I’m writing this a little late, sure, considering I was one of the buyers of the Walmart presale for the 7pm showing on Thursday. On that note, I’d like to quickly address the video that played before the movie. It was a teaser with some half-interviews put together by Walmart (I assume) that had Zack Snyder, some interviewer, and shots of the film interspersed with questions to Zack such as “what’s your favorite scene in the movie.” Seems like a pretty big spoiler to me. I would have been okay with the part thanking Walmart customers for having bought tickets, but I didn’t like 5 minutes of mostly spoilers sprinkled between half-hearted interviews that have been online for weeks. Just my two cents.
Man of Steel was an incredible experience that was two-fold for me. First, anytime Big Blue is on screen, I’m having a good time, and I’ll see it over and over. About the only media around Superman that I don’t like is Smallville, for reasons I’ll save for a future post. I saw Superman Returns probably seven or eight times in the theater. So I like Superman movies. Secondly, and something I feel the critics are missing out on in some ways; Man of Steel is a reboot. It’s not connected with Superman Returns nor the Donner films. It’s a new concept on the hero from Snyder and Nolan, that (at least word is) will tie in later on with the continuing of the franchise, as well as other heroes in the DC Universe. That being said there were several things I really dug about Snyder’s take on it.
There were some elements to the story that (as a casual reader of the comics) come across as new to me. His suit is now surrounded by the lore of Jor-El, the house of El, as well as the “S” symbol on the new suit meaning hope, etc. I like that in this first film in a potential franchise Snyder and Co are keeping Superman firmly grounded in his Kryptonian roots. Superman Returns had very little Kryptonian lore in it, except for the obvious use of Kryptonite and some brief interaction with The Fortress/Jor-El. I can’t stand when there is not at least a balance of the understanding of Kal’s heritage as well as his life here on earth. The plot in this film is surrounded by the Kryptonian story, even so much as Zod’s goal being the rebuilding of the long destroyed planet.
Snyder has some wild destruction during the battle scenes. So much that a lot of reviewers are saying it’s too much, especially considering there’s no onscreen reference to it by any character. Structure after structure gets brutally decimated in downtown Metropolis, without a second thought from anyone. I guess it came across as too much, simply because that was the only part of the film where I wanted to get to the next set of scenes and leave battle behind. It was done well, the effects fit the power of Kal and Zod, but it was a little laborious at a certain point, emphasized I think by Zod’s own admittance that “the only way this ends is if you die or I do.”
Another big buzz among fans and reviewers alike is that Superman killed Zod in this film. I personally didn’t have an issue with how it was done. Superman, while known as the “boy scout” who never kills anyone, has killed in the past in different story-lines from DC, and I think the gravity of the scene surrounding his killing Zod was appropriate. His demeanor after killing Zod is secretly two-fold for the Kal. In one regard, he’s upset that he just killed Zod outright, with no sense of any further “justice”. In another regard, he’s upset because he is truly killing the last man in the universe connected to him, his father, and Krypton.
In short, we see Nolan and Snyder’s entirely new and fresh take on Superman in Man Of Steel. He’s darker, and more independent in this story, with just the right amount of his Kryptonian past and earthly childhood mixed in. It’s clear this is the first in a franchise I think, if that’s how Warner Brothers decides to take it. I am seeing it again probably tonight, and more times over the coming weeks.