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#41 Christopher

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 08:54 PM

View PostG-man, on 17 June 2013 - 08:00 PM, said:

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.

Of course he had a choice. You're overlooking the obvious third option: Draw the battle away from a populated area. Seriously, that's like the first move in the superhero playbook.

And we've had a number of superhero movies where the heroes couldn't draw the fight away from populated areas but still managed to balance fighting the bad guys with saving civilians. One of my favorite things about the climax of The Avengers is that they remembered to keep the heroes focused on protecting/evacuating the civilians.


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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?

But it was a bad call on the writers' part, because it meant Superman was off by himself on a side quest while all the other characters were in the middle of the big action. That's just sloppy story structure. You're saying he took the best option in the situation as it was defined, and maybe that's true, but the point is that it's bewildering that the writers and director chose to define the situation in a way that marginalized the hero of the movie. They should've gone back and broken the third act differently before they even got to the point of filming the script. (Why do so many movies fall apart in the third act?)


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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.

I like what Chris Sims had to say about it on ComicsAlliance:

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For me, the worst thing about Superman killing Zod at the end of Man of Steel isn't the neck-snapping itself, but that a few minutes before it happens, during an interminable fight scene through the damn near post-apocalyptic landscape of a ruined Metropolis, Zod tells him something along the lines of "this doesn't end until one of us dies." And he's right. That's what kills me about it. The bad guy tells Superman that he'll only stop if Superman kills him, and Superman proves him right. Superman proves that the bad guy is right. There's no other way. It's just violence and death as the only solution.

Superman proves that the bad guy is right.

Read More: http://www.comicsall.../#ixzz2WWnm2TIn

He goes on to point out how passive Superman is -- basically everything he does is because someone tells him to, either Jonathan or Jor-El or the priest. And at the end, he does what Zod tells him to.

The real victory for a hero is to prove the villain wrong. To prove that there's a better way. No, Superman wasn't happy about what he was forced to do, but that just underlines his failure.
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#42 DWF

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:02 PM

View PostChristopher, on 17 June 2013 - 08:54 PM, said:

View PostG-man, on 17 June 2013 - 08:00 PM, said:

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.

Of course he had a choice. You're overlooking the obvious third option: Draw the battle away from a populated area. Seriously, that's like the first move in the superhero playbook.


I think you're missing the point that both ships had to be lined up to terraform the planet and until Lois told him how to save the planet he didn't have a clue. And he thought Zod was defeated when the drone ship crashed. Running away with the hope of having Zod follow him wasn't much of an option. But then how many people were in danger in Superman II before Superman fled teh battle scene, not even knowing that the Krytonians would've followed him to the fortress.
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#43 NeuralClone

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 10:37 PM

View PostChristopher, on 17 June 2013 - 08:54 PM, said:

Of course he had a choice. You're overlooking the obvious third option: Draw the battle away from a populated area. Seriously, that's like the first move in the superhero playbook.
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.

Once they found out he was willing to defend humanity, I don't think anything would have stopped them from killing random people just to get him to come to them. They pretty much said as much when they first arrived at Earth. Flying away from where they were attacking wasn't an option. They would have just continued attacking and killing until Clark returned. The only real option was to minimize the damage and casualties. Given that it was basically multiple demigods beating the crap out of each other and fighting over the very survival of humanity, I think he did a pretty good job minimizing the damage.
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#44 Virgil Vox

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 11:22 PM

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. 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.

I did like how the military was handled here. They didn't openly embrace Superman, but they weren't hostile to him from the get-go and did side with him once they saw that he was helping them.

I had no problem with Superman going after the World Engine while the military handled the ship. It showed that the ship couldn't be taken out until the World Engine was destroyed so that was the priority and Superman could get to the Engine faster than anyone else.

I also have no problem with Truth, Justice, and the American Way. To me, it's like Superman. An ideal to strive for, a symbol of hope. The fact that we rarely achieve it doesn't mean we should just throw it away. That's not to say I want a jingoistic Superman. Far from it. I hope Superman operates on a global scale in the sequel. He's one of the few heroes that can, really. Nor do I expect the phrase to be said in the movies. Superman's American, but he has to be above politics and national borders.

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.

Oh, and I loved the liquid metal technology. The scene where Jor-El is telling Clark about Krypton's history was beautifully rendered. I wonder if we'll ever see Daxam, and its hero Mon-El, in this universe. Daxam started out as a Kryptonian colony. I highly doubt it, but I can hope. I'm a big fan of Mon-El.

edit: Read Christopher's review after I posted and wanted to respond to something.

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Maybe the reason filmmakers have so much trouble getting Superman right is that they keep feeling they have to apologize for him, that they have to distance their takes from the perceived cheesiness or unrelatability of the basic premise. This film shied away from even using the name Superman, as if they were embarrassed by it. They didn’t use it in the title, they barely used it in the script, and they even credited the lead character as “Clark Kent/Kal-El.” How can you make Superman work if you’re embarrassed even to admit that he is Superman?

I do agree with this. I've been reading some interviews, and David Goyer in particular seems to embody this idea. He says in one interview that he didn't really understand Superman aft first and wasn't sure he could write it until he experienced some personal tragedies. He also says he doesn't know how he's going to make the glasses disguise work. Which I get but at the same time it's been part of the Superman mythos since day one. I'm good with a lot of changes, but Clark Kent wearing glasses and working at the Daily Planet is something I want to see in the sequel.

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. Heck, he wasn't even referred to as the Man of Steel either. At least in The Dark Knight Batman was called the Dark Knight.

Edited by Virgil Vox, 17 June 2013 - 11:45 PM.

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#45 NeuralClone

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:41 AM

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. This was the first time he revealed himself directly to the world. Now that he's been called "Superman" by other people, I'm sure that will be continued in the next movie. The same goes for the glasses disguise. Why would they introduce that if they didn't plan on using it? It isn't exactly a believable disguise on its own. The way Clark acts will need to be a big part of making it believable. Just because David Goyer isn't sure how to make that work doesn't mean he won't find a way when it comes time to write it.

I don't think anyone was embarrassed by the premise or him being Superman. If anything I got the exact opposite impression from the movie. It felt like it was actually proud to be based on the Superman comics. I have yet to see another Superman movie that has taken his origin story so seriously while fleshing out Krypton and its people. If you want to see something that was ashamed of being based on Superman, just take a good look at Smallville.

The title of the movie makes the movie stand apart from the previous Superman movies while still referencing Superman. There doesn't need to be an internal movie reference for the title to make sense. Superman is well-known in popular culture as the Man of Steel. It's pretty clear to most people who are even slightly familiar with Superman that the movie is about him.

As for the credits, I don't get that nitpick either. His name is Clark Kent/Kal-El. That's how people refer to him throughout the movie. It's other people that call him Superman, and the name sticks. Bruce Wayne didn't call himself "Batman" in Nolan's Batman films either. Other people started calling him the "Bat Man" and the name Batman eventually became what he was called. I can understand the criticisms about the violence and Superman killing. These criticisms, however, I just don't get.
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#46 Virgil Vox

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 01:27 AM

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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. This was the first time he revealed himself directly to the world. Now that he's been called "Superman" by other people, I'm sure that will be continued in the next movie.

It's not a big deal. For me, anyways. Like I said, I was just surprised that he was only called that once, and by some random soldier. I had expected it to have been given more significance than that. But it doesn't hurt my enjoyment of the movie. It wasn't even until the movie was over that I even recognized he had only been called Superman once. I was having too good of a time watching it to really care about that during the movie.

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The same goes for the glasses disguise. Why would they introduce that if they didn't plan on using it? It isn't exactly a believable disguise on its own. The way Clark acts will need to be a big part of making it believable. Just because David Goyer isn't sure how to make that work doesn't mean he won't find a way when it comes time to write it.

Oh, I'm sure they will use the glasses and the whole disguise. But the writer saying that the glasses are ridiculous and sounding like he'd rather not have to deal with the whole disguise doesn't fill me with confidence either. But that's far away in the future (or maybe not if they do rush out a sequel) and one random interview doesn't mean anything once the actual process of writing the new script starts.

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If you want to see something that was ashamed of being based on Superman, just take a good look at Smallville.

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.

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The title of the movie makes the movie stand apart from the previous Superman movies while still referencing Superman. There doesn't need to be an internal movie reference for the title to make sense. Superman is well-known in popular culture as the Man of Steel. It's pretty clear to most people who are even slightly familiar with Superman that the movie is about him.

No, there doesn't need to be an internal reference to the movie title. I never said the title wouldn't make sense if he was never called the Man of Steel in the movie. I won't lie I would have liked him to be called that in the movie because I like the Man of Steel moniker.
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#47 NeuralClone

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 01:45 AM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 18 June 2013 - 01:27 AM, said:

Oh, I'm sure they will use the glasses and the whole disguise. But the writer saying that the glasses are ridiculous and sounding like he'd rather not have to deal with the whole disguise doesn't fill me with confidence either. But that's far away in the future (or maybe not if they do rush out a sequel) and one random interview doesn't mean anything once the actual process of writing the new script starts.
To be fair, the glasses ARE a rather ridiculous disguise. I've always had trouble believing that no one would recognize him. Batman has half of his face covered. The Green Arrow wears a hood to conceal his face. Spider-Man wears a mask that covers his entire face. And so on. Superman...puts on glasses. It's a tough sell. This becomes especially true when you want viewers to buy that the characters around him are intelligent people. Christopher Reeve really managed to sell the whole Clark Kent disguise by making it about more than just the glasses. I think that's really the only way to go and have it be believable. He wouldn't necessarily have to be so dorky. But his personality needs to be different enough that people wouldn't consciously start making connections. Not having to deal with the glasses at all would be easier but then it wouldn't be Superman. So it's something he'll have to figure out if he's going to continue writing the movies.

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.

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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.
The later seasons definitely seemed to embrace the show's comic origins a lot better. Interestingly, that's when I actually started to find the show enjoyable, albeit still highly frustrating.

Edited by NeuralClone, 18 June 2013 - 01:55 AM.

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#48 NeuralClone

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 02:19 AM

Oh, apparently, Warner Bros. is fast tracking a sequel to Man of Steel, with Zack Snyder directing and David S. Goyer writing. It's unknown what role Christopher Nolan will play. The current word is that they want it to be released in 2014. I'm not sure how I feel about this. My only real concern is I want them to have enough time to do a decent sequel. If everything is rushed, then we may end up with a Superman 3 or 4 type situation. That is, a terrible follow-up. Hopefully they know what they're doing. This movie deserves a strong sequel.

http://www.deadline....-david-s-goyer/

Personally, I'd love to see Brainiac as a villain, with possibly Lex Luthor as a secondary villain (maybe working with Brainiac). If they do introduce Lex, I don't want to see the character treated as comic relief. He should be an actual serious threat to Superman. But honestly, I'd much rather see a different villain besides Lex Luthor. He's been done to death. Lex with someone else would be fine, though. Darkseid might be kind of cool to see on the big screen too.

Edited by NeuralClone, 18 June 2013 - 02:32 AM.

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#49 DWF

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 04:27 AM

I thought the overall quality of Smallville fell in the last three years of the series and the CW renewed the series at least threee times more than it was needed IMO.
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#50 BklnScott

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 05:41 AM

I think that report on the sequel everyone is citing means it would be in production by 2014.  Unless they're ready to start shooting nowish ( and they're not), a 2014 release seems highly unlikely.

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#51 NeuralClone

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 06:39 AM

View PostDWF, on 18 June 2013 - 04:27 AM, said:

I thought the overall quality of Smallville fell in the last three years of the series and the CW renewed the series at least threee times more than it was needed IMO.
Overall I think the quality dropped to some extent. At the same time, I thought the way it more strongly embraced its comic origins worked in its favor. It certainly made the show more fun anyway. The larger role of Erica Durance as Lois helped a lot with that too. I think the season long story arcs were far more interesting than they had previously been, even if they weren't always ended in ways that were all that satisfying. Standalone episodes tended to be iffy too but that's a problem I thought the always had (among many others).

I don't think I ever really loved the show. It sort of filled a Superman void but never managed to get me to watch for all ten seasons. I watched the first two and the last three. The last three held my interest better because their story arcs felt more comic inspired.

View PostBklnScott, on 18 June 2013 - 05:41 AM, said:

I think that report on the sequel everyone is citing means it would be in production by 2014.  Unless they're ready to start shooting nowish ( and they're not), a 2014 release seems highly unlikely.
Yeah, I don't know how else that article it would make sense. Going into production in 2014 and being released in 2015 or 2016 seems far more reasonable than a 2014 release.

Edited by NeuralClone, 18 June 2013 - 06:44 AM.

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#52 Christopher

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:16 AM

View PostNeuralClone, 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.



View PostVirgil 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.


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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.


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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.


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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."


View PostNeuralClone, 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.


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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.


View PostVirgil 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.


View PostNeuralClone, 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.


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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.


View PostNeuralClone, 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.


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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.


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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.
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#53 Cardie

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:11 PM

The apparent absurdities of Clark's glasses disguise are less absurd when the symbolism of glasses at the time are taken into consideration. Glasses connoted either age, nerdiness, or some other deviation from standard masculinity.Schoolyard bullies shouted "four-eyes"" at bespectacled classmates. So even if people might have noticed Clark's resemblance to Superman, they would have taken his geeky persona, which the glasses symbolized, as proof that there was no way this fellow could be the fearsome Man of Steel.
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#54 G-man

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:29 PM

It seems to me that given that our hero just got his uniform that day (the day before? the week before?) it would seem to me that Clark/Kal-El never gave much thought as to what his nom de guerre should be; and it is perfectly natural that you'd have others give you one.

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#55 Christopher

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:40 PM

View PostG-man, on 18 June 2013 - 12:29 PM, said:

It seems to me that given that our hero just got his uniform that day (the day before? the week before?) it would seem to me that Clark/Kal-El never gave much thought as to what his nom de guerre should be; and it is perfectly natural that you'd have others give you one.

It's pretty common in various incarnations of the story for Lois, or the press in general, to be the one who names Superman. Of course, the '78 movie did it in a rather corny way by having Margot Kidder's Lois say, "What a super man. Hm -- Superman!" Superman: The Animated Series took a more literate approach, having Lois refer to him as the Nietzschean ideal of the superman brought to life. In Superman: Birthright, the name first appeared in the headline of a Lois Lane article (though for all we know it was Perry who wrote the headline). In Byrne's Man of Steel in the '80s, the name similarly debuted on a headline in the Smallville Post, but since Lois was the reporter present at the scene, it seems likely that the Post was just reprinting her Planet article.

I don't remember how Lois & Clark did it, but Smallville went the time-paradox route, having Clark discover that he would be called Superman in the future, so the name kind of came out of nowhere. Although I think there was an episode or two where they flirted with having Lois coin the name.
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#56 Cybersnark

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:22 PM

I have to agree with Christopher's review. This. . . wasn't the Superman movie I wanted to see.

For one, it has the same flaw all previous Superman movies have: trying to be a Superman movie. Superman is not a character; Superman is an event. An icon. A persona. The story should be about the person who wears the costume.

This movie tried to do that by focusing on Kal-El --I can't call him Clark, because everything we saw of him is that he identifies himself as Kal-El: the Outsider. The one who does not belong, and has no real connections to anyone or anything on Earth except Ma (hell, of the five people he interacts with heavily in the film, two of them are Kryptonian [and one is a dead Kryptonian]).

In fact, I've long believed that a good Superman movie has to include three central characters: Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor. With Clark replaced with Kal-El, this movie only had Lois, and it was a tamer, rounded-off Lois with none of the bite or passion of the comic version. This Lois is already a Pulitzer-winning reporter at the top of her game --Lois Lane should be hungry, desperate for recognition and the fame that she knows will be hers.

It also perpetuates the nauseating idea that a career in journalism can be had with no prior study, no demonstrated writing experience, and nothing more than a probably-crappy resume.

(That's the part everybody always misses --at some point Clark Kent must have wanted to be a reporter. It isn't a cover for him, it's his vocation. When he walks into the Daily Planet building for the first time, it should mean more than his first look at the Fortress.)

View PostChristopher, on 18 June 2013 - 08:16 AM, said:

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.
Agreed 100%. This was a movie about Superman failing to protect anyone. Sadly, it seems like this is par for the course these days.

And Luthor was. . . I just can't conceive of a situation where Lex Luthor would not put in at least an appearance when aliens start destroying His city. (Hell, wouldn't that have been a twist; have Lex be the one who actually wants to protect Metropolis --and this movie does give us a perfect example of why Lex would think Superman is a menace that needs to be stopped at all costs. . .)

OTOH, it does signify the first on-screen portrayal of Kelex. I have to give it points for that. Even if they mispronounced his name (or maybe I've been mispronouncing him since the 80s).
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#57 DWF

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:34 PM

I certainly thought the movie was more about Clark Kent than Superman as it was previously stated he's not even called Superman til later on in the movie. And seeing as how Clark stopped the terraforminig I'd say he saved alot of lives, the only way he could've prevented loss of life was to have gone backwards in time and we've seen that before.
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#58 NeuralClone

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:41 PM

View PostCybersnark, on 18 June 2013 - 08:22 PM, said:

It also perpetuates the nauseating idea that a career in journalism can be had with no prior study, no demonstrated writing experience, and nothing more than a probably-crappy resume.
Unless I missed it, we have no idea what Clark's role was going to be at the Daily Planet. He could be starting at the bottom of the ladder or as an assistant. Or any other number of things.

Edited by NeuralClone, 18 June 2013 - 08:45 PM.

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#59 DWF

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:44 PM

View PostNeuralClone, on 18 June 2013 - 08:41 PM, said:

View PostCybersnark, on 18 June 2013 - 08:22 PM, said:

It also perpetuates the nauseating idea that a career in journalism can be had with no prior study, no demonstrated writing experience, and nothing more than a probably-crappy resume.
We have no idea what Clark's role was going to be at the Daily Planet. He could be starting at the bottom of the ladder or as an assistant. Or any other number of things.

It is worth noting that Clark on Smallville got his job wtihout a college degree or even a start in the mailroom.
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

#60 NeuralClone

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:49 PM

View PostDWF, on 18 June 2013 - 08:44 PM, said:

It is worth noting that Clark on Smallville got his job wtihout a college degree or even a start in the mailroom.
Indeed. Even if he somehow jumps right into being a full-time reporter in the Man of Steel movies (that's an assumption at this point), it isn't something I'm going to lose sleep over. For starters, it's happened in other Superman interpretations. And on top of that, it's based on a comic book. Yes, this movie has a darker tone than the previous Superman movies but it's still clearly comic book-like and trying to hold it up to the way things work in real life is an unrealistic expectation. There are elements of realism and elements of fantasy/science fiction. Maybe Perry White took a chance on Clark because he's an exceptionally good writer.

Edited by NeuralClone, 18 June 2013 - 08:53 PM.

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