Pick of the Week Podcast

06.15.2013 – ‘Man of Steel’

Show Notes

Running Time: 00:48:24

Josh Flanagan makes a rare special edition podcast appearance as he joins Conor Kilpatrick and Mike Romo to talk about Man of Steel! Does Zach Snyder, David Goyer, and Christopher Nolan’s attempt to bring Superman into the modern world soar? Has Warner Bros. finally found success outside of Gotham City? Is everyone on the show exhausted?

Man of Steel_Poster_Horizontal

Music:
“Flight”
Hans Zimmer

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Comments

  1. Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

    After seeing the film again last night–well, number one, my ears are still ringing–I enjoyed it more the second time because I was less concerned with taking in the differences between this and the “traditional” Superman and I just took in the story.

    HOWEVER, upon second viewing, the problems I initially had with the movie are even more glaring. The first two acts are fun but the third act has some serious problems and the wanton destruction of Metropolis that Superman seems completely unconcerned about continues to bother me the most, as does the final scene where Clark comes to the Daily Planet unless it’s set like two years in the future when people have had some time to get over the trauma of the entire city being destroyed by the Superman/Zod fight. Also, the idea that he still has a secret identity after everything that happened right around his home and all the time that Lois called him “Clark” out in the open remains laughable.

    Anyway, it was fun, but I am very much looking forward to popping in SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE later on today because for me that’s still the best superhero movie of all time, no contest.

    • cubman987 cubman987 says:

      Those things you just mentioned are my biggest problem with the movie, to me they are what keep it from being a really good or great movie, because they were honestly simple fixes. And it’s going to be weird in the sequel if they have Lex Luthor come in and be like the smartest man ever and not be able to figure out something that took Lois like 2 days to figure out.

    • cubman987 cubman987 says:

      Oh and to go along with the identity thing it really bothers me that he’s willing to sacrifice his father’s life to protect his identity but then pretty much doesn’t give much thought to protecting his identity through the rest of the movie.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @cubman987: It wasn’t so much that he sacrificed his father’s life to protect his identity–that would be a selfish act–he did it because that’s what his father wanted. He was showing Jonathan that, in the final analysis, even after their fight in the truck when he told him that he wasn’t his father, that he trusted him and that Jonathan was, indeed, his father.

    • cubman987 cubman987 says:

      Well yeah, I get all that, but it makes him look selfish when he does nothing to uphold his father’s dying wish later on. In fact, he’s down right careless about the whole thing. It was just weird to me to make such a big deal about protecting his identity and then being so careless about it throughout the rest of the movie.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @cubman987: I fault the script getting REALLY sloppy in the late second and third act.

    • cubman987 cubman987 says:

      @Conor I agree 100%

    • @Conor… Really, SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE best superhero movie of all time?!? Over THE DARK KNIGHT? Not what I would have expected from you.

      Also, I really didn’t see him being careless about his identity. He held his secret back because Jonathan told him the world wouldn’t be ready for him; a sentiment he explains to Lois at the grave. He doesn’t expose his existence until Zod calls him out. If the world wasn’t ready for someone like him before, they sure would be after a spaceship appears over the planet threatening total destruction. And given the context of the the film’s world and events at that point, would Clark even be thinking “Damn, I need to solidify a secret identity so no one knows who I really am.”

      Anyway, I’m more curious to how they handle the secret identity and destruction of Metropolis in a sequel. I would like to see Lex have a big part in the rebuilding of the city which paves the road for his character in the films.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      I doubt Conor puts The Dark Knight in the top 3.

      It’s like you don’t even know him.

      And he’s right about Superman: The Movie. It is the original. The ur.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @Josh: THE DARK KNIGHT or THE DARK KNIGHT RISES? The former is in the top 3 for sure.

    • cubman987 cubman987 says:

      @WilliamTrinity There is no scene in this movie where he is older and gives any kind of indication he cares about anyone finding out who he is. Heck, he’s willing to watch his father die but not Lois, someone he doesn’t even know. At least he should have tried to cover up who he was or something. And even after that he just concedes who he is without any sort of challenge or anything. And the writing, which makes a big deal about protecting his identity a big deal, doesn’t even allow for it to be plausible that people can’t figure out who he is when they have Zod’s grew go to the Kent Farm and Smallville. They even take the time to point out at the end of the film that the government wants to know who he is with the satellite thing, when it should absolutely be perfectly obvious who he is. No way the US or if they introduce Lex in the next movie can’t figure that out, especially considering Lois figured it out in like 2 days. It makes his father’s sacrifice seem hollow to me.

    • @cubman I just don’t think the whole identity thing is that big of a deal in this movie. Again, I think the point is that Jonathan says or implies the world isn’t ready for someone like Clark, and then we get to place where the world is ready (i.e alien innovation).

      As they mention in the podcast, this film is about Clark/Kal. Even when he puts on the cape, he’s still Clark Kent. When he fights Zod, he’s Clark Kent. The name of the film is MAN OF STEEL not Superman. He’s only referred to as “Superman” once in the film if I recall correctly. They introduce the notion of a secret identity at the final scene. I liked the film enough to let them have their 2-3 years to figure out how to handle the secret identity thing in the sequel.

    • TomiH TomiH says:

      WilliamTrinity: The writers have given Lex Luthor a perfect “in” into the series.

      He funds the rebuilding of Metropolis from what it was and into the City of Tomorrow (with his 200-story tall LexCorp Tower at the heart of the city), all the while decrying Superman’s reckless actions that cost hundreds of thousands of lives (never admiting that Superman literally saved the world) and fermenting xenophobia towards the alien who deigns himself a god. Luthor needs to be the epitome of ruthlessness and cunning… and not a real estate scam artist. Never again.

  2. Heroville Heroville says:

    Are you going to do a review of Blue is the Warmest Color? I mean, it is technically a comic book movie.

  3. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Good stuff, guys. Obviously I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as you and still don’t, you explored some things I hadn’t really considered. Glad you liked it and glad some of that could be captured here.

    Can’t say I agree about Kal-El’s specialness being a plus. I prefer the weight being on nurture rather than nature.

  4. Endlessw Endlessw says:

    i would love hear “i will never kill again. no one dies today!!!”

  5. Mister Mister says:

    Great show, guys. Since it wasn’t addressed on the show and seems to be dwarfed by the more controversial storytelling choices, what was your thoughts on the Hans Zimmer’s score? Did it factor into your enjoyment of the film? Do you think it serviced the movie? This is a component of Man of Steel I haven’t seen discussed on the website and would like to know your thoughts.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      I honestly didn’t notice it one way or the other in either viewings. Usually that’s a good thing for a film score but I don’t know if it is here, especially with Superman’s film history with scores and the great job Zimmer did with the Batman movies.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      I almost never take note of music, unless it’s really bad.

      It’s a film crit weakness I acknowledge.

  6. LEXPRIME LEXPRIME says:

    I really liked the movie! 4 outta 5 stars. there were some problems but mostly small ones and nit picky things so not a big deal. biggest problem I had was all the destruction at the end must have killed millions and clark didnt seem to care. him killing zod makes sense it was really the only way(for this film) and as long as he doesnt kill again I am fine. I wish they actually callled him superman more then the one time in passing. and now i can never watch the other superman movies again becauuse the graphic are just too old for me:( but still 1978 superman is a classic! :) hit gonna hit man of steel up again tonight!

  7. 85 85 says:

    Does anyone else get the vibe that gary oldman would play josh in a Ifanboy movie?

  8. rodfa02 rodfa02 says:

    SPOILER SPOILER

    I don’t understand the upset fans have surrounding what happens to Zod. Yes, it’s unsettling for Superman to kill, but in the second Reeve film, didn’t Superman throw the general into an icy abyss? Wasn’t that fatal too? Plus, Superman didn’t show any remorse after the act either. It seems to be an unfair criticism of Man of Steel that a similar course of action was taken. Did I miss something?

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      That’s assuming that everyone felt it was a good choice in Superman II.

    • LEXPRIME LEXPRIME says:

      the difference is in those movies he went back in time(in the richard donner cut) so zod stayed in the phantom zone lol. but going back in time was stupid so i agree with you. it shouldnt be getting ripped on too much for it. besides what they did to the manderin in iron man 3 was wayyyy worse! lol

    • Endlessw Endlessw says:

      i don’t remember there outrage when superman kills three guys in Superman Return either? i am i wrong?

  9. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    Good talk, guys. A nicely balanced discussion of pros and cons. Well done.

    Josh, after hearing that last bit at the end, I feel like a total dick for even asking if you’d be on this podcast. You take as many absences as you want, sir. Also, I may never have children.

    I think I’ll take a nap instead.

  10. EJ EJ says:

    Great podcast fellas. Some nice thoughts in there. Regarding the controversial ending where Superman breaks Zod’s neck. It kind of makes sense if you take into consideration a few things. Zod starts the fight by informing Kal that his only reason for existence is for the protection and greater good of Krypton and its people. Since there will be no more Kryptonians or a new Krypton he has no purpose in life. His warrior programming couldnt handle failure or obsolescence. He also stated that the only way that the fight would end is with the death of one of them. With this in mind, Zod, knowing that Kal has found a purpose in protecting humanity at any cost, states that he’s going to start killing humans. Starting with the family painted into the corner with laser eyes. Kal realizes he’s dealing with a desperate man that has nothing to lose. Realizing that Zod would not stop, he did what he had to do. At the same time, I think we can assume that Zod could have broken out of the choke hold or twitched his head closer to the family if he wanted to. What he was really doing was begging for Kal to kill him the only way a warrior of his caste would want to go out. Like Faora said, “a good death is its own reward.”

  11. MisterKyleW MisterKyleW says:

    I’ve seen it twice so far, and after my first viewing, I had a lot of the same misgivings Paul had (granted, I wasn’t as harsh on my star rating, but I think Paul and I share a distaste for such ratings anyway, if memory serves correctly). I thought the characterizations were off-center (Pa valuing Clark’s secret over human life? Pa teaching Clark humanity can’t be trusted? What??), the pacing uneven, the third act relentless, exhausting, and disheartening, and I thought the

    SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
    SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
    SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
    SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

    deaths of both Pa Kent, Jor-El, and Zod didn’t sit well with me. I kept finding plot holes (seriously, WHY did Zod want Lois on that ship? And how can a black hole just conveniently close when the bad guys are being sucked in? And why was Lois falling AWAY from the black hole when everything else is being sucked up?) etc.

    I could continue. I had plenty of criticisms, but after listening to this podcast before my second viewing, I realized a lot of my misgivings were baggage I was bringing to the film. I didn’t like the Codex MacGuffin because it’s not the story I WANT. I WANT the simplified, basic, primal Superman myth, no additions necessary. But after thinking it over, it’s not so invasive into the story that it detracts from the myth. Superman is the literal and figurative last son of Krypton. He carries in him, literally and figurative, the remainder of all of Krypton. Not bad. I don’t even mind Lois knowing Clark is Superman (after all, she did for two decades in the books, right?).

    What was interesting upon this second viewing was that many of my earlier criticisms didn’t stay. The pacing was actually pretty good. I thought there was actually a great emotional story being told that I completely ignored the first time. Pa Kent actually DID teach Clark lessons in responsibility (though I thought more emphasis should’ve been put on THAT instead of Pa’s paranoia, but that’s the story they wanted to tell). I accepted Zod’s death as a sort of assisted suicide, and now feel Clark was pushed intentionally to kill Zod, manipulated almost to kill him.

    Stuff I still don’t like:
    The disaster movie in the end and Superman’s lack of saving lives during the entire third act.
    Clark identifying more with Krypton than Earth (I felt. Maybe some disagree). He seemed to have no trust or belief or faith in humanity despite being raised as one for 33 years.
    That damn black hole.
    That damn Zod-wants-to-see-Lois thing
    The lack of transformation we see in Cavill’s Clark Kent at the end (granted, it’s short, but he’s just Kal-El with glasses on, from what I can tell).

    okay, ramble over. That’s a long way of saying thanks for the great podcast and thank you Paul for the great review. Between the two, I’ve been considering all the different angles to look at this movie and I think I’m becoming a more careful critic because of it.

  12. ScottE ScottE says:

    SPOILER

    At the end I took the Zod death to be a choice Zod was making sort of a suicide by cop thing. After his troops went back to the Phantom Zone he couldn’t bring Krypton back, which is his only purpose for living, and while he did want to make Superman pay I also think he wanted to die and die in battle. I thought once he was in the head lock he knew Superman could break his neck but wouldn’t so he put Superman in a position where he knew Superman would have no choice but to kill him.

  13. Would you guys say you liked this movie is better than Superman Returns?

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      That’s hard to say with any real accuracy because I haven’t seen SUPERMAN RETURNS in a long time.

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      If we’re fielding opinions, I’ll toss in my vote for this one over Returns. Even with my complaints, this was a hundred times more engaging and entertaining. Superman Returns was pretty, but ultimately a snoozefest.

      That plane rescue is worth the price of admission though.

  14. stuclach stuclach says:

    Excellent podcast. I’m glad to hear you guys enjoyed it for the most part.

  15. KevinAB KevinAB says:

    SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

    In terms of Superman killing Zod and it upsetting fans…and Mark Waid…can I just point out that Superman kills Zod in *most* iterations of the story. He does it in Superman II. He does it in the John Byrne post Crisis on Infinite Earths Superman reboot…

  16. natethegreat natethegreat says:

    I enjoyed this movie but also noticed that this film borrowed the present day and flashbacks approach that Chris Nolan used in Batman Begins.

    I hope that some of the problems that people have pointed out are fixed in the sequel.

    I hope that in the 2nd one they start to expand the world and include other DC heroes i.e. Flash, Green Lantern & Wonder Woman etc.

    Also they will have Lex Luthor be a background antagonist and keep that antagonist Supes can be physical with and also use more of Supes rogues gallery.

    But this movie was better than Superman Returns and also showed Superman’s powers in a more visceral and subdued way.

    The final fight between Superman and Zod was great but the moment everyone talks about is probably being used to show Superman realising that he has to find another way to handle situations in future.

    Also him going to work at the Daily Planet is probably after Metropolis has been rebuilt because the Daily Planet probably got damaged during the Massive Kryptonian Battle that took place.

    Amy Adams Lois Lane wasn’t the best interpretation but it can be improved in a sequel.

    But all in all I give this film a solid 4/5.

  17. John42 John42 says:

    I take issue with the statement that enjoyment of the movie is determined by sacred-cow treatment and that negative reactions will come mostly from die-hard fans. 56% on rotten tomatoes does not come from fan-rage alone.

  18. brettthemonster brettthemonster (@brettthemonster) says:

    Nice job hitting all of the key points, guys.

    Sadly, I really did NOT like this movie. I felt like the whole effort was very forced and was drawn out way too long.
    I, at no point, felt connected to Clark Kent and his character’s lack of dialogue was really odd. Also, the flashbacks felt really disconnected from the main story and made it felt like way too much ground was trying to be covered in one movie. On top of all of that, the dialogue, at certain points, literally made large groups of people laugh out loud in the theater that I was in because it was so bad.

    I had a lot of problems with this movie and I really wanted to like it because I really like Zack Snyder’s movies, but I just couldn’t get into it.

    • webhead921 webhead921 (@Grapes4Lunch) says:

      I can understand your complaint about Clark Kent’s lack of dialogue. I still felt connected to the character because Cavill did the best with what he was given. I thought he did a lot of great non-verbal acting (for example, the tornado scene and the scene in the bar). I also really, really liked the tone of his voice for Superman. In the scenes where Superman is telling the military what to do, I never felt like Superman was just barking orders. He was telling them what to do, but his tone was strong, calming, and reassuring instead of harsh and demanding. I’m one of those readers that hears voices when I read books. I read a portion of Birthright after seeing the movie, and I could definitely hear Cavill’s voice when reading Superman’s dialogue.

  19. webhead921 webhead921 (@Grapes4Lunch) says:

    Thanks for the podcast! Over the past year, my wife and I have made a tradition of listening to your Special Edition Podcast for movies we see on the way home from the theater. I’m glad you guys enjoyed it. What star rating would you give the film?

  20. Gabe Gabe says:

    I thought instead of going back for the dog, jonathan could have been saving people or something. maybe clark and he splitting up to get everyone under the overpass or something

  21. sphinx69 sphinx69 says:

    Good podcast guys I really enjoyed this one.

  22. seanxxo seanxxo says:

    I’ve just been to see this and I loved it, my one criticism was after the 7th or 8th building was destroyed I said to myself “I feel like that’s enough”. I look forward to listening to the podcast later!

  23. Nationalhill Nationalhill says:

    So glad this is not just a rehash of everything that came before, particularly the 78 movie.
    In retrospect Superman Returns might be one of the most bizarre summer blockbuster movies ever.

  24. Batmite77 says:

    Loved this podcast. You guys were honest and expressed a lot of how I felt about the movie.

    I just saw it a second time and have to say I honestly love the movie. Is it perfect? No. But most of my favorite films aren’t perfect… Sometimes I appreciate them more for what they attempt. When you reach so high some things are bound to fall a little short.

    So much to love in this film and I don’t believe the filmmakers would have taken as many risks with a character unless they loved him, too.

    Moments to love:

    1) After the carnage in Smallville, the look on Superman’s face as he emerges in front of the soldiers. As great a performance as has ever appeared in a super-hero film and utterly unique. Could they hurt him? Physically, no, but they could have broken his heart, which of course reminded my of Jonathan’s speech earlier: “I mean: are you okay?” The filmmakers found a vulnerability in Clark much more interesting and touching than Kryptonite.

    2) Kal grabbing Louis’ hand before the Kryptonian’s arrive. Not only is Lois his love interest, but she is his bridge to humanity outside of his family. The pure sign that, yes, he has a chance to be accepted.

    3) Kal in the beam of the World Engine… willing himself upwards to victory intercut with Perry and Jenny. Emphasizing that it’s not so much Kal’s powers, but his will that carries the day. I harken back to Ra’s line in Batman Begins “The will to act”. At this moment, it is the defining principle behind this creative teams vision of The Dark Knight and The Man of Steel. It is Bruce and Kal’s will to act that make’s them heroic…

    4) Tough decisions ultimately make Kal a hero more than his powers. Now, I love the Avengers and have huge admiration for what Marvel is doing, but Goyer, Nolan,and Snyder have pushed Batman and Superman further than they’ve ever been pushed before. They’ve each had to make awful decisions and this is what make them heroes even more than their powers. Yes, the climax with Zod meant a great deal to me, but even before this moment, Clark had to decide in an instant whether or not to destroy the Genesis chamber. He takes a beat but ultimately decides that earth is more important the New Krypton. An awful decision to have to make.

    5) We define our heroes by their actions and we never will understand them unless we push them to their limit. Kal’s final act regarding Zod pushes Superman as hard as he’s been pushed in nearly 75 years of existence, especially since most people only know Superman from the Donner films. The conversation brought up by this act has been so fascinating and illuminating. So much better than if we got Kal flying over the globe and smiling (an ending I loved and still love!) — they could have taken the easy way out but they pushed us.

    People that compare this to a transformer movie are crazy. I felt every punch in this crazy, awesome, over the top movie. I love that people are talking about Superman again.

    I’m only scratching the surface of what I think makes this movie great… not perfect… but simply great.

    • Nationalhill Nationalhill says:

      Why doesn’t anyone get upset about the body count that the Marvel heroes rack up? Iron Man has killed a ton of dudes between Iron Man and Iron Man 3.