Was it a good science fiction movie? Yes.
Was it a good superhero movie? Definitely.
Was it a good Superman movie? Hell no.
The movie was a heck of a lot of fun to watch. The fights were larger than life, as a good superhero movie’s fights should be. We saw pretty much every power Superman had, which covered a lot! Heat vision, x-ray vision, super strength, flight, tough, and able to survive in harsh environments. When Supes used his abilities… dear god… it looked nothing short of mind-blowing. Just compare the use of heat vision from Christopher Reeve’s Superman and from the Man of Steel.
I can assume anyone who has seen the movie can agree that it is a great superhero movie, so I won’t go into it… except to reassure everyone that I loved this movie and would recommend it to anyone who wants to watch some truly awesome superheroics: a lone superhero struggling against truly insurmountable odds, achieving victory thanks to the help of his friends.
Oh, and did anyone else catch Carol Ferris at the end saying Superman was hot? For those who don’t know, Carol is an important character in the Green Lantern mythos. She’s a Pink Lantern (Love), a fiercely independent woman, and half of the strangest love-story in DC Comics. This seeding could mean Hal Jordan might show up in the next Man of Steel movie (potentially out next year) or at the very least laying the foundation for more DC characters to show up in the future.
Superman is far more than his powers. Superman is an ideal for everyone, people and superheroes alike, to strive toward. Despite his powers, he always struggles because he never takes the easy route. He has an instinctive ability to know right from wrong and always follows this instinct. Superman followed this instinct when he fought Doomsday to a standstill. This instinct led him to save the universe many, many times. It makes him far more human than any of us.
Superman saves lives. That’s why he fights.
To save lives.
In Man of Steel, Superman participated in genocide. Genocide. The plan Jor-El came up with was nothing short of that. I didn’t follow all the technical details of the plan, but it came down to this: put together two things that are effectively Phantom Zone projectors and they create a black hole. He didn’t say it will create a black hole that will send the Kryptonians into the Phantom Zone. He said, and Emil Hamilton confirmed this, that this will create a black hole. A black hole is a singularity of such overwhelming gravity that not even light will escape. Anything trapped within its gravity well is trapped and crushed.
And Superman was okay with this.
I can get why he killed Zod. It was done fairly well. Superman didn’t want to kill him and struggled to find a way to avoid it. But the genocide of the Kryptonian race? That amounts to killing one race to protect another. That’s something Superman would never do.
I’ll concede that my concerns are based on an ideal of Superman that may no longer exist. In the modern post-Flashpoint DC universe, we saw Superman kill a few of Darkseid’s minions without any hesitation. The new Superman does kill. He just doesn’t kill without purpose.
So really, my concerns are a generational one. I’m the old guy in the room screaming at the screen at how things used to be and how a character should be portrayed based on how things used to be rather than how things are.
There are a few other reviews of Man of Steel that are really thought provoking that you should check out. Thanks for reading mine.
Other Reviews of Man of Steel that I liked
Mark Waid’s Review: http://thrillbent.com/blog/man-of-steel-since-you-asked/
Lief of Rohan’s Review: http://leifofrohan3891.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/man-of-steel-a-fresh-start-for-superman/