NeuralClone, on 17 June 2013 - 10:37 PM, said:
And how exactly would he do that? Fly away and hope they followed him? I highly doubt that Zod and the other Kryptonians would have just followed him around. The easier solution from their perspective was to force Kal-El to come to them.
The problem is that he didn't even try
, didn't even show more than passing and superficial concern for anyone's safety. There was no moment like in Superman II
where Superman gave a horrified cry of "No! The people!" when Zod and his forces willfully endangered innocent lives. This Superman didn't even seem to have more than a passing interest in the people's safety.
Indeed, at one point it looked like Superman himself was directly responsible for killing several people when he slammed Zod's soldier across town and into a gas station that blew up. It was daytime, surely the station was open, and there was at least one car in the gas station's lot, presumably not abandoned there. And the explosion happened just a second after the impact, with no time for anyone to get out. So Superman's own action was almost certainly directly responsible for the death of more than one innocent bystander. But the movie didn't care. The filmmakers didn't care about the safety of innocent bystanders, since they just wanted to indulge in disaster porn, and so it didn't occur to them to make Superman care about bystanders.
So, again, you can rationalize the characters' actions and choices all you want within the context of the scenario as presented, but the fundamental problem is with the writers and director who chose to present the situation that way in the first place.
Another problem with all this overblown destruction is that it made the climax seem kind of ridiculous. Suddenly Superman's desperate about stopping Zod from heat-visioning a few bystanders, desperate enough to kill him to stop it, yet he didn't show any comparable concern while thousands of others were dying all around him just minutes earlier? The climax would've been more dramatically effective without the excess of the prior action. The problem with modern blockbusters, with their overinflated budgets and limitless CGI, is that they encourage filmmakers to favor excess over restraint, and that works against good storytelling.
Virgil Vox, on 17 June 2013 - 11:22 PM, said:
Superman did try and get the battle away from Smallville. At one point he picked Faora up and was flying away with her when the other Kryptonian slammed into them. He then threw that other Kryptonian far away into the train yard. The Kryptonians just wouldn't stay down.
Okay, maybe, but it was half-hearted, and in context, could've just been coincidence. I mean, he didn't make any effort to follow the guy into the trainyard, to lead the battle there. He just stayed in the middle of town and let them come back to him. And how do we know the trainyard was unoccupied? What about freight workers or hoboes? Snyder wasn't concerned about the human scale of things, he just wanted to film stuff blowing up.
Sure in The Avengers they made sure to protect civilians but there it was a team of heroes along with cops and members of the military against alien soldiers that, while strong, were nowhere near the power level of the Kryptonians.
But the point is about the choices made by the storytellers. I'm not really talking about the choices and priorities of the characters, because the characters are imaginary and what they do is shaped by the filmmakers' choices and priorities. Whedon chose to keep the focus on the human perspective and the human cost, to remember that war isn't just about cool 'splosions and buildings falling down but about people in danger, about the street-level effects of things. Snyder mostly ignored the human scale in favor of spectacle.
I do wish they had found a different way to get rid of Zod than having Superman kill him. Like I said in my review, I didn't have too much of a problem with it because they showed the impact that it had on Superman. Still, this is Superman. His mantra pretty much is that there's always a better way. And honestly, the way that scene played out Superman didn't have to kill Zod right then. He could have flown away, or simply blocked Zod's heat vision with his hand. There is still the question of what you do with someone who has no real weakness and can't be contained. Honestly, I think they just wanted to show that this wasn't the Big Blue Boy Scout who is out of touch and outdated. See, this Superman kills. Not like Batman, who simply lets people die but doesn't actually kill anyone.
Yeah, I hate that -- that notion that reverence for life is somehow a childish or foolhardy notion. Killing is the simple answer, the lazy answer. Any mindless force of nature can kill. And the entire history of civilization has been about inventing better ways to deal with problems than simply inflicting death. Progress has come from the development of alternatives like trials and prisons, laws and arbitration to resolve disputes rather than duelling, negotiation and treaties rather than endless war, etc. And as a result, society has become less violent over time. Those who still inflict violence can do so more extensively and efficiently, but the percentage of the population exposed to violence in the course of their lives is lower today than it was in past eras, because we have developed better alternatives as civilization has matured and advanced. So no, a willingness to kill is not smarter or more mature than the alternative. It's just the opposite. It's choosing to settle for the most primitive and simpleminded option.
I was also surprised that Superman was called Superman only once, by a random soldier. No clue who gave him that name. No one else ever said it in the movie.
In the interview with Lois, the "It's not an S, it stands for hope" exchange, Lois was trying to think of what the "S" could stand for, and started to say "How about... Supe--" when she was drowned out by the intercom. You can see her mouthing "Superman" and almost hear it -- I think you can hear it more clearly in a clip I saw online -- but in the final sound mix, it's dialed down to near-inaudibility.
And in the later scene, the name is actually used three times in quick succession. David Paetkau's character refers to him as "Superman," Harry Lennix frowns and asks, "Superman?" and Paetkau says "That's what they're calling him. Superman."
NeuralClone, on 18 June 2013 - 12:41 AM, said:
I don't see what the big deal is about them not calling him Superman more than once in the movie. It's an origin story.
Again, it's not about how things can be justified in-universe, it's about what the storytellers' choices in creating that universe reveal about their outlook and intentions. This was a Superman movie made by people who were embarrassed to call their character Superman. True, that's a trend in a lot of these movies. We rarely hear Tony Stark called Iron Man or Steve Rogers called Captain America or Clint Barton called Hawkeye. But I'm getting tired of it. Honestly, there was a time when I felt the same way about the cheesiness of the name; I imagined getting to write a Superman movie or TV show or comic and having my version of Superman prefer to go by Kal-El because he found the name too arrogant. But when I was watching this movie, I just wanted Superman to be Superman. Whatever it means in-universe, to us out here Superman is an icon, a symbol of some very positive and worthwhile things, and I just felt I wanted that to be celebrated and embraced without irony rather than apologized for. I liked seeing Henry Cavill wear the suit and cape and put on the persona. I felt I was watching Superman, and that felt good. And so I just wanted him to be free to be
Superman, to be celebrated as that iconic figure with that name. And this film didn't really give him that chance.
I hope you're right -- I hope they do use the name more in the sequel. But given the filmmakers' choices here, and the general trend in superhero movies today, I don't think it's likely. Hollywood just seems too embarrassed by the idea of superhero nicknames.
If you want to see something that was ashamed of being based on Superman, just take a good look at Smallville.
I don't dispute that for a moment, but it's beside the point. It's hardly a zero-sum game, like there's some finite well of scorn for superhero tropes and that if one production has more of it, it means that every other production must have less. The fact that one Superman adaptation had a certain problem absolutely does not preclude a different adaptation from having an equivalent problem. So I don't see the point of this line of argument at all.
Virgil Vox, on 18 June 2013 - 01:27 AM, said:
I kind of agree, though I think the show really embraced the Superman mythology in the later seasons. Heck, by season 8 he was basically Superman just without the name and costume. The writers really should have just thrown him into the costume earlier instead of sticking so steadfastly to the premise that the show was about Clark becoming Superman. That's fine for a show that's only going to run five or six seasons. On a show that ran ten seasons, it became tedious watching them come up with new ways to keep Clark from fully embracing his superhero identity.
Indeed. They never meant Smallville
to run for more than 5-6 years, so eventually they ran out of story and the "Clark before Superman" premise wore thin. Finally, once Gough and Millar left after season 7, their successors were able to start telling stories about Clark's adult life at last, but for whatever reason -- I gather it was Welling's own unwillingness to wear the suit or use the name -- they weren't able to go all-out and make him Superman.
NeuralClone, on 18 June 2013 - 01:45 AM, said:
To be fair, the glasses ARE a rather ridiculous disguise. I've always had trouble believing that no one would recognize him.
I'm sure they would, but that wouldn't necessarily be a problem. There are lots of people who look like celebrities -- enough that there's a whole agency that manages celebrity doubles. The difference between Superman and Batman is that if someone wears a mask, everyone knows they're hiding their appearance and wonders who they really are. But Superman shows the world his true face, so it wouldn't necessarily occur to people that he had another identity. I think Lex Luthor in All-Star Superman
said that he couldn't imagine someone of Superman's power ever lowering himself to pretend to be a mere mortal. He did notice a resemblance between Clark and Superman (specifically that their eyebrows had the same shape), but it never occurred to him that they could be the same person. Others might think the same way -- if they noticed the resemblance, they'd just say, "Hey, Clark, anyone ever tell you that you kind of look like Superman?"
I've always wanted to write a scene where Lois notes the resemblance and Clark jokes, "Well, maybe I'm Superman in disguise." To which Lois would laugh and say, "No way. If Superman wanted to disguise himself, he'd go for a curly blond wig and beard, maybe a paunch. No way would he be stupid enough to think just a pair of glasses could work as a disguise. No, Smallville, you look way too much like Superman to actually be Superman." And Clark wouldn't know whether to be relieved or insulted.
On a related note, I'm really glad they had Lois connect the dots so early. It avoids having to have Clark keep his secret from her while straining credibility that someone so smart and observant wouldn't figure it out. At the same time, it also changes the Lois/Clark dynamic that has become the norm with Superman stories. While I suppose that could be bad, it's also refreshing that they decided to knock that out of the way so early.
Except it doesn't change the norm. In the comics, Lois discovered Clark's identity in 1991, shortly after they got engaged. And that was the status quo for the next 20 years, until the New 52 reboot. Other adaptations have followed the comics' lead in that regard. On Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
, Lois deduced Clark's secret in the second-season finale and they were engaged/married for the remaining two seasons. Smallville
's Lois was in on Clark's secret from late season 8 onward. And many of the current line of direct-to-video animated movies from Warner Bros/DC have Lois in on Clark's secret and dating or married to him, since they're usually based on comics stories where that was the case.
So, far from going against the norm, MoS is just the latest adaptation to be following what's been the norm in the comics for two decades. True, that was reversed in the comics two years ago, but screen adaptations take a long time to develop, so they tend to lag behind the latest changes.
NeuralClone, on 18 June 2013 - 02:19 AM, said:
Oh, apparently, Warner Bros. is fast tracking a sequel to Man of Steel, with Zack Snyder directing and David S. Goyer writing.
This is one case where I really wish they'd change directors, and maybe writers too. Goyer's been involved in some really good movies but also some really bad ones.
If everything is rushed, then we may end up with a Superman 3 or 4 type situation. That is, a terrible follow-up.
I think Superman 3
is a greatly underappreciated movie. It actually has a lot going for it.
In many ways it's more structurally and tonally cohesive than most other Superman films, and it's a lot of fun too, in a totally goofy Silver-Age way.
If they do introduce Lex, I don't want to see the character treated as comic relief.
Given Snyder and Goyer's determination to be taken as seriously as possible, I doubt there's any risk of that happening.