The Big Picture: Man of Tomorrow

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Man of Tomorrow

MovieBob gives us a spoiler laden look into the latest Superman movie Man of Steel.

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Bob, you say that it was wrong for Superman to kill one person and that it will open the door for Superman killing his other enemies.

But the complaints I've heard online is that he killed WAY more people when he had that DBZ fight with Zod at the end of the movie and by not even trying to save them from falling buildings and debris, it made him seem more heartless than just killing Zod.

Wait, Superman kills Zod? That's not right. Superman doesn't kill.

I kept laughing when Bob's Boston accent kept slipping in.

If the next movie bothers to give him an actual character beyond the generic Brooding McBroodster With Daddy Issues (the cinematic Hal Jordan, Bruce Wayne, and Clark Kent are completely interchangeable), then MAYBE we can all forgive this boring waste of time and they'll start putting back in the stuff that made Superman, ya know, INTERESTING AND UNIQUE in the first place.

Actually I think that the movie proves Superman should be killing, or did you not see Zodd murder half the population of Metropolis? I've never thought it was acceptable for mor innocent people to die in the next issue just because the "hero" didn't wan to get his hands dirty. And even if it wasn't against it's moral code, it would still suck to end the only other member of your species.

I have found that the big issue with a lot of people and this movie is they keep trying to make it exactly the same as the comics. Yes it is superman but it is its own universe with its own rules and different characters who have developed differently. If you wanted a play by play of how it went down in the comics just read the comics the whole point of a re-imagining is that things are different. Superman and Lois Lane don't need to get together or even like each other why... because it isn't the comics and that is ok just you can't go in with too many preconceived notions.

Andrew Siribohdi:
Bob, you say that it was wrong for Superman to kill one person and that it will open the door for Superman killing his other enemies.

But the complaints I've heard online is that he killed WAY more people when he had that DBZ fight with Zod at the end of the movie and by not even trying to save them from falling buildings and debris, it made him seem more heartless than just killing Zod.

The collateral damage he causes in the cartoons and comics will have killed people. Can't imagine that wouldn't be the case.

Why not just write it as he felt so bad about killing Zod that subsequently NEVER do it again? Seems like an easy enough out.

Gotta say. Didn't find Superman to be mopey and dreary in this. The problem I had with the movie is that they should have done away with one or two flashbacks in favor of spending time with the Clark of now. What we see of Clark is usually pretty upbeat, he's pretty social, he jokes occasionally, but we mostly just see him fighting or flashbacks to his father telling him to stay hidden. It's impossible to say Superman was too dark when we never got to see him outside of the dark situations that he kept getting put into.

I do agree with the Superman shouldn't kill thing, though. I mean, he already knows of one way to strip Zod of his newfound power, they did it to him when they were on the ship! And at least one ship wasn't disappeared at the end of that movie.

What if Man of Steel was all a brilliant misdirect and what we were seeing was the beginning of the Superman from the Justice Lords aka the corrupt, fascist Justice League? Making the viewers care about Lord Superman and watch his decline into a tyrant who easily kills people could set the whole thing up for a massive twist when the actual Justice League shows up.

No, I don't expect that to happen. I just kind of wish it would. Read a review about Man of Steel about all the things Superman does that Superman shouldn't and it just made me sad. Skipping this movie.

The buildings were crumbling all over the place when he punches Zod all over the place, you're telling me he didn't kill ANYONE else ?

Ive yet to see it. But i think Superman should be conflicted about killing. Like its the last possible thing he would do to solve a situation if he couldn't imprison a guy. But the difference is comics to common sense. Even when someone looks at Batman, you think, just kill Joker....how many people has Joker killed, gets locked up yet kills again. A normal person would think "you know what, Joker is always going to kill and escape, better off killing him" Joker can not be changed to be a normal member of the public.

I guess this stuff works better in comics than movies. Comics are ongoing, a movie is 90 minutes - we expect an end and we expect justice. Movies and comics are always going to be different. cos a movie is a closed thing. You expect a start and an ending. In comics, this is not the case.

At that last spoiler warning screen, I bumped up the volume.

So, Supes kills Zod?

Good to know.

Honestly I despised this movie and everything it stands for. Dollars over screenplay Summer crap. Even among Blockbusters it was badly written. It was a mish mash of the first two movies, but every scene that was shared was worse in this one than those two.

canadamus_prime:
Wait, Superman kills Zod? That's not right. Superman doesn't kill.

I was equally confused. I always found the 'do not kill' rule to be utterly stupid, but it's now so integrated into the character that removing it seems..Bizarre. I mean, heck, is BATMAN the traditional 'good guy' now of the future Justice League?

The problem with making a sequel to Man of Steel, in my opinion, is twofold.

One, the fact that it was directed by Zach Snyder to be a visual masterpiece and very little else makes it a really hard act to follow. Hell, I'm still confused as to how they're going to make a sequel to 300; I enjoyed the film, but I don't think I can handle any more men in leather underwear spinning around in slow motion. The thing that makes sequels possible, in my opinion, is a feeling that the world has not been explored enough, but when the first film is so focused on visuals, you don't get the kind of depth that you'd get from something like Star Wars, which looked good but also left its audience wondering about where their characters would go next, and what else the galaxy had to offer.

And that's the second thing, I don't think the characters have anywhere to go now. Krypton is destroyed, all the Kryptonians except Kal are dead, Lois already knows that Clark Kent is Superman, and everyone already agrees that Superman is a good guy. Superman himself has already gone through the Spider-man arc (gets cool powers, father figure dies, great power, great responsibility, kills someone and feels bad about it, gets the girl, etc.), and he's already broken Batman's one rule, so that arc is out. There's really nothing left for Superman to do, and there's really no one left to stand in his way. And, because of the previous problem, there needs to be something big going on in order for a sequel to be made about it.

Superman shouldn't kill, but the point is he regretted killing zod only because he was forced to do it. This could be the way the sequal could work with him questioning his own morality, and maybe he shouldn't be superman to prevent him from becoming a monster like Zod only to face his fears and become a hero to save the day.

I wish they'd go with some kind of Justice Lord-esque continuity, that would be a ballsy move.

Sorry, Bob. I have to disagree. That scene worked. It was legitimately one of the best scenes in the movie.

I think the problem is you're viewing it through the Comic Guy glasses. For people who didn't have the background in Superman, the movie didn't need to tell us that Superman doesn't kill. We got that. Spelling it out would have just made it obvious it was going to happen. Presented as it was, it had the emotional weight the writers were looking for while still being shocking because it was unexpected.

It Worked. Hell, I'd go so far as to say it was one of the only threads that did work in the movie.

As to where the franchise can go from here? Lots of places. That moment could become the reason for his creed in later movies. He has killed and it scarred him, so now he doesn't kill any more.

Don't fault one of the best scenes in the movie just because it presented Superman in way different from image you had in mind.

DVS BSTrD:
Actually I think that the movie proves Superman should be killing, or did you not see Zodd murder half the population of Metropolis? I've never thought it was acceptable for mor innocent people to die in the next issue just because the "hero" didn't wan to get his hands dirty. And even if it wasn't against it's moral code, it would still suck to end the only other member of your species.

You don't understand the point of the No killing thing. See once you make the choice to end a life for 'the greater good' it becomes a very very slippery slope. Since Good is simply the most subjective term in the human language. Superman has always realized this in the same way that Batman realizes that his unwillingness to kill is really one of the few differences between himself and the Joker.

That and it would as Bob said make every Superman Movie sorta dull. I mean he is Superman, if there's little reason for him to not hurl someone into the sun well then no Superman movie is going to me longer than 10 minutes.

Though this could be used as a good plot point to the next superman movie. If it really gnaws at him it could very well cause some fracture in his mind in a manner not unlike what happens to actual people that are required to kill like soldiers. He compartmentalizes it and with enough time this compartmentalized self becomes a split personality,, which eventually becomes an actuallized being. Say Hello to Bizzaro and bam you have a great villain and character development.

You're Welcome WB/DC

DVS BSTrD:
Actually I think that the movie proves Superman should be killing, or did you not see Zodd murder half the population of Metropolis? I've never thought it was acceptable for mor innocent people to die in the next issue just because the "hero" didn't wan to get his hands dirty. And even if it wasn't against it's moral code, it would still suck to end the only other member of your species.

Yeah I think the problem with that, which Bob was pointing out is that's it's been shown superman holds back. A lot. To make sure he doesn't kill anyone. Superman without that restriction could end any movie in about 5 minutes. Super villain shows up kills a couple people superman punches through his chest role credits. That's the problem. It also seriously undermines his character. Look up the movie or comic arc superman versus the elites. Really great animated movie for superman and it touches on a lot of reasons why murder and superman should not go hand in hand. Superman should not kill

SonOfVoorhees:
Ive yet to see it. But i think Superman should be conflicted about killing. Like its the last possible thing he would do to solve a situation if he couldn't imprison a guy. But the difference is comics to common sense. Even when someone looks at Batman, you think, just kill Joker....how many people has Joker killed, gets locked up yet kills again. A normal person would think "you know what, Joker is always going to kill and escape, better off killing him" Joker can not be changed to be a normal member of the public.

I totally agree. After a while, it seems more bizarre NOT to kill the mass-murderer than to let him live. But in this case..Phantom Zone?

Yeah, I and several others sat through the credits hoping to see a teaser, but even though we didn't get one, I like to think that it's for the best. This project felt really uncertain, and I kept thinking of how Green Lantern had a teaser at the end, even though it was so bad that it destroyed any chance of ever getting a sequel!

Yeah, I was also surprised when Superman killed someone, and I felt that his cry of sorrow was justified, even though I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't really understand why he'd do that. Some people probably would see no problem in killed Zod at this point, but really, I like that Superman's moral enough to realize killing is bad and that he immediately regrets killing Zod, even though he was kind of a bastard... Because he IS a well-intentioned extremist, he DOES care about his people, just in a really cruel, selective way.

But I get what Bob is saying... It is weird, though maybe he's not so much "willing" to kill people now as it is just a one-time thing and he was forced to do it and didn't have much time to really think about it.

Blueruler182:
Gotta say. Didn't find Superman to be mopey and dreary in this. The problem I had with the movie is that they should have done away with one or two flashbacks in favor of spending time with the Clark of now. What we see of Clark is usually pretty upbeat, he's pretty social, he jokes occasionally, but we mostly just see him fighting or flashbacks to his father telling him to stay hidden. It's impossible to say Superman was too dark when we never got to see him outside of the dark situations that he kept getting put into.

I do agree with the Superman shouldn't kill thing, though. I mean, he already knows of one way to strip Zod of his newfound power, they did it to him when they were on the ship! And at least one ship wasn't disappeared at the end of that movie.

This. I actually found Clark to be pretty lighthearted. The scene when he was taken in by the army, for example, felt pretty light. However, when you consider what he was going through (bullied for more of his time at school, being told by Pa Kent that he needed to stay hidden, finally discovering about his past and then finding out the only others of his race still alive are completely evil) it's easy to see why he might not be completely jovial right now. I actually also liked Cavill as Superman/Clark. He seems like, if the script gave him more to work around, he could be very well-suited to the part. Plus he really goes look it.

I was expecting him to pull Zod's head up in order to move the beam out the way of the family (who really needed to run, by the way...). Then almost throw him down and pin him. I could totally picture Supes being able to do that, if he summoned the strength. I never thought how he might get around Zod (who would keep coming back) but I'm sure there were ways, probably involving incapacitating him...

I liked the film, somewhere between a 7 or an 8 depending on how I feel on the day. The basis for Clark's character were there, let's hope the sequel can build on it.

It wouldnt be the 1st time Supes "killed" or outright executed people. In Smallville there were always opportunity to save the enemy of the week which end up killed by their own hubris and mr. faster than a speeding bullet suddenly isnt fast enough. He also killed 3 evil Kryptonians in the main comics [pre new52] who took over another planet and killed most of its population but he did feel remorse for his actions. I remember reading about the "Other Zod" whose powers mimicked Supes but in a last moments of battle [context: Supes is powerless then regains his powers at the end of the fight] Other Zod flies straight at Supes at super speed [while Other Zod was losing his own] but Supes even with his powers doesnt hesitate to step aside, then 'SPLAT'.

Im going to be in the minority and say i was OK with Zod being snuffed out, Because:1.He brought the fight to his mother's door step, 2. Zod was already set to commit genocide and 3. In the last moments rather than keep his attention on Supes fighting him "the great warrior" felt it necessary to try REALLY HARD to kill the random family because petty reasons.

If it makes the character better that hes has to live with his mistakes and become stronger for it then im okay with that.

As for the comment above of the SvZ fight, kinda hard to save everyone when the main threat is in your face and he just got those powers. It would have gone: Supes "No, not the people!" *flies away... Zod proceeds to heat vision the area into ash AND if its going to fall on Supes, then where were the Troops? Why didnt they run into Metropolis and start rescue when Supes was dealing with Zod?

Realitycrash:

canadamus_prime:
Wait, Superman kills Zod? That's not right. Superman doesn't kill.

I was equally confused. I always found the 'do not kill' rule to be utterly stupid, but it's now so integrated into the character that removing it seems..Bizarre. I mean, heck, is BATMAN the traditional 'good guy' now of the future Justice League?

It does seem kinda silly esp. when faced with characters like Drega who actually WANT him to hill them.

EDIT: but it is part of his character so changing it seems, I don't know, wrong is the only word I can think of. Although can it really be "wrong" when talking about a fictional character?

What absolutely killed it for me wasn't the destruction of Metropolis or the over the top fight that surrounded it, it was the complete absence of any kind of proper organisation on a national level either in its wake or in the hours leading up to it. This wouldn't bother me if they hadn't spent so much time inserting military characters into the plot.

The military finds the ship, which Clark hears about through a series of very fortuitous meetings and then they're also perfectly happy to let Lois Lane to get in that action also.
The military finds Nero's Zod's ship and just sort of sits on it for bit.
The military captures our hero, regardless of any willingness, and proceeds basically be the driving force behind the plot up until the point where Jor'El decides to tell an unversed layman how to destroy Zod's ship (which is actually another annoying point in that the instructions boiled down to "Hit Object A with Object B" and is surely something he could have explained to Kal'El) because he wants to set his son up with a hot piece of ass.
Then there is the complete lack of agency in any of the female characters, besides German Michelle Rodriguez (another great actress pigeon-holed into tough chick for the rest of her career, congrats Nolan/Snyder) who had a good showing in Pandorum and probably could have done much more... but I digress. Clark/Kal/Superman saves Lois Lane three times in one film, THREE TIMES and then is perfectly in the mood to give her a nice long kiss immediately after watching countless thousands of people die as a densely urban area is levelled by an alien gravity weapon. Good show. And Lara, who basically existed within the context of the plot to push a button (regardless of all the stuff leading up to that button, I'm discussing the actual influence of the character directly on the plot) and then accept death after she watches the love of her life and the father of her child get murdered infront of her... and doesn't particularly try to claw Zod's eyes out?

I've gone on a massive tangent here and I could go on for a while but to get back to my point, the entire US military and emergency/disaster management apparatus appeared to just sit back in the third act with the attitude "Meh, let the air force handle it."

Why, after an alien attack on the heartland of America, wasn't a state of emergency declared?
Flights grounded? Some helicopters were just hanging around between buildings in Metropolis.
National guard and reserves mobilised? I didn't see any.
First responders at full readiness? There was one scene with a cop trying to do some crowd control, but all I really needed was a 5 second panning shot of some EMT's getting injured into ambulances, some firemen dealing with the Burly Brawl induced destruction or even some police officers working to evacuate civilians from the epicentre of the destruction.
Evacuation plans for major urban centres prepared? See above.

Literally crippled my suspension of disbelief, then the third time he saves Lois finished it off with a headshot. It wasn't a bad film, it was just sufficient.

EDIT: Plot goal for Zod was to ensure the continuation of his species as he desired. He had enough of the codex to activate the Genesis Chamber in that outpost but then decided "I better take this extremely valuable ship, which is basically the entire goal of my invasion of this backwater rock, and use it to attack some dudes."

But Bob, Superman's freak-out over killing Zod wasn't BECAUSE he took a life, it's because with that one action, he completed the genocide of his entire race. Superman had already destroyed the Genesis Chamber with all the Kryptonian DNA pods, the other guys died in the singularity.....and now he is forced to physically end the life of the last Kryptonian. THAT is why he cried out afterwards.

Heh, so I'm not the only one who was shocked at that scene (no I am not siding with the whole he shouldn't killed villains, I was just shocked that he did it as I too view Superman is never a killer even when it was justify for him to do so).

Sure they never mention anywhere that Superman has a code on never killing but isn't the whole "never used violence" kind of count? I mean the flashback show he never fight bad against the bullies even til present day with that jerk trucker in that bar scene. I mean killing is violence.

Also in my view the problem that I find on the idea on making Superman sequel is finding worthy villains to pin him against him (I think Superman Return was bad cos it didn't had a proper villain for him to fight with like many superheroes films have these days. Before you mention the previous Superman films, those were in a different time).

Wow Bob - you really decided to be THAT guy, and in the worst kind of way this time, didn't you?

Really it sounds like you're sort of missing the forest for the trees here.
Why would Superman killing one guy, at the very start of his career as Superman imply that he's going to be totally cool with it going forward?

In fact why wouldn't his regret at his actions in dealing with General Zod be the genesis of his no-killing rule going forward?

I mean wasn't the point of the movie that this was Superman's first really big fight?
Maybe the point isn't that "he had no choice" so much as being inexperienced at this whole superhero thing he failed to see other options?

It really feels like you're making a rather big leap in assumptions here - I mean when he did his whole cry of sorrow thing I took that as meaning that he just did something he really didn't want to do and immediately regretted, not that he had come to the conclusion that "Hey killing dudes is a totally awesome way to deal with the bad-guys".

canadamus_prime:
Wait, Superman kills Zod? That's not right. Superman doesn't kill.

Actually if you go back to the Golden Age Superman killed via inaction a lot. There are several free podcasts that go over those comics and for several years Superman was basically Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe with the Incredible Hulk's power set.

'There is a horrible criminal about to be mowed down by a train should I... oh he's been mowed down already. Well I'm sure he deserved it.' I'm not kidding that was basically the mentality of the 1930s Superman.

Then there were all the times he was tricked into killing someone in the Silver age. Bizzaro was a prime example of that and he got killed again during the Burne Man of Steel series and _that_ time it was more intentional then it was in the Silver Age.

Personally I prefer it when films take themselves seriously. But that's just me.

FWIW, Bob, I thought the final scenes more than just hinted at a lighter future for Superman. The scene where he smashed some sort of spy satellite into the ground right in front of General Matrix couldn't have been any more tongue-in-cheek.

As for Superman killing people, I don't see it as much of an issue given the exceptional circumstances. Zod is Superpowered, Lex is not. We'd just watched the two of them demolish several city blocks in a single fist fight. It's pretty obvious in Zod's final scene - despite the movie not establishing an ethical code beforehand - that killing Zod is a last resort for Superman. It's extremely difficult to imagine a villain like Lex being able to put Superman in the same position, given Lex's lack of super speed, super strength, and so on. Even if Lex were standing next to a Nuke The World button and threatening to use it, Superman could just knock him out at superspeed (barring any kryptonite which would render the question moot anyway). That wasn't an option with Zod.

Going a little deeper, the immediacy of the threat to the "random family" is just as important to this scene as the destruction that preceded it. The foundations of consequentialism become very shaky indeed as the amount of time between action and predicted consequence increases, and this is especially true for Superman who can accomplish a great deal in a very short amount of time.

And all of that is to say nothing of the extraordinary anguish displayed by Superman after killing Zod. For all we know, it may have been the defining moment for this version of the character i.e. the reason he makes the rule never (again) to take a life.

All in all, I can't really see this as much of an issue. But TBH I'm not much of a comic geek/nerd/whatever and don't revere the source material as some do.

maximara:

canadamus_prime:
Wait, Superman kills Zod? That's not right. Superman doesn't kill.

Actually if you go back to the Golden Age Superman killed via inaction a lot. There are several free podcasts that go over those comics and for several years Superman was basically Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe with the Incredible Hulk's power set.

'There is a horrible criminal about to be mowed down by a train should I... oh he's been mowed down already. Well I'm sure he deserved it.' I'm not kidding that was basically the mentality of the 1930s Superman.

Then there were all the times he was tricked into killing someone in the Silver age. Bizzaro was a prime example of that and he got killed again during the Burne Man of Steel series and _that_ time it was more intentional then it was in the Silver Age.

Well I don't read comics, I only really know Superman through his other incarnations so I can't really account for that. Still I don't think that's quite the same thing.

I felt that the 3rd act was from a sequel to a Superman movie we never saw, it felt too big. Although I guess the allusion to Matrix 3 didn't help.

I would say that the next step would be to put Supes into an ethical problem with no clearly defined bad guy, where the action of punching the guy into oblivion isn't available until right at the end when it's all resolved. But the problem is that Man of Steel ended with such an explosive, clean cut fight; a more thoughtful, smaller story based on a complex moral problem is going to feel a step backwards which I don't think WB/DC are going to do, it's only going to be bigger and bigger until someone's head actually explodes at a pre-screening.

What's with the bleeping, Bob? This isn't a TV network. If you feel that certain words are offensive, then just don't say them. Don't say them then put an annoying beep over them.

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