I pray all is well. My friend recently e-mailed me a review of Man of Steel (MOS), and I decided to include my response below. You can check out the review here, which I thought was really good. I also thought the MOS was really good, and below I offer a different perspective on the points of criticism raised in the review. Two quick points: (1) I’m not familiar with much of the story in the comics and movies, so my perspective is that of an outsider; (2) I viewed this film as an origin story introducing us to the beginnings of a character who has a ways to go before he’s the character he is today. It’s full of spoilers, so don’t read if you haven’t seen it.
Thanks for the link…it’s a great review! While I agree with the reviewer in terms of the destruction possibly being too much, I had a different take on his other criticisms.
(1) In terms of saving people, I actually thought that element of him was explored pretty clearly. Particularly when he was younger, as there were three instances while growing up that he saved or helped someone (e.g., the men on the boat, the kids on the school bus, and the girl in the bar). Personally I liked how they showed him helping people at different ages, to also show how he as well as others reacted to it. Especially when he saves his classmates on the school bus.
(2) I actually liked the fact that when the lady who worked for the Daily Planet got stuck, Superman wasn’t there to save her. For one, I think having people die during the destruction and having people in danger without him being around is a more realistic scenario, because regardless of his powers, he can’t be everywhere at once. Secondly, I thought the scene with her being trapped was pretty powerful because of Lawrence Fishburn and the other guy’s decision to stay with her to the end. They were willing to give their lives trying to save her, which I think shows the true meaning of what Superman represents: the “hero” in all of us. To me it was kind of like The Dark Knight Rises, where Batman was saying how he meant for Batman to be a symbol…something to inspire others.
(3) Although Superman doesn’t kill, I’m assuming that him killing Zod is the thing that solidifies his oath not to kill. Since this is an origin story and he’s still understanding his powers and what his responsibilities are to others, it seems likely that this incident was included to explain to viewers why he doesn’t kill. To me it makes him more relatable if his unwavering choice not to kill stems from an actual past decision he made that had a profound effect on him, as opposed to just having this strong belief but without a deep personal connection to it .
(4) I think one of the cool parts of the movie is his relationship with humans and the government. I think that was a significant part of the movie, that contributed to giving him more contemporary relevance.
(5) I think some of the reviewers’ criticisms run contrary to giving Superman more contemporary relevance. For example, if he didn’t kill Zod and showed he was devastated by it, or if he was always saving people, I feel like he would be less relatable to people. I think this movie was less about who Superman is or what he represents, and more about showing the early stages of how he got there. I look at this movie as the “rough patch” in his life as he’s figuring things out, before he becomes the hero and symbol he’s known as.
(6) Overall, I think that many of the things the reviewer criticized helps Superman become more relatable and relevant in today’s times, assuming this is just the beginning of further character development. If they are just having the character do different things (.e.g, kill Zod) just for the sake of doing something different, then I think it’s a bad move.
(7) Lastly, I’m not a Superman fan so I’m not familiar with how he’s depicted in the comics or other movies. So my view on the film is very limited.