Just for fun.
Man of Steel: Five stars right up to the last moments and then the flight falters….a bit. I disagreed with the “thumbs down” reviewers in their assessment of most of the film, until the last few minutes and then I agreed with them: thus four stars out of five.
The first two hours of the film was a surprise and generally a delight. But the last 10 minutes had the feel of a film where the script, the direction and the production did not know how to close the deal with the viewer effectively. Here is where they went wrong: An overly long fight scene between Kal-El and Zod, an inexplicable death dealing neck twist, and the emergence of a completely undisguised Clark at the Planet left me and those I was with a bit let down.
The combat went on and on and on and on and was the same set of moves at different toppling skyscrapers. Lop five minutes off of it and it improves.
Superman does not intentionally kill others- that’s one of his DC Canon hallmarks. Why couldn’t there have been a “Kansas Farm Boy” bit of wisdom?…..have Kal-El warn Zod that just as super-hearing can overwhelm so can the other powers and then have Zod burn himself out overusing his heat vision. Kansas wisdom: take it slow, moderation in all things, know your field before you plow it.
And then Clark is “welcomed to the Planet” (a lame word play? in a city that is all but destroyed with a smoldering Smallville somewhere off in the distance) this whole things seemed surreal. How can EVERYONE NOT recognize him? His public presence during the face off with the Fascist Kryptonians certainly was filmed by someone in this day of ubiquitous camera phones. Why not dare to take the Martian Manhunter approach where his physical appearance as John Jones is completely different from J’onn J’onzz? What if Clark had altered features like Lemont Cranton, the Shadow, did? I suppose it is too much of a chance, too big of a gamble, too far a reach…but it would have gone a long way it making his so-called “secret identity” a bit more real.
Still I loved the origin story with all its angst. We loved the two dads (and saw hints of the borderline personality in Jor-El that we got used to in Smallville). Their combined presence (in his Kryptonian genes and his Kansas jeans) are evident. We loved his “I can’t help myself” heroism.
The Kryptonian science was interesting if not spectacular. Zod and gang were nasty enough. Lois was outstanding- a modern go-getter with as much drive as Kal-El but more certainty. She is Kal-El’s partner almost from the start. Indeed a common theme in the film, as in Smallville, is that despite all his power, Superman cannot do it without a little (and sometimes a lot) of help from his friends: Ma and Pa Kent, a clergyman, a general, a colonel, a scientist, and his “love at first sight” star crossed lover Lois.
Will there be a sequel? I sincerely hope so.
Afterthought- As I watched the film my mind wandered once or twice to a more serious interpretation of the films underlying themes. Jonathan Kent raises the issue of “being different” with Clark and worries that he will not be accepted, or worse, will be rejected and attacked, if his true nature becomes known. In our oh-so real world the question is not a new one. The danger posed by “aliens” who superficially look like us but unless they have been fully acculturated could bring us down and then replace us was played out. When key characters recognize that: “He is one of us.” It’s a turning point in the film. Could it be a turning point in our discussion of immigration, foreign policy, caring for the needy etc. Hmmmm….