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Man of Steel

Superman

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#1 Virgil Vox

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 11:25 PM

I saw this at the special 7:00 showing sponsored by Wal-Mart thanks to a friend who had two tickets and invited me along. He knew I am a huge Superman fan and took pity on me. Normally I try to shy away from spoilers if I'm the first person to review a major movie. I'm not this time. I am spoiling a ton, so if you haven't seen the movie yet and want to go in blind stop reading.

There's just so much I want to talk about I don't know where to start. I absolutely loved the movie. It did basically everything right, and my fears about it being too dark and Superman not being an inspiration were unfounded. This can be a dark movie. Lots of people die and Zod and Faora are merciless. But Superman himself is the same good guy who wants to protect people and do the right thing even if it means sacrificing what he wants. This being an origin story, he does spend a while roaming America and taking odd jobs because he doesn't know what to do, but even here he's a hero. Within the first five minutes of seeing Henry Cavill as Clark he's all ready saving people on a burning oil rig. He may not be a stuffy Boy Scout, but he still does the right thing. He's hope and it's something we need right now.

The movie spends more time on Krypton at the beginning than I thought they would but I'm glad they did. It's a great opening sequence and sets the tone for the film. Krypton itself is fleshed out quite a bit. It's a society where babies are grown in birthing chambers instead of in female wombs, and where each baby is genetically modified to fulfill a certain role in society. A baby might be a warrior, a laborer, a politician, a scientist, etc. Jor-El and Lara want more for their son, and so make a baby the old fashioned way. All of the genetic material for future generations of Kryptonians is contained in a codex. Jor-El steals the codex and weaves it into every cell in Clark's body. He literally is the hope for the rebirth of Krypton. I really just love how they fleshed out Krypton and its society.

This makes Zod a more sympathetic villain as well. He's literally been made to be a warrior to protect Krypton at all costs. If that means starting a civil war to kill the Council who have blindly ignored Jor-El's warnings about Krypton's destruction, then he'll do it. If it means escaping the Phantom Zone and deciding to terraform Earth to make a new home for his people, then he will. He doesn't see himself as the villain. He's doing what he has been bred to do. Michael Shannon plays Zod really well. Towards the end, when Superman has stopped Zod's plans to make Earth a new Krypton, and banished the other Kryptonians back to the PZ, Zod says that Superman has destroyed his soul because Zod's primary mission to protect his people because his people are gone. It's a great scene that makes you feel bad for Zod because he's not doing all of this just for revenge or for fun.

I will say that Faora, played by Antje Traue, steals the show. She's just so wickedly awesome and looks like the angel of death. She has one major fight scene and it is breathtaking. She puts the beatdown on Superman and the U.S. army. The movie needed more of her, that's for sure.

The movie makes a pretty major change to the Superman mythos, and I didn't like it at first but now I'm actually excited to see how this develops in a future movie. Lois Lane (played to perfection by Amy Adams) finds out that Clark Kent is Superman (or at least an alien that protects people) within the first thirty or so minutes of the movie. It was a plot development I did not see coming whatsoever. It annoyed me at first but it changes the dynamic between the two and shows that Lois is a great investigative reporter. I'm thinking this, and one other scene, are probably going to upset a lot of people.

The other scene is that Superman kills Zod by snapping his neck. Superman has Zod in a chokehold and is trying to subdue him. Zod lets loose with his heat vision and is about to burn a group of people. He says that he won't stop until he's murdered everyone. Superman finally kills him. It's a pretty bold move but I think they handled it right. Right after he kills Zod, he drops to his knees and lets out this horrible scream. Lois comes running over and Superman grabs onto her and just looks shocked. It was just done brilliantly. Yes, he killed someone but it has obviously affected him.

The action is amazing. I've seen some reviews that said the movie had too much action but I don't agree. There is a lot of it, but the set-pieces are different enough from each other and just so awe-inspiring that I never felt like they dragged on too long. My favorite action scenes were the battle in Smallville and the final Superman vs. Zod fight. The Smallville fight is mainly between Superman, Faora, a random Kryptonian, and the U.S. army. My god. The amount of devastation they do is stunning. It's stuff you won't see in other superhero movies that's for sure. But the real treat is the final battle between Superman and Zod. Those two punch and throw each other all over Metropolis. Buildings get
annihilated and streets are torn up and vehicles are used as battering rams. When Zod finally starts flying the aerial battle is a sight to behold. It's exactly what a fight between those two should be.

There are quiet moments in the movie and funny moments and touching moments. A lot of the flashback scenes to Clark as a young kid and teenager are really moving. Diane Lane and Kevin Costner do a great job as the Kents. I was afraid, after seeing the trailer where Jonathan tells a young Clark that he should have left the other kids drown, that the flashbacks would be grim and gritty but they're not. Yes, Mr. Kent is wary of Clark using his abilities and how the world will react, but he's still a good dad who just wants the best for his son. The Kents aren't perfect parents, but they're the right ones to raise Clark.

The cast is great. Henry Cavill pulls off Superman perfectly. He's nice and understanding when he needs to be, and can unleash his rage when called upon. When Zod attacks Martha he comes zooming in, grabs Zod, and begins to punch the crap out of him while yelling, "What makes you think you can hurt my mother!" or something similar. The moral of the story: Leave Superman's mom alone. Amy Adams pulls off the feisty Lois Lane who can hang with the big boys and get the love of the most powerful man on the planet. She's not just a damsel in distress. She holds her own, and actually takes part in the action. Laurence Fishburne has a small role as Perry White but he owns it every time he's on-screen. Hopefully his role will be expanded in the sequel. I loved Russell Crowe as Jor-El. He actually has a big part since he uploaded his image and brain into the ship that Clark arrives on Earth. So he gets to interact with Clark, Lois, and Zod quite a bit. He also gets to throw some punches. This Jor-El is no push-over.

Oh, there is no scene at the end of the credits so don't worry about that. The only easter egg that suggests a larger DC Universe is a blink and you'll miss it shot of a WayneTech satellite. After watching The Avengers I wanted to see DC do a shared universe and a Justice League movie. No, though, I'm not sure. I do want a Justice League movie, and a Wonder Woman movie, and several other DC heroes to get movies, but at the same time I want Snyder and co. to be able to tell their Superman story without having the burden of a shared universe.

For those afraid that Snyder would pull his usual tricks rest assured he doesn't. I don't think there's one slo-motion scene in the entire movie. It's filmed pretty realistically. I think he did an excellent job as the director and hope he stays on for as many Superman films as possible.

This has all ready been a long post so I'll stop here. Man of Steel was just amazing. Not perfect mind you, but pretty close. When it ended my theater erupted into applause, the first time that's ever happened when I've seen a movie. It gave me what I wanted. A Superman who is good and decent and serves as a beacon of hope. That's something I think we need as a country right now.
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#2 NeuralClone

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 11:38 PM

Since I haven't seen this yet, I pretty much ignored the majority of your post. I'll come back and read it in full once I've seen it this weekend, but it sounds really good. I can't wait to see it. :D
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#3 Virgil Vox

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 11:44 PM

Quote

Since I haven't seen this yet, I pretty much ignored the majority of your post. I'll come back and read it in full once I've seen it this weekend, but it sounds really good. I can't wait to see it. :D

No worry. With this movie I just couldn't help but talk about pretty much everything. I don't think you'll be disappointed with the movie. It takes some risks with the Superman mythos, but delivers on everything fans wanted.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#4 Themis

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 06:13 PM

Most reviews I've read have been negative but I'll investigate your review in earnest later.  I loved the first two Reeve Superman film for their relationship to "my" era Superman.  I'll try to see it with open mind.
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#5 RJDiogenes

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 06:17 PM

I will comment on SPOILERS here, so if you don't want to be spoiled, PLEASE DON'T READ.

When I saw the first previews for this movie, I was pretty optimistic about the reverent, mythological tone.  Later previews lowered my expectations-- more leather bondage gear and tiresome violence.  Will the 80s never end?  The spoilers here leave me with mixed feelings.  I'm very happy to hear about the heroic characterization of Clark and Superman being good and decent and a beacon of hope.  Some of the rest-- the endless battles-- remind me of The Avengers, which, while not a bad movie, was thirty minutes of plot and ninety minutes of urban destruction.

But, still, I remain cautiously optimistic.
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#6 Christopher

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 08:41 PM

I've seen a number of strongly positive reviews, a few moderately negative reviews, and a few in between. Even the negative reviews have praise for some aspects, while the positive reviews have some criticisms. I'm not seeing anything remotely like a consensus emerging.
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#7 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 12:06 AM

Just finished seeing this....

OMG! What an awesome movie. It truly is. A couple minor nitpicks, well really one. Jor El and Laura had Kal El the old fashioned way, so how did Jor El know Clark's exact size for the Superman suit? OK, nitpick over with.

This movie put's the Original one with Christopher Reeves to shame, it really does. I loved that they fleshed out Krypton like they did. It set the entire tone for the movie. At first I was a little annoyed by the constant flashbacks, but that was probably just my own impatience...I wanted the action. But the flashbacks are critical. They really really are. They allow you to see the "soul" of Superman, like we never have before. When Jonathan told Clark he should've let the kids drown...that was harsh, but you could really understand his true motivation was he was desperate to protect his son. And when he later shakes his head, as the tornado is coming towards him, telling Clark not to save him...And Clark obeys and lets his dad die...very dark, but you could see how it tormented him.

I so did not see them having Lois known Clark is Superman right from the get go. That took me for a surprise.

And now we come to Zod. I seem to recall saying something like "Don't screw with the core of the villian" in the Iron Man 3 thread. Please, by all means, disregard that comment. They changed Zod's motivation, and it worked in spades. I mean, Terrance Stamp's Zod has nothing on this one. This one is downright, bone chilling. But is motives are somewhat noble, even if he goes about it all wrong. He's trying to protect his race. And when Superman destroys any chance of that...That's when the truly evil Zod emerges. When he shakes off his armor, and is just wearing his regular suit, was like "Oh boy. Sh*t's about to get real." And it did so in an unexpected way.

When Superman killed Zod by snapping his neck, to save the random people Zod was trying to kill. My jaw hit the floor. Was like: "What!? Superman doesn't kill! WTF?" but then he lets out that scream and you could literally feel how it affected him. Awesome. Awesome. Awesom. This is Superman how it should be.

OH, and when Zod was threatening his mom, and Superman zooms in and started pounding. Not punching, but literally pounding Zod's face, while shouting "What makes you think you can hurt my mom." or something like that...Was like DAMN! Zod that was your face!

Overall, awesome movie. My mind is still reeling from it. One other little nitpick. Why terraform Earth into Krypton, when they could survive on Earth as it was and have all those Super powers? You'd think they would want those powers.
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Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

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#8 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 12:11 AM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 13 June 2013 - 11:25 PM, said:

When it ended my theater erupted into applause, the first time that's ever happened when I've seen a movie. It gave me what I wanted. A Superman who is good and decent and serves as a beacon of hope. That's something I think we need as a country right now.

My theater also erupted in applause. A few even stood while clapping.
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#9 Virgil Vox

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 10:05 AM

Quote

One other little nitpick. Why terraform Earth into Krypton, when they could survive on Earth as it was and have all those Super powers? You'd think they would want those powers.

Zod told Jor-El that he didn't want him and his men to suffer pain for years while they adjusted to the Earth's atmosphere. I think Zod wanted to re-create Krypton perfectly, which meant changing Earth's atmosphere. Zod doesn't think outside the box. Remember that he was shocked when Jor-El and Lara had a natural birth instead of using the genesis pods like all other Kryptonians.

Quote

OH, and when Zod was threatening his mom, and Superman zooms in and started pounding. Not punching, but literally pounding Zod's face, while shouting "What makes you think you can hurt my mom." or something like that...Was like DAMN! Zod that was your face!

I loved that scene too. One of my favorite ones in the movie.

Quote

And when Superman destroys any chance of that...That's when the truly evil Zod emerges. When he shakes off his armor, and is just wearing his regular suit, was like "Oh boy. Sh*t's about to get real." And it did so in an unexpected way.

Agreed. I alos thought that scene might be where he said the "Kneel before Zod" line. It seemed like they were setting it up perfectly. Zod was in his black outfit with his family crest, floating above Superman, who was on his knees. I'm glad they didn't though. The line is a classic, but wasn't needed here.

Quote

Some of the rest-- the endless battles-- remind me of The Avengers, which, while not a bad movie, was thirty minutes of plot and ninety minutes of urban destruction.

The action does take up quite a bit of the finale. Once the Smallville battle begins it keeps ratcheting up from there and takes about 30 to 40 minutes of the movie. But there are some good moments in there that aren't just about action. Perry, Lombard, and Jenny get a nice little scene in the middle of all the destruction going on.

I really don't understand a lot of the complaints that I've seen from reviewers. The main ones seem to be that it's too serious, that there's too much action, and that the pacing is off. I agree with the pacing. There are some pacing problems but not enough to be a detriment to the film. And yes, this is a serious movie. What's wrong with that? There are still moments of levity, and a few laugh out loud moments. At the end when the female soldier says that Superman is kinda hot pretty much everyone in the audience laughed. The sequence when Clark finally learns how to fly is great and uplifting and fun. And too much action? Really? Yes, there is a lot of action in the movie but it's all varied and never gets stale. One can argue that, just like The Avengers, the amount of damage would be killing untold millions, but that's just one of those movie magic moments where even though half a city is destroyed no one really gets hurt.

I am hoping that the mixed reaction to the movie doesn't stop people from checking the movie out. While far from perfect, it's a good origin story for Superman and delivers on most everything a fan could want.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#10 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 10:58 AM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 15 June 2013 - 10:05 AM, said:

Agreed. I alos thought that scene might be where he said the "Kneel before Zod" line. It seemed like they were setting it up perfectly. Zod was in his black outfit with his family crest, floating above Superman, who was on his knees. I'm glad they didn't though. The line is a classic, but wasn't needed here.


I was expecting that line throughout the movie. I'm glad they didn't use it. You're right, it's a classic line but it wasn't needed here.


Another thing I liked was the way Superman started to win over the military. In the beginning the military was targeting him as well as Zod and company, but as Superman protected the military, as best he could, it changed their outlook on him. "This man is not our enemy" indeed.

Edited by Lord of the Sword, 15 June 2013 - 10:58 AM.

"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#11 othkarwise

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 12:35 PM

Oh boy.  Man of Steel was the movie I was waiting for this summer.  Superman has always been my favorite superhero.  I like the look of the new guy and all the actors in the movie were great. bbbBUT, in my own totally worthless opinion, this was the worst Superman movie I have ever seen.  It felt like the director took the storyline and then just crushed the whole execution of the movie like a cheap beer can.  It was liking watching a nightmarish tennis game with a couple machines and then Superman and Zod and the bad woman (?)  just knocking each other back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, crushing skyscrapers, crushing huge trucks, crushing everything!  Way too much f'n CGI! - uh, for me.  I'm very happy for the people who liked and even loved the movie. This is their Superman from now on and that's great.  Maybe with a different director,  I could possibly watch a sequel.  Right now,  I am so unhappy with this noisy mess that I'm not sure I would take the chance.

#12 DWF

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 07:16 PM

I thought it was an incredible movie, Krypton was fully realized as was their society, Hans Zimmer's music nicely fit the scenes and much of it came from the trailer was really cool. The cast was top notch it's a shame that Laurence Fishburne didn't have more to do, but the rest of the cast was steller in more ways than one. Visually the movie a fest and super battles were very comic bookish, the destruction of Metropolis was epic. And Zod was nicely fleshed out this time. I also loved seeing the Lex Corp name on the tanker truck.

Edited by DWF, 16 June 2013 - 08:29 PM.

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#13 NeuralClone

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 09:39 PM

This was just...incredible. It wasn't perfect but I'm more than willing to overlook its minor flaws given how frakking brilliant the rest of it was.
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#14 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 01:36 AM

originally I wasn't sure how I felt about the new suit...But I really like the new suit. After seeing the new suit, found myself wondering...What WAS the deal with the red trunks anyway?
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#15 DWF

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 07:09 AM

View PostLord of the Sword, on 16 June 2013 - 01:36 AM, said:

originally I wasn't sure how I felt about the new suit...But I really like the new suit. After seeing the new suit, found myself wondering...What WAS the deal with the red trunks anyway?

The suit was meant to be a version of a circus strongman's outfit.
The longest-running science fiction series: decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core. Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans... Cybermen! They're still in the nursery compared to us. Fifty years of absolute fandom. That's what it takes to be really critical.

"Don't mistake a few fans bitching on the Internet for any kind of trend." - Keith R.A. DeCandido

#16 Virgil Vox

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 10:13 AM

I like the new suit. It looks good and works for the movie. I'm just glad it wasn't the armor look from the recent comics. I do like the red trunks suit though. Maybe it's outdated, but it has served Superman for 75 years and I'm sure eventually the red trunks will make a re-appearance in the main comics again.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#17 G-man

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 10:22 AM

Heh ... well, OK, the difference is that originally Superman's suit was made by Ma Kent (probably inspired by the circus strongman's outfit); here, they posited that the suit was designed to conform with the Kryptonian aesthetic (BTW -- I figured that the suit was created on that ancient scout ship after the gestalt-Jor-EL had gotten a look at his now fully grown son, and that is why it fit him).

I also liked how they developed Krypton and its history; and that the Phantom Zone technology was a spin-off from their Phantom-Drives.

I'll provide more of my thoughts on the movie later.

In short, I liked it.  I really liked it.  I just felt that the action sequences were a bit too chaotic and over-long.

/s/

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#18 enTranced

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 12:13 PM

Just and insanely good movie.

Of the two franchises that tried to bring back their second chapter Superman got it  right.

I just hope they never try to bring back part 3. :D

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#19 G-man

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:40 AM

I think the one thing that shocked me about the violence, was the complete lack of casualties among the ruins.

Admittedly, this sanitizing bit is an odd thing to be shocked by, but since they were filming in a realistic manner, I couldn't help but think that there'd be hurt people and lots of bodies strewn amongst the wreakage.

My friend, whom I saw the film with, argues that the final scene with young Clark would never have happened in this universe, given that it was the Superman comic that inspired kids to don a cape and run around in the first place.

That said, I did like that Clark was a roustabout and was essentially experiencing the working man's/common laborer's lot in America, as opposed to going to college and then getting a desk job.  Also, I liked that they showed that Clark, despite many temptations, did struggle to control his temper; and that he was a decent sort.

Of course, in the midst of fisticuffs with the badguys, and with the military shooting at you, one must admire how he sought to preserve the lives of the service men, insofar as he could.

What I liked was Faora's encounter with the Colonel and her respect for his willingness to continue to struggle despite the ineffectualness of his weapons.  I'm kind of hoping that she and the Colonel managed to come to an accommodation in the Phantom Zone.  That encounter helped to elevate her character from being a mere minion of Zod's to something more -- of course, I'm partial to kick-@ss femmes ;)

Then, there was the fact that Zod had to actively look for Earth to find Kal-El, and to achieve his aims he needed not only the Codex, but a World Engine, and a Genesis Chamber (from the scout ship).  My suspicion is, had Zod found a viable Kryptonian colony (Daxam, perhaps?), he might well have contented himself with reclaiming Kal-El and departing with him back to that colony.

(shrug)

Anyhoo, I thought this was certainly a well done movie and a refreshing take on the mythos.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 17 June 2013 - 11:14 AM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#20 Christopher

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 03:19 PM

Here's my very long review on my blog:

http://christopherlb...-ever-spoilers/

In short, some parts were great, Cavill is perfectly cast, but there's too much that is just offensively wrong and completely misses the point of Superman. I would like to see Cavill play the role in several more movies, but not with Snyder as the director. I don't think I'll ever want to see a Snyder film again. I'm still reeling from the excesses of this one.
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