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She Has No Head! – The Problem(s) With Man Of Steel

I love superheroes. I really really do. And so there are few things I like more man-of-steel-poster2than a good superhero film. One that reminds you what is great about superheroes – that gives you those superheroic chills – but that also manages to be a good film. It’s more rare than you’d think, especially since we’re in a sweet spot where some filmmakers are actually figuring it out – Batman, Avengers, Iron Man, Dredd – there have been some very good superhero movies in the last few years – which sometimes makes us forget how hard a thing it is to create a movie that is both good film and good superhero movie.

Sadly, Man of Steel is not among them.

But before I get into this, let’s take a moment to say, it’s great if YOU liked or even loved the film. I am honestly happy for you, in fact, I’m jealous, because I wanted to love it too. And I am not saying you are a moronic dolt that doesn’t know a thing about film or superheroes if you liked it. Don’t personalize this. This is about why think Man of Steel is a terrible film, from both a superhero fan and a film lover perspective.

There’s a lot to say and so I’m going to lean on the crutch that is a list.

Let’s get what’s good out of the way up front, and there was some good, but don’t worry, it will be quick.

Oh, and suffice to say, here be spoilers!



01. Henry Cavill is a pretty great Superman. If only they had given him a good movie to be in, we might be having an entirely different conversation. He’s handsome and brooding, but not too dark, he’s big and tall and broad shouldered but with a sweet smile. And even though as a viewer you have to look for it (since it’s not really in the script) there’s a kindness and a warmth in him, as there should be in any Clark Kent/Superman. The film gives him exceptionally little to work with, but he does well with what he’s given. The last two minutes that show him as the Clark Kent fans know and love, were maybe the best two minutes of the entire film.


 02. Amy Adams is also good. She’s not my personal ideal take on Lois Lane as I prefer to see a Lois with a slightly harder/meaner edge – which generally works as a nice contrast to Clark’s softer/kinder default setting. It’s ironic that in such a dark, humorless, and “edgy” Superman film the Lois interpretation is so “light” and likable, but that is what you were always going to get when you cast Adams. The role was significant though. Lois was faora-ul-man-of-steelsmart, she was a “war correspondent” (or some version of that) and she mostly had something reasonable to do. Adams and Cavill also had decent chemistry, another plus, but probably not deserving of its own “point” for reasons outlined down below. The bottom line is that Adams was good and in a movie with so few good things, let’s grab hold onto that for dear life, okay?

03. The first “Clark action scene” with the Alaskan (?) rig rescue was great. Unfortunately it was so good that I got all stupid and hopeful that the whole opening Krypton shit show was just a bad blip and that everything was going to turn around. Not so. But it was good. I got those good old fashioned superheroic goosebumps you get when you see something awesome that you love in comics/superheroes translated so well to the screen. I loved it.

04. Faora-Ul was good. She didn’t have a lot to say (which was probably a good thing/makes her lucky) but her action scenes were some of the better ones (partially because they were slow enough to be seen by the freaking human eye). Antje Traue was solid in what could have been a thankless role, but got some good screen time. In truth, visually, she would have made a far better cast for Lois than Adams, which was kinda odd while I was watching, but still, mark this as a positive.

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05. Wait…there is no five…that’s it. God, how depressing.


01. DARK AND JOYLESS. Man of Steel is dark and humorless, without any charm or humanity, despite its forced central themes that supposedly are about exactly that – humanity. It is joyless. Full stop. It is only capable of severe shifts in tone and does not know the meaning of words like subtlety and nuance. When the story swings toward the emotional moments that are supposed to ground our characters they are dripping in saccharine. They are cloying in their sentimentality and characters yell “Noooo!” at the sky, unironically. The movie leans on clichés frequently,  never attempting to make them new or subvert them in any way. And the worst part is that none of the flashbacks (or the history of Krypton nonsense, which we’ll get to) are even necessary. None of it truly connects to present day Clark/Superman so it’s even more impossible to care about all that wasted film time.  It’s only there to help us understand the plot, which is poorly chosen (again something we’ll get into more later).

02. PACING. The pacing in the film is wildly inconsistent as it drifts from an utterly tedious and bombastic opening sequence on Krypton to treacly flashbacks of Clark’s youth. And let’s talk about that opening sequence on Krypton for a moment. It details no less than: Kal-El’s birth, the politics of Krypton, the rebellion of General Zod, the dissent between Jor-El and Zod, the short-sightedness of the leaders of Krypton, the flaws in the Krypton way of life, the Kal-El escape pod, and the utter destruction of Krypton. Did that sound like a lot? Yup. It is. It’s more than 20 minutes that start the film and that you don’t need one minute of (except because Snyder/Goyer/Nolan have decided to absurdly base the whole film around this – again, huge mistake which we’ll cover below). To add insult to injury it all gets repeated back to you in case you missed it the first time when Clark talks to the “holographic” Jor-El. So yes, you get all this information twice. Once in the unnecessary opening – twenty plus minutes of talking heads nonsense and action scenes and then again in an info dump talking heads scene. I just told you that twice in this review, because apparently this is a thing we do now. Did you get it? I hope so, cause I can’t bear to tell you a third time.

03. ZOD. Michael Shannon is a great actor. I am actually kind of a super fan of Michael Shannon, buy there is nothing for him here. His Zod is one note because he’s written that way, and Shannon is directed to yell his lines as if that makes them mean more. Every line is delivered at approximately this equivalence:


superman ii

When this is MORE subtle, you’ve got problems

And thus none of it means ANYTHING. There is literally zero nuance. The film makes all the classic mistakes that keep villains from being interesting and relatable. His sole redeeming characteristic is that he wants to save his “people” and rebuild Krypton. But the movie isn’t terribly smart, and so neither is Zod. He can’t see that his best opportunity to save Krypton and his people is to rebuild things the slow way, the hard way and to make his people a superior race on the planet…um, what downside? The fact that he’s unwilling to do this, reveals that his motivation has little to do with saving Krypton, but in being Krypton’s savior…which are not the same things. So even Zod is a liar, or an idiot, and thus an inferior villain. One worthy of neither Superman nor the lead in a major motion picture. A villain can of course be a liar. But isn’t it more interesting if they’re not? Isn’t it more interesting if Zod genuinely only wants to save his people. Isn’t it more interesting if he’s kind of the good guy, Krypton’s ultimate hero? But it’s not presented that way at all. Instead he’s one note and horrible. And did I mention unsubtle? Yeah, this (see right) performance had more subtlety.

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One of the best things about Game of Thrones is the fact that you love a lot of characters that are in conflict with one another. I adore Tyrion (favorite character, easy) and I am of course rooting for Danerys the badass Mother of Dragons, and Robb Stark, but all these characters are ultimately in conflict with one another. It’s part of what makes Game of Thrones so complicated and beautiful. Now, you’re probably always going to root for Superman, but wouldn’t it be great if you could really see Zod’s point, if you liked him too? If he wasn’t a cartoonish buffoon? Yeah, don’t expect anything like that here.

04. LEANS ON THE WRONG THINGS. Man of Steel also leans on comic book knowledge in the laziest of ways – like hoping you’ll care what happens to Perry White and “Intern Jenny (not Olson)” and Lombard but only having spent less than ten minutes with them in the entire film (here’s a hint: you don’t care, how could you?) Meanwhile it refuses to lean on the other things the audience surely knows, about Clark’s youth in Smallville or how he came to earth, the destruction of Krypton, and instead dwells on it for nearly half the film (if not more). Why the disconnect? Why lean on comics and common Superman mythology for one thing but not the other? I can’t think of any reason except laziness and devotion to a poorly chosen plot the creators find themselves executing.


05. LOVE STORY. Though the chemistry between Superman/Cavill and Lois/Adams is good, the love story is painfully forced. I literally laughed out loud in the theater when they kissed.  It was poorly timed, awkward, and completely unearned.  The kiss feels like it was studio mandated (I can see the memo now: “Well, they HAVE to kiss! Find a way! Make it work! – Signed Evil Tim Gunn”). But they didn’t make it work, not at all.  They’ve blown it. The filmmakers have now blown THE FIRST KISS. You can’t ever get that back. They have blown the will they/won’t they/when will they/ on a laughable moment that has absolutely zero resonance. It’s a damn shame.

06. TONE.  Tonally the entire film is off. It clearly wants to be Batman, except it’s SUPERMAN. Batman is a very specific animal, and Superman should be something utterly different. Taking a modern and progressive approach to Superman does not mean it should (or can) be Batman. For starter’s it’s not a tenth as smart as it would need to be to be Batman.

In the Batman films Nolan Batman films, much like Batman in the comics, creators go to extreme pains to show that Batman DOES. NOT. KILL. He just doesn’t do it. No matter what happens. Is there collateral damage? Yeah, definitely, it’s a huge action film, it’s going to be assumed that people are dying. But Batman doesn’t break necks. He goes out of his way to save the bad guys in fact. Batman knows that it’s that thin line he cannot cross, the line that separates him from being a vigilante hero and  just being another costumed freak locked up in Arkham. You know who else doesn’t kill (almost universally)? Superman. Except in Man of Steel where he not only has a complete disregard for civilian life (human casualties in Man of Steel must be in the millions) but he also kills Zod. Literally breaks Zod’s neck. He shows great remorse for it, which is good, but it’s just unbelievable on every level. Yes, the script puts him in a position where he is sort of forced to make that decision, but that just one of many illustrations of why it’s a bad and “convenient” script. The script is more than happy to force an unlikely and unearned scenario in order to get the “dark and edgy” ending it wants. While Superman and Zod’s final battle is brutal (mostly to the city of Metropolis) and they are evenly matched through much of the fight, none of them show the wear that you would expect for them to be at a point where they’re considering breaking eachother’s necks (or at least not Superman). And it makes Clark out to be a big dumb ox if he thinks that the “nice family” being threatened by Zod’s laser eyes are the only innocents being killed in this battle. Hundreds of thousands must have died just in the Superman vs. Zod one on one (and that’s conservative) and if Clark was really someone that had an interest in saving those lives and he really believed that breaking Zod’s neck was the only way, then he would have snapped Zod’s neck thirty minutes prior. But the movie wants its big action sequence, and it wants its edgy “Clark is a killer” ending, and so we get this movie that is not only bad, but in no way represents what we all know Superman to be.

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07. WHO IS THIS SUPERMAN YOU SPEAK OF? I’m not as die-hard a fan of Superman as many of you, so I’m not as attached to the mythology, but even I balked at Superman snapping Zod’s neck. In no way did the film earn that desperation. I don’t mentally live in a place where Superman cannot kill under ANY circumstance, but I do live in a place where you have to fucking earn it if you’re going to do it.  They did not earn it. Full stop.*

*Yes, I sorta of gave this point two bullets…but it earned those two bullets, unlike the film itself.

08. BREAKS CHARACTERS FOR PLOT. Pa Kent got the very short straw in the script. Again, I’m not a hardcore fan but even I don’t recognize Pa Kent in this interpretation. While there were interesting angles to his death, and in some ways it did up the personal stakes for Clark, the idea that Pa Kent actually advises Clark that he was wrong to save a bus full of children because it might have outed him is just absurd. We’re supposed to believe that Clark largely gets what makes him Clark (and not someone like Zod) from Ma and Pa Kent and his small town wholesome upbringing, it’s part and parcel of the Superman mythos. But a huge chunk of that is missing here. You begin to wonder how Clark turned into the good man he turned into if his good ol’ Pa was suggesting he let buses of kids drown so that he could stay “undercover.”  Man of Steel’s version of Pa Kent really needs to have a long talk with Spiderman’s Uncle Ben…he could learn a lot. But again, this goes back to the script making a lot of convenient choices. You know why this Pa Kent character assassination er…change is in there? It’s there because the writers need Clark to feel compelled to stay “undercover” until he’s 33, so that they can harp on the Jesus parallels with all the subtlety of a fucking chainsaw. You just fundamentally do not break character to service your plot. It’s especially heinous when you’re breaking long standing and well-known character for plot, but it’s really a no-no under any circumstances. Sure your characters grow and change based on what you put them through (i.e. plots) but you don’t retroactively go back and change who they are to make a plot decision “work.” Fans that take issue with this character break for Jonathan Kent will surely be called hysterical irrational fans, but I’d argue they’re reacting, even if subconsciously, almost as much to the wrongheadedness of breaking character to service plot, as they are to no longer recognizing Pa Kent.

09. A POORLY CHOSEN STORY TO TELL. Perhaps this should have been first, but it felt more natural to put it here, maybe because it’s just so key to the problem but only when you get all the other stuff out of the way. Man of Steel is just not a good story. The funny thing is that Superman Returns, for all its flaws (which are nearly limitless) is a good premise. It’s an innovative and unique way to look at Superman. It ultimately failed but it’s a good idea. This movie has no idea. I guess the idea is “bring new people into the Superman family” (give us your money!) but it’s tediously boring, I suspect even for people who know very little about the mythology. There are no real stakes because we know what Superman will do at every turn, simply by knowing that he is Superman. So with no stakes and no joy what is left? Nothing. Nothing is left. Well, action scenes.

10. WORSHIPS AT THE ALTAR OF ACTION FOR ACTION’S SAKE, CAUSE, ACTION!  I really like action movies. I have trouble seeing a lot of them because so many are really dumb and because we live in an age of pushing visual effects to their limit at all costs, including good filmmaking. So in Man of Steel, while there was some awesome stuff (again the Alaskan Rig scene springs to mind) most of it started to look more like a video game than a movie, and when that happens it becomes increasingly difficult to connect to the characters or to engage in the violence as something that has consequences and thus, stakes. Sure, I like to be able to say “that’s badass” just as much as the next moviegoer, but not at the sake of all else.**

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11. OH SO SERIOUS. In the end, Man of Steel takes itself so seriously it actually becomes impossible to take it seriously. It breaks under the weight of its own seriousness. I counted less than half a dozen jokes in the entire movie (none of which made me laugh) and they were painfully forced because this movie was simply no place for jokes. Even the one attempt at real joy – the scene where Superman learns to fly – falls flat because it’s housed in this dark dreary joyless film. Instead you know where the laughs come from?  From stuff that’s not supposed to be funny at all. Like when our two supposed romantic leads move in for a kiss, before the battle is over and without being earned at all, and amidst the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives. Or when Lois Lane is sneaking down into the Kryptonian ship and the camera pulls back to reveal her basically shimmying across the miniscule edge of an ice cliff.  Or how about the (near) climax when a Kryptonian device the humans desperately need to work is not functioning and the resolution is for a character (whose name we don’t really know) to turn the device a little bit and that solves the problem. SERIOUSLY?  I mean, people, I NEVER talk in movies, I hate it when people talk in movies, and yet I, without realizing it, both guffawed and then said “Seriously?” OUT LOUD. That’s how laughably bad a moment it was.SMUND_Cv1_q53uxls7jd_

I just…you guys, I’m so sad. Like Mark Waid, who wrote a far better piece about this, my heart is a little broken. I wanted so much for this to be good. I wanted so much to get that happy superheroic rush I get in a good superhero film. I wanted so much to see them get it right if only so that I could believe in a great Wonder Woman movie happening some day, or even Justice League.  But now…but now I’m just grateful they can’t get Wonder Woman off the ground. So very grateful.

There IS, however, a tiny silver lining!

I read Scott Snyder’s Superman Unchained this week and liked it. It was way too expensive (especially since I read it digitally and thus the “four page pull out spectacular nonsense” was lost on me) but it was good. Jim Lee is not my ideal artist, but the plot twist alone will keep me coming back for more. So in a week in which I learned the hard way that Man of Steel is not for me in way shape or form, maybe I can find some love for Supes back in the medium that gave him life in the first place? Here’s to hoping.


**[For reference, some action movies I like: the new Bond movies, the Jason Bourne movies, um…cough…Avengers…cough, Nolan’s Batman (when it doesn’t get too dark to be incomprehensible, Inception, the first Matrix, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Die Hard With  Vengeance, stuff like that.]



I did enjoy Superman, and really thought I would comment on one point you made.
The fact is, Batman has, and does, kill, but just not out of a need for vengeance, and only in self defense, and has done that in the comics and in movies. In Superman’s case, there is a precedent for him killing Zod, and that was a John Byrne story, where Zod, Faora, and another Kryptonian villain killed all life on an alternate Earth, and so Superman executed them. In terms of the movie, it should be pointed out that this was Superman’s first attempt at being a superhero. And, really, he only killed Zod when it was obvious that Zod was going to kill a bunch of humans and would not stop there. Superman tried to reason with Zod, and, maybe Superman in the earlier movies could have pulled out a phantom zone projector or kiss Zod into forgetting that he wanted to do this, but he did not have those options. In the end, Superman was horrified by what he had to do, and it showed that Superman would kill on rare occasions. Whereas Batman will kill in self defense, Superman will kill to defend others.

Even though I don’t agree with you completely on the movie, I very much like reading everyone’s opinions on the material…very interesting to see how different people’s perceptions/receptions are of the same material. One thing I did want to bring up though is this: “In the Batman films, much like Batman in the comics, creators go to extreme pains to show that Batman DOES. NOT. KILL. He just doesn’t do it. No matter what happens”

I love Bats to death, my favorite character in comics, but the cinematic version has definitely been a passive murderer under the helm of both Burton and Nolan. The way I watch the movie, I am still of the opinion he let Nicholson-Joker fall to his die in “Batman”, he let Ra’s Al Ghul die (“I don’t have to save you”) in “Batman Begins”, and there’s that f’d up moment in “Batman Returns” when Batman shoves one of the carnies with a bomb into a manhole or sewer grate or something along those lines and lets him blow up.

It’s not neck snapping, it’s not throwing a powerless Zod down a cave like in Superman II, but Bats has still been a murderer in the movies (which bothers me to no end I must add).

” it’s great if YOU liked or even loved the film.”

No, it’s not. If you liked or loved this film, you have a problem.

“Meanwhile it refuses to lean on the other things the audience surely knows, about Clark’s youth in Smallville or how he came to earth, the destruction of Krypton, and instead dwells on it for nearly half the film (if not more). Why the disconnect? Why lean on comics and common Superman mythology for one thing but not the other? I can’t think of any reason except laziness and devotion to a poorly chosen plot the creators find themselves executing.”

I can think of a reason. They wanted to explore that aspect of the character’s story. Seems reasonable. There have been stories in the comic that focus on that element. There was an entire TV show that focused on it. Why is that not a legitimate creative choice?

The biggest flaw for me was the lack of humanity as well in Superman. One of the biggest fails was something the comics did so great that they chucked off to the side on this one and it was the death of Pa Kent.
Yep, Pa died but he did it in a way that offered NO development growth for Clark. In the comics, Pa Kent died of a stroke/heart attack. Clark couldn’t do anything to save him. This made Clark realize that even he had limits and that humanity was fragile. This Superman really needed a moment like this.
Not to mention that Kevin Costner’s Pa Kent was a one trick pony. All he did was go on and on about Clark’s destiny and powers…bla bla bla. They live on a farm for crying out loud, why couldn’t they had one of those serious talks during a special moment like helping an injured animal or during a birth of one? Something that could have helped Clark connect emtionally to the audience.
I liked the film myself…though they could have kept the shaky camera stuff more out of it. Sometimes I think we expect so much from Superman that it’s very difficult to be pleased with anything,

this is as perfect a review as possible. I agree and have said almost everything you did.

I liked the movie pretty well, but I have to admit I was bothered by the fact that Superman didn’t at least *try* to get the battle out of the city. Seeing building after building get mashed (with presumably many, many people inside) got to be a bit much. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to at least have him try to get the battle out to the country, and then have the stakes go up by having Zod intentionally bring him back into the city to increase the collateral damage and decrease Kal-El’s ability to fight at full force? But I thought there was a lot to like here, otherwise.

I never knew a Superman movie could be so…joyless to watch. I cracked ONE smile, when Superman smiled flying through the air. That’s it.

A lot of people are complaining about him not trying to take the fight out of the city but keep in mind:

1) this was his first time in a fight. When you’re in a fight you often don’t think this way an focus on immediate issues. As he’s more experienced I expect this would change. Recall in Smallville he warned the people to stay inside (which is ineffective), which I think was meant to convey his inexperience. He had no idea how the situation would play out.

2) he DID try to take the fight away from the city. You’ll recall he flew Zod into orbit where Zod destroyed the Wayne Enterprises satellite which fell on Metropolis before Zod brought them back there

Too much condemnation on what the film SHOULD be instead of what it IS. What it is is a very good sci fi film with some superhero elements. This isn’t comic book Superman. This isn’t Clark Kent, it is an alien among us still learning to be human. I loved it. It has flaws, but what film doesn’t?

One more for the list: the movie lacks any sense of timelessness. It’s so busy reaching for the maximum contemporary audience by giving it what it thinks the audience wants that it’s hard to see this as an enduring take on the character. It’ll prop up the cynical franchise dreams of the short-term, perhaps, but I don’t see it as displacing the longer-term take on the character. (in general, I sort of feel this way about the whole New 52 aesthetic, which seems mostly like 90s nostalgia comics than anything with a future.)

As to the “Superman has too killed Zod before!” argument, let’s recall that the execution storyline was rather quickly followed by Superman developing a crazy dissociative personality as Gangbuster, then exiling himself from Earth for almost a year, and finally returning only to entrust Batman with a Kryptonite ring to ensure that he’d never go awry in the future. And then there’s “Whatever Happened…”, where killing is what causes Superman to decide he doesn’t deserve to be Superman anymore at all. Stories where Superman kills are usually stories about seeming exceptions that ultimately underline exactly why he doesn’t kill.

As to Batman killing…well, no, not after 1941, he didn’t.

Um, it IS just a movie. If you didn’t dig it go make a fan film that’s better or more to your liking maybe?

I haven’t seen the film yet… but would anyone like to see a Pixar-like re-imagining of Superman, Zod, and other Supes villains?

‘Coz I just saw this, and it’s too fun not to share: http://minionfactory.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/krypton-or-bust.html

I liked it, too. BUT…

Really over the space eugenics Nazis. The Krypto-Mengele even had a GERMAN accent for chrissakes. And there were WAY too many of them.

Why was Krypton designed by Geiger? Dick phantom ships and vulva passageways everywhere. Seriously???

Color palette – TOO much steely blue. This is not freakin’ BATMAN. Use some color.

I was totally on Snyder’s side over the WATCHMEN stuff. Not sure how to do it better and thought his ending was a big improvement over Moore’s. But JESUS CHRIST – how many times did we need to see skyscrapers collapse? Does he think infinite shots of Kryptonians blasting each other back and forth through buildings is that fascinating? I didn’t like PONG all that much back in the 80s.

Again, why do I want to see Superman go through the same motions with bitch Kryptonian and giant nameless Kryptonian again and again. And again. And again.

Why hire somebody as gorgeous as Diane Lane if you’re going to have Dorothea Lange do her hair and makeup? Are there no combs in Kansas? And why is she wearing Dust Bowl couture in 2013?

Kevin Costner – inert as ever. Not my favorite Pa Kent by a mile. Kind of a dick. Even liked Bo Duke better. And a guy with superspeed couldn’t rescue him with everybody around in a state of shock? Please.

Pete Ross is a fat redhead and Lana Lang is a nondescript brunette?

HATED Michael Shannon. Could he have chewed the scenery any harder? Who’da thought I could get nostalgic for Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor?

So we discover that HEAT VISION is a great flamey weapon and then forget about that for the next 45 minutes? The Krypto-Nazis adapted to toxic atmosphere and sensory overload in minutes, not years? Please.

Why waste time with Perry White and “Jenny” Olsen? Who cares? Why should we care? Don’t cast Morpheus if you can’t give him more to do than Jackie Cooper.

How is “Clark Kent” a secret identity? Lois calls him “Clark” numerous times in front of people. Fat Pete Ross recognizes him at the IHOP. Lois brings the freakin’ state police to Martha Kent’s house. Please.

Thought Russell Crowe was surprisingly effective. Always hated Brando’s performance. Hated that Snyder negated Jor-El and Lara being together at the end. Would’ve given “Lara” more to do.

Liked that they incorporated visuals from the Bruce Timm animated stuff. Liked the Kryptonian visual computer imagery. Who knew there was a Brookstone on Krypton?

Thought Henry Cavill (and his younger versions) did a fine job. Kind of a problem if your hero is prettier than his leading lady, though. That said, I thought Amy Adams’ role got better the longer the movie went on. Agree on bringing her to the center of the action and no coy, “whoever could Superman be?” crap.

Liked the bus scene. Also got a little teary during the “you ARE my son” scene; Costner’s best moment.

STILL – a solid B- or C+ at least. More good than bad. Coulda done a better job in the writers’ room. Better than SUPERMAN RETURNS by a longshot (poor Brandon Routh). Hopefully setting the stage for the next round.

I have to say, I’m getting particularly annoyed by all these articles bashing on Man Of Steel. Particularly when there’s the whole ‘SUPERMAN DOESN’T KILL!!!’ argument. Where were all these articles about Batman letting Ra’s die or killing Harvey Dent? Everyone praised those films completely overlooking the flaws in Batman’s character. As for this being serious, what’s your point? It was a serious film. I hate these comparrison’s to Nolan’s Batman trilogy. There is a difference between being grim & gritty, and then serious and grounded, which this was.

I’m a little surprised at how much fans have accepted Zod’s murder at the hands of Superman, and how much I accepted it too, but tbh it shouldn’t be all that shocking at all. This is very much in keeping with Superman’s character. Superman has killed/was prepared to kill in the extreme situation showcased when he was fighting Doomsday in the now classic Death Of Superman story arc.

May I also point out that Superman HAS actually killed Zod in the comics before in a post Crisis tale written by John Byrne.

Thirdly and finally, this a tale about an inexperienced Superman trying to find his feet. He did not take this action lightly, having been clearly very traumatised in the build up and breaking into tears once having done so. This was not an action he made likely. Unlike Nolan’s remorseless Batman. Hell, he felt more from killing Zod is this supposedly brutal dark film than he did in Superman II when he let him fall to his death..AND SMILED. Yet people are saying THAT is Superman in one breath, whilst saying this fails because he killed?

Some people have genuine criticisms regarding the actual plot, and can make decent arguments regarding this. A lot of the negative comments I have seen directed towards this film are about the killing, the fact it was long,had a non-linear story progression, tried being more grown up, whilst also having epic Michael Bay action sequences. Aren’t these all the main selling points of Nolan’s trilogy and The Avengers?

I genuinely feel that people are hating on this film because of the preconceived notion that Superman sucks. People hate on this portrayal of Superman, claiming it’s not Superman when they’ve never enjoyed anything about Superman. Other peoples description of what a Superman film should be (instead of this one) is basically just that of Superman Returns, which the same fans disliked. Really, people are just pissed it’s not about Batman.

As for lack of humanity? RIDICULOUS! This film did more to humanise the godlike Last Son of Krypton more so than any other superhero film. Those pacing issues and non-linear structure people disliked so much? Those sequences were full of heart.

@Chris Zuga: Or, y’know, write a review for this site I work for, where I generate content on a regular basis. There’s an idea! Oh, wait. Yeah.

I don’t honestly think that ONE example of superman killing immediately makes that an intrecate part of his character, especially when there’s thousands of examples of him refusing to kill.

*intricate, bah! What is proofreading?

Saw it, thought it was an OK movie (i.e. one that I should have waited for to come out on STARZ/ENCORE, not pay money to see), but NOT a Superman movie.

It’s a shame the writer didn’t follow the advice given by Harlan Ellison to a young JMS, when JMS sent him some work samples and asked for advice. Harlan replied “You’re writing crap. Don’t write crap.”

Thanks Kelly for your review. I loved reading your perspective. It was a great read and I for one did enjoy the movie. I went into the movie with an open mind–noting that Superman is my all time favorite characters. I agree with your goods but I would add Russell Crowe’s Jor El as a good. The way they used him was wonderful and refreshing especially when you compare it to the Marlon Brando version in the original or the Terrance Stamp voiced version in Smallville. Crowe gave Jor El a sense of nobility w/ a warriors heart and I connected with that portion of the movie. Cavill’s Superman was a fresh take as well. You have a guy who is 33 and just now finding out what he really can do. He’s going to make a lot of ‘rookie’ mistakes which I like. And when he flying up the gravity field, I could have sworn they super imposed Christopher Reeves face on his.

I did not like Pa Kent’s stance and behavior however Kevin Costner is known for playing this type of character and I could not imagining it changing. His Pa Kent was his Robin Hood, his Anse Hatfield, his Eliot Ness, his Frank Farmer…he plays the one-sighted character to the tee and he’s good at it. I didn’t like stance the writers took with Pa but they got the right actor. As far as Michael Shannon goes, he under-impressed me in the role of Zod. He was not intimidating at all as Zod. Faora was more dangerous and scary than he was.

Spoiler Below-

Another thing that bother me about MoS and which you stated above…the forced love angle. And what made it worst was the fact that she knows he’s Clark Kent, he’s from Smallville etc. That’s one of the mythos I feel should have remained. I prefer the Superman/Lois Lane/Clark Kent love triangle aspect of the comics. It’s fine if Pete knows but not Lois…not yet. But all in all MoS gets a B+ in my book.

Easy Kelly, we wouldn’t want to get back to that unpleasantness we had a few weeks ago.
You are far better than that and I enjoyed your views on the film.

@James: I know you’re trying to help…but…it almost feels like baiting. Please don’t tell me to take it “easy” in the comments on my own damn column.

@KF They didn’t explore it though, they just recapped it so everyone knew parts of the superman mythos, changing only Jonathan Kent and not much else. They could’ve skipped Krypton entirely and actually focused on Clark’s childhood and his growth, but they didn’t

@Joe You can’t just say peoples opinion are wrong because you don’t agree with them. Your points are far less coherent than those in the article – it seems like you’re just hating on people for hating a film you liked. People can have different opinions.

On the Batman thing, we already had Batman. A great Batman. I for one really wanted a more light-hearted film not stylised to look grim and gritty. Supes can be serious but having loads of people die and a dark colour palette doesn’t make it serious, it makes it an immature attempt at seriousness. Its hard to argue that the tone of many superhero films has been an attempt to recreate the realistic feel of Nolan’s Batman universe; even if you do argue that its to match the comics, DC are angling for a more realistic feel to their books, rooted in the success of their “real” Batman franchise.

I really enjoyed the movie. The one thing I didn’t really enjoy was the insane amount of civilian casualties. A good majority of Metropolis was gone and then when that destruction was stopped superman and Zod fought through and pretty much destroyed the rest of the city. One scene that got me was Zod throwing a gasoline truck at Superman, superman dodges, then it just explodes behind him taking out an entire parking complex and superman didn’t bat an eye. I get they were trying for an epic scale fight but think of what is going on.

As for the Superman Killing. I saw that as showing how insane Zod was. He knew that Superman didn’t want to kill him and saw him as weak because of it. So he gave him the sick choice. Kill me or watch the humans you love so much die. In my opinion it humanized Superman.

My apologizes.

I’m glad you put this up, Kelly. Nevermind the naysayers, please keep being fearless.

Anyway, I have yet to see the film but I have read a few reviews. This really doesn’t look like something I’ll enjoy and your review is pretty much sealing it for me. That being said, however, I’ll probably go within the next week because I’m a masochist. I mean I knew Green Lantern was gonna suck and I went anyway.

I was really excited for this film because Superman comics were my gateway into the comic book world when I was little. From day one, I knew he was a beacon of hope and it was with naive enthusiasm that I went into the theatres with my own hopes for the movie. I agree with all the good and bad points you’ve made.

The writers had misconstrued Clark’s love for humanity and life and their interpretation left me totally heartbroken and betrayed. When they declared in interviews that kryptonite wouldn’t appear in the film, I was overjoyed. Because that meant they would focus on Clark’s most foremost weakness: life, and the preservation of it, no matter whose life it was that was in danger.

It is both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness.

He would have lost not because outnumbered or outskilled in combat. Superman would have lost initially because his attention would be entirely on the citizens in Metropolis, where there were buildings falling on their heads. Entire city blocks were razed to the ground and I was supposed to believe that the greatest hero on earth wouldn’t have done anything to help?

Sure, this is an origin story. Yes, he is young. Yes, he wasn’t “Superman” just yet.

But Superman was and will always be Clark Kent and Clark learned the value of life from Ma and Pa Kent. Everything about respect, integrity, caring, compassion, he learned from the Kent’s, so there was NO excuse for that much destruction to go on with him totally ignoring the people that needed his help the most.

So, Superman punched the bad guys, he used heat vision and blew away the threats to his homeland. Everybody knows he can do that.

But It was never Superman’s powers that made him great. It was his certainty in morality and humanity. It was his everlasting compassion. It was the fact that yes, with his powers he could kill every threat to the human race possible, but he never WOULD. Ever. The unwavering conviction is both admirable and troubling and many adaptions have addressed such a dilemma but never should this trait be as completely ignored as it was in the Man of Steel.

As cheesy as this is, it was never his abilities that made him so super, it was the belief that there would always be hope… in people, in goodness, in truth, in justice.

Because since his creation 75 years ago, Superman was the EMBODIMENT of hope. Superman IS hope.

It is most unfortunate then, that this movie was completely devoid of it.

superhero movies = instant fail.
because you cant do superheroes with real people. it looks stupid. espescially if you try to make it “realistic” (also known as grim n gritty filmed in blue-grey).

its a comics thing, will always be a comics thing.

@mckracken- I dunno, some movies do well. Batman usually creates a believable world, though of course he doesn’t have super powers.
I would also say Spirderman goes beyond comics with well done movies mostly.

i still get a chuckle everytime i hear Nolan’s ‘realistic’ Batman growly voice. Funny as shit.

worst snarky review ever

You should chuckle Mc since I didn’t say it was realisitc but believable. Of course Batman isn’t realistic but what most common sense people do when they see a movie is to suspend reality enough to make it believable.

@Anon- why is it? There are many reviews out there that are snarky about this film but this isn’t one of them. If you haven’t noticed…this is a comicbook site. The reviews here are going to be a bit more specific toward comic based movies than perhaps other sites.

Superman not killing is more important to his character than Batman not killing is. (He won’t do it deliberately, or if there’s any other option, or in response to a more distant threat, but if you put Batman into a position where there is no other choice, he’d do it an probably not agonize much over it. Of course, as a good storyteller, you probably don’t do this in the first place.)

Superman’s different, or should be when written properly. Not killing is not a consequence of his personal morality or methodology; it is at the core of them, and to break it for any reason must completely shatter the character or you are talking about someone who is not recognizably superman.

On the other hand, ever since Miracleman #15 or so, a character like Zod, someone with Supermans powers but with the inverse of his morality and restraint is understood to be a walking attrocity, potential or partly realized, of such enormity that no possible coherent code could allow one capable of ending him forever to do otherwise.

The solution that a competent storyteller would take is, again: don’t ever use a Zod of this type. Period.

Batman kills all the time in the movies.

In Burton’s original Batman movie, Batman kills a bunch of Joker’s henchmen. Then the Joker. In Returns he kills a bunch of Penguin’s henchmen. The Penguin. Then our gaudy nipple armor director picked up the franchise and Batman killed Two-Face (basically), but spared Ivy and Freeze.

Nolan rebooted the franchise but Bruce murdered a bunch of ninjas after just refusing to kill one guy. Tons of those guys blew up. Then he “doesn’t save” Ra’s, which in Batman’s book, is murder. In The Dark Knight he goes out of his way to save the Joker, but ten minutes later kills Two-Face. Then in Rises he kills Talia.

So… yeah. Movie Batman straight up murders folks. I’m not saying it’s right, or accurate, but he does.

What about Superman? In Superman II, Zod, Non, and Ursa get thrown down some bottomless pit. Are you telling me they didn’t die? Doesn’t he kill Nuclear Man in Superman IV?

Just look at other superhero movies. Heroes are murdering the crap out of their villains, mostly because many actors do not want to return for sequels or studios want to rule out that villain so they can focus on another.

Spidey murders the crap out of Venom/Eddie Brock in Spider-Man 3. In 2, Doc Ock conveniently sacrifices his life. In the first… well, that happened in the comics.

What we need for Superman is a “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?” adaptation. Oh wait, they did that in animated movie.

“In the Batman films, much like Batman in the comics, creators go to extreme pains to show that Batman DOES. NOT. KILL. He just doesn’t do it. No matter what happens.”

Unless the bad guy happens to be on a crashing elevated train, in which case, fuck that dude. :)

And Mark Waid’s review convinced me that I don’t want to see MAN OF STEEL under any circumstances. Everything I’ve read about the movie since then has convinced me that that’s the right decision.

this is probably the best review of MOS i’ve read, not just because it’s by you, but also because almost every other review i’ve read is too tied up in “what Superman should be” or what the reviewer’s ideal Superman is, which is fine, but it’s too much baggage and i’m more interested in the film on its own terms, i guess? fine, Superman not caring about innocent civilians is stupid, he does stuff different than in the comics, fine, but what about the movie itself?? which you write about quite nicely. :)

@ Asa: “They didn’t explore it though, they just recapped it so everyone knew parts of the superman mythos, changing only Jonathan Kent and not much else. They could’ve skipped Krypton entirely and actually focused on Clark’s childhood and his growth, but they didn’t”

I guess I disagree with that. I think there was enough exploration and dramatic work being done in the Smallville material to merit the approach they took. They used as much as they needed, no more and no less. I though the approach to Jonathan Kent work. I understood it. The Smallville sections and the Clark on the road sections were the best parts of the film, I thought, and the ones that moved me most. I have some issues with the film, particularly the second half of it, but the first half had me enthralled and engaged, like few other superhero films.

And (in my opinion) the Krypton material was fine. I thought it was useful to have spent time with Jor-El and Lara, to help increase the sense of loss that Clark would later feel. It was also great to see Lara actually do stuff and have dialogue, unlike in the Donner film. Was it as visually striking, or as efficient as in the Donner film? No. But it didn’t seem to be a flaw to me.

But hey, not everyone needs to agree.

Either way, I think Kelly’s characterization of the filmmakers’ approach in this section (including the approach to Jonathan Kent) as “lazy” done out of a “devotion to plot” is inaccurate. I think the idea that they sacrificed Jonathan’s character to the plot is inaccurate. No offense meant to Kelly, whose criticism I usually find to be insightful.

The effectiveness of the filmmakers’ approach, to Smallville and Jonathan (and Krypton for that matter) is another matter entirely, (though I do think they were effective).

I respect your opinion–even if I disagree with it quite a bit–and it’s good that you didn’t censor your opinion of if you really thought it was a bad film, but I wanted to make two points.

First, you talked about the emphasis in Nolan’s Batman films on not killing, but I didn’t interpret much, if any, of that emphasis–in fact, Batman rationalizes what’s essentially killing Ra’s Al’Ghul in Batman Begins because “it’s not killing, it’s just not saving him” (obviously this isn’t the exact quote from the film; I’m using the quotes to emphasize the point). On that note, I think Superman’s killing of Zod was earned, just didn’t have a good follow-through, if you get my meaning. Snyder didn’t do a good enough job of showing how much it would destroy Superman inside to kill Zod.

Now, secondly, I think you’re unfairly criticizing the fact that there’s emphasis on Krypton. It was a choice of Snyder and Goyer to do that, to do something different with a Superman origin story and show depth that wasn’t found before. I feel like you’re being a little strict as to what the framing of Superman’s origin “must” be. I don’t mean to call you a purist or anything like that, but I think Snyder and Goyer did something respectable by expanding and tweaking Kal-El’s origin.

Kelly your number 5 should have been Diane Lane who I thought was great. Maybe you didn’t. I liked this movie more than you did but, yeah, it has its problems. There’s was lots of ooh and ahhing at the kiss in my theatre so I think the chemistry thing is a personal take. But what did you think of the flying penises that took Zod and Faura to the Phantom Zone? The were flying black dildos in space that then made me look at Krypton is a whole new way O-O


Dont forget Batman has also killed in the comics long after 1941. As i said he killed the KGBeast in the 80s (trapped him in a sealed room in the sewers and left him to starve) and not long ago in Final Crisis he straight up shot and killed Darkseid..

I agree with a lot of your points. I think you’re missing one big one, though, and that’s Kryptonian high science. How is Jor-El’s consciousness able to do all that it can, and know all that it does?
How does the destruction of Krypton free the Phantom Zone prisoners?
How can Kal-El be Kal-El, yet also have the DNA of an entire civilization in his blood?
How would one extract such a thing?
How can Jor-El make a Superman costume?
What is that telepathy stuff?
How do the helmets stop X-Ray vision?
I’m sure there are more questions in that same vein, but those are the ones that spring to mind. All related to Kryptonian science or technology, none of it really explained.


I did like Diane Lane, but I didn’t think they gave her enough to do/she made a big enough impact to warrant a bullet point. I also thought that most of the flashback scenes and a couple of the present day scenes with Clark and Martha were pretty cloying. :( Not Lane’s fault, but it kept me from fully enjoying them.

The flying black dildos headed to the Phantom Zone should have been another point on the “laugh out loud in a bad way” scale. Ridiculous.

Kiss did not play at all in my theater. Guess it’s a “your mileage may vary” thing, but for me, it was one of the biggest misses of the film. :(

I agree that it could have used more levity but didn’t think it was that bad.  I think the massive destruction in the movie makes people forget the lighter moments (the destroyed truck, Jor-El directing Lois in the ship, “were you raised on a farm?”, “He’s kinda hot”,  learing to fly and crashing, the first mention of the name “Superman” etc).
The end of the movie I think is a hint of what’s to come in the sequel (taking down the drone, and the Daily Planet scene).  Humour for humour’s sake brings the audience out of the movie (farting racially stereotyped robots / Galga on a helicarrier) IMO.
I really compare this movie to Batman Begins which was also rather humourless and really functioned as a set-up for the sequels.
Agreed. There were a couple times when I felt lost in time during the movie and rather than having the details of Krypton repeated over again I would have liked to have seen more background on the early years with the Kents.  How did they find the ship, why wasn’t it discovered, what did they tell people when they suddenly had a baby? Perhaps they could have cut down on the action scenes to remedy this.
03. ZOD.
I thought Zod was an interesting character.  He represented Krypton where DNA was destiny while Clark was the baby who represented the freedome to make your own destiny. 
At first I also thought it odd that Zod would want to terraform the planet which would remove their superpowers, however, Zod isn’t rational.  He’s genetically programed to protect Krypton, which means he must rebuild a new Krypton for Kryptonians, not a new Earth with Kryptonians happening to live on it.
In this regard, Zod does become a sympathetic figure in the end when he accuses Clark of killing his soul.  He has no reason left to live anymore and does a “death by cop” where he forces Clark to finish him by killing his body (how else would a superpowered Kryptonian kill himself?).
I don’t think Zod was a liar at all and I do think he was presented as a guy with noble intentions but horrible means.  Remember he even says so much when he claims that everything he did was for the greater good.
Maybe I’m too much of a comic fan, but I thought the scene with Jenny trapped was rather emotional (even though she’s a new character, and Lombard/Peery White were very different than their comic versions).  I think it was meant to highlight “everyday heroes” and that humans don’t necessarily have to passively wait for a superhero to rescue them.
Maybe I just don’t understand the point you’re trying to make here.
Ya,  the kiss was bad.  IMO it came across as a personal moment of shared sadness.  Like findng consolation in eachother, maybe that was the point.  IMO, it should have been a passionate quick first kiss because it might have also have been the last.
06. TONE. 
I didn’t get that. It maybe be closer in tone to Batman than previous Superman movies but that’s because the previous Superman movies were closer to the Batman TV show in tone.
In fact, I got the sense that it was a clear distinct world apart from the Nolan Batman movies.  How often did you see sunfilled daylight scenes in the Batman movies, let alone small town USA as it really exists.  Some complained about the product placements however, it really made me feel like it was actually taking place in the real world as opposed to Nolan’s Batman which feel like a fantasy world.
Well, Batman in the comics does kill (see KGBeast, Hugo Strange’s goons etc).  Personally  I dislike the “no kill” Batman rule since I find it illogical, however, it does work if you’re trying to highlight the fact that Batman might not be all there like in Dark Knight Returns where the Joker ironically is the voice of reason and goads Batman into killing him, which would be the logical thing to do in order to prevent the deaths of innocents.
Superman has also killed historically when there was no other choice (or sometimes even when there was).  In  his first appearance he throws a guy out of a 4th floor window.  In John Byrne’s run he executed Zod and his followers, which also happened in the movie Superman 2 and there was also the fight with Doomsday, the genetically modified human bomg in All-Star Superman and others.
I don’t understand why it unbelievable.  IMO, it’s logical and what would probably have to happen in the real world and with the level of experience this version of Superman has.
Remember, the movie talks of sacrifices, choice and free-will. Zod’s death was the sacrifice he made to save Earth.  Clark chose to kill the only other living Kryptonian, he chose to cross the line, he chose humanity over Krypton.
This actually is very close to the version of Superman that I have in my head which is probably why I loved that movie.  My fav verion is the John Byrne version which started in his “Man of Steel” mini-series.  This version of is very similar to that run (war on Krypton, artificial births, hoographic Jor-El ghost), hence the titles,with a lot of the Birthrite thrown in (El family crest, wandering early years, Superman debuts during Kryptonian invasion).
I agree somewhat and tend to like the version of Superman who is more influenced by the Kent than the Els but I think a lot of people are not giving this version of Pa a chance.  I wish there would have been more of him because he comes off as too cranky, however, I think people are mis-interpreting the “maybe” comment. 
My interpretation of his saying “maybe” is that he has no other choice what to say.  He knows it’s inevitable that Clark will be discovered.  He knows that saving the bus was the right thing but is very protective of his some and scared for him.  I think we’ve all had parents who’ve said things the didn’t really mean and my interpretation of his “maybe” is actually “you were right Clark but I’m not going to admit it”.
I think this version of the Kents were in there to play up the angle that they’re afraid of how humanity would react.  However, this isn’t a new angle, it’s been used in other versions (Man of Steel, Birthrite) however, it was never played up to such a degree to where Pa Kent appears to be over-protective almost to the point of obsession.  Never the less, I think the “you ARE my son” scene and his death were very effective.
I think it should really be seen as an opening chapter and introduction to the character similar to Batman Begins which I feel it is at least on par with (I’d say the MOS story is much better: a microwave weapon that only affects water but not the water inside people?).  I think you’re correct in saying its about bringing new people to the Superman family, however I don’t see this as a bad thing.
As mentioned, this isn’t really a new story, it’s a mix of Man of Steel and Birthrite with a few innovations (Lois discovering him) but this is the first time it’s been told to mass audiences in a movie.
I’m confused by your support of a verion of Superman that will always do the right thing and never kill, yet at the same time you say  There are no real stakes because we know what Superman will do at every turn, simply by knowing that he is Superman.”   Which is it?  The silver-age, children’s story-version of Superman or the more modern, adult version which isn’t perfect and exists in an imperfect world?
I think this is justified in this case because we’ve never seen this in a Superman.  In fact we’ve never seen this level in a superhero movie.  I’m hoping that with this out of the way, they can focus on character for the sequel.
I think this was a matter of personal disposition.  I didn’t hear anybody laughing except at the times they were meant to and I didn’t feel this way.
The device not working thing was kinda dumb though IMO.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that those like Mark Waid who love the Donner/Silver-Age Superman will hate this movie, where as people like me who love the Byrne version will like it.  I think this is all similar to when the first Burton movie came out and people were upset that it wasn’t like the TV version of Batman.  Too many people have only known the Donner version of Superman and if that’s what they loved they won’t like this.

Excellent review, Kelly. My two bits:

1. Destruction porn: I know that some people have tried to equate this to THE AVENGERS, but the sheer carnage in MAN OF STEEL far outdoes anything in THE AVENGERS. Even worse, there was little sense of concern for the destruction. in THE AVENGERS, we saw countless shots of Cap and the others acting to save civilians. Heck, a key plot point involved Iron Man stopping the SHIELD COUNCIL from nuking New York. In MAN OF STEEL, in contrast, Superman was the nuke, and we were supposed to enjoy watching him level the city in order to save it.

2. The “deaths” in Superman 2: I really can’t believe that people bring this up. Firstly, the expanded television cut shows the Kryptonians being taken away by the authorities at the end of the film. Hence, their “deaths” were never part of the film’s plot. Even in the theatrical cut, we merely see them falling into a misty chasm. As a child viewing the film, I simply assumed (correctly) that Superman was just tossing them into some kind of containment area. For that matter, in the Donner Cut, Superman reverses time, so that Zod and his cronies never even escape in the first place.So, Zod and Co. are not killed in SUPERMAN 2.

Rumor had it that WB selected Zach Snyder because he was able to get the mess of a script David Goyer produced on its feet by the deadline set by the Siegel heirs. Their frist choice was Darren Aronofsky, who wanted extensive re-writes that might have cost them the rights to make future Superman features.

If that is true, then it makes sense why MAN OF STEEL felt like a first draft for a much better movie.

It is a shame that the story is such a mess, because I thought the execution was generally pretty good. The performances and the action were as good as you could ask for.Henry Cavill and Amy Adams were well cast. The first fight in Smallville was pretty terrific. It was just all in service of nothing much.

On the whole, it makes me appreciate SUPERMAN RETURNS which was a flawed, but well-written movie.

KGBeast was retconned shortly after in one of the issues of Robin Year Three.

And sure, it is bad enough to see Batman letting Ras Al Ghul die. Superman killing is a no-no.

Have to say I think I have never agreed with you in any of your previous articles, but this one. I can see where you are coming from, because I was there too.

Didn’t hate the movie, and the John Byrne Phantom Zone storyline is one of the first arcs I can perfectly recall reading as a kid so the Zod killing didn’t strike me as hard; but it all felt so WRONG. I see a lot of my friends (not all casuals or only-through-Smallville-rs) saying how awesome it was, and it just left me… there. Something like “this is not a Superman I would want to read about”.

“The flying black dildos headed to the Phantom Zone should have been another point on the “laugh out loud in a bad way” scale. Ridiculous.”

Glad I’m not the only one that laughed at that. But when you are such a d**k like Zod, it seems almost poetic.

@ Sue (DCWKA):

I’d suggest that in addition to Diane Lane, the movie also had a certain fearlessness that is a virtue. Getting rid of the “love triangle for two” and even the differences between Clark and Superman was bold. It was also smart. I am a huge Superman guy and it was such a relief to hear Lois Lane just call him “Clark” no matter how he was dressed.

@ Luis Dantas:

Superman killing is hardly an absolute no-no (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-370455.htmlhttp://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-370455.html). He even left a pair of criminals on a mountain top to die on the old George Reeves TV series.

The problem with MAN OF STEEL was that Clark went from being essentially a pacifist to being a cold-blooded killer. You can hardly argue that “he is new at it” when that is the character arc.

Never the less, if it was retconned later, the original intent, and the impression left to readers who werent aware of the retcon years later was that Batman starved the KGBeast to death in order to save lives. Just as when he shot and killed Darkseid in Final Crisis.

I wouldnt say he was a cold blooded killer which implies a cavalier attitide towards killing with no regret. He clearly regretted it amd only did it when he felt he had no other choice.

Zack Snyder on Superman killing Zod:

““I guess for me–and in the original version of the script he just got zapped into the Phantom Zone–David and I had long talks about it and Chris and I talked long about it and it was like, ‘I really think we should kill Zod and I really think Superman should kill him,’” Snyder explained. “And the why of it was, for me, that if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained. It’s just in his DNA. I felt like we needed him to do something, just like him putting on the glasses or going to the Daily Planet or any of the other things that you’re sort of seeing for the first time that you realize will then become his thing. I felt like, if we can find a way of making it impossible for him–like Kobayashi Maru, totally no way out–I felt like that could also make you go, ‘Okay, this is the why of him not killing ever again, right?’ He’s basically obliterated his entire people and his culture and he is responsible for it and he’s just like, ‘How could I kill ever again?’””

So, Superman’s aversion to killing has to emerge out of remorse? It just can’t just be based on his ethical code?

Well, I am glad to see that Nolan was opposed to the whole neck-snapping business:

“Killing Zod was a big thing and Chris Nolan, originally, said there’s no way you can do this,” Goyer told the magazine. “That was a change–originally Zod got sucked into the Phantom Zone along with the others and I just felt it was unsatisfying and so did Zack. We started questioning–we talked to some of the people at DC Comics and said, ‘Do you think there is ever a way that Superman would kill someone?’ And at first they said ‘No way, no way,’ and we said, ‘but what if he didn’t have a choice?’ Originally Chris didn’t even want to let us try to write it and Zack and I said, ‘We think we can figure out a way that you’ll buy it.’”

And the why of it was, for me, that if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained. It’s just in his DNA.

Whether you liked the movie or not, that’s a really bizarre line of logic. Don’t most people have a pretty strong aversion to killing? I mean, I’m very much anti-killing-people, and I didn’t have to learn that by killing someone and then feeling really bad about it…..

Zack Snyder:”And the why of it was, for me, that if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained. It’s just in his DNA.”

Well, with that kind of deep insight into moral psychology, I look forward to the sequels:

THE MAN OF TOMORROW: Superman’s code against rape is explained after he forces himself on Lois (I mean, he just can’t know that it is wrong thanks to his upbringing, can he?)

LAST SON OF KRYPTON: Superman’s aversion to theft is explained after we learn that he once burglarized every home in Metropolis.

THE HOUSE OF EL: The reason why Superman has not made himself ruler of the world is explained when we learn that he once took over a central Asian country and did not like it.

”And the why of it was, for me, that if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained. It’s just in his DNA.”

That IS pretty fucking hilarious.

defending Dredd

Am I seriously reading this? Did you like the Watchmen movie, too?

“That was a change–originally Zod got sucked into the Phantom Zone along with the others and I just felt it was unsatisfying and so did Zack. We started questioning–we talked to some of the people at DC Comics and said, ‘Do you think there is ever a way that Superman would kill someone?’ And at first they said ‘No way, no way,’ and we said, ‘but what if he didn’t have a choice?’ Originally Chris didn’t even want to let us try to write it and Zack and I said, ‘We think we can figure out a way that you’ll buy it.’”

Sadly,Snyder was right on this point judging by the theater I saw MAN OF STEEL in. Killing Zod was a big applause moment.

Man, I am feeling super grateful for my cynical NYC audience.

The people I went with also hated it, and the audience was not into it at all.

No clapping or gasping or reactions (except a few bad ones) during the film. There was a small/weak smattering of applause at the end, with some people (me) glaring in shock at those clapping – yes, I was honestly shocked that anyone could love it.*

I have since of course, looked at reviews (etc.) and seen that plenty of people loved it. This helped me think about what I really disliked and why…it’s also threw me a bit into a tailspin while preparing to write this piece, trying to understand why the reaction to the film is so polarizing…I still haven’t figured that out.

*edited for clarity

There’s a simple reason why people don’t like this movie: It’s not a Superman movie.

It’s not even that it’s bad, per se, it’s that the characterizations of the ENTIRE cast have NOTHING to do with any previous portrayals of themselves from any previous version of the franchise.

Critics are going into this expecting it to be… well, a Superman movie (and why wouldn’t they?), but they’re not getting one. What they getting instead is a new character, albeit one that’s based on the same concept. Shit, this new character isn’t even called Superman! But in spite of that fact, he is being (misleadingly) branded as Superman, so critics are coming into it with expectations that aren’t being met.

The hate seems to be stemming more from expectations not being met rather than from it actually being a crappy movie. If they had just switched out NOT SUPERMAN with Martian Manhunter and replaced the Phantom Zone criminals with white martians I honestly don’t think anyone would be complaining. And for that matter it would have fit Martian Manhunter’s character better than it did Superman’s.

Superman killing is fine with me. (see golden age) Modern day comic books Superman was such a freaking PC pussy it was almost unbearable in recent years.


Your New York City audience may had have 9/11 flashbacks.

For me, I thought the movie was good, not great. It did have a lot of heart. Ma Kent’s talk to a suffering Clark. Pa Kent declaring Clark Kent is his son, not pretending. The joy of Clark first flying. Lois and Clark having an actual honest relationship, instead of a love triangle based on the premise that Lois was a moron.

My biggest complaint was the dialogue/action scene pacing.

This may not have been the comic version of your past…but a newer version.

Treat it as an elseworld tale.

It looks stupid when American writers use “full stop” instead of “period.”

@Mike Lukash — Lois doesn’t know that Superman is Clark Kent, does she?

@Red Comet — What? I don’t understand your comment at all.

I went to a midnight showing here in the DC area. At some point during the show, I found myself on the edge of my seat with my hand over my mouth completely engaged. I recall looking down the aisle and found that just about every other guy was in the same position. I then glanced down below me into other aisles and found more of the same. I really loved the movie. I loved that it was different. Clearly there is a pretty good argument to be made as to if it appropriately conveyed Superman themes, or essence. It is my hope that we’ll see some strong growth from the character in the coming movies and perhaps something more “Superman-ish” that more of us can embrace.

To those of you who say you just won’t see it based on this person’s or that person’s review, I encourage you to see it and judge for yourself.

“Spidey murders the crap out of Venom/Eddie Brock in Spider-Man 3.”

Not true. Spider-Man deliberately kills the symbiote, but Eddie Brock kills himself.

@ Anonymous:

There’s a simple reason why people don’t like this movie: It’s not a Superman movie.

It’s not even that it’s bad, per se, it’s that the characterizations of the ENTIRE cast have NOTHING to do with any previous portrayals of themselves from any previous version of the franchise.

I think it was sort of brilliant that they ditched most of the baggage from the forties. Very few people in the modern audience would have heard the radio show, have seen the Kirk Alyn serials. Why bother referencing them? That meta-nostalgia isn’t character.

The problem is that neither Goyer, nor Nolan, seemed to have a strong enough idea of what the central moral question is and whether Clark ultimately made the right set of choices. The ultimate message is that Kryptonians that cannot assimilate should not be allowed to live on Earth. That is not a message free of modern, real world implications.

Considering Jonathan Kent essentially wins the debate between himself, Jor-El and Zod, it might have been helpful to have a better idea what the debate actually was. Pa Kent was willing to die in the cause of Clark assimilating, but my only sense of why came from other comics, movies and etc. It is a pretty big motivation to leave unaddressed. Jor-El plainly has a different vision, but that is even less clear. I guess he thinks that Earth and New Krypton can exist side-by-side, but Clark rejects that idea after meeting Zod. Again, that is a pretty huge character beat that comes out of nowhere,

As Kelly noted above, Zod is pretty thin villain. He is bad from literally the first scene of the movie on. We don’t get any sense of the why the Kryptonian military culture that he represents is any worse (or really different) than the U.S. military culture that it opposes.

I liked the movie better than Kelly did (but I saw it with an audience for whom it was working). Still, it is totally without depth, which is odd for a movie that takes itself so seriously.

“I felt like, if we can find a way of making it impossible for him–like Kobayashi Maru, totally no way out–I felt like that could also make you go, ‘Okay, this is the why of him not killing ever again, right?’”

Oh God fucking dammit, everybody in Hollywood needs to just shut up about ‘Wrath of Khan’ for a while. Bryan Singer is the only one who has shown even a glimmer of understanding why that film actually works, and he was so enamored of it that he just did it shot for shot and line for line.

“I felt like that could also make you go, ‘Okay, this is the why of him not killing ever again, right?’ He’s basically obliterated his entire people and his culture and he is responsible for it and he’s just like, ‘How could I kill ever again?’””

We didn’t see that though. Yes, he is anguished over the fact that he just killed someone. But the very next scene is a lighthearted one where he brings down that spy satellite and the female solider calls him “hot.” There needed to be something in between where they show us that what he just did to Zod makes him realize he can never kill again.

@Mike Lukash: I doubt it. I saw The Avengers in NYC and people were cheering, clapping, and laughing at many times and burst into applause at the end and that is actual NYC instead of Metropolis/NYC.

The elseworlds won’t work for me because it won’t stop it from being a BAD movie, not just a bad superhero movie, or a bad Superman movie, but a bad movie all around.

@Anon 12:28: That’s not why I didn’t like the movie, I mean, yes, I agree it’s not a “Superman movie” but as the 3,000+ words in my review discuss, that’s one very small part of why I don’t like it. It’s a bad movie. FULL STOP/PERIOD/ETC.

@Anon 5:17: How can Lois not know that Superman is Clark Kent? She calls him Clark multiple times and literally shows up on his mom’s doorstep…?

You all act as if Superman had a choice of fighting Zod somewhere other than Metropolis. How exactly? Taunt him with bad dialog and hope he follows? Drag him out of the city and hope to keep him busy enough that he doesn’t just fly back to a populated area ? Zod had stated he was going to punish Kal El by killing humans, he wasn’t just going to let himself be relocated to a “Safe Zone”.

The casualties certainly weren’t in the millions or even the hundred thousands. You think people didn’t start evacuating the city and the buildings the SECOND the terraformer started crushing cars, knocking down buildings, and squishing people? You think the cops and the firemen didn’t start to do their jobs? Apparently so. If you don’t think the civil forces didn’t do exactly what they did in the Avengers…well shame on you. I don’t deny there was a high body count, but I doubt it’s near as high as you think.

As for the “murder”, so every cop that’s ever shot a criminal to prevent the death of another is murderer right.? That’s what you are saying. You’re making it sound like this was an easy, casual decision, like coffee, garlic bagel, and kill Zod.

As for you being happy for people enjoyed the movie. Liar, if you glared at people who “clapped’ in the theater you were offended and angry that people were able to enjoy the movie and you weren’t

Dean Hacker,

Thats a really interesting interpretation. Thanks. It give me more to think about of this movie.

I think its ironic that a movie its critics are calling shallow is causing so much debate. Maybe thats evidence that it isnt as shallow as some are saying.

Lois knowing Superman’s identity is the worst part of the movie. I don’t get why more people aren’t complaining about that.

Next time: Superman can’t figure out how to get Mxyzptlk to say his name backwards, so he blows his head off with heat vision.

Lois knowing Superman’s identity is the worst part of the movie. I don’t get why more people aren’t complaining about that.

Nobody is complaining, because the double identity thing is absurdly dated. Jerry Siegel tried to ditch it in 1940. The first season of the George Reeves TV Show strongly suggested that Lois, Perry and Inspector Henderson saw right through it in 1952. The earlier, stronger seasons of SMALLVILLE ditched it entirely. It almost totally undermined SUPERMAN RETURNS.

Basically, it has worked in live action a grand total of once. Chritopher Reeve was an amazing actor. What he did SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE was basically a miracle and we are never going to see it again. That doesn’t mean Superman is impossible as a character. It just means that new creative people are going to have to find new ways to show the same character beats. It is a shame the Snyder, Goyer and company didn’t make more of an effort.

The biggest problem any Superman movie has is that we as a people have an idea of what Superman is but no idea who he is exactly. For over 7 decades we have been hit with comics, radio, tv and multiple films that give us different tweaks on the Man of Steel. We end up taking all that and putting together a Composite Superman.
Superman doesn’t kill…but he has.
Superman loves only Lois…..when he doesn’t.
Superman’s best friend is Jimmy….when it isn’t.
Clark Kent is Superman…unless it’s Superman is Clark Kent.

Superman is an American Icon and the problem with movie makers is that they are trying to define that icon for mass consumption.
Let’s face it, before the movies…the general public probably knew very very little about The Avengers or Iron Man. That’s a great place to start a movie franchise. The movie creators get to set the standard on who and what makes up Tony Stark and use the comics and a template. You can’t do that with Superman.

Jor-El has a line in the movie that was in the trailer that I absolutely love: “You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.”

But what do we see in this movie that makes us believe that?

I know a lot of people bash “Superman Returns.” But think about that scene where Superman catches the space plane and brings it safely down in the middle of a stadium full of cheering people. When I first saw that movie people were actually cheering in the theater. Think about the scene in the original movie with Christopher Reeve when he catches the helicopter and saves Lois Lane. Where is that? Where is that moment where people see Superman do something heroic and feel inspired to be something greater?

Interesting article. Have to agree on some points but disagree on a few.

Overall, the movie was OK. It entertained. Mission accomplished. It isn’t something I want to see again or get the blu ray in the future.

The movie had less humour and that’s fine. The previous versions of Superman attempt humour and it is just weak for the most part.

In MOS Pa Kent did not tell Clark he should’ve let the bus load of kids die. Pa Kent said: “Maybe.” A very realistic answer and I am going to say, if it came down to it, Pa Kent would’ve asked Clark to save the kids.

I also don’t think Superman should’ve killed Zod. The writers could’ve just as easily have Supes knock Zod out and then send him into the phantom zone (there was another ship around).

I’m also VERY glad this film did NOT have Luthor in it. I am done with seeing him. Use some other villains. I know Superman doesn’t have a great rogue’s gallery. Maybe Darkseid for the next movie?!

So, yeah, fun movie but not a classic or an epic. Finally, is there a reason why this article writer uses profanity in the article? How old is he? 18?

I really can’t understand why so many people are loving this movie. Even if you put aside its blatant disrespect for the character and mythos, it’s just poorly executed at every turn. I wanted to love it so much, but it’s just… BAD.

For the people complaining over the death of Zod…all other things being the same…what was the alternative? Superman didn’t have a Phantom Zone projector. Humans didn’t have a “super prison” to hold him in (if they could even create such a thing). Whether you agree or disagree with the filmmaker’s choices, the situation as presented in the film truly did leave Superman with no other feasible option.

Likewise with the destruction caused in the final battle. Zod makes it clear that he’s going to start killing humans en-masse. Every second Clark spends -not- engaging Zod so he can save people, Zod will either just kill others elsewhere, or use the opening to attack and possibly kill Kal, which means humanity dies at Zod’s hands afterwards. Take him away from Metropolis? As pointed out…Superman tried (taking him out into space)…it didn’t stick. Nothing keeps Zod away from populated areas indefinitely. Once again, as presented in the film, engaging Zod directly is the best way to minimize casualties.

Disagreeing with the filmmakers’ choices is fine, mind you, but the film’s internal logic is pretty sound on most of these issues.

Rather than reviewing “Man of Steel,” Kelly Thompson is comparing “Man of Steel” to the film she wanted to see. I understand this temptation. “Iron Man III” is certainly not the Iron Man movie I wanted to see. “III” turned the Mandarin into a joke, and ended up discarding many themes and concepts that would have been interesting to explore had the film hewed closer to the comic mythology. But I took “III” on its own terms, and the film succeeds at what it sets out to do. “III” is a light, witty, action adventure romp that turns the Mandarin into joke, but at least it’s a good joke. I also did not like the romance between Tony and Pepper, but enough about “Iron Man.” Similarly, “Man of Steel” succeeds at what it sets out to do — tell a grittier Superman story than has been done before. Krypton is a failed society, that has produced a flawed character in Zod. General Zod can only do what he was born to do regardless of the consequences, because he was made that way. Kal-El is the antidote to Krypton’s failures. Kal is the unengineered child who will achieve greatness in spite of or because of the randomness of his birth, and will lead Earth to greater things than Krypton could achieve.

I think they got EVERYTHING right. You are just nit-picking, deciding your own interpretation of these characters and situations. Obviously influenced by the earlier films, that ‘had’ as many things wrong as you think there are in the new one. And better yet, this film seemed to be made by people who actually GET comic books. While the MAN OF STEEL isn’t exactly like the comic books, possibly nothing will again ever match THE AVENGERS (or is that MARVELS’ THE AVENGERS) as the perfect example of adaptation. But even they got things wrong or changed for logical reasons. I mean sorry, no Ant-Man and Wasp.
The MAN OF STEEL, was a beautiful executed telling of the concept of a Superman (or is that Jesus Christ), and what if? it wasn’t meant to be an exact retelling of the comic (in my opinion) for the most part we’ve had that with SUPERMAN & SUPERMAN 2. Who knows if those amazing films if released today would be cherished as much. I mean they kind of tried that with SUPERMAN RETURNS, it didn’t work. Guess we can call that one an ‘imaginary’ tale, like in the old 1970 DC comics… What if Superman had had a kid…
Example, unlike many I actually wasn’t in love with the DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY. While they got much right, in my opinion too many elements were tweaked… Hated the costume (sounds familiar to many who speak on the MAN OF STEEL) I want to see a NEAL ADAMS style BATMAN. My closest friend HATED how the JOKER was showcased, I loved it. Its opinion. And any BATMAN fan, might not ‘enjoy’ how they changed Robin’s backstory. But it made total sense for this series of films.
I mean. look at SPIDERMAN it seems in the preview pictures all over the net, that they actually finally got SPIDERMAN’s costume right… only took 5 movies, a television series and even cartoons to showcase how a REAL comic book costume can actually be created and made to look right on the screen.
Anyway everyone has there own opinion. I personally can not wait to see how this GREAT adaptation, (in my opinion the best take yet on any comic book so far) launches a new wave of quality DC films. ‘Nuff said.

@ Scott Hall

There was no other ship around, and more to the point, you need -two- ships to create the “Phantom Zone Singularity.”

Zod’s ship and Kal’s original ship – Destroyed in the Phantom Zone Singularity.

World Engine – Destroyed by Superman.

“Fortress of Solitude” Ship – Might have a functioning “Phantom Drive” after Superman trashes it, but there’s no other ship available to create the reaction that sucks things into the Phantom Zone.

I’ve read and heard people say that Superman didn’t try to get the fight out of Metropolis… does no one remember them flying around and fighting through a mountainous region, or flying into space and hitting a Wayne satellite? It seems like some folks just saw what they felt like seeing. In a movie like this you’re not going to have everything explained to you, you’re not going to be told what the characters are thinking at every turn, you have to understand there motivations from what you’re given, especially when action draws you in and you almost forgot what a character said. Zod was clearly not going to stop killing, he said this, he said he was bred to protect Krypton and with that gone he has nothing, so he was going to make sure Kal had nothing. Even while he said this he took off the Kryptonian armor, his only true advantage in the fight, he clearly wanted Kal to end him and was doing everything in his power to make that happen.

This is the “Begins” of Superman. People think that there was no Jonathan Kent from the comics in this film, but there was. The Jonathan Kent that fiercely loved and protected his son, the Pa Kent that wanted his son to be ready when he exposed his true origins to the world. This is a Jonathan Kent who wanted his son to know who he was, where he come from, the importance of hard choices. That’s the Pa Kent we needed in this film. Obviously Clark wasn’t ready to become Superman until he learned of his Kryptonian origins, that makes Pa Kent a success. He knew what his son could become and wanted him to be at his best when the time came.

This may be a Nolan-esque, dark, gritty, “what if it really happened” origin for Superman, but its still very much the Superman I wanted, loads better than “Returns”. Sure, there could have been more moments of wonder with him miraculously saving people, so I’ll pretend those happened in the deleted scenes.

With what happens in this movie, he basically destroys the hope of a future Kryptonian civilization, just think how this Superman will react when he meets Supergirl, fights the Kryptoinan weapon Doomsday, or discovers Brainiac and Kandor. Those will be some great stories to follow this up with.


“Supergirl” is already dead, in the prequel comic tie-in (Well, a Kryptonian named Kara Zor-El is, anyway). Normally I’d say this wouldn’t count as in-continuity, but it’s written by the same guy that wrote the screenplay for the movie, so…yeah, I doubt we’re gonna get Supergirl in this movie franchise.

Also explains why one of those pods was open in the ship when Clark first explores it.

You do indirectly bring about a good point though: With the events of this movie, Superman effectively makes himself the “Last Son of Krypton.”

Batman doesn’t kill he just might refuse to save you if you need it.

I agree with the reviewer on all points. If I were to throw in my own two cents, I would also add that the structure was just as poor as the pacing and that it’s laughable that a man who is shown flying in the vacuum of space on at least two occasions would be felled several times by coughing fits. Seriously, what the hell was that about?

Superman kills – he just doesn’t murder.

Off the top of my head:

Superman Serial: Saves Lois and Jimmy – leaves villains (including Luthor) to die in an exploding rocket – hey, he only has two hands.

Superman TV Series: The Stolen Costume – He leaves villains, who knew his identity, in a cabin on top of a mountain. They fall to their deaths trying to leave. He told them to stay.

Superman 66 cartoon – The Parasite – Superman gives the Parasite ALL his power, Parasite goes boom, Supes says – basically – bad guy got what he deserved.

Superman Issue #22 (?) – executes three powerless Kryptonians (with Green-K) from a Pocket Universe – after they swear they will get their powers back and destroy his Earth (as they did the one in the PU)

Superman: Justice (?) – drawn by Alex Ross – saves Lois while Metropolis is being destroyed (and innocent bystanders are getting injured or killed) again he only has two hands.

Superman the Animated Series – Supes trapped, powerless, in the far future is hunted by a pack of wolves. Supes kills the alpha wolf (off screen), wears his fur (as a cape) and domesticates the rest of the pack.

Remember: he kills – has killed – he just does not murder. ;-) LOL!


Apparently it was about you not paying terribly close attention to the dialogue.

And happened a grand total of…once, not “several” times. Though I’ll grant that he did cough more than once, he was only “felled” by it once.

#6-about the tone. totally wrong. #7- In post Crisis I continuity, Superman did indeed kill Zod, which forced Superman to have a temporary split personality. Do your homework, Kelly.

Stephen Welch

June 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I really loved the movie. And I went in with low expectation since I wasn’t a fan of Zack Snyder’s.300 was good, Watchmen was not a great and Sucker Punch was so bad I never could finishing watching even after triying 6 times. But Man of Steel is where he made up for it. Now I wouldn’t have even minded if it was a little longer so we could have more scenes with Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe. Thought this was better than the Batman trilogy from Nolan.

I thought the pacing was great and the flashbacks were done well with out being over done. Especially like the tweaks made to what happened on Krypton.

I really great movie. It had the right balance of drama and action.

Great review. I would add just two more things that bothered me. I am in complete agreement with Kelly about the SUPERMAN DOES NOT KILL, despite what John Byrne did in the comics. However, I’d argue that even within the logic confines of the movie, there was no need to break Zod’s neck to save those people. The fact that Superman could snap Zod’s neck by turning it meant that he could have saved the family by simply turning Zod’s head. He had him in a chokehold from behind; turning Zod’s head, or even his body, would not have been hard. To make the choice to snap Zod’s neck rather than just turn his head is incomprehensible and completely out of character for Superman.

The other thing that bothers me is all of the Christian allegory built into the movie: the stranger showing up at 33 with mysterious powers, the scene in the church, Superman falling away from the ship in the position of a cross, etc. Heck, it was even marketed to churches as a Christian film. I’m sorry, but the analogy doesn’t fly. To buy it, you’d have to buy that Jor-El is God, which is clearly not the case. It’s also a complete misunderstanding and reinterpretation of the Superman mythos. He was invented by two Jewish boys who wrote an allegory for the Jewish immigration experience: how does one stay true to one’s (Jewish) roots while living in another culture? The concept of a secret identity in this context takes on a different meaning. The moviemakers threw all of this away while pandering to a religious Christian audience. Unnecessary and unwarrented.

There was no love story. i think you were assuming there was one when there wasn’t. The kiss came after an intense moment and I felt that the awkwardness of it was both intentional and endearing. It wasn’t meant to be a climax of a building love interest angle.

There were several laughs from the audience when I saw Man of Steel.

Superman’s killing of Zod (who was great) now gives him the appreciation of life which will lead to him not killing anyone else in the future. When presented with another situation he’ll think back to Zod and will be like, “No. Not again.”

The story was amazing for it shows Clark on a journey of discovery about who he is and who he will become.

I totally disagree. I loved it! I’ve seen it twice already, and I will be going again. This review is lame.

Point of fact: Nolan’s Batman claim he doesn’t kill, but definitely murders Ra’s al Ghul and Harvey Dent, and is very okay with Catwoman gunning down Bane and directly contributes to Talia’s demise.

His vow is all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

All in all, I definitely agree.

Yeah . . . no. I have to call bullshit and admit I stopped reading the moment you said Superman doesn’t kill and that the neck-breaking was “convenient”


You know what’s convenient? When the hero always gets an easy out and doesn’t have to make a touch choice. When the hero has just the right gadget in his belt or a deus ex machina and he gets to beat the badguy without killing. That is convenient writing. That is lazy. Putting the hero in a situation where he either breaks or doesn’t . . . and then not letting him have an easy out. That is tough. You’re dead wrong there.

And then the other thing . . . SUPERMAN HAS KILLED IN THE COMICS!!! Seriously. How can you go on and on about how everyone knows about Superman so they don’t need such and such explained but you sit there and bemoan something that is CANON? You make no sense. Like, none at all.

Oh, another fun fact: Batman has set out to kill before. Yeah, didn’t know that did you? Batman was SO enraged when the Joker killed Jason Todd that he DECIDED TO KILL HIM! Batman, who doesn’t kill, had decided that the Joker was worthy of death. Batman set out to kill him. To end his life. Batman was shot in the ensuing battle and had to jump from a helicopter leaving a bleeding and bullet-ridden Joker to crash. The Joker survived but it doesn’t change the fact that Batman actually DID want to kill, planned to kill, set out to kill, and then attempted to kill ONLY to be saved from it by the writers.

See what happened with Batman? He ended up NOT breaking his code due to circumstances? That is lazy writing.


I will promise to do my homework, if you promise to learn to read.

What do you think the ITALICIZED almost in this sentence means:

“You know who else doesn’t kill (almost universally)? Superman.”

With Love,

I am in almost point-for-point in disagreement on this critic’s negative comments of this film. Sadly, I don’t have tome to enumerate them. I thought the film was a solid work and I left the theater feeling as if I had seen a well done update of Superman on film. I will point out one specific as an example, re Zod: “He can’t see that his best opportunity to save Krypton and his people is to rebuild things the slow way, the hard way and to make his people a superior race on the planet…um, what downside? ”

Zod is a zealot and is not reasonable. Jor-El has established that for us at the start of the film. By the end of the film, after the destruction of the breeding pods, he is completely irrational.

Zod wants to save Krypton, but ONLY a Krypton that meets with his ideals. He wants to purge the bloodlines he deems unworthy of his vision of Krypton. Suggesting he adopt “the slow way, the hard way” is utter nonsense from his perspective (and this viewer’s). His handful of soldiers and technology are apparently capable of destroying all resistance without threat to themselves, and the World Engine means he does NOT have to use anything approaching a peaceful colonization. He can flip a switch, eradicate the indigenous population, and setup the planet for his personal breeding program. Why would he even consider the critic’s view of how he should proceed? Why ask earthworms if they mind when you dig new house foundation?

Zod’s arc is from megalomaniacal, perhaps messianic fallen defender of Krypton at the start of the film to an unraveling monster at the end. He even explains this before he begins his final battle with Superman. That he now feels Kal-El has robbed him of everything he was bred to and believed in. Has shattered his soul. And NOW he’ll destroy every living human rather than surrender.

Sorry, but Ms. Thompson misses so many obvious things in the film I believe she does a disservice to the film and anyone reading it. Once again, a critic of this movie leaves me feeling they couldn’t get past the dated (and inferior) Donner films of yore. I loved the ’78 Superman when I was a kid. Tolerated it as a teen. Cringe at it as an adult. Christopher Reeve was a fine take on a Curt Swan/Silver Age Superman, but if we’re not interested in retreading the same old silly take on Superman (i.e. Singer), then it’s time to let that go. I just don’t think most critics can.

“the idea that Pa Kent actually advises Clark that he was wrong to save a bus full of children because it might have outed him is just absurd.”

You mean like how Jonathan Kent yelled at Clark for saving a drowning Lex Luthor in one of the first episodes of Smallville? Jonathan has always been super protective, sometimes obsessed about it.

“Or how about the (near) climax when a Kryptonian device the humans desperately need to work is not functioning and the resolution is for a character (whose name we don’t really know) to turn the device a little bit and that solves the problem.”

Dr. Emil Hamilton, said explicitly in the film. He had a lot of dialogue that showed he was smart. He saw the ship and realized it was almost like a puzzle, that it everything had to be in place. It was just his “hero moment”, that most of the supporting characters got.

Well thought out review. Excellently written. I don’t agree with everything and could drive a truck through some of your points. My major beef is that people have an issue with Superman killing General Zod. Superman he has killed 3 kryptonians prior to the New Crap 52. Against his character maybe, but not something that hasn’t happened before.

Here’s the thing.
Mark Waid’s review is honest, thoughtful, and balanced. He’s a writer. A Superman writer, in fact. There’s a respect for creativity in his article, a fair examination. He liked it less than I did, he probably liked it more than you did.
Opinion is subjective.
Quite honestly, I’m not interested in your opinion.
That’s why I’m writing you.
Your content notwithstanding, I have an emotional reaction to your delivery.
What is wrong with you?
You shout from a mountain damning an undeniably monumental undertaking, reluctantly complimenting what little efficacy your heated acumen could uncover and scorching the remainder. You’re angry. That’s clear. I just don’t understand it, not to this degree. Your review is both joyfully disdainful and inappropriately dour, and even if I hated MAN OF STEEL I’d find this diatribe overly caustic.
This is your job. You’re a critic. I respect that.
I just don’t understand how a woman who wanted this one story about Superman to fulfill her wildest dreams could become so unlike Superman when the story fell short.
I’m sorry you didn’t love it. I’m sorry you didn’t like it.
But some people did. They’re not wrong.

I loved this movie. The people I went with loved it, there was applause at the end. Finally a Superman that was different, less ‘cartoony’ and more relatable. I’ve been a long-time fan of Superman (comics and movies) and I always thought that having him put up on a pedestal of godlike morality and have him always smile and crack a corny joke in the face of apocalyptic destruction wasn’t an accurate portrayal of an alien who has the weight of humanity upon his shoulders. I think this more ‘serious’ take on him was spot-on.

I have to mention that I adore the Donner movies.

I agree on some things, the kiss for one, which I thought was forced. The pacing however, I thought was fine. I felt that weaving in flashbacks of Clark’s childhood with his present-day was an effective way of telling the story instead of the over-used introductory origin scenes that usually take up a big part of movies. It’s been done, so the series of flash backs was refreshing.

As for Superman killing Zod, I had no problem with it. In the theater we all gasped and then clapped when it happened. Zod left him no choice, it was either that or having him fry a group of human beings. And Superman did plead with him first.

I’ve seen Nolan’s Batman, I did not think Man of Steel was trying to be that. I watched the movie with an open mind and I enjoyed it.

With the action scenes and the destruction of Metropolis, I honestly didn’t have a problem with it, neither did anyone else I watched the movie with. Superman is big, he has big villains…destruction of massive proportions is bound to happen and in this film he’s a novice at being a superhero so it’s not like he can expertly avoid it in the first or second try. And comparing what happened in Metropolis to what MIGHT have happened throughout the entire Earth if Superman hadn’t stopped Zod, makes the destruction in Metropolis seem minute.

Also, I too am reading Superman Unchained and I’m loving it so far, though I actually love Jim Lee’s artwork and have for a long time which makes the comic a pleasure to read.

Eh, I kinda come into this column realizing I will pretty much disagree with almost everything Kelly says, but she writes well at least, better than I can say for many reviewers. I did like the movie and the seriousness, I didn’t think it was too dark, I would have placed a little more emphasis on the coming of age/dialogue scenes- gave them a little more room to breathe, a little more time with the secondary players (Ma and Pa, Perry, Jenny, Steve, even Hamilton and the Colonel were intriguing), and less time on the smashy, smashy. I do think the love angle felt a little forced, but a little more emphasis on character, and less on the smashy could have done a good job with this. I loved the Krypton sci-fi emphasis. I loved that there is no real secret identity (only from the public at large, not from the people in his life- which has always been stupid). I think Kal-El could have tried a little more to try to move Zod and the kryptonians from populated areas, but I have mixed feelings about this- as others have said, I think the movie showed that in one scene- he was out gunned (by Faora and the big one) and was having a hard time handling them and in the other Zod clearly wanted to do collateral damage- so wasn’t going to be moved, it’s not like Clark could just fly away- he’d be putting people at risk- Zod could damage people at will then.

Matt said, “I’m sorry you didn’t love it. I’m sorry you didn’t like it. But some people did. They’re not wrong.”

But of course Kelly did say at the very beginning, “…it’s great if YOU liked or even loved the film. I am honestly happy for you, in fact, I’m jealous, because I wanted to love it too. And I am not saying you are a moronic dolt that doesn’t know a thing about film or superheroes if you liked it.”

Sorry SUPERMAN HAS KILLED BEFORE ….DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU MAKE A WHOLE ARTICLE SAYING THAT SUPERMAN HAS NEVER KILLED..People forget that Superman has killed Zod before in both film and in the comics. In Richard Donner’s Superman II Zod’s powers are taken away from him and Superman crushes Zod’s hand before throwing him into a abyss. That’s seems pretty F’d up to me. I think the reason people are shocked by this killing is how brutal it was. This was personal, and you could tell that by the way Superman reacted after he killed him.

” He goes out of his way to save the bad guys in fact. Batman knows that it’s that thin line he cannot cross, the line that separates him from being a vigilante hero and just being another costumed freak locked up in Arkham”

might want to watch those films again. he allows ra’s to die when could easily have saved him, and also TACKLES HARVEY DENT OFF A BUILDING TO HIS DEATH!!!!

Everyone harping on the destruction of Metropolis and Smallville battles cite previous Superman films and comics as why he wouldn’t fight that way and have so much collateral damage. But all those films and comics are Superman in his prime, not Superman before he even calls himself Superman. The fact is that is the downfall of most Superman stories… They have him perfect from the start. That is boring. That is a failure of creativity. So i’m glad to his mistakes, and him kill. It makes him more human, which was the point of the film. Not to see “Superman Returns Again”.

I don’t even like Superman. But “Man of Steel” at least has me interested in the character finally.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but this review kinda says what I feared about the film. I’ll still see it, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t work with Snyder at the helm. Maybe I’ll love it. I truly hope so. But for some reason DC has failed to make movies that engage me (unlike their cartoons, where they trounce Marvel, whose movies I generally like).

Spot on review. Ditto to everything.

I really liked all the action scenes. I didn’t think it looked like a video game because video games, for all their effort, still look computerized. I saw Man of Steel in IMAX and had to sit way in the front and still I thought the graphics were realistic.

I walked in with expectations of a fun action movie and turned off the part of my brain that thinks. Having said that, I really loved this action film and would recommend it to any action movie lover.

@Matt “Quite honestly, I’m not interested in your opinion.
That’s why I’m writing you.”

Yes, because when I’m not interested in something I feel the need to totally call them out for how disinterested I am!

“I just don’t understand how a woman who wanted this one story about Superman to fulfill her wildest dreams could become so unlike Superman when the story fell short.”

Unless she started snapping necks, I think her calling out the flaws of the story is neither here nor there as to being Superman-like about it. Also way to go with the hyperbole there.

“I’m sorry you didn’t love it. I’m sorry you didn’t like it.
But some people did. They’re not wrong.”

I’m assuming in the midst of thinking she was yelling at the mountaintops you missed the part where she prefaced this saying she’s glad other people did but for her it was a terrible movie? She didn’t like it and she’s not wrong, so why are you even bothering with this?

The challenge for Superman is that he has to save everybody while beating the bad guy. Looked like tens of thousands died in this film while he was fighting Zod and he didn’t even seem to care. Very odd choices for a Superman movie.

I apprciate reading your thoughts Kelly. Too many people are either shying away or denouncing it sight unseen.

I liked the movie, you obviously didn’t so not trying to change your mind or say you are wrong. Yet I thought it was nice to see a truly serious approach to the superhero character that everything else springs from. I could have accepted a few more lighter moments, but understand they wanted to separate themselves from the camp of previous movies & Lois & Clark.

I’ve seen so many interpretations of Superman, from the gangster tossing original, to the Superdick who played cruel jokes on Lois, to Byrne’s MOS down to Earth approach, and Waid!s Birthright etc. And thats just the comics versions! So I come to expect and accept different versions and approaches to the character. Comics have a continuing story, and that ( at least before the Comics Code) was a big reason why bad guys didnt die and is why todays deaths in comics have so little meaning. (They were/are going to be back at some point)

Movies tend to have complete stories in them, usually resulting in the death of the bad guy in the end. This one worked for me as it wasn’t glorified, I actually felt horrified that it happened and for Clark for having to do it. Just as he himself seemed to in the film.

YMMV of course. I so want to see more of Faora after this though. Just such a great character brought to life so well. I also liked the big scale of damage, these are powerful characters it was nice to see that power on display in live action not just my imagination in between the comic panels. (Closest I’d seen before was the Superman/Captain Marvel fight on J L U)

I did have one question though someone thinks Superman Returns had a better idea? Super stalker fighting a cackling Lex bent on real estate gain again? Ohhhkaay different opinions as they say.

Kelly, how I WISH I could argue with your review. I wanted to love MAN OF STEEL so very much. I wanted it to soar above all the recent superhero movies and have me leaving the cinema filed with glee, joy and hope. Instead I was profoundly disappointed. A charmless, messy bore of a film. By the end I felt exactly as you did – that I’d been watching someone play a video game for the last hour and refused to stop playing until every last thing had been destroyed. I loved BATMAN BEGINS and wanted this to be the Superman equivalent. Instead I got a kind of Transformers level film. Hideous. So much talent gone to waste.

Killing Zod was a paramount moment in the film.

He was grieving for his lost race immediately after as he was the last of Krypton.

loved this film actually made superman watchable again.
so of course hard core fan boys must destroy it utterly then piss on the ashes

i wonder if i sound this insane , hateful and unreasoning when i talk about JJ-trek

My lord
ive had my road to Damascus moment

The review nails it. This was no Superman I know.

I love that Man Of Steel was joyless, made me like it even more. Nice to not have a constant stream of jokes and sarcasm like in every Marvel movie.

And for the record…Mark Waid is not the authority on Superman. Birthright sucked ass.

A note/warning/whatever.

Going forward (and going retroactively, as well, once I post this), there will be what I will call an “asshole cutoff limit.” To wit, your comment can only contain 55% asshole-ry. Anything above that and I’m just going to delete it (as well as retorts to it, of course, as said retorts won’t make any sense once I delete the initial comment).

Billy Arundell

June 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I can’t even begin to comment on how poorly guided your sense of comic books and superheroes is. I won’t bother to go on and on about how ridiculously blind you were to the film’s depth and obvious ties to true Superman mythology. And if you didn’t think they nailed the Krypton scenes you have never read Superman.

Travis Pelkie

June 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Hey, at least now there’ll be less than 100 comments on this post. ;)

There’s some real assholes on here.

I’m still not sure how Superman Returns gets a 75% on rotten tomatoes, but Man of Steel currently hovers at 55%.

I notice a connection: the more innocuous the review/comment, the more vitriol is spewed. Kelly, articulated some of what I was unable to. I thought the movie had many of the right ingredients: for instance, killing Zod, but just missed execution again and again.

Aaaaand of course Kelly Thompson doesn’t like the film. I suppose she would have rather had Lois put on the costume and tell Clark to sit on the sidelines. If that had happened, she would probably be singing its praises.

All I know is that I loved it. It was SUPPOSED to be serious. It wasn’t meant to be your run of the mill superhero movie. It was meant to be a realistic interpretation on what it would look like if someone like Clark actually existed in our world. I didn’t expect it to be happy and joyful…because the same situation in real life would likely NOT be happy or joyful, with Clark making a stream of lame jokes. In short, a real life Superman would be SERIOUS because he feels fundamentally out of place. Anyway, it’ll probably be in future movies that he begins to feel more comfortable, and have a sense of belonging, and therefore open up a bit.

Anyway, I always feel like Kelley Thompson fundamentally misses the point of the movies and/or comics that she reviews. She judges them on the basis of what SHE WANTS them to be rather than what they ARE. I remember her review of Wonder Woman #7, where she even admitted that the issue itself was well-written and an overall entertaining and compelling read. However, she still gave it a 2 out of 5 because she felt that Azzarello’s interpretation of the Amazons wasn’t up to what she wanted out of it. Just because she didn’t mean that it wasn’t a viable interpretation of the Amazons. That, to me, is something she needs to get under control if she is ever to be taken seriously as a reviewer.

Omar Karindu, Holding Steady at 54.9% Asshole

June 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Hey, let’s all look at a paragraph from the post we’re all replying to:

But before I get into this, let’s take a moment to say, it’s great if YOU liked or even loved the film. I am honestly happy for you, in fact, I’m jealous, because I wanted to love it too. And I am not saying you are a moronic dolt that doesn’t know a thing about film or superheroes if you liked it. Don’t personalize this. This is about why I think Man of Steel is a terrible film, from both a superhero fan and a film lover perspective.

While I respect everyone’s opinion I just had to add my own 2 cents after continuously hearing from people how Superman didn’t even try to take the battle out of Metropolis and how many people must have died. It’s an action movie that is designed to entertain with big action scenes. A fight in the middle of a city where Superman and Zod are smashing through buildings (mainly empty from what I saw) is a lot more fun to watch than in the middle of a corn field with a bunch of farm animals standing around. Look at all the other superhero movies and where the big fights happen…. Iron Man – city, Iron Man 2 – Stark Expo, Iron Man 3 – shipyard, Avengers – Manhattan, Batman Begins – Gotham, DKR – Gotham, GL – city/space, Amazing Spider-man – Manhattan…. and so on and so on. It just looks better on screen and will never change.

Clearly I liked the movie and I am a diehard Superman fan. I just had to throw my opinion out there regarding all the complaints about the city fight.

@Kelly Thompson

Thanks for the responses. I know Internet negativity can get to people and some writers on the net tend to avoid the comments, so I just want say thanks for what you do.


Batman didn’t actually kill the KGBeast. He just left him locked in an underground warehouse. ; )

The thing is, KGBeast reappeared some years later in the third Robin miniseries, alive and well. So, maybe Batman meant to leave him there to starve and die (I get the feeling that that was what Jim Starlin intended when he wrote the story), but it’s also possible that once he got back to the batcave he thought things more calmly and decided to go back to that tunnel, get the Beast (who must have been tired and starved by then, probably unconscious) and deliver him to the authorities.

R., I think you answered your own questions: it’s all Kryptonian high science. It’s just supposed to be much more advanced than Earthling science, period. It doesn’t need more explanation than that. It’s Superman, not Star Trek (I like both , but they’re not the same thing).

Travis Pelkie

June 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm

“Holding Steady at 54.9% Asshole”

Omar, that’s the recipe of my favorite kind of hot dogs!

Omar, that’s the recipe of my favorite kind of hot dogs!

Really? I’ve always been more of a “lips and offal” fan.

Trajan23, come on, it’s understandable that some (I think most) people think that Zod and Co. died at the end of Superman 2. How many are even aware of that television extended cut? You bring up accurate and well-researched facts, but your “I can’t believe they keep bringing this up” outrage seemed funny to me.

greg doggerel

June 18, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Loud explosions, men in capes like Scarlett O’Hara, this doesn’t make a movie. this was just a new version of old alien invasion movies in which someone or something, a person or bacterium, takes down the aliens but not until after they have wrecked everything. Zod’s quasi-octopus-tripod ships even look like HG Wells’ invaders in “War of the Worlds”. Dialogue, miserable, characters hackneyed synthetics from every recent sci-fi movie, and the fist fights – really? fistfights between two supernatural strongmen? how do they even know how to? if you can blast breathe at mach speed why use your knuckles? perhaps most disturbing to me is this fascination with the 9-11 like effects of collapsing buildings while people scatter like roaches before them. this sickening reference has now become stock footage for any urban conflict depicted in movies. comparing this to GOT is wrong too for that is written and acted even more miserably than MOS. Where is Harlan Ellison when you need him?

I thought the movie was great!
I also don’t have an issue with Superman killing Zod, because it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen Superman kill someone. Also,it was a last option for a rookie superhero who doesn’t have an array of options a more seasoned Superman might have, i.e. no prison for super criminals, no Phantom Zone, no Fortress of Solitude. To spare his adopted planet the wrath of a genocidal maniac with the power of a god, he had to do it, and he immediately felt the impact of that choice.

As for Lois Lane, I loved what they did for her. She wasn’t the bumbling, swooning chick following the handsome hero. Being near Superman didn’t make her all googly eyed like you have with Jane Foster in Thor. Being near Superman meant that you had this investigative reporter right in the middle of the action and conveying to the hero a way to solve all their problems. On top of that, she’s with hero when he’s forced to make an agonizing decision. Does she end up in situations that require Superman to save her, sure, but that’s because she can’t fly. And frankly if a guy snatches you from the jaws of death twice, I think you’re obligated to reward him with a kiss. And kissing Cavill can’t be that hard of a job.

IT´s Just a Film!!! a Great Action Film! with a Superman Never Seen Before!!!! why don´t you critics learn something about what you´re talking to? have you ever ear about: SUPERMAN-EARTH-ONE???? c´mon guys????? whats wrong with the world, when a Great Moviemaker like Znyder makes a pieces like this, or watchmen, or 300`s and so… whats wrong with you? seriously??? damn! hahaha

Also, Snyder/Goyer, thank you for taking the dunce cap off of Lois’ head. Getting rid of the stupid notion that a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist couldn’t tell that Clark Kent is Superman in disguise has long outlived its time. I love that Clark has people who know about him and are willing to protect him and his secret. Now, he’s got an ally (maybe two, huh Perry?) at the Planet.

We haven;t got the film in Australia yet so I can;t comment on the specifics but I really hate people who dismiss Kelly’s opinion becasue they disagree. All the points she makes are fair. It is not nit-picking.

I find people arguing that she should take the film for what it tries to be versus what she wants it to be are missing the point. The reason studios do franchise films is to monetize your feelings of what you want it to be. So why should that not be a criteria by which it is judged? I sympathize with people upset about the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 although it personally didn’t bother me partly because it was a decent twist that worked.

Also i hate people saying “don;t listen to reviews, make your own mind up”. Do you read reviews of cars you are going to buy? or computer games? or restaurants you are going to eat at?

I cannot agree with you more. We have a very similar review (wrote and published this on the 16th)


I’m amazed at how many people disliked this film. Really. Full stop.

When beings as powerful as gods fight—there’s going to be destruction. Why is this a difficult concept for people? We see how powerful Kryptonians are as two of them decimate a city which takes a full team of Avengers and Asgardians to do half as much.

Hearing everyone complain that “this is NOT Superman” is silly. How many other superhero movies were “just like” the printed page equivalent? Hardly any. According to all you nay sayers, I should be hating on almost all adaptations since they all change up the characters I love.

You all hate on Superman Returns because it’s too long, slow, comedic, corny, etc. But then when you get the opposite, you complain even more. I’d LOVE to see each and every one of your story ideas that are obviously better than Man of Steel. Because you are all so opinionated, and have this ideal Superman engrained in your psyche, it should be easy to put in print how you would have written it.

I appreciate that Man of Steel did NOT assault me with cornball humor. That it didn’t insult me with characters not knowing who his alter ego is. That Superman made the ultimate choice to save his new adopted race while ending his. Tough for any hero to go through, yet somehow you all thought he should let Zod continue with his threat to annihilate an entire race. Um… yeah. Unfortunately Zod was not able to participate in the return to the Phantom Zone. He’s a little peeved that Krypton will not begin anew—and this was his genetic reason for being. I feel bad for him, but he certainly must not be allowed to go genocidal.

Boy are viewers hard on movies anymore. If it’s not their idea of a character, then all bets are off. Hate on movies that are actual garbage.

This is far from garbage.

Travis Pelkie

June 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm

mmm, offal!

It doesn’t matter that Superman has killed before. It’s that Superman SHOULDN’T kill. It pissed me off when it happened before and it pisses me of now.

It’s interesting how the more I read these responses, the less I care to share my thoughts on the movie (flawed but somewhat enjoyable) or the review (better than Waid’s). All I want to say is a more R-rated version of…

There are some dumb-ass comments, attempts at logic, and reactions in these comments. We deserve whatever piece of shit movies they throw at us.

Including me since I’ve sunk to this level.

Travis Pelkie

June 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

So Faora-Ul was played by Antje Traue?

Those are the 2 worst Scrabble hands of all time, no?

People are coming out of the woodwork to give their 2 cent opinions on who or what Superman is or was. Im happy with direction this movie took. Im already tired of the pun filled popcorn flicks like Avengers. MOS had substance and took chances and I think they paid off.

I am a big DC Comics reader but not a big Superman fan. I used to love Superman when I was a kid, but Batman would always be my favorite.
The Superman pre-New52 sucked ( remember ‘Grounded’ by J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Roberson, ugh…! So boring).
The New52 Superman had me go, ‘Hmmmmm…..’.
Having said that, I LOVED Man of Steel because it is not what I expected. I loved the fact that it’s darker, that there’s only just a hint of a love story and that it’s not ‘fun’. I am perfectly fine with that.
I feel like most of the critics are based on the fact that the movie doesn’t deliver what a superhero movie ‘should’ or is ‘supposed’ to deliver: fun. If you want ‘fun’ you have Tony Stark in Iron Man, reading lines that most of the times are pretty predictable in a superhero movie. I know that’s what the mass-market wants but it’s good to have something different sometimes.
I hear a lot of “It’s not fun”, “There’s no love story”, ‘” I peed in my pants”…ugh!
Well I am glad that it’s not ‘fun’ and that there’s no ‘love story’. I am glad that some scenes are emotional and I am glad that at times the movie feels very intimate.
Perfectly fine with that.
Besides, what’s the point of making ‘another’ superhero movie with the smartass approach of Iron Man or Green Lantern. This movie begs to differ in the very populated arena of superhero movies and I have welcomed that with a sigh of relief.

*of the critics are* – I meant reviews

There are some strong … and long … responses here. So, I’ll be brief in mine. Great review, KT. I agree 95%.

The missing 5% is that I wished you’d mentioned how the addition of the omniscient, interactive Jor-El consciousness, robs something vital to the Superman mythos … that of choice. In the Donner Superman, it’s easy to buy into the fact that a forward thinking Jor-El would make a series of crystal recordings to educate Kal about the history of Krypton and his heritage. It’s a wealth of information that Clark drinks in on his way to deciding to be Superman. The key word there is he “DECIDES” to become Superman.

But, by making Jor-El a consciousness with awareness that guides and (in some ways) commands Kal-El, Clark is relegated to little more than a puppet. We not only learn that dear old dad had a vision that Kal would “Be a God” to them and lead them into the sun — even down to pre-designing the Superman costume — but that it was his plan all along. He wasn’t just trying to save his son (which is a very believable motivation). He was creating a messiah. At this point, Clark Kent is dead. He’s not the product of Ma and Pa Kent and his own choices. He’s only Kal-El — the end result of a plan put into motion by Jor-El long ago. (I truly missed Ma Kent making the costume at Clark’s request). It’s Jor-El’s idea that Kal become a hero. It’s his plan to give him the costume. It’s his idea and command that Kal “save them all.”

All of this weakens Superman. It’s vital to the character that he COULD be a god and decides to be a servant to mankind instead. (P.S. This is the extend of the Jesus parallels I’m going to make. I only wish Snyder had shown that same restraint.) In the comics, Superman didn’t even need the catalyst of an “Uncle Ben” scenario.

The main point of having orphan characters is that they wonder about who they are and where they came from, but they choose their own path. They’re not told what to do outright. In the comics, Clark makes the decision to be Superman on his own (guided over the years by Ma and Pa). But, without the purity of that personal choice, his Superman identity is greatly diminished here. Perhaps that’s why he’s only called “Superman” once. That disappointed me even more than the killing.

For the record, the two moments I laughed out loud in the theater were: 1) When Superman says he’s 33 (ugh.) and b) When he strikes a Jesus pose in space as Jor-El sends his only son to earth to beat Sata … ahem … Zod,

P.S. Hey, DC Comics! Want to hire a writer who TRULY understands how Superman ticks? Read “The Girl Who Would be King.” Read it again to make sure you get it. Yeah, it’s that good. Then pick up the phone and hire a great writer to breathe life into an amazing character who has been mishandled for years. Then, tune out all the fucking fanboys who say a girl can’t write Superman and thought it was wicked that Superman was complicit in leveling Metropolis in “Man of Steel.”

Batman is the hero you wanted (“HURP DURP HE NEVER KILLS!! (even if he totally does…)”

Superman is the HERO YOU NEED. I’d rather have a guy who is willing to stop evil, even if it means doing something as unpleasant as killing, than one who lets psychotic murderers run free because he wants to jerk off to his own moral superiority.

Really, this review shows why this Superman movie is a good one.

I keep reading these things about “Superman does not kill” and he could have do this, that, or the other to save that family. People: WAKE UP, it just wasn’t about that family! Say he flies off and saves the family, what then? Kal had just gotten the upper hand on a guy who was born to be a soldier. What are the chances of a green Superman getting the upper hand again as Zod is starting to learn of his own powers? Slim and none… and if he beats him, what then? hold Zod in a perpetual full nelson until they find a way to imprison him??!

With what he was presented, there was only one choice.

As for as the original review; sorry Kelly, but it’s difficult to believe we saw the same film. Not because you didn’t like it (I’ve read other reviews that didn’t like it but could see their POV) but as if even things that the reviewers that didn’t like the movie thought worked, you didn’t. It’s really tough to see it as trying to find anything that’s remotely not perfect and bashing it to the Nth degree.

@Inactiveman…great post.

Great article, Kelly! I agree with some of your points and I am a big Superman fan. I wanted to love this movie and can’t bring myself to do it (but I don’t hate it). I can only hope that I like the sequel because there are elements to the movie that I like (mainly the cast). I find more fault with David Goyer and Zack Snyder than anything else.
Interestingly, I was in my LCS the day after I saw the movie and two pretty big Superman fans had just come from seeing it and loved it. We discussed likes and dislikes and when the LCS owner realized that I didn’t particularly care for the movie he suggested that I pick up Superman Unchained. I passed on it earlier in the week due to not liking the New 52 Superman and not being much of a Jim Lee fan but I bought the book and enjoyed it. It definitely helped me get over my disappointment in the movie.

I think you lose credibility when you admit you are not a fan of Superman, and acknowledge other peoples favorable reviews, but still, complain is not ideal enough.

I have not seen the film, and I don’t care for spoilers(in any film. I like being teased). But for good reason: I am a Batman fan(a huge one), and I did not buy Unchained. I do like the digital-title of “Adventures of Superman”, but if I had to choose, Batman for me. I have Nolans movies, collect three of his five comic book titles(not counting Dark Knight and Batman and [insert name]), have season 1 of The Animated Series, have season 1 of Batman Beyond, The Dark Knight movie series(both of them), and both Arkham games, Asylum and City. So when it comes to Batman, I am there. I analyze him like the political races going around the country.

Batman is my hero, and while I love Nolan, I believe he is wrong. Is not his film. Is not his movie. And because of what “the” man said, or not said, all of a sudden we are looking at Nolans reliability instead of Snyders. Is wrong. Is disrespectful. Is inappropriate.

Criticism is totally accepted if you disagreed with the movie, or didn’t like it. And I hear many opinions. But this is Snyders film. His vision. Disagree or not, with how he made Superman, to the ending, or the talked-about action, is unique from Nolan. You ain’t always going to satisfy everybody, especially comic book fans. But if you are a real superhero fan, then you would appreciate Warner Bros attempt to make the movie happen.
I do. I love it.

And you should too.

I really enjoyed Man of Steel. I thought it was a fresh, new interpretation and I appreciate that. In fact I have liked all of the new interpretations. I enjoyed Lois and Clark, Smallville, The Animated Series, etc. I get all of the Super titles from DC Comics each month.

The character really appeals to me. The adopted child, trying to understand his birthright, given immense power, and trying to do the best he can with it for the people of the world. That is Superman to me and this movie has that.

I have no problem with him killing Zod, he was in a no win scenario, it was the only thing he could do to stop him from killing more people. Most importantly, he hated to have to do it. I have no problem that many people died off camera. Superman stopped the machines that would have destroyed all life on earth. I like that they didn’t portray him as a god. He can’t save everybody.

Now that the origin is out of the way I am very much looking forward to a sequel. Bring on Brainiac, Doomsday, Mettalo, Parasite, even Lex…


How is what you said: “I think you lose credibility when you admit you are not a fan of Superman”

remotely relevant to what I wrote?

“I’m not as die-hard a fan of Superman as many of you, so I’m not as attached to the mythology,…”

and this: “Again, I’m not a hardcore fan…”

FWIW (not that you care) I would say I am definitely a fan of Superman, in part simply because I am a fan of superheroes and comics – enough that I have built my life around them and LITERALLY make my living writing about them (in various ways). However, I can certainly acknowledge that I am most definitely not the biggest Superman fan out there. I don’t know the stories inside and out like a die-hard, he’s not “my favorite superhero of all time”…but people who can say that are a very small group of people. So if you think only that group of people are “credible” when it comes to writing about Superman or a 250 million dollar movie about him….well, that’s a very small pond indeed.

And if you don’t think that only die-hard fans have credible opinions, well then, you need to work on your reading comprehension, because at no point in my 3,000+ words did I say that I’m not a fan of Superman.

@ Tim Minear:

The missing 5% is that I wished you’d mentioned how the addition of the omniscient, interactive Jor-El consciousness, robs something vital to the Superman mythos … that of choice. In the Donner Superman, it’s easy to buy into the fact that a forward thinking Jor-El would make a series of crystal recordings to educate Kal about the history of Krypton and his heritage. It’s a wealth of information that Clark drinks in on his way to deciding to be Superman. The key word there is he “DECIDES” to become Superman.

Good point.

I am generally pro-Ghost of Jor-El as an element of the Superman mythos, but MAN OF STEEL had too much of him. He literally kept Lois (LOIS!) involved in the plot at one point. If you are telling a big screen Superman story and you a deus ex machina to keep Lois around, then you need a new draft of the screenplay.

@Tim Miner (and Dean):

Good call. I totally agree and a great point. If I could turn back the time by flying around the Earth really fast, I would do that and then add some version of that point to this piece.

It was a glaring problem – and it’s glaring that I neglected to mention it – especially since it’s the definition of convenient plotting to make your story work – which was one of my biggest issues with the film (and script).


@Dean Hacker —

Total and complete bullshit. There is nothing and never has been anything “dated” about Superman having a secret identity. The idea that “the glasses wouldn’t fool anybody lol” has only become a meme because of people who don’t understand how facial recognition works and think that humans have some kind of miracle brains that perfectly perceive reality. No one would recognize Clark Kent as Superman because people would start off with the assumption that they were two different people and their brains would operate on that assumption and fill in the blanks. This is a fairly basic concept of neurological science.

@ Dr. Anonymous:

That explanation would be fine, except Lois (and the rest of Superman’s friends) see him in both identities frequently. No matter how good an actor Superman is, people would start to notice. Even Christopher Reeve couldn’t keep up the act into the third movie. That is less than 9 hours and we are talking about people that spend 40 hours a week together.

The “love triangle for two” was a lovely metaphor, but there are clearly other ways of saying the same thing.

Gilliam Decker

June 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

From my limited reading of these posts, I’m going to tailor this to the most recent of which I read, concerning the choice to be superman brought up by Tim Miner.

The decision to be “Superman” by Clark in this movie was made long before he found out who he really was and where he was from. I wouldn’t say Jor-El made the decision for Clark–Mr. Kent raised Clark, instilling in him everything good and what good could really be one day. In this interpretation of TODAY’S superman, Jor-El had hope, for his people and the people of Earth, through the physical loss of his son. Which was a long shot in the dark for Jor-El to make, but Hope is what delivered Kal. Hell, Kal could’ve landed in the swamps of Louisiana or the streets of some inner city ghetto–but he didn’t. He found himself (created in the 30’s in a world and time that only made picture perfect sense for Kal to land in a Kansas farm and be raised pure and just to love humanity and this planet) raised similar to how Jor would’ve raised him.

So taking place in present day Earth, our current time and events, this Clark Kent left home with the values taught to him by his Earth parents. Always doing good along the way and every time he put his secrets on the line doing greater good, he had to start all over and move–2 reasons, like Mr. Kent expressed one day the world would be ready but not yet and then there was no way he could let his decision to publicly do good be known until he knew the secrets of his life. So I think, if you don’t know the mood/style/and thoughts behind the 1930’s superman and or differentiate the recreation of superman from then to now, then skeptically this movie may be flawed all over. I think the writer and director did awesome with the sole purpose to not repeat what has been done over and over again. The reality is our world today and the world on the screen were brought together. Clark wasn’t misguided to be superman when the time came, he was ready to be what he could be for humanity at that time. The already made uniform was befitting, who else in our modern world could create such a thing to withstand 30mm bullets-to withstand anything the Planet Earth could through at a Krpytonian son. No harm in Jor being prepared for Kal. He was a scientist by trade and very intelligent and well prepared.

I would scrutinize the second and third man of steel–how do you top the destruction of Metropolis in this one? Who do you bring as the most villainous Lex, Braniac, or Doomsday?? Whatever the trilogy brings it won’t leave an impact like Batman did, rather it will open way to the Justice League and the creators of this Superman, the same as Batman, aren’t going to put the teasers out there like Marvel did. There will be more of this present day DC and it was overlooked in Man of Steel when Lexcorp was destroyed and the Wayne Enterprise satellite was destroyed. We have all the original ingredients for DC, it’s not change that we are seeing, it’s not adaption, it’s simply recreation of then into a world of now. You have to accept this man of steel as simply the best–clinging to the superman you know would never work in today.

Here’s my questions–Did Lois remember Clark as Superman in the end? I thought original superman could kiss her and make her forget anything he wanted? Was Lois not privy to the knowledge of Clark and Kal in previous versions of Zod battles? And did Superman save the family at the end before killing Zod? I don’t think he did–at the same time he lost saving the family and the last of his kind. Will there be a memorial in that exact spot in the next movie? Kryptonite–how will Lex get it in this version?

Well done! So many of the things I thought while watching this film are covered in this review. I went with my 28 yr old son to see it and we disagreed about it completely. He loved it, I was disappointed. He tried to say it was because I was too mired in the comic book concept of it but I disagree. The only comic book sensibility I mentioned was the fact that the tones of Batman and Superman were different from one another with Batman being a dark comic and Superman all about sunshine. This movie WAS colorless. It was as if it was dimmed down so people going to see it wouldn’t get the impression it was based on a comic book.

That’s always been one of the big problems with movies made from DC comics. They always want to be edgy and severe, as if nothing was ever made before Frank Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT and every comic movie had to look that way. Not all comics have to be dark or edgy. This movie felt like a world filled with colors doesn’t exist at least not in Smallville or Metropolis. When I saw the costume months ago I worried about this but was willing to accept the changes. The problem was that these changes didn’t just filter into the costume but the entire movie.

The magnitude of death you mention bothered me as well. Just to think about the number of people that would have been inside the buildings being brought down, not to mention those who were beneath them, amazed me. And as long as that kiss or Perry White and gang were saved hey, all is well with the world, lets forget about all the other people. As for some people thinking he did try to take the battle elsewhere come on, he’s done it countless times in the comics so why would it be so difficult here?

Was it just me or did anyone else notice that the whole battle in the streets of Smallville looked remarkably like the battle in the streets from THOR?

My father noticed something about superhero movies that has applied more with DC films than those Marvel has made. Not all but most. I was surprised at how correct he was. It seems that rather than face off against a normal opponent, DC feels the need to always have either 1)multiple villains or 2) a humongous villain of gigantic proportions who will obliterate the Earth if not brought down by our hero. The only exception to 2 is the Batman films. But think back to GREEN LANTERN where we had some giant cloud villain that was enormous. Now we have a combination of 1 & 2 with multiple bad guys AND a giant spider like creation that will transform the Earth. (Someone else mention on another site that this item looked like a giant spider, referring to what Kevin Smith talked about in the past).

One thing no one has talked about that bothered me. A director’s choice. The hand held camera work. I’m sorry but I don’t enjoy it. Hold the damn thing steady. Steadicams were created for this purpose. I imagine this is an “artistic” decision but it sucks. You’re making a movie for millions to enjoy, not just for yourself.

On the whole this was a disappointing movie for me. I’ve not said what was wrong with it to anyone nor revealed anything in it. People should enjoy it or not on their own. For me I could care less if this group made another one even though I’ve heard the same people responsible are in the midst of making part 2 AND possibly in charge of Justice League. If so expect the JLA to take on a planet sized creature, be more deadly than any enemy they’ve ever faced in comics, brood miserably most of the time and come off more like dissatisfied teens than as super heroes. If that’s the case don’t count on my full priced ticket income and be glad you got the dollar and change I’ll give you when it comes to my local Redbox.

As someone pointed out, Superman has been handled by countless writers over the years… All of whom are fallible human beings who, in my opinion, make mistakes in portraying the character sometimes. Unfortunately, given the wide range of portrayals, fans of the movie can cite precedent for whatever of Superman’s bad behaviors they want to excuse. Superman murders Zod without absolutely needing to? No problem, Byrne did it once. Superman showed depraved indifference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, by not making a sustained effort to lead the battle outside Metropolis? No problem, the comic version already slaughtered citizenry the same way, in his head, while experiencing revenge visions about battling Doomsday while under Max Lord’s control.

Those choices, though, are not the portrayal of “my” Superman. “My” Superman doesn’t kill when he doesn’t have to, and he doesn’t manslaughter hundreds of thousands of people out of indifference to them. I’m going to be less diplomatic than Kelly was: if that’s someone’s idea of a hero, then we’re just going to have to agree to disagree, and thank God “that” Superman doesn’t exist in real life, where we might accidentally get in the way while he’s “saving” us.

I think I’ll avoid spending any money to see this, so as not to reward the makers of this version of the character. Here’s to hoping the character gets redeemed in whatever reboot comes along in the future, on down the line.


June 18, 2013 at 11:48 pm

I came into this movie with an extremely closed mind. Superman has had horrific luck adapting to the screen, so my expectations were low. Was it a GREAT movie? Not quite. Did they deliver the best Superman film they could? HELLLLLLL NO. The best question: Is it the best Superman movie so far? Definitely. It establishes a version of the character that is compatible with a Justice League film. Anybody remember Frank Miller’s ‘Dark Knight Returns’? Granted, that IS a Batman story, but Superman is a key character. He kills several soviet airmen for ‘MERICA! The end of the story highlights one of the key relationships in the Justice League: deep down, Batman HATES Superman, and Superman is pretty condescending to Batman. The Superman that this creative team has brought us is a great foundation for the movie everyone wants to see, where Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and co. can all exist in one story and interact in a way that annoying comic book fans (like myself) can’t predict. If in 2005 I wanted to see John Constantine as a chain-smoking, foul-mouthed binge drinker from Liverpool, I’d pick up a copy of Hellblazer (RIP), but instead I paid to see Keanu Reeves as Constantine……. okay, bad example, that movie was horrible, but at least it wasn’t Alec Baldwin as The Shadow. The point is, it’s about time they made a comic book movie that could at least offer up a translation that could compare to Batman Begins. Shit, even the pacing of the films had some common ground. Keep in mind: this is a movie, Superman comes from pop literature. Don’t Panic.


June 18, 2013 at 11:58 pm

On another note: Michael Shannon didn’t shout all of his lines, that is a gross exaggeration. The exchanges with Jor-El early on give you the sense of two colleagues disagreeing on an important issue, His early interaction with Kal are like an uncle meeting his long lost nephew, and when he says (in reference to killing Jor-El) “Not a day goes by that it doesn’t haunt me, but…” HE’S BELIEVABLE. In this movie, Zod isn’t stupid, he’s misguided and vengeful. Keep in mind, the dude got fucked. With you being a Shannon fan, I’m surprised you didn’t like his performance. His face was designed by the gods to make him look pissed of or constipated at all times, and his voice box will soon be removed to upgrade the speech function on personal computers. Michael Shannon delivered exactly what anyone who has seen his work should expect.

Going forward (and going retroactively, as well, once I post this), there will be what I will call an “asshole cutoff limit.” To wit, your comment can only contain 55% asshole-ry. Anything above that and I’m just going to delete it (as well as retorts to it, of course, as said retorts won’t make any sense once I delete the initial comment).

Comic sites, video game sites, general nerd stuff sites, etc need to seriously get over this fear of free and open discussion. You’re all adults. If you post something and 99% of readers disagree and comment about it then that’s just part of life and needs to be accepted. Sometimes people might even say something sarcastic that makes you, the author, mad. That’s part of life too. Claiming it’s “trolling” or “assholish” or whatever is just code for getting rid of opinions considered to be thoughtcrime.

It’s why I roll my eyes whenever the outrage-of-the-week involves any kind of free speech or freedom of expression. A pattern of censoring comments so as not to offend staff sensibilities belies any pretense of actually believing in either of those freedoms.

I want a Superman movie where he rescues a kitten from a tree.

For those who say we are haters because we didn’t like the film, please… I wanted to love this film after the fiasco that was Superman Returns. Unfortunately, Snyder didn’t do a better job at it. He went all out with the Krypton scene by setting up many possible good things, but yet missed out on the rest of what could have been an epic journey between Zod and the Man of Steel.

The killing, well, I admit that it was needed to set up the next movies. Just like in the comics, Superman killed the 3 in Byrne’s run at it and then vows to never kill again to a point where he sets off into space to move away from those he could hurt. Which is fine. But the 5 minutes of laser beam is just way too long.. This shows that even Snyder didn’t get his own version of Zod.. From what we have seen in the movie Zod would have blasted the family to smithereens in a second if this was to have Superman let go of him.

But no, he goes the damn long route.. It’s liek a Jon Lovitt’s character for crying out loud: “See!! I’ll use my laser to cut through the building here.. see… and yes I am moving slllllloooooowly towards that family seeeee!! Oh.. I’m almost there mister SUPERman!! .. ”

Just have him blast away at them, Superman uses his speed to block it even injuring himself, but going back straight to Zod who has yet not learned how to control this speed and hit him hard by breaking the neck. That would have been better.. More emotions, more of the “He needed to do that to save the planet as Zod would just kill to have what he wants”. Then the “NooooooO” scream would have been a bigger more grittier meaning.

I agree with the article about the movie being so much less than what it was, should have been. Pacing was so awful that when you started to get into it, you were taken out by some out of place scene.

Also the kiss.. Why??.. Just doesn’t make any sense. Lois is shown here as a strong character who just kneels head first into a kiss?? Snyder needs to go back and learn how to ask his writers to blend things in, make it viable for the next movie.

I agree that the other characters such has Perry should have been taken out of the movie if they were to be used as they were. Just like Lex. Make the story about Lois trying to find the guy, sure, it shows her to be a great journalist, but don’t include the rest of the guys just yet, spend more time developing the background history of Clark, show us that he was one day surprised to see he could fly like the Byrne’s Man of Steel series (I think Superman Birthright was good, but in a way just copied and switched up some thing Byrne created and incorporated the damn S logo has being part of the family crest which I always thought was idiotic and should be left behind in the golden age.. Why would an alien civilization have something so close to our alphabet?)

Snyder wanted to kickstart this and told us on many interview that this would be a new Superman, but instead of developing his vision and making us care about this version, he rushed it in our faces and in the end I just didn’t care about it. Even making me wonder if “Returns” was at par with this one.

Why? Simple, Returns was flawed from the start to the finish, but in the end the flying scenes were simply amazing. MoS the scenes were at best cartoonish and CGI’d way over the top; Story in Returns was crap, this one also crap. Routh vs Cavill?? .. Well both have the ability to sell us that they could be Superman, but Routh unfortunately had what, like 20 lines?? So he wasn’t given the chance. Cavill wins but by a margin. I still think he was great in this, but Routh wasn’t bad either even if he didn’t have Cavill’s size of muscle.

Where MoS wins, is the characters writing Lois is an horrible mother, Lex is hell bent again on selling land, ugly land even if he just unlawfully inherited billions.. WHY SELL LAND NOW?? That was the whole point to sell land, to be righ.. he is.. stop it and live off your money. His new love interest his horrible, ect ect. But then MoS also has it’s flaws in characters, why replace Jimmy with a woman if you are not going to use her to do something? That could have been any woman, child of man under those brick it would have made the same impact. Perry is written in for what purpose? One scene would have enough, but like I said, just remove the Daily Planet from the movie except the end when Clark goes in.

Oh and anyone else amazed at how quickly Metropolis is rebuilt?

So in the end I wanted this one to be great, huge! Avengers business huge! But I was left disappointed by the way it was executed and done. Clark’s journey was not well done, the way he just becomes self aware that he can fly after the jumping around was idiotic, why the hell would you jump around if you know you can just fly?? (I did loved how they wink at Smallville’s way of ‘disturbing the ground’ effect when he does it); the damn flashbacks; why would Clark let his dad go to grab the damn dog if he knew that he was indestructible and had more chance to come out of it alive? The costume, so the ship can create a costume, but will change the colors from the original black and grey to dark blue, dark red, dark yellow?? Also Jor-El mentions that he built the ship.. Yet the scientists say the ice around it was over 20 000 years old… But Clark’s ship made it to earth within a year.. So that means that Jor-El was over 20 000 years old when he died??? Why would the occupants from the ship be all dead? A baby in a small ship makes it alive and be well because of the yellow sun theory, yet the kryptonians died when they crashed under our sun? The concepts are far stretched here. They don’t make sense in their own universe!

I gave this movie a 6 out of 10.. Pretty much at par with Superman Returns. While they got huge numbers on opening week, this is all marketing pushing the movie out. Well see what happens in week 2 and 3. We all have our opinions about this movie, some loved it, liked it, or where just ok with it. I am just not amazed by it so I won’t be spending more cash to see it at the theater, I’ll just wait for Netflix or when it’ll be in the 9.99$ Blu-ray bin to see it again.

You know when you mentioned TONE, that’s when I realized why so many people who don’t like this movie really don’t get this movie or Superman. I read Mark Waids blog and the ending of not finding joy in a guy who can fly is silly. It seems like people expect the happy smile, boy scout, Clark Kent in a cape Superman to be the Superman that should be on screen. That’s the SAME Superman that people for years have complaining about. He’s too nice, he’s boring, he’s overpowered, he’s a one note boy scout with a stupid disguise.

In this movie you get someone with self doubt, some mystery, looking to find his place in the world and the only thing he can come up with is, he doesn’t smile enough. I don’t think this was a great movie but this was the first only Superman movie where he actually came across as a believable person. For all the power that he posses the fact that he doesn’t stand around with his hands on his hips like a cocky prick who can fly I thought would be more acceptable to people.

Instead you have the Superman doesn’t kill excuse being used as some kind of golden rule from the comics. Like he didn’t fight Doomsday to the death. Or as if sticking someone in the Phantom Zone isn’t another form of slow death. And than use Batman as another example of, “oh, he doesn’t do that.” So Ra’s Al Ghul dying in a train in Batman Begins had nothing to do with Batman, or Harvey Dent in Dark Knight, and Talia just happened to suffer internal bleeding and die with no fault to Batman. And to add to all of this is the, “I’m not really a fan of Superman anyway” nonsense. I wasn’t a fan of Star Trek but I saw it anyway and tried to get something good out of it. And that was just a fanboy remake of Wrath of Khan.

Thank You for helping me see that all this complaining is a waste of time from people who went to a movie to be entertained, got what they paid for and whine about it anyway. This is why Scott Pligrim and Dredd didn’t do well at the theaters you all have no idea what you want.

I really enjoyed MAN OF STEEL. I’ve seen it twice now, and I enjoyed it more the second time after the initial “this isn’t MY SUPERMAN” thing wore off.

All of the people that are so complainy about this movie are missing one very interesting thing: You all HAD the movie you describe wanting. It was called SUPERMAN RETURNS and you all hated that one, too.

I loved RETURNS. Loved. It. It hit all the right notes for me. Didn’t care that Supes had fathered a kid. Thought that could, in future films, prove to be an awfully interesting plot device, actually. Didn’t care that he left the planet. Superman’s left Earth dozens of times in the comics. Didn’t mind that he “didn’t punch anyone” (as I saw bandied around as a complaint so many times). He never punched anyone in Donner’s original (which is STILL the bar by which all things are measured). Didn’t punch anyone on THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. Not a once. Nor in SUPERMAN VS. THE MOLE MEN or the Superman movie serial. Doesn’t take away from their timeless charm at all.

I liked MAN OF STEEL, too. It’s a different vision. It was lush. Beautiful. Great production design. Great performances. I enjoyed it more than I did AVENGERS and I was quite fond of AVENGERS.

To each his own, as they say. Just understand that what YOU may think of as YOUR Superman isn’t everyone else’s and the very medium the character sprang from, comics, has been kept alive for seventy-five plus years due to creativity, change, and interpretation.

And to the guy who said “anyone notice how quickly Metropolis was rebuilt?”:

No. I didn’t. How long did it take?

Did they say? Nope. Could have been a year. We don’t know. It’s movie time, man. By yout logic you’d have to assume Tony Stark built the Mark I armor in eight minutes. I mean, that’s how much time it took in the MOVIE.

I feel as if some of you are utterly grasping for things to complain about.

Carlos Nicolini:”Trajan23, come on, it’s understandable that some (I think most) people think that Zod and Co. died at the end of Superman 2. How many are even aware of that television extended cut? You bring up accurate and well-researched facts, but your “I can’t believe they keep bringing this up” outrage seemed funny to me.”

Well, I’m not sure how “understandable” it is. As I indicated in my previous post, I never got the impression that Zod and Co were killed in the theatrical cut of SUPERMAN 2. After all, we simply see them falling a rather short distance into a mist-filled crevice.

As for my “outrage,” well, I think that has something to do with people discussing the “death” of Zod in SUPERMAN 2 without bothering to do any research into the matter. For example, information on the extended television cut cut is readily available on the internet, and the Donner cut can be viewed on DVD.

- Why did Zod ask for Lois to board his ship? There was no reason for her to be retrieved. It was a crappy plot point used as a way for her to escape and help Superman escape. But if Superman was weakened on the ship by the environment, it’s the environment and not the sun that power him?

– What about the fact that Superman played abortion doctor when he destroyed the chamber full of embryos right in front of Zod, essentially being “Zod” (since Zod’s POV is that only the strong & pure survive – a point raised by Jor El early in the movie)?

– What about Superman telling people to stay in their respective businesses while he handled two powered Kryptonians only to see the businesses along Main Street in Smallville to be destroyed? Can’t tell me people survived that or the ridiculous destruction in Metropolis.

– The Codex is absolutely BS. Another useless plot point. What the hell was this skull all about and why was it so important? All I saw was a skull jizzing into the embryos of Kryptonians. Granted the connection of Lois to Superman was leaked throughout the news but that doesn’t justify taking her back to the ship at all. Again, it was a simple way to use her as a way for Superman to escape, nothing more.

– About this environment BS, we all know Superman gets his power from the sun. They decide to through this wrench of environment issues just to make it “believable”. Seems like MAN OF STEEL raided AVATAR’s closet by having people ride flying animals in Krypton and throwing in the “we’re having atmospheric issues” for good measure. Superman had over 30 years to get over it but it took Zod 5 min? Please. Lack of atmosphere didn’t seem to be an issue for Superman when he decided to fly to the edge of space where there’s no atmosphere whatsoever. He seemed happy and “breathing” fine.

– With regards to terraforming Earth, what’s the point? If Krypton sent thousands of ships for exploration and not 1 was able to create a habitable world after their amazing “terraforming”, why the hell would Zod think it would work in this instance (BTW, Zod states he’s a warrior while Jor El is a Scientist. How the hell were these brute warriors smart enough to change the Phantom Zone equipment to a Warp Drive? Thought that’s what scientists do, not warriors). Looks to me the scientists messed up big time developing that terraforming machine.

– Couldn’t stand the embryos-in-a-ship plotpoint as it held the potential for a can of worms (As for Superman playing abortion doctor, the embryos were on the ship AKA the “Fortress” of Solitude that landed over 20,000 years ago that Superman discovers in Canada. The ship was undisturbed for al that time until he showed up. If Superman is supposed to be the only hope for “his people” he should have found a way to acclimate them to this world. If HE could survive, why can’t they?

– If a group of people as strong as Superman were in town and I were Superman, I would tell them to get the hell out of town. And if the people decided to run screaming, I wouldn’t blame them for one bit. A quiet community suddenly disturbed in such a fashion would certainly cause understandable fear and panic. I wouldn’t tell them to stay in their homes or businesses. That was just insane to me. If he would have at least moved the fight elsewhere, it would have shown that he was thinking about the welfare of others, not just his mom or Lois.

– Fact is two ships came straight to the Kent Farm to find the Cryo-ship that held Kal El to find the codex (stupid codex). No other reason than that. Can’t say there weren’t looking as Zod was so pissed that he flipped the car into the house. If the military noticed this (in real life they would have), they would ask: Why go there? What’s so important there? Must be important if Lois Lane was at the house to.

– Superman’s Cryo-Ship. How was that even picked up by the military? They don’t know where it is except Superman and Ma Kent. Lois knows how to kickoff the phantom zone but needs the ship. Last I checked, Lois isn’t Supergirl nor did she have a spare tow truck lying around. All we see is the ship sitting on a military truck about to be loaded onto a plane. Why didn’t Superman just fly the Cryo-ship to the plane? What the hell was he doing that was so important that he couldn’t do it himself? Wouldn’t that raise questions?

– Superman killing Zod was a low point that was immediately followed up with a shallow comedic scene involving unmanned surveillance plane. People keep comparing Superman to a cop who has to sometimes use lethal force. Diference is cops aren’t faster than a speeding bullet. If they we’re they wouldn’t need guns. Why didn’t Superman just cover Zod’s eyes when he was shooting heat vision at a family of idiots? Why stand there when you can, I don’t know, move to the right & out the door? Why didn’t Superman just pull a KILL BILL 2 and rip Zod’s eyes out (or at the very least gouge them)? Killing is ok but eye removal is too much? You can’t heat what you can’t see and you certainly can’t heat without eyes. Since solar radiation is what powers Kryptonians, why didn’t Superman just bury Zod deep in the ground and surround him in lead? He’d be blind and unable to stay powered without the Sun’s Ray. If friggin’ smoke from a terraforming machine can weaken Superman in South Asia, why can’t he do something similar to Zod?

I love Superman and his history but this movie butchered the character’s image. Amazed people don’t realize what they’re watching. Puppets just enjoying the half-assed special effects and glossing over the obvious mistakes the film had.

Comics Alliance and Mark Waid (writer of SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT and KINGDOM COME) wrote on this as well:



Thanks for the review Ms Thompson. You get a whole lot of bs here, I appreciate you sticking around.

I was not to interested in seeing the movie because I really do not like a whole lot of Krypton in my Superman (I much prefer the Byrne version). From the trailers (and now reviews) Man Of Steel seemed like it would be less about a great hero who came from Krypton, and more about an alien from Krypton who brought a lot of Krypton baggage with him to Earth.

As for the secret identity (mentioned above), I also prefer Byrne’s take. We know Superman is Clark Kent, but why would people in the/whatever DCU think Superman has a secret ID?

I think you bring up some very good points. My brother-in-law wants me to take him to see the movie this week so I’ll be seeing it a second time. I like the term “this isn’t my Superman perspective” because that’s exactly the mindset that I had watching it. I may come out of it with a different perspective. I did like certain elements of the movie but I came away just not feeling it so viewing number two may change some things.

@ Mikey Wood:

All of the people that are so complainy about this movie are missing one very interesting thing: You all HAD the movie you describe wanting. It was called SUPERMAN RETURNS and you all hated that one, too.

That is my take as well. There is just a subset of comic fans that love to complain about Superman. They turn up in every message thread about every adaptation. They didn’t like SUPERMAN RETURNS, or SMALLVILLE, or LOIS & CLARK. Most of them aren’t fans of the Silver Age comics, or the Byrne revamp. Not that it ever comes up, but I’d be willing to bet they don’t like the Fleisher cartoons, or the George Reeves TV series, or even the Siegel-Shuster orinal comics. Heck, a few of them will even complain about Superman II

For some people, Superman is a character from one thirty-five old movie that has served as a template for the current boom in superhero movies. I have no idea why those people love comment threads so much, but here we are.

@ trajan23

As for my “outrage,” well, I think that has something to do with people discussing the “death” of Zod in SUPERMAN 2 without bothering to do any research into the matter. For example, information on the extended television cut cut is readily available on the internet, and the Donner cut can be viewed on DVD.

I think that it is safe to say that the Lester cut of SUPERMAN II and the Donner cut are two distinctly different films.

The tone of the Lester cut is jokey to the point of being a comedy. There is literally no concern about what happens to Zod, Ursa and Non after they fall into the crevice. They got the proverbial pie in the face and are gone from the movie. Their fate is radically different in tone than Clark snapping Zod’s neck in MAN OF STEEL. You don’t need to refer to the TV cut to see that. The Donner cut is much more dramatic. It is also the version that goes to greater pains to show that Zod, Ursa and Non didn’t die from their fall.

On a personal level, I have no problem with an equally powered Kryptonian dying in a battle with Superman. It is just that SUPERMAN II is a pretty shaky precedent to cite.

Comic sites, video game sites, general nerd stuff sites, etc need to seriously get over this fear of free and open discussion. You’re all adults. If you post something and 99% of readers disagree and comment about it then that’s just part of life and needs to be accepted. Sometimes people might even say something sarcastic that makes you, the author, mad. That’s part of life too. Claiming it’s “trolling” or “assholish” or whatever is just code for getting rid of opinions considered to be thoughtcrime.

No, it’s not. It’s about presentation, not content. Kelly and Sonia get ten times as much vile commentary on their posts as all the rest of us combined. I’ve posted columns that many readers disagreed with– usually the ones suggesting that there are other ways to be ‘adult’ and ‘edgy’ than the sophomoric arrested-adolescent crap we often get from mainstream superhero comics, or that creators’ welfare ought to rank higher than that of the fictional people they make stories about– and I’ve been swarmed the same way Kelly is here. But even when people are vehemently disagreeing with me, they don’t suggest that I should be raped to death or that my problem is I don’t get laid regularly or that I clearly just hate all members of the opposite sex. Kelly and Sonia get this routinely. To the point where Kelly now front-loads her column with stuff like “Don’t personalize this” in the vain hope that perhaps someone will read the words she wrote and not just go off against the fictional Kelly column they are reading somehow between the lines, or whatever.

I share most of Kelly’s reservations about the movie but it’s just a damn movie. if you can’t disagree with someone about a movie without carrying on like some sort of violently deranged knuckle-dragging sociopath, then you deserve to be deleted. It’s not ‘thought-crime’ to dismiss an opinion that comes with rape threats and so on. It stinks up the site and contributes nothing to the discussion. Sorry if that offends your sense of freedom but Jonah doesn’t pay ANY of us enough to put up with that.

“This is why Scott Pligrim and Dredd didn’t do well at the theaters you all have no idea what you want.”

I’m pretty sure I don’t want a Superman who’s an indifferently depraved mass murderer. No confusion on my part.

I can’t see this movie inspiring children to imagine a world where they can fly or defend those who can’t defend themselves. And if Superman doesn’t do that what other point is there to him. He was created for children, not as an escape but as an inspiration, and trying to “evolve” him away from that speaks more to a mentality unable to let go of “childish things” than it does to his “lameness” or inability to grow with his audience. There are plenty of “realistic” (i.e. fascistic violence prone) characters out there for the power fantasy crowd, Superman was one of the few bastions of actual childlike wonder and inspiration. Admittedly children were not the target audience for this movie and that is my biggest problem about this whole debate.

Mysstic101: “I’m pretty sure I don’t want a Superman who’s an indifferently depraved mass murderer. No confusion on my part.”

I doubt anybody wants that…which is why we never HAVE nor ever WILL see that.

Another thing I find hilarious are the people who are SMALLVILLE fans claiming MAN OF STEEL “isn’t Superman”.

SMALLVILLE. The series that took everything that WAS Superman and threw it into a mulcher. MAN, was that show awful. The most “not Superman” of all Superman interpretations.

(that “anonymous” was me, by the way)

@Dean Hacker —

Wrong again. That’s not how the human brain works. As long as the brain continues to assume the individuals are two different people it will continue to operate on that assumption, essentially “blinding” the witness in question to any tell tale signs. At most Clark would occasionally be told that he kind of looks like Superman a little and that would be it.

Dean Hacker:”I think that it is safe to say that the Lester cut of SUPERMAN II and the Donner cut are two distinctly different films.

The tone of the Lester cut is jokey to the point of being a comedy. There is literally no concern about what happens to Zod, Ursa and Non after they fall into the crevice. They got the proverbial pie in the face and are gone from the movie. Their fate is radically different in tone than Clark snapping Zod’s neck in MAN OF STEEL. You don’t need to refer to the TV cut to see that. The Donner cut is much more dramatic. It is also the version that goes to greater pains to show that Zod, Ursa and Non didn’t die from their fall.

On a personal level, I have no problem with an equally powered Kryptonian dying in a battle with Superman. It is just that SUPERMAN II is a pretty shaky precedent to cite.”

I totally agree about the role of tone in the Lester/Theatrical cut. Indeed, that is probably one of the reasons why, even as a child, I never got the impression that Zod and Co were being killed. Lester’s version was clearly a film where such things would not happen.

RE:The topic of Superman killing, I am not entirely opposed to it either. My qualms have more to do with the way that it was handled in the film. It simply seemed to be something that was tacked on for logically incoherent reasons (cf Snyder’s nonsensical talk about there being no reason for Superman’s aversion to killing).

I saw where a person mentioned about the very ancient ship that Clark found in the ice. Now I’m not sure about the whole Jor-el building it thing….but what bothered me a little is the fact that recent Krytonian tech somehow worked inside a 20,000 year old ship.
Wouldn’t that be like putting a microchip into a 5,000 year old bow and expecting it to do something?

My 11-year old nephew saw “Man Of Steel” and a 50th Anniversary screening of the “Great Escape” in the same week. I think it’s interesting that he was more fascinated in the tunnelling details of the latter film than he was in the CGI action of the former.

I want more practical effects in superhero movies too. Maybe, it will force them to get more inventive with the plotting and better serve characterization.

“Mysstic101: “I’m pretty sure I don’t want a Superman who’s an indifferently depraved mass murderer. No confusion on my part.”

I doubt anybody wants that…which is why we never HAVE nor ever WILL see that.”

It sounds like that’s what we got in this movie. And that seems like a strange thing to say, right after a video game was released in which Superman punches his arm through the Joker’s chest.

Even if that was an “Elseworlds” situation, the canon Superman has shown even greater disregard for innocent life than he did in this movie. For example, what occurred during that fantasy world situation I mentioned, while his body was being controlled by Max Lord. When Superman believed that Doomsday had murdered Lois and Jimmy, he flips out on Doomsday, causing the same level of environmental destruction in the faux Metropolis that we saw in the movie. All without caring AT ALL about how many hundreds of thousands of people were dying during his temper tantrum, and all without trying to mitigate the loss of life.

People were upset at Wonder Woman during that event, for killing Lord. But Superman’s behavior during it struck me as far more horrific, and far more morally questionable, than anything she did. It was all his head, not in the physical world… but he BELIEVED it was real when he was doing it, and so showed depraved indifference to human life on a huge scale.

Has Superman been shown this way? Yes. SHOULD he have ever been shown this way? No. Not in my opinion.

Superman II: Superman crushes a depowered Zod’s hand before tossing him down a bottomless pit. With a chuckle.

FINALLY a review which speaks the truth. everyone else is praising man of steel as if they were paid to do so.

more problems with the movie (since they claimed this to be a more realistic interpretation):

why did they speak english on krypton? if they didnt and we were just shown so to make us understand without subtitles then how was Jor El’s uploaded intellicege able to converse with Clark?

Why can superman fly since he has no other telekinetic abilities. Is there some anti-graviton producing ability in his dna?

why doesnt the kryptonian environment look like it has more gravity than earthy while they say many times in the movie that it had more gravity

why was superman not able to fly before the suit and why on his first flight it was unstable? who taught him? surely not Jor El as he never flew on Krypton

why was lois lane invited to a military site and she didnt have to sneak in?

how the clark manage to get employed by a military contractor without any background checks?

why didnt zod just hold lois and martha kent hostages and threaten to kill them if superman didnt let them extract the codex? as an experienced trained general you would expect him not to take any risks and realize the morality in clark and use it to his disadvantage from the start.

why do they look like humans? evolution cannot produce any other type of intelligent beings? or are all humans kryptonians from a thousands of years old colonization?

etc etc etc

just becuase a comic book’s back story worked in the past and no one bothered with these questions doesnt mean todays audience will not ask these questions.

the movie was brilliantly made and so much better than that crap “suparman returns to be jealous of lois’s new husband and finds his hybrid alien child with asthma” story. BUT unlike other “better” superhero movies like The Dark Knight or Iron man or even Avengers, it was not believable enough for me. i didnt like captain america too much but the movie was certainly a lot more believable.

Thor can fly because he is a supernatural magical being so he doesnt have to make sense.

Superman is an alien, not a god or a weilder of magic, so he needs to be believable.

to me, this movie would have been better if it answered all hese questions and was more of an origin story and unveiling Zod at the end to set up the sequel which would be a battle between him and Zod’s army

I’m not sure if anyone else posted this but I came across something to add that some might find interesting. Buzzfeed.com just posted an article titled “The Insane Destruction That The Final “Man Of Steel” Battle Would Do To NYC, By The Numbers” wherein they had a company figure out the costs of that final battle between Superman and Zod. It’s amazing how high those figures are. Here are some of the biggest items it mentions.

“In a study done exclusively for BuzzFeed, scientist and longtime disaster expert Charles Watson worked with his team at Watson Technical Consulting to model and anticipate the damage done to Metropolis, both in the form of human casualties and monetary cost. They ran analyses of the World Engine ground zero in Central Manhattan and central Chicago, finding that the major damage would be a mile in diameter.

WTC estimates that, in the days after the attack, the known damage would already be stunning: 129,000 known killed, over 250,000 missing (most of whom would have also died), and nearly a million injured.

The impact, WTC writes, “seemed to be similar to an air burst from a 20kt nuclear explosion in terms of shock effects, but without the radiation or thermal effects.”

In terms of the strictly physical damage done to the city, the initial estimate is $700 billion. To put that in context, 9/11’s physical damage cost $55 billion, with a further economic impact of $123 billion.

Overall, WTC estimates that the damage would be $2 trillion.”

Yes, I realize that this movie was a piece of fiction and that no one actually died. But part of the controversy about this film has been its near non-existent care for human life in the form of it’s main character Superman. It just wasn’t the way this character has been portrayed for decades now. All of a sudden we have a character who doesn’t stop this many people from being killed but who suddenly kills because he thinks Zod will kill more? Superman has never been about collateral damage, he’s been about saving lives. Until now at least.

I’m done with this movie, and I haven’t even seen it yet. These flicks are not for us, comic fans.


I’ve been a comic fan since I could read. Forty years. I enjoyed the film quite a bit.

The movie was great, I loved it. I am a BIGTIME Superman fan, since more than 20 years and I found no mayor flaws! I loved almost every single thing you wrote off as a negative, most of all that it took itself so seriously. I can take a movie only as serious as it takes itself. Thats why Avengers, while a fun movie, never gets a emotional reaction out of me. MOS however, had me grinning, laughing, crying! Its one of the best superhero movies ever made. Up there with TDK and TDKR. Yes… Those other two that took their story seriously without winking at the audience constantly.

[…] This blog does a better job of explaining why Man of Steel left me […]

I have nothing to contribute to this discussion and am just posting to offer my support for Kelly T, who is a terrific columnist. Don’t let the bastiches get you down. I agree with your review 100%; MoS was a dismal disappointment for me as well.

I loved the movie, but you know he did kill Zod in the theatrical cut of Superman 2 right? He stripped him of his powers, crushed his mortal hand with a smile and chucked him to his death at the bottom of the fortress. If you think he could be alive…he’s mortal now…he’s dead. At least in Man of Steel he didn’t smile while doing it, anyway I hope if you hate this movie for that you hate the other for the same because if you don’t than you’re contradicting yourself and arguing out of blind nostalgia.

I agree with almost the entire review, although sadly I cannot even agree with all four of your points as to what was good about the film. I thought that Lois Lane was not the independent and fierce female role model in the comics, and was rather just Amy Adams as Amy Adams… I feel it is sad that in a world with all these ‘dark’ heroes and characters, one of the few bright and shining examples of a moral compass in all fiction gets the grim and gloom treatment. The appeal of Superman is that he wants to be a part of humanity: the irony is that as an alien, he illuminates the best of humanity. In this film, he was reduced to unnecessary execution, slave to a bad plot rather than a bad-guy.

So, we can watch an Avengers movie where New York gets demolished and our heroes eat Shawarma after an invasion, but we can’t stand to see Metropolis get destroyed? We let that fly because it was funny? Thousands most likely died! Let’s be honest here, people went into this movie wanting to not like it. If you can honestly tell me that Iron Man 3 having Pepper Potts save the day by becoming a fire monster with super strength is more griping/acceptable than a young inexperienced Superman being forced to kill one of the last surviving people from his planet. Or having a Thor movie where 3/4 of the film is him walking through a desert is truer to the mytho of the character than Man of Steel was. Superman is a hard character to pull off. Even the comics struggle, but the hate for this movie is a bit over the top. They pulled it off well, and it was better than any Superman film to date.


There are a couple reasons why the destruction of New York in the Avengers played better (though I admit it was hard to watch at times and was one of my least favorite parts of the film). Not only was the destruction less – by every accountability – seriously, check these out:


Significantly more in Man of Steel.

But perhaps most importantly the difference is that there are multiple instances when the characters (most notably head boyscout Captain America) are doing everything in their power to save civilians/get them to safety/etc. Yes, there is absolutely collateral damage, it’s an action movie, it’s going to happen, but the way it was treated was completely different to me.

Also, if I read one more person say “the city was evacuated/being evacuated” I swear(!). I live in Manhattan…do you know how many people are here? Do you know how bad traffic is on a NORMAL day, when you’re NOT being evacuated en mass? Traffic on any bridge to get off the island can take well over an hour to get out of the city. I mean, it takes HOURS to get out of the city on just a weekend, let alone a holiday weekend. However you want to slice it, NYC/Metropolis was filled with people during that battle and the damage to life is HUGE. And it’s not mentioned once that I recall (except when we have a convenient family – that look like tourists – also not evacuated apparently) set up to be ONE THING that forces Supes to kill Zod.

As for Iron Man 3, the film is not perfect by any means, but I for one, hugely applaud the absolute subversion of cliche that we got by having the “damsel in distress” that was Pepper Potts literally defeat the big bad in the end. That is innovative and risky and bold, and I think it was fantastic. So yeah, that worked for me far more than a convenient script that WANTED to force Superman to kill Zod and so tried to put him in a position that made that pretty much a forgone conclusion.

And I gotta say, I’m feeling pretty vindicated on that point since this Synder/Goyer/Nolan information has come out about their initial disagreements about this plot point.

A lot of people are really focused on the “Superman doesn’t kill” stuff in my piece, and even though I believe it, I almost wish I’d left it out, because there are plenty of problems with the film and that point is just giving people an opportunity to focus on this one thing and harp on it and argue the continuity semantics of it (nevermind not really reading what I *actually* wrote).

To me, if Superman has the strength in that moment to break Zod’s neck, why doesn’t he have the strength to turn his head away…? Or to do any number of different things that are an alternative to breaking his neck.

Again, as I said in the original piece, I don’t live in a place where Superman absolutely cannot kill, but you have to earn it. And at no time do we have the character moment with Superman where he’s taking stock of the damage being done to the city, the lives being lost, or the idea that he just can’t stop Zod without killing him, or even a chance for us as viewers to see him at the edge of his abilities (broken down, almost defeated, hurt, anything). In that scene where he breaks he neck he kinda seems like he’s barely broken a sweat. It’s not earned to me.

Bottomline, I think it’s a BAD film. I think it’s a bad superhero movie. I think it’s a bad Superman movie. I’m sorry if that doesn’t track with your own internal thinking. Guess that’s why we’re all our own people with our own thoughts and feelings…you think?

Good review and interesting comments. I tend to disagree – I think that it was generally a good film – but I think that many of the points you raise are valid. I am also unclear as to why Superman could not have turned Zod’s head aside or otherwise prevented him from killing that family, though I am not opposed to the idea of Superman killing when absolutely necessary.

I have no problem with the film being “joyless”. I think that it was a serious take on a serious subject – i.e, humanity’s first contact with an alien race/alien being.

One thing that I really liked was how smart Lois Lane was. I am not a fan of the “magic glasses” and I wish that this was not a part of future movies.

Oh, BTW, I am one of the few people, it seems, who thinks that Snyder did a great job on “Watchmen.”

Some estimates on what the real world casualty figures would be like in MAN OF STEEL:

“WTC estimates that, in the days after the attack, the known damage would already be stunning: 129,000 known killed, over 250,000 missing (most of whom would have also died), and nearly a million injured.”

Bob:”I loved the movie, but you know he did kill Zod in the theatrical cut of Superman 2 right? He stripped him of his powers, crushed his mortal hand with a smile and chucked him to his death at the bottom of the fortress. If you think he could be alive…he’s mortal now…he’s dead. ”

This is not correct. The theatrical cut merely shows Zod falling a brief distance into a mist covered chasm. At no point do we learn that Zod and his compatriots are dead. Furthermore, the extended, television cut shows Zod and Co being taken to prison. finally, in the Donner cut, Superman reverses the flow of time, restoring everything to the way that it was before Zod and Co escaped. Hence, at the end of the Donner cut, Zod is still alive in the Phantom Zone. Therefore, Zod and Co are not killed in any iteration of SUPERMAN 2.

The reviewer missed out on the fact that no one wants another stupid, happy, corny superman movie that’s been done before. As someone who hates superman, this movie was awesome and I can’t wait for more.

One good thing about MOS, whether you loved it, hated it or somewhere inbetween. It certainly has gotten people talking about what Superman is doing, which is better than behind the scenes stuff that was only focus for so much of before.

Me I liked the movie, others didn’t. :Shrugs: At the end of the day it was just a movie. One that appears to be a success and will lead to more. I’m going to see it again and buy the blu-ray and wait for the sequel.

I shoulda known this movie would break the internet.

Great film. Good review. There is too much nitpicking going on here. I can understand this on part of the critic, who is right about people harping on the one aspect of her review regarding Clark killing, but a lot of commenters need to take a chill pill.

Now, regarding the fight I have heard a good point that should be addressed more thoroughly. Look at it logically. You have to look BEYOND Zod zapping a small handful of people. There may have been a way for him to stop Zod from burning the family, but it was the only way to ensure Zod wouldn’t succeed from there in killing scores more. Zod is a general, meaning he is more than likely highly skilled in several forms if hand to hand combat whereas Clark has NEVER had to physically defend himself with any sort of skill.

This isn’t Supes having mastering multiple forms of Kryptonian martial arts or Dean Cain Superman with ninja training. If he slapped his hands over Zods eyes or whatever, let the family escape, then proceed to fix the structural integrity of a building or put out its fires and save its inhabitants, guess what happens? He saves maybe a hundred or so people in however long it takes, while Zod is off slaughtering humans by the hundreds of thousands, and Supes probably will never be able to get Zod into another headlock situation before the death toll hits the millions.

This isn’t Superman II. Zod doesn’t want to rule and terrorize or make the son of his jailor kneel. He admitted he was now on a mission of genocide, while showcasing feats of moving at incredible speeds and doling out damage the Terrance Stamp version could only dream of. There is no kryptonite or power removal chamber here. I got one think he was justified.

I have been a comic collector for 3 decades and have a personal collection in the tens of thousands. I am first and foremost, a Superman “diehard”. The only way the killing of Zod works for me, is if Superman comes back in the sequel, having realized that this is NOT the way to do business. THATS how Superman killing has always been done in the books, since the Byrne revamp in the 80s. Some have commented on Batman killing in self defense in the books. I would love for them to point them out to me. I am a walking encyclopedia of all things comic related from the pulp noir of the 20s and 30s to the golden, silver ages and beyond. I’ve yet to see a book where Batman takes a life. I would agree that Nolan made Batman a passive killer in the newest installments. Refusing to save Ras al Gul was a big flaw, and hard to swallow. Bottom line: Superman DOESNT kill. He understands that he’s simply too powerful to not impose some checks and balances on himself. He and Batman both understand that in order to prove that the “right way” IS, in fact, the RIGHT WAY, they have to walk their talk. You cant defeat evil by using the tools of evil and still claim that somehow “good” is better. Which is why I will never understand the popularity of characters such as wolverine, who really stand for absolutely nothing. Thats my stance, from a comic book geek. As far as hollywood goes, well they NEVER get it right, nor try to. They dont respect the source material enough and respecting the comics isnt their priority. Raking in billions, creating a “series” of revenue generating franchises IS the goal, ala Harry Potter. They’ll shit on any of my beloved icons to accomplish that and then move on to the next property. The comic books wil still be there, and after this “New 52″ fiasco is over and done with…so will MY Superman.

I don’t understand this review and the many that are like it. Though critics (who exist to bash others creativity while producing little to none of their own) have denied it, it seems to me that since this Superman isn’t the blue Boy Scout they have been accustomed to they find it lacking. The painful truth to die hard fans and lesser fans is that the comic book superman simply could never exist in the real world. If we are to believe that a Superman exists then we have to accept that Superman’s perfect clarity of “right and wrong” is impractical. He grew up on earth and therefore has the same troubles any human would and does have.

This dream that “Superman…does…not…kill” is also in error. Superman has killed. Superman has killed Zod, Doomsday, ad Metallo. All three were characters that demonstrated their absolute desire to murder and murder and Superman made the decision in the heat of battle.

Also, the “humorless” critique. Perhaps a comedy would be more suitable. This is obviously a serious story with serious themes. It’s actually the Superman story many have always imagined in terms of contradicting the perfect “savior” notion that carries with it the absence of burden. In the real world, making decisions comes with the burden of those decisions. Where’s the burden for a character that always has the perfect answer for every situation? Not every comic hero needs to deliver punch lines.

I understand that not all people will like all movies. I’m not a Superman fan, but enjoy the idea. As a kid I never read Superman, but preferred Batman. Even I, however, always held a different idea of a real Superman other than the perfect specimen produced in the past. Christopher Nolan obviously has too. But the criticism for this movie make no sense to me.

A few other random thoughts, now that I’ve processed some of the criticisms:

I strongly agree that Superman’s decision to kill Zod was not convincingly established. Was that his only option? I’m reminded of the “Star Trek-TNG” episode “The Most Toys.” In that episode, Data makes a conscious and well-considered decision to murder the villain. But Data is in a position where, in truth, he has no other choice: to leave the man alive is to allow him to continue killing and torturing others. This kind of sense of there being no other option was not established in the film, particularly given that physically removing Zod from the premises still seemed a possibility. If it could have been established that Zod was deliberately attempting to murder people and that any measure Superman could have taken against him would have been, at best, temporary, then the decision to kill Zod would have held together much better. I think that this could have been done quite easily, but the filmmakers did not make enough effort.

I also was struck by Superman’s apparent lack of concern about civilian deaths (except in the train station). It would have helped the overall story immensely if we could have seen Superman trying to prevent Zod from harming humans while fighting him. This is a particularly striking omission since this exact factor plays such a crucial role in “Superman II”. In that film, Zod perceives Superman’s weakness as the fact that he cares about the humans being affected by their battle (leading to Ursa’s great question “like pets?”) Superman ultimately leaves this battle exactly so the humans will be spared. The failure to truly show the effect of the battle on the humans of Metropolis and Superman’s apparent failure to really react to any of this is a major failing of the film.

I agree with the earlier commentator who made the point that many of the same people presently trashing “Man of Steel” are the same people who trashed “Superman Returns” – a movie that did many of the things that people say they want in Superman. For example, the plane rescue and the ship rescue scenes in that movie were absolutely great set pieces, firmly establishing Superman as a symbol of ultimate hope and inspiration. Even the continent-lifting scene was remarkable for its power (raw physical power) and in establishing Superman as someone willing and able to endure terrible pain for the sake of others. Of course, even in that film, Superman kills, albeit indirectly – when he is lifting the continent, most of Luthor’s henchmen die as the island shakes. But this film was, consciously, much truer to the spirit of the earlier Donner films (which I enjoy, but which have not aged well at all).

I don’t think that Superman is an impossible character to do, at all. I appreciate that Snyder and company tried to use a realistic idea – i.e., the legitimate question of how the world would really react if confronted by a supremely powerful being. But they did make large errors in the execution. Even on this score, their story undermined one of their key themes. Superman reveals himself to the world only when he is forced to do so. The world trusts him. But why? Zod comes to Earth and the terrible loss of life that follows is, indirectly, caused by Superman himself. It is his presence on Earth that creates the problem. Surely many people would blame him for this and distrust him even more?


Superman was obviously torn with the prospect of killing Zod. He practically begged him to stop his heat vision from killing those innocents. Zod’s reply of “never” also meant the rest of humanity. This is what convinced Superman of his decision and thusly introduced the burden of a real life person in the real world. Even after the act he yelled out in frustration of having to do what he did as Lois witnessed.

And bottom line: Superman has killed. And if we are trying to get into the “rules,” Superman can’t fly. “Leaping small buildings in a single bound” evolved into his ability to fly by future writers. In fact, virtually all of Superman’s powers as we know them didn’t exist originally.

Agreed with everything the reviewer said….i felt like watching an origin of a serial killer movie with the reppetitive flashbacks in the first half, and an alien- invasion movie eg independence Day in the second half…Zod in this movie just keeps shouting angrily, unlike the masterpiece in Reeves Zod..And pls the Pa Kent asking the young Supe not to rescue him or the bus full of kids, just plain dumb…no humor at all, u like the Superman 1/2…i actually nearly left not even halfway through the mpvie if not for my frens

I have to disagree on most counts, but one that i simple have to point out is Zod being complete crap.
Zod is just as much a victim here as earth is, he was bioengineered to protect Krypton, trained and more or less brainwashed to do everything in his power. And that is what he thinks he is doing

And him not having any urge to set up shop on earth as it is, does not seem stupid to me at all. He is taking the high road there if you ask me, he could set up shop as the more or less immortal gody race he and his fellow Kryptonians would be, but he wont since that is not the way it is supposed to be.

Do try to keep in mind that the Kryptonians we see on Krypton are ALL designed to fullfill the task they are working at. In some cases they will be beyond reasoning because they have other priorities then you and me, Zod is a brilliant example.

Really Trajan ? You’re talking alternate endings. That were CUT from the final product. They don’t count. In the actual theatrical release Zod is killed. It was not a short fall, he didnt push Zod off the curb of a sidewalk. It was a freakin casm in the arctic ! You could not see the bottom. Don’t be stupid.

Captain Haddock

June 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm

I was discussing the movie with my friend (we both liked it, I moreso than him) and at some point the discussion came about Lois and how this was the only action movie out in a while where they didn’t make the female character undress for no real reason. And Lois was still pretty awesome in this, chasing down superman in an alien ship and fighting the kryptonians. Then we both got depressed that we couldn’t think of another action movie where the female lead didn’t strip down at least once in a movie while also taking part in the action scenes.

@John Smith.

Well, that’s a very elitist and judgmental take on things. How about this? If you think its okay to go around and judge people based on their tastes in film and/or television or anything really, then its you who has the problem.

Get over yourself.

jeezus…use your brains, people: you cant translate a comic (ESPECIALLY not a Superhero) into a movie….

so all this “man of steel” talk is really not about Superman, but some Frankenstein Warner Bros cooked up.

I figure my sister is very much a typical movie goer. Her experience with Superman consists solely of the TV shows and movies. She thought Man of Steel was great (as did I), although at one point we did look over at each other and laugh about the over-the-top destruction. She certainly had no problem with Superman killing Zod and wouldn’t at all understand the brouhaha about it online. The movie was made to satisfy her, a typical movie goer, not a comic book fan (the only people who might care that the movie violates the old-fashioned “Superman doesn’t kill” thing), and that’s how it should be.

I thought Amy Adams made a great Lois, and I love that she knows about Clark from the start. It’s a nice change of pace.

Haddock. If you havent seen IM3 we don’t see Pepper Pots strip. She’s not helpless. In fact she takes a pivotal role in saving the day.

I find it hilarious everyone says Supes should have found another way to stop Zod but see ABSOLUTELY NO halfway reasonable ideas on how. By WASTING TIME saving the inhabitants of one or two high rises while Zod mass obliterates hundreds more while Superman is off playing search and rescue? Really? If we power scale from what Faora could do, Zod can murder faster than the speed of sound. Also he hasnt had a single moment of combat training (relying on his brute strength and speed while trying not to punch people into clouds of blood) as opposed to Zods far superior skill and experience. It was easy to lead Terrance Stamp Zod away from the city, or stop him from hurting the citizenry because he wanted Supes to pledge allegiance so he could rule the world. Mike Shannon Zod was BLOODLUSTING FOR ALL HUMANS TO DIE. People need to stop cherry picking this shit and give better reviews than they did Superman Returns.

THANK YOU! Someone finally said it. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said in this article.

I think the movie was great but I could of been a little bit better for those who hate on superman just think of your father ,the man of steel the man you thought that was superman we finally get a move that was better than the last and you critics still hate get a real job

The film was way too dark, lacked an energetic spirit, way too realistic and there was much drama in it. The first half got me bored. I never could have thought guessed to be THAT bored, before seeing the movie, because all the trailers and or teasers were really, relly, and really, awesome if you ask me. Besides that, I had been waiting for this movie to come out for a looooong time. NOT what I expected unfortunately. I blame it (at least partially) on Nolan. He made a somewhat stupid, careless crybaby out of the greatest superhero of them all. As I write these lines, I am thinking that Sam Raimi’s version of Spidey was better than this loser, because at least we know that despite Spider-Man being one of the greatest superheroes of Marvel, he is still not THE greatest. But Superman, IS. Or he is supposed to be now. Quite seriously, Nolan should get his ”filthy” (yes, for the record) hands off of DC entirely & once and for all. Man Of Steel is, VERY unfortunately, is a majör disappointment for me.

Well, ok, I cannot say that Nolan made a somewhat stupid, careless crybaby out of the greatest superhero of them all. I mean, is it Nolan or some other guy or people, that delivered such an unsatisfying (at least for me) version of Superman? Well, I don’t know exactly, but whosoever is or are responsible, or have a hand in it at least, then I blame them.

So my apologies if I blamed the wrong person. I didn’t mean to. For the record.

Whoever made/presented/delivered such a careless, mass murdering, soulless version of Superman, I think, is or are to blame. I don’t really know WHO is or are responsible for it.

Al:”Really Trajan ? You’re talking alternate endings. That were CUT from the final product. They don’t count.”

Actually, cut material is quite useful. For one thing, cut material helps to show intent. For example, the fact that footage was shot showing a living Zod and Co indicates that Lester/Donner did not intend for Zod’s fall into the crevice to be fatal.

Al:” In the actual theatrical release Zod is killed.”

Really? Where?Did you see a body? Did someone say that he was dead?

Al:” It was not a short fall, he didnt push Zod off the curb of a sidewalk.”

We actually have no idea how deep the chasm went. Remember, we only saw Zod several feet before mist obscured our view.

Al:” It was a freakin casm in the arctic ! You could not see the bottom.”

We could not see bottom because of the white mist.

Al:’ Don’t be stupid.”

I do my best.

A lot of people have been claiming that Superman killed Zod in Superman II, and Trajan has done a good job refuting them. For my part, the possibilty of Zod being dead literally never even occurred to me. Not in any of the times I’ve seen it, and not until I read people on this very thread thinking that’s what happened. Lol. Maybe that was me being dense. I prefer to think of it as me very clearly picking up on the filmmaker’s intent. :)

For those claiming that Superman couldn’t waste time protecting bystanders while Zod was out for their blood, that’s a sword that cuts both ways. You’re thinking in terms of Zod proactively causing damage, and Superman reactively playing “rescue ranger” trying to keep up, and not being able to properly defend himself.

It works just as well the other way, though, with Superman being the proactive one. If Zod comes at Superman? Fine. Superman pulls back, drawing him away from populated areas, where they can cut loose. The moment Zod pauses or turns his attention away, looking to cause some collateral damage, he gets hammered while he’s distracted, and before he can follow through. Rinse and repeat until A) Zod keeps his attention on Clark in order to properly defend himself… only he’s forced to do it in a manner that’s on Clark’s terms, ie, unlikely to get others hurt. Or B) He gets his head handed to him in a beat down, because as detractors have so astutely pointed out, you can’t properly defend yourself while you’re hellbent on doing something else. Zod’s fanaticism would actually make him easier to beat in this scenario, not harder.

So Superman didn’t have to let himself be defeated while uselessly trying to protect others, and he didn’t have to completely ignore others and let them die, either. There was a third, obvious path, and it’s the one the filmmaker’s should have had him take.

[…] The Problem(s) With Man Of Steel […]

The funny thing about your critique of the movie is that you liked the Alaska crab boat scene. REALLY!!!!!! You like the part where an average HUMAN tackles an unsuspecting Clark Kent and sends him sprawling across the deck? SERIOUSLY????????

i am an avid superman fan, infact ive seen every episode of smallville, after watching this film… i felt disconnected…

as to make my comment short.. i agree to the bloggers reviews!

to the poster who said there’s NO point in superman drawing the fight OUT of Metropolis..?? well, that’s just ridiculous and VERY UN-superman thing to do. MORE so than him killing an evil dude by force.

i mean, at least SHOW that he’s tried drawing the battle outside the heavily populated area, which they did NOT. and at least, SHOW that he’s ATTEMPTED to save more people than just that one soldier in smallville, during the metropolis battle. SHOW that people have been evacuating the big city, INSTEAD, they keep SHOWING that there are STILL a LOT of people around town seemingly going bout their business, like they’re NOT aware of the alien ship hovering in the air above. SHOW the authority/gov’t have been EVACUATING the people OUT of the city.

oh, and the most ridiculous of all: Perry White, in the midst of all the buildings surrounding Daily Planet collapsing, telling his staff to leave the building…Doh!! they’re journalists and can’t they ANTICIPATE these destructions..??!! so much for their ‘journalistic instinct.’

and i also agree that that whole bit bout Perry and his two staffers, one called Jenny…i really couldn’t give a s**t about. i just don’t really care and would rather see more scenes with the Kents discovering clark’s ship and how they explain to their neighbors bout Clark. i really had HIGH hope and lookin forward to fishburne’s interpretation as Perry, but i just couldn’t believe how just BAD (not in the good way) the role given to him to play.

and again…Amy Adams…TOO OLD for Lois. and sorry, but Pa Kent’s death is just plain STOOPID. Clark coulda saved both he and the dang dog WITHOUT anybody seeing him. haven’t we all seen that in tv’s Smallville..??? and yeah, i too like Jonathan’s death in the original movie better. it’s way more relate-able and NOT silly.

Kelly Thompson wrote:

“Hundreds of thousands must have died just in the Superman vs. Zod one on one (and that’s conservative)…”

This is the same asinine comment I have heard ad nauseum. The problem is that it’s just not true. One has to wonder if Kelly Thompson, and others who agree, have actually seen the film.

Hundreds of thousands (conservatively) died from the aftermath of Zod and Superman’s brawl? Really? How can anyone be so obtuse? Fact is, the vast majority of damage to Metropolis was caused BEFORE Zod and Superman’s final battle. This was caused by the direct actions of the Kryptonians in attempting to terraform the earth.

Does anyone recall seeing dozens of cars rise up and then be dropped violently to the ground? And the earthquake-like affects caused by the World Engine? The backdrop of the city immediately BEFORE Superman and Zod fight reveals utter devastation. And yet, Superman is responsible for “hundreds of thousands of deaths”?

There was, no doubt, destruction that took place during their battle. But no where near the gross hyperbole that Ms. Thompson speaks of. Snyder could have set their final battle in some open space. Say…a corn field in Smallville? But then there would have been no “residual effects” from their battle. Superman punches Zod through the air. Zod punches Superman through the air. Ad infinitum. They can’t really hurt each other in this manner. Done this way, there would have been no way to gauge the effects of their battle. And then the critics would have called the battle boring and unimaginative.

Also, by not placing the final battle in a key place, such as a large bustling city, the final act would have been anti-climactic. Again, this would have welcomed scorn and criticism.

And as far as the killing of Zod; I say it’s about time. What naivete to believe that a being as powerful as Superman–who has to battle other equally powerful beings who themselves are determined to kill–would not have too, at some point, inevitably kill.

This killing is one: a moral act. And two: it is NOT a character flaw. This is because there would inevitably come a scenario where a villain could only be stopped with deadly force (such as Zod in the train station). And human authorities (police, government) would not have the ability to stop them. In this case, Superman becomes the state-like executioner who acts in order to SAVE LIVES. And this is exactly what Superman did in MOS.

Snyder’s vision of this character–which has precedent in the comics–will never be accepted by those who cling for dear life to the romanticism and nostalgia they have for Richard Donner’s boy scout Superman.

I think that it would have been far more poignant if Zod had sacrificed himself to save Superman (well, his DNA anyway), maybe after pleading with Superman that he seed a new Krypton. If Zod had been told that Kal-El needed to be alive for his Kryptonian life-force to be extracted, it could have worked into an arc for Zod’s sacrifice to save Kal-El from the terraforming machine that was recreating Krypton’s atmosphere. It would also have left Faora to face Superman in the final battle before being banished to the Phantom Zone, which would have fitted in with the movie as her motivations seemed to be more evil than Zod’s anyway. Zod would have then been a better anti-hero, and a much better character.

I didn’t like the movie. Why? Because I paid solid money to see a decent IMAX 3D movie about Superman.
1. The film was nowhere near 3D (If you watched Avatar or more recently Star Trek Into Darkness, you know 3D as it can be. Even the Avengers).
2. The screenquality was NOT IMAX worthy.
3. Let’s look at who Superman is: Considering other items than the stupid ‘kill not kill’ part. There are reasons why DC and Marvel use certain colors for certain superheroes (actually Siegel did, as did Claremont and Lee). Batman is dark/gray/blackish for the psychological colouring. Superman is Red and Blue because of more patriotic, but also more psychological colouring (Bright Blue and Red, any familiarity?). This movie did what many above already describe: make it dark and sinister without requirement. Why without requirement and why people dislike it? Because the main part of Superman is what is mentioned in the movie: Hope. About cleaness. People expected Superman to BE someone. He wasn’t. It was Wolverine (Marvel), Hulk (Marvel) and Batman (DC) rolled into one.
The controversion to the above is the fact that the real ‘red-line’ in the film was lost to most: Choice. That was what the whole movie started with and it ended with. However, the movie did discredit to all of the parts that could have made it a great movie. How many times I have face-palmed this movie? Dunno, too F’ing many. WHO GOES INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT ON HIGHHEELS!!?! And why did it look as if those where actually trial shots of the scene. They were standing there for the zoom in, waiting…waiting…someone offscreen says: Action! and then they go! Same with Crowe in the opening scene. Watch it again and tell me it doesn’t seem like he has just read the script and someone ran up to him saying: Oh, you have to act as if you are Superman’s father (‘what?’, ‘just do it’, ‘is this a Superman movie?’ ‘Get on!’ ‘I thought it was the next Riddick, because of these Necromancer outfits! Damn agent!’).
Who thought up to put Lois in the ONE ROOM IN THE WHOLE SHIP where she could put the key she just got from Clark in the ship to infect it with a virus?!?! And what was this thing ‘Sorry Clark, they looked in my brain’,’don’t worry they did the same with me’…..AND THEN WHAT?!

And all forget this is based on John Byrne’s reboot, not on some later versions with are rip-offs of his. (I’m no Superman superfan, but I know my thing of Byrne, he won’t like what has been done to it).

You also need to remember that man of steel was a huge success, while there is people who say the movie isnt that good, theres also alot people who loved it. It was definitly dark and there was a lot of decisions made that were controversial. In the end tho its the 21 century, and trust me im a huge superhero nerd and i love the comics and movies staying true to the principles and ideals behind them, but im glad that superman finally took a life, its unrealistic that someone with that power would never kill a villain, it should be an extreme situation yes but its more realistic in my eyes. Just as an example look at batman, he lets joker live just to come back and kill thousands more, are those 1000 people on batmans hands or jokers. All in all its a modern era and comic books have stayed true to their characters principles for decades, its now time to adapt to the times and make a more realistic version of these characters even if the medium it happens through is cinema.

And there will ABSOLUTELY be sequels to man of steel so just hope that they get better and better, I personally would like to see Lex, Braniac, and darkseid in any order.

If everyone feels so strongly about an iconic story that has been retold by different comic book writers, directors, and artist, why not create your own interpretation of the story? Yes we all remember the traditions and foundations of the character Superman from the original black and white shows through comics and to Christopher Reeve’s classic interpretation of superman. I understand that, the tone of the film seemed dark but let’s consider consistency here, if your going to have a potential justice league movie why would you consider superman and batman have two completely different tones, when the Director, Producer and Writer (who are very intelligent in their choice of tonality) are think about how to ground these characters in reality.

We find ourselves stuck in a matrix of replays through comics, or original films of the passed showing a similar superman with a little twist, many that fight for “truth justice and the American why” (which has altered over the years) and others that has a bright tone and the universal classic look of the underwear outside his leotards. I’m a fan of all the traditions and I am a fan of the upgrade regarding his new suite, which feels much more like armor than a simple gym suite with a red underwear and cape.

And By the way, someone mentioned that the British Comic book writer John Byrne would be upset about the new film interpretation of man of steel here is the interview, he doesn’t seem upset to me, seems like he wanted to know how they enjoyed the process in making it.

Again from reading reviews about Man of Steel, this is my conclusion, either come up with your own story that you think would make sense to a wide audience or just continue to bash the new Man of Steel until it becomes painful to reject it. O and they are coming out with a sequel.


This is a pervasive and bizarre line of thinking that really bothers me.

I, for one, HAVE created (and continue to create) my own stories – Superhero-esque/inspired and otherwise. I’m sure many others have and will as well.

But creating your own stories does not prevent you – and shouldn’t – from talking about what you like or don’t about existing stories – let alone critically examining them. And figuring out why they do and don’t work (to differing degrees) is actually incredibly valuable to the creation process. But beyond that, creating and discussing existing work are entirely different things and one does not override the other.

And if you don’t want to talk about comics/superheroes/Superman/film adaptations/etc. I honestly don’t know what you’re doing here. Seriously, explain it to me, I want to understand.

I agree with everything Chris has said on this topic.

1. I really liked this interpretation of Lois (I am female, same age as Amy Adams – us old ladies). I adored how kickass she was…just like the old cartoons I used to watch. She was a sidekick, and I love, love that take.

2. I liked dumping the old trope of people close to Clark not recognizing he’s Superman. I know it’s true to the original but it’s always been insulting. At least to me. So, here, we believably have a handful of people who know Clark = Superman and are invested in not making that widespread knowledge.

3. I find there was no other choice for Superman other than killing Zod.
(a) Supes couldn’t hold him off forever.
(b) How else could Zod be permanently stopped from destroying humankind? Superman wasn’t as experienced at fighting, etc, as Zod so he was pretty much doing whatever he could to stop Zod. Humans were just realizing They Are Not Alone and have no means of containment. Maybe in a few years, after Supes has gained some experience as a hero could he come up with a viable alternative. I’m anti-death penalty and a non-violent person. But if I were in my home and someone came and threatened my husband and son and I got my hands on a gun you’d better believe I’d just shoot. I’d love it if I could shoot them in the leg…but I don’t have experience with shooting. I’d love it if I didn’t kill them. But that’s way way secondary to saving my loved ones. I feel Supes was in a similar situation at this stage of his superherodome.

4. I, for one, really liked the dark tone. But I like dark movies.

5. Destruction – again, like killing Zod, I think Supes was pretty overwhelmed. This was like Jason Lezak in the 2008 Olympics, swimming better than his ability (remember Alain Bernard – “The Americans? We’re going to smash them.”). Supes was barely eeking out a win against way better fighters. I would imagine there’d be destruction. For anything else we couldn’t be in an origin story.

I am by no means a Superman or any kind of comic expert. But even if I were I’d appreciate this modern post-9/11 version of Superman. I can say that because I am a scientist and us scientists appreciate variety (or at least I do).

About the only thing that really had me go Huh? was the relationship between Lois and Superman.

This was the one point of the movie I felt was really weak. With zero hesitation Lois becomes incredibly loyal to Superman. And I didn’t really get the premise for that.

Now, I think we’re supposed to believe that because (1) Superman saved her life in the Fortress, and then (2) she tracks him down as a result of him saving her life to find out more about this mysterious man with incredible abilities and finds out how hard it was for him to try to fit in…because of that she gives him great allegiance.

But, I didn’t buy it.

When she’s in the Fortress, having followed Superman (disguised as a grunt worker) into it, she gets attacked by what’s obviously some alien robot on an alien ship. Superman runs over and stops the robot. Fine. BUT, what happens next would NOT inspire any kind of warm loyal feelings in me.

(1) She gets pinned down by this massive man she doesn’t know, which is kind of rapey.

(2) He tells her she’s hemorrhaging but it’s obvious he’s not carrying an MRI machine in his pocket so I have no idea why she should believe him.

(3) He burns the ever living fuck out of her and throws her out into the snow.

If I were Lois, being the bad-ass she is, I’d be seriously pissed and freaked. Sure, I’d want to track him down…so I could prosecute his ass.

Now, they do make her very curious to find out more about him, but they missed a real opportunity to show trust develop between the two of them.

The flashes of her getting stories from people about how he helped them aren’t convincing. There needed to be more interaction between them that shows (1) why Lois decided he’s not a maniac, (2) that helping him protect his identity, etc, is worth more than her getting her story, and (3) why Supes would put any trust whatsoever in a reporter who’s trying to get a story on him. They pretty much skim over all of this, which makes their alliance feel premature.

Now, AFTER that jump from rapey stranger + ambitious reporter to friends and allies happens I was fine with the progression of their relationship.

I wasn’t bothered by the kiss. I do understand why some people may have been. Because if you go over to smartbitchestrashybooks.com they talk about a phenomenon in romance novels called dangerboner. It’s when, in the midst of bombs and bullets the hero pops wood for the heroine. It’s a romance novel phenomenon that annoys the shit of me, and a lot of people. However, I didn’t feel like this is what happened with that kiss between Supes and Lois. THAT was more along the lines of emotional contagion, which is what actually happens between real people when they endure something intense and death defying.

Anyway, I appreciated this take on an origin of Superman. And by origin I don’t mean his landing on earth, etc. I liked knowing more about Krypton and I liked seeing what motivated Clark to become Superman.

As for Kelly – I don’t have a problem with your review (and who cares about that, anyway) but I find it a bit disingenuous when you first claim you don’t think lesser of those of us who enjoyed it but then later say you glared in shock at the people around you who did enjoy it. It’s be less irksome (again, not that you care) for me to read your critique without the false soft landing. It’s better not to pull your punches.

BTW – if you’re the same Kelly Thompson who wrote The Girl Who Would be King (call me an idiot if I should know this) I just want to say I love that story. Thanks for telling it.

BTW – if you’re curious…that’s me sandboarding on the dunes of the Namib desert. Loads of fun. I highly recommend it if you get the chance to get out to Swakopmund. I am lucky that I travel internationally for my work.

Thought that i would add some random points:

1. Movie review

MAN OF STEEL as a movie: 7. I found it only mildly diverting (I certainly don’t plan on seeing it twice in a theatre).Plus, the action sequences started to drag after a while, especially the final fight against Zod.

MOS as a comic book superhero movie: 7. It’s not down in the gutters with schlock like JONAH HEX or CATWOMAN, but it is not nearly as good as X-MEN 2, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, IRON MAN, THE AVENGERS.

2. Some last thoughts on killing Zod: I have no real objections to Superman killing. What I object to is the rationale behind the event. In THE DARK KNIGHT, killing was presented within the framework of the civil contract. How far will things go before “civilized” people abandon their principles? Indeed, the film is actually thematically structured around this conceit, so that Batman’s refusal to kill the Joker is paralleled by the civilians and convicts who refuse to kill one another in order to save their own lives.

Superman’s killing of Zod, in contrast, is structurally gratuitous. In earlier drafts, he was sucked into the Phantom Zone like everyone else. Snyder and Goyer (over the opposition of Nolan) decided to have Superman kill Zod so as to provide a reason for Superman’s hatred of killing. Apparently, in Snyder’s mind, one cannot simply be opposed to killing due to one’s moral beliefs.


The glaring was a knee-jerk immediate reaction to be honestly being shocked that people liked the film and didn’t want to throw rotten fruit at the screen (which was my reaction). Sitting in the dark (and feeling that the audience wasn’t into it) I was honestly just shocked to hell that anyone would clap.

However, I don’t write pieces in the flash of knee-jerk reactions and without thought (despite what some seem to think). I spent two plus days off and on thinking about the film and writing this piece…and it was plenty of time to get over the shock of others liking the film as well as taking some time to read some other reactions to it and thoughts about why it was good (some points I could understand, most I could not).

The primary reason for the disclaimer however is not to be disingenuous or to pull punches. It is to remind people that my thoughts are just that, my thoughts. They are not a personal attack on any random reader who happens by, nor should they be taken as THE TRUTH which ALL READERS should accept. It’s just MY TRUTH.

A lot of readers of this column have notoriously had trouble separating my words from the idea that I personally hate them and everything they love (whatever that is for the week) and want to DESTROY IT ALL. So I try my best to remind them, upfront, that they don’t have to agree with me and that it’s not a personal attack ON THEM for me to have a different opinion. I wish such a disclaimer wasn’t necessary, sadly, years of writing for this site has proved that it kinda is.

Re: THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING, yup, that’s my book. And thank you for reading!

Re: Sandboarding. Looks cool, but since my work mostly requires me to be in a dark room chained to a computer it’s likely I’ll ever do or see such a thing IRL. :)

I know this is your job to review and i respect that but….In the age of the internet (over bloated media) not you in particular but just the fact that with so many writers everyone has to have thier spins. You guys are taking movies WAY WAY to seriously. By all the things you found to disect in a 2hr movie, no wonder you didnt like it.

I’m not trying to tell you it was good or not. But………I dunno maybe try smoking weed. It will calm all the voices swiling in your head while watching and let you sit back and just soak it in for a min before picking it apart……just my opinion.

Ps…..the Kiss was terrible.

Oh Boy, awful review, you didn’ t read a comic of sups in your life, don’t you?

Andre Gensburger

June 21, 2013 at 11:16 pm

#1: It’s…wait for it all you rabid fans…a movie – you know, where ACTORS get paid huge amounts of money to pretend! There is no real Superman. It is an actor in a suit, so let’s not pretend that it is real and someone performed an injustice with the film. FICTION!!!

#2: There are so many Superman stories, it was a nice retelling. Sure, moments unnecessary, points irrelevant, lots to pull apart BUT… see #1

#3: It is Superman, iconic and fictional. Of all the movies made, this one made a good effort to create more plausibility than the others. It was entertaining, Cavill was excellent, and even though they destroyed the city, I refer back to #1

No doubt many will be offended by the above. Oh well… deal with it. See #1

True, you can’t criticize fiction. Can’t argue with that. Rock solid logic.

I prefer to criticize real life myself. Why do things happen randomly? Who’s in charge here?

@Brian @Travis

I love you guys. I owe you both a drink sometime.

can’t wait for the reboot

“You guys are taking movies WAY WAY to seriously”.

“…let’s not pretend that it is real and someone performed an injustice with the film.”

Way too seriously? Not real? Despite any merits it has as a work of fiction, someone spent $250 million dollars to make this movie (probably grossly inflated… studios cook their books to hide profits… but still a sizeable chunk of change). Probably spent half again as much on marketing costs.

That’s real money, not fictional, and worth taking seriously. Call me crazy, but I’d expect a high quality product without serious flaws for that kind of outlay. This could have been a classic, a movie that gets remembered (and continues making sizable profits for its makers) for decades. Instead, several people dropped the ball, mainly on easily avoidable mistakes like plot, pacing, and characterization. One would think professional storytellers at the peak of their field wouldn’t make such errors, but oh well. The studio made a great box office. Good for them. But because of these flaws, they’ll have to content themselves with those short term gains, at the expense of even greater, long term gains. Not only will the studio be less enriched by this failure, but so will we, as a culture, in less tangible ways.

And that’s real, serious business. Depending on your perspective, of course. :)

That quote from Zach Snyder ““And the why of it was, for me, that if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained. It’s just in his DNA. I felt like we needed him to do something, just like him putting on the glasses or going to the Daily Planet or any of the other things that you’re sort of seeing for the first time that you realize will then become his thing. I felt like, if we can find a way of making it impossible for him–like Kobayashi Maru, totally no way out–I felt like that could also make you go, ‘Okay, this is the why of him not killing ever again, right?’ He’s basically obliterated his entire people and his culture and he is responsible for it and he’s just like, ‘How could I kill ever again?’””” reminds me of a concern I have.
It seems to me that some people involved in the creation of fiction do not understand the concepts of compassion and nobility and think that morality is a psychological disorder caused by trauma.
Should I worry about them or feel sorry for them?

You constantly say the film has zero nuance, yet I fail to see how films like Iron Man and Dredd have any, either.

Man of Steel is a terrible film; it’s a consumerist, nihilistic piece of pop culture that speaks heavily of life and humanity, but, at the same time, gives us death and destruction for entertainment purposes.

And I’m seriously laughing at all the butt-hurt fanboys: “You clearly don’t get comic-book movies.” What’s to get, most f them suck.

People don’t get movies any more. It’s not a flaw that an actor was not suited for a role, or that the film drags on. Where’s the actual criticism among all the commentators? It’s so middle-school.

@Thomas – consumerist, nihilistic, etc – well so are comics.

@Kelly – I understand…I just got the wrong impression based on the timeline of the two sentiments as presented here versus the actual timeline.

I don’t know what you guys are talking about. I LOVED the hell out of this film and I’ve been a die hard superman fan since I was born. I hated Superman Returns and I waited for so long to see Superman actually use his powers like he’s supposed to! Stop looking at Superman as this go lucky happy kid who doesn’t kill…have any of you guys actually read comics? SUPERMAN CAN CHANGE BECAUSE THE ORGINS AND COMIC WRITERS CHANGE. He killed Doomsday did he not? Theres blood and gore in all these modern comics. Christopher Reeve IS NOT SUPERMAN…he played a version of Superman. Henry played a more serious buff kick ass Superman for the modern times, I wasn’t gonna go see another Superman Returns or stupid movie like that, I wanted fighting and real physical looking Superman. GOT IT WITH THIS FILM if you don’t like it than go watch the old Superman films, your not gonna get any kind of superman movie like that again

First this is a new time and new story. There is war going on around the world, and in OUR modern time, sometimes you have to kill to save others. So Superman killed Zod? That means with Justice League and these other characters, they might have to kill too. Look at Avengers…how many aliens did they kill and they FUCKED UP New York! (I don’t even need to say more about Metropolis getting leveled by ALIENS WITH POWERS just like with AVENGERS) nobody cried about that when it came out

The 20min with Krypton was awesome too. A great new way of showing off the planet and showing where Jor-El is a great father figure and Clark does want to be like him as in being a hero and being a sign of Hope…unlike the ice planet we see in Superman the movie or the asshole Jor-El you watch during all 10 seasons of Smallville until the last episode when he finally says he proud of him. And Jor-El is actually kick ass in this movie than just some projection he talks to, he saves Lois life and Clark for that matter.

The Kent’s were great too. Loved how they gave Pa Kents death more weight and feeling than him just having a heart attack. And how they hell would you handle a kid with powers? The scene at school with little Clark and his mom was such a great moment.

And the kiss? I mean a huge good looking dude with superpowers and a nice looking suit just saved your life…a kiss is barely enough to say thank you…might be her only chance to kiss him anyways might as well, plus shes been following him for a long time so they have an unspoken attraction to eachother anyways. And Lois actually did have a part in this film instead of just screaming waiting to be saved and Adams is so hot unlike old Lois with Christopher Reeve.

And the fight? Really? So youd rather just watch Superman use his powers in the middle of a dessert like the first Hulk film with no one around? BORING! I saw this movie bc i wanted to see shit blown up and chaos everywhere. Superman has never fought anyone close to match him before and yes hes inexperienced at fighting so he was looking out for himself and trying to figure out if he could even defeat him to save the human race anyways. The least of his worries was the destruction. The city was already fucked up when Zod put that world drill there too

And for what its worth all these reviews are stupid anyways you guys are all just butt hurt because you didn’t get to see who YOU THINK is Superman…well go direct your own Superman film, put in the parts you want with the actors you think can make your vision of the greatest superman film would be. You can’t please everyone but from the money it’s made and just regular people like me saying GO SEE THIS FILM and people posting of twitter and facebook how great this movie is I think this movie is the Superman we’ve all been waiting for!

BTW did anyone else notice there several characters in this film that had also been in Smallville including Amy Adams?

John F. C. Taylor

June 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm

The movie was a cheat, that’s what’s wrong with it. Word for word dialog straight from the animated series. That and the suit. Almost too dark to be blue and latex. Ugh! Red and blue cloth.

It was a good movie…

But it should of been a great movie and a SUPERMAN movie!

Joe public expected a SUPERMAN movie, it didn’t have the magic of Superman nor the score, that’s like making Star Wars without the Star wars score… It felt like THE MATRIX and didn’t help Perry white was ex Matrix either.

Cavill was an awesome Superman, but the Lois knowing Clark’s Superman, even before he is Superman was the biggest joke in this movie!

Not since 2008 has WB brought out a mind blowing near enough flawless DC movie (WATCHMEN & TDK).

MOS is 10 times better than RISES though agreed, even though it was a bit of a mess, the story telling and flashbacks.

Hollywood, please bring back the original Superman movie score in the sequel and a bit of lightness Superman story telling, bring back Superman…

I can see why it got knocked off the top spot in the second week, Joe Public wants Superman, one of the brightest Superheroes out there in all his Superman glory and they did not get that!

Again worst part was Lois knowing Clark is Superman, that ruined it for me. I still forced myself to love it but that bit sucked super chunks.

End of the day Superman is not Batman, so stop Warner Brothers, we don’t want to see dark brooding Wonder Woman, Flash etc either ;)

The author of this article is soft, plain and simple.

Lack of humanity? He took ONE life to save millions of human lives. He killed one of the few left of his race to save ours.

I never liked superman for the plain fact he let the bad guys go to come back and wreak more havoc and destruction and kill.

I think with everything going on in the real world, the pussies who don’t have the jock to do what needs to be done are ‘offended’ and if it were up to them we’d all be speaking German.

This is a Superman we can be proud of. The only thing I don’t like is how they take away ‘and the American way’ out of Superman’s core slogan’. I don’t think it was even mention in ‘MOS’, in Superman Returns, Perry says ‘truth justice and all that stuff’ like the writers are afraid or embarrassed to put in the WHOLE QUOTE! TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY!

You hit on everything that was wrong with the movie. The Pa Kent thing is especially devastating because the villain was Zod. Superman has to be extra human to defeat Zod, not denied humanity whenever possible and told by the Kents that he is an other. It makes no sense at all in a Zod film, might have been an interesting twist in a Luthor or Doomsday film, but this was just bizarre. The Daily Planet crew? Were they even cast members, I didn’t care about them AT ALL. The other thing that drove me nuts was the action. Superman’s action shots are dumb, he’s too powerful for good action sequences. Batman, Iron Man, Spiderman, Wolverine can all have awesome action sequences because they have limitations and specialized fighting styles. Superman’s action shots are always going to be the worst of any major comic hero. Relying on action to carry this movie was a terrible choice. Great article.

I haven’t had time to read all the comments here, so apologies if what I say has already been gone over.
The problem with Man of Steel, IMO, is that the makers seem to be trying to convince potential non-comics viewers that this is serious stuff, not something for kids. So first, they darken the colours on his costume and get rid of the “underpants over the pants” look. I’m not too bothered by the latter, (it was done in the comics and looks ok) but the former action just makes Kal look dull. If the S symbol stands for “hope”, wouldn’t it make more sense to have it in a brighter colour than coppery-brown? If they just did the symbol in bright red it would improve the costume. You can make things “darker” by introducing difficult moral and emotional questions, ( as has been attempted in the comic) but surely the point is that whatever personal problems and doubts he might be having, the persona that Kal presents to the world at large is the guy in primary colours who can be relied on to do his best to save the day.
Then there’s the amount of death. I’m actually not too upset by Kal killing Zod. It follows the logic of the Superman/Doomsday fight, where Kal was prepared to use maximum force and risk his own death to bring down an otherwise unbeatable foe.
Nit picks: Cavill is going to have a hard time convincing us, even more than usual, that anyone could fall for the Clark Kent disguise. His features are just too distinct.
Film-makers go to Kevin Costner, whether as star or support, when they want to show someone with integrity and honesty. Costner is in fact a dull, wooden actor, and his casting in these roles reveals that the bosses of Hollywood actually consider honesty and integrity to be fundamentally boring.
My fantasy: (and I know it will, never, ever happen) Three movies, the first set entirely on Krypton (maybe adapting Kevin Anderson’s Last Days of Krypton), ending with Kal being sent to Earth; the second beginning in Smallville, ending with Clark getting into the suit, and the last a full Superman movie.
Another problem with the film, like Green Lantern, is that the makers are overeager to get to what they doubtless think is the good stuff. I think that there should have been more of Clark saving people incognito and more of Lois’ investigation.
Superman is floundering, both in the movies and in the comics. But he’s lasted this long, so I expect he’ll get over it.


Doomsday and Cyborg Superman disagrees.

#1 Comes off as purely a taste issue.

3# Accoding to Ma Kent Clark had trouble breathing as an infant(due to Earth’s atmosphere) and feared that he might die. Zod didn’t want to worry about that.

#6 #7 #8 It feels like this reviewer is saying that this isn’t a bad movie but more like a bad adaptation.

#9 It was about tragic hero that doesn’t belong has to hide himself from the world in fear of how they would respond. The movie does have both Kal/Clark’s fathers talk about how his choices are important to both Kptyon and Earth. In the end he is force to choose between the survival of his own world or adopted one with the other one facing extinction.

No offend but some of these criticisms are straight up silly.

1.Superman doesn’t do much damage to the city in his fight with Zod. He’s the one getting thrown into and through buildings by Zod, not the other way around.

2. “In the Batman films Nolan Batman films, much like Batman in the comics, creators go to extreme pains to show that Batman DOES. NOT. KILL. He just doesn’t do it. No matter what happens. Is there collateral damage? Yeah, definitely, it’s a huge action film, it’s going to be assumed that people are dying. But Batman doesn’t break necks. He goes out of his way to save the bad guys in fact.”

Nolan’s Batman: “I won’t kill you. But I don’t have to save you.”

3. “then he would have snapped Zod’s neck thirty minutes prior. ”

You really think that Supes could have just walked up to him and just break his neck easily without a struggle?…Seriously?

4. I think people here are confusing killing with murder. Superman does kill just ask Zod, Faroa, Quex-Ul, Doomsday and Cyborg Superman. He’s killer but not a murder.

Btw, what was Superman Returns idea? It just seemed like a love letter to Richard Donner to me.

I’m sorry to post for a fourth time but I felt the need to comment on this.

@Dean Hacker

“The problem is that neither Goyer, nor Nolan, seemed to have a strong enough idea of what the central moral question is and whether Clark ultimately made the right set of choices. The ultimate message is that Kryptonians that cannot assimilate should not be allowed to live on Earth. That is not a message free of modern, real world implications.

Considering Jonathan Kent essentially wins the debate between himself, Jor-El and Zod, it might have been helpful to have a better idea what the debate actually was. Pa Kent was willing to die in the cause of Clark assimilating, but my only sense of why came from other comics, movies and etc. It is a pretty big motivation to leave unaddressed. Jor-El plainly has a different vision, but that is even less clear. I guess he thinks that Earth and New Krypton can exist side-by-side, but Clark rejects that idea after meeting Zod. Again, that is a pretty huge character beat that comes out of nowhere,”

Kent believed that the world wasn’t ready to found out what Clark is and may react negatively(xenophobia), not that they can never assimilate. Its alluding to guys like Lex Luthor.

I find it unfortunate so many people did not enjoy the movie as I did. I was completely blown away scene by scene and had a grin from ear to ear as I watched this film. I have seen this movie three times and still can’t get enough. While think I understand how many of the points listed in this review would cause many to dislike the film, my experience/opinion is the opposite, point by point. I feel it is a damn well made Superman, superhero, action movie. Its the Superman movie have been waiting for since adolescence. However, I can understand those who dislike the movie and have no intention of convincing them otherwise. We just have different views on what makes an effective Superman movie in 2013.

BTW, my friends who attended the movie and the audience in general reacted in cheers and applause though out the film, including at the end.

To those who keep defending Superman’s actions during the final battle, enjoying the “grim, gritty, realistic” new take on the character, no matter who gets hurt around him:

You’re aware that, as posted above, a real-world disaster analysis firm stated that about 350,000 people would have died in that big battle? Try to put yourself in the shoes of one of the family members of those victims. If your wife and child had been crushed under a falling building, would you really be so quick to jump to Superman’s defense, and give him a pass for seemingly not doing anything and everything he could to take the battle elsewhere, or otherwise limit the surrounding loss of life? Would you really be cheering him on while you’re burying your loved ones?

I don’t think so. Let me logically extrapolate out what happens when we get all “grim, gritty, and realistic” in our portrayals, since that’s what the defenders of this movie seem to enjoy. If the fight had went down as portrayed, then…

1. The families of about 350,000 dead people would be clamoring for blood, for a scapegoat to all the pain and loss they’re feeling. That’s what would happen in the real world. And do you know who they’d settle on? Not Zod, he’s dead. They’d pick the OTHER alien who’s responsible. Superman. Some hotshot lawyer looking for publicity would start a class-action lawsuit, blaming Superman for about $700 billion dollars in immediate damages, $2 trillion dollars of overall damage, and an incalculable amount of personal pain, loss, and suffering.

2. Superman would be vilified by the press, with the exception of the Daily Planet, for his part in the fiasco. The media would feed off the pain and suffering of the victim’s families, and Superman would get crucified for ratings. There’s your Jesus analogy, continued on from the movie. :)

3. Metropolis’ District Attorney would do his job. In this case, that means talking to guys like Lex Luthor, to try and figure out a way to bring Superman in, in chains, to stand trial for about 350,000 counts of negligent homicide. Superman becomes a fugitive from civilian authorities.

4. The United States government wouldn’t just let a walking, talking weapon of mass destruction fly around uncontrolled, not after being a potentially negligent participant in a mass destruction event on a major US city. Pressured by the public, concerned about something so powerful that they don’t have direct control over, they’d start hunting him too. The military joins in on the manhunt.

5. Vilified by the press, hated by the public, and hunted by civilian and military authorities, Superman would grow disenchanted with these small-minded bugs that keep hounding him. He practically commits genocide of his own species, and this is the thanks he gets? In “the real world”, that kind of mass hatred and social isolation leads to people going bad. Superman ends up being taken down by Batman, all Dark Knight Returns style. :)

Did you enjoy the logical conclusion of your “grim, gritty, realistic” new Superman, as presented in the movie? No, neither did I.

Thanks for saying all of this! I have been hammered by people who LOVED this movie, and I thought that there was something wrong with ME for loathing it! I was literally rolling my eyes during the final Superman/Zod fight, I thought that the kiss was WILDLY inappropriate in the midst of so much carnage, and I thought that the script SKEWERED Jonathan Kent! Thank you, thank you, thank you for showing me that I am NOT crazy!

Mysstic101: since this is a fictional movie, all your points are invalid. If you liked the movie, fine. Of not, that’s ok too. But don’t try to convince us not to like it with your nerdy logic.

@mysstic101: Superman didn’t cause a building to fall, Zod did. Also, remember his first fight with Doomsday? He did took the battle into space and at the end of day did save billions of people from being killed by Zod. Your whole is silly.

superman does not kill????!!!! what happened to zod in the previous movie??

@mysstic101 – sorry, but that kind of carnage, etc, is way more realistic than if Superman could cleanly wrap it all up. THAT would be godlike. And what is this? Scifi or supernatural? I’d rather the scifi version since I don’t believe in a god.

And besides, in real life battles are horrifically, stomach wrenchingly violent. It’s one thing to suspend disbelief and tell us there’s a super man but it’s another to tell me war isn’t real. The story still takes place on Earth.

“And besides, in real life battles are horrifically, stomach wrenchingly violent.”

Especially if no one bothers taking it outside of a major metropolitan area.

I would also like to add Pa Kent feared that the government might take his son away due to the power he possesses. So his actions are completely understandable.

@Jeffrey: “Mysstic101: since this is a fictional movie, all your points are invalid. If you liked the movie, fine. Of not, that’s ok too. But don’t try to convince us not to like it with your nerdy logic.”

Right, because logic, in the form of internal logical consistency, has no place in examining works of fiction. Superman should have just waved his hand to resurrect the dead, and made cotton candy fall out of the sky like manna to feed the masses, too, because logic has no place in works of fiction. Got it.

No one has to be convinced not to like something based on logic, of course. Everyone’s free to close their eyes, cover their ears, and go “la la la la la” to preserve their fond memories. To each their own

@Mystic: I guess what I really meant was that you don’t have to be an @$$.

@mystic – that’s right…because if we WERE attacked by aliens you better believe they would just hit population nerve centers. That’s what I found realistic. Also realistic would be the inability of an inexperienced Superman to do much about it.

Is it realistic for alien invaders to hit population centers? Sure. Is it realistic for an inexperienced Superman to not be able to do much about it? Sure. Is it in character for him to not even try to do anything about it? No, not at all.

The real problem here is that the filmmakers wanted a cool action scene with a lot of buildings getting smashed, but they were too intellectually lazy to put together a scenario to do it that didn’t unnecessarily compromise the morality of the character, albeit in a very indirect way, in order to do it. Which they easily could have done, with just a little bit more care and planning.

We all know Superman is supposed to care about what happens to the people around him. That’s even why he ended up killing Zod, to protect that one family. That’s just one more example of the intellectual laziness of the creators, though. Superman doesn’t seem to bat an eye at the death and destruction around him when they need their cool fight scene, but when they need Zod dead, they trot out this one family, and suddenly Superman’s all concerned?

A good storyteller would have shown Superman as caring and mindful of others throughout the fight, even just in subtle ways, and done so without compromising the action scenes. Then that Zod killing scene wouldn’t have been such an abrupt about-face, and I’d have a lot less to complain about. This was a failure in storytelling technique, plain and simple, regardless of whether your individual take on Superman varies from mine or not.

I think this is my last comment on this issue, one way or another. The posts are starting to get personal, and that’s just a bad sign. Better to bow out, and leave what’s already been said to speak for me. Take care, everyone.

@mystic – I thought they did show he cared. But, he could do little about it because he was getting his ass kicked. But I definitely saw script where he tried, other than the family at the end.

@Mystic: You do realize that when Superman tried to save someone during the fight in smallville he got sucker punched, right? He was focusing on the source of the problem and he fought Zod because he cared about the people he was going to kill if he didn’t stop him.

The movie is awesome

That fight did not lasted no 30 minutes.-_-


June 28, 2013 at 12:37 am

I read in one comment that said Superman Returns was well-written. lol no. Nobody was able to connect the dots when Clark Kent and Superman both return after five years on the same day. That’s bad writing right there.

“Man Of Steel” will go down as the biggest disappointment of 2013. It was a horrible movie. Most everything Kelly stated above is correct. Heck – I can name about 12 more really big flaws with the movie. I’ve found most people who defend the film are “Christians”. My Christian friends defend it as if they were defending the bible. Weird. Just weird.

I think alot of people have to battle the fact that Superman himself is almost a god so expectation is high. you have too many expectations for the man who has almost unlimited power. i do think though may be to they should have given this movie a slow start like Batman Begins. but see even that bored> so my point is its superman the character has no limits but the movie has because its not a comic.

the Zod character was fine for me. infact perfect, you really didnt get that Zod was a clone created for one reason only, which he treid to execute at any cost, he was never created to think. when EL ask ZOD what he planned to do with the DNA’s of all the Kryptons and who was going to decide which lines remained and which died he didnt answer

i do know alot of the people who rushed in the cinema actually run in with high hope that the movie they were going to see was as good as you comics at home, but see if it was just as your comics you read at home then whats the difference. am sure a lot of you people went to see the new superman. a couple of things had to change for the movie to be great.


June 28, 2013 at 7:07 am

Y’know I agree with everything you said here Kelly, but seeing as-with most reviews that are negative of this movie-the Nolan fanboys/girls are out en masse to scream that this schlock of sci-fi BS ‘IS REALLY GOOD’
you know what shocks me the most, that far too few people try to list apologies for the Pa Kent sequences in this movie. The ‘eh, maybe you should’ve let them die’ the ‘no, it’s okay son, watch a tornado kill me while you could save me’ and everything else in it aren’t given fuller explanations or ‘reasons’ for why Johnathan Kent really is scared of the black helicopters coming to take his teenage son away.
We all know the reason-along with the ‘reasons’ they give to apologise for the wanton destruction in Metropolis, Smallville and the insane death toll-it’s because this movie tried too hard to be gritty and edgy, when the lines in the FREAKING MOVIE state that Supes is supposed to be the guiding light for all humanity, something to reach for. But no, seeing a mopey and emo Clark wandering through the ice fields (btw did they really give a reason why he knew the ancient vessel was there?) and being mopey.

And one thing that few have noticed, but apparently a Kryptonian can exist in the vacuum of space without a problem of his lungs exploding, but when trying to destroy a machine in a planetary gravity and atmosphere-admittedly changing to his original homeworld-he has trouble breathing. Either Superman has a multifunction super power list and not just on ‘earths yellow sun’ or the creators really didn’t think about anything in this movie.

@Mako – I’m an atheist yet I find it fairly easy to defend Superman.

The “savior” story does not belong on to the Christians, by the way. Also, Superman is a Jewish hero, created by Jewish writers. Kal-El even means “Vessel of God” in Hebrew.

But for this atheist I just think of it as a humanoid alien whose physiology made him unique on Earth. Total sci fi.

Ugh. I saw this movie again with my critic glasses on but with an open mind. This superman really is just a hick with powers doing what he thinks is right. He’s not a genius and he hasn’t been trained to battle a day in his life. Plus he’s not your average superman. He’s the guy who did 300s take on superman.

I know this is way too late and no one will really read this but heres some ANSWERS TO SILLY NITPICKS:
1. He learned in the bar from soldiers about something big and mysterious in the ice.
2. He took Zod to outer space only for ZOD TO TACKLE HIM THROUGH A WAYNE SATELLITE AND RIGHT BACK TO METROPOLIS killing who knows how many with the burning debris. The spin the government and the Daily Planet will put on Superman will allay many but not all lawyer mongering and suing attempts. Sure people will bitch but many of us saw how dumb it was in the Incredibles when all the superheroes got sued and made illegal. It would happen but not on the scale the haters love to imagine.
3. A Kryptonian CAN hold his breath in for very very long periods of time and no his super physiology will NOT allow the vacuum of space to make his lungs explode and his body to freeze. He was being weakened by the machine, gaining weakness to mortal problems such as choking on particulates or whatever.
4. Only time Superman really actively endangers people and maybe even killed a person and performed a conscious act of not caring about casualties is when he saw red at Zods people attacking his mother (I doubt even Jesus would just stand by and let that one slide) and tackled Zod through the 7-11 (theres always at least someone in a 7-11) while trying to punch his face into paste.
5. There is more reason for Lois to kiss Clark in this movie than for the majority of love connections for movies in general. I’ve seen scores of people fall into a rut on film for the DUMBEST of reasons. Read action comics #5 (1938) for the dumbest superman and lois kiss ever conceived and give your hate a break. He saved Lois’ life what, six times and only gets one kiss? In the heat of passion and terrible sorrow where he desperately needs some comfort? She had researched him, had conversations with him, learned from others and for herself how caring he is and even met his mother! Where he saved her in the cave from the robot was kinda rapey, him hovering and pulling at her clothes and burning the hell out of her to leave her in the snow but he made up for that and then some.

6. You want an excuse for John Kent? He was raised in cold ear and government conspiracy era America. I am a father. Sorry but I don’t want the men in black from the government tossing me and my wife in a dark hole or worse while they take my young unsure of himself alien son who hasn’t been prepared for and discovered his destiny yet and study his entrails thank you very fucking much. He didn’t know his son was completely invulnerable against Uncle Sam. As a father if he hadn’t sacrificed himself his and his families lives would be OVER anyhow.

7. Just send Zod into the phantom zone with the others instead of killing him? Really? You mean like all the others sent into a contained quantum singularity with zero powers along with the exploding metal remains of the ships? Without the suspended animation gel and the penis pods being launched into a big ship designed not to be torn apart by a black hole like they were the first time? NEWS FLASH boys and girls the other Kryptonians are DEAD! Doesn’t take suspension of disbelief or overreaching nerdiness to figure that out. There is no “maybe they fell a story or into a pit for safekeeping” or “the original script had this and that about handcuffs or time reversal” about it. The 10 or however many Kryptonians that got sucked in are mincemeat.

*in space

*cold war era

Hey Chris, I appreciate that take. I need to watch it again to see if I still feel the same way about the rapid alliance between Lois and Supe.

(I’m obviously still watching this thread because I am neurotic that way)

I agree with some of the things you write, and not at all with some (as it usually is) i saw the movie yesterday here in Sweden since we for some reason were so late with getting it up on our crappy forced to see crappy 3d cinemas. One thing I totally agree with is that forced love story, I think it’s the fastest “fall in love” i’ve ever seen in a movie. Although I’m against all love crap in superhero movies.

Anyway. Good review, and the great thing about it is that you stated from the start that it was your oppinion and not anyone elses. You didn’t write what we will see but what you saw :) I like that.

Btw! Dredd isn’t really a superhero movie, now is it?

The very problems you see with the movie are the very reasons I think this was the best Superman movie ever made! It needed to be dark and less humor than previous takes on the character. That is what gives it more realism.

The movie was just that “MAN OF STEEL”, a character some young fucking kid wanted to remix Superman. IT WAS NOT SUPERMAN IT WAS THE MAN OF STEEL, a character “they” wanted to create. I’ve been a fan of the character for over 30 years, I know what I’m talking about. I didn’t just became a fan when I heard this movie was coming out. They took their creative license on this all the way. They made a story they wanted to see. THE REASON HEATH LEDGER WAS FANTASTIC AS JOKER BECAUSE HE PLAYED HIM JUST LIKE HE WAS IN THE COMICS. AND HIS ACTING WAS GREAT TOO. BUT HE PLAYED JOKER HOW HE IS IN THE COMICS A PSYCHOPATHIC KILLER. The film was entertaining but it was not SUPERMAN. RIP Christopher Reeve

I am sick of people bashing Man of Steel! Harry Cavill is th ebest Superman yet! He is beautiful and perfect! the story line was great and killing Zod… THAT bothers you? Seriously when Zod executed thousands of people both military and regular people. BUT hsi death bothers people! If you had to chose between letting an innocent person die or taking care of the villian threatoning to kill that innocent person… WHO do you chose? Seriously M.O.S was an awesome move And I will go see it again!!!

I really liked the movie & with Zach Snyder directing, it was almost exactly what I expected. If you want light & fluffy, stick with the original. If you want dull, boring, awkward & silly, stick with Superman Returns. If you want a more serious, cerebral & much “darker” version of Superman, (along the lines of “Watchmen”), go with Snyder’s version. I rate the movie a solid A.

Really nice article! Completely agree with everything!
If you wanna to have a laugh, you’ll like this kind of infographic: http://www.themaplekind.com/3-things-i-learned-watching-man-of-steel/

I don’t normally comment on these ludicrous reviews but its clear to me you’ve never read a Superman comic/graphic novel in your whole life! This movie was nothing like Batman (Nolan) and to the person who said that Batman will kill in self defense?!?! WTF?????? These are 2 DC characters who WILL NOT KILL unless its completely out of there control! Example – Batman has many chances to kill the Joker in the books but doesn’t because it would turn him into the thing he hates the most – See Killing Joke graphic novel for the best insight into that! And as for Superman killing Zod at the end, it was dark, it was powerful, it was totally against everything that he stands for! VICSTONE said it best on this comment list I think, great movie yes and I actually do think Cavill was a good choice to play superman, certainly better than Brandon Ruth anyway but saying that he was no Christopher Reeve and this certainly wasn’t a real superman movie! Nuff said!

Wow, sorry you didn’t care for it, but I happen to disagree with just about every point you made against it. Just saw it yesterday and I think you’re remembering several key points wrong. Michael Shannon isn’t “shouting every line”–neither were his lines written that way (something that’s impossible by the way, as no script actually calls for that, lines are written in all caps in scripts and the actors/director sort that out in rehersals and filming). He gave quite a bit of pathos, as someone who was confilicted about dealing with the death of his planet and his duty to save it. I do agree with all of your “good” points, and I’d add Shannon’s role and performance as a win under tha column.

Lester Romero

July 1, 2013 at 8:16 am

I disagree with a lot of this opinion but debating preference is a waste of time so instead I’ll just watch MOS again and keep on supporting it.

Wow! Such, mature responses.

Okay, I’ve never been to this site before so know exactly diddly squat about the author. I was looking up reviews and followed a link here. I’ve been a Superman fan since I was old enough to know what superheroes were. He’s far and away my favorite character outside my own original creations. That being said, on to the comments.

I LOVED this film. I had no issues with the pacing or the flashbacks as I REALLY didn’t want half the movie being in Smallville where he’s learning his powers. I wanted a little more time spent traveling the world though, maybe meeting a few more decent people instead of assclowns.

As a man that lost his father when I was barely out of my teens, the scenes with Jon Kent hit me hard. The way he, out of all the other incarnations of Jon Kent, actually died for his convictions where all other iterations claim they would, really put a lot of weight behind what he was telling Clark. The world was not ready, and Clark was not ready either and Jon died to prevent that. He was deeply connected to his son and not just would have died to protect him, but DID die to protect him. The morals he displayed were of a very good man warring within himself in regards to doing the right thing vs protecting his son, and when it was all boiled down, his son’s protection came first and to hell with everybody else. Straight up, good OLD-FASHIONED American values.

The suit: Was not made/created by Jor-El’s AI. It belonged on the ship because a member of the House of El was a member of the crew. In the novel it states that there were alcoves housing suits for every house that had a crew member aboard. The scout ship was ancient even by Jor-El’s reckoning so the suit’s colors were not the dark gray/black skinsuits that Jor-El and Zod and other Kryptonians wore, but instead came from a much less dark time.

Time: When Jor-El was watching Earth in order to send Kal-El, he observed the ICE AGE and was impressed by the ancestors of modern man. It was his hope that by the time Kal-El arrived, the people would be enlightened enough to accept him. (as described in the novel.)

Powers: A lot of issue has been taken with the inconsistency in Clark’s powers vs the other Kryptonians’. Jor-El knew that the difference in gravity would make Kal-El stronger and tougher, and that the different atmosphere would give him greater senses, but he did not anticipate the full gamut of abilities that Clark attained under a yellow sun on a world with much lower gravity with a highly nutrious atmosphere. Zod and crew had never been exposed to a world like Earth, as they would usually scout a planet and then launch a World Engine at it to make it like Krypton. To a Kryptonian genetically engineered to consider Krypton the pinnacle of achievement, it would have been unthinkable to inhabit a planet different than their homeworld.

The Romance: I could buy the kiss and Clark becoming infatuated with Lois because he’s innocent in regards to women, but I don’t see it really going anywhere, ala New 52, clearing the way for his relationship with Supergirl who will probably be Power Girl instead, or Wonder Woman. Since only a female of equal power would understand the issues and problems he faces on a day to day basis. I could see Lois becoming his best friend and even surrogate sister in this universe.

Killing Zod: Had to be done. No other option that didn’t result in still more and greater numbers of casualties. Some claim that his morals, his innate goodness should be what lets him know that killing is wrong. However, remember, he was raised in the Mid-West by farmers, not exactly people that shy away from capital punishment for murderers/rapists/serial killers. His morals may tell him that killing is wrong, but his upbringing would tell him that sometimes it has to be done. His own heart was broken by performing the deed with his own hands, especially since he was effectively the one to end his own species, and thus he decides to never do it again.

Casualties/destruction: There was nothing he could have done to limit the damages caused by fellow Kryptonians throwing him into/through buildings. At that point he was a wrecking ball and not in control of his direction or flight. Also, he was inexperienced in fighting having always been bullied and not allowed to fight back even a little.
This was his first time striking/fighting and his situational awareness was undeveloped. He is Superman, but he’s not the Superman that spent 12 years in the FoS learning his powers under Jor-El. (Superman the Movie.) He’s not the Superman that spent years traveling around the world performing miraculous feats and reveling in his powers.(Birthright/Jim Byrne MoS) He’s not the Superman that spent years learning to control his powers in Smallville while protecting all and sundry from meteor mutants (Smallville), and he’s definitely not the Superman that could control his powers to the point where he could play highschool and college sports. (Lois & Clark.) This Superman grew up fearing his powers to the point that he doesn’t even use them unless absolutely necessary. He didn’t even use his superspeed to RUN to the Arctic to investigate the ship. He instead hitchhikes and gets a job on the site. His jumps show that he never even did that before, let alone the attempt at flight that turned into a head-over-heels tumble in the snow.

From what the novel implies, Kal-El was supposed to find one of the abandoned outposts and use the embryos there and the various bloodlines in his own blood to recreate the Kryptonian race, either on Earth or elsewhere suitable, but because he would not genetically engineer them beyond making sure each child would have a different bloodline, they would be free to choose their paths in life. This didn’t happen, but still could by eventually finding another planet that houses an abandoned outpost. And if somebody explains to him that his blood is the codex, which is unlikely to happen seeing as Jor-El’s AI is gone thanks to Zod.

All in all, a very impressive movie, a spectacular cast and an excellent story.

I haven’t read all the comments so I’m not sure if this was mentioned yet. Could all of the destruction and chaos created during the Superman/Zod battle not be used against Superman in a sequel?? Anytime there is a major public tragedy, especially in the United States, some politician or political party uses that tragedy to push their agenda. I could easily see Lex Luthor using the destruction in Metropolis against Superman in the next movie to push his pro-human agenda.

During the battle scene in Metropolis, I did think of all the people that must have died from all the collateral damage. Many people commenting, were upset that Superman was fighting Zod with no thought of the civilians being injured or killed and I can completely understand. But imagine if Superman stopped to fly over and save some civilians from falling debris or an explosion. He would’ve opened himself up to further attack from Zod or given Zod a chance to murder any human around him.

I enjoyed the movie very much. The killing of Zod was a bold move. Allowing Lois Lane to know that Clark Kent is Superman is a bold move (even though I don’t like it). The creators of this film are letting us know that they are not going to follow the old Superman formula. I might be the only one but I’d rather see something new than the same old Superman movie recipe from the 70s. We got the old formula updated with Superman Returns and it was a bore.

Gone is the overdone love triangle. Gone is the safe option to lock up Zod only to bring him back from the Phantom Zone or some other imprisonment in a sequel. A major gripe from most of you is that MOS is trying to be dark and gritty like the Nolan Batman movies. I would rather see this so called “real world” superhero movie than a movie where the hero never has to make a hard choice and saves EVERYONE.

I don’t agree with some of the things in MOS but I can say I’m happy to see that the people involved are trying something different. Superman Returns was a shot at recreating the Superman movies of old and for this fan, it was a disappointment. Trying something new doesn’t always work and I can completely understand why some fans are turned off. But I would rather have Man of Steel over Superman Returns II any day of the week.

I’ve never been a fan of Superman. I don’t feel that I can understand the character in the same way that I understand, for example, Batman; Batman’s murdered parents motivated him to fight crime. What’s Superman’s motivation? If he wants to devote himself to fighting aliens and stopping tsunamis, why does he bother to be a reporter? Is he first and foremost a Kryptonian refugee or a farmboy from Kansas? The point is I’ve never really gotten the character and was fairly uninterested in this movie.

This movie made me care about Superman for the first time in my life. The idea of a refugee who’s sent abroad to save his life, struggles to acclimate to his new culture, and then voyages to discover his roots captivated me. More than that, Superman’s powers were presented in a way I loved, i.e. as having limits. This is not a Superman who can travel back in time by flying really fast, but rather has to struggle to overcome obstacles. When he’s figthing Zod’s soldiers, you can tell he has to work to take them out.

I feel a little sorry for anyone who felt that this interpretation of Superman differed too greatly from the character they know and love. We’ve all been there with favorite characters, and I feel your pain. But as for me, this the only version of the character that makes me interested in what happens next.

I find it amazing that you have all the time in the world to write all that crap about your lame opinion of a movie Get a job or hobby.

Miss Thompson, Perfectly put and well said.

This movie was horrible! I went with five other people to watch this movie and none of us liked it. I spent more time looking at my watch than the movie. I got a headache trying to watch the fight seens and my headache got worse when I tried to follow the plot. Zod really got on my nerves except I don’t think Michael Shannon was acting because he’s like that in Boardwalk Empire as well. I couldn’t have agreed more with the author.

Tádzio Teixeira

July 2, 2013 at 8:21 am

Hi, I really liked your perspective of the movie, is quite what a movie criticist must do: push down something that is comming up. But ok. Why I say that? Becouse first: the interaction of the characters and actors expressions are fine to good, specially the villain. But at the end when you lay the negative side of the actors choice or emotions related to the characters you simply forgot that it is a intro movie to what come to be a regular Superman comic or sequence in its regular basis. All emotions fit to the comic, body characteristics fit to the comic (even a red haired lois lane). The drama around Clarks choices as Superman are solid, Super is one of the most emotional characters that are in comic books, he desires the american way of living and also has to be appart of it. ok, Spiderman is even more emotional, but we cant expect he behave like batman (that is a completely and emotionaly twisted in the last movie, not really tha batman we know), so it was great the choice of actors and the emotions they cast over us. Second: Kryptons ideal and motif, perfect. the visual and the intention of Kryption over the story are touchable over the whole movie, and it really affected earth’s situation on until the last minutes of the movie. Suits and tecnology – incredible, even more – comic like, what is amazing coming from a hollywood director, because they usually fuck up the costumes and clothes and everything coming from the comic books, turning into something too modern or too “fashion of the moment”. No, they really got the outfits used on comics and created alien like ware.
Comparing this movie with the other three, the tecnology used allow to really do a fight between titans, no destruction saving, a realistic battle with consequences to the city. the human content over the military group, the civilians and the decision of Clark and both fathers were well connected. Other themes could be used – brainiac intro of kryptons destruction, like the animated series made by Warner could be one – but the kryptonians situation gave even more strength to the story.

You see, i really think you wrote a very good article, i just think you got lost behing your own ego, so getting all arrogancy, you would may have accepted that this movie can grow in all senses, and can turn into a better hero franchise than batman was, maybe go over some other successful movies like the avgengers single movies (Captain America, Thor and Iron Man).

It is suffcient think about teh old superman movies, less the first and the second ones – classics – and see that this one superates our expectations.

I must say, first off, i’m a more than 40 year Superman fan. I had high hopes for this film before it came out and was VERY very very let down by what I saw. I can’t go into all the parts of this film that ticked me off but here are just a few.
The money they spent on special effects should have been spent on the writers.
Even though it’s called “Man of steel” it’s still a Superman movie and to NOT! have a LEX LUTHER is just wrong.
The planet Krypton/Avatar/Matrix/Transformer. Really!! For god sake either pick one, use the original one or come up with a new one.
I don’t know if I saw this correctly but, did i see the planet krypton implode? If so, then how do we get Kryptonite?
Also, the death of Pa Kent with Clark standing a few yards away. REALLY!!! a tornado.
Ace reporter Lois Lane tracks down Clark, his past, his parents and his ship( which is a whole other f*** up), even before he has his suit on. OMG!!!
Clark finding his ship, learning about his origins and the powers he has all in what, a few days. No wonder he’s getting his ass kicked by Zod and his crew
Anyway, I am glad I did NOT spend the extra money to see this in IMAX 3D cause i may have walked out.
In my opinion if they had taken the first Superman movie, with Christopher Reeves, and re-made it almost word for word, with today’s special effects, I’d pay five times the current movie prices to see it and do so more than twice.

The author posts in the comments that she liked Iron Man 3 and “Super Pepper”… So all opinions put forward in her article are null and void LOL.

@Eric B.

Yeah, um. This IS my job. But I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know that I have hobbies too! Thanks for your concern!

I can’t understand people propping up Marvel’s crap in comparison to TDK or MOS.

Daredevil was terrible (I love the character)
X2 was bad, 3 was awful. (love x-men, gambit and wolverine prob my favs)
Blade 2 was bad, 3 was awful.
IM2 was bad, IM3 was awful. (I liked the first one… where did it all go so wrong? starts w/ Cheadle)
wolverine origins (I wish I could forget it exists, I will pretend Gambit was not in this movie)
Ghost Rider was OK, 2 was WTF stupid (Ghost rider is one of my favorite Marvel characters)
Captain America (really campy/hokey crap. I love Hugo weaving but for the life of me cannot recall what their final battle was like… and I’ve seen it a couple of times, it’s hard to watch)
Thor (Hey I actually liked this one, though obviously it’s a bit shallow)
Hulk (nuff said)
The Incredible Hulk was pretty damn good (the fight at the end rocks and Tim Roth/Edward Norton do too)

The Avengers is OK at best. I have not been able to sit through it a second time even though I’ve made multiple attempts. It is so cheesey… They need to make an edition of the movie that ONLY has the superhero vs superhero fights in the middle, that was all I was able to enjoy in such a lackluster plot and third act. One of my rewatches was with my brother, who got so bored we just played dominos instead of watching the movie.

Worst review. Please never write one ever again. Kill yourself

Zshod talksh like thish!

Best review! watch out kelly! neck-breakers love this new cool dark edgy broody britishspy with jacked teeth superpoweredman!

15 ways to stop zod

1. Freeze breath

2. superbreath to blow fools out of way

3. heat vision to melt surroundings in way to protect

4. super-speed mad dash

5. a piece of cape in line of sight

6. a deep talk to make him realize killing is beneath us

7. tell those fools to roll out already

8. Lois shows up and rushes everyone to safety, no make it Jimmy

9. the us army whose role in this movie was more than supes, more lines more focus more power ugh, shows up with ..red sun tech!

10. fly zod elsewhere, like up (or down !)

11. chokehold to unconsciousness

12. Krypto the super dog, what he also saved Pa Kent from the tornado nice! and Pa was replaced by Brainiac to keep superman in the closet oh thats why!

12. hands over the eyes, or 3 stooge style eye poke

13. it was all a bad dream! damn you mongul! and your lotus flower!

14. straight up rip zod’s head off with blood and gore and rolling pantha-heads! too cool!

15. head-butt leaves both knocked out

@Mmystic: I think that you are dead on. A lot of the fanatical and irrational defenders of the movie (and some of the responses to your comments are really irrational) don’t seem to get the simple point that if you want a realistic movie then the realistic outcome of Superman’s battle with Zod is that Supes is more hated and feared than ever before. There is just no logical way around this.

One disagreement: in a “realistic” world, Batman could never take down Superman. This is especially the case in this world, since there is no kryptonite.

@Worst review: you are one sick a$$hole.

Look ! down on the ground! its a neck-breaker! it’s a british ab model! no it’s Superpowered-Man!

i heard kissing women gets worse every time

Fishburne was forced to be the Anti-Morpheus;
“lois put down the red and blue pill, the world isn’t ready yet for such ideas”

Batman beats SteelMan with chokeycough dust!

we aren’t supposed to identify with Cavill!
our viewpoint characters are thus:

cool older army bald guy yeah!

black army general guy cool!

young white army guy who says the line about how lame it is people are calling him ..SuperMan

dumb white army girl, two best lines: “wait what’s terramorphing adurrr”, and of course, “i think he’s kinda cute”

i can’t wait to join the army! cool!

Just one point: Superheroes have their history rewritten all the time. You make some solid points but overall, I liked the movie much more than Green Lantern, Hulk 1 or X-Men Origins: Wolverine.


In the novel, it describes the magma/lava that spews out of Krypton’s crust as glowing green. We can/are to assume that this material is what would become Kryptonite were it allowed to solidify. Why is this important? Because the World Engine that Supes fought in the Indian Ocean was altering Earth to be like Krypton and was “eating” its way down to bedrock for materials to convert into the Kryptonian atmosphere. They spoke of the World Engine destroying continents and creating new ones and its gravity wave was changing Earth’s core while causing the planet to expand to eventually reach the same size as Krypton. It is my guess that the rock being exposed to the Kryptonian machine will have been converted into Kryptonite and can only be found on that island, thus bringing it into the story and keeping it rare enough that only the super-rich like Lex, Bruce, the U.S. government and precious few others can acquire any significant amounts of it.

OK- 1st. I really liked the movie. It had it’s problems but what movie doesn’t. I’m not really sure how I feel about Javert following Supe and Lois around just about every move they make, but hey. As for killing Zod, no, I REALLY didn’t see that coming, but then again I’d just finished watching all the episodes of Justice League too. I honestly felt like a point was being made about how Supe was doing the greater good and all that. Overall, Great movie.

And um, I just want to bring up something up that evidently even the most hardcore fans have missed or just completely ignored. Pa Kent is the worst villain in the entire Supe verse. Yes I hear you cursing me out now, but just bear with me. Jonathan is the reason Clark has had so many problems. Look at the Clark/Lex relationship (i’m gonna use a Smallville example here) If Jonathan Kent would have just let Clark befriend Lex, Lex never would have become the evil bastard like Lionel was. Lex reached out to Clark time and time again saying, Hey not feeling like a good guy right now, having some tough choices. Help me choose the right one Clark. And then Jonathan goes, no Clark, he’s evil just like his dad cause he’s a LUTHOR/ Well, no shit. NOW he is. He didn’t have anyone to help him. Thanks Pa Kent. How very humanitarian and helpful you are.

That’s a lot of manufactured angst and near vitriol over a film, much of it undeserved. Man of Steel is an imperfect film for sure, but the attack on the film feels very much a reaction by persons who feel they “own” Superman and were annoyed that someone else put up a version on film of the character that didn’t match theirs. It’s disingenuous, unfair, and frankly, unhelpful. The problem with Superman isn’t Superman. The problem with Superman is fans like the writer of this column, whose main interest appears to be fossilizing the character and preserving him perfectly in nostalgia colored amber, so that he never changes; he’s never looked at from a different perspective by anyone, and so he remains theirs alone.

There’s an enormous amount of Man of Steel that works and feels great. The filmmakers took some real risks, most of which pay off, though not all, and also happened to make a pretty exciting and entertaining movie as well. People should get over themselves, get over their false sense of ownership, and allow Superman a little breathing room. He’s 75. He’s not going to make it to 100 encased in self-righteous fandom amber.

…I do like how people seem to be missing the point of this being an opinion. She’s not saying “this is the only truth ever and anyone who disagrees is wrong and also stupid!”, she’s saying that hey, there were some things that spoiled the movie for her and these are them. It’s not meant to be an attack. It’s not an attempt to drag the movie down. It’s not nitpicking, deliberate fault seeking, or even particularly hostile, unlike some of the comments. It’s just a list of why she’s not excited about this one movie that she actually really wanted to like.

As an aside, though, I’d just like to argue that you can do a modern, serious take on something without being dark and gritty. People seem to conflate the two sometimes, but you can have humour and light-hearted moments and a lack of deaths and destruction and still be relevant and a serious look at something. I don’t get why some people seem to be so hung up on the notion that, in order to be a good look at real world implications, everything has to be dim and no-one can ever be good for the sake of being good and everyone has some kind of hideous darkness in their souls that has to be kept under control at all times lest it rise up and cause them to do evil things. Real-world people might not have black-and-white morality, but they do come in more than one shade of (dark, unrelentingly depressing) grey.

That went awfully essayish there for a moment. Sorry. Anyway. Not a massive fan of this take on the characters, not a massive fan of the movie generally.

Ok i am a guy but still.. that kissing scene made me cracked up omg that was the most horrible kiss moment i ever seen in a movie!!!
I felt ashamed i moved a litle bit down in my chair because i felt so uncomfortable with it!! is this Hollywood ?

And what did she say ? after the first kiss everything will go worse ?
OMG and that kissing moment was the start from something willing to get even worse !!

One advice superman stop that relation immediately take a kryptonite pill shove it up youre ars and fly to the moon
take a massive dumb there and feel reborn and NEVER EVER come back to earth anymore because the romance here is gone..

Perhaps it is opinion but so much of it is so overtly negative and without balance, that it’s hard not to come away with the conclusion that the opinion is based less on the actual merits of the film itself and more a function of the strong prejudices of the one expressing the opinion? And you certainly can’t blame others, if having come across such an opinion, that they too offer their views as counterpoint or balance or whatever, particularly when that opinion is basically shouted to the world via the internet.

The film is an imperfect piece of entertainment, to be sure. Many, many things could have been done, different choices made, that probably could have improved the viewing experience for more people, although that could be said of every film and also, there are many, many people who feel just as strongly about the film from a positive point of view.

But there is so much about the film that is also accomplished and entertaining that the opinion above never touches or acknowledges. The excellent performances by the wider supporting cast, for example. The excellent score by Hans Zimmer. Or the technical achievements of the flying scenes. Sure, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, and I’m not arguing it should be. I’m just saying that MY opinion is that there’s a lot to like about the film, and I enjoyed it.

@David: I feel like you didn’t even read the piece. I BEGIN the article by talking about what is good (to me) about the film. It’s how I BEGIN. While those few things certainly don’t constitute balance (It’s a bad film, how can the good and bad be balanced?) I do at least point out what worked for me.

Those few things I pointed out are what worked for me. The rest are huge failings and problems that cause me to believe it is a TERRIBLE movie.

I’m at best a casual Superman fan, so I’m not super attached to mythology. I know a good deal about Superman the way any comics fan does, but I’m not a regular reader of his books, so no, I don’t believe I have a ton of preconceived ideas about what and who Supes should be, and if I don’t get that exact interpretation then I’m pissed. I’m just not that big of a fan of Supes specifically. What I AM a fan of, is superheroes more generally and this movie produced none of that “superhero greatness” I get when watching a well done superhero film.

But I’ve already said my piece (in extreme detail above) it’s fine for you not to agree and I’m glad you can love the movie, but to say that my review doesn’t have balance is absurd. The review doesn’t have balance because I believe it was a TERRIBLE film. End of story.

ps – Please let me know how to not “shout my opinion” on the internet. Seriously? I’m guessing this advice will sound something like how I should just be more docile and accommodating? Maybe not have such strong opinions? Yeah, that’ll make for some compelling and passionate reading.

I’m just guessing here, but you’re claiming the “shouting” is because of the few cases of all caps in the piece? If so, a quick count and a little bit a math shows that less than half of one percent of the article is in all caps…so…yeah…pretty reasonable overall.

Travis Pelkie

July 3, 2013 at 11:50 pm

It’s always amazing how people can’t seem to accept that an opinion is precisely that — an opinion. It’s not a news piece, where balance is preferable. The idea of balance in an opinion piece makes for watered down gruel — mealy mouthed “well, it wasn’t all bad” garbage that doesn’t own an opinion, for fear of “offending” someone. Kelly makes her points, defends them, and owns her opinions without dismissing those of you who think differently (and aren’t jerks). Imagine that.

An excellent musical score for a terrible movie is like a pretty ribbon on a pile of manure. Yay for pretty shitty ribbon!

Kelly pointed out 15 or so points about the movie, not all negative. If you can’t follow the argument being made, just comment “tl;dr”, and go away. The adults are talking.

I assume Eric B. is concerned about your job and hobbies because he just doesn’t know what to do with himself without Rakim.

Hi Kelly. Sorry. I should have explained or put more context in the statement. I didn’t mean literally that you were shouting in your post. I was making a different point about the nature of modern media – that basically, putting your opinions of anything, a critique, whatever, on the internet is kind of the equivalent of shouting out to the world. That’s part of your job, so you’re not doing anything differently than anyone else or a million other sites that provide information online. I was only seeking to suggest that, given the nature of the internet, once an opinion gets shared in such a way, it’s only reasonable for others to share theirs, critique the opinion, whatever.

Can we agree a few things? You’re a smart, articulate, independent minded person. Your disliking of a movie doesn’t diminish that in any way. Can we agree to disagree as well? I just think your review gets so much wrong. That’s all. I’m not “right.” I just want to be included in the group of those who had a positive experience; a different one to the one you did.

And with respect, I don’t think it’s absurd at all to say your review lacked balance. It is true that you saw what you thought was a terrible movie. I’m suggesting, and I think it’s legitimate to do so, that it was terrible for you because you failed to recognize so much about the film that was also good. Yes it’s your opinion, as this is mine, but saying something is an opinion doesn’t immediately cloak our thoughts in armor invulnerable to logic, different points of views, critique, emphasis, whatever.

Look, Man of Steel was an imperfect movie experience for me. Superman for me will always be about the sweet scene on Lois Lane’s balcony between Chris Reeve and Margot Kidder. Superman for me will always be defined first, before anything else, by the gentle nobility and calm strength of Reeve’s response on the top of the Daily Planet building after saving Lois, that he was “a friend.” I love that movie, and that for me is the gold standard against which all superhero movies are measured.

But MOS isn’t a disaster. It’s actually, a thoroughly entertaining, somewhat serious somewhat science fiction type look at what might happen in a case where two alien cultures came into contact for the first time. It also posits the question – if there was a being among us with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, would we accept him/her? Would we give in to our fear of the different and the unknown? While I’m not comfortable with the execution of the idea or the notion that millions may have died unprotected at the end of Man of Steel, I think the film’s basic premise that the collision of an alien culture with our own would result in catastrophic losses in human life is probably quite legitimate. In fact I would argue that, even in the context of a “superhero” movie, such as even the Avengers, the loss of human life would probably deliberately need to be glossed over to make the experience palatable. Because in reality, the loss of life would be immense.

There’s also some genuinely fun and moving things about the film. Kevin Costner’s performance is fantastic, bringing a naturalism, gravitas and earthiness to Jonathan Kent we haven’t seen before. Diane Lane was also excellent in her few scenes, and the several scenes of a young Clark having to deal with his true nature rang true to me. They were moving and felt emotionally right. There are some brief flashes of humor, such as when the bully in the bar finds his truck outside, and the final scene has an emotional payoff that feels sweet and authentic. And despite the fantasy and sci-fi elements, I think even I was impressed how much of the film felt grounded by many of the secondary characters, including Colonel Hardy and Hamilton and what not. Above all, I think many who criticize the film very harshly also forget something really important. MOS opens in cinemas in a real, post Avengers world. But somehow, it manages to effortlessly up the spectacle of that film, to the point where it made Avengers seem slightly.. cartoonish. Which isn’t to suggest Avengers isn’t a legitimately brilliant piece of entertainment…

It’s just that, while a flawed cinematic experience, there’s also a lot to like about this big summer extravaganza, and I think in all this bashing of the film by some, we’re losing sight of the fact that MOS is first and foremost intended to capture the imaginations of wider audiences who have seen some really entertaining, very action oriented, very good superhero movies of late. My view is that the film delivers in so many ways, so that despite being imperfect, it’s a worthwhile experience.

Kelly- I read your column regularly and I’m always interested in your opinions, given their through nature. In terms of agreement, I will NEVER discuss superheroine fashion with you, but otherwise I think you make really interesting and astute observations. As far as this piece goes, I walked away unbelievably satisfied, but I’m not going to waste your comments space with all of my bullet points. That said, there are only 2 elements I feel compelled to discuss: 1) Jonathan Kent. MY takeaway was that he was fine with Clark saving the bus, but his worry was his being seen by the victims, as it could place him in the eyes of society, which could cause a healthy percentage of the world to be forced to re-examine their beliefs on God, their place in the universe, and their very existence, which he felt was possibly too much for his adopted son to be held culpable for, hence his noble self sacrifice. Your thoughts?
2) The kiss- Again, MY takeway was that the kiss was very appropriate as he had just saved her life, which could very easily lead a woman (or man) to elicit strong feelings for the other party. From Clark’s perspective, this is the first person he’s ever met who has shown him empathy and knew who he was, and when he saw her life in danger, his response and demeanor reflected that he was terrified that he might lose this person. I felt their mutual response was totally in congruence with the relationship, based on trust and admiration was very plausible. Again, I would love to hear your response.

I agree that the movie doesn’t work, but I don’t agree with all your reasons. I thought Shannon’s Zod was by far the best thing in the movie. It’s for him and Traue and Crowe that I know I will want to watch this movie several times in the years to come, despite it being catastrophically bad as regards Superman himself and virtually all the other characters, who are abysmally undeveloped. I liked that the movie was as much a sci-fi movie as a superhero movie – obviously, you didn’t (“Krypton shit show”). But overall, the movie was too ambitious; there was too much stuff crammed into it at the expense of proper plot detail.

@David: I appreciate you arguing/disagreeing in a thoughtful manner without resorting to name calling, it’s sad that I have to say that, but there it is.

That said, you continue to miss the point. While it’s fine for YOU to have found the movie entertaining, repeatedly saying that it’s an entertaining movie will not just “make it so.” I was NOT entertained. In fact, it’s one of the most bored I have been at a movie in years. I could not wait for it to be over, for many of the reasons I went into detail about above. You thought Pa Kent/Kevin Costner was fantastic, I thought he and the character he was playing were absurd. You thought the young Clark flashbacks were good, I kept wondering who he was dressing up as in that red cape if superheroes don’t exist (???), you thought the bully finding his truck destroyed was funny, I was horrified by it and didn’t recognize Clark Kent in those actions (property damage, potential injury to those that have to fix what he’s done, innumerable stories in papers – legit or otherwise – about this “mystery event”, not to mention, that idiot trucker probably didn’t own that truck, so really Clark just fucked over the owner of that truck/trucking company). So, it’s pretty safe to say that we just saw everything differently. What you liked did not work for me, I was NOT entertained.

I also did not in any way think that MoS upped the spectacle of Avengers making Avengers seem “cartoonish.” I actually couldn’t disagree with that statement more if I tried. While MoS and Avengers both had massive destruction that made me a bit uncomfortable (though MoS’s was far worse in my opinion and in the opinion of outside experts that analyze these sort of things) Avengers felt HUMAN and real to me, where MoS felt straight up like action porn/video game porn. There was no way to connect with anything going on in Supes fight, it was viewed at an antiseptic distance that’s dehumanizing and uninteresting. But again, my opinion. You liked it, great, but you’re not going to convince me that there are “things I missed” or “things I am forgetting.” I’m not forgetting things, I didn’t miss things. I just think IT IS A TERRIBLE FILM from every perspective that I approached it (action film fan, superhero fan, good movie fan).

All that said, the comments are absolutely about putting down your own opinion and I’m sure many many people agree with you. This was a polarizing movie for most people it seems.



To your point #1. I think that any reasonable human being (especially a parent) might project those rational (and also paranoid) thoughts onto Pa Kent if they were being generous. But the film should not rely on people projecting that, it should help us get there, and for my money, it did not. I can imagine in Pa Kent’s shoes, feeling a lot of those things…but they didn’t really put any of that on the screen, not even in a subtle way. The (I’m guessing here) nine minutes of screen time devoted to Pa Kent is not sufficient to me to convey the depth and complexity of those emotions. I think there was a way (in more screen time, or better scenes, or just better writing in those existing scenes) to convey the complexity of this issue, but they didn’t even come close and so instead it just reads to me as broad character assassination and further confusion as to how Clark grew into the kind and “morally upright” person that he did.

Additionally, I did not feel the Pa Kent self-sacrifice was noble in the least. There’s nothing noble about being killed and leaving your loved ones behind, especially when it’s easily prevented. And let’s not forget, Pa Kent runs a damn farm, so arguably even beyond the destruction of losing your partner in life, the practicalities are gonna be rough on Ma Kent to run the farm on her own and not default on the mortgage, etc. To me that death scene was extremely convenient because the script needed it and poorly conceived, as well as there primarily to force Kent into guilty hiding so that they could play up the Jesus metaphors with the year 33. It was one of the most laughable (and disappointing scenes to me). The ONLY way it worked for me was in that just prior to the death scene we saw Clark doing the typical teenage “you’re not my father/I hate you” thing, and so Clark listening to his father moments later DID seem like a way to apologize and acknowledge that Pa IS his father figure that he respects and loves. But there are a myriad of ways that could have been done without sacrificing believability the way the scene ultimately does.

#2. Again, I agree with you in theory. All of the things you say about a kiss (after being saved and when nobody has ever paid attention to you/been kind – which is highly dubious given the way he looks and acts plus 33 years on the planet, but whatever – or knows who you really are) is reasonable. But the filmmakers did not let me FEEL any of that. I didn’t see it on the screen. They didn’t accurately bring those emotions through so that I got caught up in the moment. Instead, I can see on paper how maybe it could work and agree to the terms and motivations but they didn’t actually put it on the screen when the time came. Whether that’s a failing of the directing, writing, acting, or even the editing I’m not sure, but it just did not work for me on any level. And since the chemistry between Adams and Cavill was decent it WAS one of the things I was hoping/expected might work.

Hope that answers things a bit from my perspective?

This movie grossed millions the first weekend it appeared because of its different and “outside of the box” style which made it great in my opinion. You can only remake a super hero movie so many times and achieve what the producers had in this version and have it come out great. While many people have their opinions and didn’t actually appreciate or like this difference, I think it’s the traditionalists that suffer more. Based on how superhero movies are made these days and what producers and directors try to achieve, I would give this movie two thumbs up because this version defied and broke most laws when it comes to remaking superman. Standard tradition is boring if repeated too many times. Like eating chicken cooked the same way every single time. Great film, great action sequences and love the dark tones. The way a modern film of this sort should be.

Great review, i know e have a lot different about the movie… but i think it’s fun and enjoabe to watch… and i agree with everything what snyder did….

The main thing everyone forgot which was one of the best parts of the movie. The Music/Soundtrack!!
After the movie i kept hearing it in my head it was excellent. No mention of it here from what i read almost half way of reading. Also all this talk about how many people where killed. Two angles. One is im sure most of the people had evacuated Metropolis with only a few remaining so i doubt there was as many casualties. The Truck in the gas station thing you can make an argument i thought about one guy that was near who surely died or was critical after but at the same time this is real life. Everyone here didn’t that in real life many people are going to die and there’s nothing superman could have done about it. He took the fight out of the city and it came back regardless its war people die in war all the time. That’s why they call it War. The Girl who wrote this review is smart but naive and has no perception of other things like what i just mentioned and i could see pa’s view because if he would have been discovered then the world was not prepared for it. It was only after The alien ship that the world was ready plus many years had gone by in the time of grown up superman technology and the world had changed to be able to accept a superman not in his younger days where facebook, twitter, advance technology ect was not present. You all forget about that. And enough with the animal rights crap when babies stop being aborted talk about animal rights. You can’t learn a lesson in humanity by watching an animal being born who ever made that comment stop worshiping animals its called Zoolatry its in the Bible. I didn’t like the lack of focus on some of the fight scenes but all in all i thought it was a B as a movie. It wasn’t an A like Batman begins or Batman the dark night but it was very good except for that kiss which was forced out of place plus the lines that followed it were bad and made no sense. Still a good movie and i would have liked the AI and the Krypton planet thing more if not for the weird mad science stuff going on . Jorel had it right in having a natural birth because that planet was creepy. And the girl walking on the edge of ice was a bad movie error lol Can’t wait for the next one i think they should have a character that no one expects. But i don’t want to see lex luthor unless he’s so brilliant his brain power leaves us feeling dumb. For me that’s impossible lol but for all of you its doable LOL

In regards to the destruction of the city you have to keep in mind during the majority of the destruction Superman was on the other side of the earth fighting the terraformer. I think most people probably had the same idea Perry and his group had which was to leave the vulnerable skyscrapers and start heading away from the giant Kryptonian ship which was the center of the destruction, and anyone who didn’t was more than likely dead by the time super man showed up. So when Superman does show up yes there are certainly casualties but you can’t really judge him for those.

It may be unlikely that the entire city was evacuated, but certainly a large portion of it was unpopulated if for no other reason than anybody near the ship was probably killed by the gravity wave. When Superman and Zod finally clash they are in the center of a largely leveled section of the city so there is no one to worry about. Eventually they do start crashing through buildings and causing major destruction but something I think most people forget is that Superman has X-Ray vision so it is possible he was keeping Zod away from the survivors during the fight and instead fighting him in the unpopulated sections of the city until Zod started targeting the civilians at the end of the fight.

@Jenny – it’s been discussed in other venues about how the heaviness of art reflects the time periods it’s created in.

We have a lot of dark superhero movies because we’ve been at war since 2002. A lot of this sort of this is a post-9/11 darkwash.

And our economy has been in the crapper.


However, as things begin looking up (we are pulling out of our most visible military activities and the economy is turning around) I imagine these types of save-the-world movies will lighten up, as well.

But they’ll likely not return to Reeve’s Superman lightness in our lifetime. No one here will ever forget how grim and soul crushing, and often chilling, it means to be involved in conflict to protect America’s interests, much less how it would be to protect the whole world.

Sure, Superman was born out of World War II as a symptom of the nation’s need for hope during another truly grim period. But then folks weren’t bombarded with images of war as we are now in the current global community with “the internets). We didn’t hear about fog of war atrocities from WWII the way we hear about it now. You get what I mean. The point being that this time around Superman is being drawn out of a response for our need for strength and power in a world where we know we have little. For reasons easy to understand we aren’t needing hope.

Anyway, that’s mah dissertation on Modern Superheroes and Current Conflict. I will be giving a talk nightly off exit 89 in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express. Kidding. Reference to BNL.

Sorry, I meant @Anne, not @Jenny.

Also, Kelly, everyone here is making claims on the movie. You claim it’s TERRIBLE while others claim it’s good. Please don’t tell us that us saying it’s a good movie doesn’t make it so. Your saying it’s TERRIBLE also doesn’t make it so. You may be an editorialist but you’re not state’s witness. No one here can claim that power.

This sort of movie was bound to have people largely fall into the love it or hate it camps. But, being as it’s a movie and not international relations, we’ve all got to stop telling people their opinions about art are invalid. Prefacing an opinion with a caveat (“it’s okay if YOU like it”) does not erase a subsequent grasp for authority (“NO, it’s a TERRIBLE movie.”).

I’m gonna shut up. I’m lecturing. I might be older than you (assuming you were born in 79) but I’m not your mother.


I specifically said IN THE COLUMN that you (the general you) are not bound to think the film is bad as I do and that I am not making aspersions on you (again, the general you). So I’ve been pretty damn clear about that.

I don’t know what you expect me to do however when people clearly @Kelly me in the comments. They are talking specifically to me, not leaving their general comment, and I have responded specifically to them, as appropriate. It’s a terrible film on every account IN MY OPINION and IN THIS OPINION PIECE. How much more freaking clear can I be?

And yes, you are lecturing me ON MY OWN COLUMN and I do not appreciate it.

Also, I wasn’t born in 79.

So, yeah.

I liked the movie overall and I hope that we will be seeing squeals in the near future. I liked the actors and the general plot but I bought a ticket to see a superhero movie and this was a SCI FI movie. It would be a mistake to grade this as if it were only a superhero movie. If you were to edit out all references to superman, you would have a movie about an exiled alien who came to Earth after escaping the destruction of his planet, only to be tracked down by more aliens who are looking for something that the alien took with him to Earth in order to rebuild their race. The only thing that might make this a Superhero movie are the colorful spandex that the alien was wearing.

I liked Man of Steel. I just didn’t like Lois Lane’s character and I thought Amy Adams wasn’t the right choice for Lois Lane. I also didn’t like the fact that Lois Lane finds out that Clark Kent is Superman. And I think Clark didn’t need to go to work at the Daily Planet. With all his powers, he can go anywhere he wants to at any moment. He doesn’t need to take a bus or plane to get to his adoptive mothers house back in Smallville.

Batman killed Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight and let Ra’s die in the first one. So the whole “In the Nolan film Batman doesn’t kill and saves his enemies” is inaccurate as hell.


July 10, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I Liked the Movie. I liked it because it was Superman & it’s time for a good Superman movie. It was Good…. Not Great, but so what, it’s Superman. What I liked was that it was like the original early Siegel & Shuster version. . .
the version prior to Action #1. Check out the circa 1936 Shuster drawings… the earliest costume did look like a gladiator suit . The new movie picked up & elaborated on it . Check out how the earliest Superman would pick up a guy and hurl him 10 miles to his doom. I’m not saying this is cool, but that’s what the early Superman did. He was in fact merciless in the old days. The early Superman often operated without a costume like in this movie which was also very cool. Like in the earliest comics, there wasn’t much of a story. Any story was only an excuse to slam & bash, like this movie.
Kids today don’t read comics for the most part. They mostly play video games. This movie was a video game on the big screen not a comic book adaptation. If it was dark it was because Armageddon is not fun.
I think Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster would give this new film 2 thumbs up .

Batman killed in The Dark Knight .

I thought the movie was great. The narrative structure was compelling, the characters’ motivations nuanced, and the acting outstanding. I think a sequel that follows up on some of the concerns raised (superman killing, the massive collateral damage, the codex, the kiss) would strengthen its standing among some who weren’t impressed. Of ourselves, if done wrong, a sequel could make the irst on seem less appealing.

This review is dead on what I thought point for point about MoS. I walked out disappointed in it, and with a desire to put on the original Superman: The Movie on my TV set to watch.

The biggest problem with it is the editing. It was so schizophrenic. One minute we’re in Smallville with Pa Kent, the next minute we’re on some spaceship. The next minute we’re on Metropolis duking it out a mile a minute.

Frankly, I would have been happy to get a good 40mins to 1hr of Clark being built up to become Superman, as he did in the original Chris Reeve film. In the original film, his journey from a baby to full adult Superman is so detailed, that the moment he first shows up as Superman and saves Lois and the chopper feels amazing! and totally blows you away.

Here, we get bits and bytes of Clark’s journey, with most of the movie desperately focusing on dizzying effect after effect, that all become so jumbled, that I thought it was some kind of screen saver. It doesn’t help that the effects look like the same ones used in Transformers. I was wondering when Optimus Prime was going to show up to help Supes against the Decepticons.

A better re-edit would make the movie from a C to a B, adding in more character stuff, and cutting back on the insane whirlwind of useless effects. To get the A, they should have focused on what the movie was promising us with all the teasers: A Superman who the world feared at first, but learned to trust due to his good deeds.

Vanderbil Covington

July 12, 2013 at 12:43 am

As a child, I used to like superheroes, but as an adult, I am asked to suspend my beliefs and far too much logic. I believe the popularity of superheroes is a modern extension for belief in, and worship of, the ancient gods. Since traditional religion — worship of God — is in decline, people seek entities that possess god-like powers. There is hope in the axiom: “The greatest truth about man, he is a bridge, not an end”. In a society so based in science and technology, people are finding it harder to embrace faith as an only proof of an all powerful God. They seek superheroes from the human gene pool as individuals with extreme talents. There is nothing wrong with watching these fantasies for entertainment as long as you don’t forget there are real super beings in the universe

I stopped reading as soon as you mentioned “pacing” issues. Critique of “pacing” is typically used when someone wants to make an effort to make themselves sound like they really know what they’re talking about. It’s pretentious and useless. Pacing in storytelling and filmaking is different from director to director and from culture to culture. There is no standard for how a story should be paced, nor should there be. I won’t complain about how movies from europe are paced. I might if the typical pacing of hollywood movies was the standard on which I based my preference, but it isn’t.

Great article, Kelly. You communicate very well with words. Just something that really kept standing out to me as I read your piece. I was intrigued about the movie by the fact that they wanted to make him a little darker and more raw/edgy, open him up a little bit. Allow Superman to be able to do more what he is capable of with his power and strength. And yes, the rig scene was amazing. But I did leave the film thinking that something was off. Your article did a great job of shedding light on what was off about the film for me. I found myself repeatedly nodding yes. Thanks for the great read.

Another point about Zod-laser-eye-trying-to-kill-innocent-family scene: Why was it such a chore for him to move his vision side-ways? Are the pivots of his eyes in his neck? A ridiculous scene.

Honestly, bandwagons ahoy!! Theres only 2 of them. Iv never seen so many people who either loved or hated something. I really enjoyed it. Didnt really love it. Culture of trolls. Lol.

Second movie Ive ever walked out of. Loved this article … I felt heartbroken and robbed.

“I can save a spiteful kid drowning in a bus against Pa Kents will …. but I will not save him from a tornado”


“WHO IS THIS SUPERMAN YOU SPEAK OF? I’m not as die-hard a fan of Superman as many of you, so I’m not as attached to the mythology, but even I balked at Superman snapping Zod’s neck. In no way did the film earn that desperation. I don’t mentally live in a place where Superman cannot kill under ANY circumstance, but I do live in a place where you have to fucking earn it if you’re going to do it. They did not earn it. Full stop.*”

Wrong in so many ways.

1. Zod declared to Superman he WILL NOT STOP until the entire world is dead and replaced with Krypton. Earth is Supermans home. Superman is the equal of Zod, he holds no responsibility to Zod. Humanity, is inferior to Superman and Zod physically thus Superman feels a need to protect them as they are his people, the Kryptonians are not, despite him coming from them, he has been raised *as* a human. Nature vs Nurture.

2. In Donners Superman 2, Superman removes Zod, Non and Ursas powers at the end of the movie. He makes them MORTAL. They are no stronger than humans and are able to be killed. What’s Superman do then? He *murders them*. He drops them in chasms. They are dead. Superman kills humans at the end of Superman 2. In MAN OF STEEL, Superman saves the world from Zod, he also saves a group of humans from being vaporised by Zod.

3. Superman has never declared he never kills, he declares he protects life at all costs. He does his best not to kill and will always seek to protect life, however when faced with an equal, if he must kill, he will:

Case in point: Alternate universe Zod and Doomsday.

This article I’m sorry to say, is simply written by someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

You summed up Superman perfectly with only a few objections on my part. First, Amy Adams was woefully miscast. I didn’t believe her as Lois for a second. She was just too soft for the role of investigative reporter.
Second the visual effects lacked any kind of wow factor. Watching everyone move super fast made following the fighting action hard and tedious (Superman meets Transformers, uugh). I also found it implausible that all these super heros and villans can get “super punched” into the next county (through a Sears no less) and act like nothing happened but a twist of the neck and your dead? Huh? Just start there next time, problem solved.
Basically Man of Steel was a dud. Look back to Superman II to relearn what the tone should be and stop Batmanifying it.
On the plus side the suit update was right on the button.
Best action flick of the summer? Star Trek into Darkness hands down, with Iron Man 3 a somewhat disapointing second.

You’ve inspired me. I’m going to write about how much this movie way surpassed my expectations. Your review makes you come across as quite the cynic, looking at every single thing is apparently the most closed minded, pessimistic way possible. But I’m going to stop there. I’ll be back with my review.

SeattleBeav, you’re in the same boat. A die hard Superman fan who sees this movie will come up with none of the things y’all said. If they do, they prove they’re lack of die hard-ness.

What about that scene in the dark knight rises when joker is trying to capture dent. It’s the big chase scene where the first thing that batman does is crash head on into the bad guy in the dump truck causing the truck to drive over the tumbler and cave the roof in. That guy died for sure. I can’t see how anyone can dispute that. No way batman didn’t know what he was doing.

I’m glad I’m not the only one who just didn’t get this movie. It had no soul. The actions scenes were just over the top (I mean, come on, there were so many buildings trashed, crashed or toppled, it’s a wonder there was anything left to destroy in the end), it was nothing more than watching one big street fight. Just the same thing, over and over and over. At one point I just wanted it to end. The one thing I did laugh at was the stupidity of everyone tripping out to the middle of nowhere to hand Superman over to Zod, and Lois is standing in the dessert, in stilettos. WTF??? Who’s writing this crap, the script writers from the bold and beautiful? Where was the subtlety? Where was the quirkiness? And we are supposed to believe that Clark would just stand by and watch his adoptive father get killed by a tornado? REALLY??!!! There, was a moment to capture some heart and soul, and they just let it die, literally. It honestly felt like they mashed a Star Trek movie script together with a bit of Superman to remind us why we were conned to buy a ticket in the first place. Whoever passed this within the studio, needs to be sacked. My guess is that with all the super hero movies on the burner, they felt this just had to make this ASAP to push the production line along. Unfortunately the cinema going public aren’t that gullible. This would only truly appeal to ten year old boys, and dyed in the wool Superman fanatics eager for another Superman flick to watch. I pined for an old George Reeves Superman episode after this, just so I could feel like I had watched something that resembled Superman.

Oh, and I also laughed when it turned out Perry White, is a black man. Hilarious.

Ajay: I thought it even funnier that Superman was played by a Brit! And get this, Zod wasn’t an actual alien either! Hilarious!

Funny thing, I noticed all these points and was annoyed by them, but I still came out of the cinema going “not bad … could have been more, but overall pretty good.”

I guess I’m just more tolerant of flaws or something?

“The funny thing is that Superman Returns, for all its flaws (which are nearly limitless) is a good premise. It’s an innovative and unique way to look at Superman. It ultimately failed but it’s a good idea.”

FAILED?? — Wow, if I personally made a movie, and it generated [Three Hundred Ninety-One Million Dollars], I’d be pretty HAPPY about it… I’m not saying you’re completely wrong though — it’s just funny how, in today’s times, it all depends upon how much the movie cost to make in the FIRST place, and under those standards, 391M isn’t necessarily considered “a LOT,” anymore, and can even be described as a “failure.” Back in the day (like when the early 80’s Superman movies were made), that amount would have been considered a success… (and I’m NOT saying that money is EVERYTHING, in determining whether or not a movie was good (production cost, NOR money generated at the box office (the greatest movie EVER could “fail,” if it’s not marketed correctly))).. I’m just saying: Wow, I wish I could make a “FAILURE” which earns $391,000,000. Even if people CALLED it a flop, I’d be smiling about it, all the way to the bank.

I enjoyed the opening sequence on Krypton. As a casual fan it was something I had been curious about, and Russell Crowe was great as Dur El.

I can see how people were shocked when Superman killed Zod in the film. But since I was one of a small fraction who also read the comic book where Superman killed Zod, if I remember right, they used it as a way to explain Superman’s vow against killing. I’m hoping in the next movie they bring up how he deals with killing Zod without spending too much time on it.

Superman is my all time favorite super hero, but I absolutely hated Man of Steel. I felt like the film makers were trying to introduce elements of other heroes that took away from the story of Superman. The movie was too long and far less than super.

You want way too much from a film based on…a comic book character. Don’t give me the BS argument that comic books are the new version of “Robin Hood” and Canterbury Tales”. They are not. They are characters, written into stories for young adolescent boys. Nothing more. The fact that you decided to write this incredibly long and boorish critique of a film based on a comic book character says a lot about what your writing, critiquing and altogether life skills are about. Which is to say, nothing much.

I actually understand why Synder had Supes kill Zod. 1: it was either Zod or the family and he knew there was no other way. 2:Where did Superman come up with the idea to never kill someone? It would only make sense for him to kill someone and know what it feels to take a life. And to all the people saying that in Man Of Steel Supes had no humanity, did u see how Superman reacted when he killed Zod? He screamed and cried because he didnt want to do that, he was begging and pleading to zod not to do it and he knew there was no other way to stop him so he killed him. Yeah it was a shock but it made sense, now that he knows how it feels to kill someone he can finally decide to never take a life again.

Im a Comic artist and im now 35 years old…i was 6 when i read my first comic and it was of course superman…and i didnt learned to read and write but i made a comic with superman :) ok i dont like this movie for a superman movie its more a elseworld superman– ok when i think this is a elseworld man of steel…its great—but i must say chris reeve as superman killed zod too— yes remeber guys he throw zod to a abyss— he killed also too—but not the brutal way cavill it do…the brocken neck was too much , and i think that ruined the movie…and the kissing with lois was really strange…he saved his live 2 times but why she didnt kiss him earlyier ? dunno and maybe we will never know—maybe shes a crazy bitch and kisses man after he really bad hurted

This review just shows how ppl want a movie where the outcome is predictable and making it to where there’s no point in going to see it anyways. MOS was a more realistic superman movie, and although we knew he would win in this movie cause its the first of the trilogy it makes you think will he win in the 2nd or lose in the 3rd movie? So I liked the real feel of the movie instead all colorful to the point you knew he would easily even against other kryptons that are clearly more experienced and stronger than him. So you don’t have to like it cause its your opinion but at least respect that he did what he had to do with zod and that it’s realistic. Respect that no one wants to see a movie that’s too easy for the protagonist. Thank you

So, I haven’t seen this movie yet. I was a huge fan of the first two “Superman” films. I did not like the third and fourth ones, except for the part in “3” where Superman and Clark Kent fought each other. As a kid that was pretty cool. “Returns” didn’t do it for me. Maybe I was too much of a Christopher Reeve fanboy. I did have a poster of him from the first Superman movie in my room when I was 6 years old.

A lot of the scuttlebutt I have heard from people I know was the killing of General Zod. It’s been very interesting to hear the different friends of mine either love it or hate it. No middle ground. People of all ages, sexes and races very passionately condemning it or praising it. One interesting exchange went like this:

Paul: Superman would just never kill! He doesn’t do that! He never, ever, ever would have killed Zod or anyone like that!

Ruth: He didn’t have a choice! What, he was going to let more people get killed after their fighting already whacked a bunch of folks? Get in the now man!

Paul is 84 years old, sharp as a tack and read the Superman books from as far back as he can remember. Ruth is 17, loves gritty, violent literature and this was the first Superman film she saw.

I think a big part of this and how personal it is to people is how they perceive the times we live in and the world around us. I am 40 years old and have been reading comic books all my life. When I was a kid and times were simpler I enjoyed more joyous comic book experience. Anything dark or edgy freaked me out. Now, as an adult, I perceive the world we live in as going to Hell. My favorite comic book was Garth Ennis’ “The Boys”. Because of my perception of our society, I loved every blood splattered, deviant, gruesome line he crossed. He showed how, in my opinion, “super heroes” would run wild in today’s human climate. Superman killing Zod? In today’s world it makes perfect sense. In the 1940’s? Probably not. Just my two cents.

So, I haven’t seen this movie yet. I was a huge fan of the first two “Superman” films. I did not like the third and fourth ones, except for the part in “3” where Superman and Clark Kent fought each other. As a kid that was pretty cool. “Returns” didn’t do it for me. Maybe I was too much of a Christopher Reeve fanboy. I did have a poster of him from the first Superman movie in my room when I was 6 years old.

A lot of the scuttlebutt I have heard from people I know was the killing of General Zod. It’s been very interesting to hear the different friends of mine either love it or hate it. No middle ground. People of all ages, sexes and races very passionately condemning it or praising it. One interesting exchange went like this:

Paul: Superman would just never kill! He doesn’t do that! He never, ever, ever would have killed Zod or anyone like that!

Ruth: He didn’t have a choice! What, he was going to let more people get killed after their fighting already whacked a bunch of folks? Get in the now man!

Paul is 84 years old, sharp as a tack and read the Superman books from as far back as he can remember. Ruth is 17, loves gritty, violent literature and this was the first Superman film she saw.

I think a big part of this and how personal it is to people is how they perceive the times we live in and the world around us. I am 40 years old and have been reading comic books all my life. When I was a kid and times were simpler I enjoyed more joyous comic book experience. Anything dark or edgy freaked me out. Now, as an adult, I perceive the world we live in as going to Hell. My favorite comic book was Garth Ennis’ “The Boys”. Because of my perception of our society, I loved every blood splattered, deviant, gruesome line he crossed. He showed how, in my opinion, “super heroes” would run wild in today’s human climate. Superman killing Zod? In today’s world it makes perfect sense. In the 1940’s? Probably not. Just my two cents.

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