For those of you that visited Thrillbent.com this past week, you most likely saw the article “Man of Steel, Since you asked“. There Mark Waid gave a brief Non-Spoiler review of the movie and then for those looking for his spoiler filled opinion a full fledge in depth look at the movie.
While Mark Waid did NOT trash Man of steel he did say “It’s not for me. It had some very nice moments, several I wish I’d written (and at least three I did, I’m proud to say – there was lots of BIRTHRIGHT in it), but I can’t imagine wanting to watch it again anytime soon. It’s a good science-fiction movie, but it’s very cold.“.
In his review Waid continued to pick the movie apart for its positives and negatives, up until the ending of the movie. The final fight between Zod and Superman. This being the one part of the review stuck out to me, especially because I am a long time Superman Fan, as Waid is as well. Waid said:
“Superman wins by killing Zod. By snapping his neck. And as this moment was building, as Zod was out of control and Superman was (for the first time since the fishing boat 90 minutes ago) struggling to actually save innocent victims instead of casually catching them in mid-plummet, some crazy guy in front of us was muttering “Don’t do it…don’t do it…DON’T DO IT…” and then Superman snapped Zod’s neck and that guy stood up and said in a very loud voice, “THAT’S IT, YOU LOST ME, I’M OUT,” and his girlfriend had to literally pull him back into his seat and keep him from walking out and that crazy guy was me. That crazy guy was me, and I barely even remember doing that, I had to be told afterward that I’d done that, that’s how caught up in betrayal I felt. And after the neck-snapping, even though I stuck it out, I didn’t give a damn about the rest of the movie.
As the credits rolled, I told myself I was upset because Superman doesn’t kill. Full-stop, Superman doesn’t kill. But sitting there, I broke it down some more in my head because I sensed there was more to it since Superman clearly regretted killing Zod. I had to grant that the filmmakers at least went way out of their way to put Superman in a position suggesting (but hardly conclusively proving) he had no choice (and I did love Superman’s immediate-aftermath reaction to what he’d done). I granted that they’d at least tried to present Superman with an impossible choice and, on a purely rational level, and if this had been a movie about a guy named Ultraguy, I might even have bought what he did. But after I processed all that, I realized that it wasn’t so much my uncompromising vision of Superman that made this a total-fail moment for me; it was the failed lead-up TO the moment. As Superman’s having his final one-on-one battle with Zod, show me that he’s going out of his way to save people from getting caught in the middle. SHOW ME that trying to simultaneously protect humans and beat Zod is achingly, achingly costing Superman the fight. Buildto that moment of the hard choice…show me, without doubt, that Superman has no other out and do a better job of convincing me that it’s a hard decision to make, and maybe I’ll give it to you. But even if I do? It’s not a victory. Not this sad, soul-darkening, utterly sans-catharsis “triumph”that doesn’t even feel like a win so much as a stop-loss. Two and a half hours, and I never once got the sense that Superman really achieved or earned anything.“
For more you can once again read Mark Waid’s full review on Thrillbent.com. The review was followed by a TON of comments either agreeing or disagreeing with Waid’s opinions. Sadly comments recently were close due to “troll comments”, though I am sure people are finding other places to post or voice their comments on this review.