Why Man Of Steel Was An Amazing Comic Book Movie

January 26th, 2016 | by Ryan Mayer
Why Man Of Steel Was An Amazing Comic Book Movie
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Man of Steel was the film that launched a new generation of DC Comics movies. Our own Ryan Mayer took a look back at the release that started it all and why it was a such a smash hit.

The DC Extended Universe is approaching fast, with the first major movie in the combined universe only months away from premiering. Technically, the first movie in the universe is Man of Steel, which is one of the most argued about comic book movie of all time. Since this big connected universe is soon to be born, I want to go through the three main arguments made against Man of Steel and try to show why this was an amazing Superman movie.

Unlike most movies that fans are often open to debating, Man of Steel seems to be one movie that people have drawn a line in the sand on and chosen whether they hate the movie or love it. I happen to side with those who love the movie and actually prefer it over many other comic book films.

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Now with that being said, there are fair criticisms when it comes to Man of Steel, but I will be going through them and trying to show the other perspective on these critiques. There are three main criticisms that arise when talking about this movie.

1. Superman kills Zod?!?

2. Superman doesn’t save anyone!

3. Superman causes too much destruction!

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Credit: DC Entertainment

Of course, many of the points that have been brought up for and against the film are mainly due to perspective and personal taste; however, the three arguments above seem to nitpick at the film and lack credibility.

The first argument against Man of Steel is “Superman Kills Zod!?!?”

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This has become the loudest argument from people who disliked the film. Zod is indeed killed by Superman at the end of the movie. However, its not done without it’s consequences and it seems obvious that Superman had other choice in the matter. Something that is often forgotten in this argument is that Superman killed Zod, not out of frustration or anger, but instead to save a family’s life. Early in the movie, Zod states that he will kill every human because they are who Superman loves. He states this directly to Superman. The point of scene was to put Superman in a near impossible position, which added depth to the story.

Now, on a side note another argument that tends to be coupled with this is “Why didn’t Superman move the fight elsewhere?” Well, frankly he couldn’t move it anywhere. Yes, in cartoon versions of Superman he would tend to move the fight to less populated areas. Notably, Superman attempts the same strategy in his famous battle with Doomsday. This was not the case in the movie, Zod specifically stated he will kill everyone on the planet. Also, this Superman has been a hero for a week at most. He wasn’t experienced enough to be able to drag a military general with the same power set to a different location. Not only that, but if Superman simply left the area Zod would have begun killing people in Metropolis to coax Superman back. So, in the end, he couldn’t move the fight. It also has to be noted that when Superman moves the fight to a different location in the cartoons and comics, he was able to do so because the enemy was only focused on him and not humans as a whole. Continuing on the main point, Superman was indeed forced to make a decision between the family or Zod. He obviously chose the family and made a decision that director Zack Snyder states will affect him throughout the DC Extended Universe (just look at the pain in Superman’s eyes above). Another little tidbit that fans should know is that Superman has killed Zod already in the comics once before. 

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The second argument that tends to be brought up when arguing about Man of Steel  is “Superman doesn’t save anyone!!”

Well, frankly that’s not true. Superman in Man of Steel saves plenty of people throughout the movie. Yes, this movie is meant to bring you inside the mind of the last Son of Krypton, but it also showcases that, before he learns how to be a true hero, he still innately was prone to saving people. If you remember the scene in the beginning of the movie, he saves the oil rig workers and the coast guard pilots. He also saves two soldiers during the fight with Faora. You could also argue that, by destroying the world-engine machine that was terraforming Earth, Superman effectively saved the planet. Superman did save people throughout the film.

He wasn’t saving everyone left and right because that wasn’t the type of movie it was meant to be. This movie was meant to show you a young Clark Kent being thrust into the superhero role early when he wasn’t ready. He was still learning how to control his emotions at this point. If you go back and watch the bar scene in the beginning of the film, you can see how inexperienced he is. He has learned from Pa Kent and Ma Kent to not hurt another person, yet he’s still, in a way, human. He still lashes out by destroying the guy’s truck. This is a powerful moment, because it shows that he isn’t this perfect boy scout and is instead an alien raised as a human. Obviously, as the movies go by and he learns what it means to be the true Superman, we will eventually lay our eyes on the perfect cartoon Superman everyone wanted out of the gate.

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The third and final argument that gets brought up in this debate is that “Superman causes too much damage!”

Well, yes and no to this argument.

Superman does cause damage throughout the movie. However, this isn’t entirely his fault. Many people tend to forget there was a machine destroying most of the city before Superman even showed up. So around 85 percent of the damage caused in Metropolis was caused by the world-engine machine.

This is a difficult argument to agree with and go against because he is a young Superman and he is fighting trained military kryptonians with the same powers and strength. Even Faora mocks him for it throughout their battle in Smallville. 

This movie is, in my opinion, is one of the best comic book movies of all time.

Yes, it has it’s faults and missteps; however, in the heart of the film, it shows a story of an alien raised to be human and who feels alone. The boy grows up and feels isolated until one day others like himself arrive and begin attacking the species he considers his own. He is then thrust into this situation with no training, no experience, only his sense of moral good.

At the time, I can see why many were dissatisfied with the movie, but I want you to go back and watch this film. Watch it and think of it being a story about a younger hero, who has no idea how to be Superman yet.

This is truly an origin story and we will see it fleshed out in the DC Extended Universe. We will even get to see soon enough how Batman has reacted to this emergence of a hero like this.

Your opinion is your own, but try to be open minded a bit and see the film from a different perspective.

 

Ryan Mayer is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @RMayer94

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  • Noah

    Good points all.

  • I enjoy the movie as an action move but I feel like it’s such a wasted opportunity. I would make some other objections and counter points.

    1. Letting Pa Kent done – This really bothered me in the film and for a minute after reading Mark Waid’s thoughts I accepted it but once I watched the movie again, I just can’t be okay with that. I get why they did it but I hate it.

    2. General tone and lack of joy – There was just too much drab grayness in this movie. It lacked color. The color palate of the movie fits the color palate of the costume. The color is also expressive of the other big problem of the movie, the lack of joy. Simply put there just isn’t a really good feeling in this film. I understand the stakes are high but if the symbol on his chest stands for hope, perhaps they could make me feel it.

    Counterpoints. I actually probably agree with you on the 3 points addressed above. However, the thing that bothers me about this is not that he doesn’t get Zod away from people it’s that he just doesn’t seem to be concerned. I can understand not putting long scenes to show this but a couple of seconds here and there of him looking around would have been a drastic improvement. This general feeling peaks in the scene where he kisses Lois in Metropolis. Superman should be searching for people, not getting fresh in the midst of a war zone.

    All in all, I feel like I like this movie more than a lot of people but at the same time the disappointments feel so obvious that it really bothers me.

  • Freedom Cobra Couragewolf

    You forgot something important, that kind of destruction is NORMAL when gods are fighting gods, take the first Thor movie, what is destroyed? 2 cars and one truck in a very small street, how is that realistic?, MoS is not a movie based on realism, but it’s realistic when it comes to how fucked mortals are when 2 guys that can move 900 times faster than sound and split mountains fight. The pace of the movie and Pa kent’s death were dumb, but MoS is a great look at superheroes for what they are,

  • AdamsI

    @Blake Mitchell

    “This general feeling peaks in the scene where he kisses Lois in Metropolis. Superman should be searching for people, not getting fresh in the midst of a war zone.”

    I hate, hate, hate this argument. In tragedy after tragedy that occurs in real life, we see how people react when there’s a moment of calm after the tragedy and they are reunited with the people they love. What do they do? They rush to them and embrace, overjoyed to see that their loved one has survived.

    So, Superman can be considered tantamount to a first responder (police, fire, etc.) in this situation. Yes, he has responsibilities to ensure that everybody is okay and to take care of others. But, even in that situation, if you have been through a great stress and trauma and see that somebody you love has survived the trauma, you will go to them before getting back to work.

    I’m sorry, 99% of humanity would have reacted the same way in that situation. I don’t know why everybody says it’s gross and totally not the place you would kiss… If you were in London during a WWII bombing raid and were separated from your wife, then the raid stopped and you found your wife, would you run and kiss her? Or would you start looking for strangers to make sure they’re ok?

  • Ryan Mayer

    Thank you

  • Ryan Mayer

    The point of Pa Kent was to show how a dad would be overly concerned over their son that has these powers in this world. Also you are right these two gods going at it will be the cause of untold damage.

  • Derek

    1. I feel the same way as you do. I don’t really get what Pa Kent was trying to prove there. He coulda swooped him outta there and the people would have just thought he got picked up by the tornado. Then, he just tells everyone he was thrown by the tornado into a pile of hay or something. He didn’t have to die and it seems like a silly sacrifice. No one knew anything about Clark’s abilities and he could have been over there and back so fast that anyone else would’ve just seen a blur.

    2. I think (and maybe hope) that Man of Steel is representative of how Zack Snyder is filming this. I noticed that in MoS, the color palette gets a bit more vibrant as you get to the end of the movie. If this continues through BvS and then Justice League, we should see a pretty bright, optimistic, and hopeful Supes. My eyes might have been playing tricks on me, but I feel like that movie starts very vibrant, then gets dark and joyless quickly, and then ends on a brighter note.

  • Matt Carpenter

    Ugh. Killing someone is only truly murder when there is pre-meditated malice. I swear, these same people would attack a guy who stops a mass hooting by killing the shooter.

  • Matt Carpenter

    Thank you. I thought the Pa Kent death in this movie was an even better depiction than the one in the Reeves movie.

  • In_Brightest_Day

    Clark didn’t have super speed nor flight at this point in his life.

  • Marcus G.

    i completely agree. An man who was raised to be good, and who’s natural abilities give him God like power struggles to fit in a world that immediately rejects him because of it. Man Of Steel was a fantastic representation of the Last Son of Krypton and Henry Cavill absolutely owns the role.

    I’m excited to see exactly how he struggles in BvS as the fallout of that battle is placed on his shoulders. Either way MOS is one of my favorite comic book films and props to you for providing a different yet very accurate perspective.

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