I hate the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Really, they're just terrible. Yeah, Reeve himself is a pretty good Superman, but Margot "Dogface" Kidder is a hideous choice for Lois Lane, and she plays the part like a retarded chimp who ate too many Oreos and Pixie Stix just before shooting, making me wonder just how hard-up the Superman in those flicks is to actually fall for the annoying fugly bitch. And for those of you who defend Superman II as being anything better than a movie aimed at stupid toddlers, well, all I can say is watch it again without the rose-tinted memories of youth. The "humor" content is way off the charts, Zod and his crew are pretty dim themselves (though Lois, that crack reporter, is still marginally dumber), and the whole "switch off Kryptonians' powers like a light" thing is the grandaddy deus ex machina of them all! How the fuck does that work anyway?
Superman III at least never bothered to take itself seriously, and I kind of like the whole good Ash versus bad Ash fight that went on near the end of that one, but still, not a great movie. Superman: For the Quest for Peace never happened. Oh man, then there was Superman Returns, when the flying boy scout comes back to Earth after like 8 years only to find he knocked up Lois Lane and she had to marry the X-Men's Cyclops to raise the kid, but Superman don't care, and he's all in stalker mode, and makes out with Lois while hovering directly above Cyclops, and there's ZERO action in the whole movie, and Superman's big bad in the end is a giant island made of Kryptonite that makes him weak at one point, but that goes away for some reason when he needs to lift it into space, and Bryan Singer, what the HELL were you thinking of making that piece of garbage instead of X-Men 3?!
Yeah, I love Superman: The Animated Series, but up till now I had not enjoyed even ONE Superman movie. But Man of Steel changed all that for me. No, it's not the greatest superhero movie ever made (that's still The Avengers), and no, it's not even the greatest DC superhero movie ever made (I award The Dark Knight tied with Mask of the Phantasm that prestigious award), but it is actually (get this!) FUN. There's shit-tons of action in it, Henry Cavill is a great Superman and a great Clark Kent (he doesn't play Clark as a total socially inept loser, like everybody before him has done), Amy Adams is the most likable (and intelligent) Lois Lane ever (and she's gorgeous), and the main bad guy — one General Zod — is a terrifying threat to not only Kal El (aka Superman of course), but the entire planet. Man of Steel was exciting, had some great special effects, and Superman had more to do in it than just lifting a giant rock.
Now, was it ALL good? No. Oh HELL no... As a matter of fact there's quite a few things that are mediocre or bad. Also, this Superman is as far removed from the comic book (and animated series) Superman as Christian Bale's take on Batman is from the comic book (and animated series) Batman.... Meaning it's not really the Superman that
people comic nerds have come to love for over 7 decades. There were some parts of Man of Steel that made me either scratch my head or simply laugh at the screen when I saw them. I will get into that shiznit now.
SUPER MANLY SPOILERS
Okay, so the legend of Supes begins on Krypton, where it should. Proud Papa Jor El, chief scientist of the doomed planet, and his wife have a natural-born child, which is heresy on their super-science test-tube-baby-breeding planet. Jor El then steals the genetic code being used for all unborn babes on the about-to-implode-world, and injects it into his newborn son, and then ships off baby Kal El just before crazed military leader Zod can capture him and use the ultimate genetic code to restart the Kryptonian way of life somewhere else without the stagnant thinking that brought doom to their home world (which is hours away from imploding). Zod is stopped before taking down the baby's cradle rocket, and then the mad man and his rebellious crew are banished into the "Phantom Zone" (which is never described here, but still always cool to hear spoken in a big screen comic book movie). Kal El's rocket then arrives on Earth.
That opening bit on Krypton is very entertaining to watch, it gives us tons to take in plot-wise and special effects-wise, and it never slows down. Once we reach Earth and see Kal El as Clark Kent, traveling the world like Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins, things take on a much more leisurely pace... They kind of have to slow it down though, or else this movie would have been on overdrive for its whole 2+ hours run time. So Clark does his worldly walk-about, saving people with his super strength and laser eyes wherever he goes... But this leads to an urban legend of sorts to start growing around each of his amazing appearances, and uber-reporter (and sexy lass) Lois Lane, from Metropolis' Daily Planet, begins tracking this amazing individual down like a dog.
During all this globe trotting, Clark/Kal El/Superman has a few big flashback scenes where he remembers learning to control his super hearing and X-ray vision through his mother's extraordinary love, and he is taught how to be a gigantic paranoid sniveling shut-in through Pa Kent's beyond pessimistic view of the world. Honestly, with all Pa Kent (in this version of the character) tells Clark about hiding his abilities, and even stupidly sacrificing himself just so that his adopted son would not show a handful of people that he's got mad super power skills, I agree with the Chief in that "it's surprising as hell that this Clark didn't grow up to be Gene Hackman in Enemy of the State." Kevin Costner's portrayal of Pa Kent is one of the major negatives marks that I have against this flick. Okay, so it's not the Pa Kent we're used to (the one who basically teaches Clark the old Uncle Ben standby of "With great power comes great responsibility"), but this portrayal of the man is sooooo far off the mark that it should have completely ruined Clark's mind-set for helping ANYBODY, let alone putting on a cape and publicly saving the world. But enough about that, especially since CLARK NEVER LEARNED THE POINTLESS LESSON OF PA'S DEATH, and actually DOES go around the world helping people with his alien powers as soon as he gets out of school. So, Pa Kent, what you did there in your final act of being alive was incredibly stupid and pointless. Rest in peace.
Okay, so sexy redhead Lois Lane uses her actual reporter skills to trace her elusive manly man back to Smallville, Kansas (honestly, the Margot Kidder Lois Lane of the Richard Donner movies can't even spell most of the words in her articles right [I'm being serious! That's a "running gag" for her character] and NEVER would have come half as close to the truth as Amy Adams' Lois does... God I love Amy Adams!), where it's relatively easy to figure out who her super man really is amongst the local yokels... But she doesn't publish her article because THIS Lois has scruples and morals. Kidder's version of Lois wouldn't know how to spell "scruples." But enough about that substance abusing ugly-ugly coont of a woman (Kidder, of course)... This is when Zod comes back into play!
So it seems that the destruction of Krypton caused the dimension gate — that contained General Zod and his followers in their Phantom Zoned hibernation — to break, thusly freeing them from their 300-year sentence about 299 years, 11 months, and 29 days early, and allowing them to (eventually) hunt down Kal El to Earth for his interesting Kryptonian genetic code. Zod and his army quickly figure out how to use their new yellow sun-strengthened bodies to cause the most destruction on America's army and Kal El, during which Earth's leading scientist (Star Lab's Emil Hamilton) helps the disembodied consciousness of Jor El (well, kind of) to come up with a plan (and a means to enact it) in order to get rid of the pissed off aliens forevs (which involves using Kal's interplanetary cradle to Phantom Zone the trigger-happy invaders once and for all). Together with Superman, the army, and Lois Lane, Team Earth is able to put the smack down on Zod and his cronies, happy ending, big American dance party!
No, not really. Zod and his boys (and number one gal pal, Faora Ul) destroy half of Metropolis (utterly FLATTEN it), and the desperate battle that occurs during all this dismay contains more death and destruction than I'd ever have expected in a Superman movie. In fact, the way that the final epic smack down between Supes and Zod ends has caused a HUGE controversy for lifeless geeks the world over. Zod and Kal go nose to nose for like 10 minutes in the remains of the once great city, causing even more destruction to the burg than what just came minutes before. True, Superman does something very un-Superman-like by not trying to lure Zod away from the populated city center, but he's never given the chance (what with Zod being on his ass every second of that Wrestlemania event). But after a most triumphant video game fight sequence (that puts the most heated head-to-head in Street Fighter 2: Turbo that you've ever seen to shame), Superman gets Zod in a beautiful headlock, but Zod tries his best to still melt a few more puny Earthlings with his heat vision, taunting his enemy the whole time... and he forces Kal El's hand and makes the boy in blue snap his neck like a chicken's in order to stop him from murdering any more. Superman doesn't kill, unless he absolutely has to. And I saw no better reason for him to do so than at that moment. Honestly, fanboys, this Superman didn't have a cellophane "S" to wrap Zod up in... How was he supposed to stop him without doing the murderous nasty?
"Doesn't matter," the fans moan. "Superman DOES NOT KILL." He killed Doomsday, didn't he. And in 70+ years of comic books I highly doubt that in all the destruction he caused or was a part of that nobody else died as a direct result of his actions. And really, what the fuck else was he supposed to do with a pissed off Zod? Let him go until they could recreate the Phantom Zone trap with Earth technology? I'm okay with Supes' decision here, mostly 'cause he tried everything he could to avoid murdering the Kryptonian, and he was pretty upset with himself when he found he had no other choice. And to those who complain that he wasn't upset enough... What, were we supposed to watch him sulk and bemoan his choice for another 30 minutes of screen time, over killing a holocaust-causing mad military psychopath? Fuck that, move on, get over it.
What I DID find ridiculous though was the heavy handed Jesus association that director Zach Snyder crammed in this flick. From Jesus/Kal being 33 when he starts his Superman mission (after learning the ways of the world quietly on his own up till then), to the beard, to the portrayal of his "miracles" as viewed by eyewitnesses, to the talk with the Catholic priest with a stained-glass portrait of the official Jesus behind Supes' head literally POINTING at Clark during one scene, to Superman posing in the "nailed to the cross" position just before leaving Zod's ship to save Lois. Too fucking much.
END OF PLOT SPOILERS
I really liked Zach Snyder's visual style in Man of Steel, but then again I've liked everything he's done, starting with Dawn of the Dead and 300, and even up to Sucker Punch (which you should admit LOOKS fantastic, even if you didn't like the movie itself). His take on Superman was grittier and darker (not just in tone, but in color palette) than any Supes movie that came before, but it worked well enough within this universe. If DC is going to try to do what Marvel did by building up, and then merging their individual properties into one gigantic nerdgasm of a hero-team-up movie, then I will say this was a pretty good start. It was light years better than the Donner Superman and INFINITELY more fun than Superman Returns, but so was my dog's bowel movement this morning, so that's really not saying much...
This is a Superman movie for the masses, just like the Bale Batman trilogy toned down a lot of what made Batman Batman for the sake of not alienating the general audiences so that it could make more money. There were just as many things one could find wrong with Bale's Dark Knight impression and abilities as one could point out with Cavill's Superman, but neither are bad movies. Oh, the nerd rage online against Man of Steel is pretty high right now, but I think with time it will die down, and depending on how they handle the sequel, it could end up being just as firmly embraced in our culture as the Batman Begins universe now is. Personally, I'm just glad that there is finally a Superman movie that I don't outright LOATHE.
I may have knocked it more than I meant to, but despite all its flaws (and some are glaring [I'm looking at YOU, Pa Kent]), Man of Steel was at the very least enjoyable. It had amazing special effects, it had a lot of Zach Snyder-enhanced action, it had a rugged Superman and a super hot Lois Lane, it had a dangerous enemy that wasn't "land," and it didn't have a wimpy, silly, goofy Lex Luthor as the villain. Zod was a bad-ass bad guy (even though he never once said "KNEEL before Zod!"), and the film score was very impressive (even though it didn't have one second of John Williams' famous and fabulous Superman riff). I'm sorry, geeks and nerds who want a 100% straight-up filmatic interpretation of your comic books, but I'm just fine with this movie.
Hu-mans are weak — everybody knows this. Even Kryptonian hu-mans are weak compared to Robot Pedro. Robot Pedro would kill Super-hu-man with only one arm and one leg! Robot Pedro does not care eef Super-hu-man is crippled like that! Robot Pedro's robot cleats would crush his alien skull! Grrrrr! Die, alien scum!
Robot Pedro was once on a hu-man bus filled with Super-hu-mans, all with their capes pressed nice and crisply, and their stupid giant S's on their chests!... Robot Pedro was forced to tap dance on their skulls, for great justice! Robot Pedro was not even all that upset when I found out that eet was a bus filled with mentally retarded hu-man childrens on their way to a Man of Steel movie night. Robot Pedro usually leaves the re-re hu-mans alone, but they mocked my boxy head! They was askin' for eet! And Robot Pedro still felt all robo-strong and powerful after hosing myself down. Everybody won!
Superman is the lamest of the superheroes... He can pretty much do anything: fly, run and move supersonically, x-ray vision, heat rays out of his eyes, freeze breath, super strength, invulnerability... He's too fucking powerful. That's boring. You know what's even more boring? His main supervillain is a bald rich dude. Boring.
This movie was kind of boring, and kind of weird. Krypton at the beginning was a weird world that was super advanced to us, but Jor El still rode pterodactyls like Fred Flintstone. Then Superman, who can't be hurt or anything, goes around with a beard for the first half hour, then, all of a sudden after just changing clothes into his blue tights and cape, he's clean shaved... How does Superman shave with Earthy blades? His facial hair'd shred any razor that came near him. Weird. And why does Zod want to change the gravity of Earth to that of Krypton's? The atmosphere, I understand, but he and his people'd be GODS on this planet, able to fly and be super strong if they left that shit alone... Weird, man. Weird.