Movie Review: ‘Man of Steel’ (Spoiler Free)


Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel

Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by Zack Snyder
Story by Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer
Screenplay by David S. Goyer
Starring: Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Superman/Kal-El), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Michael Shannon (General Zod), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White), Antje Traue (Faora), Ayelet Zurer (Lara Lor-Van), Russell Crowe (Jor-El), Christopher Meloni (Colonel Hardy), Richard Schiff (Dr. Emil Hamilton)

As a baby emerges into the waking world of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, his father calmly monitors the vitals of mother and child. A Gigeresque instrument renders a pounding, three-dimensional heart composed of countless metal particles. Look at it as the cold, steely heart of an operatic film whose intensity amounts more to pewter than puissance. A resilient steel heart, though rarely a warm one.

By the end, it’s a stream of airborne shrapnel.

Intent on evading the pitfalls that downed its predecessor Superman Returns in the eye of the zeitgeist, Man of Steel borrows little from 1978’s Superman The Movie. The charm of Capra and Rockwell take a powder as Snyder channels Terrence Malick at his most evocative as well as his most austere. On walkabout in America as a scruffy, wayward adult, Clark thinks back on the milestones of his childhood. Not the lost teeth or the first campouts, but his most perilous glances with unwanted notoriety and the suspicions of over-eager Christians antsy for the Second Coming. Much of Pa Kent’s crucial influence on Clark’s ethos is derived from Costner’s temperament and bearing, as most of his verbal advice zeroes in on the importance of secrecy. He absolutely has a point, but expect most of the Lion King wisdom to seed from Russell Crowe’s masterful, if not quite definitive Jor-El.

While Brando summoned gooseflesh in his beatific cameo as Jor-El in a brief prologue over thirty years ago, Crowe lends the same gravity as well as something far more important. Mortality. Man of Steel’s Jor-El may speak loftily and engage in Biblical levels of self-sacrifice, he does so as a mortal man and not as a gleaming All-father. He’s the film’s first protagonist and perhaps its best. Unfortunately, some of his grace actually dissipates as his presence lingers posthumously in the story, a reminder that less can often prove more.

By that same token, attempts to shed light on Krypton’s culture rob it of its mystery, leaving some creepy design choices in its place. It’s almost a relief when Krypton explodes, taking most of its unnerving furnishings along with it.

The familiar character of Smallville fairs well enough. The amber waves of grain yet sway. Though its younger generations win a blue medal in relentless bullying. Metropolis, though, seems vacant well before its skyline suffers a calamity more chilling than that of the Avengers’ Manhattan, which, you’ll recall, was menaced by otherworldly battle whales. Audiences are sadly accustomed to seeing buildings topple, to seeing Metropolis wounded, the (Daily) Planet itself unmoored from its perch. But nothing I can write here can prepare you for the extent of the devastation. Without a distinct city character to pin to the jutting rebar, the result is a sobering reminder of real life tragedies. The choice might seem bolt, but it’s ultimately hollow for Superman himself, a set piece amassing far too much collateral damage to ring as triumphant.

Pockets of warmth arise from time to time. The film skates around a lovely motif of two fathers’ hopes for a son that bridges their distant worlds. Both Jor-El and Jonathan pause to consider the other’s noble efforts. They’ve never felt more like kindred spirits than they do here. Perry White also presents a pleasantly surprising opportunity to showcase humanity as the beacon to show Clark the way to heroism. Normal people risking it all. Sadly, these themes are ultimately drowned out by the war drums of more overt preoccupations.

Though Lex Luthor takes an uncharacteristic respite, Man of Steel’s villain is actually far balder than his earthly counterpart. Michael Shannon’s General Zod has little time for subtlety, intent on reclaiming macguffins. Shannon could never be accused of turning in a dull performance, even in thankless potboilers, but he strains to find nuance in Zod’s single, plaintive note. He really wants that goddamned Codex. That he actually verbalizes the genetically engineered kernel of his ruthless motivations late in the story doesn’t so much rectify the dimensionless of the character (there’s a Phantom Zone joke in there somewhere), as it draws even more attention to it.

Does lust play some part in this reviewer’s simpering appreciation for the alluring Faora? It’s definitely part of the equation, but she’s one of the few characters who conducts palpable electricity. She’s at the center of the film’s most engaging fight sequence. Her quiet, yet not-so-subtle infatuation for Zod lends a smattering of psychology and tension in a plot of fairly basic motivations. Or, yeah, it could just be that thing about the draw of the evil Eastern European figure skater. Studio 60 was right about that one.

Amy Adams remains untested as the Lois Lane readers have come to admire over the past 75 years, this particular script never quite eager to ask it of the actress. Her frequent whimpers might go unremarked were they issued by anyone other than Clark Kent’s hero. The one person in the universe more courageous than Superman. It’s perhaps a subjective matter of degrees, but this iteration of Lois appears more reckless than devil-may-care, more caustic than confident and playful. Worse, she lacks her steely conviction. The fire erupting from Superman’s eyes seems stronger than the passion that’s always fueled it. Through little fault of their own, the chemistry doesn’t track. Were it a mid-term exam, the answers might appear on the sheet, but somebody forgot to show the work. It doesn’t help that in their first encounter, Clark forgets 33 years of human experience and decides to administer field surgery with the unnerving bedside manner of Lt. Commander Data.

As for Superman himself, despite Cavill’s omnipresence post prologue, I don’t feel that I know this man. I’m not saying I don’t recognize him, but that he passed through, unrevealed to me. That’s a function of the journey. Cavill spends little time as Clark or Superman, no matter what the wardrobe might suggest. He primarily operates as Kal-El, the lost son. A soul searcher. The missing link between two worlds. During this window of his evolution, he’s rarely comfortable, never at rest. At this point, it’s difficult to evaluate just how the actor might play the character at full confidence should Snyder and Goyer decide to stop punishing him.

Cavill might be at his best in a brief scene with Diane Lane’s stellar Martha Kent. Though an earlier scene between Martha and a very young Clark at the emergence of his abilities is but one of the film’s many, many wooden exchanges, their commiseration as adults is remarkably natural. Bristly Martha is the best Martha.

Repositioning baby Kal-El as a combination messianic figure and benign Horcrux registers as peculiar revision for revisions’ sake, though such additions aren’t prominent enough to rankle at the midichlorian level. Except, again, for the creepy design choices. As for a scandalous character choice for the finale, it all depends on what happens next and how it shapes our hero as he asserts himself moving forward. Minus the crucial chemistry between Clark and Lois, however, the outlook for a more engaging sequel seems bleak.

Man of Steel preoccupies itself with Clark’s alienation, admittedly a major component of that original baby in the reeds allegory. Unfortunately, the creative team ventured too far over the brink in mining that subtext, losing touch with the character’s humanity. It’s an icky film with a cold, clammy handshake. I should’ve known from the misplaced Ridley Scott aesthetic of cruel, dying Krypton. But it truly hit me when Clark first took to the skies in something like his trademark costume and I was startled by his glee. This was a joyless place. Who could smile here? Who could revel and take flight in the cold wake of a pale sun?


2 Stars

(Out of 5)




  1. But I thought it was awesome!

    • ME too!!!

    • I thought it was pretty good! Lots of action. The movie was way better than I thought it would be.

    • I am so disappointed that I fanboy has joined the chorus of those who don’t want to be caught on the wrong side of Internet momentum.. And one more piece that cuts and pastes “joyless” from those other reviews. Ugh.
      that was the best superhero movie ever. I was smiling (joyfully) for 2 1/2 hours. Everything mentioned here about Clark’s character and Lois’s character and the relationships make me think the reviewer saw an entirely different cut and I did. The movie is not just an origin for Superman but an origin for Clark. he is in that last shot the man that lots of people seem to want him to be the whole movie – but that’s not what it’s about.
      41/2 out of 5.

    • I feel bad about my tone in that last post. While there are definitely lots people that just parrot opinions they’ve read around the Internet, I’m sorry for accusing you of being one of them. I’m also sorry you didn’t like the movie. I loved it and so did everyone around me in the theatre. I respectfully disagree with your review.
      Superman would never leave a dick comment.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Apology accepted. To be clear, I didn’t really read any reviews prior to writing this. I also don’t hugely care about being on the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side of the zeitgeist. Just my honest reaction.

      If it makes you feel any better, Josh, Conor and Mike all enjoyed it more than I did. You can hear their thoughts on the special edition podcast, available now.

    • I like this film. I wanted to love it, but in the end I really just like it….
      Continuity arguments aside the action sequences ran too long and too often the CG got in the way of what could have been a great story…. Unfortunately the film lost it’s character in the third act…. But I REALLY like this film and I am looking forward to the sequel

    • I just saw it and loved it. It didn’t have time for joy and smiles lol, the poor guy was balancing two worlds on his untested shoulders and genetically enhanced super powered kryptonians were kicking earths ass.

      I kept thinking about to superman returns ( or whatever that was called) and the Reeve flicks and thinking how glad I was that this film let superman brawl! I wanted to see Superman fight someone, to see his powers. God damn it was fun seeing him punch someone instead of ‘stopping a dam from breaking’.

      I really liked it. I loved Adam West Batman, and the Bale Bstman films. I love the Reeve Superman films, and I loved this one too.

  2. Nailed it.

    • Agreed. Great review Paul. How can this be Superman when it’s not Inspirational or romantic? Pa Kent tells him to let a bus load of children die. No no no no. Sorry. I’ll give them small points for trying something different with Superman, but at the same time you need to stay true to core values of the character. BTW. Everyone should listen to Paul’s fuzzy typewriter reviews for the Rocky franchise. they are loads of fun. Now there are some inspirational and romantic films.

  3. I love Paul’s articles and his work on the site, but I respectfully disagree with him on this one.

    I’m just home from seeing the movie and I’m still buzzing about it. I loved the movie. I and the friend I saw it with (who isn’t a comic book fan) were blown away by it and were surprised by how much we dug it. I knew going in there would be big, big action and I got it in spades, complete with all the characterisations I’ve been wanting to see in a Superman movie since I was a kid.

    From the other less-positive reviews I’ve read (including that of another friend of mine who’s a film critic for an online media site) I know not everyone will dig it as much as I and the friend I saw it with did, but I can only say that this film blew me away and I’m eagerly awaiting whatever Snyder and Goyer bring next. Second viewing with some other friends tomorrow and I can’t wait. 5/5

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Would never want to take that away from someone.

    • @Paul Montgomery: Thanks man 🙂 I appreciate it and I’m really sorry that you had a different experience with the movie than I did. I know I was bitterly disappointed with Green Lantern but I respect the opinion of anyone who did enjoy it.

    • I too have enjoyed Paul’s work here on iFanboy and I respect his view of the film. I don’t have to agree with it though lol. Ah the joy of iFanboy!

      The Pa Kent and Jor El dynamic was turned on its head in this film, which I would refreshingly different take on it. Yea, I love Pa Kent, but if the movie didn’t have something new and diff, it would have just been a rehash.

      Costner and Crowe were awesome.

  4. Damm

  5. I don’t get all these “joylessness” reviews. If it was so joyless how come I had a smile on my face the whole movie. The real world is a harsh place, yes… but the real world of this movie has its chance to step into the sun.

  6. Oh no. This does not bode well but I’ll still try to see it.

  7. I had a feeling Conor will review this but alas.

  8. Paul’s just trying to be artsy. This film was wonderful!

    • No, he was being honest.

    • i really liked the film and i am more inclined to think Paul was giving his honest feelings on the thing. Do i agree with him ? Not at all.

      I also remember right after Superman return how many superman fans were “so happy ” with it before final admitting months later it was not that good.

    • I just don’t understand exactly why he didn’t enjoy it. My apologies.

    • I agree, its totally ok that he didn’t enjoy the film but I find the writing style a little too fluffy to follow. It was difficult for me to decipher what he did not like about the film while reading the review.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Talking to David Accampo about it just now, I realized that Zod has a Roman haircut. He’s Pilate, basically. The army delivers him to Golgotha, and Clark, like Christ, goes along willingly, accepting his shackles. I’m actually a little disappointed it took me so long to put that together.

  9. Is there anyone that loved the 1970s Superman that DOESN’T hate this movie? C’mon.

    • I loved the Donner one but its a Jesus movie. I loved this one too. It’s a Superman movie.

    • I loved the Donner movies and liked this one. (However, the idea that Man of Steel is less Jesus-y than Donner’s is pure insanity)

    • Yeah, this one was SUPER heavy-handed with the Jesus allegory. MUCH more than SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE.

      I also loved the original and didn’t hate this movie.

    • I don’t know if “more” but yeah it’s there. But it also felt more like Superman to me. Well to be more clear more like “me Superman” and if that’s not yours that’s totally cool. I’m bummed people don’t like it but I’m more happy that I loved it. I understand the criticism and this is a very good review. I just disagree. Lots of beautiful “Superman!” Moments in there and I don’t agree that it was cold or alien. I was a 10 year old kid with my 80’s and 90’s Superman comics again. I’m going to stop rambling now. I’ve lost my thread. Haha.

    • @conner i disagree Superman: the Movie felt way more super heavy-handed with the Jesus Allegory with the whole thing about “that is why i sent you my only son”

    • I don’t mind if people don’t like it; if it’s a bad movie it’s a bad movie (personal taste aside). What irks me is these movie critics who expect a remake of the Christopher Reeve movies and bash “Man of Steel” when it doesn’t measure up. It’d be like me hating the 1989 Batman movie because it’s not like 1963 Adam West movie. I just saw 2 critics on CNBC who fit that description. And I’m not accusing Paul of being one of them, I’m just saying.

      @Conor Kilpatrick, I don’t agree @Paul Montgomery was just being honest, I found the review kinda opaque. It felt really wordy, like it was a dissertation on Superman for a college level English class.

    • @EndlessW Nearly the same dialogue is said in this film. Kal-El goes to a priest for advice on what to do with a stained glass image of Jesus in back of his head in multiple shots.

      @IthoSapien Oh no! Words!

    • @PraxJarvin: Not to mention his age explicitly being called out as 33 and the crucifix pose as he fell out of the ship before going to save Lois.

    • @PraxJarvin, oh no! Sarcasm!

      It’s a movie review, and frankly the most challenging for me to follow from this site. I’ve passed 3 college English classes, and reread two reviews from earlier movies; this one felt like it was trying really hard. Not to stifile Paul’s creativity or writing skills.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I wasn’t looking for a remake of the 1978 film.

    • @Paul Montgomery, good to know.

    • @PraxJarvin and @conner there is a big difference to me i saying ” i sent you my son” and “my only son” when “god sent us his only son” is such a common phases in today for referring to Christ. . also the priest thing actually make it less of a jesus thing to me. He doesn’t somehow know what do do because of his all knowing all powerful father/god. he looks to his mother to lois to his human father Then to a priest who doesn’t go to the bible but to something more like ” sometimes you just need faith.” very much more for all seasons superman

    • @Endlessw: Maybe, but Conor’s two points can’t be ignored. The age and pose were eyeroll inducing.

    • at some point i feel like people are looking for it with superman because he has become very “jesus” like everywhere else. the overall theme of Superman: the movie much more of a Jesus allegory. He get here as a child disappeared with his father as a teenager to find out who he really is before coming back as an adult with a message for the whole world was so heavy handed to me. also look back on the marketing for Superman: the Movie it’s way worse the age (so is everyone who is 33 now a Jesus reference then?) or the pose(which i do when i jump into the pool for a big splash.) There some element that they added with i think took away from the Jesus allegory.

    • It can hardly be described as “looking for it” when it’s right there in your face.

      No, not every character who is 33 or makes that pose is a Jesus allegory. Just characters who have a history of sharing elements of the Christ story.

      Believe me when I say I could go the rest of my life without seeing another Superman/Christ analogy. At this point, each little one is irritating.

    • @wheelhand the 33 years old thing i always remember reading tin the comics that unless they mention different superman is 33 so just took it as a nod to the comics the pose happens a lot more then you would thing so i stop caring i guess. I understand the feeling about “going the rest of you life” thing. i want a solid just superman adventure in the future. like a really big episode of the animated series or something then more Christ /superman.

    • The messiah element is pretty unavoidable, though Siegle/Schuster were more influenced by the Moses stuff (which of course influences the Jesus stuff through Matthew)

    • 1) The falling cruciform out of the ship after Jor-El says “You can save them. You can save them all.”
      2) The cruciform pose hanging onto the fence when young Clark is beaten up.
      3) The church scene while he wonders whether or not to turn himself in, the shot has a stained-glass image of Jesus at the garden of Gethsemene over Clark’s shoulder.
      4) He’s cruciform as he sinks in the water after rescuing the riggers.

      It may not be verbal, but the messiah imagery is very heavy-handed.

    • Agreed if anything the theme was troubling to me. It was the reverse of Inherit the Wind and the Scopes monkey trials. In this the bad guys are science and for evolution and the good guy is Jesus and about trust or faith. And they just kept hitting that home.

    • 1) i don’t see that is very jesus like the “show them the way lines” or etc… that feel like a reach to me.
      2) & 4) felt like HUGE reach. He is just floating there leg apart and all.
      3) going to ask advice from a mortal man instead of all powerful god/father made it feel like less like jesus.

      making krypton not this prefect paradise took away so much of that feel for me.

      as for the whole evolution science thing i disagree. i found that ironic as Faora speaks of evolution but she and the rest have stepped away from that into predetermination. it’s Clark that is free to evolve not her. There is this ridged dogmatic quest for zod to restore krypton and destroy kal who is a “heresy”

    • EDIT : 1)feels like a reach to me

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I think Superman is 26 or 27 in the comics currently. His being 33 here and in the comics previously would, of course, be a Biblical link.

      It seems reductive to try and weigh which films are more concerned with the Christ allegory than others. They all toy with it.

      Casting Clark as a fisherman makes for an interesting new addition to that tradition.

    • Nothing is as Jesusy as that bit in Returns when he dies for three days and then comes back to life – now that’s a bit much. I will agree that the part in MOS when he goes to the church and sits there with the stained glass in the background was bush league, but the other lines sit nicely with the literal story that’s happening and are sold by good performances. I have a low groan threshold for ham-fisted metaphors, and those were not that bad.

    • Here’s another religious thingy:

      When Faora uses evolution as a way to point out why she’s superior. Maybe it’s just me but I feel like that was a slight dig on the ‘Evolution vs Creationism’ debate and it’s favoring Creationism since Superman has to be a Jesus figure.

    • @thenextchampion

      I find that ironic as Faora and the rest are predestined to their role in life and accepts this while Clark is the only one who seems to be able or trying to evolve.

    • Morrison once asked (paraphrase) “what would Christianity be like if god put Jesus on a rocket to escape the destruction of heaven?”

    • Clark Kent was a farm boy from Kansas raised by salt of the Earth Christian parents who had their entire belief system challenged by his presence…. and they never lost faith… Of course he goes to a church looking for answers… it was more of his heritage than anything Kryptonian….

    • The Jesus elements weren’t hidden or colored over or alluded to…it was right there in your face. I knew what they were saying and I really didn’t mind. I’m not a religious guy, so for me it was just an added layer to the Superman mythos and a modernizing of the Jesus story. Hope I’m not pissing off anyone here that’s religious…. I always felt there was a big Jesus savior like element to the Superman character. I actually liked that extra weighty element to the whole shebang.

  10. I saw the movie today and admit I walked out of the theatre liking it. Really liking it. I’d likely give it a 3/3.5 on a star rating. I certainly dug it more than Star Trek Into Darkness, but less than Iron Man 3. From the opening scene of the film and on, I detected a very heavy referencing of JJ Abram’s Star Trek playbook, which is not a compliment. A weirdly cut birthing scene, some (not too intrusive) lens flares, the double zooms JJ loves oh so much, weird bulbous ships with tentacle arms. In the Krypton Council Chamber early on, so much shaky cam was used I thought they were going through an earthquake. As this leaves the film feeling so… samey. It looks like Star Trek looks like Avengers looks like Transformers looks like someone left a grey filter on the lens.

    We live in a world where, one month apart, Star Trek and Superman have more things in common than they have separating them. The plot feels so similar (Hell, Zod was in a futuristic cryo tube on a friggin sleeper ship!) up till a certain point. Mash Star Trek XI and XII into one and you’d have this same thing. And then you have the needless destruction. It amounts to nothing, it’s never commented on. It reminds me of a the car cash in Batman Begins where the Batmobile – tank that it is – is shown several times to land on the driver’s side roof. In the normal world, this would kill someone. Yet, we’re told by a newscaster “No one died.” All this destruction yet seemingly no one is dead? All that matters are the people essential to the plot? The destruction porn is slowly moving from resonant to tacky to what we have this summer… lame, uninspired. Wholesale destruction that feels impotent.

    Major qualms aside, I did enjoy Cavill as Superman. He has the look, he has the charm. In a weird way he looks like Tom Weller, when he had on the Royals Tee. Adams could have done more, but it was nice to see Lois doing stuff instead of being constantly saved. (Though the now requisite falling out of a helicopter did happen.) Russel was excellent in a way. Though as Paul says, he did he feel slightly overused. In an odd way the cast felt huge, yet we never spend time with anyone in any meaningful way. Fishburne delivers on a theme of this film in a way the script never asked him to. When he takes Jenny’s hand, his face says everything. It’s a magical moment buried in an overly long sequence.

    Anyway, now I’m rambling. Great review Paul. While we differ on the number, I don’t know that we’re too far off. I do wonder if my lack of interest in Superman as a character buoyed my interest. By way of an aside, my local theater was packed for my showing – something I haven’t seen in a while. However, there were no cheers, no applause like at the end of Iron Man 3 or Avengers. Just people checking their phones to see if there was a stinger or if they could leave.

    • I’d probably go 3.5. I don’t think my hopes were quite as high as most of the people I’ve interacted with and I think that may have made it a bit more enjoyable for me.

      I actually like the Ridley-ish appearance of Krypton. To me it fit the way the film portrayed the world. A very advanced nightmare.

    • both showing i went ended with huge applause. not that that means anything.

    • This doesn’t really add anything to the conversation and is information you’ve already supplied in other locations in this thread.

  11. Grrr! I thought this was a movie review and not someone giving a different opinion than mine! Take it down! Fire Paul!

    Oh wait! I forgot sarcasm doesn’t work on this site,

  12. i don’t give 5 out of 5 because we give them out to easy. BUT i really want to with man of steel. 4.5/5? but yeah had a great time really fun time watching it.

  13. Ok I totally agree with this review and the many other reviews of this movie: receiving a 3 star or lower score is DESERVED.

    I’m sorry if that’s what you want to hear but I think the simple fact is that many people are trying to force this movie to live up to the perhaps unreachable hype it has received. For months there has been loads of build up: “Nolan/Snyder/Zimmer!”, “The Cast is Near Perfect!”, and “Each Preview Looks Better Than the Last” are titles being thrown here or there. I’m not sure if the hope of it being another knock-out-of-the-park movie is convincing people this is something special, or if it’s a case where you know the creators involved and think to yourself “This has to be good”, or if it’s just DC fanboys crying to heavens that it is good (I sincerely don’t think so as I think fanboys are limited on this site are limited). I can’t fathom it.

    It is what it is, not some masterpiece. It’s an over-hyped, run of the mill blockbuster that looks pretty with little understanding of the source material.

  14. Have tickets for this to start in an hour and a half. If end up feeling like I did at the end of Wolverine I might punch a tourist in Time Square.

  15. Great review Paul. Paul is a huge Superman fan. So this must have been hard for him. I think some where Bryan Singer is smiling and thinking. “It was not just me.”

  16. Whoa. Was not expecting a 2 star review from you. I haven’t seen the film yet and am not sure if I will.

    Hell of a review, though. I’m stunned, by the rating and by the writing as well. At times while reading this I thought, “Err, is Paul using a thesaurus like crazy… or is this just the Beast Mode that he goes into in the rare instance when he’s seriously, seriously dismayed by something?”

    Either way, this was probably the best review of this film I’ve yet seen. I give the review a 4.5/5.

    • Thank you! So it’s not just me, this review was… What’s a smart way to say “wordy”?

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Somebody on the site used ‘puissance’ yesterday. I borrowed that as a tongue-in-cheek tribute.

    • In the college English classes I took, I learned that “verbose” is a good word for that.

    • Wordy is the critique people who have no clue what to critique in an article fall back on. IthoSpaien also seems to have misinterpreted FlapJaxx posting. **COMMENT MODERATED**

    • @ComicBookChris, my dictionary defines Verbose as “having too many words”. I don’t think Paul used too many words or that the review was too long, just that his choice of words made reading it a little more challenging.

      @StoreGuy, I think you’ve misread both our posts. You certainly misread mine.

    • So it’s not “wordy” anymore, just full of words you can’t understand? Just use that dictionary you have ever so handy!

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I do actually have a beast mode. That part’s true.

    • Wait a minute, wait a minute? You didn’t mean to use wordy in the first place? Wordy=Verbose. Oy vey! No, I didn’t misread your comments nor FlapJaxx. FlapJaxx very clearly was complimenting Paul. Your comments were not, as your response to Flap’s posting was stated a clarification of your original critique, you seem to have not really understood what you’re responding to.

      The phrase you are looking for is that you felt the word choice in this article wasn’t well suited to a review. Which in and of itself is a cogent critique, if not really applicable because Paul’s use of words is like Hawkeye’s uses arrows.

    • @flapjaxx

      Your reaction was excellent, drawing the reader in with a killer opening line and going on to use powerful language to express a true appreciation of Paul’s words. Humour was used to great effect, without overstepping the boundaries of silliness often found in these types of comments. I would say some of the effects were a little lacking, but overall I give your review of Paul’s review 3.5/5.

    • Paul is a smart guy. josh is the indie guy….conor the DC guy…Ron was the marvel guy and now Paul is the smart guy. I’m kidding of course, we are all smart guys. Right?

  17. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Since people are asking, no I didn’t go into the film wanting to hate it. Of course I didn’t. I was stoked for this. Read my comments under the trailer threads.

    This is not the review I wanted to have to write today. Not at all.

  18. Conor (hopefully you see this)-

    Were you happy with the film or a little underwhelmed? Just curious

  19. I think they spent too much time on their opening that seemed to indicate that the USS Enterprise could arrive at any time. Like Donner’s Superman, I felt there was too much time given to Krypton. The movie did focus on the implications of a benevolent alien coming to earth, which I think is a great subject to consider in another movie where the proper amount of time can be allotted. I didn’t really like the Man of Steel timeline, I felt Lois appeared too early, and at a time when I am not so sure how Clark got there either. How did he know?

    I really loved the Jonathan/Clark relationship; it was incredibly emotional at times. I loved the juxtaposition of darkness and light in this movie; the heavy tones of this film only served to accentuate the greatness of Superman. The fight scenes were brutal and it paid off to see them in 3D. Zod was one nightmarish SOB!

    Maybe I take for granted being around for all the other Superman movies, but I don’t feel a need to get to know Clark or Superman. This is the main reason I hate reboots; they drown in regurgitation. Can we please just get down to business.

    I loved the “channeling Terrence Malick” quality of this film. I am a huge fan of Malick and I think his movies are stunning.

    • Clark knew about the thing they found. When he was at the bar he over heard soldier talking about something big going on.

  20. @PaulMontgomery: I really enjoyed your review and found it very well written. But that’s only because I agree with you. If I felt differently about the movie, your review would’ve been far too wordy and artsy. Try to tone it down next time just in case I disagree. Thanks.

  21. I just saw the film paul, and I unfortunately have to agree with most of what you said. I enjoyed it at some base level though the idea of a sequel makes me wrinkle my nose a bit.

    It’s no batman begins. Superman just can’t catch a break, can he?

  22. I didn’t agree with paul, really liked the movie, and didn’t find the review “artsy” i felt like he was just really trying to put down is honest feeling into a few words but just could not find one word to do it in.

  23. I loved it, and most importantly my kids loved it. We saw it in 2D, and are going back to check out the 3D. It was great to see Superman do some real fighting, and the speed of the hand to hand fighting was awesome to watch. We just watched the JLU episode where Superman battles Captain Marvel, and I loved how in both the destruction of what one of these battles in a city would really be like.

    I feel bad for you guys that are so over analytical and can’t just let yourselves be entertained by a movie anymore.

    • “I feel bad for you guys that are so over analytical and can’t just let yourselves be entertained by a movie anymore.”

      It would be better, and would not undermine your entire comment, if you said something like “I feel bad for people who didn’t enjoy the movie as much as I did” rather than say something clearly factually untrue and quite preposterous.

    • Sorry Conor, I didn’t realize you we’re so thin skinned. I see now that everybody who did like this movie is wrong and obviously stupid for not agreeing with you. Thanks for reminding me why I quit reading the comments section on websites. And that’s all sites, not just yours. No need to ban me, I’ll ban myself.

    • Haha. *I’m* the thin-skinned one. Okay.

    • It’s been real.

      See ya around.

    • yeah let’s not make this personal. I feel bad that paul didn’t like it and i did. doesn’t affect how much i enjoyed it at all (i am going to go see it again tonight)

    • Well said.

    • JML ( says:

      I’m going out on a limb here: I feel people get this way about film reviews with an opposing opinion because we’re using the same parts of our brains we used to use to use to tell if food was poison or not.

      So you’ve got one guy chomping away on his mushroom (Man of Steel) and enjoying the hell out of it, and another guy pointing at the mushroom (Man of Steel) and telling everyone it’s poisonous. And everybody gets up in arms like it’s life or death, but like… ‘s just a movie, dude. It’s not sustenance! Different nervous systems are gonna react to the thing differently. There’s no objective way to judge the quality of a movie. So relax.

      (This was a weird metaphor thing.)

    • I feel bad for people that are too dumb to debate something on it’s own mertis so they have to instead attack the argument by calling it something like “so overly analytically” as if being condescending is really masking there own insecurities.

    • “Feel bad”…. Geez guys come on…some like it some don’t. We shouldn’t feel bad that someone didn’t dig it. But it’s fun to discuss it, the why we liked it or didn’t..that convo is what makes us a “community” of folks that dig comic books.

      Talk it out…hug it…okay I’m drinking now..I love you guys…I swear…

  24. Avatar photo Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Well reviewed, Paul.

    I loved the first two acts and teared up during the Ma Kent / Young Clark scene. But that third act was gross. I doubt I’ll end up getting this one on video.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I appreciate the idea of that scene between Ma Kent and young Clark at the closet door, but the phrasing did not feel authentic. Just needed another draft or two.

  25. Anyone else find the product placement in the film incredibly jarring? It’s not usually something that sticks out for me, but man it left me feeling dirty.

  26. 2/5…ouch. I have to respectfully and completely disagree.

  27. Storytelling wise, I can’t say I completely disagree with you Paul, though I don’t think I’d rate so low as a two. My biggest issue with the movie was the collateral damage. Every time I saw a building go down all I could think was, “Oh, there’s 1000 people dead. There’s another 3000. And, oh, there’s another 2000.” What broke me was how Superman did almost nothing to prevent the damage he himself caused during his battle with Zod. In my eyes, the perfect Superman fight would be one where he and his foe are battling throughout the city and yet not a single window is broken. It may not be as visually interesting but would demonstrate Superman’s dedication to the protection of the city and its people.

    Regarding Krypton, I actually liked its depiction here. I grew up on Superman: The Animated Series so my personal taste for the planet always leaned towards a more lush world with strange aliens and advanced technology rather than the harsh, barren, and cold globe as seen in the Donner films.

    • That collateral damage was probably the worst part of the movie for me. It was really distracting when you know that literally thousands of people are dying and Superman is doing little to stop it. Makes an otherwise great ending with Zod seem moot.

    • I think the damage served an important purpose. For one it demonstrated how god like superman is. It would have been nice to see superman more concerned about civilians and damage. However, considering this was his first time as a full blown superhero who is also fighting people within his strength level it is not surprising how much damage and death occurred. Hopefully in future films they show Superman has learned to fight without as much damage and are visually able to demonstrate his concern about protecting civilians.

    • Yeah I think the movie did a good job of showing what a fight between Kryptonians would look like, but I wish they had done something like show the city being evacuated before they just start knocking each other through buildings. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS Also it makes it seem weird when Superman kills Zod to save a few people when they both were probably murdering hundreds or thousands in the fight.

    • A lot of the mega-damage in Metropolis wasn’t caused by Superman and Zod, so don’t go blaming it all on him. And Invincipal is right, Superman hasn’t gone up against anything yet, much less other Kryptonians as powerful as him. It’s like in the “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon: one of the lessons the heroes have to learn is how to take down villains without causing massive collateral destruction. That’s not an automatic thing, and I’m glad that Snyder showed that, just like I’m glad people are commenting on it.

      Also, I don’t remember a lot of people complaining about the destruction level in “Avengers” last year, or in “Thor” when he and the Destroyer took out a small town. What’s the difference?

    • @BC1 @BC1 the difference is that in the Avengers they made a specific point to show them rescuing civilians from the destruction and trying lead the attack away from the people to protect them, while in Man of Steel there is none of that, and it would have been much, much easier for Superman to get Zod away from the city than it was for the Avengers to lead and army away from the people.

    • There was a ton of destruction of Avengers and yeah it sounds hypocritical, but it just seemed less distracting in that movie. In Man of Steel large buildings were completely collapsing left and right and it showed crowded streets full of people where buildings were falling. I don’t know, it just felt weird to me knowing that thousands of people were probably dying.

    • in the movie clark saves several people from being just smash by the kryptonians and try’s several times to grab one of the kryptonian he is fighting to fly away with them but is stopped. to me either zod is so powerful that superman doesn’t have time to save people before getting attack again/stopping the damage or to you superman is just letting him get away with this on purpose. to me i felt the first one.

    • @BC1, Actually I felt the same way in The Avengers regarding all the damage being caused but as cubman987 said, at least there we saw the heroes go out of their way to prevent the deaths of the innocents. Sure, most of Metropolis’ destruction was caused by the Black Zero, but at least two or three building were demolished during Superman’s fight with Zod and he didn’t seem to give much thought into protecting the lives of the citizens. As Parker13 mentioned, if there were a quick scene showing the city evacuating I wouldn’t have felt so uncomfortable watching.

      @Endlessw, I didn’t feel he was letting it happen on purpose, I just didn’t see him do much to prevent it, at least with regards to Metropolis. The one saving grace to the the crater in Metropolis is that it leaves the door open for Luthor to come in to rebuild the city and gain favor with the city/country.

    • I didn’t view the damage as ‘ Supes not trying to stop it’ but more of he was really really busy at the moment trying to stop the entire Planet from becoming uninhabitable to ALL humans lol…a building and the folks inside are a huge and painful lose, but extinction is alot worse.

  28. I have to say I’m a little surprised so many people are defending this movie so much. I did like it a little better than Paul did but it has some glaring problems that are the result of just bad movie making and bad story telling. I’m in no way surprised critics didn’t like it because it’s not an exceptionally well made movie. It was by all means entertaining and I think it had some parts that were absolutely brilliant, but it just has a lot of problems mixed in that kept it from being great or even really good in my opinion.

  29. Harrumph. I think “This Is the End” will be the next film I see in the theater, and I’ll just try to see Man of Steel eventually.

    • I loved This is the End. It’s pretty stupid (intentionally) but I laughed through the whole thing, if you like crude humor then you’ll probably like it a lot.

  30. Ouch. Harsh review.

    It’s not the Superman movie I want, but it’s enjoyable in its own right. It’s two movies: the series of Gap advert flashbacks in the first half and the slug-fest of the second. I don’t think that it’s any worse than Batman Begins, though. My two issues were: the unnecessary nonsense about the Codex (Zod just hunt down Kal-El for racial purity reasons) plus the awfully miscast Amy Adams as Lois. Certainly more New-52 than “classic” Superman. Certainly a million times better than Green Lantern.

    It may also be like an album that you listen to repeatedly before it grows on you. Or not…

  31. I enjoy Paul’s reviews. They are articulate, thoughtful & respectful. However, I must respectfully disagree with his rating. And I believe that the biggest problem with the majority of all these negative reviews, not just Paul’s but with critics in general. Is that constant nostalgia with Christopher Reeve’s & Richard Donner’s Superman. Charm, humor & lightheartedness are all vanquished from this Man Of Steel, when compared to Reeve. One must go into this film with fresh, un-adjusted minds & ready to just let whatever new rebooted mythology do its job & wow you. This is what I have to say, is THE definition of a superhero film. It wasn’t careless fun like Avengers or Iron Man. It wasn’t full of torment & tragedy like The Dark Knight Trilogy. Yet it takes the aspects of what made those films great & molds it with science fiction film inspirations (looks for hints of 2001: A Space Odyssey). I was so captivated, so enthralled with literally EVERY minute of this film. What makes this THE most PERFECT Superman & superhero movie is that it has retained its hope, its faith & its light against the dark. I love The Dark Knight Trilogy, those 3 films will forever be the epitome of the deconstruction of the superhero via film, but Man Of Steel provided us with the true heart & hope that is what Superman symbolizes & continues to be, IMO.

    • +1

    • This ^. Well said good sir!

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      While I like a lot of the choices and the execution of the 1978 film, I honestly wasn’t pining for a return to that here. I’m merely using it as a point of contrast because, in my view, Man of Steel seems especially different and is perhaps intent on distancing itself from those trappings. I felt the comparison was relevant, but can understand wanting to divorce the analysis from other incarnations entirely.

      I just want to clarify that I’m actually eager for a fresh new take, though not this particular direction, as it turns out.

  32. Are people truly shocked that Superman was turned into a Christ figure? Having just read All Star Superman, courtesy of Comixology’s sale (thank you very much!), I can say that it’s extremely difficult to not stray into that territory. If the movie is heavy on the Christ analogy, it’s because the source material is also heavy on the Christ analogy.

    As for the destruction in Metropolis…this has been happening in movies for years. Now all of a sudden, sensibilities are being dashed. I feel like I’m watching that scene in Gladiator all of a sudden: “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”

    • Gotta go one extra….What movie did you expect to come out of Goyer, Snyder and Nolan?

      We praise them for their Batman…but did we really think somehow Man of Steel was going to be sweetness and light?

    • Surprisingly, people are allowed to have differing opinions and change their minds about what they enjoy. It shocked me too when I found out.

    • I don’t think anyone was shocked by the Christ allegory, just tired of it.

      And as for what to expect from Goyer, Nolan, and (sometimes) Snyder, my answer is reliable entertainment. And from that perspective, they delivered. But what worked for Batman doesn’t necessarily work for Superman, and I also expected them to understand that. Applying the Begins origin formula to this movie did nothing but muddy the waters.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      “Gotta go one extra….What movie did you expect to come out of Goyer, Snyder and Nolan?”

      It’s not about what we expect. It’s about what’s present or lacking. It’s about the work.

    • And based on that, Paul, it’s what I was wanted out of a Superman movie for once. Sorry it didn’t meet what you were hoping for. I had a blast, and I’m hoping for more.

    • I agree with you totally on this.

  33. This must have been a tough review for Paul to write. Anyone that’s been on this site knows how big of a fan of the character he is. Honest, well written. I agree with almost all of it. Cavill’s good, but not quite Christopher Reeve levels of believability.

    However, the most disappointing thing about this comments section? All the vitriol laden comments from people who LIKED THIS MOVIE. I expect the people who don’t like something to be lobbing the bombs or being assholes. But people who LIKED IT? Superman? Did you miss the entire point of the character? If this comments section is representative of the attitudes behind the people who give it 5/5s then I really want nothing to do with them.

  34. I’m glad Paul called out some of the humanity and mortality with Perry risking his life to save his colleague (even with death looming). The sacrifices of some of the other key human players also gave a bit of pathos to it, but yeah for the most part it’s Superman, Zod, Faora, etc. destroying non-descript buildings.

    This Metropolis really felt generic. Even Singer’s version tried to embrace some classic art deco features with the Daily Planet. This architecture was truly just there to be obliterated.

    I think they could give Cavill and Adams more to do now that the Lois/Clark dynamic is set up for the sequel. Yeah, just a strange introduction for them here that doesn’t quite work.

  35. –seems like a lot of people are bothered by Paul having a good vocabulary (which, if you read Paul’s writing throughout the site, you would be able to tell is genuine and not thesaurus-driven).

  36. I think I’d give the movie a 3/5. I feel like it had all the right parts to be great (the cast was great and the plot was fine), but they didn’t mesh very well. Too much of a gray and black, sterile, metal looking theme. I think those colors could have worked well on Zod and his minions if they were contrasted with brighter colors on Earth and Krypton. SPOILERS Also the collateral damage in the fight scenes was ridiculous. The movie should have shone Superman protecting civilians form debris and trying to keep the fights away from cities and towns, not punching bad guys through buildings. That scene with the drills on each side of Earth was weird. Superman should have been protecting the citizens in Metropolis from all the falling buildings, not punching metal tentacles.

  37. i understand your problems with the movie paul, but two stars? really? what did you give green lantern? this was an awesome, action packed movie. thats what superman is. i think you could have given it 3 stars, even with your review you really dont make it sound 2 star bad. every review that ive read have pretty much been dogging this movie. but all the fans, (real people)
    , liked it. wtf?

  38. All I know is that if i read the phrase “Why so serious, Superman?” again I’m gonna lose it. Now for my two cents: Did people forget that reviews are opinions? If you liked the movie cool; if not that’s cool too. I agree with the over use of Jor-El. He was burly as hell in the intro, but was a total lame prop when he showed up again later in the flick. I’m glad Paul brought up the creepy interiors of Krypton. Are Kryptonians anti soft plush couches? ‘Cause if that’s the case count me out.

  39. Paul is just wrong…this movie was incredible and as far as the Jesus similarity, this world could used more Jesus as far as I’m concerned.

  40. People seem to take reviews pretty personally don’t they?

  41. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I love you people.

    • Paul this is just the start. The podcast is really going to fire them up. Can’t wait to here it.

    • I’ve got nothing but love for ya, Montgomery. You’re a 5/5.

    • I <3 u

    • And we love you, let’s all reflect on what we have learned today and appreciate what a beautiful day it is.

    • I hope I made it clear that I wasn’t attacking you or your opinion of the movie, I just thought the review itself was heavy on the metaphors and big words. Compared to some of the other reviews, this one I had to follow more closely.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I tend to write reviews that unfortunately need to be read. I’m not yet at the point where you simply brush your face against the screen to glean my meaning through contact.

    • Well you’ve mastered sarcasm, so congrats on that. I haven’t gotten enough of that on this forum.

      I want to apologize; I just reread your “Amazing Spider-Man” and “Into Darkness” reviews and found that they had the same qualities as this one. So this review hadn’t strayed or diverged from your usual style of critique or use of vocabulary. The thing that set this review apart, is that I actually care about this movie and I can tell that was a big mistake much like commenting several times on it.

      If people like your style, bully for them. If that’s how you want to write, rock on. I’m not going to mention it again.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Sarcasm felt like the only reasonable response to the critique, “You made me have to pay attention.”

      I’m open to criticism related to individual writing choices. Some metaphors are inevitably going to fizzle. But our readers deserve more than superficial cereal box copy. Hoping to dig a little deeper. And words are fun.

    • Yeah…count me as one of those who are among the fans of Paul’s “reading” style of reviews.

      What is the deal with the extreme mother henning of this movie? There are a ton of posts here that absurdly…I’m sorry…stupidly try to poke holes in the review instead of counteracting with their own thoughts of the movie. “He wanted it to be like the Reeves movie! His review was too wordy! He used too many big words!” It’s like Man Of Steel was your daughter dancing in a talent show, and another person made a crack about her costume that you made. Ease down on the over protectiveness, it’s incredibly peculiar…I’m sorry…weird.

    • @Paul Montgomery, I would argue that me sitting down and reading this article was “me paying attention” but whatever. Good for you for holding yourself up to a higher standard when critiquing movies and trying to be sophisticated and articulate. I find other reviewers can do that without mounting metaphors upon metaphors, but I guess that makes them boring or sound unenlightened. I haven’t seen the movie yet, Im going to tonight. If I’ve bruised your ego then I’ll gladly type a 100 word apology in recompense if I also agree with your review. Sometimes I don’t articulate my words, I admit that. Still, the barrage of sarcasm and everybody jumping down my throat is starting to get stale. What do I know, you’re obviously a supreme intellectual who keeps a gallon of sarcasm at the ready.

      @ComicBookChris, BULLY FOR YOU! Sorry I didn’t appalud and ejaculate whilst reading Mister Mogomery’s articulate review of a summer comic book movie, sorry I express displeasure at reviewers who were expecting another Chris Reeves movie and were disappointed (Which if you’ll recall I previously stated that Paul was not among them). If you like I could try reading the review again, but I just don’t think I have it in me to follow all those big words and metaphors a third time.


    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Easy does it.

  42. There definitely seems to be a disconnect between the critics and the fans. I am surprised Paul found himself in the critics category. This was a good movie! Not better than the first two. I thought Cavill did a really good job. The violence did get a little heavy handed. In the end I though it was a good start for a new franchise. I personally like Superman and Jesus to be separate. I didn’t see a lot of Jesus in this movie and I am practicing catholic.

  43. I think we’ve come to a point with Superman where the public at large sort of resents him as an ideal.

    In the shop I manage, most folks seem to run off with the generalized platitudes of his innate overpowered nature and his lack of flaws. Superman, from what I can tell those folks perceive, not only doesn’t have the feet of clay so desperately needed these days so we can feel kinship with our characters, but he throws it back in your face. He taunts us and pushes back, saying “No, no — You CAN be better. You have to be.” I think people don’t like that. So we venture out to bring Superman down to our flawed level instead of rising to his.

    And that’s the point where he’s made to snap Zod’s neck.

    He has the strength to to snap his neck, why not shift his gaze, or cover his eyes, or just punch him and finally get some innocents to safety? I was sad for the character when it happened. Not because I think there isn’t a situation where Superman might have to solemnly execute someone, but that this just wasn’t that moment. Like others have stated, if he has spent the better part of that disaster porn mess of a fight trying to save people and being physically punished for doing so — maybe it would have been earned. But it wasn’t.

    I’m also surprised by the reactions to the portrayal of Jonathan Kent, even by Mr. Mark Waid. Here is a man who raised Clark to BELIEVE in the human race. To act on their behalf and to protect them. I love his moment of human frailty and fear when he says that Clark should have let the kids on the bus die, but it also should have been followed by urgings and lessons to not succumb to those things. To be better and more than those dark things; something wonderful that we want to follow and aspire to. Pa Kent’s final action in the movie is to basically say “Fear these people. They do not understand you. They will not accept you.” Jonathan seems like a man unable to overcome his fear long enough to show Clark the true beauty and capability of human will.

    I try to enter most comic flicks with the understanding that things will not be the same as the comic — that characters should evolve to fit the medium in which they are delivered. As long as the spirit of the character survives the cosmetic, origin, and character changes — I’m usually happy if it also happens to be a well-made film. This did not serve either purpose, speaking for only myself of course.

    We’ve had the movies where Superman’s primary concern is saving people and after years of hope we’ve finally got the movie that demonstrates the heroes fighting prowess. Now we just need the movie that has both and the heart to go along with it.

    • You encapsulated a lot of the ideas I was thinking but didn’t transliterate into my comments. Great food for thought.

    • Well said. I agree about the use of Pa Kent. Costner brought his usual humanity and wholesome quality to the role, I just didn’t appreciate that angle being applied to the character.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Excellent points. Very well said.

    • Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought this was a spoiler-free comments section. I just got spoiled a little, but no big deal. I may not be able to watch it for a couple weeks anyway. I’m likely to forget by then to being honest.

    • Ah! Sorry. I could have sworn I had already read certain spoilerific comments. I do apologize.

    • I would have preferred Superman not kill Zod, but if I would have been in Superman’s place I would have done the same thing.

    • I think the “Man of Steel” article is the one where people are posting comments with spoilers (the article states that the comments may have spoilers).

      And again, if I’m not mistaken here, I think that comments like @sphinx69’s need a SPOILERS buffer., even when posted in the other article I hadn’t noticed this particular spoiler concerning Zod here in this comment section.

    • Careful sphinx.

      Use a buffer so that spoilers don’t appear in the Recent Comments section. Ya dropped a pretty big bomb in your first sentence.

    • My punctuation got weird there. I was trying to say the thing that WheelHands just said. But also that spoiler comments might be more appropriate in the “Man of Steel” article. I had not encountered any such spoilers in this particular article’s comments. This one has “Spoiler Free” in the title, while the other article warns of spoilers in the comments.

      But not a huge deal, these things happen, and it’s mostly my own fault for reading the comments section for a movie review I haven’t seen. I’m just interested in the disparate opinions here.

    • Again, my mistake. If it needs to be moved, edited, or deleted I understand.

    • Excellent points.

      The Pa Kent of the Snyderverse baffled me. Taught that kid some messed up lessons.

    • I love Pa Kent’s portrayal. when he delivers that maybe (and it is a maybe) Costner totally projects that he doesn’t believe it for a second. he’s a man in the real world that Is worried about his son. the values are there for all to see, and then later when he does what he does in the tornado – that’s pa kent.
      Deeds not words. you know, like Megaforce.

    • I see your point and agree. Pa Kent is selfless, but I again, his last act is one of fear and one that teaches fear. He’s telling Clark that he doesn’t trust us and that Clark shouldn’t either.

      There’s lots of ideas being tossed around in this film: Fathers resentful of their species failings being at the top of that list with the theme of trust topping that. Moments such as this contradicted the theme of trust. Why should Clark trust us when the greatest man he has ever known rather die than allow Clark to save him? It’s a noble death, but a needless one.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      That’s a really good point. Both Jor-El and Pa Kent die with fear in their hearts rather than hope. For Jor-El it happens twice. That left a bad taste in my mouth.

    • Interesting, I didn’t read it that way at all. Both men die not just hoping but knowing that Clark will change the world. the last shot of Pa is when he’s working on the truck and Martha tells Clark how his father always knew what he would become. The last scene with Jor El is him telling Zod how Kal will beat him because he’s twice the man. I would argue they both die with hope in their hearts – Jor EL kinda does it twice.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I wish I could agree.

    • I’m going to agree with jgraff here; I think they both died hopeful. I didn’t see any fear in either of them.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I honestly wish I could agree. The more I think about it, the less I’m able to believe that incarnation of Jonathan Kent raised someone capable of becoming Superman. I almost feel like he had to become Superman in spite of Pa Kent’s paranoia doctrine. There’s being cautious and then there’s this. The problem is that Jonathan never gives Clark the thumbs up to unleash his potential. He dies in the last of a series of gestures prohibiting Clark from realizing his potential. Really, I think it’s Martha’s spirit that drives Clark. There’s evidence of that throughout the film. Especially after Jonathan’s death. I don’t think Jonathan is cruel or even a bad father, but me, I kind of wish Clark hand landed in Martin Sheen’s backyard instead.

    • Agreed. There’s a lot of nuance going in on that causes the polarized response and I think that where the movie had put the watcher by these particular scenes reflects what we took away from it.

      Jor-El, at the beginning of the film, wants to end this particular time period of his race. He truly doesn’t believe that his generation of Kryptonians should really survive their own ignorance and we can only assume that as well. The scene that jgraff refers to also ends with Zod ending the conversation with a threat that affects Jor-El’s consciousness visibly. Jor-El seems to go out with doubt in his heart. If the lines had been switched and the pace different, it would have been a nice Hollywood “My son is ring to kick your ass, like I did” moment.

      Which, by the way, I actually very much enjoyed Jor-El’s boxing skills and the scientist beat down he lays upon the General. That was my happy blood lust moment.

  44. Paul, even when I don’t agree 100%, I really enjoy your reviews. The last couple of sentences of this one in particular really hit home with me. Kudos.

  45. Will Josh be present on the podcast?

    I understand he has responsibilities, and I mean no disrespect to the guys who occasionally fill in, but his absence has been felt on the last few Special Editions.

  46. “More to Pewter Than Puissance” is the name of my Chris Cornell cover band.

  47. I’m surprised Snyder didn’t open the film with “Birth Ritual”.

  48. At least the guys who cut the first trailers with all of the Terence Malick-ian Americana footage knew how make a great Superman movie. I wish that actual filmmakers had trusted their hearts enough to make the film that those trailers promised.

  49. I enjoyed this film and I am confident that it is critic proof. It will make a lot of money, and will spawn more Superman and DC comics movies. A lot of critics, including Paul, I think, went into this film having had their expectations conditioned by the Marvel movies, which have had a clearer delineation between hero and villain, good and bad . The conflict in “Man of Steel” is not black and white, and I see that as a strength. The story is nuanced. The movie may seem “joyless” because it never loses sight of the melancholy of Krypton’s demise. Kal-El is learning who he is. You have to expect a certain amount of somberness when he learns that his people are no more. General Zod is not a simple, sadistic villain motivated by streak of pure evil. Zod actually has a noble cause. It is the manner in which he tries to achieve his aims which is wrong. I even think the design aesthetic for Krypton is wonderfully creative and appropriate. Krypton is dark, because its society has some fundamental flaws. The Kryptonians have made some mistakes which lead to their own extinction, although that extinction is still sad and out of proportion to their errors.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Had no idea I’d be programmed by those Marvel Studios movies. If you hadn’t condescended, I’d never have known.

      Are you kidding? Of course it will make money. That has nothing to do with the review of course. Do you picture reviewers handcuffing themselves in front of the multiplex in an effort to stop people from seeing things they don’t like?

      Damnit, Jim. I’m a writer, not a goalie.

    • @Invasionforce Everything you said, I agree.

  50. Has anyone commented on the Hans Zimmer score? Personally I found it deafening and uninspiring. But maybe that’s because most of it was drowned out by Kryptonian punches. This movie was INCREDIBLY LOUD. I watched it in IMAX and honestly thought my ears were going to start bleeding. In spite of this, I still enjoyed the movie. Some points I would like to address, some related to this review and some unrelated:

    1. Paul, your writing is awesome. Always has been, always will be. Love the way you play with words and use analogies. Poetic. As a teacher and lover of literature for more than 10 years I like to think I know what I’m talking about. You are clearly a man in love with language. Can’t wait for your next review, even if I don’t agree with it.

    2. So, in the movie, is Snyder, Goyer and Nolan saying that we are all descended from Kryptonians? Because the 20 000 yr old Kryptonian scout ship Clark enters clearly shows some sleep chambers/coffins which had been vacated, while others contain the remains of Kryptonian explorers who found our atmosphere less palatable, I guess. But what happened to the scouts who left the ship? Could they have learned to stomach our atmosphere (much like baby Clark, who had trouble breathing, according to Martha) and gone on to set themselves up as the ancient gods of legend, inspiring architecture and lost civilizations we claim as mysteries? Or could they have actually replaced the dominant hominid species on Earth to repopulate the planet and emerge as modern man? This could explain why we appear similiar to Kryptonians in appearance. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    • Judging by the presence of Helo and Gaeta, I’m assuming it’s a spinoff of BSg and Krypton is another name for Kobol. #science 😉

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      1. Thank you. That means a great deal to me. Words are just the best, aren’t they?

      2. I think there’s a Promethean thread running through the film at multiple levels. I don’t know if I want to tug on it though. I mean, Alien vs. Predator played with that stuff. I’m getting fatigued with the drive to connect everything like it’s all part of a master plan. That’s become increasingly pervasive in fiction. Oddly, I think it’s one of the film’s strengths that it just leaves that there for voluntary interpretation, but doesn’t push it.

    • @Hermgerm: I think your second point is interesting. I’m actually kind of embarrassed that it didn’t occur to me. Especially since my buddy made a comment about why Kryptonians look just like us when we walked out of the movie, and all I did was crack a ST Next Gen joke. I agree that it’s not something I want to see explored any further, but it remains an interesting (and obvious) theory.

    • Now that I’m at a proper keyboard, let me offer up something more thought out and less snarky/nerdy. I have to say that that aspect of film didn’t even occur to me at the time. (I felt the colony ship seemed like an unneeded element that complicated the plot more than it needed to. Too many set pieces.) However, it certainly begs the question without actually forcing it upon the audience. One of the pods is clearly open. I have a feeling that’s more of the movie’s “stinger” for a sequel than anything else. (Possibly Brainiac? Jax-Ur? Kara Zor-El?) But it does give you the possibility to fill in that blank and a logical deduction is that we’re Kryptonian descended. Outside of the obvious human likeness of Kryptonians, the codex appears to be based off a near-ancestor hominid skull (if not just a human skull “altered” by a special effects team to look exotic.) I think there’s differently supposed to be a connection beyond just “Aliens look the same.” But it feels lost in the aether of a plot with too many working parts/balls in the air. (SPOILER! SERIOUSLY LOOK AWAY: Doesn’t Kal-El kill all those unborn Kryptonians on the colony ship in his fight? Isn’t that kind of… odd for him to do? But then, he *also* has all of that info inside of him? So not loss? It struck me as odd and muddled and the product of too many drafts.)

      It’s an interesting angle though. Thanks for bringing it up!

    • I don’t know if you guys have seen this but here’s the link to the Man of Steel prequel comic that should shed some light regarding the scout ship featured in the movie:

    • i took the scout ship as a nod at ancient aliens theory fans

    • Thanks, Mister. Glad to know I was able to guess it. (Though, when I saw Sterling’s name on the page I figured it was Kara, as that’s his longest run)

  51. Paul, don’t mention Ridley Scott and expect people to respect your Man of Steel review. It reminds us that you gave Prometheus a 4.5/5 review. Haha. Opinions aside, your writing is a joy to read. So at least there’s that…

  52. I just got back from seeing Man of Steel and I really enjoyed it, but the original with Christopher Reeve is still the best. My biggest problem with it was I had trouble, at times, following the action, particularly in the final battle sequence between Superman and Zod, though I loved how it ended (was surprised by that, but how else could it have ended). Of the six Superman films, I put this at #3 behind Superman, the Movie at #1 and Superman II at #2. Great movie and I will see it again and take some of my kids next time. Hopefully, this movie does great at the box office, because I really want a Justice League movie.

  53. I’d look at the link Mister posted…. there needn’t be any speculation nor analogies to Prometheus.

    I wasn’t sure what to think when the movie was finished – it was a strong sense of deja vu, from when I finished watching Watchmen

  54. Sorry you’re getting so much flak for your review, Paul. The thread on this page just reinforces my impression of post Phantom Menace madness. In a couple of years people will look back and realize that, while there are certainly things to enjoy about this movie, it’s just not worth getting huffy about it.

    I just hope that by the time we get to that point, Warners will have delivered a sequel that will raise the bar a few notches.

  55. I saw this earlier tonight and I have to say I’m still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. I absolutely loved this movie. What nailed it for me was the emotional moments, very well done. And combined with the visceral action scenes… wow, wow, wow. The critics don’t know what they’re talking about. Can’t wait to see it again.

  56. I enjoyed it and would definitely see it again given the opportunity. It was no better or worse than ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ or other such films as an introduction to what will presumably be a new franchise; some good ideas, a lot of fun but lots of flaws as well.

    I would agree with some critics that say it lacked humanity and heart. The attempted suicide scene from All Star Superman would have been a good template in this respect – nothing big, just something to show that he cares. It just seemed too grand at times – 1000s of people being killed in Metropolis and then by the end of the film all is well.

    Amy Adams did not click for me as Lois and I will certainly miss the Clark, Lois, Superman love triangle from the franchise.

  57. I haven’t seen the movie (rarely will I pay £8-10 per person to see a movie with other people when I could have the DVD for the same price or less and see it as many times as I want when I want, but that’s personal preference) but I thought this was an excellent, thoughtful review, as I have come to expect from Paul and I’m sure it must have saddened him to have to write this, being such a fan of Superman.

    I’m not sure whether I’ll pick this up when the DVD does land, but I always appreciate a good review to help me formulate my decision on those sorts of choices.

  58. Minor issues, I know, but I hate how it took Supes a life time to learn his powers, but new Kryptonians get the hang of them in a matter of minutes.

    And if Supes’ cells have been absorbing solar radation since he was an infant, shouldn’t he be way more powerful then Kryptonians who have been on the planet for two days?

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I had that thought too. It probably is a minor point as you said, but it becomes more problematic because Jor-El underlines it more than once.

    • SPOILER i didn’t feel like that at all. Superman and Zod were the only kryptonians to fly, use x ray vision, or hest vision. No other kryptonian had the control to do any of those things and they were overwhelmed by there them when they got them. Also i like that zod got better at it as the movie went along sort of adapting .

    • Here’s how I read this situation:

      While Superman has had his powers since infancy, he was entirely self-taught for 33 years. He got the hang of flying pretty quickly, but I think that was because he was already familiar with his other abilities. Adding this new element wasn’t too tricky.

      I credited Zod’s level of control with his skills as a soldier. He’s presumably been trained to be aware of his own body in an operational capacity, therefore he figures out what he’s capable of pretty quickly.

    • We are told Zod and Co. have been to other planets, it’s a reasonable assumption (though far more work on the audience’s part then I generally like to cop to) that a few of them are better adapted at flying and fighting because of varying conditions.

      Also, I just noticed that Man of Steel borrows the “gearing up to fly” pose from Smallville’s series finale (the crouched kneel with the jetsam rising up as the ground shakes.)

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      But doesn’t Zod react to the emerging powers as if he’s never experienced it in himself or others before?

      Again, I don’t care a great deal about this qualm.

    • Looking at the movie at no point does any other kryptonian fly. not a single time. zod is the only one who take the time and has the skill to learn other powers.

    • I think Endlessw is right, I think Zod’s crew just jumps from place to place but never actually fly.

    • True. I was just hazarding a guess as to why it doesn’t really seem like there was much of a learning curve for the Kryptonainas. I did really enjoy them being overwhelmed though, that was a neat bit. However, it takes Clark 33 years to figure out how to fly, yet Zod does it in a few seconds. It felt odd. I guess you could also chock it up to Zod having access to alien tech and knowing how to fly things like jetpacks or weird pterodactyls.

  59. MoS was enjoyable but the movie suffered from a lot of missed opportunities. The story was rushed. I felt like it was missing elements. Henry Cavill was a good fit but Michael Shannon didn’t fit. I thought that Faora was a way better character than Zod. She didnt have much screen time but stole the thunder from Zod when she was on screen. The action was amazing but the spaceship battle was too long. One of the biggest missed opportunities was build up to the suit. Superman just kind of shows up in it, which it fine but could have been done better. MoS was the biggest disappointments of the year for me. I trusted the trailers too much. 6.5/10

  60. I love Paul’s articles/reviews more than most I read but aside from the “definitive Jordan-El” and positive notes, I whole heartedly disagree on this being a joyless film, although cold at times but I embraced that sense of cold as intentional so the audience would feel the distance between us and Krytonians like Zod as well as Kal-El’s distance from everyone embracing the best of two worlds when he sees the ugliness in ours and his home planet all while battling it out in a display of him still realizing what he’s truly capable of. Loved it and like many, it will resonate even better with a 2nd viewing.

  61. I’ve heard/seen reviews by critics which were essentially the equivalent of “Get off my lawn!” or “You kids turn that music down!” Paul’s is not one of those. I see his point: the movie was grim and cold. Still, I enjoyed it. I’ve always wanted to see Superman duke it out like he does in the animated films/series and here I’m finally getting that. Even though the writers resorted to making yet another Superman movie with a plot revolving around real estate, it was nice to see him not get beaten up by Kal Penn.

    Poor DC. They tried to give us “fun”, Marvel-style superheroes with Green Lantern and failed. Now they’ve tried to duplicate their Dark Knight success with a darker take on Superman and are being crushed for it. My advice? Just add few more jokes, DC. There was exactly one laugh in Man of Steel and that was at the very end. A couple of puns here and there would have made all the difference.

    • i don’t get the joyless thing really. i laugh a lot in the movie

    • My audience laughed once. “I think he’s kinda hot.”

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Same. That was the only point my audience laughed.

    • When I saw the movie, there was not a single laugh from the audience around me, at all. Really there wasn’t a lot of reaction at all. Some tsks and scoffs at a certain end scene, though. (Outside of one very awkward moment when the guy next to me started to have a a very vocal faux orgasm when Cavill shows up without his shirt on. “Oh fuck , oh fuck, oh fuck!”) If your experience was different great, but the theatre I was in was certainly joyless and I’ve not heard too many differing accounts.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Oh, I actually heard a dude in the back whoop “Yeah!” for that moment in the end. Humanity’s awesome. I appreciated that Superman and the film itself didn’t agree with that guy.

    • Had they cut 10 minutes from the final action sequence to give Superman and Lois just a little more time to build chemistry and then sprinkled a couple of laughs here and there, this movie would have been much better.

    • at my showings both times to people laugh at the guy who shoves him, the truck with the logs, and etc..i actually really disliked the “he is hot” comment but i saw why people laughed.

  62. I thought man of steel was fantastic

  63. Paul, you know these things better than most: was the soldier on monitor duty at the Arctic station the same guy who played Emil Hamilton in “Smallville”? If it is, I wonder if that was meant as an Easter egg (like the old Jimmy Olsen bartending in “Returns”) or was just a coincidental casting.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      That’s him! Alessandro Juliani played Hamilton in Smallville, but he’s probably best known as Gaeta in Battlestar Galactica.

    • @Paul Speaking of Hamilton, SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS near the end of Man of Steel does he die when the plane crashes? It only shows Lois falling out of it, and it looked like they were going to set up Emil as a supporting character in future movies. Or maybe it was just a reference to comic fans, but if that’s the case his role was pretty small in the movie.

    • Helo from Battlestar Galactica is very briefly in that scene as well.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Yeah, it looks like he’s off the table. Which is a shame. Love Richard Schiff.

  64. Solid review, Paul. I can’t say I disagree with any of it. That last scene in the train station was blasphemous.

    • How so?

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Had he relished it, it would’ve been blasphemous. I think it’s an interesting choice, though there are proportional problems. How necessary was the act, given all the variables? Why isn’t there more of an effort to shift this scuffle elsewhere? Not that he needs to successfully lure Zod away, but it would’ve solved a few criticisms had our hero shown any concern for their surroundings at all up until that final moment.

      I think blasphemous is too strong a word here. Ideally, you’d find a way where he’d consider taking that step, but then finding another way. I think he’d be haunted enough by the realization that he’d ALMOST done it.

    • Because it was so extremely and excruciatingly out of character that everything the character stood for for over 75 years was betrayed. I don’t care if it was a “reboot” and that it’s being updated. To me, Superman’s morals are something you don’t update or change. The symbol on his chest stood for “hope?” Well, that action wasn’t hopeful to me, it was despair.

    • Superman has killed Zod twice previously, once in the comics and also in Superman 2. At least this time he didn’t follow up his murder with a severe beating of a trucker in a diner.

    • It’s just how I feel man. Yeah, he took out Zod in Superman 2, but he didn’t snap the dudes neck in a public setting. Also, he didn’t inadvertently kill like 20,000 people by plowing through buildings with Zod. The whole movie felt completely off to me. To me, and I know my opinion has little to no influence, I think this needs to be a one-off with no sequel.

    • I just don’t see how breaking a guy’s neck out of necessity is more offensive than making a joke then tossing him unnecessarily to his death.

    • Because Superman is supposed to be an ideal and better than who we are, that’s why it was offensive to me. I’m glad you liked the movie and were ok with the ending. I’m just letting my experiences with the character inform my opinions of his final actions with Zod. If you found the actions appropriate, that’s fine. I’m just of the opposite opinion.

  65. You have a good point, Paul. He could have carried him out of the building or something instead of breaking his neck. Many other ways to handle it, and to me, that makes it all the bit more disappointing because that meant Snyder and Goyer were of the mindset that, “Yeah, we’re going to have Superman kill Zod.”

    • see i disagree he barely has control of zod right there. fly away with him and he could just get free and kill thousands of other people.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      In the scenario they set up, yes, it’s an inevitability. He also stated plainly that only one of them would walk away from this. That’s their insurance. That’s what they’d point to. That line. That said, they didn’t have to go down that road in the first place. To avoid the necessity of the action, you’d have to rewind a bit farther to start rejiggering the elements.

      How’s this? As presented, it was inevitable. But the inevitability of that inevitability wasn’t necessarily inevitable. 😉

    • i agree that right after the rest are set back, that it’s inevitable. but i like it because it felt like this is now where superman will look back too to say i will do better. this is why he will not kill lex and etc… i would like to see the growth in the character instead of this static dead thing.

    • I don’t think that Snyder and Goyer specifically went in with the agenda to have Superman kill Zod. As the creators responsible for reinventing Superman for a new generation, they must ask themselves, “how do we fit this ‘old-fashioned’ character into modern times?” One of those ways is to have him face a moral dilemma that he never had to bother with in the old films. Admittedly, it rings a little hollow after the collateral damage he helped cause with no apparent guilt (a problem which could have been fixed with a two-second reaction shot), but I don’t blame the creators for forcing the character into that corner.

    • I’ll take a desperate neck-breaking hail-mary move over the old depower-then-crush-his-hand-and-casually-toss-him-into-the-icy-abyss maneuver any day.

    • yeah i found that scene in superman 2 creepy.

  66. i loved this movie! 4 outta 5 for me! now i need to sell my other superman movis because there is no way i could watch them and enjoy them anymore lol. this is the movie I have been waiting for!

  67. Stamp Zod and Montalbon Khan vs Shannon Zod and Cumberbatch Khan.


    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I’d say Faora is more compelling than either Zod. And that Cumberbatch was miscast. The better-realized modern Khan is Bardem’s character in Skyfall. Not even remotely kidding.

    • +1 for paul

      i love Cumberbatch but if you wanted a kahn for that story Bardem was prefect.

    • Wow, that Bardem thing kinda blew my mind. Hiddleston’s Loki would have made a good Khan too. Yeah, Hollywood needs to work on their villains. Brooding heroes are all the rage right now, but brooding villains are dull. Menacing AND theatrical is the best way to go if you can find the right actor. Given better dialogue, Shannon could have found that balance.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      More than anything, I felt bad for Shannon. This was not his fault.

    • Stamp’s Zod is a nuanced, understated performance. Granted, Lester took out the scene where Zod wantonly shoots guards with an AK for shits and giggles. He gets shouty and makes demands, but at the end of the day, he comes across as less of an outright bad guy and more of a calculating menace for Superman to defeat. Stamp is regal, hence why he necessitates kneeling. Shannon’s Zod has great presence, and Shannon is a great actor, but he’s given some truly horrendous dialogue. “Give me the codex! I will find him! I will find him! I WILL FIND HIM. I WILL FIND HIM.”

      Cumberbatch did a better job with what was given him than Shannon, but he still lacks the persona of Montalban. Go back and watch Space Seed. He’s charming, sophisticated and utterly brilliant. And he actually never kills anyone! He almost kills Kirk and threatens to do in Spock, but no one dies in the episode. Again, nuance, depth of character, regality. All which Cumberbatch didn’t really have. He, too, feels like someone with presence but who is only given so much to work with.

      Good discussion though.

    • @Prax: Having seen the trailers, I was waiting for the loud “I will find him!” What I did not expect was the three “I will find him”s preceding it. It struck me as laugh-out-loud ridiculous.

      In acting school, we were taught when you have a line that repeats itself, you should “color” each repetition differently (changing the inflection, lowering/raising the projection, etc.). In reality, no one says the same thing twice in exactly the same way because it defeats the motivation of repeating yourself in the first place. Shannon is a terrific actor, but even he was hard pressed to find a different “color” for the same line FOUR TIMES. It’s just poor writing.

    • Cumberbatch’s Sherlock would be a better Khan than Cumberbatch’s Khan was, if that makes any sense.

    • i would have love to see Cumberbatch as a more proactive kahn with a plan. I don’t mean more fights but more of the brilliant mind. instead of some guy who seems to just go with the admirals plan unintentionally.

      i really liked faora in this movie and gail simone wants do faora comic book for dc…WANT

  68. The more I think about it, the biggest things that bothers me is the bait and switch we got with the trailer.

    “In time you will help them accomplish wonders…”

    You know, in the context of that trailer, Jor El’s speech really gave me tingles. Combined with the Terrence Malicky kid with a cape shots. I really thought we were being sold a hero that was built on idealism. A hero that would inspire greatness in others. A hero that, say, when Zod is crying about his loss of purpose in defending the Kryptonian people, might extend his hand and be like “I’m your people.” (The turn the other cheek vibe would at least be consistent with the heavy handed Jesus stuff.) A hero that when given the ultimatum of “There’s only one way this can end…” would think of another way…

    In MOS, Clark is way more of a hero before he puts on the suit. Once he’s public, the only wonders he accomplishes are terror, citywide destruction and murder.

    • A hero that, say, when Zod is crying about his loss of purpose in defending the Kryptonian people, might extend his hand and be like “I’m your people.”

      I like this better, but audiences want blood.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Very, very well said, XkettnerdX.

    • “A hero that when given the ultimatum of ‘There’s only one way this can end…’ would think of another way…”

      You’ve perfectly captured my problems with film.

    • Well said, you hit it on the head.

      The only scene that approaches that in this movie is that magical moment of Perry, Jenny and Steve in the rubble. It’s a stock scene, but it works so well in the scene. Only, Superman didn’t inspire them to do that. He’s no where to be seen. They relied on themselves to become greater without him. It’s tonally at odds to the film, but it hammers home a point that the script otherwise forgets about.

    • @WheelHands: “I like this better, but audiences want blood.”

      After the second time I saw this we bolted as soon as the main title came up because I knew there was no reason to wait around and because people really had to go to the bathroom. I was waiting in the lobby as people were filing out and heard A LOT of “That was badass!” “He snapped his neck! So cool!” from the teen and young 20s males coming out of the theater, who entirely missed the point of the tragedy of the scene, which I guess is who they want to appeal to.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Very sad.

    • Discussing the movie with a friend afterwards, I expressed that the comment I most feared coming out of the movie would be “Wasn’t it cool when Superman killed Zod?”

      Fear realized.

    • @Conor: That moment is the one and only time my audience cheered. And it wasn’t just a few people. I, meanwhile, just shook my head in genuine disappointment.

    • That scene really was disappointing. It’s not like Supes has not killed the phantom zone criminals in the comics, but in the Byrne run when he did it was so earned. It only happened after every other option was gone. As has been said higher up in the posts lots of people had trouble with Supes not keeping the damage down and therefore the body count, that to have him kill Zod just makes Supes seem like he has no sense of morality. Which is the whole point of the character, that he has absolute power yet does not use it. Then again this is a Supes that was raised by a Pa Kent that said to let a bus load of children die.

    • Wonderfully stated.

      My theater cheered as well as I sat stunned among them. It should have been a sobering moment, and if anything the theater should have somehow become quieter. People should have felt his pain as he screamed afterwards. It should have churned stomachs, like it did mine, as you realize how far he was pushed and just how much he must have been through to put him in that particular position.

      But it didn’t.

      I would totally support it if the film had made that action something to almost be reviled, but understood. But at the same time, the audience was desensitized to godlike men smashing through building and murdering thousands int he process half-way through the flick. It stopped being some awesome display of power and became a display of ultra-violence that would have Anthony Burgess’s Droogs screaming with glee. The train station scene was the only thing that could shake the audience out of that apocalyptic stupor.

      It did, but not in the way I wish it had.

    • The blood-lust that you guys encountered is a real bummer.

      Been thinking a bit about the film today, and what I realize is really missing is more depiction of the catharsis that needs to come after Zod’s death. We all hope to see some mention of it in the eventual sequel, but, really, it need to be show in *this* movie, so we have some stronger sense of character growth. They should have removed 10 minutes of punching through buildings, and added a richer denouement.

    • Agreed. Not a prolonged mopey Clark, but maybe a resignation to be better. The death wasn’t as important as the handling of the before and after.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      That’s so easy too. Let Superman take care of the body. A grave scene. Whether he buries him on an asteroid or on the Kent farm or in the Fortress. He shouldn’t want the government to take the body and try to study it. It’s a good way to mourn Krypton, the choices he was forced to make. And an opportunity to say, “Never again.”

    • I like that. I like the idea that he’s killed before and it tore him to pieces. That would be a good reason, or a better reason, for this version of Superman to take on that particular character aspect. No matter how righteous, it should be something that haunts him.

  69. Avatar photo Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Honest question: Did I miss Steve Lombard doing something slimy? Why did Lois and the intern brush him off so aggressively in that final scene? Steve helped save that intern’s life AND he had court side seats to a basketball game. The intern acted like he’d done something childish when he asked Lois and her out.

    • I’m assuming there was a lot of Planet stuff that was cut. But you’re right.

    • yeah i assume some planet stuff was cut but when she walked in and he was un “oh lane your in trouble” i KNEW it was lombard.

    • Yeah that was a real dick move on the intern’s part. Steve tried to save her butt and she still rebuff’s him like he’s a slimeball? Even if we have deleted scenes of him being a jerk that’s still an awful thing to do.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Helping her does not secure him the right to a date. There’s no reason anyone would be obligated to agree to a date.

      I agree that it’s an odd and ill timed attempt at comedy. They may have had time, but we didn’t.

    • I feel like there was a lot of stuff. A LOT cut out of the movie.

  70. I can’t believe there are Superman fans who like this movie. I don’t give a tinker’s dam about Superman, and I was stunned at the state he left Metropolis in. Not to mention going Tony Soprano.

    Until the end, I was sort of with it. If I had one note, it’s that I wish it could have been a little bit grayer, and made having the most awesome powers in the world seem like more of a horrific nightmare.

    I have a thought, and I already know I’m going to express it badly, but I’m going to try anyway: I can tell this will go down in history as a 2/5 movie based on nothing more than how mad people who “liked” it are at Paul for saying so. If you know a movie was great and you hear someone badmouthing it, you say, “Ha! You are insane,” and go about your business. You don’t feel the need to argue the review into submission unless part of you knows it’s probably right.

    • Also, I don’t think I have ever laughed as hard at a serious thing as I did when he did the Backwards Crucifix out of that ship. “DO YOU GET IT? JESUS.”

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Right? That moment’s so weird. “What a dick exit. Jeez.”

    • Even my Christ-loving friend found that laughable.

    • Ha. You are insane.

    • Why are people blaming Superman for destroying Metropolis (which interestingly, is never called Metropolis in the film)? The Kryptonians were destroying Metropolis, and the earth with their terraforming. Supes’ first order of business was to halt the terraforming if any human was going to be left alive.


      Also, Zod had to die. How else would Supes end his rampage, since Zod had avoided being sucked into the Phantom Zone?

      Why are people saying this film had no heart? It had little humor, but there were some lovely moments of poignancy. Pa Kent saying, “You are my son.” Pa Kent’s death in which he sacrifices himself for his son. Ma Kent saying how fearful she was for Clark as a baby when she heard him struggling for breath. If I remember correctly, she said she slept on the floor by his crib in order to monitor him.

    • @InvasionForce: It was never said out loud, but “Metropolis” was seen on the military computer monitors during the film.

    • @InvasionForce: They are saying that because it seems that Supes had no real regard for the denizens of Metropolis, much like his mustache-twirling Kryptonian brethren.

      At least in the sense that there was no conscious efforts on his part to save bystanders that weren’t Lois, or folks that happened to be in the way of someone he was punching. By the time Supes finally faces off against Zod, a section of Metropolis has been almost completely leveled and not only because of Zod’s terraforming machine.

    • @invasionForce: i am right there with you, i don’t get it. also i agree, i thought it was fun and had heart.

      i really loved that scene where he is like “it would not be much of a surrender if i resisted”

    • Conor and Invasion: They actually did speak the word “Metropolis” at least once in the final act, as I was listening for it when I realized I hadn’t heard it yet.

  71. No one’s mentioned the phantom zone penis ships, have they?

    • Ha, I totally noticed that. That had to be intentionally done by the special effects guys.

    • We noticed that too. What a bizarre way to imprison people.

      “We’re going to put them into giant penises, launch them into a ship, launch that ship into another ship, and then send that ship into the worm hole.”
      “But we’re spending 40 bazillionty dollars to imprison 8 people. Those ships aren’t cheap.”
      “Yes, it’s not very cost effective.”
      “Also, why are we imprisoning only 8 people? It looked like Zod had an entire army.”
      “We’re bankrupt.”

    • The shape of the things was unmistakeable, but my question was “Why are they imprisoning them in the first place if they know the planet is about to be destroyed … like, today.” If they had just shackled them in a regular prison, this all could’ve been avoided.

      But then you have no movie, I guess.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Man of Steel’s Krypton values form well over function, and unfortunately the form is hideous.

    • Not only where they launched via penis into another ship with connected to another ship which went through what I can only assume is Babylon 5 jump gate, but…. they were simultaneously held within the phantom zone within a black hole. Just so… overly devised.

      I can only assume that the Kryptonians wanted to punish them by making them outlive the planet. Which… more or less proves Jor-El’s points. Pure Bred Kryptonians are really aassholes.

    • @Prax: They really are, aren’t they? I appreciated the different visual approach to Krypton, but a lot of it reminded me of Vulcan. Particularly the desert landscape and the crotchety, bejeweled and cranky elders.

    • To be fair, no one but Jor-El and his wife thought the planet was going to die. Zod seemed like he was just tired of the way the Council did business- otherwise why bother killing them or staging a coup. He would have grabbed the embryos and the codex and booked for the next planet.

      And you wouldn’t try the rank and file soldiers- they are just following orders, and he is a general after all. You go after Zod and his inner circle.

    • Right, and in that way it’s like many of the comics; they should’ve heeded Jor-El’s warnings, etc.

      I was under the impression that Zod believed Jor-El, but thought the council would respond to force rather than reason. Otherwise why would he want the codex so badly?

      Honestly, the whole macguffin of the codex was a pretty weak foundation on which to build the villain’s motivations.

    • it seems to me that the phantom zone is a black hole in this universe.

      Also i would say the codex was not the foundation of his motivation the whole best thing for krypton really was that.

    • Maybe I should rephrase that; His motivation was fine, but the very concept of the codex was kinda dumb in my opinion. Made even dumber when we discovered that it was in Kal’s blood.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Should’ve just said he was a Horcrux.

  72. Apparently, this movie is a bit divisive! Overall, I thought this was a good movie that was a few changes away from being great.

    The acting across the board was solid. There has been criticism of almost everyone in the cast depending on the review you read, but the performances all worked for me. I enjoyed the scenes on Krypton from the design to the brief glimpses of their culture. Also, the story overall worked for me, though the execution was not always there.

    I liked the ending of the tornado scene, but I don’t like how they got there. There were too many opportunities for Clark to resolve the situation without revealing himself.

    The level of destruction throughout the film was too much. By my estimation, there had to be at least 2 million people killed in the film. I know people wanted to see a more physical and proactive Superman, but he did very little saving. I know in the end he saved the planet, but little was done to contain the damage and limit the loss of life. The romantic beat with Lois at the end is out of place amongst all the destruction. I am OK with his decision on how to deal with Zod, but I would have liked to see a little more of him getting to that decision. I think Paul mentioned that he would have liked an “I am your people” line from Superman to Zod at the end and I would agree. I liked Superman’s reaction after the death, but I did want a bit more of a breakdown. His civilization is gone and his home is in destroyed. Maybe a tear or two?

    At the end of the movie, we get the “he’s kind of hot” joke after all of the destruction and death. Bad joke. Bad placement. If you had to put that joke in, put it in earlier. We needed a lot more humor in this movie to balance out the destruction, or maybe less destruction! Even the Dark Knight had funny moments.

    Unfortunately, I ended up writing more negatives than positives, which is what a lot of us tend to do after seeing movies, especially those that don’t live up to expectations. At the end of the day, I liked it, but didn’t love it. 3 stars on the Netflix scale. I wonder how I would have felt if I had never scene a trailer for this film and hadn’t built it up into what I wanted it to be before I saw it.

    Paul, thanks for the write up and your opinion of the film. Keep them coming, but keep in mind that the style you write in will affect the way people take your criticism. It is clear that you are trying really hard in your use of language to craft these reviews, but maybe you don’t have to try so hard.

    Oh, and the first hour of “The Last of Us” is probably a better crafted piece of entertainment/storytelling than this film. Just a thought.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Yeah, I think the performers were quite solid. I only wish they had better things to perform.

      I appreciate your note about my writing style and take it to heart, but I’m not actually comfortable with the work unless I labor over it and experience paranoia and agony. To be casual requires being comfortable with yourself, and I’ve never not been anxious.

    • As someone familiar with living an anxious existence, I would tell you not to be anxious and just be comfortable the writing, but I know it wouldn’t work! Absolutely loved Wormwood, by the way!

      As far as Man of Steel goes, maybe it was a few script revisions away. I really wanted this to be great, but it did fall short.

    • I think a lot of people are getting all bent up because they keep comparing Man of Steel to previously held ideas of what Superman is supposed to be at least on some level. No one is new to Superman and that means everyone has already made up in their own minds what he is, says, does, and smells like. And if the movie version is off by two degrees or more it’s “oh, this was what was wrong with the movie.”

      Too much destruction? Does anyone say that to Godzilla or Cloverfield (or Knowing)? What about the movie-makers driving home the point that an Evil Kryptonian is something to be feared.

      I dunno, I liked that movie. And I like Godzilla, too. And when I go see Pacific Rim I’m not going to worry about “too much destruction” either.

  73. Did Superman honestly forget that Zod was still a threat? He abandoned him in the crashing ship to save Lois (a none of the other millions of people facing death) but surely he knew that that wouldn’t have killed him.

    What did Supes gain by destroying the Kryptonian embryos? Zod had no army and his terraforming machine had been destroyed- he was all but defeated. The embryos could have been a bargaining chip of some sort. But instead he chooses to put Zod in a situation were he had nothing to lose.

  74. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Here’s a question.

    What’s going on with the S is for hope scene? The moment we know so well from the trailer. The moment where Lois is about to suggest an S-word to apply to the symbol and Dr. Hamilton interrupts them with a blast of mic feedback. In the context of the scene it’s a coincidence. He just happens to break in at just that moment. But what’s the story purpose? It looks like it could’ve been a way to avoid saying ‘Superman.’ But then the young soldier says it later. Do you think there was ever a concerted effort to avoid saying it out loud at all, but then they changed their mind? Perhaps because it’s so awkward for characters to talk about him strictly as “him” or “the alien?” Not a conspiracy theory, just a question. Because I don’t know why that beat exists.

    • Yeah that was strange. If they’re going to name him that later, why cut lois off? What a weird coincidence that what she was going to name him ended up being what everyone else started calling him anyways.

      And, “You’ll never find out where I hang my cape. Also I grew up in Kansas.”

    • I thought that was weird. I assumed Colonel Stabler (who was surprisingly not Lois’s father!?) was going to be given the moment of naming him after his awed expression in Smallville. Something akin to “You’re like some sort of super…. man.” I think there was a Nolan-influenced effort to “reduce” the absurdity of the genre by keeping the name minimally used. However, we end up with Kal-El getting the moniker off screen as it were. It struck me as odd. The interrogation room scene is cute, but it actually draws more attention to the name then less!

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I almost want to guess that it’d be part of a runner. Similar to the way Coulson kept popping up in the first Iron Man with different ideas as to what SHIELD stands for. As if people would keep almost saying Superman throughout the film only to be cut off or drowned out. But there’s only one instance, not the three you’d need for a recurring gag. I’m not saying that would’ve been a good joke, but at least I would understand their intent.

    • I am probably reading more into it than is warranted, but I get the impression that (I want to say DC but that’s probably not fair) some people are embarrassed about the super hero thing. Arrow is one example…he is not Green Arrow on the show, he’s “the Hood”,or “the Vigilante”. He also struggles with not killing folks, which in Ollie’s case is no big deal at all to me. That they even address it is great. But the same is going on in MOS. It’s all very practical, and they seem to hide anything “goofy” about the superhero gig. The costume is a Sci-Fi relic, everything has a very grounded reason. It’s probably a tough Lin to walk. You can get Batman Begins, or you can get “joyless”.

  75. Liked Man of Steel. Not much you can do with a boring character. I think the main actors did a brilliant job. Bravo.

    • There is no such thing as a boring character, only boring writers. And I would argue that Superman has had the majority share of intensely creative writers during his 75 years who have not only fleshed out his world with incredible concepts but have also added to his humanity through his relationships with so-called ‘normal’ people, even other superheroes (Batman comes to mind). Because of this I would go so far as to say that Superman is the MOST interesting character in the history of popular fiction. He even reflects the Zeitgeist of the times in which a particular incarnation of him was written (Defender of the common man in the late 30’s, vehement anti-socialist in the 40’s, nuclear-age futurist in the 50’s & 60’s, iconic Hollywood Superstar in the 70’s via Reeve, messianic figure in the 80’s and 90’s via his John Byrne rebirth and 90’s death and resurrection, etc). Yet even through all these differing interpretations of the character one vital element remains the same: he’s the loneliest man in the universe, the last of his kind, the savior of a new world who never birthed him. This is pure CHARACTER GOLD. So please don’t label an enduring cultural icon as boring. Superman is a gateway to wonder for millions of children, past and present. Respect that.

    • Fair enough. However I’m not convinced. I liked the film and find Superman a boring character. Cognitive dissonance? Maybe. I’m okay with it though.

  76. Well I saw the movie today and in the grand scheme of things I think it’s a good movie.

    The first half of this was a wonderful origin story in how different it was. Having flashbacks of key moments in Clark’s life learning about his birth and origins was a great choice! Mixing that in with him finding his ‘fortress of solitude’ spaceship and learning his power limits was fun to watch. Add to that with some great performances by Costner, Lane, Crowe, and Cavill and I was so expecting this to be a great origin film just like Batman Begins.

    And then Goyer and Snyder forgot this was a big budget, action movie and it all goes downhill once Zod comes a knocking. Seriously, the moment he shows up the amount of fighting and destruction turns this into a Michael Bay flick. The amount of wanton death and destruction in this was really horrifying. It makes sense in that it would be realistic if sadistic aliens fighting another super being would cause such damage. But Metropolis gets leveled to the point like it’s Hiroshima for christ sakes! Hundreds of thousands of people die and an eyelid is not even batted. It just doesn’t seem very Superman-like to have that much death and Superman himself doesn’t seem to give a shit.

    That and, even though everyone else is not bad at their roles, the more action goes into this movie the faults are magnified. Laurence Fishburne, Christopher Meloni, Richard Schiff, and the rest of the minor characters have no function in this movie. In fact, you get rid of the major actors who play their characters with lesser known people and it would have made no difference. That’s how inconsequential they are to this. Lois Lane should be more then a dues ex machina or damsel in distress. Their romance literally comes out of no where apart from the fact that they needed it to happen quickly in this.

    Going back to the positives, the movie is indeed very beautiful. For all of the problems I have with the second half of the movie and the lack of characterization it’s hard to deny this is a good looking movie. The locations are shot very well and the visuals are great! I love how everything about Krypton and their technology is very H.R. Gieger. I’m probably in the minority with that but I enjoyed it. The fights were also handled very well even though the more that gets destroyed the more uncomfortable I am.

    So yeah….I am of two minds of this. It’s a good looking movie and most of the key figures in this are played very well. But minor characters and the female lead are irrelevant. The death and destruction going with the mindless action is what really hurts this movie. This had such a great chance to kick off a wonderful series of films just like Batman Begins. In the end though it’s a very disappointing film and while I won’t mind seeing it once and a while it will always be the thing that makes me think: ‘What could have been”


    (Oh and the lack of end credits tease in this was a stupid idea on WB’s part. It was too late for a Justice League reference since they green lit after this came out. But nothing to hype for a sequel? Not even some sort of obligatory Lex Luthor visual? Just plain stupid.)

  77. Topic for discussion: Secret Identities seem to be over in the superhero genre. Do we like this? Does it make a certain amount of sense? Or is it now overplayed?

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I think it depends on the character. Not every character who maintains a secret identity generates drama out of that aspect of their lifestyle. It’s pivotal for Spider-Man or Batman. Not so much for really any of the Avengers. Superman is interesting because there are great stories where Lois knows who he really is and great stories where Lois doesn’t. The primary component of his secret identity isn’t so much secrecy, but duality. Clark and Superman are equally important.

      Anyways, yeah. Depends on the character. Some absolutely need it. The others, I’d want to focus narrative attention elsewhere.

    • I was going to answer this, but Paul’s answer is pretty much perfect.

    • I look at it this way. How many people knew Batman’s identity by the end of the Nolan Franchise? It’s a fairly high number for Batman (in a world with a solo Batman.). Granted, many are dead, but it happens fairly early in Begins. One of the few good scenes in Green Lantern is that balcony scene with Hal and Carol where she figures out who he is in five seconds. Iron Man does it in the best way possible that fits the character and it’s toyed with the public persona in 2 and 3. In Amazing Spider-Man Peter’s pretty loose with it, if not always his fault.

      You raise valid points about it, though, which is what I was curious about reading. I both liked and was a bit annoyed by the quickness of Lois figuring it out. Felt more like something for a second film.

    • Superman’s secret identity doesn’t really work for today’s audience. They’re trying to create a smarter, tougher Lois and her not being able to figure out that Clark and Superman are the same person undermines this idea.

    • Climbing outside at night in the arctic on an ice shelf with no specialized gear isn’t very smarter.

  78. I posted this in the podcast thread but I’d like to share my thought here as well

    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.”

    Zod preferred death to a life without meaning or usefulness so he forced Kal’s hand.

    • The a good point. It doesn’t excuse the offense, I you consider it one, but that’s a good point.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      You’re right. They did really all the necessary legwork for it to make sense and feel inevitable. That said, they didn’t have to set all those things up to lead them to that point. I don’t want to get into spitballing alternatives. But it’s only the only way out because they made it the only way out. Then again, I’m sort of in the middle on the choice, neither loving it, approving of it, or deeming it sacrilege.

    • If only he had crushed his hand and thrown him into a bottomless pit instead for the family-friendly death scene instead!

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      No one, to my knowledge, has held up that moment in Superman II as the ideal alternative, so pointing out how grim it is doesn’t really apply here.

    • There’s too much rending of garments over this scene.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Not in this review.

    • Certainly in the comments, and no, not just your comments.

  79. No, I get that way of looking at it. To me, it kind of made Shannon’s Zod more than a mustache twirling villain. He was doing what he was programmed to do. In a way it was further illustrating the advantage of Kal not having the burden of the traditional Kryptonian predestination as it was Zod’s downfall. He could not adapt.

    • i got that feel of predestination from zod and faora as well. I found it funny for all her talk of evolution Superman is the only one of them free to evolve and change.

  80. I just wanted to say that if there was anyway of transferring how I felt after seeing MoS with Paul (or any disappointed Superman fan for that matter), I would. I was moved and enthralled by the film. And after reading your review, Paul; I was saddened to see that you left feeling underwhelmed. It’s bittersweet that while I loved the picture, so many of my fellow Superman fans did not.

    (Side note: Am I the only one who wants to see a Brainiac/Lex Luthor villain team-up in the sequel?)

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I genuinely appreciate the sentiment. This one hurt. But I’m enjoying the conversation. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to think critically about a favorite character and exchange insights. That’s not so bad at all.

    • I think people who were disappointed by the film should belt out Remy Zero’s “Save Me”. We can all agree it’s a feel good song for Superman fans.

    • I definitely feel its time for a movie version of Brainiac

    • I’d love to see in the sequel, Lex Luthor rebuilding Metropolis using technology Brainiac provided and using the destruction of Metropolis to sway the public into distrusting Superman. Leading to a grand Brainiac/Lex Luthor Vs. Superman showdown.

    • TiQuinn: Brainiac WAS in the movie in all but name. Remember the giant, AI controlled, somewhat skull-shaped, Kryptonian warship that fought Superman using cybernetic tentacles it shoots out of its “head” in India? I just rolled with that being Brainiac’s ship and it was awesome.

    • Those tentacles were very Brainiac design inspired. I assumed there was going to be some type of Brainiac setup with the World Engine and the flying Computer things, but we didn’t. (Which, those computers on Krypton and in the ship kind of reminded me of the white snake things from Prometheus).

    • I always wondered why you need two villains for the sequel.

  81. Does anyone think that the reason that Snyder chose not to address the collateral damage in the final battle is because he assumed (erroneously) that the audience would think that the entire city was abandoned by the time Superman arrived?

    • Nah, his inclusion of so many low shots of people running from falling buildings and high shots of streets full of people as the buildings fell would negate that.

    • i found it “comic book ” like that every time we got a shot of superman in a building in that fight no one was in the building. I had zero problem with the damage being done and his reactions to it.

  82. I get a lot of the criticism but don’t feel it myself. I really liked it, admired the choices the filmmakers made, and like how this world feels really lived in. I could have used more Superman saving people and a tiny attempt at humor but tonally and thematically I thought it all worked. For me, Superman always does the hard thing, the right thing. Every choice he made in this movie fit that interpretation, so I really liked everything about it.

    • I agree with this. I like this version because it suited the world being presented to us. Not the antiseptic version of All Star Superman, for instance, or the comedy, slapstick version of The 70’s / 80’s movies. I could’ve done without the Jesus allegories, but it seems to be part and parcel of the character.

  83. I still have not seen Star Trek, guess I’ll go today.

  84. Paul, just some additional thoughts, ramblings:

    Zack Snyder’s films baffle me to no end. And yet I feel like this is the direction that cinema is heading. There seems to be a direct lineage from the Matrix to this film, with some stops in Christopher Nolan’s films along the way. These (The Matrix, Inception, Man of Steel) films seem to want to be art films for the masses, made by filmmakers who really admire the artistic integrity of films that make you think (films by say, the Coen Bros, Wong Kar-Wai, or Wes Anderson), but done so in a mass appealing way, forsaking art, by filmmakers that don’t quite get it. These filmmakers also seem to be insanely in love with developing technology (which is also quite interesting). The dawn of the popular art film?

    There was a strange anomaly of Michael Bay meets Terrence Malick to this film. Snyder is clearly in love with visual filmmaking. I always feel after watching a Snyder film that a ten year old boy with a great eye for visuals has been given the reins of something he doesn’t quite know how to handle yet. His films always fascinate. I can’t quite say they’re bad, but they border on self-parody, sometimes without references to anything but boyhood nostalgia. His exploration of gender roles are completely mind boggling.

    Ah well. I enjoyed your review. I didn’t quite feel joylessness, but I can’t disagree with that sentiment, based on the film we were given. I more or less gave into the Snyderism of the film. After the first half hour of thinking “Oh my god, this is terrible, is this someone’s demo reel to direct the next Star Wars?” I remembered it was Snyder, and that this seems to be the new cinema that is emerging. Fascinating. Heavy technology based films that require you to bring in your knowledge of the pathos of characters and their relationships, because these films aren’t quite smart enough to figure out how to toss that in amongst all the chaos.

    I like Zack Snyder, his films are certainly watchable. David Goyer (in my opinion) is a terrible screenwriter. I’m all over the place in this response. Thanks for bringing this out of me! Thanks for still expecting something more of cinema.

  85. Here’s something that just popped into my head while I was doing my own review.

    Christopher Nolan helped a little bit with the story in this before letting Goyer/Snyder make their film. Does anyone think that Nolan mostly worked on the flashback portion of the film? For some reason I’m getting a vibe that he helped that structure of the first act of the film and it feels like the best portions of Batman Begins. Maybe we’ll get a confirmation on this down the line in interviews but that’s how I feel Nolan helped with this film. It would make sense too since once Zod comes in as a threat for Superman it feels like a whole different movie.

    Anyone think I’m on to something here? Or am I just a raving lunatic?

    • You’re not the first to mention it, and I agree. In fact, ten minutes into the movie I turned to my buddy and said “Does this formula feel familiar?” In my opinion though, the structure worked better in Begins. I can’t quite put my finger on the reason, but what worked beautifully in Begins seemed disjointed here.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Worth noting that Goyer also wrote Batman Begins.

    • @WheelHands/Paul: Yeah it does have the same structure as Begins. But I felt it worked a bit better here than in that movie. I still love Batman Begins but it still moves a little slow for me. It feels like, if Nolan did help Goyer as much as I’m theorizing, Nolan learned from how he wrote Dark Knight and Rises and told Goyer to how structure this movie.

      Again it’s just a theory so I’m not saying any of it is true or not.

  86. Can anyone explain to me why Clark, who ostensibly feels isolated and apart from humanity, then spends the rest of the movie destroying everything from Krypton? Even when it’s not warranted? The destruction of the scout ship and the neck snapping were both avoidable. So what is the purpose of his having to kill all the last vestiges of krypton? Am I missing some tie in to the Jesus stuff?

    • They were avoidable????

    • Certainly. In fact, with the Scout Ship, Zod pleads w/ Clark to not destroy the ship, and he specifically states “Krypton had it’s chance…*laser eyes*”.

      I’m just curious what the writers were going for? Did this messiah have to destroy all the vestiges of the old heaven? Did Clark just want to be the only one who was special? I don’t know why this person who has been searching for 33 years for a kindered spirit felt it necessary to then destroy all trace of them.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      That’s not part of the Christ allegory. It’s simply the filmmakers’ effort to prove Clark had chosen humanity over his misbehaving Kryptonian countrymen. Unfortunately there are a number of missing piece to that thread, resulting in a headscratcher.

      Had Clark even been tempted to join Zod’s efforts, that beat might’ve been relevant. As presented, Zod’s plan is never attractive, never an opportunity for Clark to reunite with his people. So there’s no real context or reason for a character decision that only works as a turn.

    • Maybe it’s a Nolan thing. It’s in Batman too. Bruce kind of destroys the Wayne name throughout the three films, culminating in abandoning the identity altogether at the end.

      I find it odd that both men are bent on wiping out their past.

    • Was Krypton Heaven, or was it Hell?

    • @Bub64882, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re capable of anything”.

    • @ IhoSapien, 🙂 Thanks! I forgot that line.

  87. I wholeheartedly agree with Paul. I felt this movie needed a lot more character development and a lot less CGI. The lack of chemistry between Lois and Clark was painful. I left the movie feeling like I may have heard Henry Cavill speak 5 lines. Also, it felt like a lot of the movie was left on the cutting room floor. I’m guessing they needed more skyscrapers crashing so they cut all those talking bits out.

  88. Sorry if I spoiled the movie for anyone.

  89. Ugly and, ultimately, cynical movie. Just what today’s audience seem to enjoy,

  90. They should have never tried to remake this movie without Christopher Reeve

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      No one’s saying that. Don’t be reductive. It’s possible to have been disappointed with this movie without having wanted a rehash of 1978. It’s also relevant to use those earlier films as points of reference. To do so is not necessarily railing against change. In the case of my review it certainly isn’t that.

    • The last thing I wanted was a retread of those old films. There are very few “sacred cows” w/ the character, as far as I’m concerned. Thou shalt not kill was one of them, at least for me.

      There was also the fact that it was a disjointed collection of scenes that never quite made a cohesive narrative.

      But it had some great scenes too, and if folks enjoy it, then mission accomplished, I guess.

    • it just gets me that this is comes up now when never comes up in the comics or animated films where there is just as much damage (like superman doomsday) or killings (like superman 2 or superman returns). i agree with paul that a comparison can be relevant i don’t think it’s necessary as it can come off as just not wanting change. I don’t think Paul’s review is like that. i feel like honestly i would like to see him come back to this sometime in the future to see if he can be more clear.

    • @Endless, it’s probably not fair, but in animation, I’m trained to assume everyone is fine unless they show otherwise. Like, unless you see a pilot splat, the GI Joe parachute opened for them.

      I don’t get that in film. If a building falls, I think “at least 5K dead”.

      So for me, the comparison to Doomsday isnt really fair.

      That’s probably just me though.

    • why should that by different then in the movie compare to animation? we never seen a single person in those buldings when superman goes flying through. i would also say in superman doomsday superman drops doomsday on the city and seems to take out several square miles. is it different for you because it looks “real”? i felt that the destruction added to my sense that this was what had to happen because there was not way to stop all this damage. otherwise it’s like saying superman is letting himself crash into those buildings.

  91. the one of major things that i don’t like about this “superman never kills” thing by some people for THIS movie is not that i don’t believe people were ok with before, But it’s just never matters until Now? in superman return superman is straight up is trying to kill lex in his gang by sending that island into outer space. He even succeeds in killing luthor’s men. I don’t remember any talk of this then? am i wrong?

    • In Superman returns Clark is a fucking asshole. He watches Lois sleep, like a stalker. He abandoned his child, and then is a dick to the man that is raising that child with love and kindness. It’s a horrible movie from start to finish. So, they kind of missed the point of Superman in that one.

      I guess it’s to this films credit that folks care enough to say anything.

    • While it certainly has happened before, none of it was the logical conclusion of a character arc. In this film, we’re never treated to a scene of *Superman* saving anyone before the action set pieces. We get Kal-El saving people, but we also get Kal-El being a vindictive prick. In Superman II, beating up a guy who beat you up is kind of petty, but somewhat balanced. Costing a guy thousands of dollars of damage and possibly a livelihood because he poured beer on you, even though he was a scumbag? That screams sociopath. It’s meant to be a funny moment, but it’s bizarrely out of character (Outside of being featured on Superman is a Dick)

      Coming back to Superman, we’re treated to someone who is pushed to the extreme. Only, we’ve never really seen him at normal. He’s learning during the film or full throttle, nothing in between. It’s been, like, three days since the truck incident? This is still that dick guy. It doesn’t weigh on the audience that this is a guy who struggles to save lives, a guy who does everything possible to save lives, this is a guy who gets off on juvenile pranks (The logical thing would have been for Clark to go from the bar to the boat, that’s growth! Not properly using your powers to realizing there’s a better way). This is also a guy who, moments after getting blood on his hands – and seeming conflicted about it, is making out with his girlfriend, literally, on the pulverized remains of cars, buildings and people. It’s the whole package that’s souring people and the death is the tipping point. It’s worked for, perhaps even earned, in the film, but Clark never learns the lesson of fighting for a better way in the film. It’s the only way he’s given and that’s how he does it. It comes off as sad, pitiable. Not hopeful or inspiring.

      In Superman returns, the deaths are incidental to the action. (Treated in the same manner as to how in Into Darkness a bunch of henchman are wantonly killed for no reason by the people we’re rooting for!) Is it right? No. But it’s a stock part of hollywood. “Explain how these guys were prosecuted? Or… have them fall off this thing and assume they died as an indirect action?” The Zod issue aside in the Donner films, there are quite a few scenes of Reeve apprehending people. We don’t get that here. Heck, Superman can’t save anyone but Lois in this new film!

    • Wow
      1 )
      i don’t see how you can say that out of character for superman when the whole punishing jerks/a’holes with superpower is all over the comics, animation, films and etc… you might say “i don’t thing that in character either” BUT it done so much so that it’s not out of character for superman anywhere else. It something you don’t like that the character does not something out of character.

      2) it is funny ever showing i have been too has laughed. i have no compassion for a man who sexually assault a women, assault and batters the women and clark, and wants to risk his life and the people around him life be fight some guy he never meet in the middle of no where.

      3)He is fine. (far better then the guy in superman 2) insurance will take care of that as it look like it got him by a weird tornado. AND if he doesn’t have insurance that is his own damn fault.

      4) i saw everything about the movie to be about endure today for the hope of a better tomorrow.

      5) in superman return that is still straight up murder.

  92. Fantastic review, Paul. I have not your skill with words with which to express my feelings on the movie, but I’ll do my best.

    There was a lot to like here. Cavill was inspired as Clark, Krypton felt real and lived-in in a way we’ve never seen on film, and our hero’s journey was authentic and potent. Clarks’ refusal to use his power in the face of constant abuse had me nodding my head with a smile on my lips.

    And that’s what was most frustrating about the film: At its’ very heart was a real and true understanding of what Superman is and what he means. And yet, at nearly every turn, the movie goes almost out of its’ way to contradict that knowledge of the character in direct service to bombast.

    Jor-El speaks of inspiration, of hope, of protecting mankind, for they have the potential to grow and learn…
    … yet Superman “protects” only through destruction, “inspiring” only with his fists as thousands die around him.

    Jor-El speaks of Kal’s unique right to choose his destiny, to forge his own path…
    … and then tells him exactly what he must do, even providing him a uniform with which to do it.

    Superman is forced to kill, and the action rocks him to his core. His primal yell at the horror of taking a life nearly moved me to tears…
    … and, literally, 2 minutes later, he has a comedy scene with the general. The moment is gone, and no trace of it remains.

    I don’t presume to know who, but it really seems like someone at the genesis of this project truly understood Superman, contributed his wisdom, and then was kindly shown the door as a grand spectacle was built around that pure heart.

    There’s a lot to like about this movie, but to me, at the end of the day… Superman deserved a little better.

  93. What a fantastic movie! This was a million times better than Iron Man 3.

    I realized why I feel this way – Expectations.

    I expected a lot from Iron Man and was disappointed when the movie did not meet those expectations. I expected nothing from Man of Steel and I was pleasantly surprised.

    • I’m glad to hear this was better, I felt IM3 wasn’t bad but it was the most frustrating MCU movie for me. In terms of favorites I’d rank it in the bottom 3. I’m trying to temper my expectations for MoS but its getting challenging.

    • I had the exact opposite experience. I didn’t expect much out of IM3 and ended-up liking it a lot. Whereas MoS was my most anticipated movie of the year and I was deeply disappointed and saddened that this is the version of Superman they decided to go with for a new generation.



    From the vantage point of the average movie goer this film was FANTASTIC. From the point of view of a fan of the comics, this movie took a lot of liberties. Normally those liberties would annoy me to no end but I find myself, surprisingly, un-annoyed. In fact, I find myself embracing this brave new Superman with open arms (with one minor caveat). Out with the old and the trite, in with the new!

    I’ve read a lot of people on the internet loathe the fact that Lois knows Superman’s true identity, that by having that knowledge the classic love triangle between Lois-Superman-and-Clark can never occur. I’m pretty alright with that idea for the simple fact that it has been done *so* much in the past, bordering on overdone. Given the restrictions of the movie format, I don’t think you can really give that love triangle a modicum of justice, most especially when you have TV shows that worked that angle to varying degrees in the not-so-distant past. Not only worked with those angles but made them cornerstones of their runs (especially Lois and Clark).

    Another issue raised by the internet is the seeming overuse of Jor-El… I cannot fathom why people would think using classic Russel Crowe is a bad thing, in any way shape or form. He is an amazing actor that, to be honest, could have been given even more screen time and I would have been happy to see it. Heck, I would pay good money to see a movie all about Jor-El. Crowe knocked it out of the ball park.

    A third issue people on the interwebs seem to have is the scene were John Kent, essentially, tells his son, “You should have let all those kids die.” Yes that feels out of character for classic Kent but, let’s be honest here, this isn’t the 30’s any more. We *know* what the government would do with an alien baby. They would take it from the Kents and perform horrible experiments on the child with the aim of learning of the creature’s biology and ways to harness its power. Additionally, I don’t care who you are – Superman would scare the bejebus out of you. He is literally a god amongst ants. No one would believe him virtuous enough to NOT abuse his powers because, deep down, we wouldn’t even trust ourselves. Kent’s fear is completely justified, if a bit disheartening.

    A fourth issue was “all the Jesus stuff.” I’m not going to lie, I think the film writers didn’t push it enough. I think there was a wealth of allusions, stories and allegories they could have pumped into this story and, to be perfectly blunt, would have made the movie even better. Especially the scene were Clark is talking to the Priest. That was a missed opportunity to allude to Gethsemane, or at least hammer it home more. Superman *knew* Zod was evil but he also *knew* that it was his best way to save humanity. Superman could have faded off into oblivion and postponed the inevitable for a few hours or a few days. Yet, he had the courage and conviction to willingly sacrifice himself for the good of us all. Clark seemed like a very religious man and having that story referenced more obviously would have been much more moving than the trust speech (at least in my opinion).

    A fifth issue was the complete annihilation of downtown Metropolis. I am not going to lie, that entire fight did not feel like Superman – at all. In the comics and TV shows, Superman of yore would have lured his enemies out of the cities and head off to some where unpopulated (like the sea, or forests or open fields). The amount of destruction Zod and Kal-El wrought was astounding. Even the Avengers kept the fighting centralized to one or two blocks. The fact that Superman wasn’t rushing around to save innocents or prevent buildings from collapsing? Yeah, definitely not Superman of yore. Having said that, we have to keep in mind that this was Superman’s first outing and he’s fighting beings that are just as strong, just as fast, just as cunning as he but they were more highly trained (soldiers v. farm boy) and the whole moral vs. immoral angle. There was no way to avoid the battle and the collateral damage. The only hope was eventual victory.

    The sixth, and final, issue was the very last scene, where Superman does the unthinkable – he kills Zod. I’m not going to lie this completely and utterly ruined the movie for me. Superman does not kill. He never crosses that line. He ALWAYS finds another way. It was sloppy writing that put Superman in a position like that.

    2/5, at best.

    You change that ending, 4.5/5.

    That’s how much that murder ruins this movie for me.

    • Wow, I’m a little surprised how much the ending bothers you. I mean if you went with everything else, and you even listed and countered each of your other gripes. I mean I know Superman did a similair thing in the comics and exiled himself in space or something for 6 months. If something like that happened in the sequel, would that make you feel better about the ending?

    • I’m actually ok with Superman resorting to murder but there can be no other possible way to solve the predicament. The scene where Superman performs the deed is not one of those situations. There were a hundred things superman could have done but he chose not to. He could have just knocked Zod out, then put him into the Phantom Zone, or banished him to a far off, distant world. Or the entire scene could have been re-written to be one of true hopelessness or perhaps one where Zod could have been sent to the Zone with his compatriots.

      There are ways to avoid murder. It was just so needless.

      If Superman had been shown to go off to live in isolation for a few months or years as penance, then I would probably be more tolerant of the murder. Something, anything, would be preferable to what they did.

      Like I said, this movie was fantastic (though a bit heavy on the action). Its just that one scene that bugs me.

      I think it irks me because we spend the whole movie hearing Pa Kent and Jor-El talk to Clark about being inspirational, about being moral, about being a leader. How is murder inspirational? How is murder moral? How does murdering someone showcase leadership? Superman sunk to Zod’s level.

      My hope is that this act will be remembered in future movies and we can see some penance, or perhaps other heroes questioning why Clark won’t murder villain X, like he did with Zod.

    • To be honest, not even I realized just how much the murder of Zod got to me until I wrote the review. I was all smiles when I left the theater. I justified the slaying as, “Well, someone had to die and there was no other recourse long term.” Which is a fair critique, that one situation was resolvable without murder but Zod still would have been alive and there were no other ways to contain his might (no one knows about kryptonite yet).

      Upon more reflection, perhaps a 2 is a bit harsh. It was only one issue that was dragging the film down (for me at least). I’m sure the issue will be dealt with in future Man of Steel movies (if not the Justice League), so the ramifications of his action will be felt long-term.

      Plus, it’s not like…


      It’s not like Kal-El murdered all of the Kryptonians. The future of Krypton is bound to his DNA, so there is hope for a resurrection, of sorts, in the future. Perhaps that is what Krypton needs, a complete culling of the old and a brand new start. Maybe that break with the past is what the murder was really about…

      I must ponder this more.

    • Yeah, he shold have turned Zod into a human, then crush his hand and finally throw it to an endless pit a la Mortal Kombat, while laughing at Zod. Oh, yeah, Supes Never Kills. It’s not as if he did not kill Doomsday (he did, but the impact of such feat was minimized because he was also “killed”) Or in Returns Lex’s henchmen. Or even Zod himself in the comic-books. You see, Kal has killed. He has done so when the situation demands it. It’s not as if by killing Zod he suddenly became Wolverine or Spawn. You could see he was really afflicted by it, but he had no other choice.

  95. As an aside, a coworker and his 12 year old daughter saw it. This guy is not a comic fan whatsoever, though his daughter is. They both wanted to love the movie, but didn’t, saying “too much action, not enough heart”. They were so pumped they went to the midnight show opening night. Just thought i’d share that since there are a lot of accusations that folks who didn’t like it were looking for adherence to comics or, weirdly, the Donner films.

    • yes i too have anecdotal evidence of people love the move who were really into comics and the superman the movie and etc…so?

    • @Bub64882, I’m curious to know what your friends meant by not enough “heart”. I’m not sure how to take that. I remain some critiques that reviewed this movie called it “joyless, cold, dark”. I feel like a good amount of them had to have some sort of preconceived notions about Superman (and in terms of movies pre MoS, you’ve got the 4 Donner films and Returns which was a sequel to the first 2). So I imagine this one will be a stark contrast for most people. Where in Batman’s case, we had 2 Tim Burton movies and 2 Joel Schmaucher movies. So when Begins came around we had adjusted to that sort of interpretation (and based on box office records, which one we wanted). I know it’s gonna be a decisive movie, I’m looking forward tho to learning why (the same reason I’m curious why people loved “TDK” but were disappointed with “TDKR”).

      Everyone is of course welcome to their opinions which I’ll respect, I just think there might be other factors at play.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      @Itho – Have you seen the film yet? It’s difficult to describe how tone manifests in general, and if your only experience with the film is through trailers and other reviews, it’s even harder to quantify.

    • “I’m curious to know what your friends meant by not enough “heart”.”

      He meant, it’s an action-packed slugfest, without developing any real connection to the characters. Not enough heart, in that, when Clark stands up to an army of Kryptonians, they weren’t inspired to face great odds because it’s the right thing to do, they were in for an eye candy treat of special effects battles. I love special effects battles, but if you can marry that with an emotional connection of some kind, well then you’ve got some magic.

    • Here’s another review, and I think Sims explains it better than I can. Just as an aside, I think I found more to like about the movie than Sims does, but I agree about his general assessment of the killing and Clark pretty much doing what he was told the whole time.

    • @Bub64882, I can respect that. Thanks for the lack of sarcasm in your response. Honestly.

      I recommend checking JeremyJahns’ review of MoS on YouTube, he’s funny and a true cinophile. Also Screenrant’s if you’ve got time. Those are the big 2 I rely on for movie reviews.

    • Thanks for the tip. I watched the Jahn’s spoiler free review, and his point at the end where “the tone of this movie is not really the tone set by the first three trailers” is I think what Paul is talking about above in his comment about tone.

    • Yeah that sounds about right. As an aside, Jahns gave MoS the same rating he gave IM3 (“Buy it on blu-ray”, which is second to “Awesomtacular”) which makes me worried as I felt pretty conflicted on that. Not because of the tone or the Mandarian, but just because of the story itself.

      Another aside, Comic Book Syndicate’s MoS review reminded me of Paul’s and some of the comments on here. The main guys in the group hated the movie and said “This isn’t my Superman” while the girls (one of whom was a comics fan) loved it. I thought it was a stark contrast, I wish they would have interviewed others to get their reactions like they usually do.

  96. about the build up to the resolution of the last fight:

    Even though they did the legwork and told you that one of them had to die i still didn’t think, even from a structure standpoint, that it was going to happen. They had already established that Zod’s could not only take your powers away but it was also in fact a prison ship. I totally expected Clark to put Zod in a sleeper hold, knock him out and then fly him up to the ship. Zod wakes up he’s powerless and being frozen just like at the beggining. Then Clark plugs Jor-El back into the ship and Jor-El tells him he has to take Zod to the phantom zone which means he’ll never see Clark again. It seemed like they were setting that up by having the ship take away powers and also be “infected” with Jor-El but then the neck breaking happened and i was like “what?”

    • edit
      “Zod’s *ship* could not only take your powers away”

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I think you have something there.

    • the ship was in the zone/black hole he cannot fly there now. the one Zod took from superman did not survive either.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      What he’s talking about doesn’t mean implementing that choice into the headlock scene as is. It would involve going back into the script a little bit. We’re getting a bit armchair screenwriter here, but there are a lot of problems in this film that could be resolved with some fairly simple fixes.

    • After Lois plugged Jor-El into the mother ship, shouldn’t he have been hanging around there the whole time? He seemed to be hanging around the 20,000 year old ship until Zod unplugged him.

  97. That’s right. Man that singularity really kicked that script in the dick.

  98. Yeah, just have one of the other kryptonions fly out of the singularity at the last moment, Zod seems triumphant, then boom, Clark knocks him out and drags him back to the ship

  99. The ship taking away your powers seemed like a call back to Superman 2 and the crystal booth and it just seemed too obvious not to do.

  100. Did anybody else notice the following lines?

    Lois: They say it all goes downhill after the first kiss.
    Clark: I think that’s only true when you kiss a human.

    In other words, for Clark, it’s all going to go downhill.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Yeah, that’s a weird one.

    • Yeah when she said that line i was like “who says that?”

    • Do you know what happens when a toad get’s hit with lightning?

      They can’t all be winners, I guess. 🙂

      It’s even odder when you consider so much of the movie is about how Clark rejects his Kryptoninian roots and identifies as “human”.

    • Naaah, I found it a one-liner intended to break up the tension. It’s kind of similar to that scene in “The Avengers” where Thor defends Loki, because he’s his brother, only to admit he’s adopted. Where did all the love for your brother go? And yet, you never see him actually doing anything to Loki in the film. Same thing here. Supes is only toying with his double persona, admitting to be an Alien only when it’s convenient for himself.

  101. The next review Paul writes gets a 5 analogy limit.

  102. Good review Paul, I agree. This movie was not a throwaway or a complete miss but definitely left a lot to be desired. I thought Amy Adams was a terrible choice for Lois Lane (though I love her in other roles) and large portions of the movie rang hollow. Kudos for trying new things but the focusing so much on brooding and spectacle left no room for me to connect with the new Superman, to understand him or to want to do either. 3/5.

  103. Wow I cant believe this post has gotten nearly 500 comments ? I gotta say I gave it 5 stars , Paul how did your post snag so may comme ts?

  104. I always love reading your reviews Paul. I missed you on the podcast. Did you skip out on the podcast because you were so disappointed with the movie? If so I’m sorry to hear that. Looking forward to the next booksplode!

  105. Are we going to get a revision on the deaths of Pa Kent? Surely sacrificing yourself for a dog deserves honorable mention, at least! 🙂

  106. I really liked the movie but isn’t at all possible to believe that this iteration of Superman isn’t the Superman we’ve come to know. This is literally his first public foray. We’ve seen from Grant Morrison’s run in Action Comics and other places, that Superman handles different threats differently. I took the heartrending he did after that controversial act at the end of the movie to be a real game changer for him. If the upcoming sequel references the criticisms of this movie, from not saving people, to Zod’s death, then won’t that retroactively change people’s perception of the Man of Steel? I can’t help but think of how much I liked Batman Begins, saw some problems with it, but saw so many of them cleaned up in Dark Knight.

  107. SPOILERS!

    Here’s how I would fix the movie:

    1) Pa Kent died trying to save a child, not a darn dog.

    2) After the fight in Smallville, have superman get on TV and give an inspirational speech to the world, giving humanity hope.

    3) Change the dynamics of the final battle. Lois and the Marines tackle the Kryptonians in Metropolis, while Zod and Superman battle one another in the Indian Ocean. Zod and Superman’s fight is horrendous, truly a battle of gods. The Kryptonian Atmosphere being generated by the ship mixed makes it a fair fight between the two. The tentacles tip the balance in Zod’s favor. Clark begs and pleads with Zod to stop his genocidal plans but Zod is unrelenting, stating that the World Shaper is out of fuel. Earth is the last chance to found a new Krypton. Eventually, Superman destroys the tentacles but in doing so, breathes in too much Kryptonian air. He slowly sinks to the ground. Zod sees an opening and blindly rushes in. Superman sees him coming and barely dodges out of the way. Zod flies right into the gravity field. The sheer intensity of the of the field crushes him. Superman sheds a tear for Zod, then destroys the World Shaper, thus giving the marines and Lois the chance to bomb the other ship, trapping all of the other Kryptonians in the Phantom Zone.

    • 1. The dog part was lame.
      2. This is still an uncertain Superman, not the icon we’re aware of. He’s used to flying under the radar not become a public celebrity.
      3. This is very specific. But I like that the filmmakers made about the ending of the Superman/Zod fight. It’s very Kobuyashi Maru, the no-win situation. Does Superman adhere to a no killing policy even if innocents will die? This is very freshman year Philosophy 101 but it comes down to, does anyone have a right to allow harm to come to others in order to preserve your own ethical position? Superman doesn’t kill because he’s always found a way not to, but when presented with a dilemma such as he was faced in the movie, he chose the harder, right action, instead of keeping with dogma. He could have let Zod kill people and then said, Sorry, humans I don’t kill. But that’s small comfort.

  108. HEY I just saw this! Will anyone read my comment this far down? WHO KNOWS! Let’s see (I am trying to pad this comment so the spoilers stay off the recent comments page)

    Immediately I was enjoying this film because I always like when Superman has a a science fiction vibe. “Oooh we are really exploring Krypton. Cool that was a great Krypton scene. Oh, it’s still going…..Okay….Man the art director must have just watched Prometheus and Game of Thrones recently. Okay finally we are off Krypton.”

    Then after spending an unnecessarily amount of time exploring Krypton. We cut all over the place. I don’t hate this but I did dislike the whiplash of Clark just showing up in Antarctica. It felt like 30 minutes had just been cut out of the movie explaining how he got there or even know about the place. Whatever, I can get over it.

    Jor-El shows up again. AGAIN explains everything that was explained already to us in the beginning. Also we get more Flashbacks of Pa Kent teaching Clark to sacrifice others for the sake of himself. I did not like this Pa Kent at all. AND I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES WHEN CLARK JUST LET HIS FATHER DIE LIKE THAT! Maybe this hit me personally because my own father has been having severe health issues, but that just seemed preposterous to me.

    I have to agree with those that found the destruction a little over embellished. Some of the fights were cool but the Superman I enjoy watching and reading keeps people safe and protects at the same time as fighting. It just got so ridiculous after a while. I even laughed out loud when Zod and Superman blast into space and out of a giant void of nothingness, still manage to hit the only satellite out there.

    Then Superman killing Zod. I know this happened a couple of times in the comics (I actually just read the Byrne comic where it happened, and while I enjoyed most of the Byrne Superman stuff I have read, I didn’t like that at all.)

    Superman does the impossible. He saves the people without resorting to killing Zod. He FINDS A WAY. Just because they have Zod say “One of us has to die!” doesn’t mean that it has to be so.

    Anyways. I didn’t hate the film completely. I liked the flying stuff. I liked most of the Krypton stuff. I thought the fights, despite being overly disastrous were still kind of cool, but I cannot say I loved it either. Those two “death” moments really bothered me.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      It’s been a really long time since the movie came out and i’m a little fuzzy on it, but these all sound like reasonable points. 😉

    • Also and this is something my wife said and I agree with was “Why do they have to make these things so complicated? Superman is a simple story!”
      I got a say I agree with her.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Right on, Julie.

    • @timmywood

      he heard about the ship from the two guys in the bar.

      Also: really? how did superman get there? he saw to shore from miles out at sea? no problem!!! but he went from northwest Canada to northern Canada? “how did he do that?”

      i actually found the level of damage added to my sense that Zod was going to die because there was no way to control him.

    • No. Superman doesn’t find a way. He has killed before. Rememebr Doomsday?? Yep, he killed him. (but nobody said anything because he also got “killed”) As you said before, he also killed Zod, not only in the comic-books, but in films aswell. So, no. I REALLY hate this “Supes always finds a way”. That’s lame. That is an excuse. Sometimes there IS no other way. Besides the fact that I’ve just read an interview in which Snyder and Goyer explain the killing. They wanted to convey WHY Superman does not kill. Remember, we have a very young and amateur Superman here. Not the experienced one we’ve known. So, in order not to kill, he needed to go down that same path and knoe it leas nowhere.

  109. I usually agree with the IFanboy reviews, but they have been 0 for 2, in my opinion, on the last two films (Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel). I enjoyed this film, and while it was far from perfect, I found that the only misgivings I had was when I compared aspects of it to things I enjoyed in other Superman films but didn’t find in this one. That being said, as its own film I very much enjoyed it. The cast was strong and I hope they make a sequel!

  110. 2 out of 5? Yeah I’m with Renegado16, Don’t think I will listen to your opinion on movies going forward, Mr. Montgomery. Although truth be told, I never listen to reviews. Critics are just people who see movies for free. People don’t always ares. Anyway, Iron Man 3 was a at least a 3.5 if not four out of Five, if just for the clever way the handled the Mandarin alone.

    And MAN OF STEEL 10 out of 5. And hell yeah that Math works out. As a an avid Superman fan fro 30 of my 35 years, This is exactly the Superman movie I have always wanted. BEST SUPERMAN EVER!!!

    I really hope the Superman movie that you and any of the others that gave this movie a poor review, is never made. It will make no money and most of the general public will reject it. I will give a few highlights.

    1) Henry Cavill is Superman. He looks, he walks it, he talks it, he owns it. I hope he is Superman til he has saggy man boobs.

    2) Krypton was prettier than I have ever seen it. Never understood why such an advance race wouldn’t have such a more aesthetically pleasing planetary look. But it is a different culture.

    3) That final battle, for everyone else’s sake it could’ve been a bit shorter. But I loved it. Flying around beating the shit out of each other, toppling buildings. More of that next time please.

    4) So believed that Kiss between Lois and Clark. Felt the heat, literally, in the Spaceship of Solitude.

    5) The winks to Lex and Bruce Wayne were very awesome.

    6) Costner deserves an Oscar. He was absolutely fantastic. That scene with the tornado, oh man. Sacrificing his life to save his son who could have easily saved everyone there. Brilliant. Fuck a heart attack taking out Jonathan Kent, a natural disaster, now that’s more like it. That is moment Clark realizes the hero he must become.

    7) The Sci-Fi of it. Encoding Kal-El with the DNA of Krypton, can you say Bottled city Kandor? another brilliant move.

    8) Science explaining why Zod, a once good man, would destroy an entire race to bring back his. Awesome.

    9) Michael Shannon. Nuff Said.

    10) Diane Lane, somehow making her hot self seem old, frail and country.

    I could gone on for a long time. In fact, I could go point by point and explain to you how every minute of this movie is excellent. I have no doubt that if i was doing commentary during a showing of Man of Steel, I could even convince the most negative reviewer into a believer.

    MAN OF STEEL is the Superman we deserve, need and I will cherish this movie forever.

    P.S. RE: The Destruction and all the people that Superman killed while fighting Zod. First of all Zod doesn’t care about Humans so them dying means nothing to him. 2) If any of you actually read Superman, especially recently, you’d know that the split second before he throws someone through a building, he scans to make sure there are no innocents. 3) It’s a comic book movie, I’ll say it again COMIC BOOK MOVIE. Suspend disbelief here a little bit people, sheesh.

    That being said, ALL entertainment is a matter of opinion. One man’s Godfather is another man’s Freddy Got Fingered. I know bad example, but you get the point.

  111. I personally give it a 4 out of 5, but its still a very well written review. I don’t understand why people get so offended and throw vitriol. Love what this site does, and its always the first place I go to for comic related discussion and opinion.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Thanks, Bucky. Appreciated. Glad you enjoyed the movie.

    • I completely agree Bucky. I also really enjoyed the movie but still loved reading Paul’s review. The only sombre feelings I had while reading the review was sadness that Paul didn’t have a good movie experience, which I’m sure he was really looking forward to.
      I run a comic book club and nothing pleases me more then a book that divides the group, it causes for great conversation and the most enjoyable meetings. I love hearing others experiences and learning why they felt a certain way.
      #462 comments!! A difference of opinion is a beautiful thing!

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      ::fist bump::

      Thanks, guys.

  112. Wow Clasik, you really hate Superman. Not just Man of Steel, you HATE Superman or you just hate Zack Snyder and you were going to hate it no matter what.

    • That comment was done for comedic effect. I do not believe MoS was nearly as bad as Leonard Part 6, but when compared to a masterpiece like the Godfather, it certainly ends up closer to the Freddy Got Fingered end of the spectrum.

    • Ha! I gotcha. Mine was also done for comedic effect. Basically saying the matter of opinion thing. I mean Freddy Got Fingered has a 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. That means somebody liked it!

    • And that’s how you have a civil conversation between two people who disagree about their liking of a movie.

      The way some people have reacted to other’s opinions on this thread makes you think they are debating the merits of Apartheid. Which in case you are wondering I am also against (done for comedic effect people!!)

  113. I’m just glad that pretty much 85% of the people liked it, if RT scores, meteoritic, fandango, and Cinemascore are to be believed. Because, now not only do I get a sequel with this cast and crew…JUSTICE LEAGUE!!!!!! If this would’ve failed, we’d probably all be dead before a JLA movie.

    I’m sure you guys will hate those too. But Ghost Rider 2 was better than 1. Of course that’s like saying getting pissed on is better than getting shat on. But still applies.

  114. Hey Paul, I was too harsh. I just get defensive over things I love. I should really not do that, especially about a friggin movie I am sorry for that.

    I will still definitely keep reading your reviews. I love this website and will continue to come here. YOU GUYS LET ME PRINT MY PULL LIST!!! Do you know how helpful that is for an forgetful moron like myself?

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      No hard feelings. I’ve been guilty of the same myself. We all have.

      And we’re agreed that it’s cool people are excited about Superman. Thrilled we’re having these conversations.

  115. For those curious that are not on, or use Twitter, iFanboy co-founder Ron Richards also agreed with Paul’s review and pointed to the review by Mark Waid (who is probably the bigggest Super-Fan there is) as well:

    I can only assume iFanboy’s own Ryan Haupt is writing something up as we speak? I can’t believe we haven’t heard hide nor hair of Ryan, so this is the only explanation I can think of. 🙂

  116. My review of the film:

    Man of Steel is a terrific film. But clearly, based on critic and comic book fan reaction, it is not everyone’s Superman film. But it is mine and I think it should be others’ as well. There are two characteristics that define Superman’s worldview, which I am borrowing from Glen Weldon’s incredibly thorough book Superman: The Unauthorized Biography. 1. Superman puts the needs of others before the needs of himself. 2. He never gives up. The thesis of Weldon’s book is that these are the only two factors that are needed to make a Superman story a Superman story. Everything else is just window dressing, hotly debated window dressing to be sure, but inconsequential just the same. These debates about details seem to make up a majority of the criticism for the film. But all that does not seem to matter because Man of Steel has those two factors in spades. As can be seen in two key lines of dialogue.
    The first line of dialogue is delivered by Jor-El, “What if a child aspired to something greater?” This represents the first characteristic. From birth, the film depicts Superman laboring to become more than he is and he does so by always improving and putting the needs of others before his. This is iterated again and again throughout the film. When we see him wearing the red towel as a cape. When he hears everyone call him a freak when his powers begin manifesting. When he decides to rescue the bus. And the big one that the plot hinges upon, when Superman gives himself over to humanity when he knows that they mistrust him and are going to turn him over to Zod. The notion that this selflessness is absent from the film is preposterous.
    Zod (major spoiler alert here) delivers the second line. The setup of the scene is that Superman and Zod have crashed into a building after a serious drag out fight. Now I can actually understand if you criticize this film for being too violent or that the fight went on for too long. But if this is your only criticism see the third act of every superhero comic or film. Superman has Zod in a headlock; Zod turns on the heat vision. A family of three is trapped between the beams and a pile of rubble. What would Superman do? The line is “If you love these people” and the unspoken I am going to take this sacred morality from you. Superman snaps Zod’s neck. For all the people hating on David Goyer’s script rethink this scene a couple thousand more times and then tell me the script is no good. This line represents factors 1 and 2. He sacrifices his morality for earth and he does not give up because this is the only way. Now people will argue that the writers should never have put him in this position. Is that to say Superman should never be written into a scary situation, that the writers should at all costs try to preserve everything positive and light about him, to create an aura of perfection? That’s bullshit! That means as readers we just want to ignore that anything could go wrong in a Superman comic. He is a hero not an omnipotent god, invulnerable not invincible.
    That brings us to the point of collateral damage and people complaining that Superman does not handle this well or saves that many people. One, he saves the whole world, billions of people by killing Zod and stopping the world engines. Two, because a building falls down and maybe someone gets killed Superman should be held responsible. This is inane. We don’t hold rescue workers or doctors responsible every time someone dies on their watch. Besides, Superman’s purpose is not to fix every problem in the world. If humanity were that weak Superman would not forsake himself for earth. His narrative existence would cease to function. Superman is needed for the big threats like Zod, not to point people to the fire escape. And three, in the comics cities are destroyed all the time, just because they do not always survey the scene in the pages does not mean destruction is not present in the background. In no way does this diminish Superman’s icon as a hero.
    All right, that is enough of dispelling criticisms. This movie did an excellent job of illustrating that Superman is a product of nature and nurture. I like the idea that he was the first natural born being on his planet and that was bolstered by his upbringing with the Kents. And I like that this film showed Clark making little choices that mirrored the bigger choices he would need to make later on. I also liked that everyone involved in this film removed themselves from the Christopher Reeve influence. We have seen that to death. The biggest problem with the homage-to-the-point-of-pastiche Superman Returns was that it was an anachronism and failed to demonstrate any of the growth that had occurred to the character in the intervening years. Man of Steel does a great job of bringing in more modern elements and getting rid of others that don’t matter nearly as much like kryptonite.
    Man of Steel delivered an action packed yet heartfelt origin of Superman that showed his humanity. The cast was excellent and the out-of-order flashback chronology explained more of Superman’s thought process than we have ever seen before. They also did a good job of explaining the important plot details that are important to the narrative but not nearly as much to Superman as a character. These details have been presented a many times in many different ways across Superman’s history and will continue to be reinvented. But the movie really nailed the important defining aspects of the character. To borrow a phrase from Nolan’s Dark Knight, which David Goyer helped write, “It’s the Superman movie we deserved, but not the one (everyone) thinks they need right now.” Which is unfortunate.

    • The moment Clark snapped Zod’s neck, he did give up. He gave up finding another way. He gave up proving Zod wrong. He gave up on saving the last of his countrymen. He gave up on doing the right thing, and chose instead the lesser of two evils.

      When the bad guy tells you “it’s A or B!!! Choose!”, the hero says “nuh-uh, I choose C!”, and proves the villain wrong.

      So, they violated rule 2 of the Superman rule book.

    • They chose to honor rule one over rule two. By complying with Rule 1. Superman sacrificed a moral high ground that is mostly taken for granted to save those three people. They wanted to highlight that over finding some way to not have to deal with consequences. The morality should only be important to Superman in the context of the work not to the audience. That is to say the fact that Superman does not kill is important to Superman and thats why it is interesting not because it is held in esteem by the audience. Also by showing Superman taking a life they illustrate why he has the do not kill rule. It’s more powerful to describe why he doesn’t do something then to just say he doesn’t do that. 95% percent of the world does not kill but what does that mean if you are never confronted with that hard choice.
      Also does the hero choose “C” to serve himself, the story, or to appease an audience that is uncomfortable with what is about to happen. Notice the part of my review referring to writer’s not being allowed to put Superman in scary situations.

    • Well, the fact that they broke one of two rules, kind of makes it a Superman movie that misses the point of Superman.

      If they wanted to ask the hard questions, then do that with an original IP, if there is such a thing anymore. Personally, I think Nolan answered the question just fine in Bats2, but whatever. DON’T do it with Superman. It’s just not necessary, and if you are rebooting a property, I would think you would devote every second of screen time to defining what the character is about. Not showing him ambivalent to wanton destruction, and cold snapping necks of people that he disagrees with.

      If they show the repercussions of Clark’s choice in the sequel, then that’s great. It doesn’t change the failure in THIS film, which needs to stand on it’s own. Your comment “Also by showing Superman taking a life they illustrate why he has the do not kill rule. It’s more powerful to describe why he doesn’t do something then to just say he doesn’t do that.” is flawed. They DIDN’T show why he doesn’t kill. They followed up that scene with a joke. There was no depiction of any kind of character shift after taking Zod’s life. For all we know, Clark is all set to snap the necks of anyone who threatens a puppy from now on. Would it have been so hard to have the voice-over at the end, where we see him don the glasses, make some reference to “never again”? Why didn’t they do it? Because this isn’t a turning point for him. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise.

    • Intersting article over at which has some quotes from Snyder and Goyer said on Empire Online’s podcast:

      In a nutshell, Snyder and Goyer were unsatisfied with the ending where Zod is sucked into the Phantom Zone with the rest of the Kryptonians. So they added the fight and put Superman in a situation where he “Had To” kill Zod. Snyder even mentions “Kobayashi Maru.” Nolan was actually against it. According to Goyer, “Originally Chris didn’t even want to let us try to write it and Zack and I said, ‘We think we can figure out a way that you’ll buy it.”.” Sorry, I think they failed in that regard. They didn’t sell it enough for me to believe he had no other choice.

  117. Ok, here are my actual thoughts and feelings about Man of Steel and it’s portrayal of characters in the Superman Mythos. Let me start out by saying, that no, Superman is NOT my favorite Superhero. But, he does rank up there. While I don’t pretend to know all there is about the character, I would still call myself a fan, in the general sense. I have my favorite Superman stories (Superman for All Seasons and Red Son among them), Supporting Characters (Jonathan Kent is easily my favorite), and Villains (though trite no one can top Lex Luthor in Supes’ Rogue’s Gallery). The first thing I said when I walked out of the theatre that day was, “I’m not sure who that was, but it sure wasn’t Superman….And that sure as hell wasn’t Jonathan Kent” at least not the version of Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El nor Jonathan Kent that exist in my head (I’ll get back to that in a minute).

    So, the things I liked:
    Krypton- This is something we haven’t really explored much in any of the other movies. It was a fun Sci-Fi romp, and I really enjoyed Russell Crowe’s performance as Jor-El. Almost enough to want to see more in the coming sequel (Again, I said ALMOST).
    Any scene with Kevin Costner- Each moment between Clark and Jonathan just tugged on your heartstrings. His performance in Man of Steel is easily my favorite in the entire film. I well up every time I hear him say, “You are my son.” Though I did not like the portrayal of Jonathan in the film (more on that later), it did not take away from Costner’s performance.
    The “interrogation” scene- I guess that’s what it was…The scene where Lois is questioning the Man of Steel. We saw a lot of it in the trailers (here, it’s an “S”), but I still think it is one of the better scenes in the movie. We get to actually see Lois and Clark TALK to one another. If anyone questioned the chemistry between the two, this is the best example of where it worked.

    The things I didn’t care for, but didn’t really bother me either:
    The kiss- Ok, it wasn’t that great, but it wasn’t terrible either. The “only human” line was definitely corny and not in a particularly good way.
    Lois knows- This is the part of the Superman mythos that made the most sense to change. Everyone jokes about, “how can the other characters not know Clark is Superman, just because he’s wearing glasses?” Her hunting down the Angel/Alien among us is definitely in character for Lois, so while I prefer the Love Triangle of Clark/Lois/Superman, I understand the decision to make the change.
    Zod- A perfectly fine performance from Michael Shannon. Certainly a different take on the character than Terrance Stamp. But it just doesn’t feel like Superman without the presence of a certain bald-headed rich dude, hell bent on ridding the world of Superman (though LexCorp did make a few cameos).

    And the answer to my Jeopardy question, “Why I Didn’t Like Man of Steel?”
    The literal Non-Stop Action- Hey, I like action as much of the next guy. But when it nearly a third of the movie is dedicated to it, without ANY BREAKS?? C’mon…
    Jonathan Kent’s indifference to loss of life- When Clark asks, “What should I have done, let them die?” the appropriate Jonathan Kent response is an immediate, “Of course not Clark! You know I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is, you need to be more careful.” Sure Jonathan doesn’t want the world to know what his son can do until it’s “ready” to accept Superman. But I can’t imagine Jonathan would want a bus full of children should die, just so Clark can continue to hide in plain sight. At least not my Jonathan Kent (John Schneider, where are you when I need you??)
    Superman’s indifference to loss of life- Why oh why would Superman not at least TRY to move the fight from Smallville’s Main Street to a cornfield? Why would he not at least TRY to help the people in Metropolis avoid being killed in Collateral Damage? I understand this film is akin to “Superman Begins,” but they have to show some kind of effort, even if it is ineffective, on Superman’s part to help people who are not Lois Lane.

    The MURDER of Zod- Yes, Superman kills in this movie. If you read Mark Waid’s review, I had a similar, though non-verbal, reaction. After action scene after action scene after action scene, and Zod’s forces are sent back to the Phantom Zone from whence they came, and it looks like everyone (who made it out alive) is safe, we see Zod is still there. “Oh no, not again!” I say, channeling John Hurt in Spaceballs. More and More Collateral Damage until Zod corners a family in a train station and Superman snaps his neck. Finally, Superman sees the faces of people who might die from this wanton destruction and NOW he cares?? To those that say, but Zod said, “Only one of us will make it out of this alive” or whatever, why couldn’t Superman PROVE HIM WRONG! It’s the opposite of what happens in Dark Knight when the Joker gives the people on the ships the chance to live if they trigger the bomb to kill the people in the other ship. Mark Waid said it best in his review, “As Superman’s having his final one-on-one battle with Zod, show me that he’s going out of his way to save people from getting caught in the middle. SHOW ME that trying to simultaneously protect humans and beat Zod is achingly, achingly costing Superman the fight. Build to that moment of the hard choice…show me, without doubt, that Superman has no other out and do a better job of convincing me that it’s a hard decision to make, and maybe I’ll give it to you. But even if I do? It’s not a victory. Not this sad, soul-darkening, utterly sans-catharsis “triumph” that doesn’t even feel like a win so much as a stop-loss.” If he really has no other choice, show me how he comes to that decision. Have him at least TRY and look for a way to end it without killing him. At the simplest, when Zod gives his only one of us is getting out of here alive, have Superman say “YOU’RE WRONG!” That would have at least been something.

    And we end the movie in what appears to be the very near future, not years and years later, and Metropolis is rebuilt and is no worse for wear. And Clark shows up and welcomes him to the Daily Planet. Everything’s hunk dory, eh? Sorry, not for me. That’s not my Superman.

    • I admit that I am not the biggest Superman fan, but I just don’t get this idea that Supes should not have killed Zod. If a police officer anywhere in this country were to see a criminal raise a gun to shoot you, that officer has the OBLIGATION to protect you by shooting the criminal first. If the criminal dies as a result, no court would blame the police officer.

    • The major problem I had with this movie is that the makers of the film decided that this is the way they wanted their movie to end…

      …with a Superman that kills. Again, this is only my opinion and my PREFERRED version of Superman would have found a way around it.

      To reiterate some of my previous comments, I am not saying that he 100% shouldn’t have killed him (though I really don’t like the idea of it). But if the filmmakers decided that’s the way they wanted to go, they should have SOLD it more, made it more clear that he had tried every other avenue before resorting to Murder. The reckless abandon Superman showed for regular people in danger up until that moment is unfathomable. And then for him to suddenly give a hoot just because Zod threatens a few more humans and says CHOOSE…I just don’t buy it. Why couldn’t he have covered Zod’s eyes with his hand? Why wasn’t there a way to beat Zod unconscious (he snapped his neck easily enough) and then work to find a way to keep him that way, whether using some kind of Kryptonian technology or ANYTHING ELSE?

      Also, Superman is NOT a Police Officer. A Police Officer is trained to “Protect and Serve” and yes, sometimes that means using a weapon against criminals. But Police are given the authority to make those decisions after YEARS of training, and are taught to “Shoot to Disarm” not “Shoot to Kill.” What right does Superman have to decide who lives and who dies?

    • @ClasikRok: Not to totally derail this discussion, because I completely agree with everything you’re saying–especially that Superman is NOT a police officer, he is Superman–but no police office I’ve ever met or known or heard of is taught to shoot to disarm. In fact, the quote I was told once was, “this isn’t the movies–we aren’t going to shoot the weapon out of somebody’s hand.” If they pull and discharge their weapon they are trained to shoot to kill.

    • “The reckless abandon Superman showed for regular people in danger up until that moment is unfathomable. And then for him to suddenly give a hoot just because Zod threatens a few more humans and says CHOOSE…I just don’t buy it. Why couldn’t he have covered Zod’s eyes with his hand? Why wasn’t there a way to beat Zod unconscious (he snapped his neck easily enough) and then work to find a way to keep him that way, whether using some kind of Kryptonian technology or ANYTHING ELSE?”

      Yes, this.

      Clark, just hold on and fly! Look, humans out of danger.

    • @ Conor Ok, I’ll grant you that I have no actual experience that shows that Police in the Real World are taught to shoot to disarm. It is in fact what the movies have taught me that. But this IS the movies, so that is what I expect. I just prefer the idea of these authority figures only shooting when it’s absolutely necessary, and they ultimate goal is to “bring them down” so they can be put through the Justice system.

      I know that they are trying to ground a Superman movie in reality here, but, let’s be honest, You CAN’T ground a Superman movie in reality because the guys is an alien that flies and shoots lasers out of his eyes. The problem I had with the movie (beyond the Zod killing) is they tried too hard to make this “Superman Begins” and that just doesn’t work for Superman in my opinion. What works for the Bat does not work for the Man of Tomorrow.

      @bub64882 “Clark, just hold on and fly! Look, humans out of danger” Yep, a simple and elegant solution. But no, Superman snaps his neck instead. It really ruined this movie for me.

    • I’m not saying that I loved that Superman killed, but I just think the point was far beyond saving a couple humans lives from what Zod was doing at that particular moment. They had just had a fight lasting half an hour and Zod had just finished saying he would never stop. I think that is what drove Superman to the neck break.
      Again not saying I agree, just that I think there was a little more to it then saving a few humans lives.

    • so superman tries to fly up and zod tries to fly down, don’t they just stay there? could zod just not get free and murder more people? personally i agree with the idea that superman not killing thing needs to come from some where. Jor-el doesn’t seem to have a problem with it and Johnathan is a practical farmer from Kansas he would be cool killing in the defense of others and yourself. I like the idea that we see superman grow and changes as the movies go by and he doesn’t spring full formed from the fortress like Athena out of the head of zeus.

    • @Endlessw, The point is, the writers talked about a “no win situation”, but they didn’t sell it. There were a ton of things Clark didn’t do…he resorted to killing him pretty quickly.

      That you like a Superman that is okay with killing, or felt that we needed an explanation for why a god-like being doesn’t take the lives of others, is okay. That’s fine. I don’t, and that’s fine too.

      But what is pretty apparent, is that objectively, the story fails to sell the necessity of the neck snap, and fails to deal with the fallout of that in this film. Whatever is going to happen in sequels is all well and good, but THIS movie needs to stand on it’s own. And at the end of THIS movie, we DON’T know that Clark will never kill again. The writers have failed to demonstrate that at all, despite ample voice-over opportunity to do so. I’m fine with seeing growth in Clark…that would be welcome. Starting with “oh, he doesn’t know how to protect bystanders without snapping necks” kind of sets the bar too low for me to call this a Superman story though.

      As a spectacle, popcorn flick, this was a fine movie. There were some memorable visuals. But the reason it is getting a “fail” from most film critics is that it does some basic things very poorly.

    • @bub
      I got sold on the no win because there was no way to hold or stop zod just more and more fighting IF superman was not killed.

      I like seeing superman deal with killing or not killing i would love to see him build up to that choice of “i will never kill you lex” but it’s natural for living things to kill to protect other or save your own life. It something that our society accepts and promotes. Not killing takes a much farther journey.

      As for the “objectively fails” i will not say anything beyond it worked for me and many others and didn’t work for you and many others. How do we say it doesn’t work now? or does work? these are things that crystallize with time. i find that the scene i remember have nothing to do with spectacles like clark and lois in the interrogation room or perry and lois or that mom with the kents.

    • Fair enough.

  118. Sorry dude, don’t have the attention span to read all that, but I’m sure it’s a well thought out articulate argument. I just wanted to make sure it made enough money to give ME more Cavill Superman. Kinda selfish that way. Made 200 Million dollars in the first weekend. ALL I SEE ARE DOLLAR SIGNS!!!! More Snyder Man of Steelness on the way, makes ME a happy camper.

    Don’t worry, they may make your Superman someday. I hope they do, I just want everyone to be happy, as impossible as that is. Especially when it comes to Superman, THE most polarizing character in modern mythology.

    P.S. How do we know it’s the near future and NOT years later? Argument could be made there. I did read the last bit.

    • How many years later do you think. 2, 3, 10? It took NYC until recently to complete construction of the Freedom Tower in NYC, and that’s just 1 building.

  119. To the people who have seen it a couple times: did you find that you liked it more or less when you watched it again?

    I hope to see it again soon. I thought it was very good but not great. IMO, it is a better superhero movie than The Dark Knight.

  120. Wow, this is still going.
    Usually these devolve into all negativity pretty quickly and then die out. Or in the case of something like IM3 everyone just agrees, “yeah that was okay, I guess.”
    I think it’s a testament to the quality of the movie that those who actually LIKED something are so committed to discussing and defending it with thoughtful posts that go beyond it being “cool”.

    It’s worth noting that we wouldn’t be seriously discussing the role of the father, the death penalty, acceptable losses, or any other rich ideas unless the movie gave them to us. None of these issues are the result of oppositional readings that expose failures in the story or script (not that there aren’t some), as much as some critics might like to think they are. People who saw it last week are still talking about it with so much intensity because in its sometimes clunky, sometimes cheesy, sometimes brilliant way, MOS is something that other superhero movies have not been – a movie about ideas. A movie that poses questions. Its not perfect, but it gave us new things to think about a 75 year old character that many of us hold dear, and for that alone it deserves some credit.

    • Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      That’s one way of looking at it. I think people simply love talking about Superman. The movie does raise compelling questions whether it raises or answers them to a viewer’s satisfaction or not. I don’t know if that speaks to the quality of the film so much as the filmmakers’ ambitions.

  121. Saw it. Liked it. That is all.

  122. I thought this was the best Superman movie I’ve seen, CG and all.
    They should not make another for another 35 years.
    They can reboot it in 2048 and my 81 year old self will complain about the CG then.


    CA posted this…Apparently Nolan initially objected to the ending.

    • According to Snyder, “…the why of it was, for me, that if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained…if we can find a way of making it impossible for him–like Kobayashi Maru, totally no way out–I felt like that could also make you go, ‘Okay, this is the why of him not killing ever again, right?’ He’s basically obliterated his entire people and his culture and he is responsible for it and he’s just like, ‘How could I kill ever again?’”

      Or like any normal rational person he could think, “Killing is wrong, I don’t think I should do that.” Or am I wrong? Maybe this is the place where he decides, “Wow, I killed Zod, and now no more people have to die. I should have done this hours ago. Think of all the people that wouldn’t have died. Next time I’ll have to kill my enemies a bit faster. Saves time, saves lives, and now I can go make out with Lois some more.”

    • Yeah, his aversion to killing IS explained…he was raised by a kindly couple in the Midwest. Sunday school? Thou shalt not kill? Probably going to come up once or twice.

    • With all of the Jesus allusions you’d think they’d remember that bit.

  124. JML ( says:

    I REALLY hated this way more than I expected to. I went into it choosing to not look at it as a Superman movie but as just a general cool action sci-fi film to avoid any fanboy kneejerky, and yet still it didn’t work for me. The only performances I liked were Henry Cavill’s and Diane Lane’s for some reason. Michael Shannon and Russell Crowe were so generic. I almost cheered when Krypton exploded because I found the place so unpleasant, which was an odd choice.This movie also served to make Clark Kent’s glasses disguise even LESS believable. I’d heard the score was really good, but I found it overbearing. Possibly it was symptomatic of the whole problem with the movie: no dynamic range, no space, just pounding you relentlessly.

  125. Ok, I finally saw the movie. And I loved it. I thought it was awesome, and I immediately wanted to watch it again. This was what I wanted and more from a Superman movie. I don’t know if I like it better than the Dark Knight trilogy, but its close, I can say that. I want to say that I respect other opinions on this movie and I know that others will disagree with my thoughts on it, but I can’t agree with others gripes of this movie. I mean I can “see” how they can feel that way but myself, I love the movie, I don’t have those gripes. I have maybe two minor quibbles with it; Jor-El being a scientist but having that fighting prowess (awesome as it looked), something about the World Engine not being more protected. I can get over those pretty easily tho.

    I just loved the whole thing; the music, the actors, the story, the action. Speaking of, I think Amy Adams has portrayed my favorite Lois Lane this side of Superman:TAS. Shannon rocked as Zod, and was an intriguing villain (to me). Cavall was great as Kal-El and Superman, I hope he’s ready for 2 more sequels.

    One of my favorite reviewers; Jeremy Jahns, gave this the same rating as IM3, and I strongly disagree with that. In fact an elderly woman said (as I was leaving the theater) that IM3 was better and I almost turned and screamed “NO IT’S NOT!!!”. But I didn’t, it was late and I had a lot of sugar but I restrained myself. This movie to me is leagues better than IM3, IM3 felt like 3 different movies put together which made me sort of dizzy a few times. Is this Iron Man, is this a spy movie, is it a comedy, what are we doing here? This to me felt more cohesive, like it was all one story and one movie.

    To me, this was a 4/5 (or a 9/10 as my friends and I agreed on). I like forward to the sequel. Next month, I’m looking forward to “Pacific Rim” and hope that turns out to be a good blockbuster to see.

    • Totally agree with you. I thought IM3 was very fun but the motives and capabilities of the villains were poorly defined. I just don’t buy into believing that Killian’s believed he could sell Extremis to the Government, that he would hold such a gripe against Tony or that the Vice President was in on it. Plus one huge explosion failed to kill him but then a seemly smaller one succeeded. I wish they had built up AIM as a more legitimate threat too. At least Zod had very clear motives, even if some people find them overly shallow (which I personally don’t). Cavil nailed his performance too, great Superman and Kal.

    • @IthoSapien I’m seeing on this page that you are a huge supporter of this movie. While I wholeheartedly agree with Paul and his review, I think having your own opinion is fine. But come on. You have to admit that the movie was ANYTHING but fluid. You knock IM3 for being incoherent, (which is true) so I find it difficult to believe that you don’t see the incompatibility of plot and story points, tone, and theme in MoS. Now THIS felt like 5 different films at once! I encourage you to look at it again, and if after that you would me to defend my opinion further, I will. 🙂

    • @MistahJ97, I’m probably not gonna change my opinion after a second viewing. Correction, I probably wouldn’t reverse my opinion. it’d probably strengthen it. To me this is a better movie than IM3, it is fluid in that how it progresses carries me through the story without feeling abrupt or stopping, and it’s just more enjoyable to watch. I’m a fan of all 3 Dark Knight movies, “Rises” being my favorite. Maybe I’m the target demographic for these movies but I just love them. They don’t feel like different movies smashed together, or inconsistent in tone; they feel like they carry me on a journey. Start HERE, rise alittle bit, keeping going, hit the climax, then resolution. A gradual escalation through the story to its finish. To me the best movie is the one that grows out of where it starts, “Fight Club” being probably the best example I can give. It starts out with an angry depressed guy, goes into a violent secret club, then turns into an anarchic rebellion then into a moment of self-discovery at the end. That movie felt like a natural progression to me, MoS does too.

      IM3 is just, I don’t know, the tone is the same I guess but the story feels cramped. TDK Trilogy and MoS both have alot of story to get through by their end but I always feel like its done well. IM3 tried to do the same thing but I never felt like it was natural at all. Tony is dicking around with his armor, anxious and can’t settle after New York, gets attacked, hides out in Indiana or where ever, trying to fix his latest armor (and why did he have to use the latest one? He literally had 1,000 others he could have called at any moment but didn’t), goes low tech to find the Mandarian, then epic showdown with Killain using all his 2,000 armors that weren’t good enough to be used before but he needs right now, switching back and forth and back and forth and back and forth between them as they break before SPOILER___________________ he decides to blow the rest up and retire proving he is Iron Man (after having to relie on the suits the entire final fight). It’s a fine story, it’s not a bad movie, but with the standard set by all the other Marvel movies I look at it as one of my least favorites (meaning its near the bottom of the pile in terms of quality IMO).

      With MoS, if you’ve seen any of the previous 3 Batman you should have some kind of inkling as to how it was gonna go. I don’t see any contradictions in its tone, theme or story points. In fact, I feel that if you’ve emerged yourself in a variety of Superman media (Smallville, TAS, the plethora of comics) then the ideas they put into MoS shouldn’t seem that foreign. To me, Costner’s Pa Kent was a mix of Birthright’s and Smallville’s in how he approached Clark and his powers and how he should use them. He’s not an exact translation but he does put forward similar ideas in the other media.

      And in itself, MoS didn’t negate or ignore basic Superman ideals or concepts IMHO. I think the creators just reinterpreted them in a modern sense. Does it require the viewer to work a little bit to follow what they’re doing and the story they’re telling? Maybe. Maybe there is alittle too much story to cover in the movie, to me tho the amount presented was fine and the movie carried me through beginning, middle, climax, and ending. You’ll either go with it or you won’t I guess, judging other fans reactions. Which is fine, some people loved “Amazing Spider-Man” but I hated it. They might have to make peace with MoS though if it becomes a success and brings about a JL film.

      I’m not calling out your opinion of MoS, you can hate it as much as you want. However I’ve come to my conclusion on it and I’ll probably keep it until the sequel or next reboot.

    • @IthoSapien Look, I’m in NO way defending IM3. For all I care, it just didn’t happen. And I guess you are a better target demographic to this film, as you enjoyed the Dark Knight films. I for one hate them, but that’s for another day. anyways, I didn’t even have them in my mind when I went in to watch MoS. I was just excited to see a cool Supes movie, regardless of the creative team. The trailers looked cool enough! Now all of my problems with the movie aside, let’s just look at the the bigger picture. The tone: To me, it never seemed consistent. At the beginning, I was getting the whole Chris Nolan/seriousness vibe, which was fine. Then we get the larger than life action scenes on both Krypton and Earth that I felt didn’t match the mood. At moments, the movie felt fun, like Supes learning to fly. Then it got sentimental (towards humanity?) while the planet was getting zapped and Perry and Lombardi were saving Jenny. It was a thought that I liked, but was never really explored or elaborated. Then we get the random placements of Jesus allegories at various moments. I get that Superman is essentially a Jesus archetype, it felt very unnecessary and just kind of tacked on. And we’re left with a confusing idea of humanity via Pa Kent. Should he embrace it? Or should he hide in fear his whole life? And then we get some weird campiness at different times. All of the scenes between Supes and Lois felt very cheesy to me, even though I loved the casting choices. And finally, after Zod is killed and Supes bawls on Lois… we get a lame-ass joke that felt EXTREMELY out of place, followed by what felt like a rushed ending. I could go on with just about everything else, (plot, pacing, dialogue, trying to be new and edgy, etc…) but I think that I’ll stop there. Now I’ve never been a huge Supes fan. In fact, most of my favorite stories are elseworlds stories, like All-Star, Red Son, For All Seasons, etc… But I do like it when the character is handled well and when a film adaptation thoroughly encapsulates everything about him. For me, this movie did neither. And like Paul, I tell people what I think about it with a heavy heart.

    • So what, you want a movie that has the same tone for 2 hours and 45 minutes? I’d find that a boring movie. If you hated the Dark Knight trilogy I don’t know why you thought you would like this. I mean you hated what the team did with Batman but thought Superman would be good for you? I get wanting to see a cool movie but myself, I always look at the creative team and decide if their previous body of work entertained me. If I hate an actor/director, I skip their movies.

      I don’t get what the big picture is either, you just listed all your problems with the movie. I don’t agree with any of them either. The point of Perry and Lombard saving Jenny was meant to illustrate how Superman inspired others to be heroic and/or that they didn’t need Superman to solve all their problems. After they save Jenny, that’s it. What else is there to say about it, a 20 minute segment talking about why these 2 guys helped someone they knew for years from dying? Pa Kent’s view was that humanity would never accept Clark (he is a alien, probably the most powerful person on earth too) so like in other incarnations he discouraged Clark from using his abilities knowing eventually he would when he was ready. The point was, he was wrong about Clark never being accepted but right about the impact he would have and the responsibilty he carried. And after the fight with Zod, there’s a small timeskip into the future. So the idea of telling a joke shouldn’t be out of the question. And I don’t agree with the Jesus allegory. I saw the image but to me Superman has never been a metaphor about Jesus, guess I tune it out.

      I don’t know whats a good Superman movie adaptation to you; The Chris Reeve movies from the 70s with the cheese? The Singer reboot that tried to imitate the previous movies with a mopey Superman who roofied Loos Lane and got her pregnant and fights Lex Luthor for the upteenth time? The animated movies (those I could agree with to an extent)? It sounds to me like you just want a certain version of Superman (much like many others). Look you’re obviously in the camp of “not going with it”. That’s fine. That said I’m not gonna argue the movie with you any further. You’ve got your opinion, is there any chance of that changing? If the answer is “No” then there’s nothing to talk about, we just have to agree to disagree. I still love this movie, that’s not changing.

  126. I personally loved the casting, the fact there were actual action fight scenes, and the Pa Kent flashback scenes. All that being said, I probably would have given the movie a 2 or 2.5 as well.

    Like I said on Twitter: It’s a great superhero movie, but a horrible Superman movie.

    • I would call “Superman Returns” a terrible Superman movie but that’s just me.

    • Superman Returns was a bad superhero movie but a great Superman movie.

    • Superman murder three people in superman return nobody freaked out, he invades the privacy of the people he says he loves and respects, and etc… i am not saying it’s a terrible movie, it’s not. it’s just a movie that makes you go “why am i watching this when i can just watch Superman: the movie? “

    • There’s also the question of how he lifts up an island composed of kryptonite, why Lois Lane never confronts him about being her child’s father and not remembering how, and Lex Luthor having yet another real estate scam. It’s a bad Superman movie.

    • @IthoSapien Oh, if you wanna start nit-picking…

    • I found nothing to like about it, as a movie it’s ok but as a Superman movie (that’s meant to faithfully continue a franchise from the first 2 movies) it’s terrible. It’s not nitpicking to see Superman get weakened by Kryptonite, then come back and lift an island of the stuff into space no problem, and call it dumb. Unless you can explain that away? No? Ok, that and a bunch of stuff @Endlessw has already mentioned.

  127. Look, this seems like a “love-it-or-hate-it” film. It seems that the people who liked it looked at it at face value: a summer hero-flick. Now the people who didn’t, such as myself and Paul, looked at it a bit more seriously in terms of plot, pacing, and cinematography. There’s nothing wrong with either, so maybe it’s best if we’re all left to our respective tastes. Great for the people who loved it. The rest of us will just wait for one that’s not written by David Goyer.

    • What a mature attitude, glad you agree with me. But just because you liked the movie doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate it’s plot, pacing, themes, or actors; maybe it means we’re willing to embrace something new. Or not, whatever, it’s time to lay the topic to rest I think.

    • @IthoSapien Yeah, it seems that this topic is over… Well! Let’s talk Batman! 😉 And by the way, I was joking about the “nit-picking” thing. Superman Returns was by all means an awful film.

    • Ha, well we agree on both points then. Alright, we’re done here, ONWARDS!

  128. Good review, Paul. I think we all WANTED to love this movie. I saw it yesterday (in germany it aired a week later), when I left the cinema it was hard to confess to myself that it didnt match my expectations. The movie wasnt bad, there were some scenes I really liked but overall it couldnt grab me.

  129. Paul great review, really well written as always, and I enjoyed reading it. But I disagreed with it and loved the movie lol. I commented above a bunch of times, but basically, I just dug the modernizing of the whole tale, the Jor El Pa Kent flavor switches were fun to me, the action was what I wanted to see from Superman. I loved seeing him brawl and fight and punch lol. Simplistic but I loved it.

  130. seen it twice now, it was even better the second time. Something that bugs me about fans is that when DC “modernized” the Batman franchise into crime/heist films it was genius,brillant, ect. However, when DC tries this with the blue boyscout, people flip their s&%$. You can clearly see what Warners/Legendary pictures are doing. They are lining up(redesigning the tone) their ponies to make sure that when they do their Justice League, the whole “stable” doesn’t seem out of place or forced. I applaud the director or M.O.S. for taking risks and giving us this take on Superman (even though that word was only physically said twice in the film) on the big screen.

    • +1. I think this will become DC’s brand, movies that are mostly serious dramas. Marvel will be the funny, quirky popcorn flicks but DC will try to be the opposite to set itself apart. I think it’s a good way to go, I doubt Marvel will be making any dark or serious films anytime soon (because of the Cinematic Universe, everything has to “fit” with the Avengers) so DC can own those kind of stories. I think the danger becomes when DC movies get compared to Marvel which leads to “it was too serious” or “too humorless” (inevitable when Marvel has made a dozen more movies than DC). With Flash and GL, they’re gonna have to be more creative because they’re such silver age characters they’ll need to be somewhat lighter in tone (not slapstick, but maybe make Flash like Spider-Man and GL like “Star Trek”). The DC pantheon is compared to gods, that’s how DC has to portray them. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  131. This was honestly one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

    I cannot believe that WB allowed the makers of this PIECE OF SH*T to ruin Superman in such a way. I’m actually annoyed that I paid good money to see it.

    ‘Man of Steel’ was bland, uninspired, badly acted, and featured a complete shambles of a script, with lazy writing, ham-fisted dialogue and horribly cheesy ‘sweetness’ (basically ‘The Beginners Guide to Writing Cliches’ but with Superman as the lead character) with no flow, imagination, pacing or joy anywhere in sight.

    I’m sure that The Wachowskis were annoyed (as 2 thirds of the movie was ‘borrowed’ from The Matrix – watch the third act fight between ‘Superman’ and Zod, then watch Smith vs Neo again), but I’m sure they can find solace in the fact that they weren’t alone. The costumes were ‘borrowed’ from the 90’s ‘Lost in Space’ movie, the Kryptonian ships were ‘borrowed’ from ‘War of the Worlds’ and Jonathan Kent’s death was, essentially, an unfunny version of a scene from ‘Independence Day’. Elsewhere ‘Avatar’, ‘Star Trek 2009’ and ‘Star Wars Episode 2’ were relentlessly mined almost shot for shot, by a director bereft of either talent or vision. That same ‘zoom’ shot used over and over again. God, this was bad.

    A moody, douchebag Superman who seems to spend most of his time flying around screaming. Or simply shouting ‘NOOOO!” He even flies like Neo, causing massive property damage and endangering lives when he could simply float off of the ground. What’s more, there’s no Clark Kent anywhere in this film (save for the end), as a result, the film is lacking an essential ingredient.

    Plus, this is a Superman that KILLS. Character assassination is what I’d call it. Goyer, Snyder and Nolan laid a nice, steaming brown egg with this one. Horrible. I have issues with ‘Superman Returns’ but it was 4 or 5 times the movie this one is. Awful. Personally, I fail to see how any Superman fan could enjoy this, but to each his own. Rant over. Peace.

    • Uh,,, i think most people would agree that Neo flies like Superman does.. even the wachowskis.. thats kind of the point.

    • Nope. Superman doesn’t push off the ground and wreck streets and homes. He floats off the ground because he cares about the people of Earth. That’s kind of the point.

  132. I agree with everything in your very well thought out review Mr Montgomery (except perhaps for the last coupla paragraphs). Pretty impressive review really, very nuanced. However,,, while i agree i somehow still enjoyed the movie. I do think that it is possible to see everything you saw and still enjoy oneself. Im not a superman fan though.. and maybe that is why.

    • Hey,

      Just to let you know, I respect your opinion. I just don’t happen to share it.

      I’m sorry if my response comes off as snappy, but please understand that I adore Superman for what he stands for and I happen to feel that this movie was not only a bad movie, but also that it ruined the character for a generation. I have no desire to argue with anyone about it, so if it seems like I was flaming you, then I apologize. I’m just really angry about it.

      In case you’re interested, here’s Mark waid’s thoughts on the movie. He summed things up a lot more eloquently than I did in the above rant. That heartbreak he’s describing? That’s kinda where I’m at right now…


    • No problem.. I suppose i would be pissed if i was a superman fan as well.

      I get your point and Montgomery’s. It wasnt necessary to make the movie that dark.