Man of Steel Impressions
No one has managed to articulate Man of Steel’s shortcomings as passionately as Mark Waid.
I urge you all to read his lengthy and thought-provoking post that details the moment of betrayal that would have seen him leave the theatre if it wasn’t for the intervention of his slightly embarrassed girlfriend.
Mark describes in detail how the Man of Steel’s emotional climax broke his heart, as the shining beacon of hope that Superman usually embodies was abruptly extinguished, as the last son of Krypton killed General Zod by snapping his neck.
It appears that, in Zack Snyder’s interpretation of the character, Superman is a killer; no phantom zone imprisonment and no “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you” moments. How can this Superman feasibly exist in a DC Universe alongside a Bruce Wayne that, when Ra’s Al Ghul instructs him to kill an imprisoned murderer, insists “I will go back to Gotham and I will fight men like this, but I will not become an executioner.”
The sheer indulgence of mass destruction throughout the film’s finale seemed entirely unnecessary, and (for a character that should be trying to minimise the destruction of Metropolis) Kal El seemed wholly uninterested in anything other than the spectacle of destroying General Zod in the most destructive manner. Superman did not go out of his way to prevent falling buildings or debris, and he rarely (if ever) attempted to protect General Zod’s civilian victims from the carnage he was responsible for.
This whole scene was a missed opportunity, the finale could have focussed on the last son of Krypton’s epic struggle as he juggles the responsibility of protecting those around him with the need to take down this Kryptonian supervillain; we could witness the moral struggle as Superman’s beliefs almost become his undoing.
I didn’t dislike the film, but I wasn’t blown away by it either. A lot of things didn’t sit right with me and, like eating a doughnut, I enjoyed the experience but left the theatre feeling an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction with this portrayal of the Man of Steel.
For a more articulate approach to the Man of Steel, read Mark Waid’s brilliant article: Man of Steel, since you asked. | Thrillbent.