Man of Steel, movie  » Movies  »
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  • He solves problem, despite of danger, because danger doesn't apply to him
  • To make Superman interesting, the writers of his stories realized he couldn't just be an all-powerful being
  • He was as smart as his paper-printed persona, as rich, as charismatic, but Nolan put more weight on the traumatic experience that made him what he was

    • by Odysseas Kourafalos

      all reviews
      I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: Superman is lame. There, I said it, and now I’ll probably have to run and hide inside some bunker until the geek rage dies. And it’s strange, because I’m also a geek. A geek that loves comics and computer games, that grew up with superheroes like Superman, Batman and Spider-Man. But, yeah, deep down we all know that Superman is lame. And that’s not just “opinion”, but fact. I’m going to explain the “how’s” and “why’s” and, by doing that, you’ll probably understand that Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is not a bad movie per se, just one doomed from the very beginning to feel mediocre, due to its very protagonist.

      Superman, you see, first appeared in an era where the notion of “superheroes” was something only thinkers and intellectuals cared about, not the masses, not your “average Joe”. Just after his pulpy birth, in the pages of Action Comics, Superman was seemingly just “a man with super strength”. He would use it to fight off criminals, save innocents from accidents and, yeah, why not, after a while, fight off the Nazis too. But he didn’t rely only on his strength.

      “Strength”, on and by itself, got boring. So what if he could pick up a car? A champion weight-lifter could probably come close. That didn’t look “heroic” enough. So, he also became bulletproof. After a while, he could also shoot lasers from his eyes. Have super-hearing. Super-eyesight. Super-speed. Super-everything. And he could also fly.

      Superman became a true “super man” in every meaning of the world, an unstoppable being that had dedicated its life to the human race and its protection from any kind of evil (…the comic book writers could think of). And that, too, got boring. Fast.

      You see, a being that can’t be defeated, that’s seemignly a semi-mortal equivalent to a God, stops being interested when you realize that, since it’s all-powerful and nearly-unstoppable, the

      end of each and every of its stories is the same: it wins. Nothing can stop it. Nothing can kill it. So, why read the same story, again and again, if the end remains the same? Yeah, the bad guys, some dangers, some situations change. The main parts of the stories, though, remain the same: here’s superman. He’s invinsible. A problem appears. He solves problem, despite of danger, because danger doesn’t apply to him. Everyone is happy. The end.

      That’s when Krypton and kryptonite appeared.

      To make Superman interesting, the writers of his stories realized he couldn’t just be an all-powerful being. They’d made the mistake of granting him almost any superpower imaginable and making him seemingly invulnerable. By being perfect and having no traits, he stopped being interesting. How could they fix that mistake? Well…

      If you know Superman’s backstory, you know that most of Supermans powers supposedly came from the differences between our planet and Krypton: Krypton had more gravity, so on Earth, with its way smaller gravity, Superman could fly. Krypton had a thicker atmosphere, so on Earth, where it’s not as thick, Superman had super-breath. And so on.

      That meant, though, that when on Krypton, Superman would seem normal, just like every other of its inhabitants: no super-flying, no super-strength, no nothing. It was good for Superman that Krypton was destroyed and he fell here, a demi-god upon Earth. It was bad for him that pieces of Krypton flew threw space and some beings or people or whatever found them, giving them an advantage over him, for when Superman came to close contact with a piece of his former planet, his powers were almost nullified. Just like if he was there. Yes, it’s silly, but it’s comics we’re talking about, so don’t overthink about it.

      And now, on to the movie itself.

      Coming a little after the last part in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel followed the new recipe for superheroes that wants them dark, brooding, filled with problems and sorrow, almost rejects of society. Troubled individuals that just happen to be better than the rest of us in only one thing: beating up criminals.

      Zack Snyder tried to repeat Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight Recipe” with his Man of Steel but it didn’t work. And that’s why I mentioned the backstory of the character, who he is, what his powers and traits are: because if you know about him, you understand why this movie simply “doesn’t work”.

      Christopher Nolan’s Bruce Wayne, Batman’s alter ego, wasn’t just “a milionaire who spent his bucks to buy gadgets and expensive cars and suits, playing the superhero” - like his comic equivalent. He was as smart as his paper-printed persona, as rich, as charismatic, but Nolan put more weight on the traumatic experience that made him what he was: the loss of his parents.

      When his killed by a petty criminal, Bruce Wayne went semi-insane. It didn’t show that much, but he had changed, swearing revenge, dedicating his life to the punishment of those responsible. And when he did get “those responsible”, he kept doing what he did up to then: hunting and punishing criminals. Because he was always lost and salvation would never come. He kept projecting the face of his parents killer to each and every criminal he met. He was and kept being, as we’d say in short, “damaged”.

      Superman, on the other hand, was always “the perfect being”. The direct opposite of “damaged”. Batman was the very depiction of what being human and frail is. Superman was a demi-god upon Earth. How could you create a movie about him, following the success of The Dark Knight? Why, by changing bits and pieces of his story, and at the same time, ignoring the very things he stands for!

      The first mistake Zack Snyder made was relying too much on Krypton and Superman’s real parents. The audience wanted to see Superman. Flying, fighting,

      • Man of Steel, movie
      doing what he does best. The very movie was titled “Man of Steel”, what else could it be about? And yet, a huge chunk of it was wasted showing what happened on Krypton before Superman came to Earth, trying to make Superman’s story “one about revenge”. Just like The Dark Knight’s was.

      [SPOILER ALERT] Superman’s enemies in Man of Steel were not just criminals, they were, up to a point, the people responsible for the death of his parents. And, at the same time, they had also played a role in the very destruction of his planet.

      To also depict him as a vulnerable individual, Superman shouldn’t have any powers. But, how could he be Superman without super-powers? Simple: make him have superpowers, but forbid himself from using them. Wait, wouldn’t it be idiotic to be able to fly and not do so but, instead, walk for days? Wouldn’t it be moronic to be able to save the ones you love, and yet, let them die in front of your eyes? No. Why? “Because you swore not to use your powers and strive to be more human”.

      Just think about it for a moment: right in front of you, the person you love most in the world is in great peril. He/she has only seconds to live, except if you do something. And you “doing something” is, for you, a super-being, as simple as picking up a pencil. What would you do?

      But, let him/she die, of course! Because you swore to not use your powers and strive to be human.

      I’ll let it sink in for a while.

      Thought about it? Good. Let’s go on.

      Not only is this whole “orinin story” totally silly, illogical and unneded, but the way the story goes on is even worse. The very being that “dedicated its life to protect humanity” is here depicted trying to fend off “the bad guys” without giving a second thought about the results of his actions. I’m not

      the first to criticize the last part of Man of Steel where you’ll marvel at the biblical destruction layed upon earth from the inhuman battle of super-beings, with whole skyscrapers getting demolished and cars exploding. Probably “because it looked cool” to Zack Snyder.

      While creating this scenes of his movie, Mr. Snyder seemed to forget that skyscrapers are buildings, where humans happen to occasionally be found. They might be working, sleeping, generally living their lives, but they’re there. There, inside those brick boxes getting demolished by Superman “to protect us”.

      So, if you really think about it, after having seen a moronic “origin story” that tries to immitate The Dark Knight, in Man of Steel you witness Superman killing hundreds, nay, thousands of people “to protect us”. You see him laying destruction by trying to prevent “the bad guys” from laying their own kind of destruction.

      And that’s why the movie “doesn’t work”. It’s not the characters themselves. It’s not the actors or the effects. It’s not even the story arc itself. It’s the knowledge that this, the man, the being you’re watching, is supposed to be the man, the being you already knew, from DC’s comic books, from Christopher Reeve’s depiction of him, the demi-god who would do everything in his power to prevent a human from being hurt. And he doesn’t. The super-being who also happens to be super-smart and super-kind is here depicted as a super-emo with personal issues until “he finds himself”. Right before the end credits. “Because Batman”, as teh Internetz would say.

      In the end, you’re left with a bitter taste, feeling cheated, having watched a movie with someone, some… thing that is not a bird, is not a plane, but is not the Superman you knew and loved as well. And maybe that’s the reason “Superman”, as a word, can’t be heard during the whole movie and can’t be found in its title: because this, here, is “Man of Steel”, alright. But “Superman”, he ain’t.

Diego van der Veen says :

re : He solves problem, despite of danger, because danger doesn’t apply to him
Even though he’s Superman, there is always a villain who can hurt him and to murder him in the end Only his perseverance and how strong he is mentally, Superman eventually always win
April K Adams says :

re : He was as smart as his paper-printed persona, as rich, as charismatic, but Nolan put more weight on the traumatic experience that made him what he was
It boils down to good morals and values. Both of which he he has. The above questions is really just superficial and stereotypical. Good and decent people still remain (and will) no matter what technology or advancement may take.
There will always be agood and a bad. Along with CHOICE.
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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in December, 2014. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 1115121640240731/k2311a1215/12.15.14
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