Man of Steel: A few thoughts 6


man_of_steel_poster6-610x889Hey everyone,

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.

Thoughts?


About R-Squared Comicz

I'm a Christian, husband, student, & comic writer. I like comics, hip-hop, basketball, & learning, and at the end of the day, I pray that my life meant something.

  • Mike Poteet

    I can kinda make my peace with Man of Steel as the “rough patch” in our hero’s life, as you say; but not quite, because, although we are *told* time and time again that he is a symbol of hope, we never really *see* it. He is so busy saving people (the ones he can, anyway – too bad for lots of folks in downtown Metropolis), he doesn’t have time to inspire them. Maybe if this movie had been book-ended by framing sequences of some kid wondering, “Gee, dad, where did Superman come from, and was he always so super?” But I suppose such a device is too “cutesy” for today’s cinema.

    Anyway, interesting thoughts. Despite having come out strongly in favor of it at the time, I am still struggling with my own feelings on the film.

    • RsquaredComicz

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I wonder how my perspective on it would potentially be different if I was a Superman fan in some way, and went into it with certain expectations based off of that. Looking forward to see how they do the sequel, because much of my commentary was based on certain things about the character being addressed/emphasized in later films.

  • Doug Curtis

    I have many mixed feelings about this film. One this is I dislike Pa Kent’s paranoia “don’t show your powers, ” “Maybe you should have let those kids die on the bus.” NO! The Pa Kent I knew from the old comics, even from Smallville was far more honorable than the one presented in the movie. I was very disappointed. There were tiny little moments I did like, like when he said, “you are my son,” that chokes me up. However, even his own sacrifice to save the dog was ridiculous. I’m sorry, we all love dogs, but the old Superman I knew would have saved Pa Kent and everybody knowing it, be danged. He would have done it. I found Pa Kent’s death in the original Superman movie to be far more poignant, and Superman’s inability (and it was truly a situation where he could not save) to save him was more real.

    I like Zod as a TRUE villain. So many movies have it where “oh, he’s so misunderstood, and society/nature/circumstance made him what he is–boo hoo.” No, Zod was a true victim, and I know I’m not going to get too much support on this, but his death was justified at the hands of Superman. He made the choice. He made the right choice, and to me it was not a hard one. Keep a hard-bitten psychotic killer alive to only kill again at the first chance—or protect the lives of innocent. Sorry, not a hard choice at all.

    The only thing my brother and I agreed on with the movie was the beginning, with the events on Krypton. That’s one of the few things the movie got right.

    Lots of action. Loved it, but…..when I had the chance to see the movie again…I didn’t want to, because there was nothing else…no meat for me to bite into. The movie is a little on the hollow side, a little thin.

    I like the portrayal of the military. I was pretty happy about that, except that after shooting the bad guys for the 1,000th time with bullets, and they don’t blink or slow down, I think I’d give up on that method. But still, military was portrayed very valiantly and never backing down.

    My brother and I disagreed on this: I actually liked that Lois figured out who he was right away, that it showed her a very smart and clever woman. The whole idea of her working next to a guy that’s the same guy she reports on everyday, and she doesn’t even realize it, has gotten to be a bit of cliched joke. However, I do miss a little of the Superman/Clark/Lois cat-n-mouse from the original movies. Oh well. I guess I could take it either way.

    I do think this Superman is more of a take on John Byrne’s version of Superman, and you can tell by the art direction with Krypton. It’s almost exactly like John Byrne’s version. And, Superman was a little more brutal, taking life for the sake of protecting other life, in fact, he killed Zod, Zoara and Non in an alternate Earth for destroying all life on the planet.

    I don’t know. I liked the film initially, and I really wanted to, but the more I think about it, the less it sets well with me, but not for the same reason other people are siting. I’ll see how the sequel or the JLA film do.

    • RsquaredComicz

      Good points, and thanks for sharing!

  • Luis

    J,

    Oh so many thoughts. We should make MOS the theme for one of the next chats. I agree that the movie was good, not great. I think Batman Beginnings was a great film. It’s hard because this film had the potential to be great.

    I think that the film would actually been helped if we had seen his youth more and in order. The flashbacks, I felt, feel short of making a strong connection to Superman.

    I also feel as though there should have been more time spent on the interactions between characters. You have a great cast. The scene with Superman & Lois when he’s in handcuff’s should have been much longer. Allow those actors to be great and build chemistry and connection to the audience. I was excited about L. Fishburn filling the role of Editor and yet he contributed little.

    You should check out some of the Superman graphic novels. They have different takes on the origin stories and they’re really good. I can recommend some.

    Great game 7 last night. Was glad for Heat, and sad for Spurs. The heat are my team in the east, and Spurs in the west, so I was glad to see them battle it out.

    -Luis

    • RsquaredComicz

      Good points bro, and I totally agree. Especially with regards to seeing more of his childhood in order. And and that’ll be great if you recommended some for me, and thanks for reading!