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 Posted:   Dec 29, 2013 - 9:32 PM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

Sometimes I find super hero mega-fights sequences in cities to become almost tedious in their predictability. Once I've seen a super-entity crash through a few skyscrapers the novelty wears off and I'd like to see other demonstrations of bending the laws of physics.

- Zod punches Superman who then crashes through a neutron star, thus turning it inside out.

- Superman throws Zod through a black hole... does Clark make it to the other side?

and so forth.

 
 Posted:   Dec 30, 2013 - 3:13 AM   
 By:   Jeyl   (Member)

The only thing, and I mean the only thing I appreciated from "Man of Steel" was the fact that they weren't going to bull their way into writing Lois Lane into being completely incapable of figuring out that Clark is Superman. It's just sad that her character is so devoid of the things I liked about other depictions of Lois. This Lois just isn't fun at all. She spends most of her time being an uptight person who feels she has to be super tough to get what she wants even when it's not necessary. Her freaking introduction to that army guy was just... I don't know. It just reeks of that kind of thing writers do to emphasize that Lois is a really tough character despite the fact that she is constantly used as a tool for other characters rather than a problem solver of her own initiative. She doesn't figure out how to escape the Krypton ship on her own, she needs Holo Jor El's constant help for that, even telling her where to shoot.

But probably the biggest and worst case of pulling a 180º on the whole attempt to make Lois a tough character comes in at the end. She has one job, and one job only. Push a button. She can't do it. I guess Zack thought the scientist character who's name I don't even remember needed a moment in the spot light, because god forbid Lois actually do something critical to ending the Krypton menace since, you know, she'll be in future installments. Nope, we've got to have this guy figure it out, die and probably never be mentioned ever again. And just to emphasize how much Lois only makes things worse, Superman has to come to her rescue AGAIN after the plane explodes. Also, throw in a stupid romantic moment IN THE MIDDLE OF A RUINED METROPOLIS WHERE PEOPLE ARE MOST LIKELY STILL DYING.

If your female character can't really do anything, don't bother trying to sell us on the idea that she's super tough. It will only remind us that it won't mean jack in the end because she's the one who will always be needing to be rescued by Superman in the end.

 
 Posted:   Dec 31, 2013 - 10:30 AM   
 By:   Warlok   (Member)

I think for me there is a finer point I could make regarding Superman being a super man. If Nolan & company deign to give us a gritty interpretation of a character, yet still present a heroic figure, I am compelled to expect a very difficult bit of writing. I am compelled to expect that character to encounter a gritty, ugly world and to in some substantial fashion resolve it.

It reminds me of the task before a writer of a new Terminator movie set in the post-apocalyptic future:

"Okay John Connor: here are some rat bones, a jacket, and a twisted coat hangar. Show us how to defeat SkyNet!"

(I have an idea there, but this is a Superman thread, so...)
(grin)


What I expect to see of a Superman character, especially of a Superman character in a believably darker, more compromised world, is for something super-ethical. I expect Superman to simplify and disentangle people from corrupt 'grey' circumstance and to make stands of philosophy. I want to see, in such a world, Superman stake a claim to right & wrong, and to predicate his fighting upon ideals.

I`d want to know that if you took away all of his powers, this guy would still fight for what was right and decent and good.

That`d be a tough thing to scribe. You`d have to establish a basis of fundamental Humanity and go from there. What do you tackle? What specifically would a Superman/god confront? Nonetheless, thats what I want to see Superman do in a grittier world... make it less gritty, perhaps.

Most of the heroism in Man Of Steel was physical and straightforward. And again, yes, I`d use that to help establish what it was Superman *actually does*, to form his own philosophies. He would strive to keep things simple. And when confronted by the more complex world, his ideals would be engaged. There would be the clash of values, a battle which would be just as worthy of screentime as any scenery CGI. Thats Superman to me.

John Milius and Dick Wolf could probably write it... you`ve got to have the courage to accept that not everyone will agree with what you put forth to be right & wrong or good & evil, so not everyone in the audience will like it, and you`ve got to have enough audacity to create a scenario in which you envision an end to specific important problems.

 
 Posted:   Dec 31, 2013 - 5:01 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

I think for me there is a finer point I could make regarding Superman being a super man. If Nolan & company deign to give us a gritty interpretation of a character, yet still present a heroic figure, I am compelled to expect a very difficult bit of writing. I am compelled to expect that character to encounter a gritty, ugly world and to in some substantial fashion resolve it.


Hey, I know what. How about if Superman hurls all the world's nuclear weapons into the sun?!

It's an accurate and astute bit of insight:

The toughest challenge facing anyone who wants to get into the superhero movie business is the screenplay. I think the Salkinds understood this at least a little bit when they hired Mario Puzo (however mechanically commercial that decision may have seemed on its surface). For the most part, the problem of providing a worthy obstacle for the "hero who can do anything" over the years has involved providing an equally super bad guy to tangle with.

I'm curious to see the backlog of story ideas Donner and Mankiewicz had come up with in their early enthusiasm for the Bond-like series of Superman movies that would surely have followed the success of the first two-parter. Having an experienced Bond screenwriter like Mankiewicz on board seemed a clever idea, as some of the story problems are similar: a main character whose survival is never really in danger, who has some outlandish abilities, but a basically "real-world" setting, where basic plausibility is still important.

(Reeve reportedly consulted with Mankiewicz when he came up with the "destroy the nukes" story, and Mankiewicz warned him against it. Donner reportedly declined to direct IV when it was determined that Reeve's story idea would be the one used.)

Given the expense lavished on these projects nowadays, the question, more than ever, is not HOW do we do it, but rather WHY? You can depict anything reasonably believably nowadays, it's just a matter of budget, but there's more to making an audience believe something than just showing it to them.

 
 Posted:   Dec 31, 2013 - 7:11 PM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

Words from a friend smarter than I:

First thing’s first: Man of Steel borrows heavily from Star Trek 11. And I don’t mean that because it’s the same unnecessarily modern take on forced beloved characters or because it’s full of shakycam special effects or because it puts a new spin on a long-in-the-tooth origin story that no one really needed retold… I mean that it takes huge, physical chunks of Star Trek 11 and serves them up whole. We open with an extended take on Superman’s traumatic birth as Jor-El flashes and whizbangs around spaceships and lens flares to sacrifice himself so his son can escape. Then he’s chased across time and space into adulthood by General Zod, bent on revenge for the destruction of his homeworld. It’s not just some similarity in plot, though (after all, broad strokes of this come from the Superman mythos)… they have Michael Shannon’s Zod doing the same weird emotes as Nero, they have him flying around space in the same claw/fan spaceship and the movie culminates in the same beam of energy boring into Earth’s core (destroyed in a similar way with another Abrams-style mcguffin, the reveal that Superman has had access to PHANTOM ENERGY the whole time.)

(Aside #1: I feel like Shannon was obviously cast and initially written as Caesar, which is a much, much more interesting take.)

(Aside #2: can you imagine any other genre of movie needing to spend twenty minutes every installment reminding us that the /characters were born/?)

The movie’s biggest flaw, beyond inherent ridiculousness, is that absolutely nothing is earned and there is no character growth. Superman has no internal debate, no two sides pulling at his consciousness. He’s never tempted to let Krypton live again or seduced by Zod. For a movie that skips the familiar Clark Kent reporter background to highlight Superman’s angst-y twenties and failure to fit in it never once considers having him be anything other than the savior of mankind. There’s no establishing his moral code or his devotion to mankind or that there’s anything worth saving. There’s even a scene in the movie that’s clearly supposed to be Superman seeing humans trying to save each other and realizing they’re the better species (he literally has to chose between rebuilding Krypton and saving Earth)… but it got lost several script revisions ago and so Superman ISN’T AROUND WHEN IT HAPPENS. (This also clearly happens with the human military general character, who was no doubt supposed to be the mirror for Zod when handled by a competent writer… but ends up as a stuffed shirt.)

Here is an example of where this movie goes terribly wrong. We have a biblical “turn the other cheek” scene where Superman stops an obnoxious trucker from sexually harassing a waitress. What are you going to do, fight me?! the trucker laughs at him and throws food at him. It’s not worth it! The waitress opines and Clark takes off his apron and leaves. So far, so good, it’s the standard Superman as Jesus story, necessary to the character however idiotically plotted (see below.) But then we have a hilarious tag where the trucker goes outside and finds that Superman has squashed his truck! Hah hah hah, Superman didn’t punch him, he just ruined the guy’s way of life and that of anyone relying on whatever his truck was delivering. There’s the big gaping flaw in the movie: Snyder is willing to throw out the core belief of the character and our cause for believing in him for a joke, for a stupid revenge fantasy kick. (The scene is, of course, tacitly ridiculous before they ruin any of the philosophy behind it. The audience is supposed to believe, for some reason, that Superman’s two settings are quitting his job in a huff and violently murdering someone with his laser eyes, with no option in between the two for dealing with a bully.)

Then there are the characters. Every single person Superman encounters is obnoxiously omniscient. Louis Lane is immediately able to learn his history and befriend him in a couple-minute montage. His birth parents can look at their newborn before they rocket it off and know that he will be the savior of mankind (which they know all about?) And then there’s Ma and Pa Kent, who immediately know that Clark is going to someday change the world but that this is going to happen at a specific time and that he needs to not reveal himself until them… to the point of dad first suggesting he not save a bus full of drowning children and then lets HIMSELF DIE IN A TORNADO rather than let himself be rescued. Yes, this new angst-based Superman has to grow up dealing with the fact that he was responsible for Uncle Ben’s death.

There’s a major flaw with the whole setup: the core belief of the Superman mythos is that you are the person you choose to become rather than the one that your genes decide. That’s straight out of World War II, of course, and it’s so enduring that it means something today. Superman is a great man instead of an alien monster because the Kents loved him and taught him right and wrong… and when you specifically remove that from the story and replace it with some boring nonsense about how the most important thing in life is not to reveal that alien life exists, you aren’t telling the Superman story anymore. Superman being a shiftless hobo teen trying to find himself until he figures out that humans are groovy is dumb (which of course he also does not do, he simply wanders around until he happens to find an ancient underground superman suit and magic movie-explaining voicemail from his dad, never mind why, which he continues to ignore until General Zod demands his murder.)

And let’s talk about unnecessary changes to the Superman mythos. I am not as strongly connected to the franchise and I know this story has been retold again and again in different ways, so I’m not complaining that things are changed… I’m complaining that things are changed the wrong day. We spend the first act on Krypton, for instance, to see it’s destruction… which we learn is because they’ve become a monster Brave New World society that grows their offspring for specific work rather than giving anyone free will. But the point of Krypton’s destruction is that we’re supposed to see OURSELVES in their plight and realize that humanity can overcome the same issue. That’s a great reason to change this story every few decade – totalitarianism in the 1940s, militarism in the 1950s, ruining their environment in the 1990s, etc., etc. But we do not look at Krypton growing human ants and say OH MY GOD JUST LIKE US. We say ‘hah, those stupid aliens’ and that’s the end of the thought process.

The movie is also BORING. It’s two and a half hours long and the majority of that is Disney’s Pearl Harbor-style special effects… buildings crumbling, cars exploding, things bouncing around but with absolutely no impression of peril or danger for anyone. The final battle is 45 painful minutes of watching Superman and Zod roll around into buildings crushing them (at no point does Superman need to stop fighting to pretend humans from dying, mind you.) (Oh, but this is punctuated by several laugh-out-loud product placements for… IHOP.)

Also, Zod’s fate is a big huh. There was a point in the fighting where the movie almost felt a little redeemed. Everything had come to a close and Zod is sitting there and he explains that defending Krypton was what he was birthed for, the whole point to his life… he HAD to do this and now that he can’t (Superman destroyed his magic space skull) his life is meaningless. And we think oh, that’s kind of cool, we established that role thing earlier and now we’re realizing that Superman now knows his role is to PROTECT Earth. And that seems like such a bittersweet ending, all of this was inevitable and now that it has happened this way it’s just over. And then after a beat he finishes his thought: “… and so now I’m going to murder everyone! HAHAHAHAHA!’ and we have another five boring minutes of Kryptonians fight-hugging. (After which Superman snaps Zod’s neck, which would maybe be a powerful moment if the movie had ever once reminded us that Superman can’t kill… but of course it didn’t so we’re left wondering why he didn’t simply snap Zod’s neck 45 minutes of blowing up Metropolis earlier.)

Other notes:

· * We also do that whole unnecessary cool modern explanations for goody enduring Superman things, a la the Star Trek reboot. The phantom zone is really a spaceship! The “S” stands for hope! Louis Lane knows he’s Superman the whole time and it’s just that no one else does and that’s why the glasses work! Etc.!

· * There’s a dumb tag at the end of the movie where Superman crushes one of those Air Force spy drones and explains to the General that he does believe in the American way (obviously a reaction to the press for the last movie about this issue)… but the scene starts with Superman explaining that the General will NEVER find out where he lives… and ends with him pointing out that “after all, I'm from Kansas."

 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2014 - 6:43 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

http://arts.nationalpost.com/2014/01/03/cultural-lessons-of-2013-thor-is-the-new-superman/

 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2014 - 7:48 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

http://arts.nationalpost.com/2014/01/03/cultural-lessons-of-2013-thor-is-the-new-superman/

Never thought of this before, but it's very true. Thor's likeable and cares about people. Not so much Superman. He was self absorbed in Returns and cold as steel, (pun intended) in MOS.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2014 - 9:00 AM   
 By:   Vermithrax Pejorative   (Member)

And Thor fighting the bad guys in the U.S town at the end of THOR 1 certainly had echoes of the Donner/Lester SUPERMAN II film.
I know I had more SUPERMAN-like fun watching the THOR films than anything from the hatred that was MOS.
He may be onto something.

 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2014 - 9:16 AM   
 By:   GOLDSMITHDAKING   (Member)

Absolutley loved Man Of Steel.The best blockbuster of the summer by far.

 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2014 - 9:43 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

And Thor fighting the bad guys in the U.S town at the end of THOR 1 certainly had echoes of the Donner/Lester SUPERMAN II film.


I remember thinking that while watching the film!

 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2014 - 9:52 AM   
 By:   Jeyl   (Member)

MovieBob's Worst of 2013
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/8638-MovieBobs-Worst-of-2013

Most meaningful bit,

This was supposed to be the beginning of Warner Bros. and DC comics' answer to the Avengers, but it's more like an opposite inverse instead of a competitor. Mean spirited instead of joyful. Ponderous instead of smart. Drab instead of vibrant. Grim instead of witty.

 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2014 - 3:15 PM   
 By:   GOLDSMITHDAKING   (Member)

MovieBob's Worst of 2013
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/8638-MovieBobs-Worst-of-2013

Most meaningful bit,

This was supposed to be the beginning of Warner Bros. and DC comics' answer to the Avengers, but it's more like an opposite inverse instead of a competitor. Mean spirited instead of joyful. Ponderous instead of smart. Drab instead of vibrant. Grim instead of witty.


In other words, he wanted a movie like the one from 1978 which is great but is very dated now.Man Of Steel is a bold new vision for the character and is all the better for it.The studio learned its lesson from Superman Returns which was just a terrible movie which couldnt make up its mind whether it was a sequel/remake/rehash whatever.

Roll on ManOf Steel 2! I cant wait!

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2014 - 3:49 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

In other words, he wanted a movie like the one from 1978 which is great but is very dated now.Man Of Steel is a bold new vision for the character and is all the better for it.The studio learned its lesson from Superman Returns which was just a terrible movie which couldnt make up its mind whether it was a sequel/remake/rehash whatever.
Roll on ManOf Steel 2! I cant wait!



Wot? MovieBob did not mention the 1978 movie once, so I think you might be doing a bit o' projecting.
But I'm curious. You mention you loved MOS, but (apart from thinking it was a "bold, new vision") you don't give any specifics. What exactly do you love about it?
Also, you say the 1978 movie is very dated. How do you mean?

 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2014 - 8:34 PM   
 By:   random guy   (Member)


In other words, he wanted a movie like the one from 1978 which is great but is very dated now.!


liked MOS and all but this notion that folks that didn't care for it wanted it to be like the Donner classic is a bit far fetched. their idea of what Superman is suppose to be was at odds with what they saw in the movie. but guessing though, could be way off.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2014 - 2:06 AM   
 By:   Rick15   (Member)

First time I saw MOS I walked away very disappointed. Mainly due to the reasons that have been mentioned above…the disturbing number of casualties that would have resulted due to the fight and Superman's lack of concern about it. Then it comes down to the loss of 4 lives and the big S seems to get a conscience.

I watched it again the other day but tried to do it through fresh eyes. This is a new Superman. A new era. A new vision.

And I didn't mind it. Yes…it still had its flaws. But I thought I understood what they were trying to do. I still don't think it's a great movie…but I think I understood it more.

Definitely re-writing the Superman history. And on that…I think that a point that someone made earlier was very important. There was no set up of Superman's belief in not killing (or maybe this version of Superman did not have that value yet) But because of it - that moment in the movie falls a bit flat.


 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2014 - 7:12 AM   
 By:   Michael Scorefan   (Member)



Definitely re-writing the Superman history. And on that…I think that a point that someone made earlier was very important. There was no set up of Superman's belief in not killing (or maybe this version of Superman did not have that value yet) But because of it - that moment in the movie falls a bit flat.


Interesting perspective. Is it really necessary to set up a belief in not killing? I would hope that would be the default of most characters. Particularly someone who is supposed to be a superhero. One problem I had with the film was that they never really established why he would want to go about helping others. His humanity and desire to use his gifts for the greater good was supposed to have come from the Kents, and this is one area where the movie falls flat. I remember reading on another site someone else joking about a director's cut of the film adding a voiceover from Jonathan Kent saying "let them all die Clark" as Superman was fighting in Metropolis and buildings were crumbling around him.

 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2014 - 10:53 AM   
 By:   Jeyl   (Member)

Not only is the whole notion of not killing anyone ever developed, there's really nothing about his character in regards to what really motivates him in wanting to help others. It comes off more an act on instinct than a genuine act of trying to save those who are in mortal danger. There is nothing about Clark that holds life sacred. That moment where he completely destroys a truck driver's truck because he was being mean in a bar shows he's not only willing to take revenge on those weaker than him, he's also willing to destroy their entire lively hood. When Zod pleas with Supes not to destroy the ship because it contains the last hope of bringing back Krypton, Superman doesn't think back to his father's words about being a "bridge between two worlds", he just flat out destroys it saying "Krypton had it's chance!". This ship isn't even the world destroyer. It's just a ship with guns that Supes could have pushed out of the way so it wouldn't shoot the plane.

Instead of focusing on what motivates Clark to wanting to save lives (burden of seeing others killed when he could have survived), the story instead decides to focus his entire development on keeping his super powers a secret, a plot point that is rendered completely meaningless when Zod shows up. He broadcasts to the whole world that we're not alone in the universe, tells us that there is an alien amongst them and that if he doesn't surrender that all of Earth will suffer the consequences. Earth's reaction?... A very calm news report of a guy saying Supes should turn himself in and that's about it. Heck, even the military gets up in their faces just for wanting to take Lois with them. Independence Day had a better depiction of a world wide reaction to aliens and all they did was show up.

And I know this point has been argued to death, but this is how I feel about the whole "snapping his neck" situation. 1, that was a Wonder Woman moment (Greg Rucka's run) 2, it was that easy? And 3, if he's willing to kill someone who is about to kill innocents, why should there ever be a reason that Superman shouldn't just kill someone who threatens the lives of innocents? Lex Luthor plans to unleash his devious schemes that will result in the deaths of many innocent people? *snap* The Joker says that he wants to go on being Batman's nemesis and continue his dark schemes of murder and chaos? *snap* Problem solved.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2014 - 11:18 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Guys, I respectfully submit that there is no need for the spoiler blackouts. The thread is clearly for anyone who has already seen the movie and wants to share their opinions on it.

Anyone who hasn't seen it and would still voluntarily look at the thread, knowing the plot is being discussed, would obviously disqualify themselves from complaining about exposure to the details contained herein.

 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2014 - 12:02 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

* There’s a dumb tag at the end of the movie where Superman crushes one of those Air Force spy drones and explains to the General that he does believe in the American way (obviously a reaction to the press for the last movie about this issue)… but the scene starts with Superman explaining that the General will NEVER find out where he lives… and ends with him pointing out that “after all, I'm from Kansas."

Just a small quibble, LeHah: Telling the general that he (Superman) was "from" Kansas still doesn't tell the General where Superman lives. Being "from" Kansas as Clark Kent is one thing...but the General doesn't know he's Clark Kent. And then there's the fact that Clark Kent lives in Metropolis...and Superman's lair is not in the United States.

So...no...the General will NEVER find out where he lives.

smile

 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2014 - 12:24 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

Not only is the whole notion of not killing anyone ever developed, there's really nothing about his character in regards to what really motivates him in wanting to help others. It comes off more an act on instinct than a genuine act of trying to save those who are in mortal danger. There is nothing about Clark that holds life sacred. That moment where he completely destroys a truck driver's truck because he was being mean in a bar shows he's not only willing to take revenge on those weaker than him, he's also willing to destroy their entire lively hood. When Zod pleas with Supes not to destroy the ship because it contains the last hope of bringing back Krypton, Superman doesn't think back to his father's words about being a "bridge between two worlds", he just flat out destroys it saying "Krypton had it's chance!". This ship isn't even the world destroyer. It's just a ship with guns that Supes could have pushed out of the way so it wouldn't shoot the plane.

Instead of focusing on what motivates Clark to wanting to save lives (burden of seeing others killed when he could have survived), the story instead decides to focus his entire development on keeping his super powers a secret, a plot point that is rendered completely meaningless when Zod shows up. He broadcasts to the whole world that we're not alone in the universe, tells us that there is an alien amongst them and that if he doesn't surrender that all of Earth will suffer the consequences. Earth's reaction?... A very calm news report of a guy saying Supes should turn himself in and that's about it. Heck, even the military gets up in their faces just for wanting to take Lois with them. Independence Day had a better depiction of a world wide reaction to aliens and all they did was show up.

And I know this point has been argued to death, but this is how I feel about the whole "snapping his neck" situation. 1, that was a Wonder Woman moment (Greg Rucka's run) 2, it was that easy? And 3, if he's willing to kill someone who is about to kill innocents, why should there ever be a reason that Superman shouldn't just kill someone who threatens the lives of innocents? Lex Luthor plans to unleash his devious schemes that will result in the deaths of many innocent people? *snap* The Joker says that he wants to go on being Batman's nemesis and continue his dark schemes of murder and chaos? *snap* Problem solved.


Why would this have to have been "established"? Are we, as a society, so enured to death that the notion that someone would have to pronounce his aversion to taking life before anyone would know that was how he felt?

I'm quite certain that Superman, as Clark Kent, was raised to respect life. He has always been that way in the mythos I've explored. He certainly did not like that Zod had no value for human life, so doesn't that establish that Superman does value human life?

Did it need to be spelled out and recited?

 
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