I said it before and I stick by it. Man Of Steel was a decent superhero movie but as a Superman movie it’s terrible. Zack Snyder doesn’t understand Superman as a character because he goes against the things Snyder believes in this world, if his other movies are any indication. Being a good director doesn’t make him the right fit for every project and when it comes to this one that is most definitely the case.
I bring you Linkara‘s recently posted review for a couple of reasons. One is that he had to fight YouTube’s broken Content ID system to get anything out. You’ll see in the review some of the ridiculous steps he had to take just to get the review out. Another is that so much of what he says mirrors my own thoughts on the movie, though I did add a bunch of my own in the comments, that I’ll copy over here. Finally, with all the work he put into it he deserves as much revenue as he can, and if ad revenue includes embeds like mine I’m happy to help…though someday I’m going to have to do my own review to go over some thoughts that didn’t make it into my comments.
As for those comments I made:
When Lara dies alone I starting losing, pardon the term, hope in this movie. When Jor-El and Lara die in each others arms in EVERY OTHER VERSION it’s surprisingly hopeful, that even though they’ll perish they’re happy with the thought that Kal-El will survive and thus so will a part of Krypton. Here she dies with nothing, not even that happy thought, while Jor-El dies just out of a fit of anger. To me, and note that I’ve seen Kal-El’s origin redone so many times in TV, movies, the radio series, serials, animated shorts, and comics that I know it by heart, this is the point where things began to feel off and it just continued from there.I could see if the flashbacks worked thematically, playing into this supposed need to show why Superman doesn’t kill, or doesn’t want to. It really doesn’t since he never spent his life learning to control and better use his powers (outside of the one scene where his X-Ray vision and superhearing goes full strength for a bit, and the only good flashback in my opinion, partly because it sets up a way Kal-El has an advantage over the Kryptonian invaders) and Jonathan actually discourages him from trying to help anyone out of fear of him being discovered. Clark doesn’t develop an interest in reporting in his youth like many post-Crisis interpretations, nothing tied into why he becomes Superman is here and the flashbacks don’t even tie in to why those particular memories would be sparked in the present day. It’s a good narrative idea used poorly at pretty much every use.Totally agreed on the lack of color and outside of one symbolic moment any real sunlight. Superman shouldn’t depress me. Quest For Peace was terrible but didn’t depress me. I haven’t seen Superman Returns but the trailers aren’t very colorful, but still more than this movie.Jon Kent’s “Maybe”. That’s is symptomatic of a big problem with this movie. It feels like it keeps trying to stop Clark from becoming Superman, that it wants Zod’s death to be the reason Superman doesn’t kill, and then forces Clark to become Superman rather than it being who he is. Clark secretly helping people until he’s forced into the spotlight is one thing. Smallville tried to hold Clark back from becoming Superman (along with other DC re-imagining, which is why I stopped watching after a few seasons) and even they understood this. We don’t see Clark “become” Superman, we see Clark blocked from wanting to become Superman and then forced into it. That’s not Superman’s journey. Pre-Crisis he became a superhero in his teens. Here he’s in his thirties, as Linkara notes, before being dragged into the faded color suit. And even then it isn’t until Zod forces the issue that he even tries to be Superman. No wonder he was so bad at it.Clark Kent SHOULDN’T DO REVENGE! Yes, this was a problem with Superman II for me as well and it’s totally personal but it’s not something I like seeing.Small problem with Linkara’s idea of Lois becoming the new moral center. On its own I guess it’s fine, but given how many “evil Superman” stories seem to involve Lois dying when his parents are the teacher of his morals I see that backfiring. On the other hand, totally agree that Superman isn’t supposed to be Jesus, which is an issue I have with the Richard Donner film. Superman just naturally serves as an example without intention because he has good moral values and lives by them.Not a fan of the atmosphere thing either, though this is a nitpick from me. Superman’s powers should come from the yellow sun and, at least pre-Crisis, the different levels of gravity between Krypton and Earth. (I think nowadays they only credit the yellow sunlight.) I don’t get how a change in air quality equals superpowers, and yet the alteration of sunlight can make sense to me, and the altered gravity definitely does, scientific or not. Maybe I’m just weird…I mean, I know I am, but what in our air is better than Krypton’s? And would Earthlings get superpowers growing up on Krypton?I agree with Linkara’s assessment, that this movie is making Kal-El reject his Earth upbringing in favor of his Kryptonian heritage. I could go into a political rant right now but I won’t, stopping at some writers keep treating Clark as an alien and an immigrant, which is not the case. Clark grew up on Earth, to Earth parents, and raised on Earth values. He sees himself as an Earthling who was born on Krypton or in John Byrne’s origin Kryptonian ancestry but born on Earth through a “birthing matrix”. He also tried to write Krypton so cold that it’s loss to the universe wasn’t a big one. Even in the Silver Age, while he supposedly had his full baby memories and all the stuff he built he still considered himself an Earthling and American citizen, like when a black American (I reject the hyphenated-American stuff unless you have dual citizenship) tries to reconnect with their ancestral roots. This movie is rejecting his Earth heritage and at times Earth itself and Clark’s place in it. See also the Martha clip from Batman V Superman about “not owing anything”.Every time Snyder, someone else who worked on the film, or the so-called “Synder Bros” attempt to defend this movie the more I don’t like it. This is not a good Superman. It doesn’t understand Superman, and on occasion actually acts against what the character is supposed to be. It is not colorful, not uplifting, and I did not leave this movie in a better mood than when I walked into it. Again, as a generic superhero movie I might have accepted it and if the Snyderverse were original heroes or somehow a continuation of Watchmen, itself a rejection of traditional superhero stories via deconstruction, there would be no problem. Snyder’s take on the DC Universe however is just wrong. I don’t care how good a director he is, I wouldn’t hire Wes Craven to do a teen romance comedy and I wouldn’t hire a guy who thinks “if you don’t think superheroes kill you live in a fantasy world” to work in a universe where most of the heroes don’t kill. Also, this IS a fantasy world and you can make whatever you want happen, including superheroes who grew up respecting life and looking to make the world better without a body count. Again, a decent superhero movie but a terrible Superman movie.
One thing I didn’t bring up because I didn’t want to get into that debate with so much else wrong, is Laurence Fishburne as Perry White. Race aside, he doesn’t act like Perry. Perry is louder, trying to get the truth out there by deadline, a strong supporter of Superman…basically he’s J. Jonah Jameson if he wasn’t a huge jerk. Fishburne just plays him too relaxed, too low-key. Yeah, some day I’ll have to do my own review of this to get it all out of my system, but for now I agree with most of what he said.