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  #31  
Old 10-16-2014, 08:43 AM
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I'm fine with the reinterpretation of Superman, but I think it's perfectly valid to feel that Angsty Superman is inferior to Hopeful Superman. I kind of wondered why they even bothered dropping that his symbol meant hope, unless that was just to point at it and say oh yeah he's the hope for society.

I just really hope they avoid making the Flash and GL supper gritty.

Also, I'd love the shit out of a buddy comedy Booster Gold Blue Beetle movie.
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  #32  
Old 10-16-2014, 08:48 AM
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I think it's more likely to see a gritty Flash than GA, simply because Arrow's already pretty damn gritty in and of itself (the first episode ended with Ollie's dad committing suicide to save his son's life, for crying out loud!).

So on the theory of the movies being the opposite of what works on TV (cf. the Schumacher movies showing up at the height of the DCAU), Arrow will be a light comedy scripted by Kevin Smith.

I wonder if there's room to do a full-fledged JLI, goofy-superhero team movie. You're right in that it probably works better as a buddy movie, but the thought of grabbing two comedy writers and turning them loose is interesting.
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  #33  
Old 10-16-2014, 08:53 AM
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I honestly don't know why anyone was surprised at how Angry British Steel Man turned out. When saw him in the trailer, gritted teeth, forehead veins bulging and growling, saw the hideously muted colors, and I heard the foreboding Hans Zimmer score, it was the easiest "nope!" I'd had for a comic book movie since The Spirit. It was at least honest. What you saw was what you got.
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  #34  
Old 10-16-2014, 09:00 AM
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See, I didn't really get "anger" throughout that - Superman acts pretty much like Superman should for a lot of the movie. He does stupidly self-sacrificing things, he places the needs of the planet ahead of even making sure Lois and Metropolis are safe... like, that's Superman 101.

If anything, he's more paranoid than he needs to be, not more angry. Which goes back to the Pa Kent stupidity.

It's just towards the end when the thing falls apart when he's more interested in kicking the shit out of Zod than preventing thousands of people from dying (if you argue that "he couldn't do both", you're missing the point of Superman, namely that he would always find a way to both stop Zod and save as many people as he could in the process). I think they were hoping that killing Zod to save that family would make up for that, but the scale of the destruction was *so* massive that it didn't take.
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  #35  
Old 10-16-2014, 09:04 AM
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I honestly don't know why anyone was surprised at how Angry British Steel Man turned out. When saw him in the trailer, gritted teeth, forehead veins bulging and growling, saw the hideously muted colors, and I heard the foreboding Hans Zimmer score, it was the easiest "nope!" I'd had for a comic book movie since The Spirit. It was at least honest. What you saw was what you got.
True, but while the visuals were doing the gritty monochrome thing, the voiceovers in the trailers were bursting with inspiring speeches about hope, and great destinies, and helping people...

You know, like Nolan's Interstellar is doing... right now...

...oh

Oh damn. And I wanted to look forward to Interstellar.
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  #36  
Old 10-16-2014, 09:17 AM
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Man of Steel being divisive is imo way more important than it being universally praised. Gives the production house a lot to think about going forward.

I personally loved the movie~


Saddened by Cyborg along instead of a Titans film, but at the same time happy that DC is going forward with a black-lead superhero movie and a female-lead one.

Course, by the time these movies come along I'll probably be over these kind of movies, I already p much am.
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  #37  
Old 10-16-2014, 09:42 AM
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Gritty Superman who struggles with the morality of lethal force and his tenuous connection to humanity is a pretty typical theme in a lot of Superman comics.
Maybe if those themes were actually explored in the movie it would've been good. But the script was just a mess of wheel spinning that didn't really go anywhere thoughtful.
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  #38  
Old 10-16-2014, 10:44 AM
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See, I didn't really get "anger" throughout that - Superman acts pretty much like Superman should for a lot of the movie. He does stupidly self-sacrificing things, he places the needs of the planet ahead of even making sure Lois and Metropolis are safe... like, that's Superman 101.

If anything, he's more paranoid than he needs to be, not more angry. Which goes back to the Pa Kent stupidity.
As much as some people lament "boy scout" Superman, he's far closer to what the comics and even the better media representations of Supes are. You should, if you see Superman, find him friendly, approachable, and a nice guy. Supes as represented as MoS seems scary. Does he ever smile in Man of Steel? Having only seen the trailer, he doesn't. Yeah, when the world is being torn up, I don't expect him to smile much while dealing with it. But he could do it when he saves some one, to let them know things are okay. It seems the "hopeful" stuff is all lip service. Again, if I'm wrong, I blame the marketing. But it seems they're so worried about Supes coming across as corny they went too far the other way. A scowling, screaming man with the power of a god is frightening.

Coming back to my joke post about Goyer--I don't think that it's one person at fault here. However, I think that WB collectively still is in the mindset that comic book movies have to avoid being cheesy and campy at all costs. Probably the critical thrashing that Superman Returns took has galvanized that opinion. Then on the other side of things, cheese and camp are big parts of what make the Marvel movies fun. It just depends on the character, series, and story. Batman Brave and the Bold are the recent Batman '66 comics do it well. Schumacher's movies did it poorly, because it didn't mesh well with the Batmen that were established just before that.

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It's just towards the end when the thing falls apart when he's more interested in kicking the shit out of Zod than preventing thousands of people from dying (if you argue that "he couldn't do both", you're missing the point of Superman, namely that he would always find a way to both stop Zod and save as many people as he could in the process). I think they were hoping that killing Zod to save that family would make up for that, but the scale of the destruction was *so* massive that it didn't take.
Yeah, that is inexcusable. Saving people should always take precedent. Killing Zod I don't have as much of a problem with. I.e. there's no reason for Supes to kill powerless villains, or ones that he can render powerless. If he can just rip a guy out of a mech suit, sure. If he had a convenient deus ex machina available like a ray that removes his powers, gold kryptonite, etc that's another. Hell, I have a bit of a problem with Superman apparently killing Zod in Superman II after depowering him (the most common cut leaves it pretty vague, but if you fall through a house in an ice cave in the arctic with no superpowers, you're as good as dead) He could have been thrown in prison at that point. If, in MoS, he'd given Zod every chance in the world to back down, and he still refused, then so be it.

Last edited by Andrew; 10-16-2014 at 11:00 AM.
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  #39  
Old 10-16-2014, 10:59 AM
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I can give them a pass on Superman not saving enough people as Superman being such a rookie. I'd like to think that's the symbolism behind the title, that he's not really Superman yet, but just a Man of Steel.

So I'm hoping very much that he at least starts learning to become the symbol of hope Superman traditionally is in BvS. And that he starts actually caring about collateral damage and saving innocents.

I also hope they don't keep shying away from Kryptonite if it makes sense to use. The whole atmosphere depowering Superman didn't make much sense, especially when he flies into space later and the utter lack of atmosphere doesn't affect him at all. I feel like the obvious thing, that the ship was built of Kyrptonite, got written out at some point because Snyder has said they specifically avoided Kryptonite to avoid comparisons to the old movies.
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  #40  
Old 10-16-2014, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by cortbassist89 View Post
And that he starts actually caring about collateral damage and saving innocents.
Except he shouldn't have to learn that. Superman was made not when he put on the costume and fought a bunch of dudes, but when he was being raised by Martha and Jonathan. Superman's values are the values he was taught by his Earth parents. But as we established, they screwed that up too.

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I also hope they don't keep shying away from Kryptonite if it makes sense to use. The whole atmosphere depowering Superman didn't make much sense, especially when he flies into space later and the utter lack of atmosphere doesn't affect him at all. I feel like the obvious thing, that the ship was built of Kyrptonite, got written out at some point because Snyder has said they specifically avoided Kryptonite to avoid comparisons to the old movies.
I'm flexible on that, too (I was just using Gold K as an example, is all, because does exactly what I was proposing--depowers Kryptonians without harming them). But it seems like they changed stuff like the source of his powers just to change them. Hell, Zod's neck shouldn't be any more breakable just because another Kryptonian was trying to snap it. Choking him to death I guess wouldn't be as dramatic and may have earned a harsher rating...?

Last edited by Andrew; 10-16-2014 at 11:15 AM.
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  #41  
Old 10-16-2014, 01:10 PM
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He actually does crack a smile a couple of times, but it's mainly in the scenes with Lois that they obviously weren't going to stick in the trailer.

FWIW, I thought Cavill was really good in the movie, even if he got off easy because he didn't have to play Clark as a secret ID. He was basically Superman the entire damned movie.

(Yes, yes, Clark's the real identity and Tarantino is a moron. Continue.)
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  #42  
Old 10-16-2014, 02:19 PM
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Cavill definitely pulls off what they gave him. Most importantly, he has the screen presence to play a character who is larger than life like that. I feel like Superman, within MoS itself, acts consistently. His actions are consistent with his upbringing and the situation. I think they lost quite a bit of what really makes Superman unique and worth bothering with by losing so much of the hopeful angle.

Oh if only Hollywood had taken from Superman Returns that superhero movies need better writing and casting, NOT that superhero movies need to be grimdark.

Somewhat relevant, though, Man of Steel actually works really well as a Dragonball Z Saiyan Saga movie.
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  #43  
Old 10-16-2014, 02:29 PM
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Honestly, I really liked the casting in Returns. That movie had its share of problems, but that wasn't among them.

Much like the original Chris Reeves movie, Returns was a whole lot of really great individual scenes stiches together into a horrible Frankenstein of a film.
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  #44  
Old 10-16-2014, 02:34 PM
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Superman holds up MUCH better as a coherent movie than Returns, though.

Well, maybe it's three separate movies (Krypton, Kansas, main section), but at least those three sections are all mostly coherent and make sense.

Returns could've been made a BILLION times better if they'd just had Lex found LexCorp while Superman was away. The man disappears for five years, only to find his worst enemy has gone legit and is now admired by the world? THAT is a decent hook. Whereas 'disappeared for five years, now has a superpowered kid that is only explainable via a cut of Superman II that no one had seen to that point' is a pretty fucking terrible idea to hang any movie on, to say nothing of turning the world's greatest hero into a deadbeat stalker dad.

That airplane rescue sequence is damned great, however.
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  #45  
Old 10-16-2014, 02:39 PM
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And that entire montage in the middle where Superman stops every crime in Metropolis with a little smirk the whole time.

And Spaceys overacting every time he got to monologue.
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  #46  
Old 10-16-2014, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by cortbassist89 View Post
Somewhat relevant, though, Man of Steel actually works really well as a Dragonball Z Saiyan Saga movie.
Didn't the DBZ heroes make damn sure to lure the villains out to completely uninhabited wastelands to prevent them from hurting innocent people?

Hell, don't they do that in every fight where they can help it?

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And that entire montage in the middle where Superman stops every crime in Metropolis with a little smirk the whole time.
My favorite scene in Returns is Supes mitigating the damage that the rising island is causing in Metropolis. The bit with the heat vision, to evaporate shards of glass falling on people? THAT's Superman.

The recreation of the Action Comics #1 cover was fun too.

(The eyeball gunshot was a bit of an overkill, though. Ick.)
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  #47  
Old 10-16-2014, 02:52 PM
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I hadn't thought of that, Zef. And now I am unhappy that Goku cares more about people than Superman.
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  #48  
Old 10-16-2014, 02:53 PM
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That airplane rescue scene is why I sometimes say I like Superman Returns. Then I think about it and realize I mostly just like that airplane rescue scene.
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  #49  
Old 10-16-2014, 02:56 PM
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Honestly, I really liked the casting in Returns. That movie had its share of problems, but that wasn't among them.

Much like the original Chris Reeves movie, Returns was a whole lot of really great individual scenes stiches together into a horrible Frankenstein of a film.
Prominent exception: Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. Film, do not expect me to accept a 23 year old actress in a role where she's supposed to be a hardbitten, tough-as-nails Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who's also the mother of a kindergartener, especially when that actress looks young for her age. (Amy Adams, on the other hand, was perfect casting, because the whole fucking point of Lois Lane is that she's more worldly and usually a little older than Clark.)

Brandon Routh fucking knocked it out of the park, though.
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  #50  
Old 10-16-2014, 02:59 PM
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My favorite scene in Returns is Supes mitigating the damage that the rising island is causing in Metropolis.
Yeah, that's another good one. I remember being legitimately upset when they had to go back to the island mess.

What's funny - and as has been pointed out many times before - James Marsden is waaaaay more heroic than Superman is in Returns. Shit, he's more heroic than Cyclops was in most of the X-Men movies.
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  #51  
Old 10-16-2014, 03:12 PM
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To be fair, Cyclops was mind controlled for the better part of the one X-Men movie that has anyone other than Wolverine look heroic.
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  #52  
Old 10-16-2014, 03:19 PM
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Didn't the DBZ heroes make damn sure to lure the villains out to completely uninhabited wastelands to prevent them from hurting innocent people Akira Toriyama from having to draw complicated backgrounds?

Hell, don't they do that in every fight where they can help it?
Like clockwork!
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  #53  
Old 10-16-2014, 05:06 PM
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I can understand a lot of criticisms of Man of Steel - things like casting and tone and stuff. I won't agree with it, but I can see where it comes from.

I don't know where this shit comes from though about Superman's face-off with Zod though. If you're stuck on the collateral damage Superman causes, it's probably because you've never read a Superman comic before, or even thought about the logistics of what you're asking.

Zod is a genocidal maniac who is hell bent on killing as many people as possible. And he makes it personal because he wants it to hurt Superman on an emotional level too. It doesn't matter if Superman would rather fight Zod somewhere else. Zod isn't going to let that happen. There's no 'luring' Zod away from Metropolis. Zod would fly straight back and continue the genocide. Superman smashes a few buildings in the meantime. But he doesn't have the luxury of trying to balance a million things at once while fighting Zod. Zod is physically and mentally his equal. When you fight that, you have to exert everything in order to beat him. Because if you don't, you lose. And the more you let the fight linger, the more damage Zod will do. You're upset because you feel Superman didn't do everything in his power to limit the collateral damage in Metropolis? He betrayed one of his most sacred core values - no killing - in order to save Metropolis and its citizens further pain and suffering. He did do everything, and then some. You're missing the forest for the trees.

Another thing I feel people are forgetting is that this is an origin story. This is Superman at his genesis. During the film, he's still learning all kinds of new things about himself, discovering new powers, and testing their applications and limits. The expectation that he would be the 75 year old character that has full mastery over everything and is perfect in every way is not what this story was meant to be. This was his first, rocky steps towards that. Even Superman is allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
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  #54  
Old 10-16-2014, 05:19 PM
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Zod is a genocidal maniac who is hell bent on killing as many people as possible. And he makes it personal because he wants it to hurt Superman on an emotional level too. It doesn't matter if Superman would rather fight Zod somewhere else. Zod isn't going to let that happen. There's no 'luring' Zod away from Metropolis. Zod would fly straight back and continue the genocide.
I dunno, in their first fight, Supes finds Zod's goons at the Kent farm --in the middle of empty farmland-- and HE's the one who takes the fight to Smallville's main street. Zod's sods didn't care for the town one bit. He could've just slammed them in the opposite direction.

In the Metropolis battle, Supes, enraged, cleaves the scout ship in half while it's right above the city. OK, maybe there was absolutely no other way to avoid that... but then, during the actual fight, he punches Zod across the city several times in succession, and he could've used that chance to direct the fight to the ocean. As much as Zod wants to hurt people to make Kal suffer, he's not going to outright abandon a brawl with Kal just to do that.

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Another thing I feel people are forgetting is that this is an origin story. This is Superman at his genesis. During the film, he's still learning all kinds of new things about himself, discovering new powers, and testing their applications and limits. The expectation that he would be the 75 year old character that has full mastery over everything and is perfect in every way is not what this story was meant to be. This was his first, rocky steps towards that. Even Superman is allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
And this is the bit that's always brought up, but it never applies. The only power he's still new at is flying. Everything else, he's had (and he's had fine control over) since childhood. He knows how strong he is. He knows how fast he is. But most of all: if a 30 year-old man, superpowered or not, is still trying to define his morality, that's very troubling. WITH superpowers? That's scary.
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  #55  
Old 10-16-2014, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by WisteriaHysteria View Post
Another thing I feel people are forgetting is that this is an origin story. This is Superman at his genesis. During the film, he's still learning all kinds of new things about himself, discovering new powers, and testing their applications and limits. The expectation that he would be the 75 year old character that has full mastery over everything and is perfect in every way is not what this story was meant to be. This was his first, rocky steps towards that. Even Superman is allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
The thing with this though is the story they wanted to tell would've been more effective as a sequel and not an origin story. Having the first movie be entirely about him discovering himself and what his ideals are while being forced to deal with a threat that isn't ostensibly stronger than him already. Then in the second movie you can put him through the grinder and really push what he will do to stop evil people. I'm not saying it's impossible to execute all of that in 1 movie, but Goyer and Snyder were not talented enough to pull it off.
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  #56  
Old 10-16-2014, 06:04 PM
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Does anybody really want to see Superman put through the grinder? I've always thought he worked better as a chilled out Messiah/Cool Guy a'la All Star Superman... I guess I'm into the Tarantino interpretation that Clark Kent is Superman in disguise, not the other way around- Superman is just too powerful and has to go up against such ridiculous circumstances to face a challenge that it automatically renders any human aspect of his character farcical.

Like, sure, Superman embodies the values of Ma and Pa Kent or whatever, but he still faces the same suspension-of-disbelief problem as Jesus- how do you get from a boy learning about himself to a man who has all the answers? I feel like a zillion authors have tried to fill that gap in Superman's history and it always comes off seeming dumb.

I guess I just want Superman to be fun. DC always tries to take itself way too seriously and it sucks out everything that's appealing about the Superman character. I mean- Superman fighting an Evil Superman? What could be more boring than that? And where do you go from there? Why even bother topping it?
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  #57  
Old 10-16-2014, 06:18 PM
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To me, the best Superman stories are those where his powers are irrelevant to the conflict at hand --where he's heroic because of his moral fortitude and his ability to inspire unyielding hope in other people.

Basically, Superman is the ultimate wish fulfillment: his powers are there to show us how good we could be, how much good we could do if we had them, ourselves... right up until the point where we realize that we can be just as good, and bring that good to real life. Captain America is similar, much more down to Earth and more applicable, just slightly less about hope and a lot more about tenacity.

That's why cynicism destroys the character. There is a time and place to put him "through the grinder", but only after he's had the chance to become the representation of our ideals, so that we can see how those ideals go up against impossible situations. But his very first outing? How can the post-MoS Supes ever become the avatar of humanity's idealism after that?
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  #58  
Old 10-16-2014, 06:21 PM
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The thing with this though is the story they wanted to tell would've been more effective as a sequel and not an origin story. Having the first movie be entirely about him discovering himself and what his ideals are while being forced to deal with a threat that isn't ostensibly stronger than him already. Then in the second movie you can put him through the grinder and really push what he will do to stop evil people. I'm not saying it's impossible to execute all of that in 1 movie, but Goyer and Snyder were not talented enough to pull it off.
I don't think that facing Zod right off the bat was the worst thing in the world, but I understand the criticism. Ideally, I think your formula for doing this is best, but I'm OK with the stakes being really high right from the get-go because Superman stories in general just operate on an entirely different scale from just about everyone else. And in the greater pantheon of Superman villains, Zod is actually one of the weaker ones. I think it was a good compromise between telling an origin story and getting to the juicy bits. I'm also a big fan of the first few N52 Action Comics that tell Superman's origin, and he basically starts his career against Brainiac trying to destroy the world, and I thought that worked.

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As much as Zod wants to hurt people to make Kal suffer, he's not going to outright abandon a brawl with Kal just to do that.
Except he does. When Supes has him in a headlock, Zod is focused first and foremost on killing civilians instead of focusing on battling Supes.

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And this is the bit that's always brought up, but it never applies. The only power he's still new at is flying. Everything else, he's had (and he's had fine control over) since childhood. He knows how strong he is. He knows how fast he is. But most of all: if a 30 year-old man, superpowered or not, is still trying to define his morality, that's very troubling. WITH superpowers? That's scary.
1) He's never remotely fought something super powered up to that point. You claim he knows his limits, but he's never actually been given an opportunity to actually explore them and push himself. That just doesn't jibe. And that he doesn't know how to fly - his singular most defining ability ("What's that up in the sky!?") next to super strength - should tell you he doesn't actually know shit about his powers.

2) Different people grow up at different rates, and I can't get behind that value judgement.

Being an alien and growing up entirely alone in the world and always having to worry about if you're going to hurt someone on accident or spill the beans is a lot of heavy shit for someone to deal with. And when your emotional rock - the one person in the world who provided guidance and support dies protecting you, that's even more shit to deal with. I always thought the Superman who fell out of the sky perfect and pristine was boring and unbelievable. I've always enjoyed this kind of Superman who truly empathizes with humanity because he's lived and suffered and worried about the same stuff everyone else has. It's a Superman who has a real, emotional investment and commitment with the world instead of just being this idyllic new god of the 20th Century. He can become that symbol for hope and morality later, but I think it's a lot more fun to see him grow organically towards that rather than start out perfect from square one.
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  #59  
Old 10-16-2014, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Zef View Post
To me, the best Superman stories are those where his powers are irrelevant to the conflict at hand --where he's heroic because of his moral fortitude and his ability to inspire unyielding hope in other people.

Basically, Superman is the ultimate wish fulfillment: his powers are there to show us how good we could be, how much good we could do if we had them, ourselves... right up until the point where we realize that we can be just as good
In what is one of my favorite Superman story's ever, Superman is beaten and helpless before a physically and mentally superior foe, and knowing he is in danger inspires every single human being alive to drop what they're doing and immediately work together to try to save him.
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Old 10-16-2014, 06:32 PM
Alex Scott's Avatar
Alex Scott Alex Scott is offline
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I tend to see Superman as the same kind of guy who would, without powers, be volunteering at soup kitchens, or maybe with the Red Cross. His powers simply expand his options for charity work. He was raised to help people, and by gum, that's what he's going to do. Why does his morality need to be so complicated?

I don't even think his refusal to kill needs much explanation. He's strong enough that, if he weren't careful, he'd crush his mother trying to give her a hug. If that doesn't teach a guy how precious life is, I don't know what does.

I guess that's why I like his portrayal in the DCAU. He's still Superman, but very much an average guy. He visits his family for Christmas, tells his buds about this great milkshake he had, and puts on his pants and shaves every morning. Sure, he shaves by firing his heat vision into a mirror, but you get the idea.

It would be one thing if Superman's inexperience were shown in Man of Steel as poor decision making or strategizing, but it isn't. The film is on Superman's side the whole time, and never presents any struggle over it.

I also thought the moral dilemmas it gave Superman were totally contrived. Why fly all the way across the world to destroy the one gravity thing, and leave the other to hammer Metropolis to death, when he could have stayed and accomplished the same thing by destroying the gravity thing in Metropolis?


E: Also, regarding his inexperience: consider Batman's mistakes in the Nolan trilogy. The way I remember it, when he encounters something his experience didn't prepare him for, he learns from it and fixes it, within the same movie. It would have been great to see Superman deal with the same things... but again, the movie would have to be aware of his mistakes to begin with, and I just didn't think it was.
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