« Beyond the Book | Main | Scotland Takes Drugs in Psychic Defense »

June 17, 2013


Chris Maka

"It came so very, very close. When Man of Steel gets the characters right--which is about 90 percent of the time--it gets them exactly right. But when it gets them wrong, it gets them spectacularly wrong."

Yeah, this is exactly my take. I really enjoyed the movie overall -- I certainly don't expect Hollywood (no matter how comic book geeky the director or screenwriters are) to get superheroes 100% right -- but its flaws are painful flaws, the moreso because it would have been so easy to avoid them and make this a truly great Superman movie.

Kevin J. Maroney

Yes, very good summary.

Excellent expression of how wrongly wrong Jonathan's "maybe" was. (Warning: I am about to commit the sin of writing the better work that the authors failed somehow to see.) A satisfactory answer would have been something along the lines of "No, you always have to save people. You just need to figure out how to do so without giving yourself away." Then we have one explicit command from Kent senior that helps underscore the moral crisis of the climactic moment.

Going off on an interest of my own: The first Iron Man movie made me realize that I have exhausted my tolerance for superhero stories where the good guy wins just by being a little more gooder, or more strongerer, or because the story has to be shaped that way. Structurally, yes, Superman has to defeat Zod. As my wife pointed out, Zod's challenge about "Where did you train? A farm?", when translated from the Storyese, is properly understood as "I am filled to the brim with hubris and it is your job to puncture me like a balloon." But there's NOTHING in the fight at that point that gives Kal the upper hand; it just sort of happens. (Warning: More writing the story for them.) We know what Zod's sole combat weakness is--he's not used to the sensory overload that comes from being under a yellow sun. Either we should have seen him briefly stagger under that overload, or, better, Clark should have deliberately overloaded him somehow.

We might not see any dead bodies, but we do have the ghastly image of the sea of skulls. I think the sidebar story of Perry & Lombard & Jenny was supposed to stand in for the human peril of the story--but of course they all escape unhurt.


This is a movie that invites armchair rewrites. You could fix most of my qualms about the ending if you just scrapped that pointless fight in the Indian Ocean (aside: between this and the Superman Unchained gatefold, when did Warner Bros. decide Superman's greatest enemy was "a bunch of wires"?), put the xenoformer over Metropolis, and had Superman racing to rescue civilians and shut down the world engine and fly escort for the military bomber--and failing to do all of them at once, of course, but still saving most of Metropolis.

I don't like judging the movie that was made against the perfect one that exists only in my head, but that's what happens when you come so close to the mark yet fall so short.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 03/2004