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#21 BklnScott

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:50 PM

I haven't seen the movie yet, and I loathe every other Zack Snyder film I have seen, but that said, the outcry over the killing of Zod strikes me as interesting given that Supes did the same in the beloved Superman 2 - and it seems way better motivated here than it was there.  In Superman 2, he executed a defeated and depowered Zod, a Zod who was no longer a threat to anyone.  What's more, he did it with a smirk on his face, and the film asks us to rejoice in it.  Morally, this is a good, clean result - according to Superman 2.  In the new movie, Superman executes Zod because he's an extinction-level threat and there is literally no other way to stop him - and he regrets having to do it.

Now, I know people will say, "there's always another way," but that's a platitude; it's not actually true, and it's ESPECIALLY not true in war -- which this was, by the description.

Edited by BklnScott, 17 June 2013 - 05:01 PM.

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#22 NeuralClone

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:52 PM

View PostBklnScott, on 17 June 2013 - 04:50 PM, said:

I haven't seen the movie yet, and I loathe every other Zack Snyder film I have seen, but that said, the outcry over the killing of Zod strikes me as interesting given that he did the same in the beloved Superman 2 - and it seems way better motivated here than it was there.  In Superman 2, he executed a defeated and depowered Zod, a Zod who was no longer a threat to anyone.  What's more, he did it with a smirk on his face, and the film asks us to rejoice in that act.  In the new movie, Superman executes Zod because he's an extinction-level threat and there is literally no other way to stop him from.

Now, I know people will say, "there's always another way," but that's a platitude; it's not actually true, and it's ESPECIALLY not true in war -- which this was, by the description.
Agreed 100%.

(I'm not typically a Zack Snyder fan but I think he did an excellent job with this movie.)
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#23 Christopher

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 05:01 PM

I have just as big a problem with the ending of Superman 2 -- although isn't there a deleted scene, sometimes included in expanded editions, where we see the authorities carting away the depowered Phantom Zone criminals along with Luthor and Eve? Or am I misremembering?

Anyway, there is a ton that's wrong about Superman 2; I particularly hate the part where he took revenge on the bully, and let's not get started on the moral implications of the amnesia kiss as well as its sheer random stupidity as a superpower. There's a ton that's wrong with every live-action Superman movie to date; I'm not even a particularly big fan of the first Reeve film, though I've become more forgiving of its inanities in recent years, since I've learned to see it as basically a Silver Age comic brought to life. But that's why I so very much wanted to see a movie that got Superman right, and what's so damn frustrating here is that there are some things they got very right, but in the final analysis they got so much wrong.

Perhaps the reason people aren't as bothered by the fate of S2's Zod is that it isn't played as seriously -- it's the ending of a fanciful fairy tale, a movie that's largely a comedy, so it just doesn't carry as much weight. Plus it's more ambiguous -- sure, he's powerless and thrown down a chasm, which implicitly suggests he (and the others) died, but we don't see them die, and since the movie's world is so cartoony, it's conceivable that they were just trapped or something. Here, that doesn't apply. It's a movie that's played much more seriously and the final moment is much more graphic.

Not to mention that it's simply the last straw in a movie where we've seen Superman choose to conduct superfights in populated areas, voluntarily endangering lives and making no more than a token effort to warn them to find cover. And where he chooses to take on a world engine in the empty ocean even though he knows that the other one is coming down in the middle of the largest city in the US. There's a pattern of disregard for life here, and it's not only out of character for the Superman we know from the comics, it's inconsistent with this film's own rhetoric about how Kal-El can save everyone and inspire us to be better.
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#24 BklnScott

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 05:44 PM

Those are excellent points regarding the tonal and contextual differences between the films - I do agree that off-camera "death," especially in this genre, does not carry the same meaning and ethical implications as the hero snapping the baddie's neck on-camera.   And once I see the film, I may agree that in context, it doesn't work for me.  That said, the Superman stories that do work for me usually do wink at the more problematic political elements inherent in the concept.  

"Truth, Justice, and the American Way" - if that isn't a loaded phrase, I don't know what is.  As though those things are never, ever at odds with each other.

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#25 Christopher

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 06:12 PM

Superman stands for what the American way is supposed to be, not how it sometimes plays out in practice. He represents an ideal.
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#26 NeuralClone

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 06:23 PM

I've always found the whole "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" thing to be extremely arrogant. It reads like American propaganda, not an ideal. I'd much rather see them approach Superman's morals and ethics in a manner that doesn't involve "the American way" (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean). I think they managed to do that in this movie without disregarding him growing up American.

Edited by NeuralClone, 17 June 2013 - 06:30 PM.

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#27 BklnScott

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:04 PM

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It reads like American propaganda, not an ideal.


It does today - that's what I'm saying.  In the year 2013, it is impossible (and I would argue, undesirable) to refrain from a postmodernist reading of Superman.  If the intent is to have audiences inspired by this hero, then he needs to navigate, and prevail against, the corrupting tendencies of a world that is recognizably our own.  The answer, IMO, is to find hope in the real - not in the (fraudulent) validation of simple-minded, black-and-white moralizing that has no bearing on the world we actually live in.  

(This is very similar to debates many of us have had over the politics of Star Trek - TOS vs. TNG.)

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#28 DWF

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:06 PM

I have no problem with Superman fighting for "Truth, Justice and The American Way", he's menat to be an immigrant, the story of an immigrant who lived the American dream to so speak.
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#29 DWF

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:10 PM

View PostChristopher, on 17 June 2013 - 05:01 PM, said:

Not to mention that it's simply the last straw in a movie where we've seen Superman choose to conduct superfights in populated areas, voluntarily endangering lives and making no more than a token effort to warn them to find cover. And where he chooses to take on a world engine in the empty ocean even though he knows that the other one is coming down in the middle of the largest city in the US. There's a pattern of disregard for life here, and it's not only out of character for the Superman we know from the comics, it's inconsistent with this film's own rhetoric about how Kal-El can save everyone and inspire us to be better.


Superman didn't pick the battlegrounds Zod did and Clark nearly died saving the planet and this was after he was arrested and shot at by authorities.
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#30 BklnScott

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:23 PM

I agree that Superman as immigrant is a strong vision for the character - but for me its success or failure depends upon that vision being fully developed and realized.  How are the military/political characters depicted here?  Are they altruistic, or bellicose/xenophobic?  What is Superman's relationship to them, both at the start and in the end?

Edited by BklnScott, 17 June 2013 - 07:24 PM.

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#31 NeuralClone

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:28 PM

View PostBklnScott, on 17 June 2013 - 07:04 PM, said:

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It reads like American propaganda, not an ideal.


It does today - that's what I'm saying.  In the year 2013, it is impossible (and I would argue, undesirable) to refrain from a postmodernist reading of Superman.  If the intent is to have audiences inspired by this hero, then he needs to navigate, and prevail against, the corrupting tendencies of a world that is recognizably our own.  The answer, IMO, is to find hope in the real - not in the (fraudulent) validation of simple-minded, black-and-white moralizing that has no bearing on the world we actually live in.  

(This is very similar to debates many of us have had over the politics of Star Trek - TOS vs. TNG.)
I thought you might have been getting at something like that. In that case, we're definitely in agreement on this particular issue.

What I like about this particular movie is it doesn't seem to go for the black and white moralizing that older incarnations of Superman could get away with. The closest they get to the whole "American way" statement is Superman says that he grew up American. But other than that...

View PostBklnScott, on 17 June 2013 - 07:23 PM, said:

I agree that Superman as immigrant is a strong vision for the character - but for me its success or failure depends upon that vision being fully developed and realized.  How are the military/political characters depicted here?  Are they altruistic, or bellicose/xenophobic?
They start out seeing Superman as a threat. Superman only reveals himself to the military after Zod threatens the planet and he immediately allows himself to be taken into custody. Once Zod starts attacking the human population, the military attacks all of the aliens, including Superman. After all, Superman ends up unintentionally destroying just as much stuff as they do while trying to defend others. However, Superman begins to protect the military as well despite all of that and they quickly realize that he isn't a threat. Well, some of them do. By the end, a general still considers him to be a potential threat but Superman says that he trusts him. I suspect that in sequels there will be people that see him as a threat and those that see him as an ally.

Edited by NeuralClone, 17 June 2013 - 07:30 PM.

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#32 DWF

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:49 PM

View PostBklnScott, on 17 June 2013 - 07:23 PM, said:

I agree that Superman as immigrant is a strong vision for the character - but for me its success or failure depends upon that vision being fully developed and realized.  How are the military/political characters depicted here?  Are they altruistic, or bellicose/xenophobic?  What is Superman's relationship to them, both at the start and in the end?

Superman's relationship with the authorities here parallel Batman's relationship with authorities in Nolan's Batman movies, he too started out just as much of a target as the criminals til he proved otherwise. But Batman also caused alot of damage along the way, not as much as in this movie but still alot of damage none the less.
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#33 G-man

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 08:00 PM

OK, regarding the amount of destruction and Superman's reactive nature.

In this film he's basically just starting out, this is his first time acting as a public figure.  In the past, he followed his father's advice to stay hidden -- if only to preserve his own privacy.  Consequently, he has a lot to learn.

Secondly, this is the first time he encountered anything, in particular other folk, who were his equal.  Again, he has nothing to draw upon, and they're the ones doing the attacking (first Mom, then Smallville(?), then Metropolis).  OK, so either he tries to save civilians while fending off attacks from the other Kryptonians (reactive); or he attacks the Kryptonians hoping to draw their attacks on himself.  Well he opted for the latter, and it kind of worked, the problem was that he couldn't counter the knock-back of their attacks.

So, in short, he didn't have much choice there, and he's having to learn how to deal with these people.

Why did he go to the Indian Ocean to deal with the World Engine as opposed to the ship over Metropolis?  Well, both parts needed to be dealt with, and hypothetically the US Military ought to be able to handle the ship over Metropolis.  Was this a bad call?  I don't think so.  If the US Military couldn't deal with the menace, what chance did the Indian Military have in dealing with the World Engine?

Again, this is not a normal situation, this is an extreme situation dealing with foes who are Clark's equal in power and abilities.  I would hope that this is the most extreme menace that Clark will have to face in the films, and that the other ones will allow him to finesse matters and demonstrate his cleverness as much as his physical prowess.

Finally, Clark dealing with a berserk Zod.  There was no reasoning with the guy, he is homicidal, and Clark was incapable of incapacitating him.  So, what is left?  Especially if Zod chooses to stop focusing on Clark and take his rage out on humanity?  Clark did what he had to do, and the movie made clear that Clark was not happy about it.

Yes, Clark is reacting and trying to counter Zod's actions.  Given the timeline presented, I didn't see that he had much opportunity to anticipate anything, much less find some other means of countering Zod so that the action would occur somewhere uninhabited.  As I said earlier, had Zod found a viable colony of Krypton, I'd wager that he'd have simply taken Kal-El to that world and extract the Codex there, leaving Earth unmolested.  In fact, I'm thinking that might be what Clark had been hoping when he surrendered in the first place.  It just didn't work out.

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#34 Christopher

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 08:13 PM

The military characters are handled very well in the film -- they're cautious, initially suspicious of a potential threat as they're trained to be, but willing to be convinced, not paranoid or bigoted. And as I said in my review, they play a major role in defeating the bad guys -- so much so that Superman ends up seeming somewhat overshadowed. The details of military procedure and communication/jargon seemed very authentic as far as I could tell, and the credits indicated that they had cooperation from the US Air Force -- who wouldn't have given that cooperation if they thought the military were poorly represented.
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#35 DWF

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 08:16 PM

Well the idea was that the military was to attack the ship over Metropolis with Clark's ship to ingage the Phantom drive, so a twin attack in the Indian ocean and over Metropolis was in order, It was sad that they lost Emile Hamilton in the process, but it was cool that Superman returned just in time ot save Lois.
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

#36 NeuralClone

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 08:17 PM

I don't agree that the military somewhat overshadowed Superman in the movie but they certainly played a large role in helping him stop the Kryptonian's plan to terraform Earth. Superman was the only person that was even able to stand up to them and largely tried to keep them away from the military and civilians while the Air Force attacked the ship. It was a team effort.

Edited by NeuralClone, 17 June 2013 - 08:21 PM.

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#37 BklnScott

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 08:28 PM

I'm bummed that there won't be a recurring Professor Hamilton in this version - though I guess if they had intended to make him a recurring character they would have cast a bigger name than Richard Schiff (who I love).

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#38 DWF

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 08:28 PM

View PostNeuralClone, on 17 June 2013 - 08:17 PM, said:

I don't agree that the military somewhat overshadowed Superman in the movie but they certainly played a large role in helping him stop the Kryptonian's plan to terraform Earth. Superman was the only person that was even able to stand up to them and largely tried to keep them away from the military and civilians while the Air Force attacked the ship. It was a team effort.

I agree it was as much of a team effort as possible and it was obvious during the Smallville battle that the military was overwhelmed. And really what kind of defence could they muster against people who can hurl railroad engines at them? I thought that was very comic bookish scene and really awesome too.
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

#39 NeuralClone

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 08:38 PM

View PostDWF, on 17 June 2013 - 08:28 PM, said:

View PostNeuralClone, on 17 June 2013 - 08:17 PM, said:

I don't agree that the military somewhat overshadowed Superman in the movie but they certainly played a large role in helping him stop the Kryptonian's plan to terraform Earth. Superman was the only person that was even able to stand up to them and largely tried to keep them away from the military and civilians while the Air Force attacked the ship. It was a team effort.

I agree it was as much of a team effort as possible and it was obvious during the Smallville battle that the military was overwhelmed. And really what kind of defence could they muster against people who can hurl railroad engines at them? I thought that was very comic bookish scene and really awesome too.
Yeah. I think if this movie did one thing right (and I honestly think it did most stuff right), it was the epic scale of the battles. It really felt like a comic book. And it wasn't like the military was remotely prepared to deal with people that could do that kind of thing at all. Why would they be? It isn't exactly a normal occurrence outside of comic books (and movies). ;)

Edited by NeuralClone, 17 June 2013 - 08:38 PM.

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#40 DWF

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 08:42 PM

View PostNeuralClone, on 17 June 2013 - 08:38 PM, said:

View PostDWF, on 17 June 2013 - 08:28 PM, said:

View PostNeuralClone, on 17 June 2013 - 08:17 PM, said:

I don't agree that the military somewhat overshadowed Superman in the movie but they certainly played a large role in helping him stop the Kryptonian's plan to terraform Earth. Superman was the only person that was even able to stand up to them and largely tried to keep them away from the military and civilians while the Air Force attacked the ship. It was a team effort.

I agree it was as much of a team effort as possible and it was obvious during the Smallville battle that the military was overwhelmed. And really what kind of defence could they muster against people who can hurl railroad engines at them? I thought that was very comic bookish scene and really awesome too.
Yeah. I think if this movie did one thing right (and I honestly think it did most stuff right), it was the epic scale of the battles. It really felt like a comic book. And it wasn't like the military was remotely prepared to deal with people that could do that kind of thing at all. Why would they be? It isn't exactly a normal occurrence outside of comic books (and movies). ;)

Well you know it's that "can do" spirit of the military. ;) Although I did like seeing Henry Lennix as the general, he was far more likelable here than he was in the Matrix movies but just as overwhelmed.
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



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