MAN OF STEEL: Another look

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by david g, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    I thought it was explicitly stated (it's also why he wanted to send him to one of the old outposts). If Jor-El didn't know the seed ship was on Earth, how was Kal supposed to see his message?
     
  2. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    thanks!
     
  3. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    Which is easy to say when Superman is the strongest and most physically capable being in the conflict. However against foes like Metallo, Darkseid, Mongul, Doomsday, Brainiac, Luthor, Bizarro, and General Zod (before contriving some way to lock him up again); Superman always comes to blows or has to use force to achieve victory. Not because Superman is purely fists and muscles like Thor, but because the above enemies can cause fatal amounts of harm to Superman's person. That and character's like Brainiac and Luthor always have dozens of machines for Superman to destroy during their conflicts.
    I could rattle off comics where the above conflicts have happened but I won't.

    The point is nothing in MOS exists that we haven't seen in the comics. MOS translated the titanic battles we see in print to the screen with visceral and intense imagery. Like I said earlier, there is no plus one given to Superman because he's the hero. All Kryptonians are equal under the sun. There is no kryptonite in this continuity yet, so Superman can't use that. There is no red sun chamber for Superman to trick Zod and his followers in to. The phantom drive colliding with one another was Superman's victory plan in MOS. The final battle with Zod was Superman dealing with Zod after he had run out of options.
     
  4. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not saying he doesn't use his powers, but what gives Superman the upper hand is almost always his ability to think his way out of the problem. He doesn't defeat those villains you mentioned just by duking it out with them--he outwits them. This was the point of the ending of Sueprman II, that Superman finds a way even against impossible odds.

    Morrisons Action Comics run shows this well in a couple of places...Superman's ultimate victory in the final issue but also in issue 14 when facing the multitude--" 'There's always a way.' When the odds are impossible--do the impossible." This defines what Superman has always been in all his incarnations, but what was missing in MoS.
     
  5. TheMurph

    TheMurph Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I recently rewatched it as well and I still have to same problem with it. I enjoy the movie just fine but at the end, regardless of actual time, it seems to take forever. I sat through The Avengers with a big grin on my face the entire battle, but by the time Superman got around to killing Zod I was ready for it to be over well before that.
     
  6. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    It's funny you bring up Superman II. Because after Superman outwits Zod, he proceeds to crush a powerless Zod's hand, lifts him up and toss him in to a wall; where Zod presumably falls to his death. All this with a small smirk on his face. How is that anymore heroic than MOS choosing to end Zod's life by breaking his neck? Zod in Superman II was depowered and was essentially a threat to no one anymore. MOS Zod was an active threat and was intent on making humanity suffer by killing them all. Zod in the comics (Superman #22 1988) had killed 5 billion people and boasted he would continue killing. Superman chose to end Zod's life there also.

    I'm not advocating for Superman to use lethal force willy nilly like Punisher, Spawn, Thor, Iron Man, or Wolverine. However should the need arise, I have no problem with Superman making that call. Most detractors of MOS keep vying that Superman always finds a 3rd way out. While I'm not against this. It does give the sense that Superman is given plot immunity in order to avoid making tough decisions. Writers will cherry pick the conflicts he faces in order avoid putting Superman in a no-win scenario. Kobyashi Maru anyone?


    During the Koyashi Maru you are not judged by your ability to succeed but by your conduct in the face of extreme adversity. Giving Supes a way out (Kirk reprogramming the test) is plot immunity. It's having your cake and eating it too. The modern Superman is always plagued by his own inadequacies. He strives to be the greatest champion of Earth so he pushes himself harder than others. When he fails, or comes up short; he reflects that "maybe I didn't try hard enough"/"I will try harder next time". This is something that was absent from the Silver Age (infinitely powered) Superman. With unlimited strength and the ability to time travel under his own power. Silver Age Superman could save everyone every time. There is never a time when SA Supes pauses for reflection because he is so powerful.
     
  7. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^^^I don't have a problem with him killing Zod, I am just saying that he didn't "outwit" Zod.
     
  8. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Colliding the phantom drives was Superman outwitting Zod. It's something Zod hadn't developed a contingency for.

    Where I think the film loses a lot of people is the final battle. The battle to stop the World Engine and trap the Kryptonians lasts 10 minutes. It's essentially the climax of the film. However the creative team (Snyder + Goyer, maybe Nolan) didn't think the ending had the impact they wanted. So to add extra umph, they stacked a climax (Superman vs Zod) on top of a climax (stopping the World Engine). I think if the 3rd act was reworked somehow, people wouldn't have as much of an issue with the film's final stretch.
     
  9. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Although I did notice his newfound skills were used to his advantage. Unlike Zod, Superman figured out how to fly. That meant Zod could use heat vision to destroy Superman's ground and Superman could just float above it. I liked that he seemed more at ease in the battle (while still fighting an extremely difficult opponent). Compared to the earlier fight, he now knew what he was doing.
     
  10. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, this is true. I want to stress that I really enjoyed the movie--it was just the final slugfest that I had a problem with for various reasons.
     
  11. urbandefault

    urbandefault Commodore Commodore

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    In the MOS final battle, I don't remember any levity that would have relieved some of the tension, at least for a second or two. Those moments may have been there, but I don't remember them. Avengers had several of those little moments, a line here and there, that allowed the audience to laugh and catch their breath.

    I walked out of MOS feeling drained.
     
  12. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Man of Steel was definitely going for a bleaker and darker and "grittier" (snicker) tone than The Avengers was. The final battle wasn't supposed to be fun, it was supposed to be the end of the world. A desperate situation where our hero is utterly outmatched with no chance of winning and is forced to do something that will haunt him to the end of his days.
     
  13. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But Superman is supposed to be the character of hope, and the script should be written to let us feel that way
     
  14. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    I agree that Superman should be a hopeful and optimistic character. In the context of this particular movie I think it made logical sense. Hopefully the sequel will be a little more positive (minus the angsting over killing Zod) as Supes becomes more experienced and joins a league of justice.
     
  15. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Superman is a difficult character to write for but the makers of the older films embraced every quality he was supposed to have, and Reeve could play the boy-scoutish character quite well.
     
  16. Keeper

    Keeper Commodore Commodore

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    This was only the first film in the new series, give him time to grow into the classic character. I wholly expect the next film will have Batman all up in his grill about learning not to be such a dick. :cool:
     
  17. Agenda

    Agenda Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My main problem was that the movie didn't "set up" that it would leave him haunted like that. Yes, obviously we know that Superman isn't the type to kill. But if you just watch the movie, it doesn't really indicate he's got some kind of serious code against killing. So when he's finally forced to do it, there's no real tragedy there, which creates a lack of drama. It would've been more effective if they'd saved that scene for a sequel after they'd firmly established his no-killing code.

    And after we've just seen him contribute to the destruction of an entire city, breaking the villain's neck isn't as shocking as it could be, imo.
     
  18. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It wasn't so much the killing of Zod as killing the last remaining Kryptonian that had the impact, I think. None of the scenes that follow show that Superman is really hung up on this act.
     
  19. Agenda

    Agenda Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If that's true then I don't know why anyone, Superman included, would feel sad that Zod is dead. Yeah, he's one of the last Kryptonians left, but dramatically that doesn't come close to outweighing the fact that he's a monster. As much as some say that Zod was "justified" in his actions according to his own genetic purpose, he comes across as less a tragic anti-hero and much more a pure villain whose death we're supposed to cheer.
     
  20. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    Excluding 1997 Batman and Robin; Batman has killed someone in everyone of his films. Batman who has a stated no kill policy. Yet no one gets hung up on the fact that Batman ignores his own rule. Superman not having a rule explicitly stated in MOS doesn't ruin the drama. We the audience are familiar with Supes' restriction on lethal force, so we fill in the blanks ourselves.

    MOS 2 is stated to address Superman coping with it what he did. However MOS Supes is still taking a victory lap by the film's finale.