Man of Steel came out nearly a year ago. I’d like to remind everyone of that before you pile hate on me. Warning: Major spoilers ahead.
Now, to the point, I saw this film on opening day, in 3D, what’s my verdict?
I loved it.
In my opinion, Man of Steel was the best superman film since Superman II. Why? For the first time, I felt like he was a relatable character. He felt like someone who had been ostracized by his peers his entire life, like he couldn’t relate to to any of the people around him. And that’s exactly the way he should feel.
Superman is an alien (sorry for the spoilers), so he should feel alien. He shouldn’t be instantly accepted by society as a hero, because that just wouldn’t happen. If you saw a news story about a super-strong man with X-Ray vision, flying around your city in blue underwear and a red cape, you wouldn’t be excited about it. No one would be excited about it, especially not if someone demanded his head in exchange for the safety of your planet.
But I’m getting slightly off topic. I came out of Man of Steel being pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. imagine my surprise when the first review I read tore the film a new asshole (for lack of a better phrase). Most of the complaints came from the different interpretation of a few main characters, like Superman and Jonathan Kent, but mostly Pa Kent.
Jonathan Kent, in the comics and many (many) adaptations. Served as a voice of reason for Clark. He fit this role in Man of Steel as well, but more as a father who wasn’t sure how to raise a son so radically different from himself. I liked this interpretation because he didn’t sound like a platitude spewing robot, like in many adaptions in the past. A perfect example is when Clark, as a child, saves his classmates fro drowning in a schoolbus using his super strength. Kent confronts his son, telling him its something he shouldn’t have done, but quickly backpedals when Clark asks him if the kids should have died. This is a major scene in the film, and one that is disliked by most critics. But, really, what is he supposed to say: “Good job on potentially blowing the cover you’ve maintained for your safety, Clark!”?
I don’t think so. Instead, he tells Clark that maybe it was the right decision to save his classmates, but he’s also exposed himself as different, more different than his classmates already thought he was. This makes his decision later in the film, at his death, well within his character. He knows the world isn’t ready for Superman, and he’s right. The first thing the military does to Clark is put him in handcuffs.
The second thing that is most criticized about the film is Clark killing Zod. We’re talking about a man who held an entire planet hostage in the pursuit of one man. Zod was planning on turning earth into Krypton on top of the corpses of his human victims. This is a man who made it clear that if Earth wasn’t going, he was. Clark actually actively avoided killing Zod for most of the film. it wasn’t until he was faced with an ultimatum that he finally resorted to killing the only remainder of his entire species. Critics act like this is an out of character decision for Clark, claiming that Superman doesn’t kill. But he most certainly does. Superman killed Zod at least three times in the comics. But again, not the point.
Man of Steel introduces us to Superman essentially before he was Superman, and thus with none of the preexisting “rules” that Superman comes with. The action of killing Zod could be the catalyst for him swearing off the act of murder. It could be the formation of his no killing “rule”. Presenting us with a Superman this early in his superhero career will help to establish him as a more complete character. We could see him learn what it truly means to be a superhero, and see him become the “golden boy” that fans know him to be. It opens the door for growth and change in a previously dull as dishwater character.
To me, this is the film that finally made Superman interesting.
As for the level of destruction, it wasn’t Clark, not all of it anyway. Most of the destruction is a direct consequence of Zod’s actions, either from the terraforming machine, or him literally slamming Clark into buildings, it was all Zod. But that’s a whole different rant entirely.
I totally agree with the critics about the “Romance” though. As much as I love Amy Adams, it was too early for Lois to be romantically involved with Clark.
And by the way, Superman Returns wasn’t that bad either.