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Vern Tells It Like It Is: Why I think MAN OF STEEL gets a bum rap

VTILIIlogotn_mosI already wrote about MAN OF STEEL twice. First a review, then a second-viewing followup. Now here I am again, and for that I am truly sorry. But Superman is kind of like a new Batman, one of the inescapable topics in movie nerd discussions. With news stories about BATMAN VINCENT SUPERMAN popping up weekly, and internet bitterness (or binternet for short) toward MAN OF STEEL still lingering, I keep getting slapped with this persistent conventional wisdom that I just can’t abide. This is my attempt at a definitive rebuttal so I can get it off my chest and finally let it go and say “fly away, little Superman movie. Be free!”

MAN OF STEEL, The Internet says, is not true to the beautiful historic American history of the holy Superman, because this version doesn’t bother to rescue people, and he kills thousands of innocents. When I first heard this complaint, right after my first viewing of the movie, I wasn’t sure which part they were referring to where he kills all these people. I thought maybe I missed something. When I saw it again I looked for it and decided that whoever said that just wasn’t paying attention, or maybe it’s one of those easter eggs where you gotta look up on the internet the exact spot where they stuck it in there for the true fans to notice when they pause it and look at it upside with a magnifying glass. It’s not visible to the layman’s eye, I thought, so it must be some shit only Superweirdos would know about.

But then I started to hear it more. It comes up in every Badass Digest post about super heroes (especially in the comments), it came up in GODZILLA reviews, it comes up in the comments here, one of my buddies even said it to me in person when I started to tell him about what I was working on here. So this is like the end of the book I Am Legend. (spoiler for the end of the book I Am Legend.) It turns out I was the Superweirdo the whole time.

But let me plead my case. I’m not gonna convince any of you to like MAN OF STEEL, but I want to illustrate in detail why I don’t think this popular interpretation is supported by the actual movie.

(no disrespect intended to any of the websights, writers or commenters quoted or referred to here)

Me and you, it seems like we’re really reading this movie in drastically different ways. In my view, Superman unequivocally stops Zod from wiping out the entire human race and replacing them with resurrected Kryptonians. But people keep talking about a movie where Superman is no hero. For example the commenters on these two posts here and here when Badass Digest (which I bring up because I like it and read it daily) reported about a statue of Superman that apparently is gonna be seen in the upcoming movie. The majority of the commenters are (or at least pretend to be) confused why Superman would be treated as a hero in the sequel. They refer to him as “genocidal,” say that he “leveled half the city” and “killed thousands.” One commenter says “He actually pretty much completely fails to save anyone until the villain outright forces him to.”

I’ve seen other people saying that, that this is a Superman who doesn’t rescue people. Maybe they’re purposely exaggerating, maybe they’re only referring to the big fight at the end where they believe he shoulda thrown in a couple side-rescues while being pushed to the limit saving the entire human race through epic physical feats. If they really mean he doesn’t rescue people then it seems like they couldn’t have seen the movie or heard anything about what happens in it, because, jesus.

In MAN OF STEEL, rescuing people is Kal’s #1 passion in life long before he even knows he’s Superman. The first half of the movie is devoted to non-linear glimpses of some of his various rescuing. While he travels the world as a young man rescuing people he flashes back to childhood incidents where he also rescued people. All of his memories of his adopted father revolve around their conflict over whether or not it’s safe to be seen rescuing people. He thinks it’s his moral imperative to do it, Pa thinks it may be too risky to call attention to himself at a young age, that it will endanger a “greater purpose” he will have when he’s older. In fact the old man believes in this so much that he asks Clark not to save him from a tornado. That he listened seems to be Superman’s greatest regret, which gives him even more pressure to become something great. Which means rescuing more people.

I mean, saying this guy doesn’t rescue people is like saying Tiger Woods doesn’t play golf. For the record…

He saves a bunch of oil workers from a fire, explosion and collapsing platform (no, not from Forest Taft):



He saves a school bus full of kids from drowning:


And I think we can safely assume that this is just the childhood rescue that got him into the most trouble, which he’s reminded of by seeing a school bus drive by. I doubt it’s the only thing like that he did growing up.

As an adult he saves Lois from this Kryptonian security robot:


And also from her injuries:

He tries to save the humans from the Kryptonian invasion by turning himself in:


But that doesn’t work and he has to save Lois again:


And he saves a pilot from the badass Kryptonian lady Faora:



And catches a falling copter gunman who had just been shooting at him. Kinda in the selfless tradition of Babe saving the pitbull that was trying to eat him.


Just when Christopher Meloni resigns himself to “a good death” at the hands of Faora, Superman zips in and drags her away from him:


And later he saves Lois again:


Admittedly, that’s probly less rescues than Christopher Reeves’ Superman did in SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE. In the beloved, supposedly definitive first Superman cinematic adventure Mr. El saves Lois from a bullet, saves Lois and a pilot from a helicopter crash, gets a cat out of a tree (though as this is not a life threatening situation it is technically more of a community service than a rescue; also, the cat’s owner gets slapped by her mom for “lying” about Superman), saves Air Force One, rescues Lois from smoking, arguably saves a school bus, stops a train from derailing (one of his powers is that trains can be tricked into thinking his body is shaped like a train track), asks a guy if he’s all right (he is), and pulls Jimmy Olsen off a dam before it breaks. Whether or not this is way more than MAN OF STEEL depends on how full that train was. You gotta assume 1978 Superman wins, unless the train and Air Force One only had a couple people on them. Also you gotta respect that he lifted a full sized school bus instead of a short one like Man of Steel did, that boosts his total a little assuming they really were safe after he put them back on the broken bridge.

But it bears repeating that Man of Steel saves the entire human race before he even gets to the final battle in his movie. 1978 Superman saves the west coast of California, which is only 1 (one) smidgen of the human race.

So I guess the issue is the timing of the rescuing. In MAN OF STEEL most of the first half is rescue-related, but the climax is about that “greater purpose,” the larger tasks of destroying a doomsday device and defeating an attacker as powerful as himself. Some people don’t like that he’s portrayed as too taxed by these challenges to fly around and catch a couple people as they fall off of stuff. Devin Faraci writes in his influential piece “Why the Destruction in MAN OF STEEL Matters,” “It would have been as easy as having Superman save ONE baby in a stroller to show his concern. That’s all that was needed.”

Okay, I guess a baby rescue scene wouldn’t ruin the movie, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. Everybody loves a good baby rescue, it is the foundation of modern cinema. HARD BOILED for example. But I think the detractors are missing the intent of this different interpretation of the Superman story. That type of flying-around-rescuing-people business is the climax of the original SUPERMAN movie. Instead of rehashing the same approach, MAN OF STEEL moves from there to the visual depiction of a type of super-powered fighting and epic battles that have been done surprisingly little in the modern age of super hero films.

While in secret, Clark flies around pulling people out of trouble and then disappearing. As Lois tells him, this is something he will never quit doing.

But once he’s public as Superman, he fulfills Jor’s hope of a bridge between Earthonians and Kryptonlings.


He works with the people to accomplish things they can’t do separately. Lois says “We’ve got a plan,” not “He has a plan.” They propose their plan to the military brass and together they agree on who does what. Superman destroys the World Engine over the Indian Ocean that they can’t get to fast enough, even though this might kill him. Meanwhile they drop his ship to create the “singularity” and send the Kryptonians back into the Phantom Zone. Other problems come up that they have to solve for themselves, for example Richard Schiff’s character figuring out how to rotate the drive and get it to accept the “House of El” key. Superman has to fly above the clouds battling robotic octopi and shit.

On the ground there are other types of heroes:



mos32Which, if you think about it, is a more efficient use of the available resources than having the one guy who can destroy the World Engine before it changes the shape of the earth and kills everyone on it flying around individually carrying each person out. In my opinion. I think they got a good system figured out here.

Jor said his son would inspire people, and that’s what he does. Not just pick up a few strollers. It’s a different version of Superman, and that’s intentional, and valid, and personally I like it.

This Superman can’t be everywhere and do everything. But he can do an awful god damn lot, and I can’t agree with the common contention that he has a reckless disregard for the humans around him. Yes, civilians are in danger, I’m glad you noticed. That’s the tension running throughout all of these scenes and making them scary. In SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE you never think anybody is actually gonna be hurt by goofball Lex Luthor and his wacky sidekicks. In MAN OF STEEL there’s always a gulp… oh shit feeling when the Kryptonians show up. Supey has to be very careful to keep this situation from getting out of hand. He tells people to get away…


…and they lock themselves inside the stores, but they’re right there. And then the military starts shooting into the street!  (At him.) Same shit they did to HULK. How can he keep this under control?

Not only is it clearly established that Superman needs to protect the humans who are cowering around him, but Faora even taunts him about it, calling it his weakness. This regard for human safety that you say he doesn’t have is actually a major theme of the movie, and spelled out not so subtly in dialogue.






And later:




I read the “Unh!” in that subtitle as Master P’s trademark grunt. Still, Faora is right. If Superman goes around trying to save each person as they fall out of different vehicles these guys are gonna fuck the whole world up over the Indian Ocean or somewhere. He has to think bigger.

This tug of war between Superman saving humans and the Kryptonians killing them is set up as his challenge for the rest of the movie. Maybe Snyder could’ve had something more to spell it out to people that he feels pressured to save the whole human race. Something like, he could go inside his mind and see himself standing on a field of skulls, visualizing his fear of what will happen if he fails.


Oh yeah, they did do that. He spends his young life rescuing people and now has fulfilled his destiny, foreseen by both of his father figures, to rise up against a deadly force and save everybody on earth. But other than that he has a total disregard for humanity, because he throws an alien through a train and breaks a bunch of walls.

By the way, this vision also proves that he saw T2 growing up. Of course he’s one of us!

For me these things are more than enough to get the point across. We’ve learned that he can see through walls, through skin, can diagnose and treat wounds, can hear heartbeats all around him. Is it really that ridiculous to think he’s paying attention to which buildings he’s flying through? To assume it’s not a coincidence that we only see him smash through empty ones?



And as a side note, are you sure Superman isn’t supposed to smash shit when there are civilians nearby? Because I feel like I might’ve seen him do that before at some point.


But I’m probly confusing him with Mighty Mouse or somebody. You guys are the experts.

Another common complaint is that after Zod’s terraforming is thwarted, and after Superman has managed by the skin of his teeth to stop Lois from plummeting to her death, the two of them kiss. Faraci called it “one of cinema’s most inappropriate kisses.”

You got that, alien? We human men don’t kiss women after they don’t die in a horrible disaster. I don’t care what you saw in TITANIC. Affection in the face of danger = too soon. We got rules around here, space boy. You gotta wait at least 24 hours after the harrowing near death experience for hugging, 48 for kissing.

I have to admit, I didn’t notice until really studying the movie that a bunch of people do get catapulted into the air along with the cars in the scene where the World Engine is “initiated.” So it’s true, there are some apparent onscreen casualties. But these aren’t victims of Superman, they’re people he couldn’t save, and this brings us to what may be the main philosophical/supertheological difference we’re dealing with here. Some people think Superman is more fun if he can never fail and can travel through time and do anything no matter what. I think he’s more interesting if he’s extremely powerful, but not all powerful. That’s what this take is and that may be why some of the backlash feels like religious zealotry.

Matt Singer of The Dissolve, in his recent revisit of the movie, brought up the line where Daily Planet intern Jenny (after escaping the falling buildings) says “He saved us!” While he is definitely not a Superman fundamentalist, Singer seems to buy their dogma that the character can only be an all powerful savior who requires no help from the humans:

“Except Superman didn’t save Jenny; her boss, Perry White (Laurence Fishburne), and his assistant, Steve Lombard (Michael Kelly), did, with a timely assist from the U.S. military. And even if Superman had saved Jenny (which, again, he didn’t), he clearly dropped the ball for almost everyone else.”

But of course that’s not what Jenny was talking about. She started by asking “Are they gone?” She was saying that the marauding maniacs from Krypton had been defeated, and were no longer changing the planet and atmosphere in a way that will kill everybody on it. “Us” doesn’t refer to a couple people being pulled out of rubble, it refers to the entire human race being saved from intergalactic genocide. He did save Jenny, and “almost everyone else.” He didn’t drop the ball. They all ran a good play together and he made a crazy three-pointer on the buzzer.

And I don’t think we’re supposed to believe that it was, as Faraci writes in his original review, “clearly a massacre of thousands upon thousands of people.” Yes, I know that co-writer David S. Goyer said in an interview that people “probably” died, but other than that one shot it doesn’t imply any deaths. It doesn’t show piles of bodies everywhere, or any news reports talking about casualties, and it does do plenty to show people getting the hell out of there.




Realistically of course alot of people probly would’ve died during this attack. But realistically alot of people would’ve died in the earthquake from SUPERMAN too. In that one Superman flies around and saves people in a handful of locations, but initially loses the one person he’s keeping track of. Surely other people would’ve died in this coast-wide quake (not to mention the negligence of putting a school bus back on the crumbling Golden Gate Bridge and saying “Okay kids, it’s safe now!”) Also note that this Superman knocks out chunks of a roof that almost smooshes Miss Tessmacher and fails to stop the water from a dam until after it’s crushed a row of buildings and/or houses.

MURDERER! Right? No, of course not. As a fictional movie we accept that it’s using a storytelling language, a shorthand developed over the history of cinema. Since the movie shows this handful of people safe we know that means Superman saved the day. We don’t assume that there are thousands of dead people crushed beneath all the shit that must’ve fell in the rest of the huge chunk of land affected by this devastating earthquake, because we know the movie would’ve shown us that if it was a thing. And the same goes for MAN OF STEEL. Maybe when both Zod and Superman act like turning his heat vision on a family of four is an escalation it’s because it is. Maybe we should believe them about what’s going on in their own movie.

Let me put it this way. Don’t you think if Snyder meant for there to be people dying all over the place that he would’ve shown them? Think about what you’re telling me here. You’re saying he’s got a story with thousands of awesome deaths, and he’s gonna resist showing them. In your view, Zack Snyder – and I cannot emphasize this enough, Zack Snyder, the director of 300 and SUCKER PUNCH – is not gonna show people tumbling out of buildings in slow motion, not gonna show people getting zapped and burned to ash, he’s not gonna show bodies piled up dramatically, their mouths hanging open, eyes rolled over, nothing? Yeah guys, there is mass death in this thing! Completely off screen, never shown or referred to, but if you read between the lines it’s SO FUCKING AWESOME!

That’s where you get into conspiracy theory territory. I just can’t buy that one. If Snyder meant for a massacre, he would’ve shown a fuckin massacre, rubbing his hands together excitedly the whole time. What he shows is that shit got crazy but luckily people worked together and got out of there and stopped the aliens together with Superman.

But why does it need so much fighting and destruction? Because this is a movie based on mythic, larger than life characters who have god-like powers. Because the director likes that kind of stuff, and is really good at it. Because they didn’t have the technology to do scenes like this when they started the first Superman series. Because there’s already a movie (2 different cuts of it, in fact) where these characters fight without much stakes or sense of awe. Because the last Superman movie was widely panned for bringing Superman into the digital age without even having him punch anybody. Because you couldn’t do this stuff in a Christopher Nolan Batman movie. Because Snyder wanted to outdo the other super hero movies and give us something they didn’t have. Because it’s cool. How many reasons do you need?

I like Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies better than MAN OF STEEL, and same probly goes for CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE WINTER SOLDIER. But I also think the fight scenes in those movies should be alot better. I can only think of two super hero movies with arguably better fight scenes than MAN OF STEEL, and they both have the word “BLADE” in the title. As a connoisseur of the art of screen-fighting that’s no small thing. Since these things are taking up the big summer movie slots that used to belong to straight action movies, maybe we could get some good action out of them once in a while, huh? (Prediction: Snyder’s about to make the first Batman movie with great fight scenes.)

Is it such a sin to finally do one that shows powerful beings as bulls fighting in a china shop? If you’d rather the ultra-beings from another world come down to a podunk town with a diner, a general store and like seven people and walk down a street and shoot a couple lasers then by all means rent SUPERMAN 2 or THOR again. Meanwhile I’ll watch this one.

I’ve even found some people straight up saying they thought Superman should’ve somehow lured all of the fighting and destruction to a corn field. For example a piece called “Captain America ruined Superman for me” on cinesnark.com says, “It bothers me that Superman punches Zod through buildings when he could have just as easily zipped to a corn field and thrown down in relative seclusion.” In fact he does drag Zod through a corn field, but they don’t stay there because of an eleventh hour eureka moment where Snyder said “You know what I’m thinking, maybe we should have various thrilling battles in different locations with exciting imagery rather than just doing it all in this one corn field as originally storyboarded.”

Alot of times it’s better to be thrilling and cinematic than for the characters to do the best possible strategic thing. Especially in a Zack Snyder movie.

I mean sure, your cornfield idea is good, don’t get me wrong. Good job on that one. Way to imagine. But I’m glad they went with something more epic, more visual, more mythic. And you know what? More like a comic book, I bet you. Or do they draw him always tricking the bad guys into staying in a corn field?

I like to extrapolate from the plots of movies, and go beyond what’s on screen to the logical conclusions. It’s fun. But these arguments have gone far beyond “oh come on, you can’t evacuate a building that fast” and into some kind of MAN OF STEEL Truth Movement where they’re ignoring what is shown, what is said and what is implied because it doesn’t fit their theory that Zack Snyder and/or David Goyer are enemies of the nerd community determined to smear Superman as an unheroic genocidal murderer with limited powers.

Is MAN OF STEEL perfect? No. Are your children perfect? Hell no. Not even my book Seagalogy is perfect. It still says that Andrew Davis was nominated for best director for THE FUGITIVE when he was actually one of those suckers whose movie was nominated for best picture but he didn’t get nominated for director.  Get the fuck out of here with that perfect shit. Only DIE HARD is perfect.

But MAN OF STEEL is innocent. Free MAN OF STEEL.


This entry was posted on Monday, July 28th, 2014 at 11:45 am and is filed under Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

388 Responses to “Vern Tells It Like It Is: Why I think MAN OF STEEL gets a bum rap”

  1. There are no mass deaths in Man Of Steel because it would take the movie out of PG-13 realm and make it even grimmer than it already is.

    The only time Henry Cavill’s Superman reacts to the destruction he causes himself is in a burger tie-in commercial.

  2. Yannick, you mean when he SCREAMS in anguish after snapping Zod’s neck because he’s aware he’s killed a fellow Kryptonian and is horrified at what he has felt he had to do in order to save innocent humans, right? Somehow I don’t remember a burger tie in with him screaming but hey I could have missed that so in fact this could be my bad, I’m sorry. Continue on hating.

  3. MAN OF STEEL actually made me like Superman as I’m not a huge fan of his to begin with. Hey, shit happens when you are waging a battle that epic that affects the entire world, you are bound to break some eggs.

  4. Fucking brilliant, Vern. This kind of bullshit is so prevalent every single place where fantastical type movies are discussed that I’ve had to bite my lip and go to my happy place every time it gets brought up. It seems to be taken as a given that MOS sucks and Superman is just straight up eating babies while lasering grandmas in half that there’s no combating it. It’s one of those things like “Jason was the killer in FRIDAY THE 13th” or “Will Smith says ‘Welcome to Earf’ in INDEPENDENCE DAY” that has become so prevalent that you can’t convince anyone of the truth. It’s this urban legend that needs no basis in reality to exist. It has a momentum and a life all its own, separate from the truth. Even if MAN OF STEEL produced its birth certificate, these fuckers still wouldn’t buy it. They got their party line and facts aren’t gonna get in the way of it.

    Anyway, great piece. I like the screen grabs. You’re using evidence from the text to support your work, while the other side merely conjectures wildly. I know it won’t put this shit to bed forever, but hopefully it’ll sway a few people and make the world a safer place for awesome superhero battles.

  5. I enjoyed this piece more than the actual movie itself. Great job Vern. I only watched MOS once but I do clearly remember the city being evacuated and was wondering if I had just imagined all that shit when I kept reading everywhere that “Superman allowed Metropolis to fucking die!” and brought it up without ever getting any retorts.

  6. Albert, no, I mean when the center of Metropolis is destroyed by his giant fight with Zod and he does not react to ANY of the destruction. None of it.
    He’s not horrified by the remainder of his race being monsters. He’s not shocked that humanity had to pay a terrible price for taking him. No reaction.

    He screams in anguish after killing Zod but it seems more about killing Zod rather than the destruction he rained upon Metropolis and its inhabitants. I understand murdering the guy and severing a link to his race is upsetting but…wasn’t their destruction of the city and the people in it way worse?

    Vern argues that Metropolis might not have piles of dead under the rubble, but Snyder very clearly used images resembling real life destruction. There is no other reason to use those images other than implying that type of impact. (on top of him saying later on he did mean to imply there was a lot of collateral damage).

    The Carl Jr commercial remains the only time where Superman reacts to the damage he’s causing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVRrS3HrXaM

  7. I’m always amazed at the amount of…passion for the pro and anti-Man of Steel people. Its such a bland and routine superhero origin movie, filled with cookie cutter characterizations and deeply impersonal po-faced aesthetic that seems cranked out of a factory. Even the fight scenes, well-animated and visually compelling they may be, are long, noisy, and not terribly interesting destruction porn. I put it right along the same tier of the first Thor, and well below any of the actually good superhero movies like Spider-Man 2, The Avengers, or The Dark Knight.

  8. It’s pretty impressing. I really dislike it because it’s a monkey’s paw of a Superman movie for me.
    In the end, I’m happy for anyone who enjoys that movie because, hey, you’re an asshole if you don’t want people to enjoy things.

    But when the defenses come around the detractors being dumb nerds who can’t handle a “different” type of Superman or
    are married to an interpretation–that’s pretty far from my experience with the movie. And I saw that thing twice in theaters because
    I wanted to like it so much.

  9. “Play it again, Sam Mr. Majestyk.” Indeed.

    Now I want to see the R-rated version where Snyder shows a bunch of gruesome slo-mo —

    people getting crushed by The Daily Planet’s precarious planet statue like a cross between the boulder scene in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and the wrecking ball scene in GONE IN 60 SECONDS 2000;

    people falling 28 stories to a sidewalk splat like a cross between Trinity in MATRIX RELOADED and The Comedian in WATCHMEN (the victim[s] could have landed right next to Jenny as she’s saved — taste is overrated);

    and some more badass Faora carnage would be welcome, especially if filmed in the mode that doesn’t make her a PG-13ized anti-Snyder blur of super-speed when she backhands a fool for being an earthling.

    Good movie, great rebuttal-review-rebuttal. Made me say “Unh.” (Na naNa na)

  10. “murdering the guy and severing a link to his race is upsetting but…wasn’t their destruction of the city and the people in it way worse?”

    No, no it is *not* worse. You’re racist against Kryptonians if you think it is. You’re a shallow-thinking isolationist.

    If I am an alien who has a chance to maybe repopulate my own species and reclaim something resembling my own original awesome planet that has pet dragons and shit, then I am definitely not automatically viewing the destruction of some shitty, overpopulated human city as “way worse” than the chance to rebuild Krypton. There’s room for divergent thoughts there.

    The arrival of Faora and Zod and their crew represented hope, and at least part of me (as Superman) wants to be diplomatic and align myself with them. Now, that changed when dude put his hands on Diane Lane, but the possibility of diplomacy & re-world-building (on some other planet/moon) remained while at the same time the much-honored, sacrosanct “Motherfucker tried to come at my moms, so I had to smack the shit out of him” Principle prevails.

  11. OJ (not that one)

    July 28th, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    From what I recall about the movie, I can understand some of the criticism (in that amount of mayhem, it feels as if more than a few people have died, and Kal isn’t shown to be too broken up about it), but to consider this ‘proof’ that Kal doesn’t care about human people is just silly, so I applaud you for addressing it again.

    Now if you’d just do the same for Superman Returns and recognize it for what it is: the Superman movie that contains all the good stuff from Richard Donner’s version so you don’t have to watch that one.

  12. Is it just me, or doesn’t Superman break half of Metropolis in almost every comic book and damn near half the DCAU cartoons? In none of those have I ever seen him shed a tear. Hell, I’ve never even seen him throw on a goddamn toolbelt and help fix the destruction he routinely causes, so somehow I’m supposed to be offended by his attitude in MOS? Get the fuck outta here.

  13. Also a key factor of a lot of great Superman stories is that they celebrate the Super Man. No I’m not talking about Kal-El I’m talking about the firefighters, paramedics and cops and all those dudes and chicks that competently stand up selflessly to help others in need and don’t need Superman to do all the heavy lifting for them. There have even been stories where they’re like “hey fall back bro we need something to do”.

    I viewed MOS as one of the stories where it’s important to show that Superman handles the shit that humans can’t and leaves what we could do up to us in times where we all need to be the best that we can be. Damn I actually managed to defend something in a movie I didn’t even like. That’s the power of Vern’s post here.

  14. So, Man of Steel and the new Godzilla are metaphors for the War on Terrorism, right?

    That’s the moral, that sometimes innocent people have to die for the common good. Sure, Godzilla is the kind of thing that’s going to casually take down a bridge loaded with buses full of children, and Superman decides to fight Zod in the middle of a major city, but think about what the alternative is. Sometimes, the drones kill terrorists, and sometimes the drones kill children. But it’s all for the common good.

    It’s sort of like how action heroes used to be alone and outgunned, and now the new PG-13 Expendables is about twenty-seven heroes hunting down one villain and some background extras. It’s a different set of core values.

  15. Cracked also pointed out that Chris Reeves’ Superman actually DIDN’T save the people from the Hoover Dam bursting:


  16. I’ve always been pretty neutral on Superman. The standard complaints: too one-dimensional, too goody-good, too invincible thus ultimately unengaging and – you’ll pardon me – alienating. Which is why I found myself increasingly puzzled by the fact that MAN OF STEEL stayed with me so long. The reason is simple and not particularly flattering.

    I couldn’t figure out just what the hell was so wrong with it.

    Like you point out, Vern, mainstream studio criticism is often angry and reactionary. It’s performed with a lot of caps and exclamation points and misspelled words and misplaced aggression (believe it or not, Jar Jar Binks is the least of the Prequel Trilogy’s problems). People become enraged in a way they never would when responding to, say, television or a book, probably because those activities feel voluntary all the way through: I frequently pause my TV programs, usually take a week or more to read a novel, and discontinue either if I lose interest. I have never – NEVER – walked out of a movie theater, and I’ve witnessed some genuine cinematic abominations. Movies demand your attention beginning to end, assaulting you in (when they’re functioning properly) the best way possible. But it’s that very same construct that can illicit an irrational anger if you walk out feeling duped.

    All that being said, MAN OF STEEL is a rather Grade A, top choice, prime central cut of what I’ve come to think of as Blockbuster-Flavored Cinema.

    You remember the old George Carlin bit where he talks about the use of “flavored” as an advertising euphemism versus what it actually means? “Chocolate… flavored.” A brief pause while he lowers his voice for the gravelly translation: “No… fucking… chocolate.”

    The rise of ridiculously budgeted tentpole entertainment as Industry Standard has given way to an alarming number of movies every year that look and sound like the enormous wham-bam entertainment we all love, yet fail in any meaningful way to engage or make us feel. They lack… oomf. A sense of exhilaration. A sense of honest-to-goodness fun. I remember bounding out of the theater after seeing THE ROCKETEER intent on finding a jetpack and thwarting all proximate Errol Flynn Nazis I would inevitably stumble across. I witness present-day kids of comparable age shuffling out of the TRANSFORMERS movies battered and exhausted and mumbling the various racial epithets they just learned. But those movies – and their kin – make tons of money. Why?

    Blockbuster Flavor. As long as you don’t pay all that much attention, that deep-fried, poultry-like, farm-adjacent protein compound more or less kinda tastes like, y’know, chicken.

    The phenomenon makes me Sad Panda, but it’s also somethingI’ve come to expect, and it’s not like bad movies are exclusive to this current time and place. But the problems with said cinema are usually relatively easy to identify. The HOBBIT trilogy, for example, will end up being, all told, about seven hours too long. The recent STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, unfortunately, turned out to be actively confusing to an aggressive degree, continuing the very talented J.J. Abrams’s unfortunate streak of favoring A Lot Of Mysterious Things over a strong emotional through-line.

    MAN OF STEEL, however, puzzles more than any other giant swing-and-a-miss movie in recent memory. Some have chalked it up to It Doesn’t Make Sense, and while (to be sure) some little things may not, the movie in a broad Three Act sense actually hangs together fine. Others have gotten more specific with this line of thought and chalked it up to Plot Holes, which – believe it or not – actually don’t matter if the rest of the movie is functioning properly and making emotional sense. Great movies can be full of plot holes: Why would an air tank improbably lodged in a shark’s mouth explode like a keg of dynamite? How does Andy Dufresne pin his poster back on the wall after he tunnels out? Why would theme park employees drive open-carriage Jeeps within stomping distance of a wild brachiosaurus? But questions like this don’t bother us because the movies are succeeding around them.

    Many fanboys were eager to pounce on director Zack Snyder’s trademark visuals, his speed up/slow down action filmmaking, but I didn’t recall a single standout use of his usual techniques, which I actually found disappointing (I will hold forever that the Old Comedian/Ozy Apartment smackdown is one of the most well-shot fight scenes of the last decade). Plus – again – such trademarks in and of themselves are never a bad thing, and it’s one of the strange tendencies of the internet to equate “recognizable” and “bad”: Steven Soderbergh consistently plays with focus, but talkbackers never get riled upabout that (“Great, now he’s directing a Liberace movie, get ready for 2 hours of focus going from sharp to soft within the same shot!!!! What a hack!!”)

    A lot has been said about the final act of MAN OF STEEL and its relentless (repetitive? punishing?) action. But THE AVENGERS had a similar structure, a similar battle-filled final forty-five minutes, and it was – to many – the most satisfying part of the movie. Granted, there are a litany ofproblems with MAN OF STEEL’s punch-a-palooza that AVENGERS managed to avoid (pace, escalation, stakes, witty banter, civilian casualties), but the, let’s say, AMOUNT of action in and of itself shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

    The issue, however, begins to arise about halfway through this extended Smallville/Metropolis/Zod destructathon, when the audience starts to get a sense that the moviemakers are more interested in Topping All Those Other Big Movies than telling the story most conducive to their own film. They’re focusing on a sense of escalation rather than a sense of wonder.

    And I believe therein, Vern + talkbackers, finally lies the problem.

    Statistically speaking, a truly effective Summer Blockbuster is most often a tale of an extraordinary Something in an ordinary world. This Something can be horrific (JAWS, ALIEN, THE TERMINATOR) it can be wonderful (SPIDER-MAN, E.T., BACK TO THE FUTURE) or it can be a murky in-between (JURASSIC PARK, DISTRICT 9, arguably even BATMAN). All these seemingly disconnected examples have their Something in common: they are incredible, unbelievable, remarkable… and they arise against a very realistic, recognizable human backdrop. A stasis we can all relate to.

    Superman himself has always exemplified this. He was Remarkable incarnate. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. What could be more incredible and unbelievable than that? A literal super man, able to do things none of us could hope to do in a million years. An archetype based around the very pure, very simple notion that we – the normies – could raise our gaze from our everyday world and witness something amazing.

    “Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!”

    And thus – in a tiny little nutshell – everything wrong with MAN OF STEEL.

    Superman is the least extraordinary thing in his own film.

    I’m not talking about the interpretation of the character, Henry Cavill’s performance, the way Superman is handled within the narrative, any of that. I mean that this is a movie which begins on a fantastic alien world ripe with heroics and marvelous creatures, transitions to a series of the most extraordinary events planet Earth has to offer, and concludes with what is basically an INDEPENDENCE DAY-scale otherworldly attempted takeover. Superman himself has no context. He is one tiny cog in a two and a half hour series of cogs that are all brighter and louder and bigger and more explodier than him. It’s a story unwilling to go more than seven or so minutes without a fiery oil derrick or a bus careening off a bridge or a finale-of-TWISTER-scale tornado, and that’s just tallying the things that incidentally happen when there are no supervillains around. Any of these events could be the rousing climactic happening of a slightly smaller movie, here they occur as casually as dialogue. And when the extraordinary is tossed about so casually, it is – at best– unfair to assume that we the audience will proceed to oo and ah when our hero finally learns to fly: it’s the quietest thing we’ve witnessed so far.

    Or to put it another way: imagine if JURASSIC PARK had opened with a twenty minute sequence where John Hammond escapes from a fiery, self-destructing InGen facility by jumping onto the backs of various stampeding dinosaurs. It would have been rousing, exhilarating spectacle, to be sure, but it also would have ruined the movie. When our hero Dr. Grant sees a dinosaur for the first time, he is struck dumb. He stares. His legs go out from under him. His ordinary world has been turned upside down because he is witnessing something extraordinary. And the moment would have been meaningless if we had witnessed anything like it (let alone bigger than it) at any point before.

    But we hadn’t. So it takes our breath away, just like his.

    And that’s when movies work. When they show us a world very much like ours, then proceed to show us something we never dreamed of. Something that feels close enough to touch. Something we recognize in ourselves. The movies can be large or small, but they always seem enormous.

    And they pack a hell of a lot more than Blockbuster Flavor.

  17. Fuck Cracked, pay Vern.


    Superman fights Zod in the middle of a major city because Zod decided to rev up his world-builder (/slash/ destroyer) machine over the middle of a major city and also because MAN OF STEEL is a Superman story and most of Superman’s adventures in my opinion take place in Metropolis.

    I get pissed off when I see an almost-rad action movie take place exclusively at abandoned warehouses and empty Bulgarian fields, and I’d probably be pissed off to see Supes & his enemies fuck up nothing but a cornfield in $200,000,000 blockbuster.

    Why don’t you ask Gandalf why he didn’t do more to lure Sauron’s minions away from Nerdville, Middle Earth or whatever?

    Ask Bruce Wayne why he didn’t become the top capitalist maven /slash/ crimefighter of the mean streets of Des Moines once he realized villains were gonna focus on causing problems to his hometown of Gotham.

    Why doesn’t Daniel-san transfer schools after the first or 2nd death threat from Johnny & Cobra Kai?

    Ask Bruce Banner why, if he can control his anger and control when he becomes Hulk and understands human emotions even when in HulkSmash Mode, he jumped up on all those buildings in Manhattan and shattered all those windows and risked the structural integrity of all those buildings that OH MY GOD MIGHT HAVE CONTAINED INNOCENT CIVILIANS WHO PROBABLY DIED (offscreen) JUST LIKE THE CITY DESTROYED IN MAN OF STEEL WHICH MADE ME ANGRY UNLIKE THE AVENGERS BECAUSE WHEDON IS GOOD AND SNYDER IS BAD even if at the same time Hulk punched a bunch of Chitauri.

  18. It’s kinda weird that people obsess over that “he doesn’t save everybody!” stuff when the movie has so many other more important problems… Is it because “it’s not supposed to be Shakespeare” so when some people don’t enjoy a superhero movie and they don’t want to sound like pedants by saying “the plot sucked” or “the dialogue was terrible” or “are we not allowed to have fun superhero movies anymore instead of that tired ‘dark and gritty’ bullshit?” or “I wish they wouldn’t feel the need to retell the origin story every fucking time” they nitpick over stupid shit like whether or not it’s true to the comic book canon?

  19. “It’s a story unwilling to go more than seven or so minutes without a fiery oil derrick or a bus careening off a bridge or a finale-of-TWISTER-scale tornado, and that’s just tallying the things that incidentally happen when there are no supervillains around. Any of these events could be the rousing climactic happening of a slightly smaller movie, here they occur as casually as dialogue.”

    I *like* that these events happen “as casually as dialogue.” That’s Supey’s world. If he wants to *feel* excitement, he’d better be saving lives and doing super-stuff. He’s not excited by a fuckin’ first cigarette at age 12. He’s not excited by seeing his first naked nipple at age 13. He’s not stimulated by seeing FACE/OFF in the cinema at age 14 (though he should be). He doesn’t have anxiety about applying for colleges at age 17. He gives zero fucks about winning a swim meet against a bunch of country club scions. He doesn’t care about having his shirt tucked in just right before a first date like so many of us in the ’90s.

    Fuck all that “relatable” humanity shit. The joy & catharsis & tension is in realizing he’s, uh, *not* a part of humanity.

    Fuck enjoyment of the prolonged low-key moments to set up the big boom cathartic moments.

    And fuck trying to copy JURASSIC PARK.
    (Would not be as bad as emulating SUPERMAN RETURNS, mind you.)

    “And that’s when movies work. When they show us a world very much like ours, then proceed to show us something we never dreamed of. Something that feels close enough to touch. Something we recognize in ourselves.”
    THAT’S YOUR PROBLEM — Your approach/perspective is totally wrong if you expect or want to see “something you recognize in yourself,” because Kal-El is different, probably better than you, an [impossible] ideal to strive for, an invincible alien from billions (?) of miles away. If you expect to see a reflection, either you or the mirror image is gonna be living in fantasy.

    Gawd, this audience reaction/commentary is doing a lot to enforce the basic escapist/meta-escapist message of SUCKER PUNCH. Dudes paying for entertainment and watching from the dark shadows, titillated by what they [expect to] see yet disgusted by the notion that they are titillated by what they see and what it represents. No wonder the after-effects and nerd-reactions are so violently, irrationally out of whack. Blinded by nerdery.

  20. No, no it is *not* worse. You’re racist against Kryptonians if you think it is. You’re a shallow-thinking isolationist.

    But there was no room for divergent thoughts there. Everyone that wanted to invade the planet was genetically bred to think smashing the planet and it’s inhabitants was the only way to live. There were going to change the whole climate and everything.

    Zod and his crew did not represent anything positive once they started to terraform Earth, they wanted to make it into Krypton, which Man Of Steel paints as a terrible future for our own civilization.

  21. Well then Supes should have laser-eyed the contingent of Kryptonians and the US military should have JDAM’d their equipment as soon as they saw them up close, before the bad guys became somewhat acclimated to Earth’s atmosphere, and then the movie could have been 70 minutes long. Super.

    And there could have been a cat-rescuing scene added to make it 72 minutes.

  22. MAN what did happen with that last post? It’ll teach me to mess around with those codes!

  23. “Well then Supes should have laser-eyed the contingent of Kryptonians and the US military should have JDAM’d their equipment as soon as they saw them up close, before the bad guys became somewhat acclimated to Earth’s atmosphere, and then the movie could have been 70 minutes long. Super.”

    I think that would’ve been great because then the movie could’ve become about what Kevin Costner died for: people not being ready for Superman. Maybe then the movie is about Pa Kent being right or wrong. The fact that’s not even touched upon in the movie itself is nuts. You get the army’s point of view, and Lois Lane’s point of view, but all those people who saw the “You’re not alone” tv thing? What do they think?

  24. For me the bottom line is the movie is dreary and no fun. I personally felt like the level of destruction in the movie was kind of numbing. Whether it’s Superman’s fault or not, who cares? Is it really any fun to watch bad guys utterly lay waste to so much of a city like that? I know that The Big Battle in The Big City is a well-established formula element in this kind of movie but you know what? The Avengers and the Transformers and The Ghostbusters and Christian Bale Batman and Chris Reeve Superman all saved more of their respective cities that the Man of Steel saved of his. When he and Lois have their big kiss they are standing in a desert of ash that looks like a goddamn moon crater. I’ve never seen a superhero/sci-fi/action movie where the villain got away with destroying so much and for me that’s just not a fun or pleasurable experience. But just because I’ve never seen it before doesn’t mean it’s a good thing when it finally comes along. I never saw a superhero dance to disco music either, and when Toby McGuire finally did it in Spidey 3, it turned out it would have been better left undone forever The experience of watching MOS, for me, landed somewhere between “bummer” and “exhausting.”

  25. You’ve really entered crazy territory if you think “Pa Kent being right or wrong” isn’t, like, the core of the entire movie, a philosophical and practical question that’s explored for 90% of the narrative. He and Kal-El literally sacrifice Costner’s character (unnecessarily, probably) in order to clarify to the utmost degree the primacy & painfulness of this very question.

    The death of the Father[s], the onset of adulthood for the son, and the sudden challenge of Zod & company’s arrival changed the calculus of Dad’s initial warnings against revealing Kal-El’s superness. Yeah, Supes couldn’t afford to be all Super-y during childhood; the world wasn’t ready. Then the world changed, and he had no choice but to honor his fathers’ hopes that he’d become like a god while breaking his soft promises to honor their preferred ideals of restraint.

    (Check the priest-conversation scene for a microcosmic hint of how Earth’s world order would have been flipped if Supes came out or was revealed early. Systems would have fallen; nations would have collapsed to anarchy. Imagine the Marcia Gay Harden sub-narrative of THE MIST writ large for the entire Judeo-Christian world.)

  26. So Ben’s never seen INDEPENDENCE DAY.

  27. I think you’re being too literal here, Vern.

    Yes, Superman technically gives a shit. The movie tells us this several times through forced and awkward expository dialogue. The technical, logical, fact is that the fim technically does communicate that he gives a shit.

    The IMPRESSION is that the movie itself doesnt give a shit, because Hack Snyder doesnt give a shit and he gives only begrudging acknowledgement to the idea of giving a shit.

    And that is what people mean when they say “Superman doesnt care” – they mean “MAN OF STEEL doesn’t care”


    Thank you Vern, this is exactly what I feel about the movie and try to argue with people all the time, only you can actually take it a little further and point that there’s actually very little collateral damage during that fight that Superman directly causes. Here’s the two biggest things:
    1. Early on, a building is collapsing around him due to Zod, so he tries to escape it before he gets buried, and he loses control coming out, hitting the ground and colliding with the lower part of a multi-story carpark. (no humans are shown being injured, though some are on the street)
    2. Shortly after, Zod uppercuts him into the air. Superman rights himself and he flies down a building as Zod leaps up at him. They collide halfway, and the shockwave knocks the front of the stonework off the building (again, no humans are shown being hurt)
    Other than that, it’s them fighting in an abandoned construction site, and Zod throwing/punching Superman through buildings, not the other way around.

    Also the “lead them away to a deserted location” suggestion isn’t very practical given the aforementioned “we’ll kill all the Humans” thing Zod has. Superman couldn’t risk leaving Zod with a moment to go after civilians.

    Superman DOES rather recklessly crash himself and Zod through a 7-11(after going through a giant grain silo) in the Smallville fight, and blows up a gas pump (the main building isn’t affected by the explosion, though it does get destroyed eventually I believe). It seems a little implausible that no one would have been hurt by that. He also punches one of the Kryptonians into a stationary train in the trainyard, but that did seem deserted at the time.

    Meanwhile in THE AVENGERS, Iron Man kicks off the battle for New York by shooting all the Chitauri coming through the wormhole he can, raining all sorts of debris down on the people below. He also later learns that their vehicles can’t bank worth a damn from Hawkeye, so intentionally leads them down to the ground level to crash and explode all over the place. And he kills one of those giant space serpents from the inside, which no doubt would cause the carcass to crash God knows where.
    Later, Thor and Hulk intentionally crash another serpent into Grand Central station, but this is played off as a joke by having Hulk punch him.

  29. I am unfettered by nerd expectations or comics, and MOS as a stand-alone film has only increased in my estimation in the few times I’ve seen it. I love the serious-approach treatment to these Batmans and Supermans. It works for me. The human drama draws me in, like Clark struggling with his sense of purpose and destiny. His relationship with Pa Kent. His protectivity toward his Ma. His horror and torment as a kid when he starts hearing people’s non-stop voices and seeing their insides. The testing of his powers when he pulls the school bus out the river. His moral dilemma when he wants to use his powers for revenge on the bullies. And of which he also struggles with as an adult, to humorous effect – when he parks a rednecks truck up a power pole. I like his smile of self-satisfaction after that one.

    More super-hero movies like this please.

  30. ^ON and I suppose as a precursor to the fight that bringing down Zod’s ship was also pretty destructive, but not as much as it would have been if the Airforce had simply been able to shoot the World Engine down with missiles.

  31. anaru — Superman *shouldn’t* care. He shouldn’t give a shit, but for Pa Kent’s shockingly influential (wrong? immoral?) teachings. Am I the only one who considers it the world’s greatest miracle that Kal-El actually *does* care about humans? Thank the gods for Lois Lane giving him the feels, cuz otherwise he’d have almost zero semi-logical reason to stay cool & heroic.

    He’s better than all of us. Despite his step-earth-parents’ best efforts, he’s still an alien with ostensible hopes & hormones to hook up with a cute Kryptonian chica and to unleash his inner-DNA database to repopulate his race/species, not make a middle-class earthling life for himself in a cornfield or at a Big City newspaper.

    And your “Hack Snyder” blurb only serves to reveal your bias. Anyone else helms this movie, you and millions other spectators & Faracis give it a grade ranging from ‘meh’ to ‘yeah!’

    Stu — thank you for backing me up on the THE AVENGERS destruction hypocrisy.
    No one saw the end credits bonus scene and exclaimed, “Whedon doesn’t care about the dead employees of that shawarma joint! Worst movie ever!”

  32. I LIKED Pa Kent being depicted as not knowing just what to do. Because why would being a farmer make you qualified to make those sorts of calls? His warnings to Clark were borne not out of “fuck ’em” attitude, just concern for what would happen to Clark. Some people I know don’t see there being any problems that could come from a 10 year old superbeing getting exposed, even just from the “well what are they gonna do to him? He’s a Kryptonian God”, like Jonathan even KNEW the full extent of his son’s powers(I doubt he took a Big Daddy from KICKASS approach and shot Clark as a kid).

  33. Stu reminds us of Big Daddy shooting Hit Girl…
    Now that’d be an interesting MoS scene —

    Pa Kent and lil Clark playing catch, and boy Clark thinks they’re done so he drops his glove and turns his back.
    Pa Kent, after a second’s brow-furrowing thought, whips the baseball toward Clark’s backside
    (recalling BULL DURHAM and perverting FIELD OF DREAMS),
    hoping to hurt the kid (as a movie stepfather would) or having the kid prove he can’t be hurt.

    Multiple different possibilities here (and all would help contribute to Supes’s “Americanness”) —

    Clark has the ball hit him in the shoulder blade and pretends to be hurt or offended
    (“Why, Dad?!?”);

    has the ball hit him in the shoulder blade and makes clear he’s not hurt
    (“You can’t hurt me, Dad.”);

    quick-turns and catches the ball barehanded like it’s nothing, thus showing he’s superhuman;

    jumps up real quick and avoids the throw altogether
    (and for comic relief the baseball travels under Clark and by Ma Kent’s temple and through a window and the ball hits & dislodges a farm tractor’s parking brake, thus causing hilarious, brief chaos with some barn walls and some crops).


    Call me, Goyer!

    In conclusion go watch BLADE II again.
    (Call me, Goyer!)

  34. You go Vern, you bash that straw man! Bash it good! Seriously though, I don’t know why you torture yourself by arguing against the plainly hyperbolic reactions of internet commenters. Opinions like “Superman is a mass-murderer!” aren’t really worth engaging with. BUT those opinions are definitely coming from somewhere, and it’s not that they were taking a leak when he saved that school bus or that they’re all fundamentalist nerds who can’t let go of their nostalgia for the Donner movies/silver age comics.

    For me this film was a swing and a miss. I felt at arms length the entire time, which is basically the opposite of what I want from a Superman movie. Like SUCKER PUNCH, I feel like if I squint I can maybe-sorta see what Snyder was trying to do, but I’m meeting him more than halfway. Like Pa Kent’s dilemma about exposing Clark feels like it should be the focal point of the film, but all it amounts to is a bunch of vague and cryptic pronouncements about “fate” and “destiny” and a bizarre act of self-sacrifice. Then there’s Snyder’s loose grasp of tone. Snyder said he wanted the destruction to be “mythic” but chooses to depict it in a documentary, Ground Zero style that is more viscerally upsetting than mythical.

    Logically it makes more sense for Superman to tackle the doomsday device on the other side of that planet rather than saving us tiny mortals, but you know that movies aren’t about what’s logical. If it’s a case of, as you say, Superman inspiring humanity to take care of itself while he takes care of the big stuff then I don’t know if it was articulated clearly enough. AVENGERS had that great scene where Captain America takes charge and helps the cops do their job. The MAN OF STEEL formulating a plan with the military seemed more like a temporary alliance between two distrustful opponents. They were willing to go along with the plan in order to save humanity, but I didn’t feel like it was Superman who gave them the resolve and courage to do so. And you may think that the little things (like saving babies) are unimportant next to saving the world from destruction, but I’d say it’s those little things that demonstrate his humanity and allow us to connect with him as a character.

    THAT’S YOUR PROBLEM — Your approach/perspective is totally wrong if you expect or want to see “something you recognize in yourself,” because Kal-El is different, probably better than you, an [impossible] ideal to strive for, an invincible alien from billions (?) of miles away. If you expect to see a reflection, either you or the mirror image is gonna be living in fantasy.

    I guess if the goal was to completely alienate the audience from the protagonist then it was mission accomplished for a lot of people.

  35. Mouth, Independence Day is: (a) a stupid movie, (b) not a superhero movie but more of a disaster movie, and (c) somehow manages to be less depressing than Man of Steel even though it has a higher body count.

    What’s your point, really? That I should like MOS because a stupid movie from 20 years ago also had a lot of destruction?

    Shallow thinking, but what else should I expect from someone who uses a photo of Vanessa Hudgens as his profile pic?

  36. I’ve never seen a superhero/sci-fi/action movie where the villain got away with destroying so much and…

    I’m precisely responding to the precise text of your post. ID4 is a sci-fi/action movie and it very clearly contains more destruction & PG-13 death than MoS.

    I’m right and you’re wrong here.

  37. I look forward to your explication that one of the most successful, most cable-tv-replayed films of all time that happens to deal in aliens that reap worldwide murderous havoc is somehow less reprehensible, more artistically valid than MoS.

    Ya know, cuz Snyder and his cast accidentally made us care more about him as a character than any of the bullshit nonsense emptiness that was Emmerich’s film[s].

    If I see anyone judge an Emmerich film higher than a Snyder film,
    that’s means for automatic disqualification from cinephile and/or nerd discourse.

  38. Dikembe Mutombo

    July 28th, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    I believe the confusion comes from Snyder’s appropriation of 9/11 imagery. You see 9/11 being recreated on-screen and start filling in blanks. Superman’s doing 9/11. It’s a grim spectacle even if we agree, upon examination, that no mass civilian deaths happened. Not that I’m disagreeing with Snyder’s choice, just exploring the reaction it provokes. I actually enjoyed that they turned Metropolis into a FIST OF THE NORTH STAR-style hellscape.

    Mouth – You sound like a psycho dude

  39. Mouth

    1. In a disaster film, the malevolent force in unstoppable and the protagonists’ aim is simply survival.

    2. In a hero film, the protagonist is capable of stopping the force and that is the aim.

    3. Emmerich and Snyder are both talentless hacks who make soulless, empty-brained high fructose corn syrup happy meal movies. Snyder is the worse of the two because he thinks he is making “smart” movies.

  40. Vanessa Hudgens is cute and cuddly. Mouth is not. It’s irony, Ben.

  41. Please refute one point Vern has made and/or one point that I have made.

  42. Man of Steel is probably Snyder’s best film. Too bad that’s not much of a compliment considering most of his films feel and look like 90s music videos stretched out to feature film length. Still, Vern’s absolutely right that the problems with the film isn’t that Superman doesn’t care about saving people. I probably enjoyed the film more than I normally would have because by the time I caught MoS on DVD, I had repeatedly heard that it was one of the worst films of the year. The truth is much more mundane. MoS is perfectly mediocre. For everything I liked about the movie, there’s something that bothers me. I enjoyed Snyder’s switch to a cinema verite style, but I hated his grey and dreary colors. I liked the theme of fathers, but I hated Costner’s contrived and, frankly, kind of silly death.

    I do think there’s something to be said about the ways in which blockbuster films have mined 9/11 imagery in recent years (MoS, The Avengers, Star Trek into Darkness). This strikes me as somewhat unnecessary, especially considering that most of these movies have little of interest to say about 9/11 or the “War on Terror.”

  43. Excellent piece. I’ve been one of the unfortunate souls who’s had to defend this movie against all it’s increasingly zealous haters for the last year and I’ve been waiting for a solid piece like this. It amazes me how so much of the popular consensus surrounding this movie doesn’t even match the facts of what’s on screen.

  44. Crustacean, how is it a straw man argument? I specifically named and quoted several people making the arguments, and you can’t tell me you haven’t seen them made at least in the comments here if not on a dozen other websights and in person. I appreciate your disagreement but I put alot of work into this and that’s insulting to write off a detailed, heavily illustrated, footnoted and researched argument as just some bullshit I made up.

  45. You’re timing is spooky, Vern. I had been planning a little video to basically accomplish what you have here. Excellent work.

    To be honest, I’ve flip-flopped on this movie so much that it’s maddening. I saw it, thought it was pretty darn good. Saw it again, kinda loved it. Saw it AGAIN, and REALLY loved it, and then saw it a few more times on DVD, and also listened to some of the anti-arguments, and slowly began to turn against it. Because, man, haters are relentless. That, and the movie DOES have epic script problems that take some time to see, thanks to the movie having a masterful surface-level sheen that’s enjoyable to a guy like me. In fact, it was this article that really spectacularly made me aware of its issues in that regard:


    I really would like you to read it, Vern, if you can.

    But anyhoo, so I’ve had a mixed mindset with Man of Steel. As of right now…I’ve decided that, yes, I like the movie. I like the visuals, I like the world-building, I like the more hard-sci-fi approach, I like the actors and their performances, and I like the fundamental concept of doing Superman as a more realistic first-contact story.

    But those are all either meta-elements, things that appeal to my wacky taste, or very surface-level stuff. This is basically Superman done like porn: lacking soul or substance and completely wrong about the truth of the act, but damn, its hot and exciting…

    But I’ve never, never wavered in thinking, while some reactions and discomfort is understandable, the slandering of Supes as a mass-murderer is bullshit. You do a great job going over each point and showing how much of it is overreaction or flat-out delusion by most people. That said, I do wish we’d gotten a moment or two of Superman saving random people during the Zod fight. That would have gone a long way toward not making him look quite so…disinterested in all the collapsing building.

    Its really kind of interesting because as you said, this movie does basically nothing new as far as destruction and collateral damage. I’ve seen countless action/super-hero movies that have moments that, in reality, would mean massive loss of innocent life. But you realize its just part of the language of the scene, the flavor of it all. But this movie oddly made people finally realize ‘holy shit, this is REALLY DISTURBING if it really happened!’ Yup…Man of Steel actually made the audience see the reality of such moments in a way that they usually aren’t bothered to.

    That’s such a fascinating phenomenon with this movie, and I think part of is IS that its so jarring seeing a Superman movie, usually so quaint and simple and, um, happy with all this, actually treat it with major gravity and stark realism. That, and after 9/11, I do think we’re kind of forever unable to enjoy such wanton chaos that looks so damn real and visceral. We’ve SEEN the horrifying reality of such destruction. So how can we ever watch it with a silly grin ever again?

    I personally have chosen to tolerate the destruction, both because none of it is actively Superman’s fault thanks to malice (the Smallville fight is actually kinda his fault, but…hey, he lost his cool when Martha was threatened. Shrug), and because I understand the meta-reasons why we really shouldn’t be giving such a damn.

    Again, awesome work, Vern. Seriously, read that article. It’s good.

  46. Well said as always, Vern. MAN OF STEEL is my favorite superhero movie so far. I loved everything about it and I am super pumped for BATMAN VERONICA SUPERMAN

  47. Thank you Vern for crafting this piece. I love the movie and I really have no problem with people disliking it. It’s perfectly fine for you to hate the movie. I’ve gotten tired of the bloggers who exaggerate or make up their own version of what happened. They don’t have to make up shit.

    “Superman didn’t save anyone”

    “But he did”

    “Well, I didn’t see him save anyone in his outfit. It doesn’t count”

    “Okay, we’ll pretend that saving the entire planet doesn’t count, he did save Lois and a soldier in his outfit. We did see that”

    “Doesn’t outweigh what he..blah..blah”

    One thing I like about Man of Steel over the Reeve movies is at least MOS showed the humans being proactive and trying to make a difference (from Perry White to Lois to Colonel Meloni). In the Reeve movies, everyone not Superman are just a bunch of helpless saps needing him to practically wipe their asses. I think back to that shrieking mother in Superman 2 crying about a building tower bearing down on her baby carriage. Even though, she has what seems like 10 minutes to scoop up her baby and flee in time. I guess baby carriages circa 1980 were real expensive and was more concerned over buying a new one. Superman, of course, makes the save, but it was not only predictable and tension free, it seemed a waste of his time. Let’s say, the mother was too paralyzed to move. Any one of those bystanders could have intervened, but they thought: “You know Superman’s busy fighting three of these dressed for disco looking motherfuckers, maybe I should step up and move this mother and her kid out of the way! Nah, best to sit this out.” But they didn’t.

    Speaking of Superman 2, I think the Reeve fans who bitch about MOS as not “their Superman” because he’s not morally upstanding should revisit the second movie with that level of scrutiny. I’m not talking about how he killed Zod either. I believe he’s a real big arsehole in Superman 2.

  48. I think Man of Steel is a great film but the tone may be off-putting for fans wanting a superhero style that’s not quite so grim. I love the term “grim spectacle” mentioned above, I’m going to start using that as the name of this genre. I’d put other recent blockbusters in that genre as well such as Star Trek Into Darkness, Transformers Dark of the Moon, and of course The Dark Knight. You’ve got westerns, space opera, film noir, grim spectacle. That sort of thing.

    There’s been some examination about the collective raising of stakes and how to keep getting bigger the earth has to be threatened every time and this is causing a kind of viewer fatigue. There may be something to that, but I think tone has a lot to do with it. As dark as it may be for our heroes in Avengers and Pacific Rim (for example), it’s not grim spectacle. They’re dark in places for sure, but genre-wise it’s all in good fun (mostly). Like the difference between 300 and Watchmen if we’re going with Snyder. 300 is (obviously) violent and dark, but Watchmen is grim.

    Grim spectacle I guess pushes the boundaries of how to feel about all this destruction, it approaches an uncanny valley of “Wait a minute, am I supposed to be cheering here or what? I wanted to feel like these superheroes could be real in the real world but this is too frigging real!” The scene in Dark Knight where the Joker is taunting the Batman-inspired guy on video before executing him, that’s what I mean. Yikes that is grim in an uncanny valley type way – we are very far away from superhero fantasies at that point and shit is all too real.

    And that’s fine (and awesomely executed), it sort of mirrors the comics and source material anyway. You can prefer DC, Marvel, Dark Horse – or celebrate the strengths of each of them when you’re in the mood. Trying to make one like the other diminishes the impact. Supes has been around so long we all have a lot invested I him I guess, it can be hard to take if it doesn’t match up with expectations.

    So yes, asking the Man of Steel to take a break in the middle of an epic superhero/supervillain beat down, the scale and impact of which has rarely (if ever) been visualized on screen before, to save a cat or an infant or whatever is not going to happen (not in the climax, anyway). Not in grim spectacle.

    PS the screen capture of Perry White reminds me that I still find it very funny that Perry (and company) are stunned still watching the world engine pound the crap out of Metropolis, but as soon as the military shoots a missile that goes awry they wake up and it’s all of a sudden time to go! World engines are one thing but a stray missile, that’s scary!

  49. You’ve been defending this movie since it came out and I just wanted to say cheers… I’m also weary of the “Superman is a murderer” criticsm. I think you’ve illustrated the fallacy of that argument beautifully.

  50. Vern – no offense dude but you’ve written what, 2 official reviews of MOS? Now this? I think the trenches have already been dug and manned on this argument, mate. Not to say this was a waste of time on your part, but….well, it was a waste of time on your part if you’re hoping to change hearts and minds. Or at least for people to quit whining about Zod’s broken neck. You might as well review the STAR WARS prequels and hope folks leave their nostalgic baggage behind.

    But I have good news that should make you feel better. The Internet may bitch about MOS (with alot of bitchings that I kinda agree with), but on the other side of that coin at the very friggin same time, they’re also flipping out for BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, which reads like a Supreme Court case. (I would pay to see Batman kick Scalia’s ass, however.) Apparently the nerds didn’t hate MOS *that* much.

    Keep calm, nerd on.

  51. Please can I agree with everything you said in this excellent piece and still maintain that it’s a terrible movie? Of course I can. Cheers.

  52. “I’m also weary of the “Superman is a murderer” criticsm.”

    Erix – Its very weird how people gave MOS grief for that yet don’t blink an eye when Captain America (awesomely) kills tons of HYDRA guys. Huh? Wha? In fact thinking back on the MCU films, the only one I think where the hero didn’t kill anybody was THE INCREDIBLE HULK. I could watch that again to check, but I don’t want to sit through that blandness again.

    After TWS came out, I seem to remember posting a link to some weirdo claiming that TWS captured a “Golden Age” comic book character better than MOS did with Superman and I still DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK THAT MEANS. Especiall when this argument is being made in a narrative where this 1940s character is in 2010s America and fighting the government. How is that “Golden Age”?

  53. I think people forget Zod is a miliant psychopath intent on genocide. I really, REALLY doubt he’ll accept the suggestion of gentlemanly Queensbury rules fisticuffs in the Sahara desert.

  54. dude – I doubt this will help the discussion at all but honestly if the film had just done that scene better (and movie too?) and made it actually pay off, I think you wouldn’t have people bitching about it so much. I’ve made this analogy, but remember how Nolan’s [redacted] movies made a big damn point about [redacted]’s no-kill code? What if in TDK, [redacted] at the end had killed Joker? Or Two-Face? Man that shit would’ve been fucking devastating. Instead of “meh.”

    I mea jesus, [redacted] more or less killed Ra’s Al Ghul in [redacted] BEGINS and boy the Internet didn’t give Nolan over hell for that, did they? No because people were too bus being enthusiastic as hell over the movie.

  55. Vern, I appreciate the effort you put into this and I agree with you to a point, but I don’t know if “Superman is a genocidal maniac who saves nobody and kills thousands of people!” is a genuine, popular position outside of a hyperbolic internet comments section or two. That’s certainly not what the Faraci article is saying. It seems like you’re lumping them all together as the “The Official Position Of The Internet”.

  56. CL – speaking of Faraci, it seems like every time Badass Digest covers MOS or BVS or whatever, you’ll always have comments which complain about Pa Kent suggesting Clark should’ve let those kids drown.

    Hell Faraci in general, didn’t he actually give MOS a positive review? Yet he bitches alot about WB/DC generally with a clear Marvel bias, which Vern has pointed out before.

    I don’t know what to think.

  57. I haven’t read all the comments, so someone may have already said this, but I know that personally my problem with Man of Steel wasn’t that there was too much destruction or death for a Superman movie, it was just that I felt that the people in the movie weren’t reacting to the destruction at all. I’m okay with the city getting destroyed, I’m okay with Superman killing Zod (although I think the scene could’ve been staged in a much better way – same problem with Pa Kent’s death – I got what the movie was trying to do, but it was staged in a way that made it seem kind of dumb), I just feel like there needed to be more acknowledgement of the fact that those things happened within the movie itself.

  58. But you’ve convinced me to revisit it with an open mind, so we’ll see how it plays on a repeat viewing.

  59. I do think the neck-snap was poorly executed (no pun intended) The principal of the idea is not a problem—-I’m getting sick of a No Kill aesop in fiction nowadays, especially when your enemy is someone who WILL NOT STOP KILLING if you don’t…but whatever.

    The problem is indeed that the severity of the moment was not properly built up. The movie doesn’t make a point to show Clark having a reluctance to kill—his biggest thing is just saving people, boom. No real discussion of if that means killing or tying the guy up, or what. If the movie had made a point to show Clark regularly showing restraint from lethal force or actually saying something like ‘I don’t want to kill anyone. That’s not the answer I believe in”, it would feel like a genuine blow when he has to kill Zod. Instead, it feels odd why he’d be so broken up killing him, when it simply isn’t a massive trait of his character in the viewer’s mind, other than our cultural expectation for him to not like killing. See the issue?

    I had also been about to say its an issue because in the fights beforehand, he was acting in a manner where he had no clue if his blows would indeed kill them, but then I recalled…wait, Supes is invulnerable himself. So he knows EXACTLY how tough they are. So he doesn’t need to worry about throwing them into trains or whatnot. Because he knows they can take it. He just wants to punch them so much they hopefully fall unconscious or, better yet, actually give up and leave…

  60. I’m Team Man of Steel. Well, more like Team Man of Steel With Reservations, with one of the reservations being the shift in focus/tone from the beginning to the climax. I love everything about Clark travelling the world and saving folks because that’s what he knows he has to do. Even more, I love that it’s not treated as some bummer or burden. With that setup, I think I just wanted maybe ONE scene during the climax where he’s worried about doing that; during that sequence with Perry White and Jenny, I totally wanted Superman to fly in and save the day, just as a little nod. Superman Returns (which I still kind of like) does a pretty good job of this by having Clark prevent some of the destruction in Metropolis before flying off to face Luthor (granted, he didn’t have that luxury in MoS since he’s facing Kryptonians, but I think you can script around that). I also think the post-climax drone scene would have been better off set in the chaos of Metropolis, with Superman helping to restore/repair things. Little stuff like that could have gone a long way in changing the tone/perception of what’s going on.

  61. “That, and after 9/11, I do think we’re kind of forever unable to enjoy such wanton chaos that looks so damn real and visceral. We’ve SEEN the horrifying reality of such destruction. So how can we ever watch it with a silly grin ever again?”

    Tell this to viewers of the other dozen+ movies (that made hundreds of millions of $) that depict NYC or Chicago or _______ being razed since 2002.

    Tell this to residents of San Francisco and Oakland, especially fans of their baseball teams (who might rematch this October), every time they feel a tremor, who presumably have “SEEN the horrifying reality” of Luthor’s destruction depicted & exploited in that ’70s Superman movie that no one thinks is controversial.

    Are we allowed to watch the French beach invasion of EDGE OF TOMORROW “with a silly grin,” knowing what we know about WWII? Where’s the offended internet there?

    Do we all think Gus Van Sant is incapable of making a good film since we are disgusted & outraged after ELEPHANT?

    Or maybe we can quit letting Osama bin Laden ruin movies for us. SEALs shot him in the face, remember?

    “it feels odd why he’d be so broken up killing [Zod]”
    He’s not just killing Zod. Superman is killing the final remnant of his entire home planet’s species. He screams in anguish because now he’s the last of the Kryptonian Mohicans, and because the next-to-last of that race was a shortsighted, obstinate, pugnacious asshole who couldn’t be reasoned with, and maybe just maybe a little bit because part of Kal-el’s logic tells him that Zod is/was in fact a superior being who kind of deserved to live more than the family of 4 pathetic American dipshits in the subway he just saved via neck-snap.

    This whole fight isn’t about Vern (& a few others) defending MAN OF STEEL. It’s about journalism.
    Let’s take objective truth back from the Snyder-haters. Hate his work for a reason, but don’t invent reasons that are expressly refuted by the film itself or are refuted by 2 minutes of thoughtful consideration about the film’s likely & obvious intent.
    It’s not about figuratively punching nerds. It’s not about liking a movie. It’s about truth, justice, and the Superman way.

  62. This didn’t really occur to me until today, but didn’t the other Kryptonians get sucked back to the Phantom Zone? If so he’s still not the last Kryptonian. Also, should we worry that they’re gonna find more equipment and come back again?

  63. I loved Man of Steel. It’s quite possibly my favorite super hero film. I never really got into the originals. I always thought the film makers didn’t take Superman seriously enough. Superman Returns was just an extension of that, and I came to the conclusion that I just didn’t care for Superman that much but then Man of Steel came and blew me away. It’s got a very well thought out background, likable characters, and some of the best super hero action ever. I’m not a fan of Snyder really. I liked Legend of the Guardians. That’s really about it. I like his clear visual style though, and while he stays away from slow motion in MOS I still never felt like I didn’t know what was going on (kind of like Spielberg with Saving Private Ryan). But I did feel the raw speed and power of the Kryptonians because of that successful combination of clarity and chaos. Combining Snyder’s visual ability with a competently written script was perfect. It killed me to find out that Thor (trash in my opinion) got such a higher rating than MOS on rotten tomatoes.

  64. Vern thoughtful stuff like this is why you’re my hero. Crustacean, don’t throw in terms that you don’t understand.


    Particularly since Vern’s evidence based response is being made specifically in opposition to a classic straw man argument that picks and chooses items out of context to make the Superman doesn’t care about people argument.

  65. I like this movie. It´s great action-cinema. I haven´t seen it since last year, though. And Superman does what he can to save the human race, so I never really got the “superman as psychopath” train of thoughts. (I would love to see that movie, though…)

    Also, the screenplay is kinda clunky. But not any worse than similar superficial blockbusters. Yes, I like the marvel movies as much as the next fella, but does anybody actually invest in their stories or characters? I don´t. That Doesn´t prevent Captain America and The Winter Soldier from being an awesome kickass action movie, though.

    I am puzzled by all the hatred towards Man of Steel. There must be some deeper reason that people dislike Snyders take on Superman so much (much like the criminally underrated Sucker Punch). I´m not sure if Snyder is underrated or overrated, if his subversive twist in Sucker Punch was weak storytelling or some clever Verhoeven shit, but something in this filmmakers personality definitely pisses people of. And I love that.

    Blitzkrieg made a very solid point about audiences identifying (recognising themselves) in the protagonist. It might be flaws, it might be a fantasy about who we wants to be. In finer storytelling, we often end up identifying with deeply flawed, often almost despicable human beings by the director giving us great insight into their situation. Hell, in Screenwriting for dummies, the first thing you learn is that a character has a want and a need in order to make the audience identify with him. But that´s not always necessary for an action hero. Yes, Macclane wants to save his wife and kill europiens. His surroundings needs to acknowledge that he is fucking badass. That´s a typical male-fantasy, something we can all identify with. Batman wants to confront his childhood-traumas by beating up criminals like the murderers of his parents. He need to chill the fuck out and understand the certain humans become criminals out of necessity, an underlying theme present in the best batman-stories, villains and bat-babes.

    I´ve had a problem with Superman since early childhood. He was just to clean-cut, to nice and correct for me to identify with. He was boring and unrelatable. But I have kinda fallen in love with the Donners Superman over the last few years. Being raised in foster care, traveling to the big city, being a nerd with superpowers, falling in love with mentally unstable women like Margot Kidder etc. Shit, that´s my life right there. I identify.

    I am also fascinated by Superman as the american jesus. He is an emigrant who grows up to be the american we all aspires to be; the strong and morally superior man, who uses his powers for good. Thats what we wanna be like. Thats why I like Superman. He is something worth striving to be.

    Snyders superman is not an american. He is a frigging alien. And I don´t wanna be him. But I kinda am.

    The (awesome) teaser might be a big part of the reason that this movie pisses people off. Superman is presented as a human child / young man, living among us, with great potential. We are almost promised a story about an man, like you and me, who realises his potential and stuff. It´s a recognisable romantic fantasy, a standard methaphor on growing up and realising your potential, but NOT what the movie is.

    The movie kinda tells that story, but Superman is never one of us, and that´s the fucking point. He is not your typical jesus, a young guy growing up believing he is human, and then realising that he has a higher purpose, but standing by the humanity who gave him a nice and comfy childhood. Nope, Snyders Superman is presented as a loner, an outsider, a child with mental problems who’s only connection with humanity is his loving mother. His father (what a fucking asshole, btw) repeatedly begs him to keep his distance from people around him, even letting them die so he doesn´t reveal his alienness. When he finally does, the world sees him as a threat and wants him gone. Thats some radical shit right there. Superman / America using his powers in a pretty brutal and non-christian way. It´s not how we wanna be. We wanna be the morally superior superpower. But off course, neither Donners Superman or Jesus had to deal with 9/11 stuff like Snyders Superman (or we) do.

    Nope, Snyders superman has already recognised his potential, he knows he is powerful, but the movies structure visualises his dilemma of giving a fuck. It´s not a story about Superman becoming a saviour, but a question about why he should bother. “Satan” is tempting him with leaving the unloving America, and he even accepts, only to realise that his people are kinda evil, even worse, than earthlings. So he chooses the lesser evil, not out of love and pride for his country, but because they are not as bad as the other fella.

    Anyhow, Superman kills and becomes one of us; The American Jesus. Now the army wanna play with him and the girls thinks he is hot. Yeah, he cries and stuff when he has to compromise everything he believes in, but at least he is no longer a foreign peace loving pacifistic alien, but a real american; one of us.

    He is not who we want to be, but who we need to be (because of terrorists and stuff). Somebody who uses his superpowers to terminate a threat to the free world. A world, who turned his back on him because he´s a weird freak.

    Again; I´m still not sure if Snyder is an idiot child or a genius who makes subversive movies, designed to piss of his audience. Maybe he is both. But there is definitely something going on beneath the spectacle, and that enhances my enjoyment of his action spectacles a lot.

    In conclusion; yes, I love Donners Superman, and thats who I wanna be. But Snyders killer-alien is a more interesting character, highlighting some personal issues I have with alienation, disgust with the human race, and the eternal dilemma of wanting to fit in or not giving a fuck. MOS is a reflection on being a part of our fucked up society, not merely a fantasy bout saving it, and I suspect that´s the real reason so many fans are pissing and moaning about Superman being an american killer as opposed to being a clean-cut american saviour.

  66. ps: I think I like Snyder because he´s anti-bay. Remember when Optimus Prime kills the evil bot in Transformers 2? It´s supposed to be fucking awesome and badass. When Superman kills evil alien in MOS, it´s supposed to be tragic. Bay is all about America being “most awesome superpower in the world, dude!!!”. Snyder is a bit more mature (and subversive) in his perception of everything we think is awesome and cool.

  67. I think that this is a pretty compelling argument — it did seem a little contrived that there were TWO world engine, one specifically on the other side of the world so that Superman had to leave for a little while (and of course it WAS contrived, it was a movie, everything is contrived, but I think it’s not supposed to SEEM contrived). The wreckage doesn’t necessarily bother me, I guess.

    I do think that Snyder probably wasn’t thinking that Superman was using his x-ray eyes to only knock people through empty buildings, because I think if he had thought of that we would of seen it — in fact, I think just five seconds of Superman looking through the buildings, seeing people evacuating, and then purposefully knocking Zod through an empty one would have not only allayed vritually all of the angst that fans had, but it also would have gone some way to actually raise the dramatic stakes even further, because it would have made it clear that Superman isn’t just fighting Zod, he’s got to find a way to steer Zod in this fight. I think that would have helped, but I agree that this isn’t a dealbreaker, and that these fights are pretty good.

    I do have a problem with Superman killing Zod, though. I guess this is maybe me being nitpicky, but I personally think the position of “it’s okay to kill someone as long as you have to and then you feel bad about it” is a pretty insidious moral proposition that was unncessary (just structurally, the fight with Zod is almost entirely anti-climax; the brawl with Zod could have just preceded him getting knocked into the singularity with everyone else) and is largely unjustifiable.

    I know that it seems weird to advocate an absolute “no killing, ever” stance here, of all places, but I think part of the issue is that we have plenty of stories that make the argument that it’s okay when you have to do it. I think we’ve got so many that we take this moral standard as read, instead of asking a serious question about it by showcasing a stricter sense of morality. Even the excuse of “oh man, he felt so bad about it” doesn’t really seem to me to hold water, because when you put it this way, it turns the pain of conscience into an obstacle that he has to overcome –when Faora tells him that his desire to preserve life is a weakness that is going to hold him back, she’s right, and Superman overcoming his desire to preserve life at all costs is what the final dramatic moment of the story is about.

    Yes, Superman, you’re able to save the day and punch out the world-engine, but are you able to abandon your own moral code when the time comes?

    This is the thing that I think is pretty insidious, especially because in the other fantasies we see, where this is the standard, we don’t really see the toll that killing takes on another human being (obviously, yes, sometimes we do, but almost inevitably whoever it was that was horrified by what they’ve had to do is bombarded by exhortations that they forgive themselves, again turning conscience into an obstacle between the hero and justice).

    And it’s especially problematic because the whole point of Superman is that at the end of the day, he CAN endure anything, suffering anything in order to find a way to do it without killing. Batman isn’t invincible, he can’t do that; Iron Man isn’t invincible, he can’t do that. But the whole point of Superman is that he can be a fantasy of absolute good; he’s a hero that can take it, in other words, that never has to compromise his values. And so taking the story of Superman and making it into a story in which a scenario is clearly contrived in order to force him to abandon his ethics in order to protect other people wasn’t just specifically unnecessary in this case, but it runs contrary to the actual purpose of Superman. It makes him just like any other hero, except he can punch bigger things.

    So, that is my two cents, I guess. Wrecking Metropolis is fine; killing Zod is a bridge too far.

  68. Jor-El himself could not have formulated it better.

  69. holy shit, lots of passion from all sides for this one. I loved this article, and I really did enjoy that movie. Seems like i argue with coworkers a lot on this one, but I’m pro-Snyder, pro-MOS, i think you made your point very well and it was a good one to make

  70. I have to get this off my chest. I fucking hate that Badass Digest gets linked here all the time. I don’t want to read Badass Digest. I don’t care what Devin Farraci says – he’s a fucking idiot. I don’t read his site and I really despise that someone with such a small profile has managed to throw his diaspora onto other sites I do care about.

    Stop quoting Badass Digest. They are dumb. They have dumb, unexamined reviews. They make dumb, incoherent points. They have dumb commenters. I disagree with Vern all the time but he does not make his points in a dumb way. The commenters here are not dumb. Please don’t quote or mention Badass Digest or Devin Farraci. Nobody should care about Badass Digest. They are Buzzfeed for action movie nerds, run by a dumb nerd who constantly says stupid shit.

  71. Great piece and totally on the mark.

    One stream of hater comments that cracks me up are those that argue (including a bunch of reviewers) that it isn’t a real Superman movie because he killed Zod, given that Superman killed Zod in Superman II, except in that one he broke his hand first for fun, and then as opposed to screaming in pain for having done it, smiles with Lois when she kills the other mortal woman. There is a little bit of that Star Wars nerd thing happening where as a ‘real’ fan you are only allowed to like the first one as 2, 3, 4, Returns and especially Man of Steel don’t count.

    Regarding Badass Digest – Faraci has spent a long time ticking every practice box of charismatic leaders and new religious movements. He’s very good at baiting, alienating and banning dissenters and when you are working a crowd of natural misfits who also happen to come from the primo cult group (educated middle class young adults) you have group-think operating at its absolute finest. He literally gets to set the tone for his flock.

  72. “You’re saying he’s got a story with thousands of awesome deaths, and he’s gonna resist showing them. In your view, Zack Snyder – and I cannot emphasize this enough, Zack Snyder, the director of 300 and SUCKER PUNCH – is not gonna show people tumbling out of buildings in slow motion, not gonna show people getting zapped and burned to ash, he’s not gonna show bodies piled up dramatically, their mouths hanging open, eyes rolled over, nothing?”

    I don’t disagree with your article in the slightest but I have to point to WATCHMEN as a more apt example. In that one he was supposed to show New York strewn with dead bodies following the psychic squid teleportation but instead showed the citizens getting vaporised by Dr Manhattan’s energy with no mess.. And that was an R.

  73. I thought the changed ending of Watchmen actually worked a lot better than the squid monster, but you’re right, there was a lot of carnage in the comic that the movie left out. However, and i haven’t read the comic in a long time nor have i watched the movie in ages, but I seem to remember the violence of the movie being amped up beyond where the comic goes in a few scenes. I really loved Watchmen, maybe i should bust that one out, as well as Sucker Punch and shit, why not, Man of Steel

  74. Blitzkrieg – “But THE AVENGERS had a similar structure, a similar battle-filled final forty-five minutes, and it was – to many – the most satisfying part of the movie.”

    It’s funny to read this because I found that to be the most exhausting part of an already lackluster and pretty shitty movie. Just like the third act of MOS. But I also know my opinion is the minority when it comes to that since when it comes to THE AVENGERS and the Marvel movies in general the honeymoon still isn’t over with most people.

  75. Randy – “I thought the changed ending of Watchmen actually worked a lot better than the squid monster”

    Strongly disagree. It just failed to pack the same thematic punch. With that said I enjoyed WATCHMEN for what it was despite all it’s flaws (ending included).

  76. The Original Paul

    July 29th, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Ok I got nothing, except to ask Majestyk this:

    “Will Smith says ‘Welcome to Earf’ in INDEPENDENCE DAY”

    Wait… are you saying he DOESN’T? I saw that movie four or five times, damn it! That one line and the alien-nerd glass collision are the best parts!

  77. The Original Paul

    July 29th, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Broddie – I feel you, at least. The only ones I really like are the “Thor” movies, which is kind of ironic given what seems to be the general attitude towards those.

  78. Yeah Randy, you’re totally right. I actually forgot about the bones jutting through limbs and the mess of entrails left by Dr Manhattan for a moment. Thinking about it brings a smile to my face though :)

  79. braak – good point about them showing the x-ray vision of the buildings if that’s what they intended. It would’ve been cool and would’ve slightly chilled out some of the angry people. But not that much I’m sure. I still would’ve had to include a screengrab of that part to remind them it happened.

  80. HardlyWalken – Your point is noted. I don’t know, I like reading Faraci because I think he’s a smart and good writer, who often writes about interesting topics. It’s true that his attitudes often infuriate me, so maybe there’s a masochistic part of reading him too. But I’ve noticed him struggling (with varying success) to be more positive and less toxic since his Chud days, so there is a compelling redemption narrative there too. Anyway, I like seeing what he has to say and there are certain times where he likes something I would expect him to automatically hate and it piques my interest. Which is one of the things I love in film criticism.

    Also Evan Saathoff and Brian Collins cover some good stuff on there and I’m still trying to figure out a way to be the super villain who defeats Film Crit Hulk but I couldn’t even name a bad guy from the Hulk series. I guess I would be Nick Nolte? I could live with that.

    I do agree with AU that the comments there sometimes have a cult-like singlemindedness, but I’m interested in how they’re the opposite of Ain’t It Cool newsies. On Ain’t It Cool the talkbackers are racist sexist maniacs, on BAD they accuse everything of being racist and sexist.

    Anyway, if you have recommendations for better movie news and discussion sights I’d love it. I got other ones I check out but most of them are very cut and paste press release oriented which I don’t like as much. BAD has more heart to it.

  81. Thank you!

    These are the arguments I’ve been making fro the start. I loved the film and was surprised by how much people seemed to miss just to keep their argument going. I’ve made the evacuation argument, and the lack of bodies argument.

    I like Snyder. He’s not the best, but he’s great at visuals. What he is not great at is subtext. If as many people had been killed as people want to claim, we would know it, plainly. He would have shown as much as he could without getting an R rating. H would have had people mention it and probably give a specific number. Did people die? I’m sure they did, but a lot of people clearly evacuated, or weren’t in the buildings to start. And a lot of the likely deaths happened while Superman was on the other side of the world.

    He did a lot to save humanity when he could have easily had his home world back. To say he didn’t care is ridiculous.

  82. Dikembe Mutombo

    July 29th, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    HardlyWalken – I hear you but they actually have some sharp commenters. The discussion in the comments of the SNOWPIERCER review really influenced how I thought about the movie:


    I don’t really care about the ‘community’ there or anything but for a fanboy site they have a better commenter base than most. You can find some insightful shit if you become adept at skimming over the lightweight stuff.

  83. Vern – just FYI I was venting my spleen a little. It doesn’t send me into a frothing rage…but I just feel like over the last 24 hours every fuckin’ website that I’ve visited has somebody saying “But Devin Farraci of Badass Digest says…” and dang if I don’t want to bitch about it a little.

    Vern, I gotta tell ya bud that I don’t feel DF is a good writer at all. Like I’m not a particularly sharp dude but every time I’ve ever been linked to one of his “good” articles it’s just fantastic garbage that’s full of holes and stupid-ass half-baked opinions. Stuff I could have written myself. I mean, crack open the review of a good critic and the review is full of quotable passages, clever phrases or observations, that kind of thing. Crack open a Badass Digest review and you get a review based around inventing the strawman that “Superman doesn’t save anyone”. If you can’t get basic facts like this correct, then you have no business reviewing movies. And the general public agrees. No one is citing Farraci. He is not being invited to film panels (at least none that I know of) and he’s not making a splash beyond his little corner of the internet and as a guest on his friend’s podcasts. The only impact he’s make in when these weird cultists bring up his opinion on the interweb. Like fucking Candyman, only instead of getting murdered I have to read this doofus’s opinions.

    Anyway enough of that. I’ve said my piece. People who sincerely think that Superman didn’t save anyone have jumped on the “Not MY Superman!” wagon so hard that the wheels fell off. You can’t argue with them anymore. Facts will not save you. They’re denying reality because they’re mad that Zach Snyder chose a version of the character that they didn’t agree with. And I don’t want to engage that at all. I would much rather focus on the good stuff, or interesting comments or observations from commenters (even those I disagree with). Godspeed y’all. Have fun Vern and thanks for readin’ my comments!

  84. Good rebuttal, Vern. I’m on board with what you, and many others here, are saying.

    MoS is an odd bird. It’s tonally all over the place. The Flash Gordon intro is really strange and awesome. The Malick parts are kind of great. And the rest of the movie is pretty solid.

    I’ll never understand someone who praises THE AVENGERS but gives MAN OF STEEL crap. Outside of some funny quips I found AVENGERS to be kind of boring, and its spectacle felt cheap and lame. MAN OF STEEL at least felt like a blockbuster. I still prefer TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON for large city destruction spectacle, though.

    One thing I do like about MAN OF STEEL, and something you touch on, is how there are lots of little moments. I liked seeing other people try to save one another instead of just waiting for Superman to do it for them. I like how the movie isn’t quite as fascistic in its use of the hero story, instead it’s a lot more democratic and humane. It’s a flawed movie, but there’s enough interesting pieces to chew on. Something like WINTER SOLDIER: A CAPTAIN AMERICA TALE is probably a more enjoyable movie, but I can’t remember anything about it. MAN OF STEEL has some meat to mull over. That has to have value.

  85. Paul: He very clearly enunciates the “th” sound. Claiming otherwise is kind of racist, in my opinion.

  86. Mouth—let me clarify what I meant.

    I meant that, after 9/11, I suspect you just CAN’T do photorealistic apocalyptic building destruction without hitting some disturbed nerve in American viewers. That’s how damaging the event was. I’m saying the combination of the weird factor of a darker, more violent, and less goofy Superman movie, with a Superman who doesn’t go out of his way to save kittens during the Zod fight, mixed with the imagery that looks stunningly real, creates an unsettling effect where its not fun, but sparks a revulsion in some people.

    We are being reminded of 9/11 imagery, and see Superman, the poster boy of ‘saving people’, NOT doing such, but focusing on punching some alien zealot…I bet you some folks watched this with a Fridge Horror effect of ‘Good God, if this WAS 9/11, it would be unforgivable for Superman to be ignoring the innocent people dying everywhere.’

    Like I said, this movie somehow shattered the usual barrier audiences have between dismissal of carnage because ‘its just a movie’ and the reality subtext. And its a hard to explain phenomenon, hence why so many fans seem to have a problem getting to the bottom of what, precisely makes it so ‘awful’ other than personal emotional biases or typical comic-book purist thinking.

    Those other disasters you name…sure, they don’t cause that kind of PTSD trigger effect in viewers. But 9/11 was very unique thanks to a million factors, and so when you use 9/11 imagery in blockbusters, i think it has its own special effect on us as American viewers.

    As for these many movies that use it being big hits…um, Man of Steel was a hit box-office wise, but aren’t we here because its such a polarizing flick? box-office doesn’t indicate popular opinion on the work itself. I’ve no idea how it works, really…

    All in all, don’t forget also that I actually LIKE the movie, and generally defend it from the irrational hatedom out there. But I’d be a moron to say its not got some big issues, both writing and meta-wise…

    And about Zod’s death being tragic for THAT reason…I’ve read that idea before, and if that’s indeed what the moment was supposed to represent, I’d be much more okay with it. I just was pointing out how the most popular interpretation of it, which is that Supes is broken up over having to kill ANYONE, makes it a poorly-built-up dramatic arc moment for Clark. I wish someone would just interrogate the shit out of Goyer and Snyder and get definitive answers to all this shit, but nobody ever asks the right laser-guided questions in interviews…grrr.

  87. Don’t worry about interviewing Goyer and Snyder. Death of the author, man. The text stands on it’s own.

    I choose to interpret Superman’s anguished cry as the realization that he’s become Zod’s tool of vengeance against that which Zod hates most: Zod, for failing to protect Krypton at every turn.

  88. “This didn’t really occur to me until today, but didn’t the other Kryptonians get sucked back to the Phantom Zone?”
    Honestly, I really don’t know about that. Yeah, the device is made from a “phantom drive”, but that was specifically being used for interstellar travel. When talking about the thing they’re creating, all Superman says is it would create a singularity. “Like a black hole?” he’s asked, and he confirms, and that’s all that seems to happen when it gets activated. It probably IS meant to be The Phantom Zone, it just seems like they did in an extremely crude way compared to how it was shown when they were originally imprisoned their, with the suspended animation dildo-shaped rocket ships and such.
    “Also, should we worry that they’re gonna find more equipment and come back again?”
    Well they’d have to escape the PZ first, and that’s not easy. Though maybe not being restrained they can move about freely. MAN OF STEEL clearly takes some inspiration from the “LAST SON” storyline which reconstructed Zod as a misguided military leader trying to save Krypton rather than a megalomaniac trying to just take over the planet, and in that, there was a thing about how within the PZ was a Kryptonian prison building that got sucked in their by some accident, and it somehow retained it’s tangibility (the PZ usually shows that nobody can touch each other in there and time doesn’t pass, meaning no one can get hurt and nothing can really be done) and they figured out a way to get out from the technology in there.

  89. Are people now turning on The Avengers? Really? Like every major blockbuster of the last decade, the Avengers’s climax is overlong and exhausting, but I think it’s better than most because Whedon made it about more than just stopping an invading army of aliens. Like any good liberal, Whedon has always struggled with the question of the individual vs. the collective, and this conflict serves as a major theme in the Avengers. None of the superheroes are able to get over their own sense of individuality and work together as a group. (Whedon is a natural when it comes to depicting group dynamics). The final battle illustrates ways in which these individuals function as a single unit. This is especially clear in the long single shot that shows each superhero working with each other as a collective. For me, the finale of the Avengers felt like it has more of a clear purpose than in most summer blockbusters. I also think Whedon might be the only director who manages to really exert his own personality on a Marvel film. In addition to the individual vs. the collective theme, he also smuggled in some of his third wave feminism and his distrust of institutions. The Avengers may not be the best superhero film ever, but I think it’s unique, and if there’s a backlash brewing, then I wholeheartedly disagree.

  90. Well I’M not, I’m just aware there’s some hypocrisy in some of the criticism of MOS that could also be leveled at AVENGERS.

  91. Fair enough, Stu. I like the Avengers, but it does have the most pointless 9/11 allusion of all the post 9/11 blockbusters. The scene following the battle of New York where people are putting up names and images to find love ones is clearly a reference to 9/11, but since the film doesn’t even engage with a discussion of terrorism it seemed unnecessary.

    But back to MoS. I’m lukewarm on the film generally, but the superhero movie criticism I dislike the most is that it doesn’t represent the character a single viewer has in his head. In other words, I can’t take the critique that “It’s not my Superman.” I would have preferred if Superman hadn’t killed Zod, but I don’t think it’s so outside the realm of possibility that it negates the character. And arguably, it’s not as bad as Batman killing in the Burton films. That’s not to say that you can’t criticize that moment in the film, but you need to say more than Superman wouldn’t do that. At least, that’s my opinion on the subject.

  92. lol HardlyWalken @ Candyman reference for Faraci (ironically a true comparison with the advent of Google alerts that drive validation junkies like Devin)

    Dun think you can get what you are looking for with Film Crit Hulk Vern. He has quite literally no capacity for insight, but he is very intelligent and has an astonishing memory (in things that interest him) such that he fakes insight (including to himself since he doesn’t understand it). I’ve run into a bunch of people like him, they usually have acquired brain injuries or more commonly Asperger’s, in his case prolly undiagnosed…

    Their comments are opposite of AICN because Devin set the rules at BAD from day 1 and has banned a truck load of people. He’s overdone it unfortunately with the consequences I mentioned above, otherwise it might have become a worthwhile place to engage some deeper movie debate. AICN has been around forever, and conversely never bans anyone, and Harry is remarkably even more narcissistic than Devin. BAD has a more grounded support team too (Meredith and Brit are interesting writers, Brian & Evan suck balls but cover lots of unique stuff anyway which is good to see and worth skimming, HULK is usually worth skim-reading).

    In Mad Max terms, Harry is Lord Humungus welcoming anybody and everybody because he wants the biggest tribe, while Devin is Tina Turner with his plebs flinging pigshit below and chanting in unison.

  93. RBatty024-I actually think that ‘fliers of missing persons’ thing from Avengers was absolutely realistic and a brilliant move. In a single stroke, Whedon did acknowledge there would be some massive mourning over this event, but without a big montage of people weeping over dead bodies and crap. Its brief, but even though its kinda swept up in the more optimistic nature of the rest of the montage, at least Whedon did give us a clue that yes, there was loss of life, and the world DID react strongly to it.

    Whereas Man of Steel gave us zero notice of how the world feels about the battle of Metropolis, instead leaving it for a sequel. Which is a massive mistake, IMO, because THAT is part of what makes a lot of people think the movie is callously ignoring the tragedy of it, in favor of a strange, tonally-all-wrong ‘cute’ ending with Clark and Lois.

    Though, I admit, it IS a cute moment, with a wonderful pun. Just…the worst fucking timing ever, is all. After what we just watched…this movie needed to end on an ominous, ‘everything has changed, and the world is going to be PISSED’ note, not a giddy happy ending.

  94. HardlyWalken is telling truth. About one out of every 25 articles on the misnamed “badass digest” website is worth a read.

    Faraci is a mediocre writer/thinker, and he possesses no more credibility than any of the talkbackers here;
    I won’t read a book if he writes it or download a podcast if he talks it.

    Maybe 2 out of 25 if you consider “hate reading” a thing. It’s an extremely nerdy venture, that site.

    But they publish a bunch of posts, so it’s okay to check in with Evan S. and co. every couple of days.
    4% success rate is pretty good outside of Vern’s dojo. Worth a skim and occasional click.

    I personally hate studio rumors, trailers/previews, and esoteric comic book movie jibber-jabber, so I’m not the target audience. Big ups to BA.D. for their liberal politics, though; they don’t shy away from feminism in current pop culture events or feminist-related discussions that reach into the wayback machine. That’s good shit. That’s badass.

    Jonathan — it’s possible I’m impossibly jaded on the issue of 9/11 depictions because of my experience at both Manhattan and the Pentagon. 184 innocent people died that day in DC, and apparently no one, apart from the people who literally walk the halls of that magnificent building, remembers them. New York doesn’t own that tragedy. (If anything, Pennsylvania *should*.)

    We don’t get freaked out every time we see in movies an airplane in trouble or an airborne missile trying to cause trouble; we know that that way tears lay.

    If motherfuckers want to come at Snyder and Snyder fans because of destruction imagery, I got the response to their false sensitivity right here.
    (bites & flicks thumb)

  95. Mouth-fair enough. I’m admittedly talking from the perspective of one of the tiny little American nobodies that probably are a little sensitive to such imagery, since it honestly depresses me now, seeing all that carnage gleefully shown with no regard for the serious tragedy of it’s real-life implications. I’m with you that this really doesn’t deserve to be treated as an unforgivable flaw of the film. I just think its…unfortunate, and should maybe have been handled a touch differently, I suppose…

  96. Now that y’all have brought it up, yeah, it would be cool if Kal L. Kent had used his super-vision and super-hearing to see/hear if certain buildings were empty before he allowed himself to be smashed into them.

    That would make for a great shot/scene and could have recalled the early “almost kicked out of elementary school” freakout scene, as well as integrating with the notion that Zod takes a long minute to learn how to control his senses on Earth.

    And Supey focusing his senses on a block to determine if it’s populated or evacuated would be a perfect moment for Snyder’s trademark slo-mo aesthetic. (“A heightened sense of things…” was a major theme of 300 THE MOVIE, by the way.) Alas…

    Wish we’d focus-grouped this thing for WB and Snyder 16 months ago. Oh well.

  97. If a movie requires an internet article to explain it, then it failed at conveying its message.

  98. … but if it requires *3* internet articles to explain itself, then it conveys a lot of messages.

    But that’s the thing — MoS only needs to explain itself in reaction to the internet reaction.

    That’s what all the above screengrabs are for. To clarify & present the simplicity & obviousness of the film.

    To defeat the many internet articles that didn’t need to exist in the first place.

    A lot of people who are paid to write about movies online are bad at watching movies.
    Their little commenting fans are worse, and their stupid outrage is free.

  99. Film criticism for the most part has followed the trajectory of industrialized, western civilization and descended into a base, fanatical materialism. I love reading Vern’s ruminations on ‘filmatism’ as a counterpoint to the spirit of our age because I feel that he unconsciously grasps that the flickering image on the silver screen cannot simply be dissected and boiled down to component elements and appraised in isolation. Each new film experience is part of a continuum that bleeds into other film experiences. Even the seemingly banal and disposable may have some unrevealed merit.

    So it is with alarm that I find our host has taken on a Sisyphean task. Vern has presented forensic level analysis in support of his assertion that the film Man of Steel ‘gets a bum rap’. In doing so he has condemned himself to a never ending struggle. The cold fist of reason is well suited to the street level adventures of The Dark Knight, but it is a technique ill-suited to the defense of our modern Solar Hero.

    The sun rising in the morning is veiled in blue mist. The noon sun is radiant, yellow is its color. At rest on the horizon the sun is red. Blue, yellow and red – the color of Kal-El’s garments. Like Osiris, Brahma, Mithras, Apollo and yes, Jesus, the Man of Steel is a solar deity and is identified with the Principle of Good. His stories were not told in temples but were chronicled in four color ‘funny books’.

    Superman as an influential deity / fictional character has the greatest responsibility of any superhero. He is a personification of the strongest, most beneficent force in our Solar System, the Sun! It is fitting that one of the critics of “Man of Steel” stated “It would have been as easy as having Superman save ONE baby in a stroller to show his concern. That’s all that was needed.” On the surface, a flip comment, but also a resonant one. Babies represent new life, something to be nurtured or rescued by the Sun. If Zack Snyder had his Superman rescue this hypothetical baby it sadly would have been too late because a newborn also represents innocence. Our innocence was lost some time ago and our Solar Father was not present to prevent that loss. We hate him for it.

    When the twin towers fell all those years ago, it was the real life manifestation of our fascination with fictional disaster porn. The real life super-villains behind such an obscenity served up Hollywood images to us outside of the cinema and it was no longer entertaining. The cultural shock wave not only influenced the material world but also spilled back over into the fictional world. When our four color heroes arrived afterwards in all their digital, photo-realistic glory they were projected onto a backdrop of urban shock and awe.

    It is a fruitless exercise to document the body count or displays of compassion displayed by the members of the Avengers in one of their celluloid outings. Their entertaining adventures cannot be compared to Man of Steel because it is simply not a comparison of kind. We are royally pissed at Kal-El because he did not prevent the fictional chaos bleeding over into our real world. As the ultimate superhero we project our anger on to him, an absent father who was not there to save us. Iron Man, Captain America and Thor have the advantage of not being saddled with such weighty expectations.

    Superman is also The Man of Tomorrow, the ultimate template for what our species should have striven for in the post-world war environment. We are quietly devastated that the celluloid incarnation that met us in 2013 was actually a reflection of us. Not an omnipotent solar being but an amazingly talented person trying to hold things together as the world crumbles around him and many people lose their lives.

  100. Can’t help but wonder if the real reason people were (somewhat erroneously) complaining about Supes not being heroic enough is that the movie is so unremittingly self-serious and grim about everything. I think it may be a tonal problem more than an actual narrative one. It seems like the OG Superman (which I’m completely ambivalent about) did more or less the same things with the character, but its pulpy, charming good-natured tone didn’t invite you to really think about the consequences of these kind of superpowered shenanigans. But MOS sure does. If you’re a movie that invites you to imagine the terrible consequences of this kind of power, I guess you can’t be too surprised when people start actually imagining it and thinking it’s not a whole lot of fun. With something a little lighter and goofier, you might not be inclined to think about the potential death toll, but it seems like Snyder wants you to here.

    I have no particular connection to the character Superman and don’t care at all how faithfully he’s portrayed, he could murder people all day long for all I care. But it would have to be more fun than this, otherwise it doesn’t matter how nice the visuals are, it’s gonna be a drag and bum me out.

  101. Tim Horan-that last paragraph was actually quite a gut-punch. Because that’s a rather eerie, depressing possibility…that the haters of the destruction are influenced by some subconscious horror that this Superman is not the savior figure who can do and fix everything, that we desperately want in this cynical, angry world. In that sense, this movie is like negative reinforcement of their collective despair over the world, not the uplifting ‘good WILL win, don’t you fucking worry’ movie many starved for. In that sense, I pity those folks, because I understand that desperation for a sense of joy and optimism in their blockbusters.

    So maybe what we need is a new ‘Star Wars’—a super fun, black-and-white, good-beats-the-holy-fuck-out-of-evil crowdpleaser to give us hope in the wake of a depressing and cynical couple of years. Which makes it odd why so many dismiss and degrade Pacific Rim, which is EXACTLY going for that kind of uplifting moral/tonal simplicity that the fans apparently wanted for Man of Steel. But whatever…

  102. I must be the opposite, because I love MAN OF STEEL and hate PACIFIC RIM. I got way more golly-gee-whiz spectacle and enjoyment from MOS’s operatic devastation than PR’s sloppy slugfests.

  103. I actually thought PR had a grimmer tone than MoS. And I couldn’t get invested in PR’s characters, particularly Hunham’s. I like what they were going for, with his brothers death and him coming back to fight when duty called etc. MoS’s drama and action was much more emotionally engaging for me.

  104. Jonathan – The time is ripe for a new take on an old story to resonate with our culture once again. It will take us all by surprise and come from an unexpected direction. The lightning farmers have placed their empty bottles on the hillside and are waiting. The challenge of lightning farming is not knowing which bottle will capture the burst of electricity….

    Pacific Rim is a prime example of just how difficult this business really is. It was entertaining and seemingly had all the components required to take the baton from Star Wars, but it lacked the elusive almost ineffable ‘mythic resonance’.

    Looking back over the last few decades there are very few popular filmed entertainments that have truly resonated with the culture at large. The following few movies seem to have made a lasting impression:

    Disclaimer: Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. The following list excludes many, many, many fine films from a variety of genres. I only provide yet another dreaded list for education and discussion purposes and are not slighting the many fine motion pictures that are reviewed on this site. I am not even talking about gross earnings. I am simply listing celluloid stories that resonated with our western culture:

    1977: Star Wars
    1982: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
    1994: The Lion King
    1997: Titanic
    1999: The Matrix (I would also like to include my favorite Fight Club here but it was not a mainstream hit)
    2008: The Dark Knight (I reluctantly include this but I feel it resonated after eight years of the Bush Administration)
    2009: Avatar* (almost forgotten, see footnote)

    *Avatar is a strange beast that seemed to just ‘slip in’ at a particular moment in our culture’s history. James Cameron has an almost supernatural ability to create entertainment that speaks to many people at the right time. Avatar resonated because people were sick and tired of the unaccountability of those who involved us in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The movie came at the crest of that dissatisfaction. Cameron and Fox are taking a hell of a risk by making three more of these films, but who knows?

  105. The Original Paul

    July 30th, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Majestyk – what?

    I’m sorry… what?

    You’re distinguishing “Earf”… from “Earth”? I thought you meant he didn’t say the entire line! Clearly this is something I’m not aware of. And racist? What the unholy hell?

  106. yeah, I have a feeling the AVATAR sequel is going to be a surprise bomb, AVATAR seems mostly forgotten by people outside of our film nerd circles

  107. Sorry, Paul. I was mostly joking anyway but I assumed you had fallen prey to the bullshit meme that Smith mispronounced the word in a fashion stereotypical of the way some white people think black people talk. It always bugs me because he pronounces the word properly and I think it’s kind of racist to pretend he didn’t. But you weren’t talking about that at all so I apologize.

  108. Do you guys remember how people were actually going mentally ill over AVATAR? People became such super fans that they couldn’t comprehend living in the real world after their mind was opened up to the possibility of this other world. Although, to be fair, those people probably could’ve gone over the edge for a lot of different reasons. It probably says more about our society that those stories made the news than those people were going bonkers over AVATAR.

  109. Mr Majestyk – I thought that was more of an ID4 / AFTER EARTH crossover thing than a racist thing?

  110. Tim Horan-rather awesomely, the most recent movie I can think of that had the kind of cultural impact that you talk about was Disney’s Frozen. The irony is that it was a movie that subverted and deconstructed its genre’s tropes like Man of Steel attempted, and yet was lauded as utter brilliance and a modern classic (which it deserves in a lot of ways, but that’s another battle…) while MOS is thought of at large as a puzzling tonal mess, and a slap to the character’s legacy. Why is that, I wonder? Because Frozen isn’t based on a work that is a beloved American cultural institution?

  111. Vern, thanks for defending MOS again.

    I love Superman and I love this movie. I started looking through Superman comics when I was around 2 years old, and I started reading them once I learned how. I love ALL the various versions of Superman, from the 30s to the present, and I feel that this film accurately reflects the many different interpretations of the character. Hell, it even references Philip Wylie’s Gladiator, the book that Supes was partially based on, and I really dig that.

    This version of Superman really resonated with me. For the first time ever, I felt like I could identify with him. Here was a man who has held himself back. He’s hidden himself away from the world, and he’s unhappy. My favorite part is when he flies for the first time. When he finally cuts loose and accepts himself, he’s happy. He realizes that he can be MORE than he is, all he has to do is TRY.

    I saw this film 3 times at the theater, and I’ve watched it several times since then. It pretty much changed my life, because I decided that I had been holding myself back, too. So, I cut that out and the first thing that happened was, I got a promotion and a raise. I also decided to get in shape and, a little over one year later, I finally have some awesome muscles that will keep getting even more awesome. And I’m about to stop being a renter and own a house of my own. I decided that I needed to take control of my own destiny, or some shit like that. I figured that if Superman can do it, so can I.

  112. BTW that Gadot/WW picture from Comic Con, anybody see that piece online where somebody took out the filter and revealed her costume was more colorful? Honestly, I think it looks better. But why did they filter that shit in the first place?

  113. I honestly think that people are putting misplaced anger over 9/11 squarely on the Man of Steels shoulders.
    We wanted and needed Superman on that particular day and he wasn’t there. He’ll never be there. To see him in our city, looking like it was, we want everyone to be saved.
    But they can’t and there’s destruction. Its why people are like fuck you Superman.

  114. The Original Paul

    July 31st, 2014 at 2:07 am

    Mr M – no problem, I just had no idea that was a “thing”.

  115. The guy takes the fight to the center of Smallville with no reason. Sorry but this Superman is not my Superman. I kinda like the movie, but Kal is an asshole.

  116. El Vicento, this is exactly what I’m talking about when I talk about “Not My Superman” people. You literally encapsulated it 3 sentences. Congratulations.

    Let’s examine the actual events of the scene:

    Superman hears his mother in trouble and flies into a panicked fury.
    Superman super-tackles Zod and ends up smashing him a couple of miles through some corn fields and other property before ending up with them blown up at a gas station. Note: there’s nothing here that shows that Superman is intentionally choosing his destination. He blows right through a different structure in a rage before the gas station explosion stops him.
    After a short interlude, Superman is then confronted by two Kryptons. Rather than run away and leave the center of Smallville at the mercy of these killers, Superman decides to fight them despite the fact that the odds are squarely against him (and the fight shows – he is NOT in control of the battle! he gets his ass kicked)
    During the fight, 2 separate times, Superman attempts to move the fight to a different location. Watch it again. He attempts to fly away from the center of town and is immediately grabbed by his cape and pummeled. He also throws one of them into a nearby empty train yard (contrast to Fiora, who deliberately punches him into buildings with people in them) and of course it accomplishes nothing but giving the big Kryptonian an even bigger train to throw at Superman.
    Even though Superman is blasted into and through several buildings, no bodies are shown. No one is hurt by Superman’s fight. However, the United States military bombs the town indiscriminately and sprays the city street with gatling rounds. They do as much, if not more, damage than Superman, trying to solve this problem with military might (and this is deliberate, the movie actually has a lot to say about the American military’s “help”)

    So let’s review:

    Superman has been Superman for one day. When his mother is threatened, he flies into a rage and makes a bad choice – not thinking which direction he’s rage-punching Zod in. This is true. After he accidentally ends up in the middle of Smallville, he stays to fight two Kryptonian sociopaths rather than let them have an unfettered murder spree in the place he grew up. During the fight, the outmatched Superman is thrown through buildings, literally punched into the pavement, and takes a bad beating trying to defend his hometown. Meanwhile, the American military machine does equal, or more, damage with bombs and guns.

    In the minds of the “not my Superman” people, this very clear sequence of cause-and-effect becomes “Superman takes the fight to Smallville for no reason.” Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

  117. RRA – I do like that picture where you can see the color of her costume. It’s not bright and sparkly, which is good, but it’s nice to have color.

    BTW, doing a Google image search of “Wonder Woman picture without filter” brings up some pretty fucked up shit.

  118. With all this talk of 9/11 imagery I should mention that I saw Guardians of the Galaxy last night and along with feeling it was terrible it had a pretty overt 9/11 image during the climax where the spiral ship crashes into a tower. Since it is a Marvel movie is will be deemed okay and acceptable and not exploitative like those DC movies!

    The climax will also give more ammo to the Superman doesn’t even try and save anybody brigade though I’m afraid.

  119. MaggieMayPie, Google image search like all Google searches tailors your search result to what your historical internet activities suggests you are interested in (as well as your town, tweet endorsements etc. even when you are not logged in to Google at all, it is still all recorded and factored in). It’s just a mirror you are looking at, so if your search for Wonder Women produces some pretty fucked up shit, well…

  120. geoffreyjar – Nerds being hypocritical? YOU DON’T SAY! Again as I pointed out before, Captain America wastes countless Hydra guys but nobody complained.

    Or hell remember Tim Burton’s first [redacted] movie where [redacted] tried to GUN DOWN the Joker?

    Its funny you bring up GOTG. With Rocket Raccoon and Cosmo and Marvel recently trademarking Squirrel Girl…Marvel apparently is in the animal business to be in the thick of their universe of rich scientists and LOTR cosplays from outer space and so forth on film and shit. I like that.

    But we’ll never get Krypto on live-action film, I’m afraid. (But I’m putting my foot down on Streaky the Supercat because fuck cats.)

  121. The whole “my dick is better than yours” attitude the Marvel Studios fans always cop is a big reason why I’m just turned off from their movies in a big way right now. A lot of those movies are guilty of the same sins they love critiquing the DC or Fox and Sony movies for having yet it’s ok when it’s done under Kevin Feige’s watch. Cause he’s “one of us guys” or whatever the fuck.

    I like calling shit as I see it that means GREEN LANTERN just like THE INCREDIBLE HULK and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND was mediocre as fuck to me. None of those movies I believe are generally any worse than the other. I find them all equally wack. But unless it’s on this sight I don’t even discuss superhero movies with fans anymore.

    Their fans ruin the movies for me to the point that I don’t even want to see them anymore. The irony is I probably have more Marvel Comics in my comic book collection than any of those scrubs. It’s sad when people can’t critique each movies on their own merits and just practice selective hypocrisy as a regular habit.

  122. Look it’s real fuckin’ simple. I just want my rated-R 60-million-budgeted Moon Knight movie. How hard can it be, Marvel?

    (literally impossible)

  123. AU Armageddon – you’re telling me that even though I was at a computer I’ve never used before and had not logged into any of my personal things, somehow it tailored the images just to me? Wow, I didn’t know computers were magic nowadays.

  124. Broddie – you know what really annoys me about them that makes me want to bang my head on the wall? When they go off about how more “faithful” MS is to the source material compared to everybody else. What bullshit.

    Really nerds? We’re getting an Ultron story next year where he’s invented by Tony Stark and not Hank Pym. We’re getting an Ant-Man where Pym and Janet Van Dyne (founding members of the Avengers in the comics I might add) are from a different generation/era compared to Stark and Banner, when they’ve generally been contemporaries of each other in the books. In fact if what Michael Douglas said recently is true, Janet has been dead for many years in the film. Or that Bucky was never the costumed Robin-esque costumed younger sidekick, he was adapted into being Cap’s lifelong buddy. Or that Edwin Jarvis become a computer. (Both adaptation choices I think work IMO but nevermind.) And let’s not bring up the Mandarin, OK?

    (and Broddie don’t tell me you don’t want Krypto on film along with the bottled city of Kandor and Supergirl and…)

    Anyway I’m looking forward to GOTG tonight. Rooting for a son of Troma to have hit the big time. And maybe get that HIT MONKEY movie finally produced.

  125. “Look it’s real fuckin’ simple. I just want my rated-R 60-million-budgeted Moon Knight movie. How hard can it be, Marvel?

    (literally impossible)”

    HardlyWalken – pretty much, yup!

    BTW speaking of R-rated movies we’ll never get….did anybody catch that test reel produced for Deadpool a few years back that leaked recently?

  126. RRA – If it was up to me we’d see Beppo the Super Monkey fighting Titano the Super Ape.

    I won’t be seeing GOTG but I am also rooting for James Gunn because well I always root for the guy. He’s genuinely one of the most humble and genuinely cool people in that industry today. The Brad Bird with a b movie background.

  127. HardlyWalken – I wouldn’t put it past them to bring him to Netflix though. Matter of fact that’s where Moon Knight would fit in best. On the same platform as Daredevil, Punisher and I’m assuming eventually Ghost Rider and Blade (Marvel Studios supposedly been trying to talk to Wesley). TBH the netflix shows sound a lot more enticing to me than any of the phase 2 or phase 3 movies ever did or likely will because

    1) I generally have always preferred the street level and supernatural Marvels like Doc Strange, Ghost Rider, Morbius the Living Vampire, Daredevil, Punisher Moon Knight etc. over the likes of Iron Man, Thor or Cap. Matter of fact I would say outside the FF, Spidey and X-Men I always only really liked the b and c-listers when it comes to Marvel Comics.

    2) They will likely have more freedom since the Disney hammer won’t clamp down as hard as it will on the movies due to their smaller and more intimate scale.

    Either way I’m looking forward to the Marvel Netflix universe. Lots of potential for great storytelling there with the serialized format and more diverse range of characters.

  128. Can we cool it with crying “9/11 imagery” so much guys, please? I’m starting to think some people believe there was never any destruction in an urban city before 9/11 and that depicting any after 9/11 can’t be done as anything but a reference to it, and as someone who’s not American, I find it a little egocentric.

    I just saw GOTG myself and I thought it was pretty great. Lot of energy, great visuals and a lot of fun. It’s maybe a bit formulaic with the three act structure and I think the Infinity Stone macguffin is starting to become a problematic element of those stories, but the outlaw vibe to it is pretty fresh and it’s a film that doesn’t apologise for being a space opera adventure movie.
    Plus it has a cameo I never expected to see in a Marvel movie during the prison sequence.

  129. Broddie – don’t forget special cameo from Detective Chimp!

    I think Blade and Moebius will be bunched together with the supernatural, which DR. STRANGE (which may or may not star Joaquin Phoenix) is supposed to kick-off.

    In theory, we could have a Punisher R-rated series on Netflix. That would potentiall be fun. But alas I don’t think Marvel would do that.

  130. @Stu: While I didn’t really like Guardians at all much, I will agree that it at least felt fresh compared to the other Marvel films and it was a big nerdy space movie and was proud of it is nice but more importantly that cameo was great surprise. I was unsure if Gunn was going to be able to get him in there due to the studio politics. Regardless that one second was the highlight for me.

    Technically it was spoiled for me because I went to that 17-minute preview of Guardians a few weeks ago and saw him but it is always nice to see him (in 3D no less!) considering you do not work under him apparently.

  131. geoffreyjar – Disney didn’t want Lloyd Kaufman in GOTG? Good thing they didn’t get their way!

  132. I think you guys are missing something crucial here — tone.

    Yeah, Captain America wastes like a thousand Hydra guys. Yeah, his story is technically more depressing than MoS is (everyone he knows dies, he is revived in the future for no reason just a random accident).

    But the way these stories are PRESENTED matters immensely. CAPTAIN AMERICA has a very lighthearted, it encourages you to treat the wholesale slaughter of hundreds in the context of a particular kind of bloodless adventure story. It’s harmless fantasy, it’s just a movie, don’t think about it too hard.

    On the other hand, MoS deals in a very hyper-real, intentionally serious (even melancholy) tone. It asks you to genuinely consider the deep suffering of its protagonist, and even its villains. For better or for worse, that tone makes you more aware of the damage being caused and the human ramifications of that. So it’s hardly a wonder that people got more upset about Supes’ smashing up NYC than they did about THE AVENGERS, which does the same thing.

    So I don’t quite buy the “people are hypocritical because they didn’t get mad when people in other movies died!” argument. A director tells you how to interpret the events of his or her movie, and Snyder tells you to take it seriously. So you can’t be surprised when people do exactly that, and find the events rather more unsettling than they do in movies which encourage you NOT to bring all the baggage that real-world death and destruction has. They’re different ways to interpret fictional stories,and there’s a good reason for that.

  133. Mr. S – very fucking good points.

    Back to GOTG: Had a friend go to a press screening last week and described it to me as “a 1980s PG-13 comedy.” We shall see.

  134. Thank you Stu, I’ve been wondering if people outside of the U.S. ever called us on that. 9-11 will always haunt me as it will most Americans but I am conscious of the fact that it was not the first act of terrorism in the world. Some people believe showing a building destroyed (like movies always did before 9-11) is a horrible act of insensitivity, but it will never even occur to them that things we see in spy and war and action movies all the time are also similar to horrible tragedies that happened in other countries, sometimes caused by our side even. Assassinations, massacres, bombings, bad things.

    That said, if a Superman movie starts making you think about 9-11 or other horrible real world tragedy and bumming you out then there is no arguing with it, it’s gonna hurt your experience of watching it. And there definitely were times in the Transformerses where it seemed like they had to have studied some of the 9-11 footage and the Challenger explosions and it felt at least tacky to me. But I personally hope we can move beyond this because fuck the terrorists if they can invade our brains enough to take away our longstanding traditions of action and disaster fun.

  135. RRA- That’s good, right? PG-13 was actually EDGY back then, wasn’t it? TEMPLE OF DOOM and such? And…yeah, kinda. There’s some s-words and even a semen joke slipped in there in a way kiddies won’t get.

  136. Vern- Yeah, I don’t see a plane exploding in CLOUD ATLAS and think “LOCKERBIE ALLUSION!” But even some stuff is based on specific things like, the MOS scenes of devastation have people in the rubble, white with the dust while there’s smoke around, which some will call another 9/11 callback when it’s arguably just attention to detail/realism.

  137. RRA- “I think Blade and Moebius will be bunched together with the supernatural, which DR. STRANGE (which may or may not star Joaquin Phoenix) is supposed to kick-off.”
    Yeah, about that…


    “With “Strange,” it is a classic Marvel origin story, because he’s got one of the best origins ever. It’s our opportunity to go into that, take that left turn into the supernatural. Now, what is the definition of supernatural? It varies. We like the idea of playing with alternate dimensions, and Strange, in the very sort of Ditko, crazy sort of acid trip way, traveling to different dimensions and traveling through other realms is something that we think is very, very cool. Playing with the perception of reality. I just watched the Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmos” series, which is amazing, and it may as well be an acid trip. It may as well be “Doctor Strange.” It is mind-bending, and it’s all based in physics and based in quantum mechanics. We’re going to play a lot with the notion of that as an explanation for how the sorcerers do what they do.

  138. HardlyWalken-standing ovation from me, even though I’m only one guy. Awesome defense there, sir.

    Savagedoc-Huh. So this movie DID inspire some people. That’s interesting.

    But no, I’m actually real happy for you. I may not have had the immense empathetic attachment to the drama you had, but I’m nevertheless always happy when a movie can change someone for the better. Its proof that, really, film is NOT just a pointless, silly escapist medium. It has that power to educate, to evaluate, to make us reflect on ourselves as both individuals and as a species.

    Movies are so magical because they can be both hardcore art AND simple, fun entertainment. I think Man of Steel was trying to grow up Superman into the ‘hardcore art’ category but still indulge in the comic-book imagery and imagination, which, I personally think, created a contrast that failed to reconcile.

    But, this is all beside the point. Very happy you connected with it like that, and that it made you a better person. And I will admit…I DID care for Clark more than I ever did before with previous Superman media, but not to the extent you did. I mostly identified with his angst over restraint, when he has the power to lash out and punish the bad people (those bullies from the flashback). I’ve many times suffered that frustration.

    That, and the flashback with him as a boy having his sensory fit struck me pretty goddamn hard, as someone with sensory issues myself and with Asperger’s Syndrome, which, of course, makes social interaction difficult sometimes. So seeing a version of Superman who’s reluctant to interact with others, but still has the human desire for connections and relationships…was poignant to me.

    I’m almost tempted to jump into a rant about how I think fans completely misinterpret and knee-jerk unfairly blame Jonathan Kent for his advice to Clark, but that’s a whole ‘nother argument…

  139. The Original Paul

    July 31st, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    “CAPTAIN AMERICA has a very lighthearted, it encourages you to treat the wholesale slaughter of hundreds in the context of a particular kind of bloodless adventure story. It’s harmless fantasy, it’s just a movie, don’t think about it too hard.”

    Gotta disagree wholeheartedly with this one, sorry.

    Ok, one of the (many) things I hold against “The First Avenger” is the massive tonal disconnect there is between its subject matter and its depiction of said subject matter. Meaning: on the one hand it’s clearly going for “light-hearted” romp, but on the other hand that isn’t backed up by the tone, characters, or pretty much anything that happens in the film. (Especially the characters. Because, let’s be clear here, they’re all assholes. Yes, all of them. Especially Cap. That scene where the squaddie makes some kind of misogynist comment, his buddies laugh, then the girl floors him, all to rousing orchestral music… let’s just say it’s one of the more hysterically bizarre things I’ve seen at the cinema. And yes, I realise the point is that the Americans are “inspired” by Cap to march with him into war. The trouble is, this doesn’t address in any way their portrayal earlier in the film as misogynist bullies.)

    But anyway, this is why I think it comes off as ignorantly offensive. You can do the “revisionist history” thing – Tarantino’s done it twice that I can think of – and make it work. But you gotta make it clear you’re not disrespecting the people who were involved in the actual events that took place. “The First Avenger” doesn’t even seem to try and do that, because the Americans are so damn unlikeable. So on the one hand you have the film reaching for “light comic-book fantasy”, but on the other hand you have characters that wouldn’t be out of place as the token asshole victims in a horror reboot. What I’m getting at here is if you’re doing a World War 2 film where the Nazis aren’t the real bad guys, you sure as hell have to make sure the tone of your film doesn’t give the impression you’re disrespecting the people who actually, y’know, fought the Nazis.

    (And no, I don’t think it does it deliberately. That’s why I say “ignorantly” offensive. “The First Avenger” isn’t malicious, it’s just stupid.)

    How this relates to “Man of Steel” I don’t know, but I’m also “over” the Marvel universe right now. I’ve said enough times what I think of this year’s Cap and X-Men movies – they’re not bad, but they’re not very good either, and they would certainly be the worst movies I’d seen this year if “Boyhood” hadn’t come out. Given how good the year is (and how bad “Boyhood” was) that’s not that great an indictment, nor is it meant to be. My point stands that while they may be decent movies on their own terms, they fall utterly short of just about everything else I’ve seen this year. Why settle for “The Winter Soldier” when you can have “Edge of Tomorrow”?

  140. Mr. Subtlety – I agree. Their concern does not stem from hypocrisy but ‘tone’ is only part of the explanation. As I tried to explain (unsuccessfully it seems) in my previous comment – Superman is the Grand Daddy of all superheroes and inhabits the same part of the collective unconscious that previous solar deities have filled. As much as the modern mind would rather find ‘reason-based’ explanations to criticize the film, the truth is that a major taboo was broken with the Man of Steel. We want our Space Jesus to be the kind figure of the four color gospels, not the angry warrior Space Jesus* as detailed in the book of Revelation *(I actually loved the film for reasons that can be read between the lines of my previous comment. While I seem to be standing on a soapbox delivering a sermon it is only because I feel that the displeasure directed at the film can not be addressed with the tools of film criticism but rather requires the research of comparative religion).

    Stu – “It is mind-bending, and it’s all based in physics and based in quantum mechanics. We’re going to play a lot with the notion of that as an explanation for how the sorcerers do what they do.” I’m glad Kevin Feige is excited about Doctor Strange but I find it depressing that the most tripped out Marvel character’s cinematic adventure is going to be shaped to meet Neil deGrasse Tyson and his disciples’ approval. Save that shit for the science heroes not the tripped out occult sorcerers.

  141. RRA: I’ve been saying since day one that GOTG looks like an ICE PIRATES remake. And I am totally cool with that.

  142. The Original Paul-

    As a hardcore Captain America fan, its very depressing to read your comments given how astoundingly unfair and bafflingly nonsensical they are. Cap is an asshole? The heroes are all misogynist? The movie is disrespectful to the real World War II?

    Give me three solid examples of Steve Rogers being your definition of ‘asshole’. Give me three solid examples of the heroes being misogynist (Howard Stark doesn’t count, because some misogyny is part of the Stark characterization, apparently). Give me three solid examples of how the movie disrespects WWII, and I’ll be right here to defy all of them.

  143. GOTG is a good space opera romp. Not great like the online hype being generated so far, but I do get a BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA vibe from it with Pratt playing the Kurt Russell part. Hell his final confrontation with the villain does remind you of Jack Burton’s “reflexes” demonstration.

    Its funny I fully expected Rocket to steal the show, but its Groot. Man one scene in the 3rd, which I won’t spoil, made my crowd lose their shit if only because afterwards he looked to his allies, seeking approval.

  144. Tim — there may be something to that, I don’t know; certainly it seems like a lot of the Superman faithful got way angrier at this movie than I did. But I’m coming from a place of total Superman agnosticism, if not flat out atheism. I don’t really have any personal connection to the character and couldn’t give a rat’s ass if he fit with my preconceived notions about what Superman should and should not do. But I did find the movie a real morose slog, so from that approach I can understand why maybe people took the destruction shown there a little more seriously than usual.

    Paul — you know I like you bud, and I always enjoy hearing from you, but sometimes I’m glad I don’t live in the bizarre Evil Spock alternate dimension that you do. I absolutely have no idea whatsoever what you could possibly be talking about, but maybe it reads differently to Americans?

  145. Thanks Mr. Subtlety. I feel slightly remorseful and a little guilty that I neglected the thoughts of the Superman agnostics and atheists.

  146. The Original Paul

    August 1st, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Jonathan – look, I don’t know anything about the comic books, but in the first two movies (“The Winter Soldier” at least upgrades him from “straight-up asshole”) he veers between suicidal maniac and moralising douchebag. He’s the biggest Mary-Sue in cinema. ANYBODY who disagrees with him is either going to die or get humiliated in some way; and any time he behaves like an asshole (which is often), nobody ever calls him on it. The biggest example of this is his spat at “Iron Man” (“Well YOU wouldn’t sacrifice yourself, would you?”) in “The Avengers”. It’s just complete and utter douchebaggery, completely undeserved, and goes completely unchallenged. This is fairly typical of his portrayal, and it’s to Chris Evans’ credit that he manages to give the character so much superficial charm.

    Other stuff… Cap throws himself on the grenade. WHY? Does he honestly think that will save anybody? He randomly picks fights with people at the start of the film, something that the film would have us believe is somehow “noble”. He pilots the jet to his “death” at the end, for no good reason whatsoever as it turns out, since in the sequel he’s shown jumping out of a plane into the cold ocean water, and not only surviving but being fit enough to take out several guys in hand-to-hand combat soon afterwards. In one of the war scenes he’s shown putting himself in between a guy and danger, which is admirable enough, except that there’s actual cover right beside them that both could easily get to and that would do the job a whole lot better than Cap’s shield. Again, WHY?

    He’s a freakin’ suicidal maniac. Seriously, count the number of times he tries to kill himself in “The First Avenger” and “The Avengers”. (Again, the movie keeps trying to convince me that this is self-sacrificing nobility. And failing.) Add to that a hefty dose of arrogant moralising that, again, nobody ever seems to challenge, and you have a character that I found just annoying. Not even bad enough to be hateable – again, Chris Evans’ performance is to thank for this. Just not someone I wanted to spend the entirety of the movie with.

    I will give “The Winter Soldier” a lot of credit for pretty much eliminating moments like this. There was also the character of Falcon to humanise Cap a bit, which I thought was an inspired move (which they unfortunately ruined by making Falcon a super-soldier as well. Pity, he was actually an interesting addition to the lore until that point.) The trouble is that that Cap is now a B-player in his own movie. Black Widow has the most interesting moral decision to make, the most interesting arc, and is involved in pretty much all of the most interesting conflicts. Hell, it’s Black Widow herself who drives most of the plot, not Cap. They could’ve taken him out completely and the movie would’ve lost very little.

    I said before “Winter Soldier” that they either needed to kill Cap off, or make some major changes to his character. Well, as underwhelmed as I was by “Winter Soldier” overall, give credit where credit’s due: they made those changes. Agree or disagree with me about “The First Avenger”, I don’t see anybody disagreeing with me that the character from that movie is vastly different to the one from “Winter Soldier”. He’s undergone a pretty huge upgrade between movies. This is all to the good. The bad is I still don’t see where Cap is supposed to fit into the whole Avengers universe. What’s the point of him being there?

    I think Cap needs a Pepper Potts. Honestly I think she pretty much makes the “Iron Man” movies worthwhile. Without her, they’d not have enough humanity to be as engaging as they are. Cap needs a character like that. Black Widow could do it, but the trouble is she completely overshadowed him in “Winter Soldier”. Falcon looked like he WOULD do it, but then… icarus wings, supersoldier, etc. (Seriously, I really liked the idea of a character who wasn’t a superhero there to provide a more “human” aspect to Cap’s life. At the start of the movie, he looked more than worthy of fitting this part. Why’d they have to go and spoil it?)

    And he needs a proper antagonist. Because, seriously, those Hydra guys… No. Just no. You do not set up “Captain America vs American Government” and then pull this shit out on me AGAIN. Yet another example of “The Winter Soldier” hinting at a way more interesting story arc than the one we actually got. I don’t know if Cap should be killed off, but I’m damn certain Hydra should. They’ve sucked their way through two movies now. That’s enough.

  147. OG Paul I pretty much disagreed with everything you said and felt it came from bizzaro world. But one part got a big laugh out of me:

    “Cap throws himself on the grenade. WHY? Does he honestly think that will save anybody?”

    Actually, yes. In real life this works. You almost certainly get killed of course (by literally absorbing all the explosive force and shrapnel with your body) but everyone around you lives. So your “asshole Captain America” moment is in fact one of the bravest things a person can do.


  148. Also I think Captain America got a pretty huge downgrade in Winter Soldier. His arc in First Avenger is great: He’s a wimp who wants to fight for the right reasons, becomes a super-strong fighter, is neutered into a symbol of super-soldierism, then transcends this to become a real, functional super-soldier and live up to his symbol. It’s great.

    By the second movie it’s been totally subverted and “Captain America” is just another tool in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s black op toolbag. “We’re doing the wrong thing,” he whines, ineffectually, as he’s forced to clean up yet another bit of American blowback. It’s only once he cuts his ties with S.H.I.E.L.D. (America’s surveillance state) that he’s free to once again transform into a “Real American” who inspires his fellow agents to smash the surveillance state, release all “the secrets” Wikileaks-style, reject drone warfare, and usher in a literal revolution where corrupted politicians are swept from office.

    I also thought it was absolutely brilliant that AMERICA WAS THE SUPER NAZIS. Like, America had absolutely become the worse version of what it had fought in WW2 and didn’t even realize that the inmates were running the asylum. I thought that was great stuff. Hydra in Cap 1 and Hydra in Cap 2 are basically different organizations. The only thing that’s stayed around is the symbolism. Hail Hydra!

  149. The Original Paul

    August 1st, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Hardly – that might be true about the grenade, except it’s right next to a truck full of explosives.

    I actually agree with this though:

    “I also thought it was absolutely brilliant that AMERICA WAS THE SUPER NAZIS. Like, America had absolutely become the worse version of what it had fought in WW2 and didn’t even realize that the inmates were running the asylum.”

    See, if SHIELD had actually been the bad guys (as the series has been hinting at pretty much since “Thor”), this would’ve been brilliant. (Instead of the cretins from “Hydra”.) This is what I mean about “Winter Soldier” constantly hinting at a more interesting movie. There are many, many examples of this:

    – SHIELD as the bad guys? – Nope, it’s actually the same guys from the first movie. Fifty years later. With nothing heard from them since. (Isn’t it incredibly lucky, by the way, that Cap gets thawed out just as their plan is maturing?) The introduction of Hydra was such a cop-out.

    – Falcon as the voice of the common soldier, the one who didn’t get a hero’s welcome and a supersuit of his own? – Nope, he becomes just another supersoldier. Again, cop-out.

    – Black Widow’s moral dilemma and decision to “come out”? The concluding part of by far the most interesting character arc in the film? – Despite this being discussed with Cap before she makes this decision, we never actually see her make it, or what specifically prompts her to do so. (Yes, I know SHIELD’s betrayal is a factor, but what specifically sets her off? We never know.)

    – Robert Redford’s character as a vengeful patriot who takes things too far in his quest to avenge his friend? – Nope, all a lie, he’s a hypocrite and a straight-up bad guy, with little to no explanation of why or how this would be the case. Just how long has he been fooling everyone with nobody even suspecting him?

    See, I think the movie would’ve been way, way better if Redford WAS a misguided patriot, the story had focussed on its most interesting character Black Widow, Falcon had remained as the voice of the unrecognised hero, and SHIELD had been the straight-up villains instead of just pawns of the “real” bad guys. And if that sounds like I’m criticising the movie for being what its creators wanted it to be rather than what I wanted it to be, let me point out that the movie itself specifically brings up all of the stuff I’ve just mentioned. And then fails to follow through.

    Still way better than “The First Avenger” though. For what that’s worth.

  150. So incredible, selfless bravery = total assholery unless it has a guaranteed 100% success rate. Good to know.

  151. The Original Paul

    August 1st, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Majestyk – Either you’re intentionally misquoting me or you don’t understand what “veers between” means. Before making sarcastic responses to posts, it’s generally good to understand what they mean. In this case, I’m saying Cap is either a moralising douchebag or a suicidal maniac. Don’t think I’ve ever gone as far as to say he’s both at the same time.

    Holy crap, why are you guys even arguing about this? I just trashed Rolling Stone’s “film of the year” in the forums. Seriously, does NOBODY have anything to say about that? At least it’s something new. It’s at least worth a decent argument, unlike this crap.

    I’m going to bed. Again. It’s too damn hot here to sleep. Plus, in case it’s not obvious, I’m a little bit tired and a lot grouchy right now.

  152. The Original Paul

    August 1st, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Ah, fuck it… If you commit a single heroic act of self-sacrifice, it’s noble. If you do it six times in one movie, which may not be totally accurate as it’s a while since I’ve seen the movie but is certainly close enough, it’s a mental disorder. Cap didn’t need superpowers in that movie. He needed professional help. Again, never once pointed out in the movie. Because Cap is a giant “Mary Sue” and nobody ever questions anything he does. Except me, apparently.

    There’s a scene in “The Avengers” where Cap manages to single-handedly stop a fight between Iron Man and freakin’ THOR. That pretty much says it all. Sorry, but either of those guys, especially Thor, would crush this dweeb. Hell, I don’t think Thor even knows him at that point. Why do they even listen to him? Because, again, it’s Cap, the giant Mary Sue who nobody ever questions and who has to be right. Every. Single. Time.

    We are talking, by the way, of a billionaire genius inventor and a near-immortal Asgardian king. Listening to a guy who had a genetic upgrade in the 1940s, knows almost nothing about the past fifty years, and has a couple of weeks’ worth of combat training, if that. Again – why do these guys give two shits about what Cap has to say?

    Look, I get how the comic book fans WANT to see whatever the heck Cap was in the comics brought to life onscreen… I guess there’s an element of wish-fulfilment there. I just don’t get why people who actually went into the movies without prior knowledge of this character would accept him at face value.

  153. The Original Paul

    August 1st, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    And I except the Cap of “The Winter Soldier” from that last part, given that he’s a completely different character to the one from “First Avenger” and “The Avengers”.

    Ok I’m so, so done.

  154. “RRA: I’ve been saying since day one that GOTG looks like an ICE PIRATES remake. And I am totally cool with that.”

    Mr. Majestyk – Having seen GOTG, that description nicely sums it up. In a good way, mind you.

    People online keep comparing GOTG to STAR WARS, but I think its more reminiscent of those many 1980s space operas we got that tried to cash in on SW and tried to replicate it from FLASH GORDON (which is awesome btw) to THE LAST STARFIGHTER and yes, ICE PIRATES. GOTG is probably a better film technically than all of them, but regardless I think you used a few words to perfectly describe my feelings better than a 1000 word review.

  155. Well, it at least makes me happy that Original Paul’s opinion about Cap is so immensely wrong that it pretty much matters nothing in the grand scheme of things. Your inability to understand the character won’t stop him from being popular and beloved.

    So Cap’s an asshole for telling a guy in a movie theater to shut his mouth and stop being an obnoxious prick? During a NEWSREEL? Where is the logic in this opinion? Steve didn’t start fights; he had the balls to call out the douchebags of the world, and got completely beaten up for it. And that makes him more brave and noble than 89% of the human race. Because he’s not a coward: he makes a stand.

    “He veers between suicidal maniac and moralising douchebag. He’s the biggest Mary-Sue in cinema. Any time he behaves like an asshole (which is often), nobody ever calls him on it. It’s just complete and utter douchebaggery, completely undeserved, and goes completely unchallenged.”

    What does being an asshole mean to you, Paul? What constitutes douchebaggery? So you’re saying Tony Stark, a womanizer and a man-child who mocks almost every single other member of the team in Avengers save for Banner, and belittles Cap for not putting up with his immature attitude, is a true paragon of good? I love the Tony Stark character, but entirely because he works as an anti-hero, who has MASSIVE flaws, and has to become a hero in spite of them. When Cap and Tony fight in Avengers, not once is it because Cap is being unreasonable.

    Remember when Tony says “why can’t a guy let off a little steam?” and slaps a hand on Cap’s shoulder? The context of the moment shows he is absolutely baiting Cap, trying to piss him off. You want to call Cap a douchebag for telling him to ‘back off?’. And when Tony says ‘everything special about you came out of a bottle’…Cap would have been totally allowed to punch him in the face. But he doesn’t. Because that’s exactly what makes him Captain America.

    The reason Cap is treated as this ideal hero is because he doesn’t bend over and let the societal dick take him up the ass. He challenges the bullies of the world. He actually has fucking MANNERS, a concept that appears to be nearly extinct in our modern age. And most of all, he doesn’t give up. A man like him, with his background, would have been forgiven for just letting the world abuse and mock him. But no…he didn’t let his life ruin his morals.

    That is why he was chosen for the serum: because he knows what it’s like to be the one pressed under the boot, and so when given power, would be able to wield it without using it as an excuse for tyranny, like Red Skull. His refusal to give up, and his belief in honor, is what makes him a great hero. Because he’s an Honest-to-God good person. If that makes him a Mary Sue, whatever, man. Mary Sue refers to a character who is treated as perfect but shows little evidence that they deserve that treatment.

    Captain America deserves every single drop of it.

    It sucks so hard that actually decent, honorable heroes in fiction are slandered as ‘pretentious arrogant douchebags’. Because the world could really use more of them.

    But I know I’m wasting my time on this front, because for Original Paul to even come to such a conclusion about the character, shows a rather unsettling inability to ever appreciate him. So…oh well. You can keep hating the character, but know that its entirely because of you.

  156. Goddamn it…I messed up with inserting italics, so now the whole other half of my post is italic. Please ignore that, and focus on the words themselves.

  157. “either of those guys, especially Thor, would crush this dweeb.”

    Thor literally slams the hammer down hard as he can on Captain A. That’s how the fight ends, by Rogers proving he’s as super as a god from another planet. There was a big flash of light and a stunned look on Thor’s face and everything.

    “Why do they even listen to him? Because, again, it’s Cap, the giant Mary Sue who nobody ever questions and who has to be right.”

    There’s scene after scene and line after line of Captain A being questioned and told he’s wrong (like when he hypothesizes about the tesseract as a hydra thing and Fury straight up tells him “No, that’s not right”,
    or when Stark verbally annihilates him for like 3 straight minutes in one of the only moments Stark isn’t being a snarky dick,
    or like when the NYPD officer literally says in so many words “Why the hell should we listen to you?” before Captain A beats up multiple Chitauri and thus proves for that policeman and for memory-deficient Paul why Rogers is a leader…).

    And no one accepts him at face value; they accept him as a scrappy undersized uberpatriot who lucked into getting an injection of supersoldier superserum and an awesome mythical shield. We all know he’s on roids, but we admire him nonetheless because he remains thoughtful, level-headed, perceptive, and ahem, very handsome (so I’ve heard) (from chicks and stuff).

  158. The Original Paul

    August 2nd, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Ok… I have nothing more except this…

    The next time somebody goes on a five-post insomnia driven rant on the Internet, somebody PLEASE reach through his monitor or something and stop him!

    I’m going off to look for whatever remains of my dignity now.

  159. “- SHIELD as the bad guys? – Nope, it’s actually the same guys from the first movie. Fifty years later. With nothing heard from them since. (Isn’t it incredibly lucky, by the way, that Cap gets thawed out just as their plan is maturing?) The introduction of Hydra was such a cop-out.”

    Does no one else see this as a rather simplistic view of what happened? Yes, it’s Hydra that’s the villains, but they didn’t accomplish this by being bodysnatchers or brainwashing people. It was the Hydra people who AMERICA gave a clean slate to and that AMERICA let in, who merely insidiously got in the ear of the AMERICAN establishment and subtly shifted the view, and over the years merely found people who already had a similar mindset and brought them in. At the end of the day, there were still plenty of non-Hydra people in SHIELD who went with the program because they didn’t think to question where things were going(Nick Fury nearly fucked up big time after all). It’s on them just as much as others, and it’s on the World Security Council, you know, the people who aren’t in Hydra but were okaying the new big brother Helicarriers with their ability to lock onto targets hundreds of miles away and spy on them and shit?
    Plus I don’t think it’s accurate to call Hydra “the same guys from the first movie” as Nazi racial purity has been erased from their philosophy, it seems and replaced more by finding people who all have the same mindset, which is apparent in there being conspirators of all sorts of races shown. Shit, they had a JEWISH SENATOR in their pocket!

  160. “Superman: Argh!”

  161. I don’t know whether to have pity or be annoyed (or both?) with Browncoats online complaining about why audiences going to see GOTG in flocks now weren’t there for SERENITY.

  162. I have this thing where, every time I’m reading Film Crit Hulk, I picture you just rolling your eyes. I know there’s something to this, you don’t have to openly admit it or anything.

  163. Maybe this is the wrong forum for this rant, but I feel like this movie gets unfairly chastised for it’s “grim tone”. It’s the whole Nolan association I suppose.

    I don’t see why we need robots peeing on John Turturro to understand that a film is fun. I mean, all those Marvel movies have such a studied lack of controversy to their tone, they’re never taking themselves “too seriously” but also they’re never exactly goofy, it’s all carefully engineered to piss off the smallest number of nerds possible right? I guess if you look at the public court of opinion’s reaction to MoS you can see why. I guess not as many people know about the Guardians of the Galaxy so that’s why James Gunn got to make it.

  164. “I guess not as many people know about the Guardians of the Galaxy so that’s why James Gunn got to make it.”

    renfield – this argument doesn’t explain at all why Edgar Wright and Marvel didn’t work out. He may be a founding member of the Avengers in the books, but Ant-Man has never been popular and honestly Hank Pym is mostly remembered (as butt of jokes) for that one time he slapped his wife.

    What’s even more baffling is that GOTG is a film where we have a semen joke and a little (awesome) asshole of a raccoon plus a 1970s soundtrack and more or less Chris Pratt saves the day in the climax by….well, those who’ve seen it know what I’m talking about. Same with the post-credits cameo. Marvel was fine with all that, but they and Edgar couldn’t co-exist.

    I’m baffled.

  165. The one thing Kevin Feige would say to explain the Edgar Wright situation was “The Marvel movies are very collaborative, and I think they are more collaborative than what he had been used to.”

    To me, that reads as “We asked him to change something and he wouldn’t.” But who knows? Maybe we’ll find out more when Edgar Wright does a candid career retrospective in 20 years or so.

  166. Dikembe Mutombo

    August 3rd, 2014 at 9:17 am

    If you look at Wright’s last two movies, both feature fairly unpleasant protagonists who really push the audience’s tolerance to the edge, and maybe past it. He makes his redemptive arcs actually matter by making you want to see a genuine prick become slightly less of one. Whereas if you look at the Marvel movies, they like their roguishly charming protags but keep everything pretty square and heroic when you get down to it. Star Lord’s a goof and a thief, but he’s got a heart of gold and there’s nothing really asshole-ish about him.

    My completely-uninformed-by-fact pet theory is that Wright wrote a lead character who was too abrasive for Marvel’s comfort, and when they wanted to sand down the edges Wright couldn’t find a way to maintain the integrity of the piece while keeping them happy.

  167. I’m betting it’s more that Wright had written an economical narrative in which every element elegantly serves the greater whole (as he has done for every project he’s ever worked on) and Marvel insisted on shoehorning in a bunch of Avengers 2 crap. Which I’m normally okay with in the average Marvel film, which tends to be more workmanlike (in a good way) but Wright is a legitimate wunderkind and should be given his head. That parting of ways sent a message to filmmakers that I think will reverberate in years to come. I doubt the next round of Marvel films will feature many auteurs. There will be talented company men like the TV guy who did THOR 2. Which is okay. I like the MArvel brand, and I like that there’s a house style that makes the films seem like different episodes of a series. I don’t regret not seeing Edgae Wright’s ANT MAN (who cares about that asshole anyway?) but I regret that Wright wasted his time on a project that never saw fruition when he could have made another awesome movie that I would treasure forever.

  168. I’m also not sure why they’re bothering to make the film at all. There was exactly one interesting element and that was that Wright was making it. Without him they should just make that Black Widow movie everyone wants instead.

  169. ANT-MAN before BLADE 4 is a catastrophe. I feel Marvel Studios should have their priorities more in check.

  170. Dikembe Mutombo

    August 3rd, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    They’re probably just making it because he left not long before production was gonna start and Disney stockholders won’t tolerate vacating a release date that they already staked out.

  171. Guys the reason why ANT-MAN is going forward because Disney spent a shitload of money already in the pre-production and VFX development, they want to recoup some of that costs.

    Plus there’s a little thing called arrogance. I mean think from Marvel’s perspective. They just made big bank with their first movie without any Avenger or SHIELD and in fact based off a property so obscure, most nerds (from what I gathered 2 years ago when GOTG was announced) never heard of them. So if they just made masses go out to see Rocket Raccoon and Groot, surely (in their POV mind you), why not a guy who can grow/shrink and control ants too?

    At this point, Marvel is a global brand name at the movies like Pixar and Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino and so forth. Even if they produce a very bland film like say THE INCREDIBLE HULK (which is what I’m expecting honestly*), give it a decent marketing campaign and of course rely on their holy Marvel film formula, ANT-MAN probably won’t be the bomb the Internet is expecting it to be next year.

    Not to mention last I checked, summer 2015 isn’t that terribly crowded. I mean Episode 7 moved to Xmas. PIRATES 4 got delayed. BVS got pushed to 2016.

    *=I must be the only person that was excited for ANT-MAN beyond Edgar Wright. I mean the Scott Lang origin story is a solid remix of the said Marvel formula, except its an ex-con of a divorced single parent who stole the Ant-Man suit from the retired Hank Pym. Wright added the idea that Pym was a retired superhero from the 1960s, which further fleshes out the history/backstory of the MCU and plus makes this a legacy story of a hero passing the torch to another. Also he’s a dude who can shrink and grow, which conceptually could make for rich and inspired VFX moments. With Wright gone, I think that’s not likely now.

  172. I never cared for ANT-MAN becomes Hank Pym was often stubborn, obnoxious & irrational and nowhere as charmingly intelligent yet aloof as a Reed Richards or more appropriately his DC counterpart Ray Palmer. Then again those flaws are the core of what make Pym who he is as far as compelling traits it’s just that I’m not really behind the idea of another almost irredeemable character in this age of antiheroes and flawed protagonists. Even if it’s a first for a Marvel film and the legacy aspect is a first for superhero movies in general that I feel has been long overdue for exploration.

  173. I know the movie is using Scott Lang BTW but the same principles apply. It’s like you can’t have somebody be ANT-MAN without making them another Plastic Man like flawed human being turned competent hero.

  174. I enjoy it more with Plastic Man anyway cause he could become a living choo choo train or a bouncing ball & not just outrun hamsters and grasshoppers that are trying to eat him. Then again it’s been long enough since HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS and THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN that I do feel people will be ok with that concept in a studio movie again.

  175. Broddie – I know and you’re right, but I’m just looking for positives in the project. Still interesting in a meta-way that the villain apparently will be Yellow Jacket, which was one of Hank Pym’s superhero guises (He’s the Prince of superheroes with his many name changes).

    Strangely the one exception so far to the Marvel formula is Captain America. Thank God.

    Oh and Plastic Man could be total fun on film.

    Its funny but Faraci tonight that Darkseid won’t be the baddie in JUSTICE LEAGUE, but instead its sequel. This almost gives me hope that in the meantime before that film, we have a New Gods movie. (Surely GOTG’s box-office might help that cause, no?)

    One of the commentators on that BAD article suggested Kevin Bacon to play Starfox* in the GOTG sequel, if indeed *SPOILERS* Devin’s speculation is right that Starfox is Starlord’s father. *SPOILERS*

    I wouldn’t mind that.

  176. Of course I know why they’re still making it. From a financial standpoint it make sense, as no Marvel movie has ever lost money so why not plow forward with this one? It’s got a cast and a release date, and that’s all you really need to get the hype machine rolling. But from a creative standpoint, there’s really no point to it anymore. Wright was the only person who even wanted to make this film in the first place, and now they’re going on without him. Nobody of any talent or repute would dare try to walk in Wright’s shoes, so they had to go down the line to their, like, 18th choice. This guy’s last theatrical project was a fucking Vince Vaughn movie best remembered for a shot of Jennifer Aniston’s butt. I mean, BRING IT ON has its moments (and I haven’t seen DOWN WITH LOVE, which has its fans) but come on now. That’s got to be the worst trade since Manhattan Island was swapped for a handful of beads.

  177. I mean, it’ll probably be perfectly serviceable because Marvel knows how to put an entertaining package together. But I can’t imagine that whatever their problems with Wright were worth all the good will it cost them.

  178. I’m calling it now – Ant Man will underperform, and that’s the exact moment that the noose closes on Feige and this version of Marvel Studios. The suits let them get away with all this stuff because they’ve never dropped the ball, but don’t be fooled – the minute they falter at all, some boring brand manager sweeps in and decimates their 10-year plan. It’s going to happen, I think.

  179. HardlyWalken – Underperform? Sure.

    But look at Marvel’s schedule. What comes out after ANT-MAN? Oh just Captain America 3 which will make alot of money. And if Marvel can put the same muscle/magic into DR. STRANGE that they did GOTG and Cap and Thor and so forth, well that’s another franchise that’ll probably be launched. And hey what else comes out in 2015? AGE OF ULTRON, which probably will do a billion. I have trouble believing that Feige’s getting the axe if ANT-MAN bellys up.

    Or put it another way, he survived THE INCREDIBLE HULK and that’s technically the one blemish on the MS record (which strangely people have forgotten.)

    No his job is in jeopardy if he starts producing a slew of “underperformers” and the nerd narrative changes against MS and they’re put in the same boat as Sony is in currently with the “the can’t do anything right!” meme.

  180. Apropos of almost nothing, I recommend the new DC animated movie [REDACTED]: ASSAULT ON ARKHAM. It’s actually more accurately a Suicide Squad movie than a [REDACTED] one, and it’s very much in that formula of a “men on a mission”/Dirty Dozen sort of story(it’s supervillains put on a team to carry out a secret mission in exchange for reduced sentences, with the incentive of a head popping explosive being planted in their neck ready to detonate if they fuck up), and is one of the more violent efforts DC animation has put out, but with a blackly comic side to it, and a nice collection of voice actors, including Neal McDonough as team leader Deadshot.

  181. I saw that, Stu, and I liked it quite a bit. The moment where Deadshot psyches out Joker by bluffing that he has no bullets is incredibly badass. “You’re going to pull the trigger, there’s going to be a click, then I’m going to punch you in the throat.”

  182. Part of huge problem for me with “Man of Steel” was just how jarring the sheer number of declarative statements were. The characters so often talked at each other instead of with each other.

    In fact, the only loose acting moment in the movie I can immediately recall is when Clark Kent is dissing his dad while in the car on their way to Tornado death alley, or some place. That bit is so out of place it is actually jarring. If the acting had not come across as so wooden (as a result of the dialogue alone?) it would have been slightly more enjoyable.

    For instance, when Superman walks by the soldiers and they slowly put down their guns, the colonel character (Chris Mahoney) has that awkward line that states the obvious about how Superman is an okay dude. Then there’s every single declarative statement from one character after another. Maybe.

    The movie was very jarring to watch. Some scenes just came out of nowhere. At random, I will say any scene where Superman was in a desert. Pick one. Those were so clutzily edited in or segued into that it was ridiculous.

    You want to know one thing that was rather clever? When Clark was unloading Lois Lane’s luggage from the transport up at that base. She never paid attention to him. He blended into the background and could have been anyone there. Then the next thing we know he’s walking at night with no coat on and she SEES HIM! Okay, her suddenly seeing him wasn’t clever. Every thing before and after her NOT seeing him skirted the realm of clever.

    The destruction? The fight scenes were great. Could the resolution involved zapping them to the Phantom Zone? Most likely they did but Zod didn’t make the trip. Zod should have made the trip to the PZ with those ships and Mahoney.

    How was it that when using heat vision, Zod could not move his eyes? He had to move his head and Superman HAD to snap his neck for being so complicated as to not moving his freaking eyeballs!

    If there is one thing which should make you walk out a theater or away from your TV it was that scene. Zod slowly turning his head instead of just looking directly at the family next to the wall. Snap!

  183. User name-it looked to me like the heat-vision in the Man of Steel-verse doesn’t come from the irises, but from the entire eye, so you have to actually move your head to aim the beam. That, and Zod’s heat vision is absolutely out-of-control-powerful compared to Supes’.

    Superman snapping his neck was him panicking, not keeping a level head, and in his moment of fear, he made a rash action and killed the guy, because it was the simplest way to stop the problem before any other damage happened. And he clearly regretted it the second he did it. My beef with the scene is all about the (lack of) build-up to it, not the actual scene itself.

    But I’m with you that the characters rarely ever actually ‘talk’ to each other, banter, stuff like that. Most of it is plot-dump or speechifying. The big scene I can think of that does try to have some light, human interaction is Supes and Lois in the interrogation room. In a way, this movie has a similar issue to The Phantom Menace: the characters are plot devices, not fully-formed human beings (or aliens, I guess).

  184. Dikembe Mutombo

    August 6th, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Part of huge problem for me with “Man of Steel” was just how jarring the sheer number of declarative statements were. The characters so often talked at each other instead of with each other.

    I believe this is the main reason the movie felt like it had such a stick up its ass. Even Amy Adams, a brilliant actor, couldn’t bring lines like “I’m a pulitzer prize winning journalist!” to life.

  185. The big scene I can think of that does try to have some light, human interaction is Supes and Lois in the interrogation room.

    The key phrase is “does try”. Even that exchange came across as stilted.
    “On my planet, it means HOPE.”
    I wanted Groucho Marx to pop in from off-screen and pat his head and say, “Good boy! Thas a good doggie!”
    But, they cut back too fast to Amy Adams.

    In fairness, I will say some of the scenes from Clark’s childhood are good scenes. There’s meat on the bones. But, having Adult Clark act like he is kinda alien by being aloof almost every time he interacted with other people doesn’t work well. I get that he was portrayed as a loner, if I’m adding it up correctly. But, if Superman cares about people, he goes out of his way to try to be friendly. That may not seem like it is an iron clad rule of the character. But, it is the human side that many comics version emphasize as being part of what the Kents instilled in him. He didn’t need to be a former Prom King nor did he need to be a class clown. What he needed was warmth in some scenes. That scene with Amy Adams when he’s in custody comes closest because even with his parents, Adult Clark was barely there. Though, when he was watching TV and drinking a beer, he seemed very, very human. What was that? Ten seconds long?

    It’s really too bad there wasn’t more of a cookie-cutter formula of duality. While you could say they elevated the storytelling by alluding to that duality by focusing on his childhood, the whole story was Kryptonian heavy. That emphasized the Alien, not the Superman, but, the Alien aspect of Superman.

    They should have made him a big, dumb surfer dude. Have him out do Keanu Reeves. So, when Zod berates him, Superman would reply, “uh Whuuut? Dude, slow it down! Chillax a lot!”

    And, what the hell was that scene where he and Zod go from the spaceship (?) to the farm and suddenly Superman is dressed like Clark? Was that needed to let them continue talking about whatever they were gabbing about?

  186. I say they should make him a surfer dude out of jest, of course. However, it would have cut out most of the angst that they laid on the character from beginning to end.

    Another thing, the ending:
    Superman: “I don’t the gov’t to be looking for me.”
    General: “Why should we trust you.”
    Superman: “I’m from Kansas!”
    General thinks: That’s a start! Keep on blabbing declarative sentences, super satellite-destroying, blabbermouth!

  187. Thank you, Vern. This essay was a beautiful piece of writing.

  188. Great writing, Vern! I like this movie too and I think the current MoS discourse can use a bit of balancing out. There is simply too much negativity surrounding it. What I especially like is that you instead of countering general complaints you counter specific articles with your arguments. It makes the piece even more solid. Good job.

  189. One thing I didn’t even catch, Vern, from this article, when you quoted Matt Singer of the Dissolve:

    “Except Superman didn’t save Jenny; her boss, Perry White (Laurence Fishburne), and his assistant, Steve Lombard (Michael Kelly), did, with a timely assist from the U.S. military. And even if Superman had saved Jenny (which, again, he didn’t), he clearly dropped the ball for almost everyone else.”

    This is entirely wrong. I mean, wrong to the very core. Jenny was trapped under the rubble. Rubble that resulted from the U.S. military indiscriminately firing missiles at Zod’s Kryptonians. Perry tries unsuccessfully to save her. He’s not able to. All he can do is hold her hand as the gravity pulse approaches.

    Cut to: Superman gathers his strength and SMASHES the fuckin’ World Eater to bits, shutting down the beam, allowing Jenny to live, allowing the military to finally send the Kryptonians into the Phantom Zone, and of course as mentioned by Vern, saving literally every single person on the planet Earth.

    If you notice the way the scene is edited, it is the humanity and compassion of Perry that gives Superman strength. Humanity’s love and sacrifice for each other empowers the Kryptonian Superman to reject his militaristic, imperial, genocidal heritage and smash the machinery of conquest to bits.

    Man of Steel is a great movie.

  190. McWeeny reported tonight that BVS and the planned DC films have a “no joke” mandate. Of course I don’t believe that order is taken LITERALLY, but the Internet being the Internet…well they think that is exactly the case.

  191. Yeah, that just doesn’t seem believable. The Nolan Batman movies and MAN OF STEEL have jokes in them. They’re having Aqua Man and Wonder Woman in the movie and will be sure to make little quips to show that they understand the absurdity and you should hear them out. I guarantee you there will be jokes, just not as many as in the better Marvel movies.

    And that’s a good thing. They should have their own approach.

  192. The Original Paul

    August 27th, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I thought personally that Bruce’s “alibi” from “The Dark Knight” – and the way that it’s shown, with Bruce’s ex-girlfriend and her new beau finding their date has been ruined – was a more genuinely fun moment than any of the stuff from the supposedly more light-hearted billionaire supersuit-wearing crime-fighter, Iron Man. (Although Gwyneth helps to make up for that. I still love you Pepper Potts!) What I’m trying to say here is a movie doesn’t necessarily need “jokes” to be fun. You can have a sense of humour without having to do the “joke” thing.

  193. The Original Paul

    August 27th, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Oh… “Pepper Potts”.


    I only just got that. No bullshit, I’m not even kidding, I only just got it. D’oh!

  194. “It was the Hydra people who AMERICA gave a clean slate to and that AMERICA let in, who merely insidiously got in the ear of the AMERICAN establishment and subtly shifted the view….”

    And this is a thinly-veiled reference to real history: Operation Paperclip, the USA’s wholesale importation of WWII Germany’s intelligentsia (e.g. Werner Von Braun) in order to keep them out of the USSR’s hands — which meant that many of the German military intelligence officers ended up in the OSS and then the CIA/NSA, helping shape our “National Security State”… just as the computerized memory of the Red Skull’s scientist said in the movie.

    George H.W. Bush, a President and father of a President, former head of the CIA, had even, infamously, given a campaign speech to veterans of WWII — from the German side… and that was because of Operation Paperclip’s contributions to the USA’s intelligence organizations. “Hail Hydra”, indeed.

  195. See also Operation Bloodstone, of which Wikipedia says: “Many of those who were hired… were high-ranking Nazi intelligence agents who had committed war crimes.” The operation was to be both abroad and “domestically within the United States”, and include “subversion, sabotage, and miscellaneous operations such as assassination…”.

  196. Ya know, i read a lot of criticisms before i daw this movie and they made me want to like it more. Destruction, killing, etc – bring it on. It actually sounded like a very interesting take. And most of zach snyder’s movies are bad-ass imo.

    So it was extra disappointing to see just how terrible and boring this movie was. It’s an amazingly poorly written and executed piece of crap. Not for any of the reasons vern listed – its not a bad superman movie, its just a really bad movie period.

  197. Weird online reception to WB hiring a woman to direct WONDER WOMAN. (Hey Vern, have more faith buddy!) MacLaren seems like a good draft pick, did several good TV episodes of several shows. People dig that. But then turns out Zack Snyder is producing this…and you have people now worried that he’ll put his “rapey/sexual politics” (not my words) supposedly from the 300 films and Sucker Punch* and so forth into WW as an overseer of that project.

    Pfft, oh please Internet. This will be a movie that sells lunchboxes. I wouldn’t worry about that at all. In fact I actually kinda liked the female HIGHLANDER-esque pitch that was reported sometime back, she comes to “Man’s World” in the 1920s and has been hanging around since then. Imagine a sequel where she punches Nazis.

    *=If I remember right, that sex slave club had a narrative purpose. Right Mouth?

  198. Yeah, its purpose, other than segueing unto a set piece that involves a couple of dragons and other well-armed fiery menaces, was to illustrate the male gaze and the expectation of male gaze vis-a-vis female victimization & exploitation until said victimized females (at least one of them, as dreamed) decided to fight the system.

    Note that the entire film’s narrative is about them escaping
    or about them surviving
    or about them [not] being ogled
    or about them avoiding rape
    or about them avoiding prostitution

    and also about them kicking ass in every milieu against every possible nerd interpretation
    of their supposedly intrinsic female, non-combat-ready weakness.

    Look no further than my gal Vanessa trying to pep up some shellshocked male scrub in the trenches, minutes before she wields her machine gun and, more awesomely, her hatchet against some German (?) clockwork zombies.

    Blondie (Vanessa) also shoots at the dragon and yells at the beast as a “motherfucker.”

    There’s also this shot.

    The arguments against Snyder as a great modern auteur are as weak as a toddler’s bicep curl.

  199. The structure made it feel to me too much like a montage or abridged version. Didn’t have the “presence” and in-the-moment quality that it could have.

  200. I do trust all of the concepts you have presented on your post.

    They are really convincing and will definitely work.
    Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for beginners.
    May just you please extend them a bit from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

  201. New trailer for Batman v Superman v Kramer v Kramer. Looks pretty epically epic:

    Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Comic-Con Trailer [HD]

    Zack Snyder's BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is in theaters March 25, 2016. http://batmanvsupermanmovie.com http://www.facebook.com/batmanvsuperman

  202. DC was already killing me with their comic book announcements (Grant Morrison’s Multiversity Too & Batman: Black & White, Convergence spinoffs and the return of Milestone’s Dakota Verse to the DC multiverse as Earth M). Now this trailer?

    I need a chair.

  203. Yesss. Loved the new trailer. I think it really puts to rest a number of assumptions about the movie certain people have
    1. It’s not a Dark Knight Returns adaptation, though it has some influence
    2. BATMAN seems to be the antagonist, more than Superman

    The little bursts of action sequences look very promising and I like some of the surprises like Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Thomas Wayne (finally sporting the moustache I’ve been waiting so long to see in live action), Kryptonite, implication of Joker being a dick, General Zod playing into things. It also addresses the MoS controversy, but also has Martha Kent with her “If they want to get mad at you for saving the planet, fuck ’em” comments(paraphrasing).

  204. Yes Stu seeing Badass Robert Downey Jr. as Thomas Wayne really made my day and also made me really hope that we get to see a version of the FLASHPOINT story in this universe some day.

  205. Luthor’s trolling, Wonder Woman’s non chalantness during battle and that Robin costume though really took it over the top for me.

  206. I really hate Lex’s hair. It’s either the most ham-fisted way of saying “We tried something new with that character’s iconic look” or we will get a dramatic scene where he loses his hair later in the movie. (Maybe they also went with the silly wig gimmick from the Hackman years.)

  207. I’m going with it being a wig in-universe(and we will see him bald since they release a pic of that), but it’s not so much a vanity thing as a public image thing, as he’s aware of how creepy he looks without it. Also, there’ve been other Lex’s with hair before, both in comics and live action.

  208. …and they always eventually lose their hair whether it’s the original SUPERBOY comic books or LOIS & CLARK and post-crisis Lex Luthor II. I do also think it’s a wig in the context of the movie which is fine by me. I think it’s interesting that this might be a juxtaposition of the Hackman type of Lex with the Rosenbaum and Clancy Brown type in mass media. I don’t mind it cause unlike the rest of the internet I’ve never had a problem with Hackman’s Lex.

  209. People seem to complain that Hackman’s Lex isn’t some sort of suave businessman, but this version of the character didn’t yet exist, so I can hardly hold that against those original Superman films. I am excited to have a Lex Luthor who is an evil captain of industry. I also think that people who are mocking this film are underestimating the appeal of a fight between Batman and Superman on the big screen. Honestly, that’s worth the price of admission right there. Having those two fight has certainly been overdone in the comics, but I, for one, would love to see them go toe to toe in the theater.

  210. “People seem to complain that Hackman’s Lex isn’t some sort of suave businessman, but this version of the character didn’t yet exist, so I can hardly hold that against those original Superman films.”
    I think the problem is that Hackman’s Lex is just a cartoon supervillain and clashes with how up to that point in the first Donner movie, things are actually pretty earnest and kind of mythic feeling. We go from Krypton’s doom to Clark’s childhood and adolescence and discovery of himself and finding the Fortress of Solitude and spending all that time developing himself to become the hero, then we go to Metropolis and suddenly there’s a lot of slapstick and this goofy self-described supervillain who employs a buffoon and a nice lady as his minions and doesn’t get why his plans tend to go awry.

  211. The Original Paul

    July 12th, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Stu – you hit the nail on the head.

    I’ve never read any of the comics but I think the first SUPERMAN film is an absolute classic, right up until the point where Lex Luthor enters the picture. I don’t think there’s anything I don’t like / love about that movie, up until that point. (And bear in mind who’s saying this; I’m not exactly the world’s greatest fan of comic-book inspired movies.) And part of it is Hackman’s performance, sure, but the whole concept of the world’s greatest criminal mastermind living in a sewer with two idiots… I just don’t know why you’d go with this.

    It’s also one of the rare cases where the SIMPSONS parody actually made the thing less ridiculous. If my memory is right, the aliens are eventually defeated by a plank with a nail through it. (Because a glowing green rock is only half the arsenal you need!)

  212. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I like Hackman’s Lex and definitely don’t have aproblem with a more funny villain, I just think the purposely bad looking wigs were a little bit too much and made him look dumber than he was.

  213. I liked the attempt of melding campy comic book characters with real emotion (see also: Raimi’s Spider-Man movies and Ang Lee’s The Hulk). And I think Hackman managed to tread that thin line well. There were a bunch of other missteps. Otis was obviously a misstep (although as a kid I found it incredibly creepy when he casually kills two police officers). The rapey military men were also tonally off. So there are tonal problems in the last third of the film, but they don’t stem from Hackman who I actually think gets that balance right.

  214. There’s nothing wrong with Hackman’s performance, which is extremely entertaining, as most Hackman performances are. It’s just that the choice to make him an his organization the butt of goofy humor throws the balance of power off. He just doesn’t seem like a Superman-worthy threat.

    That’s why I always liked the corporate version of Lex. He can’ just be an out-and-proud villain or Superman would just pick him up by the scruff of the neck and deliver him to prison. Lex needs to have a veneer of respectability so that he’s untouchable in the eyes of the law, forcing Supes to outsmart him, not just outpunch him.

    I’m excited for this movie but I’m not watching that trailer until I can see it on the big screen.

  215. Images from the next movie: BATMAN FLIRTS WITH SUPERMAN

  216. I love it. I love everything about this. Every molecule of every frame, it’s all wonderful. That trailer is great. All the people involved are great, though I have qualms about Jesse Zuckerberg because his face & voice annoy me and he doesn’t project or embody supervillain strength but maybe that’s the point so okay I’ll be open-minded.

    I love all the obvious (to my eyes) visual quotes to Snyder’s own previous filmography. I love how Affleck is all at once a Superman-Batman fanboy in the middle of the Nerd Shit fanboy whirlwind (or skyscraper dust implosion) and a contributing creative force and a prestige-lending Academy Award winning motherfucker doing the blockbuster / Nerd / Respectable Cinema synergy thing.

    I usually avoid previews like a germophobe avoids lepers, but goddamn this one puts me in a good mood. No room for sarcasm in my attitude today.

  217. Yeah, it’s kind of an all-over-the-place trailer, so I’m not sure what I think of all of it, but there’s alot that’s interesting and promising. The main takeaway is that I like this Batman. In this one I was able to look at Ben Affleck and think of him as Bruce Wayne. The costume also seems to capture the classic idea of Batman more than any previous Batman movie. It looks protective without just being straight up armor.

    Also, Wonder Woman! I knew Snyder would go all out in making Wonder Woman kick ass. So far so good on that.

    I don’t like the Lex Luthor parts. This was not what I was hoping for when they cast him. Hopefully he’ll be cooler when he loses the mop.

    What’s with that part where Batman is wearing a weird costume and it looks like he’s in the Middle East or something and he’s fighting soldiers with Superman logos on their soldiers? That’s crazy! I don’t know what it is. I like it.

    I did not notice that was a Robin costume until somebody mentioned it here. It looks like a kid Robin too, right? So even if they never show a kid Robin, they are establishing that one has existed in this universe. Good on, Snyder.

    Some of the action seems a little more pure Zack Snyder than MAN OF STEEL’s “human’s-eye-view” approach, which is a positive development.

    But I guess the most interesting question, and the thing most appropriate to the comments here, is the whole theme of Batman coming after Superman because of the damage he did in the first movie. First of all, I hope Batman’s argument is that he was just about to take out Zod without destroying the buildings, because I think he’s smart enough to understand that if Superman hadn’t stopped Zod then they would all be dead and Kryptonians would be having this argument instead of them.

    Second, I’m really curious if they had something like this in mind from the beginning, or if it became the topic of the sequel entirely because of the backlash. I suspect the latter, because as I have detailed in the above essay, there’s very little indication in the movie that you’re supposed to think lots of people are dying.

    I’m a little bit uncomfortable with, and a little bit impressed by, what has already been described here as 9-11 imagery. The visual of Bruce Wayne running *into* the cloud is on one hand a little too close to the idea of the heroism of real life first responders on that day, on the other hand an incredibly badass way to illustrate the type of individual we are dealing with here. Also, I think it sort of became a 9-11 parallel only the insistence of the part of the audience who read the first film that way. Now they’re just rolling with that.

    I like that so far I like both of them and see their points. And Ma Kent is right: you literally saved the entire human race and they’re like “you did it wrong!” So fuck ’em.

  218. I have not seen the trailer yet, but good on Snyder for not backpedaling for these reductive pearl-clutchers who somehow see some broken windows as a failure of heroism.

  219. Hopefully the reason why Batman goes against Superman is not just “you should have stopped Zod without damaging all those buildings!” and more along the lines of “as long as you’re on Earth with us, more superpowered evil dudes from space are gonna come after you and endanger us all” (also, superpower envy). Because this Batman should know that sometimes innocent people get killed while the big hero saves the world, since he got his own sidekick killed (and I think it’s a nice character touch that instead of displaying a clean costume, Bruce Wayne displays the costume that was defaced by Robin’s murderer so that he can torture himself with more of that sweet, sweet guilt every time he sees it).

  220. I think it’s going to be that to any rational mindset, Superman isn’t to blame for what happened, but because specifically people Bruce Wayne KNOWS die in the carnage, he has an overly-emotional reaction to it, and blames him for it(plus it seems like what brings the tower down is Zod using his Heat Vision during the fight, but Bruce can’t see that and might think it was Superman). I also have a theory about Luthor, those soldiers and Wonder Woman that may also add to it. So if you’ll allow me to nerd out a bit…

    Those soldiers are wearing Superman insignia and are also shown kneeling for him, so they seem to look up to him and are most likely doing whatever they’re doing in his name. It’s probably bad stuff that he doesn’t approve of. Wonder Woman has a public identity here, and given that the character is meant to be all about Peace, I think her being a philanthropist or some sort of ambassador would make sense. Maybe she finds out about stuff this mysterious black ops Superman Cult Army thing is doing overseas and goes to Bruce Wayne with what she, because while she’s a great warrior, she’s not a master Detective and needs his expertise in tracking them down. Or maybe you know, the soldiers are using stolen Wayne equipment or something. So Batman investigates and maybe he goes to that camp on the same day Superman is there and he gets the wrong idea. Also ultimately it’ll probably turn out that Luthor is behind this army and has manipulated everything to bring Superman and Batman to blows. I kind of like what he’s doing in the trailer. The “The Red Capes Are Coming” line sounds like he’s possibly talking to the Senator (or he’s doing a call back to something he said earlier but having a laugh about how he used such a melodramatic line so seriously) and talking about Superman being the tip of an iceberg of similar powerful beings who’ll pose a threat. Hell, I’d even go so far as to say him specifically mentioning the colour Red is a nod to Cold War paranoia. After all, he does talk to a woman who makes a guy go before a sub-committee to prove whose side he’s on.

    Shit, it wouldn’t surprise me if Lex knows Bruce Wayne is Batman and that “you let your family die” message was from Lex. My mind’s reeling with all sorts of possibilities with them bring the Batman mythos into things and the fact the only way to really beat Batman is mentally. Who’s to say Batman hasn’t been exposed to some sort of Fear Toxin that’s amping up his worries about Superman for instance?

  221. Vern- I definitely think that when we get to the solo Batman stuff for this new universe, they’ll establish a wider Batman-family. The Robin that died is presumably Jason Todd, who was the second one to wear the costume and who got killed by the Joker. So I bet original Robin Dick Grayson is out there, estranged from Bruce and eventually going to become Nightwing, his independent persona. That way, you can make it that Robin existed, but can avoid the pain in the ass of justifying a kid being a vigilante in a live action setting.

  222. I hope so. That’s a character that they made a joke out of in the Schumacher movies, but he’s full of dramatic potential. Batman is all about not having parents, so him being the adopted father to a kid who also lost his parents has all kinds of meaning. And maybe because of what Batman has provided for him Robin survives the deaths of his parents without having the same chip on his shoulder. He’s able to have a sense of humor and enjoy himself. That’s meaningful.

    But they could just simplify it by saying Robin is dead, there is no Robin.

  223. Nightwing is a great character. He’s like a fun Batman. One of my favorite runs is when he first got his own series with his own city to defend. I think skipping ahead to having Jason Todd already dead and Nightwing out there doing his own thing is awesome. (Funny thing, I always thought Joseph Gordon Levitt would be a great Nightwing, then they cast him as alternate universe Dick Grayson and didn’t let him get there.) It would also leave it open for my favorite Robin, Tim Drake, who earns his slot by sheer determination and talent.

    I’m so tired of rehashing all the same early Batman shit over and over again. It would be cool to see an aspect of the character, his badass family-building, that’s never been seriously depicted (BATMAN & ROBIN barely counts) in live action.

  224. I prefer Batman to roll solo, sorry, but that’s mainly because I cut my teeth on the Batman of the first two Burton movies and the pre-Robin seasons of The Animated Series.

    That said, I don’t hate Robin or anything and I’m sure he can be a perfectly fine character given the right writers, but it simply makes the most sense if a gloomy character like Batman works alone, you know what I mean?

  225. But that’s what’s interesting about it. He’s a loner who can’t help but pick up other loners. It’s a contradiction in character that gives him more layers. There’s only so much you can do with a guy skulking in the shadows by himself.

    Plus Batman is nothing if not a strategist. A general with a badass team is more effective than a lone wolf. If he really cares more about Gotham than he does his own issues, he needs to get over himself at some point and enlist more people to protect her. It’s just common sense.

  226. Dick Grayson has legit always been my 3rd favorite comic character of all time (only behind Daddy Batman and Uncle Superman) because he represented the best of those both heroes and none of the worst. He is for all intents and purposes the real glue of the DCU and EVERYBODY (including Batman and Superman) would follow him to war with no reservations.

    I really hope if the bat family is really a thing in this universe which thank god they seem to be that they take the route of the current comic books freshest dynamic when it comes to Grayson. In that after flying solo as Nightwing and then successfully becoming Batman to Bruce’s son Damian as Robin he took 4 step backwards by going back to Nightwing.

    …and it really sucked.

    Then Geoff Johns had the foresight to “fake his death” and have him join the SPYRAL organization (think DC’s verion of MI6 or SPECTRE) that Grant Morrison introduced in his Batman works. Adding another new status quo to the one Golden Age comic book character that continuously keeps naturally evolving and it was all for the better. What we have now is one of the freshest and most “Dick Grayson” like characterizations in the character’s 70 plus year history and one of the best comic books on the shelf every single month in the form of GRAYSON. It would be great to see that same fresh dynamic incorporated into the movies especially since many movie fans don’t even know that Grayson was capable of so much more beyond just “being Robin”.

    Also even though I didn’t really like the way the story was done in the comic book the UNDER THE RED HOOD animated movie is probably my all time favorite animated Batman movie. Yes even more than everybody’s default choice (MASK OF THE PHANTASM). So to see a Batman movie take on that whole story of Jason Todd coming back to get revenge on The Joker and criminals in Gotham in general Death Wish style and how that is an emotional burden on The Batman would be one of the greatest and most humane Batman movie premises of all time. It really would not only be fresh as hell but compelling as fuck and add something to the superhero movies that maybe even CAPTAIN AMERICA MEETS THE WINTER SOLDIER with it’s similar premise probably wasn’t able to add.

  227. Vern the Batman with coat and head googles thing seems to be a loose visual tribute from Zack Snyder to one of his most favorite comic book versions of Batman. Ruski Batman from SUPERMAN: RED SON by Mark Millar of KICK-ASS, KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, WANTED and “consulting Fox on their Marvel superhero movies” fame. Which MOS also had a lot of references to.

    I actually chortled when I saw it on the screen. So unexpected but randomly awesome. Assured me that this movie will have more character and less pretenses then something like THE DARK KNIGHT RISES or even MAN OF STEEL did.

  228. Crushinator Jones

    July 13th, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    The Superman Death Cult and Red Son Batman are, for sure, 100%, dream sequences. How I know this: Zack Snyder “gets” Superman and having him oversee/participate in a militia is so far out-of-bounds for the character that even a jaded “let’s see what they do with this version of Superman, could be interesting” live-and-let-live guy like myself would have a problem with that. Just doesn’t fit the themes of the character.

  229. Well, the Suicide Squad trailer is out and it looks kind of incredible. So what if “dark and gritty” is already passe? So what if the “haunting cover of a non-scary song” is a tired trailer trope? Once those strings in the song take over, I had legit goosebumps. This looks weird and violent and emotional and like no other super-hero movie since maybe Batman Returns.

  230. 2nd try at the youtube link –

    Suicide Squad - Comic-Con First Look [HD]

    David Ayer's SUICIDE SQUAD is in theaters August 5, 2016. http://www.suicidesquad.com http://facebook.com/SuicideSquad http://instagram.com/SuicideSquadMovie...

  231. Crushinator interesting point.

    There was a recent comic book called The Multiversity: Master Men where Superman was found in the third reich. He becomes Hitler’s secret weapon in pretty much winning WWII. Which leads to a Nazi controlled America amongst other things.

    In that book there was one section where he was clearly repulsed by some of the atrocities Nazis caused while he went away on a space odyssey for a while. He ends up feeling guilty that he paved the way for such genocide to occur.

    So even a Nazi Superman would have issues with a gestapo running around committing atrocities in his name. With that said on the flip side we have Ultraman of Earth-3 who has no quarrells with causing destruction and murder. Same with the Broken Superman from the INJUSTICE video game universe. It’s not like there wouldn’t be precedent. I do think personally though that even if those aren’t dream sequences that the Superman from MAN OF STEEL wouldn’t be in agreement with those guys if they committed shitty acts because they misinterpret his purpose here on Earth.

  232. neal – It certainly looks like a David Ayer movie I’d give it that. It’s consistent with the fact that DC wants to give their directors as much creative freedom and malleability as opposible to make these things their own similar to what DC does with comic book writers.

    I also like Joker and Killer Crocs looks and demeanors. Only issue I really had was Deadshot talking about saving the world like he’s some type of hero. Floyd Lawton is an apathetic killer for hire who gives no fucks about anybody even himself. Well except for his kid. That’s the only person he’s not cold hearted about.

    Nevertheless I expect to see something akin to this

    <img src=[visual-parse url="http://i62.tinypic.com/35hn0hk.jpg"%5D

    If not I would say that’s as much as David Ayer’s fault for not researching the character’s foundations enough than it is Will Smith’s for being Will Smith (aka “I have to act like a good guy even though I’m bad”).

  233. Blargh the image code went wonky let’s see if it works now

  234. Superman is hardly showing “overseeing” that militia. He’s just shown walking down a corridor while they kneel before him. If he was investigating, the scene wouldn’t be all that different. At the same time, Lex seems to have power over him at one point in the trailer, so maybe he’s having to go along with something to do with them.

    I like the SUICIDE SQUAD footage too. People have been pretty split about Leto as Joker, but I think it’s a good sign that when I went to the page with the player and his face popped up, I actually flinched. Guy’s terrifying up close. Interesting thing to note about the trailer is that his scene at the end is also obviously the scene at 1:36 where a blonde doctor is slammed onto an operating table, which we see at 2:19 is Harley with him leaning over her, so I think that sequence will be a flashback from when she worked at Arkham and showed how she first came under his spell. Amanda Waller’s really well cast from the looks of things.

  235. Broddie- From the tone of voice, I think Deadshot is being sarcastic. Or rather just very “ehh” about having to the do the job. Apathetic, like you said.

  236. Boy, I could hardly be less interested in the predictable-looking and over-named BvsSDoJ, but that SUICIDE SQUAD trailer… wow, that looks pretty crazy. Ayer is pretty much batting 1.000 as far as I’m concerned, and I’m excited to see where this crazy and over-the-top concept takes his already crazy over-the-topness. First comic movie in awhile where I really don’t know what to expect. If the nerds absolutely must have their serious adult not for kiddies dark and gritty comic movie, this is absolutely the one to do it, and it looks like it might even be able to have some fun with the concept.

  237. I will say Viola Davis looks to be straight crushing the Amanda Waller role. In just a few bits she already made Angela Basset’s Waller from the Green Lantern movie look like a BET original movie caliber performance.

  238. BTW I really hope there is a scene where she is sonning Batfleck. Ayer can NOT miss the opportunity to have Batman humiliated in the eyes of the general public that worships him like a deity. It’s not a slight on the majority of Bat fans cause remember guys; REDACTED was always my favorite fictional character not just superhero. However the hero worship the character gets in real life by so many posers is also kinda disgusting.

    Everybody and their mother claims to be “Batman’s biggest fan” while undermining other great heroes from both DC and Marvel as if they’re not just as good. This is why comic book sales have been slumming it over the years. Most people only want the safe choice of “Batman” from DC.

    I want Ayer to kinda give a big middle finger to your average superhero movie fan the same way Ostrander did with comic book readers in the original title and Gail Simone did in it’s spiritual successor SECRET SIX.

  239. Well in Bassett’s defense she wasn’t playing the same version of Waller (wasn’t she like a scientist or something?) I kinda wish they would have let her stick around Dame Judie Dench in Casino Royale-style for the eventual Justice League movie. I didn’t like Green Lantern either but I’d much rather they try to maintain continuity than keep hitting us with reboots and origin stories, etc…

  240. I’m totally confused about the Deadpool movie coming out. I saw a crappy, cell-phone video of its preview from Comic-con. It’s the same actor (Ryan Reynolds), playing the same character as he did in WOLVERINE, but it’s not supposed to be in the same universe (prequel or sequel), is that right?

  241. The Joker dressed like a panda bear and having a henchman in a Batman novelty mask is one of the most Joker like things I’ve ever seen.

  242. Maggie it’s a completely different Deadpool. Matter of fact I remember one of the selling conceits of the movie being that Deadpool is actually aware of that movie and performance and trashes it in his solo flick.

  243. I liked the DEADPOOL trailer from how the very beginning of it with him and his wife shows the movie will have some heart and not just be the modern “nothing but a clown” version of Deadpool that would be really grating for 2 hours. It particularly looks influenced by the Joe Kelley run, which emphasised Deadpool was a guy who was really damaged and wanted to be more, and masked it with humour.

  244. Hmmm. I don’t know how I feel about that. That could be a little too…cute, meta, wink wink nudge nudge, whatever you want to call it. But the fans seeing it at Comic-con seemed real excited.

  245. I know it’s too early to tell, but will SUICIDE SQUAD be going for a PG-13 rating? I read recently somewhere that New Line would be handling some of DC’s more harsher properties that could be more R-appropriate. The trailer made me think of that, because I can’t imagine parents (ones that aren’t comic book people anyway) running their kids to theaters that has “suicide” in the title.

  246. Maggie – Unfortunately that has become a big part of what Deadpool is to most people so to not include him breaking the 4th wall would piss off a lot of people on the internet.

    onthewall – New Line is handling the Vertigo properties. So stuff like 100 BULLETS, FABLES and SANDMAN would fall under them.

    They will also be handling SHAZAM because the movie rights were over at New Line even during the Bob Shaye days. Since Time Warner owned New Line back then anyway they never really made a big stink about it. Now that New Line is under WB directly as their sister studio well it makes it even more convenient to have some but not all of that New Line stuff tie into the WB stuff if need be. In other words we would see Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam in both the movies with Justice League characters at WB and the SHAZAM solos at New Line,

  247. As far as the SS rating goes. Well unlike Marvel Studios nobody at DC has ever said they would not release an R movie. So it very well could lean in that direction if need be. What with the domestic violence (Joker and Harley are in this remember) and all the other mad off the cuff stuff. Also looks like there will be some June Moone and Rick Flagg action. I think WB/DC doesn’t give a shit about the rating they just want it to be the best Suicide Squad movie it could be which is a pretty cool notion. At the same time PG-13 could be pushed pretty damn far anyway so it could still be a hard PG-13. Depends on how those old fogies at the MPAA feel I guess.

  248. There’s definitely a chance SS could be R-Rated, given WB’s history of adapting certain DC properties into R-Rated movies (Watchmen, V For Vendetta, Constantine)

  249. Why it’s a question mark to me is because of WB’s insistence on kind of pushing anything Batman or Superman (or remotely related to, as in this case) as family entertainment (remember the DC ice extravaganza from several years ago, in the midst of the Nolan movies?).

  250. I liked the trailer, didn’t love it, but allow me to derail since no one will go back into the other topic lol

    Following the updated theme (you may not have noticed the changes unless you were on a phone or tablet, but the headline font should have been noticeable) there are a bunch of things in the pipeline. If you get the chance check out this new take on comments:


    RELEASE DATE: June 23 Disney’s POCAHONTAS is the big animated feature of the summer of 1995, a part of the “Disney Renaissance” and feature animation resurgence that started in the late ’80s and early ’90s. But if the popularity of Disney animation was a... #billyconnolly #disney #irenebedard

    (You can actually view any post and see it but this was a quick example with an embedded image)

    Some of the features:
    – lazy-load (all comments on the same page as they are now, but faster for posts with loads of comments as it loads more as you scroll)
    – embedded media (paste an image or YouTube link and it actually displays visually)
    – subscribe to comments (get email notifications when new comments are added)
    – upload image, easier quotes
    – set amount of time to allow edit/deletion of comment (that’s right, set for 10 minute window to edit or delete your comment after posting)
    Some other features that are optional, some turned on for testing:
    – up (and optionally down) vote a comment
    – put top vote getting comments at top
    – badges/achievements

    There are also some nice features for administration that you won’t see.

    I can still make modifications to the styling, I’ve left it as it is out of the box. I don’t think it changes what you guys are used to much while adding some nice things but as always looking for feedback.

    And now I return you to the Superman-did-a-bad-thing/Batman-was-the-bully-in-Mallrats extravaganza.

  251. I can’t be the only one who noticed this.

  252. On a more serious note: The trailer made me not watch the movie, but so far it’s just on my list of movies that I will probably watch a few months after I recorded them from Pay TV. (Of course this can change.) But I’m so sick of all those slow, “atmospheric” cover versions, that they put in trailers these days. This one here even sounds exactly like the Pinocchio one from the AGE OF ULTRON trailer! Can’t we just get the BWAAAAAAAAAM back? That was less offensive.

    Also we can be sure that Harley Quinn will be the biggest geek crush of the decade.

  253. *The trailer didn’t make me not watch the movie
    Or whatever.
    Too early for grammar.
    I still watch it.

  254. “We’re some kind of suicide squad”… Wow, I really hope Will Smith gets to say other great lines like “How are we supposed to go unnoticed if you keep wearing those colorful outfits, like some kind of harlequin” or “Oh, so you’re a funny man, huh? You like jokes, like some kind of joker?”

  255. Thanks for the heads up chris. I was completely unaware of any recent changes. Very good to know.

  256. Desert Batman also reminds me of the Jack The Ripper hunting GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT Batman who’s story is pretty excellent BTW.

  257. GASLIGHT’S version of REDACTED for visual reference


  258. Thanks for the update, Chris.

    Toxic- It’s less forced than how the Guardians of the Galaxy get their name.

  259. “Batman is all about not having parents.” Likely a throwaway comment from Vern, but one that’s helped crystallize the impression I’ve held since MAN OF STEEL slowly fused it’s sinews into my movie flesh over half a dozen views, and that’s that Superman, as essayed by Snyder and co., is by far my favorite of the heroes super. He is just one positive, hopeful individual. It’s not Batman’s fault his parent’s were murdered, I know, but he didn’t have to grow up to be the gloomiest motherfucker to go all Charles Bronson on a city of criminals. Superman’s parent’s were killed also, his dad murdered when he was a wee sprog. They both suffered trauma as children – Bruce getting trapped down the well with the bats, Clark seeing the skeletons and innards of those around him and locking himself in the cupboard.

    They both had their adoptive parents – Alfred, and Ma and Pa. But I think Alfred just might have fucked up with his step parenting skills on that one. Instead of waiting on Bruce hand and foot and spoiling the Bratboy, he should have had his foot firmly planted up his self-pitying arse. Pa, on the other hand – firm, loving, aware that this boy is special, and not afraid to let him go when the time comes for him to find out who his ‘real’ father is. No, fuck it, you know what? Pa Kent is my favorite superhero.

  260. I dunno. I always thought they were both the ultimate counterpoints to Evil, but in totally different ways. Superman really HASN’T suffered because of Evil all that much. He’s just the natural champion against it because he embodies GOOD so wholeheartedly. Batman on the other hand is an actual REACTION to Evil. It fucked with him in a huge way and he’s spent his entire life getting revenge against it. Superman’s kind of “Thing’s Aren’t That Bad”, while Batman is “Yes, they are…but you don’t have to let them be”.
    It’s why it felt really appropriate when Batman took down Darkseid, the God of Evil and Despair and a SUPERMAN villain specifically:

    Superman wouldn’t have said “Gotcha”.

  261. Crushinator Jones

    July 15th, 2015 at 9:00 am

    After Batman v Superman trailer came out at Comic-Con 2015, I did some searching for some information on it (I’m gonna admit that I’m hyped as hell for B v M) and of course The Google picked up on that and decided that what I really wanted was Batman v Superman articles delivered to my phone everyday. The problem is that it’s a dumbass computerman who just blasts any kind of crap across my (virtual) desk. So I’ve been reading a lot of different reactions and GODDAMN, here we are, 2.5 years later and dumbos are still getting everything that happened in Man of Steel wrong.

    The final battle “killing millions” or “destroying half the city”:


    Superman killing a Krypton ship full of embryos:


    And your typical blah blah blah Superman doesn’t care/dour tone/too dark bullshit (which is personal preference, not criticism, but I digress).

    I got to tell you guys I’m starting to take this shit kinda personally, are there other movies that people lie about so much? I mean I liked Man of Steel ok, on rewatching it I really enjoyed the hell out of it, it’s actually gotten better with each viewing (I’ve only seen it 4 times, I’m not some weirdo who watches it every weekend, but I’m probably going to view it right before Batman V Superman to soak it in again) but anyway there’s something going on with this film that I can’t put my finger on. People who don’t like this movie will say literally anything they can get away with about it to make it seem bad and I’m pretty sure they know they’re lying or at least exaggerating their points. And I’m not sure what I can do about this, the videos I linked are from a lawyer (!!!) who refutes people’s bogus claims about Man of Steel in his spare time. Which is crazy, it’s absolutely nuts that somebody has to do this.

  262. Don’t venture down that rabbit hole any further, Crushinator. It will swallow you whole. Change your number, get a new phone and never look back. This is a safe place for commenters, but the rest of the internet is, as John Oliver has said, a dark carnival of humanity’s most wretched impulses.

  263. Crushinator Jones

    July 15th, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I know I shouldn’t Maggie and it’s such a small thing in the world but like, remember that stupid “What if Man of Steel were in COLOR?!??!” Youtube video? Everyone was like “yeah, MoS sucked! it’s a monotone mess” and of course it comes out that the “original footage” was partially desaturated and darkened to make it look worse and their laughable “colorized” version look better. They couldn’t even use the original footage honestly and when they got caught they just laughed it off as a “joke” and nobody cared. I don’t know why this is bugging me but like Vern I Strive for Excellence and when I criticize something I criticize what’s there honestly, I don’t make up bullshit to dislike something.

    Why is this bugging me so badly today? I dunno.

  264. Crushinator–If it’s any consolation, I nearly spit out my tea after reading the part where you discover that the guy posting anti-Man of Steel Videos is a lawyer in real life.

  265. Crushinator Jones

    July 15th, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    RBatty, I phrased that badly. He actually does videos that refute bad faith arguments/lies about MoS. He also has a podcast. The links I posted are videos that show (using only movie clips and text) that Metropolis wasn’t destroyed and that there were no viable Krypton fetuses, among other things. Anyway I listened to a couple episodes of his podcast and that’s when I found out that he is a lawyer and big MoS fan. He’s one of the good guys.

  266. I guess I should have looked at the actual videos. I just thought it was funny that a guy whose job is to make rational arguments has become swept up in all the irrational Man of Steel hate. Nice to know he’s fighting the good fight. Man of Steel is the only Zack Snyder film I generally enjoy. I really hope we continue this reconciliation.

    It seems like the internet has started to change its tune somewhat about DC and its darker version of superheroes. I get that sometimes going dark and gritty can seem like a cheap and easy gimmick. But in the end I think it might be seen as a smart way for DC and Warner Brothers to differentiate their films from Marvel. If Justice League had the same look and feel as The Avengers, then DC would be perceived as Marvel-lite.

  267. You pretty much can’t even discuss the movie anywhere else but here. One time I tried to refute someone’s hilarious joke about how Snyder was nothing but slow-mo punching by pointing out that, in fact, there was no slow-mo used in MoS at all, and all the responses were line “Go home fanboy loser apologist you suck.” I wasn’t even trying to say the movie was good (it is) but I just figured if you’re gonna hate something, hate it for something it did, not something you imagined it did.

  268. What’s funny is, so, so many of these people decrying “Superman wasn’t enough of a hero! He didn’t care about people and the Kents weren’t nice enough! Why is everyone so mean? Superman is about hope and compassion!” are being total dicks about it. How would your platonic ideal of Superman feel about your behavior, superfan? You think he’d approve? You think he’d say “Normally I try to treat each sentient being with respect and sympathy, but that guy disagreed with you about the color of a costume in a movie so all bets are off. Go ahead and call him names on the Internet.”

  269. RBatty I agree with this sentiment ” in the end I think it might be seen as a smart way for DC and Warner Brothers to differentiate their films from Marvel. If Justice League had the same look and feel as The Avengers, then DC would be perceived as Marvel-lite.”

    Besides it’s a reflection of how DC always has been as a company anyway. This is the publisher who’s material has been adapted into movies like A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, ROAD TO PERDITION and V FOR VENDETTA because they generally have a lot of deeper and varied material like that under their belt. DC especially since the 80’s but arguably beginning in the bronze age with O’Neal and Adams’ GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW has always been more complex in exploring it’s characters and dealt with more mature themes in their narratives. This is the first publisher to have a transgendered character back in the 80’s with CAMELOT 3000.

    Which is the opposite of what Marvel as a publisher represents. Marvel would never have published something as complex and esoteric as Grant Morrison’s DOOM PATROL, Alan Moore’s SWAMP THING or Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN. Let alone stuff like HITMAN, PREACHER and HELLBLAZER. For better or worse one of the reasons so many nerds get mad at DC is because DC doesn’t stay in comfort zones and a lot of these geeks just want more of the same and nothing unfamiliar. They’re always taking risks with their storytelling and give their creators a lot of freedom to do just that with no reservations. Where as Marvel is more homogenous and has a more hands on editorial squad with their books.

    So the way I see the movie adaptations it’s a reflection of those same fundamental differences in their respective philosophies.

  270. Crushinator Jones

    July 16th, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Boy it’s nice to get some moral support. Thanks guys.

    I want to talk about this a bit because I’ve a decent amount of time up to my virtual neck in Man of Steel complaints and I think that you can break them down into 4 basic categories. This is just kind of to help me understand why Man of Steel gets so much shit. You can skip this if you don’t want to hear the ramblings of a big Superman fan who has kind of had it with people shitting on this specific movie and just jump down to the three stars below:

    1) Dislike of Zack Snyder. I think this doesn’t get enough attention – that there is a really vitriolic strain of film commenter that absolutely shuns the dude. There are people out there who hated this movie ever since it was announced because they despise Zack Snyder, think he is an idiot, frat-boy, double-douchebag butt-plug, whatever. They just don’t like Snyder, he got on their bad side at some point. They hated his trying to remake Watchmen or the “fast zombies” in Dawn of the Dead (I remember he got a lot of shit for this, people seem to have forgotten) or for tricking them into feeling bad about fetishizing women with Sucker Punch or for not having Leonidas look at the screen in 300 and say “this is a movie about the appeal of fascism, everyone, this is not necessarily an endorsement of it, please keep that in mind” or one of a zillion other complaints. Snyder can’t do anything right by these guys, they’re the ones saying he’s “nothing but slo-mo” or whatever. I think this was most obvious in a comment right after the new Batman v Superman trailer dropped that I read on a forum, where someone said “this looks like a television show, Warner Bros will regret giving this franchise to Zack Snyder”. I mean look, films are sound and light from a screen, they have no “objective” quality, but I think we can all agree that whether or not you liked the Batman V Superman trailer it DOES NOT look like a television show, that’s just crazy talk. It’s just pure tribal hatred of the director overriding critical ability. Another incident I experienced was somebody ranting about how Snyder was going to disrespect Superman in B v S, and I linked them to a video (again by that ManOfSteelAnswers lawyer guy) that was 13 minutes of interviews with Zach Snyder going back to 2007 or something ridiculous where he kept saying “Superman is my favorite superhero” and “there’s no way Batman could beat Superman in a fight” and when I posted the link the person responded “I don’t need to waste 13 minutes of my life watching some stupid hack tell me his opinions” and it’s like holy shit! This is just pure hate, just pure “I don’t want to hear anything to the contrary, fuck this guy!” shit. And they aren’t above flat-out lying or just exaggerated shitting on everything he does.

    2) Purists. This is the broadest category. When I say purists I mean somebody who has the preference that A Comic Book Superman Movie be filmed, lit, plotted in a certain way that they (the viewer) have determined to be acceptable and any deviation from this is capital-B-Bad, regardless of merit. This can be a pretty specific criteria, such with all the people who think that any movie Superman deviation from Donner’s tone or Reeve’s characterization is a bad choice. Or it can be more general, like people who think that every comic book-based movie should be frothy and “fun” and light and entertaining and lament any attempt to do things seriously (an article LITERALLY came out today that makes this argument, and I swear to you I had already typed “frothy and fun” and this entire argument before I read it and just got linked to it as I was about to post this, so read this article for a PERFECT example of what I am talking about: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/122315/stop-making-superhero-movies-just-grown-ups ).

    These people view everything through the lens of their own preconceptions and so a movie like Man of Steel, which is earnest and serious (but in no way “dark”, are you fucking kidding me? Have you seen a Chronenburg or Fincher joint?) is considered to be “dour” or “dark” and it is!…in comparison to the extremely four color, winky and light Donner Superman films or Marvel’s consequence-free explodeyfests. Or the fact that Superman is pretty much an invulnerable SuperDad who can beat his opponents no problem in most Superman media is the lens by which Man of Steel’s final Zod fight is viewed, and when viewed through this lens it is impossible to even conceive of a Superman who is unable to just shut Zod down and take him to somewhere else where he can’t hurt anyone or anything…or failing that, at least take a “time out” in the middle of a fight to rescue some baby in a carriage or some shit (nevermind that one good hit from Zod knocks Superman hundreds of feet in the air, and he’s presumably not going to just stand there and let Supes grab people). Or because they saw Superman move at hyper-velocity in Smallville they expect him to do the same thing to save his father in this movie, just zip over and grab him and zip back before anyone notices (ignoring the fact they we’re shown a Superman who hitch-hikes to a military base in the first 30 minutes of the film – clearly not a guy who can just supersonic run around anywhere at will). And so rather than give the movie a chance to succeed on its own merits they measure it against their True and Correct version of what the movie should be and you know what? They’re right about one thing: Man of Steel is fucking terrible Donner Superman movie. And it’s dire at being a Marvel movie.

    I think that these people have good, or at least understandable, motives at heart. I think a lot of the falsehoods from Purists are because they are extremely passionate about Superman (the Reeve or comic version) and will say or do anything to get that version up on screen, or alternatively they have viewed the film through a lens of distortion and don’t realize that the things they are saying are directly contradicted by what’s there on screen (but they weren’t able to see them because they were too busy wondering why Superman wasn’t getting a cat out of a tree).

    3) A bad audience, and that acts as a force multiplier for the other two because they are easily swayed by whatever they’re told. When I say “bad audience” I mean an audience that is bad at watching movies, that doesn’t pay attention and needs to have everything explicitly spelled out for them. I’m not being smug or elitist about this, everyone has a different level of competency in every activity and being able to follow a movie onscreen is one of them. Some people just aren’t very good at it, you know the ones. They are constantly asking questions or getting confused and shit, it’s not their fault, they just aren’t good at it.

    To be fair I think that Zack Snyder kinda always has had problems communicating his cinematic concepts even with regular people. I think he’s tuned into visuals and shit on a level that most people aren’t and he thinks he’s being very clear and he’s not. I first got this vibe on Sucker Punch, I knew that I wasn’t supposed to take the film at face value (that much was obvious) but I couldn’t figure out what the film was trying to say, couldn’t track the multiple realities and was sort of overwhelmed by all the crazy visuals. And I know most people were, so I think this is a failure of Snyder on that respect. He wasn’t clear enough for the average person. And I think some of this bled into Man of Steel – not enough for regular people to miss things, but enough for below-average watchers to get confused. For example there’s plenty of information on the screen that Metropolis wasn’t leveled or completely destroyed or tens of thousands of people died but you have to pay attention, there’s never a comprehensive aerial shot of Metropolis after the gravity pulse to show that only a tiny bit of the city was actually destroyed or a person saying “everyone ran away after the Kryptonian’s ship showed up, these buildings are mostly empty!”. Nope, it all must be inferred through paying attention. Likewise I know a person who is perfectly smart and competent in real life that was totally confused by the jump between Krypton to Earth (to the fishing boat), who didn’t realize they were watching Superman until he tore the oil rig door off its hinges while being on fire! They just totally lost their way. So these people who have a hazy recollection of what happened and who couldn’t follow some things are easily swayed by arguments about Superman killing people or not saving anyone or whatever nonsense that gets spewed, and then they repeat it. The good news is you can actually convince these people, the bad news is you probably shouldn’t bother.

    4) People who genuinely evaluated the movie on its merit and didn’t like it because it had too much action/not enough action/pacing issues/too many flashbacks/didn’t like the plot/didn’t like the style of the film/didn’t like the characters/etc. In other words people who genuinely had a problem with the film itself and not with the fact that Superman didn’t do “what he was supposed to do”/Zack Snyder is a fucking hack who can’t do anything right. I’ve met these people, they do exist, they are extremely cool and if you run into one make sure you thank them for giving the film a chance even though they didn’t like it.


    Man! I feel a lot better having gotten this off my chest.

    Anyway to close out this exhaustive mental purge I wanted to link to an article in The Atlantic that The Google ComputerMan delivered to me today thinking that I would want to read it, it’s full of your typical Man of Steel bullshit:


    This article is actually a super-great example of the kind of bullshit I’m talking about, it’s got both Snyder hate and Purist criticism and I’m going to pick it apart a little bit. Go read it if you want first, and then we’ll do some quotes:

    “…(Superman’s) brand of justice was as gray, morally speaking, as the color palette Snyder’s films embrace. In other words, the newest incarnation of Superman isn’t so much a betrayal of the character’s origins as it is a perhaps unwitting return to them.”

    Here’s an example of Zack Snyder hate. There’s two separate slams in here: the first is a lie about Snyder’s color choices, that his films are gray. Quite simply: his films are not gray, they are color-graded to whatever he is trying to accomplish. Lately they have been very blue a lot of the time but not always. The second is subtler, did you catch it? It’s that the Superman in Man of Steel, which is closer to his Action Comics beginning, was made that way “unwittingly”. In other words, it presupposes that Zack Snyder is too fucking stupid to know what Superman’s real origins were and so just stumbled onto this characterization by happenstance. Here’s a true fact: Snyder keeps a copy of Action Comics #1 on his director’s chair at all times, he’s said repeatedly he’s read all kinds of Superman comics. So there’s absolutely no reason to assume he doesn’t know the characters original 1930s origins.

    Another quote:

    “Superman’s forever-long fight with Zod and his violent death at the hands of the Man of Steel, along with the destruction of Metropolis, and Superman’s utter lack of effort to try to save people.”

    More objectively untrue garbage. The fight with Zod is 5 minutes long. Metropolis is a massive city that is not “destroyed” by any metric. It’s true that during the fight with Zod, Superman doesn’t save anyone (because he’s overmatched and fighting for his life) but he saves the entire world before the fight occurs by blowing up the World Engine. These are all false talking points that you hear from the haters repeated as fact.

    One more quote:

    “He went back to the beginning; all of the way back to Action Comics No. 1. Snyder made Superman a jerk again, or edgy, depending on your perspective.”

    This is absolute nonsense. There’s nothing “edgy” about Man of Steel’s Superman – he’s a nice guy with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Let’s compare Man of Steel Superman to the original Action Comics Superman. Action Comics Superman would grab criminals and throw them miles away to their death. He would torture them, tie to them airplanes, lets them die to poison gas. The Superman in Man of Steel…trashes a guy’s truck after the guy humiliates him. That’s the jerkiest thing he does in the whole movie. The rest of the time he’s saving people, thinking about his past, or just trying to figure out who he is and what he’s supposed to do about his heritage. This is a guy who surrenders to the government and lets them hand him over to some extra-terrestrial black-clad skull-people because that’s the right thing to do. He’s not a jerk, he’s not even edgy, he’s just kind of petulant sometimes. Christopher Reeve’s Superman was more of a jerk than this guy.

    The incredible thing is, this guy writes for The Atlantic. They are supposed to have standards, and yet here is the mainstreaming of these message-board level lies. Imagine if Rolling Stone had an article which asserted that Joss Whedon turned the Avengers into a bunch of racist homophobes and the evidence given was stuff that didn’t actually happen in the movie. Wouldn’t that be surreal? And yet that’s exactly what’s happening here.

  271. Crushinator Jones

    July 16th, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Btw if you’re worried about your old pal Crushinator having an aneurysm after penning this manifesto, please don’t. 99% of this was The Google delivering these awful articles to my newsfeed after my Batman v Superman trailer search. It was like having one of these lying shit birds living in my phone and yelling at me all day. Luckily I have turned that off and escaped the rabbit hole.

  272. I like MoS because it is a different take on the source material from what I have previously encountered. I still prefer the old movies, because I get such a kick out of watching them from time to time. But, I agree with a lot of what has been said here , countering a lot of the moronic complaints that has been made and continue to circulate like a nightmarish, twisted discourse that keeps make me think about Foucault in some aspects.

  273. Just to expand on what Crushinator wrote, my biggest pet peeve when reading about films are those viewers who think they’re smarter than the film, but they’re just not watching close enough or thinking through the world of the movie. (This is kind of a variation of number 3).

    My go to example of this is when people make the comment about the eagles in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are tons of people who say, “Well, why didn’t the eagles just fly the ring to Mount Doom?” If you think through this, it doesn’t make any sense. First, you’re giant flying eagles are easier to spot than a Hobbit. Second, Sauron has his own corp of flying soldiers, the Ringwraiths. This is the same kind of moronic criticism that you get from those “honest movie trailer” guys. It’s infuriating.

  274. I have it in me to become an obsessive fan. I know this from my 15 year old self who wallpapered her bedroom with pictures and posters from THE LOST BOYS, so I try to curb these tendencies. One way of doing that is to stay away from fandoms. I cannot deal with other viewers who claim to be a superfan of something who is then totally and completely wrong in their thinking. Even as a casual fan of something I usually pick up on things that a self-proclaimed superfan will miss. Sometimes it’s no fun being a good viewer, because it makes it difficult to not think everyone else is an idiot.

  275. After reading all the comment here, I have a new theory about why this movie is (apparently?) so disliked.

    The problem here is that MoS is very, VERY serious about Superman. It wants you to feel his pain, to experience his existential angst. And for the Superman agnostics like me, that’s gonna be basically impossible to do. It’s just too ridiculous a conceit to get that deep into unless you already care about it from the start. For me, it’s like watching PASSION OF THE CHRIST, where you can acknowledge that some parts are pretty well made but Jesus, this seems grim and ponderous for something so silly. Or what you guys probably feel watching THE DARK CRYSTAL.

    But so what, it’s not a movie for me, and you’d think the nerds would love that it takes their beloved franchise so seriously. But unfortunately, just like with religion, they’ve invested too much in their specific conception of what it means, and any deviation from that preconceived notion comes across as heresy. The bright, primary-colored Donner ones are remembered fondly mostly because they’re so lightweight and disposable that it’s hard to get too mad at them.* But you tell people this is a serious version of their character, with a very specific point of view, and the pitchforks come out pretty quick.

    Final result: you have a movie which is way too serious about the character to resonate with normal people, and way too specific and defined a vision to appeal to the Superman faithful, who have their own very specific and defined ideas about what Superman is and should be.

    * (and, of course, everyone watched them when they were young and remembers them nostalgically, and important factor that Bryan Singer later discovered)

  276. Bravo,Mr Subtley,bravo. Good speech. But you are never going to convince me about the good ol´timey days Superman. They are the best. But this one…..is pretty damn good! And I like it.

  277. My previous notes on MAN OF STEEL (from previous posts):

    The exploration of Superman as diaspora, his searching for an identity (and in the process ending up with two), the cautionary tale of Kryptons fate and the twist of irony when Western society almost get colonized themselves in the process. They are some of the things I got out of my first viewing of SUPERMAN: POST-COLONIAL EDITION A.K.A MAN OF STEEL.

    The end when he is forced to snap Zod´s neck is the greatest of sacrifice. He gives up his history, his biological past to prove to human that he belongs to them. And in the next scene, it turns out the human assholes keep spying on him. I don´t blame Kal-El for being upset and trashes a billion dollar satellite. How much more does he have to prove?! He killed the sole survivor of Krypton!!

    Another thing I enjoyed how well they did General Zod and this movie seem to have more than meet the eye. In SUPERMAN 2 they kind of mocked the old super villain “taking over the world”- motive by going “Well, now that I´ve conquered the Earth, what the hell am I going to do next?” by having the three super villains sitting around in the Oval Office ,restless and bored out of their skulls from having achieved their goals. ( Maybe it´s time to get a hobby?) Here Zod´s motives seem more genuine. He genuinely believes what he does is for the greater good for the people, even if that means he has to abolish an entire culture for his own to survive. That is how he motivates omnicide and Shannon s performance,as outrageous as it seems, convey a deeper sense of character than I ever expected.

    MAN OF STEEL was better than I expected. Hopefully I managed to get more out of it on further viewings, because it genuinely seems like a more mature SUPERMAN than we´ve seen before.

  278. In my defense, RBatty, I wrote that thing about the eagles many years before I ever heard anyone else say it. And I still think eagles would get the job done. If the wringwraiths couldn’t stop a hobbit slowly walking hundreds of miles no way they could stop a swift, proud American eagle in the sky. But that’s okay. They pulled it off. We could grouse about it IF they had failed and then it’s like “well, you should’ve given it to the eagles, dummy.”

  279. I don’t even remember the eagle criticism in your review, Vern! But it’s cool. There’s a clear difference between someone lovingly poking fun at a movie and someone smugly point out supposed “plot holes,” which has become a catchall term online for any critique of a film.

  280. Crushinator Jones

    July 17th, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I just want to remind everyone that Man of Steel did work for the average person, they did take it seriously and liked it. It’s well rated by audiences (critics are much more mixed). That’s why they’re keeping the director and doing a sequel.

    As for Mr. Subtlety’s assertion, yeah I kinda can see that. I felt that this was very close to being a straight science fantasy movie in a lot of ways, though. But I also admit I’m a huge Superman fan and can’t divorce myself from that so maybe you’re right, maybe this is Just Too Cheesy to get taken seriously by someone who’s smart and isn’t pre-invested in the property.

    Shoot McKay, thanks for posting your thoughts. Interesting stuff.

  281. “maybe this is Just Too Cheesy to get taken seriously by someone who’s smart and isn’t pre-invested in the property.”

    Which superheroes aren’t cheesy? They all have whacktastic code names (even if everybody knows their civilian identities), wear colorful costumes out in broad daylight, etc.

    Comics are larger than life stories where we suspend much of our disbelief to accept.

    Personally I’m not a fan of people who use the Superman/Captain America comparison/contrasting meme because they’re two completely different characters and stories. That said, I do give Marvel props for having a walking U.S. flag who (unlike the other Marvel Studios protagonists) was always a fundamentally decent person who didn’t need to be redeemed in his journey into superhero-dom. He’s the moral authority in those films where other characters much older than him and with more battle experience* follow his lead. Come to think of it, seeing Steve Rogers in AOU I recognized him as the same scrawny dude who got his ass kicked in 1942 Brookyln albeit having gone through many adventures and slightly changing personality-wise. Not as trusting of authority at face value as he maybe once was, but after AVENGERS and TWS and AOU…who can blame him?

    I mean I noticed watching TWS the other week, it’s absurd how he’s labeled a fugitive by his own organization and then he goes back to the HQ and not only announce his presence, but tell everybody the real story. He gives zero evidence to back up his story. And what happens? All the non-Hydra agents at SHIELD take his word for granted. Why? Because he’s goddamn Captain America. And we buy that.

    *=Thor is what, thousands of years old and countless wars he’s fought?

  282. I think that it’s pretty clear Superman’s battle killed a lot of people. The Perry/Jimmy part of it was a stand-in for similar actions going on elsewhere. It wasn’t shown because of the rating. You only get to drop the F-bomb twice before you lose your PG-13 rating, and onscreen deaths are the same thing.

    The reason people lay the blame at Superman’s feet is because Zod called him out personally. So wherever Superman was, that’s where the fight was. As someone said, our choice in the movie is between a godlike alien who destroys us out of indifference or one who destroys out of intent.

    But that’s nerd stuff. The reality is that what people are annoyed about is the fact that Man of Steel is a badly written movie. It is clumsy when it needs to soar, it doesn’t feel true to the archetypal Superman we have in our heads, and, worst of all, it breaks its own internal consistency. (For instance, everyone has a place in Kryptonian society, yet suddenly Jor-El can go toe-to-toe with a man who is not only an experienced, trained killer, but was literally genetically engineered for that express purpose.) Then you have Jonathon Kent who is the exact opposite of the character we’ve known for 60-plus years. In short, he’s a dick. All those little things add up, which causes people to start picking on it. Even if they can’t articulate that, that’s what people are reacting to.

    When people like a movie, they excuse its failings, minor and major. When they dislike it, every little thing is another reason for hating it.

    Case in point: I saw a number of people complaining about the kid knowing how to turn up the sound on the TV in Cloverfield. That is such a ridiculously minor thing to fixate on that it indicates the filmmakers have entirely lost those audience members. The fact it happened more than once means they did something wrong.

    Man of Steel is the exact same way. The fact so many people are talking about the devastation of Metroplois means Zack Snyder lost the audience. Which is not surprising, because he is completely tone deaf, even more so than Michael Bay.

  283. Why is it “Superman’s battle?” He didn’t choose where Zod put the World Engine. Hell, he’d never been to Metropolis in his life at that point. as for him just flying off and taking the fight with him, that’s bullshit. Zod clearly says that his only goal in life now that Krypton is gone is to kill every human being he can. The only thing stopping him from slaughtering everyone left in the city–which, again, was chosen as a war zone by the villains, not the hero, who didn’t arrive until long after the vast, vast, vast majority of the damage had already been done because he was literally on the exact opposite side of the planet at the time, saving the entire world from a giant laser octopus machine that no other being in the solar system would have been able to defeat, for all the goodwill that buys him–was Superman staying on Zod’s ass every single second.

    People just see whatever they want, I guess.

  284. The whole point of the movie is to make Supermans choices more problematic than they have been in previous incarnations. How the hell can he be everywhere without someone dying? he can´t save everyone can he?

  285. Him choosing Zod being dead is at the same time him making an active choice of choosing humans before Kryptons. Kal- El is the ultimate diaspora. The sacrifice he makes is a helluva lot more impactful than you see most heroes do in this day an age. Fuck this. If people can´t embrace Superman, then I don´t embrace humanity anymore. Fuck em.

  286. Crushinator Jones

    March 14th, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Just wanted to give everyone a heads up that VERIFIED spoilers (i.e. with pictures) are out for Batman v Superman. BEWARE as there are quite a few things about the movie that aren’t in ANY of the trailers. Now is the time to go dark, my friends.

  287. Anyone who spoils BATS V SUPES: DC SMACKDOWN deserves to beaten to death with graphic novels.

  288. Just stake them to the bottom of an empty swimming pool and then drown them with endless copies of DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN.

  289. …or Darwyn Cookes Parker adaptations.

  290. Hey I liked Cooke’s Parker adaptations. Then again I also liked TDKSA as well. A more fitting punishment is having whoever spoiled this be subjected to multiple readings of Kevin Smith’s Batman comics, Neal Adam’s BATMAN: ODDYSEE and the SUPERMAN: ELECTRIC BLUE AND RED saga.

  291. Oh wait that came across as a derogative? I did not mean that. I am looking forward to reading Cookes adaptation of The hunter. It just seemed like a good idea to bury someone alive in Parker-novels.

  292. Hardcover or trade paperback?

  293. Cuneiform

  294. I don’t know why I want to ask this question nor is this really even the right space for it but it’s mostly because I can’t remember the thread where we were discussing the AVClub website.

    Is Hercules from AICN just the most miserable person on the planet because for years he’s just a snarky dipshit who think’s he’s hilarious when he’s just sad. How has he had that job for so long?

  295. Nah, I don’t wanna taint Vern’s websight with a bitchsession about a guy who works for the place that he freelanced for back in the days, but yeah, Herc has always been my least favourite AICN contributor, thanks to his super snobistic and biased taste in everything (Weird, how someone can at the same time dismiss so many great shows as bullshit, but on the other hand pimps housewife TV like BiG BROTHER on a daily basis) and him being the most ban happy AICN writer of all time. (Ask him for more coverage of a show that he doesn’t like? Get banned!)

  296. Everybody please be cool about Superbatman spoilers. I won’t be seeing it until Saturday because I got tickets to see it in 70mm. I don’t know why they have it in 70mm, but they do.

    And yes, I know everybody is saying that it’s terrible, but I’m hoping I will be the one guy who knows that actually it’s amazing.

  297. Vern, I guarantee you like it because you often find the gem in a giant turd pile.

  298. Buncha hooey. His Baleness already set the Caped Crusader Bar too high, and Affleck’s certainly not within striking distance to begin with. Let’s face it— this movie’s potential for success rests on a tripod (Bats, UberMan, and Lex Luthor) and if any one leg of that tripod fails the movie goes tits up.

    Still, kind of a bummer if the reviews are accurate. I expected more from Zack Snyder.

  299. Crushinator Jones

    March 23rd, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    Vern I already saw it at the fan IMAX screening. I was deliberately keeping quiet about it until next week. Zack Snyder actually appeared (in a pre-taped segment in front of the movie) and literally begged people not to spoil it for anyone. I respect that.

    I will just say I don’t think the critic consensus tell the whole story on this one. That’s it. Looking forward to seeing you in the comments.

  300. I’ll be watching it on Monday morning in 70mm 8 stories high IMAX and even though I didn’t like MOS I personally can’t wait to see it for myself. The only critics that matter to me besides Vern all liked it. I’ll take that as a good omen.

    Besides I’m one of those weirdos who has enjoyed some of Snyder’s most hated stuff (like SUCKER PUNCH) over his most praised (like DAWN OF THE DEAD REMIX). Even his movie about the owls.

  301. Two of my personal friends saw it and HATED it. I’m sure I will find more to like about it than they did, but my expectations are now low.

  302. The Original Paul

    March 23rd, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    The weird thing is that I, the self-proclaimed comic-book non-fan, have probably been one of the most optimistic about the whole “Affleck as Batman” thing. Ever since CHANGING LANES – a good film with a freakishly good turn by Affleck as a rich guy whose life comes crashing down about him – I’ve felt that he could do an excellent Bruce Wayne.

    (I also missed the widely-reviled MAN OF STEEL. From what I’ve read and heard about it, I get the feeling that – despite having read the opinions of the people here who like it here – I’d probably be on the side of the haters with that one. I think I said it recently, and I’ll repeat here: I won’t go out of my way to see a film like MAN OF STEEL, which I really have no interest in, just to see which “side” I agree with. Doesn’t mean that I won’t catch it on TV or something, but I’m not going to look specifically for it.)

    I’ve got no plans to see this new Bats vs Supes movie, but let’s face it, I couldn’t avoid THE FORCE UNLEASHED and I probably won’t be able to avoid this one. The ironic thing about THE FORCE UNLEASHED was that I got unwillingly roped into going to see it as a favour to a friend, and it turned out that my friend ended up hating it while I kinda liked it. Hopefully this new movie turns out to be the kind of thing that I’d like.

  303. I am afraid they stuffed BvS with too much stuff. And never develop the ideas the film seem to have properly

  304. I mean, aren’t pretty much ALL big-budget movies these days basically five or six different movies clumsily grafted together, the result of eight different script revisions by ten different people at the behest of 40 different executives and marketing guys, who all want their own name on a product and also can’t justify spending that much money on any movie which is not only literally all things to all people, but also sets up a universe of other ancillary moneymaking projects?

    I could hardly care any less about BvSDoJ –which even the trailers can’t pretend is anything but an overcooked bore– but reading the negative reviews, I don’t see how any of their complaints don’t apply to almost every big-budget movie these days. Is it finally like TRANSFORMERS 2, where suddenly everyone else sees all the problems they inexplicably ignored before?

  305. Overwritten and messy, sure, but I’m not sure most of these movies feel like the clumsy, ADHD frankenmovie the trailers for this one promise. MAN OF STEEL, for instance, didn’t feel like it was trying to be its own sequel and spinoff. It came by its terribleness more honestly.

    AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 and TERMINATOR GENISYS come to mind as examples of overstuffed messes that burned through 3 or 4 movies worth of plot, then crammed in a bunch of setup for sequels while forgetting to actually deliver a real movie. But they were also pretty roundly rejected by critics and most audiences, so I’m not sure this is a chickens-coming-home-to-roost scenario.

    On the other hand, I’m surprised more people don’t think CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR looks like an incoherent free-for-all/shitshow, although maybe that’s just because Marvel has more goodwill built up at this point.

  306. Crushinator Jones

    March 24th, 2016 at 10:28 am

    There’s definitely an element of a “3 minute hate” to the whole thing. There’s an extremely eloquent review linked on Matt Zoller Seitz’s Twitter that utterly decimates the movie – but the core sentiment of the review is “Snyder raped my childhood” and I’m pretty sure those same critics were crapping on people who expressed that very same sentiment a decade ago toward George Lucas. And admittedly it’s a well-written review but some critics are falling over themselves with embarrassing fawning – one guy said “you could teach a whole class with this review at the core” and it’s like come on, dude. It’s well-written but this ain’t Steinbeck.

    I still don’t want to talk about Batman v Superman too much until we have Vern’s review – I really do want people to judge it on its own merits. Having said that, unless the movie crushes it and makes crazy money Snyder should probably walk away as a director. There’s too many people on too many taste-making websites that poison the well and misrepresent what he says constantly (today’s example: AV Club saying that Zack Snyder says Superman can kill people like Darth Vader) and he just can’t get a fair shake.

    In fact I’m not even sure if it’s worth it to make these “serious” comic book movies any more – Disney has done to the comic book movie genre what they did to everything else. Any attempt to do anything but give the status quo and audiences a handjob with puerile power fantasies is viscerally loathed and shouted down. Not good.

  307. I’d say “verbose and pretentious” more than “extremely eloquent” but I’ll admit I gave up after reading like 3 or 4 long paragraphs and still not knowing anything more about the movie than “it’s about Superman” and “it stars Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck and they’re good”. But now I sure do know that wanker liked Japanese cinema before it was cool and is aware of tragic current events and that’s really what we should be looking for in a film review.

  308. Crushinator Jones

    March 24th, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Toxic, I guess I should have mentioned that I didn’t think it was worth reading despite being well written. It’s like an ugly house that’s made with top quality materials – still ugly. Sorry to subject you to that, bud.

  309. It’s alright, I should have known from the very first sentence that it was gonna be bullshit. That guy is like the gritty reboot of a Max Landis video.

  310. I just looked up that review, too. If that guy didn’t type the whole thing one-handed, I’d be very surprised.

  311. Crushinator Jones

    March 24th, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    “this guy is like a gritty reboot of a Max Landis video” –too true. Well said.

    I don’t want people to think that I feel the movie shouldn’t criticized btw but a bunch of critics cheering a pretentious evisceration…at that point it starts to feel more like the movie has become a stand-in for everything they don’t like about the modern blockbuster.

  312. Has anyone thought the advertising for BvS and CIVIL WAR have seemed a little desperate? Part of the reason they both look so absurdly overstuffed is because the trailers both seem intent on spoiling every surprise and major moment. I could be totally wrong, and both films could be holding back the real special sauce, but they have the feel of trailers that show you 90% of the story before you’ve seen it. Which, to me, seems like a sign that the movies are turkeys and the studio is trying to put on its best face and show you the best parts before the truth comes out.

    Then again, I’m also way less in to these superhero movies than pretty much everyone else, so my opinion probably means a lot less here.

  313. The Original Paul

    March 24th, 2016 at 3:44 pm


    I don’t want people to think that I feel the movie shouldn’t criticized btw but a bunch of critics cheering a pretentious evisceration…at that point it starts to feel more like the movie has become a stand-in for everything they don’t like about the modern blockbuster.

    Are there any other Marvel-sceptics, or maybe DARK KNIGHT RISES sceptics, reading this and thinking: “See, I’m not crazy, I’m just ahead of the curve”? It seems from what I’m reading here that DC are trying to copy Marvel’s “Marvel-verse”, just at the point where people are starting to get tired of the Marvel-verse. I no longer feel like it’s just me who’s fed up with these movies – I think a vocal minority of Marvel fans are starting to voice some serious buyer’s remorse, hence the generally positive reaction to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and the generally negative one to AGE OF ULTRON – and it seems like DC is keen to offer an alternative for them. But is that what the fans are asking for? The danger in offering an “alternative” is that you might be accused of creating an inferior knock-off.

    Am I way off-base here, or is that what’s happening? I gather that the critics don’t like this BATMAN VS SUPERMAN movie. I don’t know yet what the fans of the characters are saying about it.

  314. This is the opposite of the FORCE AWAKENS situation. Everybody knew they were going to love the balls off that one a year before it came out, and this one they already knew was going to be an affront to everything they hold dear the second it was announced. Both stances are utterly worthless as far as criticism goes. I’m still looking forward to seeing it and enjoying it on its own merits, and then I plan to write zero (0) think-pieces about what this goofy superpunching movie fucking means in the grand scheme of things.

  315. I’m not even saying I’m any better. I hate the general moviegoing public so fucking much that I’ll probably end up liking it just out of spite, even if it’s demonstrably awful. Some movies are too big to get a clear look at without at least a decade of distance. We’ll see how it looks in 2026.

  316. There are a couple of things from the early negative reviews that give me a little bit of hope. One is that I’m seeing a ton of professional film critics mimicking the nerd consensus that “these movies should be fun.” If anything, this might suggest that they were already poised to rip on the film, because they spent too much time paying attention to the comments section. (Also, movies can be gritty and fun at the same time. They can even be fun because they’re gritty.)

    I’m also seeing several reviews that claim it makes no sense for the good guys to fight one another as if superheroes fighting each other hasn’t been a common trope for decades at this point.

    The trailers do make the film look a little stuffed. (I started to worry about this the moment that Doomsday, who’s kind of a dumb character to begin with, was revealed). But I’ll definitely be in the theaters tomorrow watching this film. Hell, it seems like they’ve been making this movie for half a decade now.

  317. I just saw it and not to spoil anything or go too in depth, I’ll just that like Man of Steel I love what they were going for but don’t think they fully pulled it off. I definitely don’t think it’s the train wreck everyone is making it out to be.

    Like Man of Steel this movie makes many, MANY decisions that seemed designed to solely piss fanboys off.

  318. Seeing BvS today. Kept expectations low. Am hearing from friends overseas that it’s good, so there’s a bit of hope there.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts – I’m sure this site will remain one place on the interwebz that stays level headed, sane and doesn’t descend into fanboy hysteria.

  319. The Original Paul

    March 25th, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Majestyk – I wouldn’t worry. I fully expect all of these superhero movies to be nothing more than a little-remembered curiosity by 2026. Maybe the FORREST GUMP effect will happen and people will suddenly realise just how obnoxious their politics are. I seriously hope so; I’m through with movies telling me to trust the rich white guy because he has my best interests at heart. (And y’know what, after four or five years of Donald Trump as President, maybe you will be too!)

    I don’t know about your other point though. While I agree that reactions to “hype” are utterly meaningless as far as criticism goes, I don’t think it’s wrong for people to have “expectations”, especially if those expectations have been built up by the movie’s marketers. If you’ve been promised chocolate ice-cream and you get strawberry instead, I think you’d be justifiably annoyed, no matter how “good” the strawberry ice-cream turned out to be. As for THE FORCE AWAKENED, I can’t speak about how it was received on a wider scale, but in the case of my particular group of friends, the people who went in expecting a STAR WARS movie were the ones who left disappointed, whereas the ones like me who went in with no particular expectation of it being any good were the ones who liked it more. Or to put it more simply: the people who went in with high expectations were disappointed, the people with low expectations were pleasantly surprised. How ’bout that?

    I was also going to give a passionate defence of the general moviegoing public – and honestly, I do agree with that amorphous cloud of opinion on occasion, even when people on this very website may disagree with it – but then I remembered several Michael Bay movies and their popularity. (Yes, there are apparently people who think THE ISLAND is a decent film. No, I have no idea how they arrived at this opinion. I suspect it involved lots and lots of drugs.) I do wonder, though, just how you manage to sit in the cinema alongside some of these people. Do you ever think to yourself: “You fuckers probably liked JURASSIC WORLD. You don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me”? Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by an audience reaction in a cinema (I don’t know if you recall my account of what happened to me at the PROMETHEUS screening, where the audience basically turned on the movie vocally during the screening, but that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about)? Or is it less of a real-world thing, more an “I fucking hate these idiots on the Internet” kind of a deal? Do you take into account that most people who write stuff on the Internet only do so because they’re really, really passionate about it – you don’t get all the hundreds of thousands of moderate opinions, only the extreme vocal minority?

    I’m not trying to “get a rise” here or something, I’m genuinely curious. I can understand hating moviegoers in general on occasions – again, JURASSIC WORLD being an obvious example – and I’ve had moments like that myself. (Thanks, all of my friends – literally all of them – who said that TRANSFORMERS was the best summer movie ever and I should totally see it. Much appreciated, you sick fucks!) But for me at least, it happens the other way around too. There are a few movies where you guys like ’em, the critics like ’em, and I think they’re utterly worthless; and it kind of keeps me sane to remember that hey, I don’t know a single other person outside of the Internet who thinks they’re any good either!

  320. Paul: Well, I hate the general moviegoing public and its yappy Pomeranian of a PR team (the Internet) for different reasons. The former I hate for swallowing whatever swill gets pushed on them and feeling no obligation to critique or consider what they’ve seen. They treat movies like non-streaming TV and just watch whatever happens to be flashed in front of their face at any given moment, and yet these are the people whose tastes control what kind of art gets produced and distributed.

    I hate the Internetelligentsia, however, for the opposite. They know exactly what they want and increasingly are only interested in having their very specific tastes catered to as exactly as possible, and if someone doesn’t do it, they throw a tantrum so loud that it dominates the conversation and makes the weak-willed thinkers of the world afraid to have a minority opinion. These people think that that point of storytelling is to get it “right,” whatever that means, and won’t tolerate any idiosyncrasies or personal worldview on the part of the filmmakers getting in the way of their platonic ideal of what any given story “should” be. I have fallen victim to this kind of thinking in the past and have done my best to evolve beyond it so that I can try to grant every filmmaker the same privilege I would grant any storyteller: the right to tell their own goddamn story their own goddamn way. These people with their “Superman wouldn’t do that!” are the antithesis of artistic expression through narrative and I find them personally offensive.

    Honestly, I prefer the first group. I get not having the time or energy to care that much about some silly moving pictures on a screen. The second group is doing more active damage.

  321. “I fully expect all of these superhero movies to be nothing more than a little-remembered curiosity by 2026”

    Considering how these movies are a permanent feature in the blockbuster industry since 1989* (with some ups and downs in popularity), I wouldn’t count on that. Yeah, I doubt that there will be an onslaught of superhero movies like these days by then, but considering how many people in the industry grew up with superhero comics (and by 2026 even with several of the better movies), betting on them being a “little-remembered curiosity” is very optimistic. After all we don’t talk about Breakdance movies here.

    *Actually a little earlier, but I think we can all agree that Burton’s BATMAN was the point, where they became a true cashcow and even got [i]some[/i] respect from “serious” critics and non-geek moviegoers.

  322. The Original Paul

    March 25th, 2016 at 9:03 am

    CJ – I do specifically mean this current crop of superhero movies. The AVENGERS / MAN OF STEEL / DARK KNIGHT RISES era. There’ll probably be exceptions of course – I’d expect THE DARK KNIGHT to outlive its peers myself, despite its flawed third act I think it’s probably the best of the bunch – but generally speaking I don’t expect the IRON MAN or CAPTAIN AMERICA movies to have much longevity in the eyes of the public.

    Incidentally I still love the first half of SUPERMAN, and most of SUPERMAN 2. And I think the first two X-Men movies were really good, and the Tim Burton BATMAN movies, if not exactly great, had a lot going for them. So yeah, I’m not predicting a superhero-pocalypse here. I just think that the glut of superhero movies we’ve currently got won’t be much more than a curiosity in movie history before too long.

    Majestyk – I’m with you on the “Internet” side of things. Heck, that’s been so much the mindset of some of AICN’s contributors, it’s a good half of the reason why I just stopped reading that site.

    But on the “general moviegoer” thing though, I think you misrepresent them a little. First of all, the vast majority of big-budget films these days are catered mostly towards the young, because they’re the primary cinemagoing audience. It’s very, very rare that I see anybody older than me in a cinema these days, and I’m in my mid-thirties; not that old! I think of myself as a teenager / young twentysomething, and realise that I was a heck of a lot less discerning (and a lot less cynical) back then. If it looked as though it had good action and ‘splosions in it, I’d go see it. A typical moviegoing night for me back then would have been BROKEN ARROW or BATMAN FOREVER. Nowadays it’s more likely to be TWILIGHT or CAPTAIN AMERICA, but the point stands. Do we blame the youth of today because they don’t have the cinematic knowledge or tastes of people twenty years older than them?

    Of course the other big “draw” in the cinema is nostalgia – and I’m much more in agreement with you there. The idea that you can just slap a “brand” onto any old pile of tosh and then expect people to come in droves to pay for it, no matter how bad it is, is just obnoxious to me. And sadly that idea has proven true often enough that it’s still a viable business model. So I guess what I’m saying is that that poor fifteen-year-old kid standing in the queue in front of me at the cinema a couple of years ago, who took his girlfriend to see JACK AND JILL on what was very obviously their first date, is a-ok with me (I hope those two were able to bond over a shared bad experience, and got some quality heavy petting out of it). But the cynical thirtysomething nerd who goes to see a film that’s aimed at sixteen-year-olds and then spends precious time and bandwidth whining on the ‘net about how it isn’t what he expected… fuck that guy.

    Y’know what would really improve things? If, instead of paying for movies before they went in, people got to see movies and pay for them after they came out, but only what they thought the experience was actually worth. It’d spell the end of the $250million blockbuster, but at least we’d get some decent films out of it. Even better if you could split your money between the people making the movie, and those showing it. If “Gave me tinitus, sucked” was an option, I think cinema screenings might improve drastically.

  323. The Original Paul

    March 25th, 2016 at 9:13 am

    And since neither irony nor sarcasm comes through on the ‘net, and isn’t clear to me even when I’m reading my previous post back now… yes, the “fuck that guy” bit was meant to be poking fun at myself, as much as it was a genuine dig against the whinier species of film nerd that Majestyk refers to.

  324. Mr M,

    “They know exactly what they want and increasingly are only interested in having their very specific tastes catered to as exactly as possible, and if someone doesn’t do it, they throw a tantrum so loud that it dominates the conversation and makes the weak-willed thinkers of the world afraid to have a minority opinion. ”

    Yeah but aren’t you the guy who got mad because THE VVITCH wasn’t actually a low budget 80’s slasher that had magically teleported into the future?

  325. Paul, no doubt about that a certain kind of Superhero films will be looked back at and has everybody thinking: “Sheesh, those were weird times…”, but honestly, I think THE DARK KNIGHT will age worse than IRON MAN. Mostly because TDK is such a product of the post 9/11 time, were everybody acted as if we were not allowed to have fun anymore (a weird 180° turn from the colourful and EXTREEEEEEEEEEEEEEME 90s), everybody tried to make everything “dark and gritty” and makers of nerd properties seemed to be ashamed of their stuff being SciFi and Fantasy. (See: The completely unwatchable in its joyless 9/11-ness BATTLESTAR GALACTICA remake.)

    IRON MAN is, while being made at the same time, more the kind of old-fashioned popcorn fun, that doesn’t try to punish you for watching you a fantasy movie with terrorism, genocide and torture, just like INDIANA JONES doesn’t try to make you feel bad about watching a fantasy adventure movies with Nazis!

    But about your original argument, that in a few year the massive wave of superhero movies will have died down and people will think “That was weird”, while enjoying their current wave of whatever will be the hip thing to make and watch then: No disagreement from me here. Nothing lasts forever. Otherwise we would still have a steady theatrical output of action movies, in which body builders and kickboxers fight communist Ninjas with fucking big machine guns.

  326. Just saw BATMAN HITS SUPERMAN. Won’t go into it now but for all its faults I really dug it.

  327. Dan: I didn’t like THE VVITCH on its own terms and also lamented that there wasn’t also a decent slasher movie out in the theater I could go see. Separate points.

  328. I know buddy I was just razzin’ ya, you know I love you boo

  329. I also thought BATMAN SUPERMAN: THE PUNCHENING was pretty damn good.

  330. There was supposed to be a little heart emoji in between BATMAN and SUPERMAN. I’ve shunned those cursed little hieroglyphics for years, and then when I finally give them a chance, they fuck me. Poop with eyeballs.

  331. I saw it. I really liked it. it’s got flaws, but I really don’t get “bad” as the general view of it. I also don’t get the critical assessment that the story is confusing and there’s too many plotlines. Everything in the movie kinda leads to the same point, and the Justice League setups, while clunky, aren’t dominating proceedings. They’re confined to one scene that’s actually an intriguing and well done action piece and a few extra minutes of the movie. If you can follow the jumping time frame and multiple characters and narration of Watchmen, there’s no way you can’t follow this.

    Full disclosure: I’m a big DC Comics guy, so I maybe understand and get more out of this than a non-comics audience, but no more than you’d get with a Marvel movie.

  332. Yeah, I don’t get the conservative critics dismissing of bvs. They should be flown into space and nuked. “Bad” is just the aftertaste of their pretentiousness. BvS was decidedly more than the one-note smackdown it was marketed as. Looking forward to Vern’s review and the jibber-jabber.

  333. The Original Paul

    March 25th, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    CJ – ya know, if you’re a betting man, I’d take that bet. I honestly couldn’t remember much about any of the IRON MAN films five minutes after seeing them, and you think they’ll be remembered years afterwards? And I’m not even saying they’re bad films (although the excrable politics of them, and the AVENGERS-verse in general, has become a little too much for me to bear). I had fun with them, mostly due to the excellent chemistry between Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow. I just think that they’re about as disposible as movies get – you put ’em on, enjoy some fast-paced action and banter, come away sated, and forget about ’em immediately afterwards. Or that’s been my experience with them anyway.

    But it could be that I’m completely wrong on this, and that THE DARK KNIGHT will be remembered as mostly overrated whereas IRON MAN will become part of the public consciousness in the way that, say, THE ROCKETEER or SUPERMAN did. I honestly can’t see it myself, but I’m one guy. To me IRON MAN, for all its strengths, lacks a few crucial ingredients that the likes of THE ROCKETEER did not: a genuinely relatable lead (again, I think that if it wasn’t for Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth, the IRON MAN films would be much, much worse, but he’s still a gazillionaire with a super-suit), a great villain, Jennifer Connelly, and in my opinion a certain “style” of its own that deliberately referenced old pulp comics of the early 1900s. And SUPERMAN had Brando and Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder (come to think of it, a lot of their dialogue felt similar to the dialogue between Paltrow and RDJ) and that iconic score and the classic Richard Donner “feel” that’s hard to define but that IRON MAN definitely didn’t replicate or have its own twist on. I’m not saying TDK didn’t also have some of these problems (another gazillionaire with a super-suit!) but it had the whole Nolan “feel”, the Hans Zimmer score, many iconic scenes that have been parodied to the point of death, and of course Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance as the Joker. It just felt like there was more to it.

    Again, none of this is to criticise IRON MAN and its sequels (if I wanted to do that, there are some legitimate criticisms I could throw at them, but I don’t think they really affect whether or not they’ll be “remembered”). I’ve enjoyed them as films, but I can’t see them having enough substance to really make people look back at them in the same way that they still do with SUPERMAN or BATMAN or something like that.

  334. Peoples are often telling me that superhero films now “don’t have the charm” of the 70s/80s/hell, even 90s ones, even when things like BATMAN 89 were, if memory serves, seen as cold are charm free upon release.

    I can’t help but wonder if, in part at least, the BvS backlash has been due to presumptions on the part of a lot of critics in the post-Nolan Batflicks landscape: namely, Marvel films are the full-on superhero flicks, and the Batman/Supes/DC ones, thanks to Nolan, are now the “grown up” ones, with only a smattering of superhero stuff going on.

    The fact that BvS is very “comic-book” may have been thrown a lot of people – especially when a certain scene happens, which 100% would *not* have made an appearance in a Nolan Batman film. No way.

    (And I wonder, with that scene, which of the BvS writers is a PRINCE OF DARKNESS fan?)

  335. Paul, what exactly are you arguing?

  336. The Original Paul

    March 26th, 2016 at 5:38 am

    Karlos – but there’s a reason for the “charm” thing. The BATMAN films are about a rich guy with toys. The IRON MAN films are about a rich guy with toys. THOR – as much as I like the THOR movies – are about an immortal Viking God-prince. The CAP movies… even if you don’t find the character completely unlikeable in the first CAP movie (and I do), it’s still a story about a supersoldier who leads armies into battle. You can make a gazillionaire who lives in a giant mansion and flies around in a giant metal suit fighting supervillains likeable (and they do a pretty good job of it, thanks to his relationship with Pepper Potts). Making him actually relatable though… that’s a whole other challenge. I don’t think they pulled it off – heck, I’m not even sure that they tried. He’s not the sort of character who’s supposed to be “relatable”. He’s a masculine ideal.

    Same with Batman. Look, I love THE DARK KNIGHT and BATMAN BEGINS because they deal more with Batman as a philosophical ideal than as a character, with his enemies in both films representing the opposite ideals. The Bruce Wayne bits are mostly played for laughs, in both films. If they made a movie about Bruce Wayne, asshole billionaire with secret life fighting crime, it would probably not be very good. That said… looking at THE DARK KNIGHT as the philosophical “battle for Gotham’s soul” between stability (as represented by Bats / Gordon) and chaos (as represented by Two-Face / the Joker) doesn’t make it sound like a very “human” story, does it?

    In comparison… BLADE was, at its heart, about a woman who’s thrown into a society she had no idea existed, having to cope with it and not let it (literally) change her. SUPERMAN was about an immigrant trying to make his way in Metropolis after being taught small-town American values. X-MEN was about a teenager who runs away from home because her family won’t accept her (after a sexual encounter gone wrong, no less). These are pretty fucking relatable characters, right? That’s the big difference between these films and stuff like DAYS OF FUTURE PAST or IRON MAN 2.

  337. The Original Paul

    March 26th, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Sternshein – I’m not, really. CJ has argued that THE DARK KNIGHT may not be remembered for as long as IRON MAN. I’m just saying why I don’t think this will be the case. There’s no “right” or “wrong” argument here. We can come back to this in another fifteen years’ time and settle the question perhaps!

  338. The teaser trailer for that other 2016 movie featuring Redacted and Superdude was pretty nifty. They got my curiosity.

  339. Paul, I don’t disagree on the “superhero movies used to be better” thing, but really, you honestly think BLADE and X-MEN were more enjoyable than, say, MAN OF STEEL, because they had secondary characters and minor subplots that were semi-relatable, and not because they had Wesley Snipes and Wolverine kicking a bunch of ass?

  340. The Original Paul

    March 26th, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Toxic – I’ve never seen MAN OF STEEL so I can’t speak to that specific comparison. And don’t get me wrong, I love seeing Blade and Wolverine kick ass. My point is that these movies contained more than just those things. They give us somebody to root for. Who am I supposed to root for in DAYS OF FUTURE PAST? I realise that’s probably a fairly extreme example of a movie that doesn’t meet my standards of relatability, but still… there’s exactly one likeable character in that movie. (Heck, there’s only one character that comes across as “human” and not a walking plot point / exposition fountain.) And he’s in it for all of ten minutes. Other than that, all of the characters are either deadly dull, nerfed from a previous film’s incarnation, or both.

    What sets BLADE apart? I would say:

    1) Multi-layered world, which is shown in great detail, along with how vampires have successfully infiltrated every part of it – from the nightclubs to the hospitals to the security services to the highest echelons of Government.
    2) The character and story of Karen, who’s the “soul” of the film.
    3) The sheer badassness of Wesley Snipes in one of his best roles.

    (This is why I prefer BLADE to its sequel, by the way. BLADE 2 doesn’t have #2 or an equivalent to it, is totally lacking in #1, and while Blade is still recognisably Blade, he’s sadly not immune to a bit of badass degredation either. Don’t get me wrong, BLADE 2 has its own strengths – I particularly like the concept of the semi-romance between Blade and Nyssa, even if it’s not executed perfectly, and the Blood Pack are awesome for the short time that they’re onscreen – but the whole reaper/ubervamp thing does nothing for me, and I viscerally hate the Scud storyline. Nyssa, the Blood Pack, Blade and Whistler were enough to fill a movie in and of themselves. Why throw in all of this other shit that just detracts from what I like about the movie?)

    My point here is that if I want to see Wesley kicking ass, I can go and watch PASSENGER 57 or something. (I also get Liz Hurley playing a terrorist – bonus!) There’s other stuff going on that has to happen to make me really care about the characters in a movie. Something that’s just “cool” will always lose out to something that has the cool factor but also has characters that I can genuinely relate to and root for.

    And by the way I’m not making a case for having a “token outsider human everyman” character introduce us to every single comic-book world. They did that in HELLBOY, and I think most people would agree that it didn’t work. The character of Rogue is central to the plot and the world-building in the original X-MEN film, and I could make a pretty good case for her being the main character, not Wolverine. And despite the fact that she’s a mutant – or possibly because of it – it’s very easy to empathise with what she’s going through. I want her to find her place in the world, which is basically her goal throughout that movie. For the most part, I don’t see equivalent characters in the AVENGERS movies – certainly not in the IRON MAN ones. THE WINTER SOLDIER had a couple of contenders, but screwed the pooch badly (it made one of them a generic supersoldier, and the other one a spokesperson for the NSA. Seriously, fuck everything about Black Widow’s “you need us” speech.)

  341. I’m not sure I quite follow the “If I want to see some ass kicking I don’t need BLADE because I already have PASSENGER 57, but if I want to see characters struggle with normal people problems I can’t settle for KRAMER VS KRAMER, I need BATMAN VS SUPERMAN with relatable characters” logic.

  342. Just saw it. I liked it. Probably not a much as MoS.

    On the senate committee board there was a guy named Senator Purrington. That is now going to be the name of my next cat. That is all, until Vern’s review comes out.

  343. The Original Paul

    March 26th, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Heck no! Don’t come at me with your “normal people problems”; that’s not what I mean at all! Also you’re skirting dangerously close to an “it’s not supposed to be Shakespeare” argument there Toxic. I don’t think you’re suggesting that it’s unrealistic for action movies to even aim for some more substantial characterisation (if you were, I think at least 85% of the Badass 100 would probably prove you wrong, including all of the top five for certain) but I am kinda getting the vibe that maybe you think my expectations are unrealistic? If so, again, I think the vast majority of the Badass 100 list would still prove you wrong.

    I just mean that while it’s fine for an action movie to just do action well, I’d rather have something with more substance to it. To go outside of the world of superhero movies a sec, I think THE RAID 2 shows where my priorities lie: I think that might very well be one of my all-time favorite films if it wasn’t for some seriously distracting shakycam issues. And I can sit down and enjoy PASSENGER 57 just fine, but I won’t claim that it’s better than DIE HARD – and if you think character matters that little, look at what’s probably the main reason that DIE HARD 4 was so disliked by such a vocal minority in comparison to the original. It wasn’t because of bad action scenes (it had some very good ones in fact) – it was because of the character of John McClane. This shit matters!

    (Also there’s nothing stopping a stone-cold badass from being “relatable”. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. UNLEASHED was a flawed film, but who the hell didn’t want to see Bob Hoskins get some serious comeuppance for what he did to Jet Li’s character?)

  344. No, I’m all for good characterization in action movies, and good plots and dialogue and competent storytelling while we’re at it, it’s just that I think it’s really ok for superhero movies to have a completely unrelatable superhuman as the main character because that’s kind of the specificity of superhero movies after all. I’m all for Superman having depth but I don’t think he’d be a better character if he had to deal with colon cancer or divorce, I think he’s more interesting when he deals with problems only Superman would have to deal with.

  345. “These people think that that point of storytelling is to get it “right,” whatever that means, and won’t tolerate any idiosyncrasies or personal worldview on the part of the filmmakers getting in the way of their platonic ideal of what any given story “should” be.”

    Since more films are based on pre-existing properties, this is becoming increasingly an issue. Regarding BVS, I kinda predicted which bloggers and podcasts were going to dine on it for the next year and have decided to just avoid them this time. I get why people will dislike the movie, but I can only hear so much from those experts jawing on and on why its an affront for filmmakers to deviate from their precious ideas of what a fictitious character would or wouldn’t do before it becomes white noise.

    I don’t read comic books, but I grew up on the movie versions of Batman and Superman. I had issues with BVS, but I definitely want to see it again. It’s far from being the disaster some of the usual suspects are claiming.

  346. MaggieMayPie- He was played by real life US Senator Patrick Leahy, who’s a big Batman fan and had cameos on several of the movies. He was in THE DARK KNIGHT as the guy at the party Joker says reminds him of his father.

  347. The Original Paul

    March 27th, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Toxic – I don’t think we’re disagreeing here actually, because the last thing I want is for Superman to have to deal with “colon cancer or divorce”. We kinda got that for SUPERMAN RETURNS, and while I think I was a bit harsh on it before watching it a second time… it sure as heck isn’t good. I think SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN 2 both did a good job of dealing with “superhero problems” but doing it in such a way that it was relatable to an audience of non-superheroes.

    I mean, look once again (and I’m sorry for going back to this example repeatedly, but it really is the best one I can come up with) of Rogue. It’s fair to say that I can’t “relate” to the problem of putting anybody I touch bare-handed into a coma. But the way that problem is “framed” is that of a teenager who has been rejected for reasons that aren’t to do with anything she’s done, but instead who she is. And that’s very relatable, even for me (and I’ve had to deal with a whole lot less of those kinds of problems than others – for example, gay kids born into very conservative families).

    Likewise, I’ve never had to deal with being sent to Earth after my planet exploded and finding myself unaffected by normal physical laws as a result. (As far as you guys know, at least.) But I can empathise with the situation of an immigrant who finds himself in the position of being an “outsider” but also of wanting to fit in and do good by his fellow men. To me, that’s how to let the audience “relate” to your hero. It’s still only part of the equation of course – there’s no guarantee that being able to “relate” to a character’s problem also means that you’ll root for the character to overcome it – but it’s one way to add substance to your movie, give it some weight. I don’t think the IRON MANs of the world have that much substance. It doesn’t mean that they’re not enjoyable – I enjoyed all three of the IRON MAN movies – but it does affect how I think about them afterwards, and how I think they’ll be remembered in time.

  348. I don’t want to chime in much about BVS because (1) I’ve spilled way too many words about it online already and (2) Jesus, the “critics are on Disney’s payroll/biased against BVS right from the start/snobs” meme put me off from trying to engage some folks who actually liked the movie. Yes most critics don’t give two shits about the ole Big Two comic book rivalry (unlike the Internet) are part of a conspiracy to go after one particular film and brand. Riiiiiiiight. A lot of the same critics years ago liked the Nolan Batman films. Give me a break.

    All I’ll add for now (maybe) is this: Notice how many critics who liked MOS (the most polarizing nerd-world movie in the last 3 years) didn’t like BVS or if they did, basically admitted in their reviews (this side of TASM 2) “well its a mess, BUT…”

    Also, SUICIDE SQUAD will make this obnoxious noise/discourse drowning out the Internet right now look stupid in 5-6 months from now.

  349. Stu – and on Wayne Enterprises’ corporate board. I always thought funny that the dude is a legit Batman nerd and they let him indulge his fandom. That’s cool.

    Also, weird seeing a movie where a jar of piss is a plot device be described by some as “serious.”

  350. Paul, we probably don’t disagree all that much but still, when I try to compare the superhero movies I enjoyed to the ones I didn’t, and to think of what sets them apart, “one of the good guys is facing a problem I can relate to” is simply not on the list. Especially since a lot of the ones I don’t like (and, from what I understand, you don’t like either) do have characters with relatable problems. Iron Man has alcoholism, Hawkeye has inadequacy, Hulk has anger management issues, post-FIRST AVENGER Captain America has lost the woman he loved and doesn’t fit in the modern world, Superman has to deal with finding out he’s an adopted kid and his biological father has incredibly high expectations about what his son should do with his life… On the other hand I’ve always loved BLADE, even though I’ll never relate to Blade because I’ll never be an awesome vampire-killing half-vampire karate champion (maybe an okay one if I start training really hard, but not an awesome one), and I see Karen more as a narrative device that keeps Snipes and Kristofferson from having to awkwardly spew exposition at each other rather than as a fully-formed, interesting character.
    You said you didn’t like the latest X-Men movie. Well, I haven’t seen it, but I’m assuming that, as the X-Men, they face the usual racism/rejection that the X-Men always have to face, so unless I’m completely wrong about that, maybe you need likeability and/or coolness more than relatability to be able to root for them.

  351. The Original Paul

    March 28th, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Toxic – I agree that we don’t disagree that much. I honestly think we’re differing on semantics rather than sentiment here, because I find myself agreeing with a lot of what you say. For example, I’ve seen three IRON MAN films, and I couldn’t have told you about his “alcoholism”. If it’s there – and I assume it is – it went right over my head. If we’re talking about films that are “memorable” then I think it’s fair to say that, with me at least, the IRON MAN alcoholism thing absolutely failed!

    The latest X-Men movie… it basically contains neither relatable characters nor relatable problems. Magneto’s entire motivation during that movie is given by a single list of names that wouldn’t mean anything to you if you hadn’t seen the previous movie. Otherwise, he just does things for the plot, with no character-based reasons for them. Jennifer Lawrence’s “Mystique” (which should absolutely not be compared with Rebecca Romjin-Stamos’ character of the same name) is at least given the motivation, at the very beginning of the movie, in that she’s seen some pretty heavy shit, and it’s affected her. Ok… but that’s it. (Also it’s the worst performance I’ve seen from Lawrence, ever… I think I said in my write-up of the film that I wanted to rewatch AMERICAN HUSTLE immediately after DoFP “because she’s so damn good when she can be bothered”.)

    But the point regarding DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is that nobody is playing a character (except for Quicksilver, who is freakin’ awesome, to the extent that the 85% or so of the film that doesn’t have him in it is a huge letdown in comparison) – they’re playing either nerfed ex-characters (Mystique isn’t the only crippled character, there’s also Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine…) or just plot points. There’s no comparison there with BLADE. Again – Blade had a serious character nerf in BLADE 2, specifically as far as the Scud storyline went, which is one of two specific reasons why I hate that particular story arc with a passion. Y’think I’d even care about this if Blade’s character from the first movie didn’t resonate with me?

  352. On a slightly related note, because I can’t find the Official Nerd Shit topic easily right now, the main Batman comic will be written by an ex-CIA agent, starting in June. How badass is that?

  353. The Original Paul

    May 9th, 2016 at 2:24 am

    Well… as I stated in the DAYS OF FUTURE PAST review thread… I just tried to watch this one. Got through about ten minutes of it.

    Look, I could get through to the end of this one and weigh in on the “is Superman a mass murderer?” debate, etc. The trouble is, that would require sitting through the rest of the film; and dear God, is the first part of this thing bad. I said it was BATMAN AND ROBIN bad in the other thread, and I don’t think that’s too much of an exaggeration. The thing is, while BATMAN AND ROBIN was so-bad-it’s-jaw-droppingly-bonkers, MAN OF STEEL – at least the first part of it – is so bad it’s painful.

    I mean, a couple of people have said that the opening is actually the best part of the movie. Which would imply that it somehow actually gets worse than it is at the start. And I just don’t see how that’s possible. On every level of filmmaking this film just sucks! It looks awful (that fucking “grimy filter”, which I’m convinced they added to disguise how cheap and plasticky the Krypton sets were. Didn’t work.) The dialogue is pure exposition, the Kryptonians are apparently incapable of displaying any kind of emotion, the few actors that get to speak all deliver performances that feel like career-worsts, Russell Crowe looks like he can’t be bothered with this shit, the editing is fucking obnoxious (if you’re going to do the “out-of-focus zoom into a character’s face”, not that there’s any reason to ever do this thing but apparently you like it, at least please hold the camera steady), the one fight scene is a post-action nightmare, etc. I could go on.

    Good things so far… I liked the shot of the giant red sun behind Krypton? (I think the entire budget of the Krypton section of the movie might’ve been spent on that one shot.) And the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are always good. (Unless they’re in THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK, although I think it was more the obnoxious humans that were the problem in that one.)

    Other than that, nothing. So far this film is a charmless emotionless husk. I’d like to weigh in on the rest of it, but that would require watching the rest of it… can I not? Please?

  354. Crushinator Jones

    May 9th, 2016 at 7:17 am

    No, please don’t watch it or talk about it. Please never mention it again, in fact. Your sight-unseen opinions weren’t interesting and now you’re “hey it’s really bad and grimy” boring nerd boilerplate is really uninteresting, too.

  355. I just tried to read Pauls writing on this one. Got ten words into it. I would like to weigh in on the rest of it, but that would require reading the rest of it.

    Sorry, Paul. I could not help myself.

  356. Shoot— He doesn’t like you [points at Paul]. I don’t like you either. You just watch yourself… we’re wanted men. I’ve got the death sentence on twelve websites.

    (I couldn’t help myself either)

  357. The Original Paul

    May 9th, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Crushinator and Shoot – y’know, I should apologise. It’s not fair to judge a whole film on the first ten minutes. It may get better (I imagine it must when it gets to earth, at least as far as the visuals go). It’s just the small part of it that I saw was just so wretchedly bad, it put me off watching the rest of it. I don’t recall another instance of a film giving me this negative of a first impression this quickly. The only time I think that’s ever happened before is with SUDDEN IMPACT.

    So take the above for what it’s worth (not much at all, admittedly). At some point I’ll try and watch the “earth bits” and see if there’s anything at all there to hold my interest. So far, it’s not happening for me.

  358. Crushinator Jones

    May 9th, 2016 at 10:19 am

    @The Original Paul:

    The beginning of the movie is gorgeous. It’s not grimy, it’s not full of bad performances, it’s deliberately set up to show a society in decline that’s both figuratively and literally disintegrating on-screen. And you didn’t like that at all.

    That’s perfectly ok but it tells me that you’re not going to like the rest of the movie. At all. The exposition never really stops (the movie basically has the plot of Superman 1 and Superman 2 in the same film – Superman is both introduced to the world AND fights a major villain AND learns about his heritage AND evolves a relationship with humanity and the movie absolutely groans under the weight of it all) and the visuals never get less “grimy” (aka they remain on the cool side and full of film grain) and the emotions pretty much stay at “aaargh! this is really intense!” with one notable exception – Superman’s first flight scene. Which you can Youtube. Enjoy it.

    I don’t understand your attitude that we’re all clamoring for you to watch this movie. I mean this sincerely: No one cares, Paul.

    What I’m absolutely done with is: for literal YEARS now you have been running your mouth about what you think is in the film and what you’ve picked up through nerd osmosis of listening to haters screech about it (“mass murderer Superman” – seriously, shut the fuck up). It’s tedious as hell and I just don’t want to hear it anymore. But I was willing to live and let live. But now you’ve upped the ante even farther. Now I’m looking at the prospect of you giving your Nerd Hot Take on 10 minute chunks of the film in multiple threads – no. Do not do that. You have literally nothing interesting to say about it that justifies that level of drama. You don’t need to spew this all over the site. Your post above is just uninteresting “it’s bad” garbage, and the world does not need one more dork yelling “it’s bad! it looks bad, the acting is bad, it’s real bad!” about Man of Steel. It really doesn’t.

    It’s not a film you will enjoy, so leave it. Stop acting like you’re being forced to watch the movie. Nobody is forcing you, nobody cares. Don’t waste precious life on a movie you won’t enjoy. Don’t waste precious life typing out your banal thoughts about it. Don’t make me waste precious life skipping over it. Thanks.

  359. Crushinator Jones

    May 9th, 2016 at 10:45 am

    BTW I should say that line “mass murderer Superman – seriously shut the fuck up” is not directed at you, Paul. It’s the people who spew that garbaaaaage. I don’t tell commenters to shut the fuck up, as a general rule. V. rude

  360. I’ll be that guy – Shut the fuck up Paul!! And get some sleep. :)

  361. The Original Paul

    May 9th, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Crushinator – wow. Ok then.

    Here’s the thing… I think this is the most I’ve ever said about my expectations regarding MAN OF STEEL:

    “I also missed the widely-reviled MAN OF STEEL. From what I’ve read and heard about it, I get the feeling that – despite having read the opinions of the people here who like it here – I’d probably be on the side of the haters with that one.”

    That’s pretty much the extent of my “pre-judging”. The rest of it… I’ve posted in these sections, but for the most part it’s not been about the film itself, at all. If anything, it’s been more about “expectations”, without using MAN OF STEEL as a personal example (because I couldn’t – I hadn’t seen it). I think you might be confusing me with someone else (possibly the other Paul who occasionally posts here?) when it comes to this stuff.

    Having said that, I’m not saying you’re wrong here. I came into this movie completely spoiled. I’ve heard two separate groups discuss it in massive detail and there’s obviously a huge discrepancy between what their separate opinions are. And yeah, I have no right to shit on the film after ten minutes of it. That one’s on me being an ass.

    Ok, I’m done (at least until / if I finish the movie).

  362. The Original Paul

    May 9th, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    And Poeface – fuck you! And thanks. :) Yes, I will. Shouldn’t bring my frustrations here.

  363. The Original Paul

    May 9th, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Y’know what, I’ll even go further than that Bill Clinton-esque apology. I need to learn some fucking humility. And to not be an asshole when I’m grouchy.

    I apologise unreservedly for my assholish posts earlier on. G’night!

  364. Are we getting a Batman vs Superman or a Civil War here on the comments section?

  365. Seems more like Seth Rogen Vs. sorority girls to me.

  366. Nah, it is just plain ol´ Paul again.

  367. Crushinator Jones

    May 10th, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Paul, it’s fine, apology accepted. I’m sorry I got so mad – double-posting about it really teed me off. I like ya, bud, and I like reading what you have to say about most stuff.

  368. Stacy Livitsanis

    May 2nd, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Seven years later, and the Man of Steel Truth movement hasn’t abated. I just heard, in April 2020, two people on a skeptic/atheist podcast rehash the same long-debunked claims about mass-murdering Superman, and the moronic “should have fought in a field” line. As the movie doesn’t support the Truther claims, the fact that they persist in making them says more about their own ideological notions, as well as simply being unable to process information provided by a text. As every sane commenter here said, it’s really become a meaningless baseless assertion that some people want to believe even though it’s demonstrably false. Hey, just like all of modern society! It’s bad enough when people apply this ignorance to movies, but when they see the real world the same way, well, look where we are. ‘If I don’t believe the moon landing happened, then it didn’t happen. I don’t need to look at the mountains of incontrovertible evidence. That just gets in the way of my preferred version of reality.’

    Coming Soon: MAN OF STEEL: FIELD EDITION. In determining the best place to show off their awesome might, the Kryptonian ship lands in a field and startles two cows nearby. Superman later gives them counseling. When the terraforming starts, Superman fails to save the insects living in the impacted area. MURDERER! To placate the mewling whimpering sobbing nerdbabies, the still unequaled, mega fuck-of awesome climax of Man of Steel is replaced by fifty minutes of Superman flying around a corn field. (‘Scuse me just rehashing Vern’s own ideas)

  369. I’m going to nail my flag to the mast or whatever the expression is and say, while I am not going to tweet about it, not least because I don’t have a Twitter account, I would like to see the so-called Snyder Cut of JUSTICE LEAGUE released. Don’t know why people are so against it really, it seems like it would be a unique opportunity to get some insight on the modern Blockbuster/Cinematic Universe movie making machine. I know it would basically be a work print, that wouldn’t bother me.

  370. I would like to see the Snyder Cut too (I think Snyder has pivoted to calling it ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’) and hope HBO Max makes it happen. Other people are against it, or at least they make fun of it, because they think Snyder and his movies are awful so they see it as ridiculous and comical that anyone would advocate so strongly for viewing an unfinished one. It doesn’t help that most of the vocal #SnyderCut advocates are humorless toxic weirdos who treat getting it released like a holy crusade.

  371. Well, I stand by my interpretation of MAN OF STEEL on its own, but BvS did seem to go along with the popular idea that actually a bunch of unseen and unmentioned people died during the first one. Or at least they had that cool opening with Bruce Wayne seeing them fighting in the distance. I forget exactly.

    Even as what used to count as a Snyder fan (someone who appreciates his style and most of his movies) I can’t imagine that his uncompleted version would be better, since most of the stuff I like in the existing movie seems like Whedon’s additions. But yeah, of course I’d like to see it. I just don’t expect it since he did after all quit without a complete movie, so they’d have to spend millions just to make a special edition HBO stream of a movie that nobody liked that they want people to forget exists so they can continue making unrelated DC movies that people do like.

    Then again, if it is important to them to make people forget about it and never mention it again they should just go ahead and figure out a way to release it. I call it the “HEAVY-METAL-finally-coming-out-on-VHS” precedent.

  372. Just release the cut as I and many others are sick is hearing about it.

  373. Oh yeah there’s no way they got a huge city cleared out in like five minutes. They just wanted the carnage but wanted to keep it from being too much of a downer so they tried to cheat. You were definitely right about Batman vs Superman…first Batman movie to have great fight scenes for Batman. Snyder may be so-so as a storyteller and he sure likes to lean on his libertarian horsehockey, but the man has a great eye and films action better than almost anyone in Hollywood. And he’s consistent in that regard so you can’t even credit second unit.

    Wow, I do vaguely remember when movies like Heavy Metal and Rock Horror were so in demand…til they got released, killing the mystique. Especially in the case of Rocky Horror which is not a good movie, it only works if you’re in a theatre with a bunch of half naked people screaming at it and throwing shit.

  374. I almost mentioned ROCKY HORROR too! That still has way more of a following than HEAVY METAL, but yes, making it available suddenly made it less of a big deal. I suppose I should’ve also mentioned SUPERMAN II: The Donner Cut.

  375. They STILL play Rocky Horror at midnights on Saturdays at a theatre five minutes from my house. The college and high school kids go a lot.

  376. I might be too young to remember ROCKY HORROR being some kind of mythical “Oh my, I heard it’s brillant, but we might never see it!” movie, because it was on TV since my elementary school years (mostly on new years eve). I didn’t watch it until a few years ago though, until I became friend with a castmember of a local production. That said, I have to disagree with it being a bad movie. It’s still one of the gold standards of “We celebrate supposedly bad and campy movies by making our own, but put some effort into it.”

    Also my supersquare and slightly homophobic mother totally got the hots for Tim Curry as Frankenfurter, so there is this.

  377. I just looked it up…apparently they released the video in 1990? Shit I was in junior high back then. Guess I never realized it was out that early. But in high school the people still went to it in the theatre on Saturdays, I knew a lot of theatre kids and they always wanted me to go but I never did. I was driving past the little theatre near me a year ago and saw all the people wearing weird outfits and I was like what the hell is this…holy shit are they still showing THAT old chestnut?

  378. Yup, 1990 checks out for my timeline.

  379. I remember it being a big deal the first time they showed it on TV somewhere in the early to mid 90s. I tuned in to see what the fuss was about and couldn’t get past the singing lips at the beginning. At the time, it was not what I was looking for in a movie with the words “Rocky” or “Horror” in the title. Then by the time I saw the whole thing, I’d already seen real exploitation movies so it was pretty underwhelming.

    I’ve since come to appreciate it a little more. I tend to think of it as the SHARKNADO of its day. It got a lot of notoriety for being the weirdest thing a bunch of not-that-weird people had ever seen. It’s a beginner cult movie. You never hear it talked up in psychotronic circles where the truly out-there is celebrated. It’s more of a theater kid thing, I think. Compared to a real gonzo movie, it’s bush league, but compared to your average musical, its softball transgressions stand out a bit more.

    None of that is a bad thing. Anything that inoculates the norms with a little weirdness is fine by me.

  380. Oh maybe I’m remembering when they showed it on tv. I was thinking there was a big deal made about it and I thought it was the home video release but tv is probably it.

    Yeah Majestyk, you’re definitely looking at it through the wrong lens. It’s not supposed to be an exploitation movie. It’s an off-Broadway musical for God’s sake. And all of the references in the movie are geared toward 50s b-movies. Complaining that the movie’s not gonzo is like complaining that Eaten Alive doesn’t have enough tap dancing numbers. Sure you can, but it’s kinda pointless.

  381. You’re right Muh, but I remember it as frustrating to live through all the same. Mr. Majestyk completely nails it when he calls ROCKY HORROR “the weirdest thing a bunch of not-that-weird people had ever seen”. At the time it seemed like an excuse for jerks to wear fishnets and trade innuendos, but you shoulda seen them run when the lampreys really hit the radiator ERASERHEAD stylee.

    As to inoculating the norms with a little weirdness, I worry that it just develops resistance and attenuates the strain. ROCKY HORROR may’ve been made with real affection for its B-movie sources, but SHARKNADO was just a cynical, smirking attempt to make a “cult” movie that soaks up media attention and distracts from the genuinely weird and interesting.

  382. I don’t think it was really made to be weird though. It’s fun and kind of celebratory, no one was telling me to go see the movie to be weirded out by craziness. They just thought it was fun.

    Sharknado is definitely made to be a cult movie for people who aren’t into cult movies. My sister might like Sharknado but she wouldn’t want to see Eraserhead either way, and it’s not like we get so many genuine weird and GOOD movies every year anyway, so a few more mainstream ones doesn’t hurt much in my opinion, and maybe steers people to more esoteric things.

    The movie that pissed ME off is Greasy Strangler. A smug movie made by assholes that’s not nearly as funny as they thing it is. That’s a weird movie for hipsters.

  383. Yeah, I know you’re right, Muh, and I’m fine with ROCKY HORROR these days. And anyway I cautioned Mr. M only recently not to judge a thing by the assholes that like it, so I must try to practice what I preach.

  384. I never had any problem with the concept of “There are some many people dying in this quarantined area devoid of people!!!”.

    But I gotta say: No movie has ever gotten superhero fighting scenes better than MOS. It’s awesome to watch these superhuman beings who so completely triumph over common people, giving it all they got. No Marvel movie has ever even dreamt of being on the same level.

    The problem with the film is the non-linear narrative. If they would actually tell it chronologically, with 20 added minutes to fill it out, it would be the best superhero movie ever made.

  385. Crushinator Jones

    May 5th, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    I like the non-chronological order. There’s a theme of “islands” in the movie and they tie it together nicely. Clark floats alone in the ocean, still, man as an island, remembers his mother’s advice to focus on her voice and make her his island. A lot of water and fire imagery too. It’s my favorite superhero movie and fits together so nicely. Superman powered by solidarity to smash imperial machinery is a great message.

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