I’ve seen “Man of Steel” twice now and I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what I think of it. I thought that using Gifs would be fun, because everyone loves Gifs. If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t worry. There are very light spoilers that won’t ruin anything for you.
“Man of Steel” is more realistic than anyone thought it would be and I believe that’s the real problem Superman fans have about the movie. If you think back to “Superman: The Movie” and “Superman Returns,” those movies were more concerned with giving the audience the feeling of awe and wonder when they saw Superman. The Last Son of Krypton shows up and everyone is amazed! He’s Superman! Amazing!
But, the very need to make people feel like Superman is amazing is the same thing that stopped people from liking Superman. “Superman Returns” was such a bad movie on multiple levels because it wanted to show Superman as a savior and hero. That’s great. But it’s boring.
That’s why “Man of Steel” is such a breath of fresh air. I absolutely loved this movie. I loved everything about it. I loved Krypton. I loved Russel Crowe and Henry Cavil and Amy Adams. I especially Michael Shannon who might be one of my favorite actors now.
I thought the action in the movie was mind blowing. It had beautiful sets and wonderful CGI that kept me captivated. When Superman fought Zod and the other Kryptonians, I got the feeling of amazement and wonder. I didn’t get it from watching Superman catching a helicopter or a plane. I got the feeling of wonder by watching Superman beat the crap out of Zod, punching him so hard that entire buildings fell down. That’s what I want to see when I watch a movie like this. I want to see entire city blocks destroyed. I wanted to see people throwing semi-trucks at Superman. I want to see Superman flying through the city so fast I can’t keep up. I’m not typically a Zack Synder fan, but “Man of Steel” was ridiculously enjoyable and it may be my favorite comic book movie of all time.
Some people however, didn’t like the movie.
The reason why some people didn’t like “Man of Steel” was because it’s not really a comic book movie. It’s more of a Science Fiction movie. Comic book movies are more concerned with the Superhero mythos. Science fiction is more concerned with telling a story using science elements. “Man of Steel” is barely recognizable as a comic book movie because it isn’t afraid to move away from the source material when it needs to. This, obviously, has made some people upset, to the point of out right saying that “Man of Steel” is bad.
They are wrong. “Man of Steel” is a great movie because it innovates, which reinforces something I’ve said over and over again. PEOPLE SAY THAT WANT INNOVATION BUT THEY REALLY DON’T.
Fans want exactly what they want and, if they don’t get it, they are annoyed and frustrated. Making a movie for fans limits your ability to make a movie for a broader audience. Screen Writer David Goyer made the obvious choice of ignoring some concerns of fans (who will watch the movie anyway, no matter what) and aiming towards a larger audience (who might not go see Superman movies). I am not a Superman fan and I don’t particularly see the appeal of the character. However, I saw the movie twice because I thought it was terrific. Is that fair to the Superman fans who felt like they were cheated? Like something was stolen from them? No, no it’s not fair. But, sense I got a great movie, I don’t really care.
Lastly, I want to discuss the epic amount of violence in the movie, described by some as “Destruction porn.” In the movie, lots of people probably died because of the actions of the Kryptonians. They want to turn Earth into Krypton and they don’t care how many humans die. Superman has to stop them and he does. But, the chaos and destruction unleashed was more than anything I’ve ever seen in a movie. Seriously, I’ve never seen this level of calamity and it’s probably realistic to what would happen in real life. Some thought it was too much and some very particular fans believe Superman should have done more to save lives.
Do I have to remind people that it’s a movie? That no one really died and that Metropolis isn’t even a real place? I know good story telling makes you have empathy and sympathy for the characters that you watch or read. When you see destruction and death in fiction, you feel it. I get that. But, if thousands of (fake) people have to die so I can see (fake) destruction on such an epic scale, then whatever. Good. Let those (fake) people die and kill more (fake) people.
In the end, is the Superman in “Man of Steel” the same Superman that fans love and cherish? No. I don’t think so. I like this Superman much better, though. It’s one of the aspects of the movie that will make it divisive and contentious among comic book fans for years to come. That’s a good thing and that’s what good story telling is supposed to do: Push the limits and see how far you can go.