Bit of background info; I’m not the biggest Superman fan. I love a good superhero film and I love a good summer blockbuster. However, I have never read a comic and can’t even say that I’ve seen every Superman film. But! I was a Lois & Clark fan as a child, y’know the one when Teri Hatcher didn’t look quite as terrifying as she does now. So this discussion will be highly impartial as far as canon character traits and story lines are concerned.
After leaving the cinema I was just filled with that excitement and passion you feel after seeing such a good film you wanna just run back in there and watch it again. Beginning on Krypton with Russell Crowe, I felt like I could have had a whole film focused on these moments of hostility and breakdown upon the planet, alas we got 20minutes. However we were introduced to Superman’s father, the ‘bad guy’ General Zod and a really cool flying dinosaur creature which should have totally gotten more screen time.
Soon we’re introduced to Lois Lane. Oh how I used to both idolise and despise past-Lois’ in equal measure. Lois is intelligent, funny, flirty and yet somehow never made the blindingly obvious connection between Superman and Clark Kent when all that was different was a stupid pair of glasses. I was internally begging Snyder not to make Lois’s character as ignorant and insulting to me as I’d previously seen. Thankfully, right from her introduction Amy Adams’ Lois is smart and intuitive and arrives in a Canadian army-run site to report on ‘something under the ice’ to which she sets off alone to investigate. Lois makes her own decisions and forms her own narrative; such as deciding to accompany Superman onto General Zod’s ship. And I think it creates a slightly different and brilliant dynamic in that Lois knows extremely early that Clark and Superman are the same person. She’s the free thinking human female character who can hold her own in a superhero film that I’ve always wanted to see.
And now, can we just take a moment here to think about just HOW good Michael Shannon as General Zod is…
I gotta admit that I love a bad guy who I can sympathise with. Darth Vader being my first when I was a kid, up to Voldemort in Harry Potter and Loki in Thor and the Avengers more recently. If there is even the slightest reason I can be on their side; then I have a soft spot for them. General Zod is literally born to protect and cultivate Krypton, and so when he is fighting Superman and threatening Earth I just wanna be like “oh guysss, sit down and chat about this please!? No one needs to get hurt, he’s just misunderstood!”
However, that’s obviously not what happens. There’s a lot, a lot, a lot of smashing and flying through buildings. I’d like to know just how many humans Superman killed versus how many Zod killed when forcibly flying through buildings. I’ve read that this annoyed and miffed quite a few people, however really, in the grand scheme of things, if Superman wasn’t throwing Zod through buildings and perhaps killing a couple of people whilst attempting to kill him, Zod would rack up a hell of a lot more of a death count in the long run. Also, this is potentially just film 1, in any followups Superman can learn from the destruction that was caused in this film and then grow from that and become the good guy who frowns upon killing people.
From a female point of view, Henry Cavill looked near perfect as Superman and although there were a few tweaks with the classic red trunks costume he was visually as Superman as you could get. Superman has always been a rather clean cut superhero; a classic good guy. And so the rather shock ending between Superman and Zod was literally an outloud gasp of shock from me. I have never seen something so brutal in a 12a film; the fact that Superman had time to think about what he had to do and then do it made it so much more barbaric. Usually in superhero films the hero ‘accidentally’ kills the bad guy when they go too far; this was premeditated. Superman’s scream afterwards was literally chilling; again usually those types of screams are cheesy and iffy but you could feel the pain at Superman having to kill his last connection to his home planet in order to save a family from Earth.
I have to mention the special effects used in this film. I watched this in 2D and there wasn’t a single moment where I was pulled out of the film by thinking ‘oh that looked a bit shit’. Particularly good shots were Superman’s flying scenes; some of the over the shoulder shots with his cape fluttering in the wind were glorious. I also love this ‘zoom in’ camera trend we’ve been seeing more and more in Sci-fi’s lately. I think I first saw it used in Battlestar Galactica; where the camera from a wide establishing shot zooms right in on the action. It makes it feel more ugent and more lifelike and gives it a real documentary feel. It was used rather frequently in Man of Steel and it definitely made me feel more immersed in the action.
I am really really hoping for a sequel, I think everything worked well together and I’d love to see a development in the Clark x Lois relationship. As well as the introduction of Lex Luther at some point perhaps? (I saw someone on Tumblr post about how amazing it would be if Natalie Dormer played Luther, and I gotta admit, that sounds amazing. And if not her, a female bad guy in general would be delightful).
So, what did you guys think? Think Snyder pulled it off? Were you unhappy with anything in particular? Let me know!