories, you have questions and reflexions about many concepts, but sometime, it can be boring to a bunch of people. I don't like Marvel, because in the best stories, it looks like someone tried to novelize his last game of Mortal Kombat. There's no story, just battles and destruction. BUT if that's the reason you like comic book, hey, you're my friend and I like you! There's was no reflexion in Man of Steel, just destruction and action. That's why I say it was a Superman film for the Marvel audience.

thats where lex luthor comes in to complain.. they all planned it out perfectly

i'd love you to be in a fight and try to handle all the details... its almost impossible.. i;ve been practicing different for many years fighting styles such as muy thai, jiu jitsu, wrestling, and one thing in common is that you can never take your eye off the opponent... imagine that at a godly scale literally defining the fate of the world.. you wouldnt want to take your eye off or youll be dead in a second... so i dont blame snyder making the movie realistic

I'm completely new to Superman: Never read the comics, watched any TV shows, movies, etc. So I hope someone can forgive me for asking this: Why does Superman have his powers? Is it the oxygen we breath or something? When I first watched the film I thought he was born with his powers (Hence why the Kryptonians needed their super suits to fight him), but after Zod took off his helmet I figured it had something to do with our atmosphere.
As I write this one of my friends tells me that it was our yellow sun, but in the film Krypton has a yellow sun (Look at the picture above under "Krypton") so why didn't all the kryptons leave the planet and live in space when they could have survived like Superman did?
Is there a point in the film that explains how Superman has his powers and I just missed it?

Alright...I thought the film was was neat when it came to the action. An argument could be made about the "morals" in the story, but you have to remember that the "no-killing superman" was brought about by writers that were against killing of any kind. If Superman was smart and morally right, he would kill Zod. Why? because the guy had just killed all of those people (i know, Superman arguably was responsible in a way) and no court would be able to try this man...so morally, it would be right for Superman to kill Zod because it would be in the "line of duty". It is not murder but justice...like a man shooting and killing another man for defense reasons.
The main reason I was so disappointed in the movie was because Superman was WEAK! He was about 33 when he began to fly? He was evolving to become better? It is just stupid! The Clark Kent of the Smallville TV show, or the Superman of the comics, at the age of 21 or 22, would be able to beat the "Man of Steel" and all of the other kryptonians by himself. And lastly, Superman is a Battery! He can store Sunlight seemingly infinitely (I think he can based off of all the comics I have read of him). This means that when he was brought onto the ship, he would still have his powers. Why? because he has been storing sunlight since he first arrived onto the planet earth...This is what makes him the strongest kryptonian by a long shot. It would not matter if the atmospherics were different or not. His cells have been storing sunlight for about 28 to 30 years! There could have been a miniature red sun on board the craft and it would still take a loooooong time before the red sunlight would have replaced the yellow sunlight in his cells. Agh!!! I was so looking forward to the movie, and again, I still liked it because of the action and the adversity that the superman had to overcome...but he was made out to be so weak. Someone will probably say this is just my opinion, but it is an opinion that anyone would (or at least should) come to if they compared the Man of Steel movie with the comics. I know it was supposed to be done differently and it would be like another earth (for example, like Earth-1 or Earth-106). but his powers were suppose to be somewhat the same.
Thanks for reading! :)

I am sick of people crying about superman not taking the fight somewhere else. why would the villains follow him? if he left then they still would have gotten what they had wanted. if superman leaves then they could just go on terra forming the earth and deal with him later. my question is why would they want to terra form the earth? they had god like powers from the yellow sun.

I've watched the film a few times now and I can't help but feel that somewhere in the development of the destruction sequences there was some Warner or DC executive with a hard-on for Marvel-crushing whispering in Snyder's ear: "Come on Zach, we haven't wrecked more buildings than the Avengers yet..."

Sponsored Links