Man of Steel, take 2

30 Nov

The other day I was sitting around with a friend who admitted he had not seen the recent Superman film, Man of Steel. I saw it in the theater when it came out- didn’t love it- but I had recently gotten the blu-ray (not because I felt it had likely improved or that my opinion had changed but because I own all the Superman films, even Quest for Peace) and it was determined that we should watch it. So we did.

man-of-steel-poster-final

My opinion has not changed; it still isn’t a good Superman film.

It is a decent action-y, summer film, though.

The end bothers me a lot if they call it a Superman film. The destruction of not one, but TWO cities, along with the hero taking a life. I recently saw an argument on twitter that it never says anywhere in the lore that Superman cannot kill… OK, fine, but the point is Superman doesn’t kill. Superman has the power to do so much- he could easily dominate the human race. But he doesn’t. He has to maintain a belief in right, he has to project that same belief onto those who look up to him. Thus… Superman does not kill. So the end of the film, wherein he snaps Zod’s neck as Zod threatens to heatblast a family- why didn’t he just cover Zod’s eyes? His only option was to snap his neck? I don’t think so.

The only thing I accept about that end is that he breaks- he does something so against who he is, that he cannot merely move on; he has an emotional break. That’s his humanity coming through. It’s like how Tony Stark has PTSD in Iron Man 3.

WTF? There's no way the pants survived!

WTF? There’s no way the pants survived!

I won’t complain about the chest hair sticking up out of Superman’s costume. Or how one of my girlfriends brought up that during the oil rig scene, when he falls into the ocean, the rest of his clothes have been shredded and burned away… except for his pants. OK, wait… come on, the Superman suit survives everything because there is theoretically a field or something millimeters from his skin that protects him, and thus it is protected. But the t-shirt wasn’t saved by it. So how were the loose pants? Or at least… the thigh and crotch. Come on…

OK, moving on- next on my list of issues is how Clark/Superman is only focused on himself. Alright, he saves the kids on the bus. And he jumps off the boat to save the men on the oil rig. But not because he needs to save people because it’s right. Maybe the oil rig situation fits that, but the bus seems much more selfish. Even if in the end, it does make some people suspicious and scared of him. Clark, before becoming Superman, was always looking for Man-of-Steel5himself and helping others. Always. In the Earth One comic by Straczynski and Davis, he comes off as much more of a kid trying to fit into this world. He’s still compelled to help others (Martha even helps him process his desires to do so, says “truth is, if you do go down that road, you’ll probably lose more than you’d ever stand to gain”) but he wants to be happy- it takes him a but too realize they go hand in hand. That feeling is not a part of the film. When he helps someone, it’s like a last minute choice. Or a means to helping himself. Is it just me? I don’t think so. But either way, it never seems like he does it because it’s the right thing. Where’s the nobility? Why am I going to look up to him? Tom Welling’s Clark Kent did things because he needed to help others; he had the power and thus needed to use it. When he tried not to, he ended up helping anyways. He did everything within his power to protect himself and those he loved but he still was out there. I never get that feeling from Man of Steel.

Maybe that’ll change in the sequel.

Yes, the guy who wanted to watch it loved it. But he knows nothing about anything geeky. His comic knowledge is pathetic. Even worse than mine. And all he saw was a summer action film. I wish that had been what I saw.

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2 Responses to “Man of Steel, take 2”

  1. motherkus December 1, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Agreed. Supes should always make the choice not to kill even if it comes back to bite him in the sequel.

    • elizabeth ann December 1, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      YES! He isn’t worth looking up to if he just chooses to kill enemies. Makes him no better than the humans.

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