Disclaimer: Yes, I know Louis CK has made the above sub-title famous. He is one of my favorite comedic performers and I saw him perform this bit live in AC last year. I submit that what he did was make obvious the thought process that takes place in all of us and give it a title. I’m not going to be as ridiculous or nearly as funny as he would be, but you’ll get the idea. (Spoilers by the way.)
Okay, so Man of Steel is coming out on Blu-Ray and Ultraviolet and digital download and whatnot and I’m certain new and improved reviews will stream from my fellow contributors. My thoughts on Man of Steel are as follows; I liked it. I’m not going to elaborate because there’s no point. This ain’t a review. What I am going to tackle is the most divisive aspect of the film, the second half when s#!t gets real.
Of course it was a severe step-off when the action started and we were coated in money-shot after money-shot of rampant destruction. Superman is not that type of comic and not that type of hero. He is able to restrain himself and come up with the means to prevail without unnecessary destruction or loss of life. In a world where it is impossible to take on evil without getting any on your shoes, Superman serves as an ideal. He is able to be the good guy no matter what.
But he killed that guy!
Of course the second half could have been presented with all the required action and still manage to keep the core of the Superman character and mythos intact. Of course what happened in the second act should count as torture porn and Snyder should be chastised and his work should be chastised and this film should find its way into the “crappy superhero movie” bin along with Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Batman and Robin, and Spiderman 3. Of course!
Maybe everyone should just take a breath and try looking at it from a different point of view. Maybe we should forget what we know about Superman and take the movie at face value remembering that we saw Kal-El born on Krypton before being rocketed into space.
Maybe we should realize that we saw him go from a child to an adult continually adapting to his new home while learning who he is and what his place in the world will be.
And maybe, just maybe we should remember that, during none of it, did we see him enter any kind of superhero training school where he learned how to expertly manage his powers. I mean, we watched him learn to fly. He did crash a couple of times before getting it right.
So he figures out the miracle of flight one minute and, a short time later, has to fight the first super-powered beings that he’s ever, EVER come into contact with, (who are trained warriors by the way with decades more combat experience than him), and he’s supposed to do this without breaking anything or suffering any collateral damage, really?
Plus what do ya'll really think would happen if super-powered people actually threw down? Maybe the result of someone throwing a punch so fast that it could not be seen with the human eye and hitting something with megatons of force would result in some sort of shockwave that would alter the surrounding environment in some way and maybe a body dense enough to survive bombs, bullets, fire, and explosions would break a building or two when hurled into it at supersonic speeds.
Maybe if a machine that warped Earth’s gravity were to actually exist, it would cause a bit of damage when someone threw the switch.
Maybe a city getting wrecked and people getting crushed is what the physics of the universe requires. Maybe Zack Snyder showed us exactly what would happen. Maybe he made this Superman movie as realistic as possible. And maybe, that was the point.
Maybe the critics have forgotten that DC is trying to build their own universe and this is the first step. Maybe the destruction of Metropolis will serve as a guiding influence in future films. Maybe, when we see Superman again, his character will have this pyrrhic victory on his mind when he takes on future villains. Maybe his killing Zod will be the inspiration for a “no-killing” rule.
And maybe, just maybe the realism of what happened is what made Man of Steel so good in the first place and will set a precedent for future DC films, requiring that the DC franchise be on-par with the Marvel Universe ensuring that we will be guaranteed more awesome superhero films.