Man of Steel
Man of Steel! The darker version of Superman written by David S. Goyer, the man who said on an episode of Scriptnotes that She-Hulk was nothing more than a giant green porn star for the hulk to fuck. Great guy, who clearly knows next to nothing about comic books, but let's not let our dislike of this man color our viewing of Man of Steel.
Now I remember when this movie first came out and I saw it in theaters, I liked it. The look and feel of it blew me away, but I did have problems with it. Namely the Kents, I hated the way they made them. They gave Jonathan's role as Clark's father figure to Jor-el and that really bothered me. Jonathan is the one who gave superman his moral compass and that far more than any super powers made him into the hero that we all know and love. People complain about what happened in the end with Zod but that didn't seem out of place, even less so with this version of the character. It is really just how badly they messed up the Kents that hurt this movie the worst for me.
Now I haven't seen this movie since I bought the collectors edition from best buy a few years ago. I thought in honor of Batman V Superman I'd go back and watch it again. See how I feel about it now. It's an experiment of sorts. Let's begin!
The movie starts off with Kal-el being born. He is the first natural birth on Krypton in a very long time. Making him different than the rest of his kind. Krypton on this film looks so amazing and really makes me wish that the sy-fy show would hurry up and come out. I need to see more of this planet!
Like in all versions of Superman, Jor-el is telling the rest of his peers about the planet being doomed and no one listens to him. Zod interrupts and takes over, he will remake what is left of Krypton in his image. He places Jor-El under arrest but he manages to escape.
Krypton is a battlefield and Jor-El rushes to the codex, he means to save the DNA of his people so that they can carry on elsewhere. It is a really cool idea. We punny humans have a lot to learn from these people. They found a way to save families and keep their species alive even if the world dies. Take that nature! One point for science!
Zod makes it to Jor-El's home just as the ship is about to takes off. Jor-El tells him everything, because why not give your enemy what they need to know to beat you. In al honestly no one was supposed to make it off the planet so it was kind of a screw you to Zod, I would have done the same. The ship takes off and Zod kills Jor-El.
Zod tries to take down Kal-El's ship but he and his men are captured and sent to the Phantom Zone. Oddly enough saving their lives as the planet blows to kingdom come. It is an ironic twist of fate.
On Earth Clark grows up and works on a boat as a fisherman, when a rig is set to blow and the captain orders them away Clark vanishes and goes to save as many lives as he can. It's who he is after all.
As he lays drifting in the water he remembers as a kid when his powers first started to kick in and how his mother helped him deal with it. It wasn't easy but he survived.
He washes up on shore and steals some clothes, remembering back to when he pulled his school bus out of the water as a kid. Show off!
And here comes the scene that pulls me out of the film. Now before you all tear me apart, I understand it. I get that Jonathan is trying to protect his son and he is right to do so. But he shouldn't be telling him to let people die. That isn't who he is. Who any of them are.
The reveal to Clark of who he is is beautifully done. It is so emotional, the line "Can't I just keep pretending to be your son?" "You are my son" breaks my heart every time. That is some mad writing right there!
In the present Clark is working as a busboy and stops a girl from getting beat up by her boyfriend but in the end he just walks away. The hero he wants to be is in there but not ready to come out. He is still scared to show the world who he is, but he is more than willing to destroy a town's phone lines to get revenge on the truck driver who was rude to him. In the words of uncle Ben, with great power must also come great responsibility.
Amy Adams is my least favorite Lois Lane. Teri Hatcher was too perfect for the role. She gave the character life and a spunk that she needed. Made her an equal of not just Clark Kent but of Superman. Erica Durance picked up the part and made it her own, not an easy task but one she made look easy. Noel Neill and Phyllis Coates were both amazing in the role back in the 50's making the character seem like she belonged and could hold her own in the boys club that was the daily planet. Now if you are saying well that is TV, for a movie Amy Adams did a good job, I'd have to ask if you remember Margot Kidder? Ask anyone, when you think of Lois Lane you think of her. She owned the role, everyone else just borrowed it. To be fair to Amy Adams, I don't much remember what I thought of Kate Bosworth's take on the character so she might have her beat, I'd have go watch it again.
Clark and Lois both find the Kryptonian ship at the same time. Clark has a key that let's him inside and brings to life a hologram of Jor-El, another part that I take issue with this movie on. Clark has always talked to a hologram of Jor-El and asked him for advice that part is fine but I just feel like in this film he took over too much of Jonathan Kent's role. In case you haven't figured it out yet, he is one of my favorite comic book characters and I don't like how this movie treated him.
Clark saves Lois from one of the droids, Clark, no secret identity needed. To be fair she has no idea who Clark is and there is no Superman yet. He flies the ship out of the ice right in front of the military. The ship had been there for over 18,000 years. Damn! That's a long time.
Lois reads Perry White her story where she correctly guesses that it was aliens. Now Laurence Fishburne owns the role of Perry White. He may not have lot of screen time but when he is on the screen you can't look away. He is one of the highlights of the film and I really hope to see more of him! The only person who I like better in the role is Lane Smith, I'm sorry but no one is taking the title from him, cept maybe the king. If you get the joke I like you, I really do.
Holo-Jor-El, which is what I will call him from now on, fills Clark in on everything he needs to know. Telling him who he is and where he is from. The man of steel is on he verge of waking up. Clark puts on the costume and goes out into the world. Meanwhile Lois Lane puts together that Clark is the mystery man. For the first time ever Lois Lane figures out Superman's identity before he even becomes Superman, she may not be as interesting as the others but she is a better reporter.
A teenage Clark tells Jonathan, you aren't my dad right before he dies. Right out of Spider-man. Gotta love when DC steals from Marvel. Jonathan Kent runs back into the storm to save a dog when Clerk could have done it, he orders Clark not to go save him. He didn't have to die right there. He could still be alive with just a little foresight. It breaks my heart, like good movies are supposed to. Clark uses this story to tell Lois that he can't tell the world his story. Perry tears Lois a new one for going against his orders.
Clark returns home, his mother is so happy to see him. It must have been some time since he has been home last. He tells her that he knows who he is now. It's a bit ungrateful and you can see that it hurts her. It's as if the parents who gave birth to him mean more than the people who spent their whole lives raising him. The Kents deserve more love! At least Clark tells her that he won't leave her and calls her mom. That is something.
Harry Lennix, the man who played Boyd on Dollhouse, great show by the way!, plays General Swanwick in the film. He is in charge of responding to Zod's invasion and he kills the role! After all he is a Whedon actor!
Zod taking over the TV's to tell the Earth that we are not alone and to demand to have Kal-El turned over to him is so cool! love this scene.
The FBI arrest Lois and tries to force her to tell them who Superman really is. After all Zod gave the world 24 hours to turn him over before they destroy everything. Clark goes to a priest for advice and tells him that he doesn't know if he can trust mankind. The Priest tells him that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and trust comes later.
Superman turns himself into General Swanwick, on the condition that he lets Lois Lane goes. Superman tells him that they can never control him but he will allow them to turn him over to Zod. He wants to protect the Earth not be the cause of its destruction.
Superman turns himself over to Zod's men and they demand Lois Lane as well. The military says no but Lois agrees to it. Superman and Zod meet but Superman gets sick. Turns out that he can't live on their ship. He never experienced it since he spent his whole life on Earth. Zod and his men have been looking for Kal-El since Krypton blew up and the only reason they found him is because Clark turned on the damn ship he found with Lois and it sent out a beacon calling for them.
Zod tells Clark that he needs the codex to bring Krypton back to Earth, of course the humans would have to die to allow this to happen but it is a small scarfice. Clark says no, he won't be apart of this. Lois gets ahold of Clark's key and uses it, thus bringing Holo-Jor-El to her. He helps her escape from the ship. He then goes to find Superman and tells him that he can save the Earth from Zod and his men.
Zod and his men go to the Kent's farm looking for Clark's ship. They quickly find it but the codex isn't in it. Superman flies out of nowhere and attacks Zod. Zod gains Superman's powers far too quickly and the fight is now turned against Superman, after all he is out numbered. The US Military enters the fight. It is a full on war in Smallville.
And in the midst of this war they manage to get in some ads, like Ihop! Smallville gets tore up! Like hardcore tore up! The military attack Superman like he is one of the bad guys but he still saves them when they get shot out of the sky. The guy is a hero after all.
The more I watch this movie the more I feel like it is Superman II on steroids, not that that is bad thing. It's a lot better than I remember it. Zod's men take off and the military stops attacking Superman, they are starting to see that he is on their side. Oh and they get in an ad for Sears. Bloody hell the ads like a crazy person. Martha Kent is still alive and kicking. Clark can be a good son sometimes. He rushes in to check on her and make sure she is ok.
Lois figures out how to stop Zod's men at the same time tat Zod and his people figure out that the codex is inside of Kal-El. Things get tense. Zod sends out the world engine to remake the Earth so that he and his people can live on it without having to adjust to the environment.
Metropolis becomes a battle ground and wastes no time in being tore apart. Superman rushes to take out these world ship on the otherside of the planet while the military tries take out the one in Metropolis. Zod forces himself to adjust to Earth and gains more powers. Zod takes control of the ship that will allow him to use the codex to bring their people back to life.
The citizens of Metropolis try and stay alive as their city falls apart all around them. We see this first hand through the eyes of the Daily Planet employees. Superman has trouble taking on the world ship as Zod shuts down Holo-Zor-El. Perry risks his life to save his people, now you want to talk about heroes, that man puts everyone to shame. After all who is more heroic? The man who can do anything or the normal guy who risks everything?
Superman destroys the world ship. When one was destroyed it shut down both of them. He did it! It took a great deal out of him. He can barely move after destroying it. Lois tires to active it but the key is broken and won't work. It messes up their whole plan. If the ship won't turn on they can't use it to get ride of the other one. Zod locks his ship onto theirs and is about to blow them away when Superman crashes into his ship. Zod tells him that this shop is Krypton's only hope and Superman tells him that Krypton had its chance.
He could have saved the ship. He didn't have to kill his people's only hope, there had to be another way. But Superman didn't even try. A quick victory was better to him than a longer harder one.
The ship that Lois is on gets attacked by Zod's right hand woman and all seems lose but the key finally goes in and they create their black hole, bringing everyone into it. Somehow Lois falls out of the plane and avoids that fate. Superman saves her in the nick of time.
It seems like it is all over. Zod's men are gone and Superman kisses Lois as Perry and the others watch on. It seems Zod didn't go down with the rest of his men. He is still here and not happy at all. Zod tells Superman that one of them dies. Their battle takes Metropolis back to the stone ages. The two men are going toe to toe, it is a great fight that has you on the edge of your seat. Zod is winning, Superman is winning, Zod is winning. It changes back and forth so fast that you have trouble keeping up. It's the best kind of fight.
And once more with the product placement, a Wayne Industries Satellite. Come on like Bruce Wayne needs their money. SMH. Zod forces Superman's hand and makes him snap his neck. This is the scene that so many people have a problem with. It makes sense with who the character is. There is nothing about what happens that makes him any less Superman. In fact I think it makes him a greater hero. He is willing to make the hard choices that need to be made. He is willing to take on that burden so that others don't have to.
The film ends with Clark Kent working at the Daily Planet and Lois playing dumb. I know I had a lot of bad things to say about this movie but over all it is a really good film that I enjoyed a great deal. I can not wait to see Batman V Supermen tonight! And you should all be excited too! Don't let critics tell you what movies you should and shouldn't like. And yes I see the irony in what I just said. Deal with it!
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