Why I did not love 'Man of Steel' that much

[Spoiler alert]

First, let me get these out - we have the best Lois Lane in years- Pulitzer-winning reporter gets to learn Clark Kent's identity, instead of her asking, "Where the hell have you been? Superman was just here." This, plus Amy Adams' superb portrayal was one of the highlights of the movie. Faora (Antje Traue) also kicked ass.

The "You are not alone" broadcast across the world from the Kryptonian mutineers was freaking awesome. The action scenes were also good and felt like watching a video game.

Now take a deep breath, here's why I did not love "Man of Steel" that much.

1. There were no light moments.

Hey, don't expect that from a movie produced by Christopher Nolan, you might say in protest. But if Batman represents the night or darkness-which Nolan successfully translated into the Dark Knight trilogy-Superman represents the light. It's saying that you could still be a hero without having a tortured past-though he lost his parents like Bruce Wayne, he grew up with the love of his adoptive parents. Hey, literally, he's powered by the yellow sun.

What we got were some lines from a fangirl soldier saying that he's hot and Lois being interrupted when she almost called him Superman. It seemed that from high school to his household, Clark's life had been sad. Surely, comic geeks know better that growing up with the Kents, Lana and Pete helped him have the values he would carry on as the world's greatest superhero.

The only assurance that he won't go rogue, as he told a general- he grew up in Kansas.

2. If you want to go dark, do it all the way.

Okay, the movie wanted to be realistic as possible. If I'm not mistaken, Superman snapped Zod's neck after the villain torched civilians. I assume the humans were killed because we did not see them running away from Superman and Zod. the scene was not clearly executed. They could have shown some burning strips of clothes if the humans were indeed killed by Zod's heat vision.

The World Engine splat cars and debris as it expanded its effects on Metropolis. I don't know why we did not see humans being levitated and then forcibly dropped to the ground. 

(UPDATE: After watching the movie for the second time-thanks to the block screening from Comicxhub-I was able to catch the scene where people were being hurled up in the air. I also got to see that the family survived from Zod's attack. I was seated in the fourth row when I went to see it again. Maybe they could have magnified the reaction shot more.)

3. Terraforming Earth into Krypton. 

Haven't we seen that in Transformers? 

4. Death of Jonathan Kent=Ben Parker=Phoenix Exit

Clark and Jonathan fight inside the car before his "dad" dies. Uncle Ben and Peter Parker would be amazed.

Jonathan gets a X2's Jean Grey death scene, where he's wiped away by winds, instead of the rushing water from the X-flick.

Coincidences? Probably. But the filmmakers should have at least done their research on what have already been seen on superhero movies.

5. Casting Diane Lane and Kevin Costner

They were not believable as Martha and Jonathan Kent. Jor-El (Russel Crowe) and Lara (Ayalet Zurer) are the power couple of the movie. 

6. CGI of buildings in the latter part of the movie looked fake.

7. When Superman brings Zod to the other side of the town, his minions leave Martha Kent.

If they were so evil, they could have killed her or taken her hostage. Superman should also have secured his mother first and not leave him with renegade Kryptonians.

8. Lois Lane was brought to space so the villains could extract knowledge from her mind?

If Zod wanted knowledge of Kal-El's life on Earth that he would eventually use in his virtual-reality-esque discussion with him, he could have used whatever machine they had to Superman himself. He did go with them voluntarily, didn't he? I really don't get why Lois had to be on the ship.

9. The priest scene

It was not clear if the bully shown in a flashback grew up as a priest. The priest though asked Clark- "What does YOUR God tell you?" The priest might have an idea that Clark was not human all along. Still, it's kinda strange Clark did not ask advice from her adoptive mother.

(Note: A Facebook friend said it's "gut" not "God." "Hard to hear and easily misinterpreted given the location of the scene."-Borgy )

(Update: My accidental movie buddy, thefanboyseo, told me the priest was a character from Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee's "For Tomorrow" comics storyline that concerns a priest questioning his faith and serving as Superman's confessor. Those who read the story might have appreciated the easter egg but I think it did not add anything to the story.)

I don't hate the movie as much as I don't love it. For me, it's an "okay" superhero movie, better than Green Lantern.

I'm still hoping though that we get to see the light that is Superman amid the grim and gritty superheroes in sequels or in the would-be ensemble flick, Justice League.

-Jerald Uy


  1. 1. There were no light moments.
    - I don't know what you were watching, but I saw a lot of light moments, between his interaction with his mom, his family's love of dogs & his destroying of that red neck jerk's truck.

    2. If you want to go dark, do it all the way.
    -And lose the GP rating? This was a movie meant to cover as a broad market as possible… meaning kids will be attracted to the obvious super hero stuff & adults find the right amount of seriousness but not too much that it depresses you like some Dark Serious Cannes Film.

    3. Terraforming Earth into Krypton.
    -We've seen that in War of the Worlds as well. As if such a ploy is any more ridiculous than 70+ years of Super Man stories. We're talking about a man whose mythos covers turning red & blue & coming back to life with 4 proxy Supermen.

    4. Death of Jonathan Kent=Ben Parker=Phoenix Exit
    -This is a super hero trope. Actually a hero trope. Even Luke Skywalker went through this. And this is not the first Superman story where Jonathan Kent died . Personally I think it's great how they used Jonah Kent's death to make a more conflicted character out of Superman.

    6. CGI of buildings in the latter part of the movie looked fake.
    - Because it is. No one ever watches Superman or spaceships & think they are real. Even the Tiger in LIfe of Pi, no matter how realistically rendered, still looks fake, our brain will simply not be fooled. We live in a time of CGI.

    7. When Superman brings Zod to the other side of the town, his minions leave Martha Kent
    -She could have easily been considered insignificant to the grander scheme of things.

    9. The priest scene
    It was not clear if the bully shown in a flashback grew up as a priest
    -I don't think it needed to be, what I like about this version of Superman is pretty much a lot of people know who Superman is, which is something that I always found silly in comics. Superman is analogous to Jesus in that he changes lives, the references are not subtle but I like the interpretation, it's something Singer tried to do as well in Superman Returns but I like this Super Jesus here better.

    I think this is the best Superman film yet.

    1. Hi Avid,
      I do agree that it's the best Supes movie in years. I just felt I needed to bring those up after seeing 10/10 review ratings.

      Thanks direk! Still looking forward to seeing Saving Sally. :)

  2. It was just okay. I didn't like the level of destruction that happened. I feel that Supes should have at least attempted to keep it to a minimum and not cause damage himself. I also did not like that he killed Zod. Superman should represent the best of humanity. He should never kill specially in the heat of the moment. At least that's how I see Superman in my head.

    1. It seems that they crammed a lot of ethical dilemma Supes faced in the comics. Thanks jtmtzrwj for reading!

  3. Definitely lighter than Batman. I think they had to modernize Superman, and they've been doing it in the books as well. Imagine if they just redid the plotline from Superman I, It totally would not work with today's audiences. In the end he was still a Kansas boy, who grew up with nice adoptive parents. Who despite always seeming to say they don't know, seem to know exactly what the boy needed.

    The CGI of the buildings did look fake, and so did some of the fight scenes. You literally could see the fight scenes be fully CGI. I'm pretty sure it's a tech issue rather than deliberate sloppiness. Watching the old Superman films, just watching the flight scenes now makes you wonder how the heck you thought "a man could fly" before. We watched it as kids and we could suspend disbelief easier then. Now we're all jaded. I can't even watch the orginal Clash of the Titans without asking myself, "how the heck did I even enjoy this film so much as a kid?"

    CGI wise it was not doing anything new, we've seen Space Ships, we've seen flying men, we've seen massive destruction before. So Man of Steel was really carried more by the story and the characters. I'm not a big Superman fan, and I've always not liked the way he's all so boy scout and SUPER. I like my superheroes more vulnerable maybe. But overall, I'd say this is so far the best movie adaptation of the Superman character ever. Looking forward, I expect to watch Pacific Rim and be wowed by the CGI simply because we haven't seen super robots in movies done this way yet.

    It is a great movie. 9/10 for me maybe. They did right by me.

    1. Thanks Freddie for sharing your thoughts! Those are valid points. ;)


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