Zack Once Again Again: Man of Steel

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Mostly out of boredom, I posted a fairly long analysis of the Man of Steel trailer back in April.  Looking back, I think my analysis was okay, I didn’t leap to too many conclusions.  The movie was pretty much as expected.

However, there are some talking points, so I’m going to give Man of Steel even more free promotion with a second post.

SPOILERS after the jump.

In my previous post, I expressed concern about Clark Kent wondering around the United States in search of himself, so let’s start with that.  The concept of Clark Kent coming to terms with his place in the world is something which has been explored in the comics, and in particular J. Michael Straczynski’s Earth One.  I think it’s fair to say that Man of Steel borrowed heavily from the plotting of Earth One for its origin of Superman.  In fact it’s perhaps more acurate to say that it’s an origin of Clark Kent, since both Earth One and Man of Steel end with a young, bespectacled Clark bumbling his way into the offices of the Daily Planet.  Or maybe it’s just that Clark and Superman are two sides of the same coin and Superman isn’t really Superman until he has his alter ego.  Actually, that’s probably the best way to think of it.

Quite a few liberties were taken with the Superman mythos, some of which I didn’t mind and others I felt seriously detracted.  The wandering Clark device made the movie reminscent of Batman Begins or the old Incredible Hulk TV show, but it did help to structure the film’s otherwise disjointed collage of events.  I actually quite liked the less liner way the origin was told, switching between past and present.

The decision to use Zod as the villain wasn’t a bad one in the end, and Michael Shannon was good casting.  It made sense to use Zod given his link to Krypton, made for some good sci-fi, and also set Superman up against an adversary with equivalent strength.  This is something which was needed and I enjoyed seeing Superman really cut loose for once.  All the skyscraper descruction reminded me of this scene from the Justice League cartoon:

What really didn’t work for me was Amy Adams’ version of Lois Lane.  Apart from the fact she just didn’t turn out to be a very good Lois, I hated that she found out Superman’s not-so-secret identity with just a few phonecalls.  I understand the rationale for taking this approach, but it completely ruins the dynamic between the central characters for me.

Similarly, young Clark letting his dad get whisked away by a tornado didn’t sit right with me.  In the comics, Jonathan Kent dies of a heart attack and there is somehow something much more tragic and real about that; despite all of his abilities, Superman can’t stop his adopted father’s death from natural causes.

And, another thing, before I sign off, is the death of Zod.  Snapping his neck may have been the only legitimate option for Superman given the situation, but it felt wrong in retrospect.  Superman just shouldn’t be someone who snaps necks.  Leave that to Spider-Man.

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4 Responses to “Zack Once Again Again: Man of Steel”

  1. Metropolis gets totalled or does it? All those people walking around in the background when Zod and Supes are having their fight? Amy Adams was miscast as Lois, don’t get me wrong she’s a great actor but this role was not for her.

  2. thebigsmoke Says:

    Regarding Amy Adams’ Lois, I blame the writing more than I blame her.

  3. When does spiderman snap any necks?

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