I loved Man of Steel.
Know what I love more though? The fact that it’s inspiring debate among geeks. I get the issues that people have with this movie, and I’m just glad that we have a Superman movie that has enough going on to actually get people talking. My hope is that the issues people are having with it won’t be issues when the inevitable sequel gets here, and that Man of Steel can serve as a springboard for a robust Superman (and DC Comics) Cinematic Universe.
If you haven’t seen Man of Steel yet, don’t read this. I don’t think I can talk about the movie without giving anything away.
I’m a huge Superman fan. In fact, Man of Steel made me remember just how big of a Superman fan I’ve been my whole life. I was pretty much obsessed with the Big Blue Boy Scout up until I was about fifteen years old. Then I got busy and paid less attention to DC superheros (Spider-Man and X-Men were just hitting the theaters) and it wasn’t until Superman Returns that I started thinking about the character more again. I liked that movie, but just as a nostalgic homage to the classic movies, and I totally understood everyone’s complaints about it. It was not an action-packed Superman film.
Fast forward a few years and the world is superhero movie crazy. We’ve had a great Batman movie trilogy and we’ve seen Marvel craft an incredible interconnected Marvel Universe on screen. It’s time to bring Superman back. When I heard Christopher Nolan was going to be involved I was excited, but then I was less excited when Zack Snyder was announced as the director. I wasn’t a fan, but I am now.
Man of Steel is not a perfect Superman movie, but everyone’s idea of Superman is different and in the age of franchises I think it’s important to set a character like this up for more adventures. No one was clammoring for a sequel to Superman Returns (Superman Returns…Again!), but I imagine that even the people who had beefs about this movie would be open to a sequel.
The movie starts with an exciting reimagining of Krypton’s demise, and I loved every minute of it. I loved the technology of Krypton with it’s weird 3D Buckyballs-esque displays, I loved the costumes and landscape, and I loved Russell Crowe as Jor-El.
One thing I liked is how Superman’s origin story is split up into flashbacks once he arrives on Earth. I thought that was a good way to get us into the story faster instead of watching the Kents find baby Clark, watch Clark in high school, etc. That also gives the filmmakers more opportunities to get Kevin Costner and Diane Lane back for the sequels, because they can insert flashbacks of Clark’s youth at any time.
And wow, I didn’t expect to like Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent as much as I did, but he was great.
In fact, the casting in this film is awesome. They cast solid actors in the supporting roles and it made the movie that much better. I can’t wait to see more of Perry White, Lois Lane, and the Kents.
Oh, and have I mentioned Zod and Faora? They’re completely badass. I love Michael Shannon and he was a great choice to play Zod, but Faora was the biggest surprise for me. She hands Superman his ass in some of the coolest ways, and there’s a lot of ass-handings-out going on in this movie.
Speaking of the action, wow. This is the type of Superman action I’ve wanted to see on the big screen since I was a kid watching Superman: The Animated Series. It’s epic, brutal, and relentless. They captured the speed and power of Superman so well, but this brings me to one of the big issues people have with the movie.
I understand people’s beefs with Superman not taking the fights to other areas or making more efforts to save civilians. That was kind of weird. But, I don’t think it’s enough of a reason to hate the movie, and I think I understand why it went down that way. First off, WB was coming off of a Superman movie where Supes literally didn’t punch anything the entire time. Granted, with Superman just facing off against Lex Luthor and other humans, he can’t just go around crushing people, but still, it made for a boring Superman movie.
Man of Steel shows the devastation that a battle among Gods in the middle of Metropolis would be like. Buildings crumble and Superman either doesn’t care enough yet or doesn’t have time to do much about it beyond beating the bad guys.
This is where a lot of people are angry with the movie, but I think it serves as a great stepping stone to a sequel. Think about Lex Luthor. Imagine the Luthor for President storyline happening after Superman has demolished half the city. Luthor could pay for reconstruction himself and lobby that Superman should be held accountable, and a lot of people would be on his side.
Superman could argue that it was his first couple days on the job and that he saved the whole planet, but people would still be pissed that their city got shit on by a couple super-powered aliens. I don’t think the filmmakers planned on not addressing the collateral damage in a sequel, but I guess only time will tell.
Then there’s the ending. Superman kills Zod. A lot of folks hate this too, and while I understand that it doesn’t feel good to watch Superman make that choice, I don’t think it was gratuitous. Superman has killed a few times in the comics, and it’s generally Kryptonians and it’s always for the greater good. Zod says he’s never going to stop killing humans now that his purpose is gone, and for all we know Superman snaps Zod’s neck because of all that collateral damage. He made a choice.
Regardless, I don’t think Superman killing Zod or destroying half of Metropolis will effect the potential quality of the sequels, although I think the action in Man of Steel will be hard to top. I can’t help but get giddy when I think of a sequel with Braniac or Lex Luthor in a crazy power suit though, and maybe a few movies down the line…Doomsday.
Also, I hope WB doesn’t rush Justice League too much, because I’d be more happy with a few awesome Superman movies (and maybe a Batman team-up) than a Justice League movie.
Ultimately, I’m glad to see Superman back in the spotlight. I saw the movie twice in 24 hours, the second time with my Dad and my father-in-law, and I saw a very wide variety of people enjoying the hell out of this movie.
So did you like Man of Steel? Did you hate it? Who should play Lex Luthor in the sequel?