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Man of Steel Review
Eric Schaen (06/30/2013)
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Related: Fixing Superman
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"Not your Father’s Superman"
Review by Eric Schaen

Man of Steel ReviewThe latest superhero summer-blockbuster, Man of Steel, is a re-imagining of the classic Superman mythos. As with any re-conceptualization, Man of Steel is chock-full of moments intended to make Superman feel more contemporary for today’s audiences. That being said, it could have benefited by preserving at least some of the wit and optimism of the original 1978 film; Man of Steel is one wildly entertaining adaptation.

Unless you've been living a life devoid of all human contact, you probably know the story -- A doomed planet about to explode, a father who sends his infant son rocketing among the stars to a distant planet, an alien child raised by salt-of-the-Earth parents... and grows up under a yellow sun to become the world’s greatest hero.

But here’s the thing, Man of Steel doesn’t feel like a simple do-again of the same old, same old. In fact, it feels mostly original with just a trace of the familiar.  

Like the classic Superman fable, the legend begins with the planet Krypton on its last legs. But, this time we're treated to a more substantial view of Krypton than we had previously. With more Krypton comes more backstory on the planet's impending doom, more insight into the relationships between Superman’s birthparents Jor-El (Russell Crow) and Lara (Ayelet Zurer), and of course the film's vile villain General Zod (Boardwalk Empire’s, Michael Shannon).

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Your Comments:
for those wondering "Where was Jimmy Olsen" here's something to consider; Olsen has always been potrayed as a junior member of the Daily Planet staff in comparison to Lois and Clark and Clark didn't join that staff till the end of the movie so having Olsen in there would be a case of 'putting the cart before the horse' as they say. till now I never realized that another way the old Reeve movies got it wrong.

Posted by: Grim on 8/27/2013 5:51:52 AM
Because DC give the ok for them to show it first before it was in the comic book. The producers DIDN'T just go ahead and showen to the pubic like the didn't care about dc comic. THEY BOTH GOT TOGETHER AND AGREED ON IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: joe "true superman fan" on 7/9/2013 1:30:22 PM
@ Joe,
Yes I am fully aware of the full story behind that but it still remains that if not for the shows producers deciding that the comic cant do the wedding before them (which I failed to see how a show that had yet to air at the time gets precedence over the source material for the show) then the wedding would have proceded without the Doomsday story to fill in for the weddings delay.
as it was Lois and Clark was pretty bad anyways

Posted by: Grim on 7/9/2013 6:18:50 AM
Not true the show didn't make the writers kill him off the decide to do that themselves. Warner Bros., the owner of DC Comics, created their own Superman television series, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, premised upon a romantic relationship between Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman. One of the ideas that arose during production was the wedding of Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman. Warner Bros. learned that DC Comics was planning a similar plot line in the Superman comic books, and as a result DC, Warner Bros., and the Superman writing staff came together and reached an agreement: the Lois and Clark wedding arc in the comic book would be put on hold, to resume once the Lois & Clark TV show reached its wedding episode.
With the original storyline set aside in the comic, an original event was needed to replace it. According to a documentary on Superman: Doomsday, the Superman writing team members were miffed at having a year's worth of story planning put aside, and flustered for ideas. At the end of one meeting, Adventures of Superman writer Jerry Ordway suggested, jokingly, "Let's just kill 'im." The joke became a running gag in story meetings, but eventually gained traction with Superman group editor Mike Carlin. In the documentary film Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman Carlin states: "the world was taking Superman for granted, so we literally said 'let's show what the world would be like without Superman'."
The writers could have done anything but they where lazy and decided to just kill him

Posted by: Joe "true superman fan" on 7/7/2013 6:38:26 PM
I have to disagree with your post about this being the worst superman. till now the best for both roles was George Reeves and frankly I found Dean Cain to be not all that great (he comes off more like Superboy not to mention that show lead to his death in the comics)
now Tom Welling was great as Clark growing up but that series really derailed once he was out of high school.
as to Christopher Reeve, well frankly I always thought his movie should have been a lot better. really it was silly, cheesy and everything superman haters hate about Superman. and more to the point it was his portrayal of Clark Kent that I hated most of all. only real thing worth seeing it for frankly is the cameo appearance of Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill (the original on screen Superman and Lois Lane) on the train as Lois Lanes parents.

frankly I have just returned from seeing MoS and I have to say this was FINALLY a superman done right and even raised the bar over the Avengers.

Posted by: Grim on 7/3/2013 1:36:07 PM

All in all, I enjoyed this movie, though I definitely felt that there was room for improvement. I liked the portrayal of the Kryptonians - they wore their suits, so they weren't absorbing the sun's radiation,, and as a result, they didn't have the same power sets as Superman. They remained dangerous, though, for the fact that they have all been combat trained, and Superman has not. Additionally, their strength was able to match his, which shouldn't be seen as incongruous, but rather can be interpreted as a sign that Krypton has a stronger gravitational pull than Earth. Way back in the day, Superman was "Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound", not fly. He did this, and other remarkable feats of strength, more because of the gravity than the powers of the sun. You or I could perform similarly (though perhaps in a diminished capacity) if we were to hop around and lift weights on the moon. If you noticed, the Kryptonians only leapt about, rather than full-on fly, and when one of them did learn to fly, there was actually a solid explanation for it. This was something that I adored about this film.

On the other hand, I feel like there was an opportunity missed. Superman had to face his first enemies who could actually match him physically, and they were trained to fight. Sure, Superman had an edge in some regards, as he was able to fly and use his heat vision, but the fact is that the Kryptonians should have been able to outfight him. Which, largely, they did. In the end, though, Superman has these extra powers, and they should make the difference. And this sets up this epic encounter with Zod. Zod's biggest advantage should have come in the form of civilians. To me, Superman is supposed to be this perfect hero, and he doesn't lose fair fights. But he cares about everyone, and has to keep them safe. This is where I feel Snyder missed an opportunity. Superman has to choose between punching Zod, and stopping a building from falling on Perry White, and that intern I never knew to care about. superman saves the civilian every time. But this was never exploited, and in the final scene, Superman and Zod destroy Metropolis, topple buildings with alarming frequency, and simply bash the crap out of one another with no regards for collateral damage. You can't tell me that every single building in metropolis had been evacuated, because that takes time, roads clog, and people get stuck. But Zod and Superman fought in what appeared to be a ghost town. I can suspend my disbelief to an extent. A guy in blue tights wants to fly around punching a guy in black spandex? Fine. A city named "Metropolis" and seemingly the size of New York completely evacuated in 20 minutes? Not so much. Which leaves me thinking that there were still people in all those buildings Superman threw Zod through. There were still people hiding in the streets when the buildings came down. There were still people trapped in rubble, and calling for help, and Superman knew this, because he can hear everything. The biggest kicker for me is that Superman just didn't care.

With a character like Superman, you can't beat him in a fair fight, so you have to break the rules. You have to threaten the civilians so that he can't fight you, and has to save them. Superman, on the other hand, wants to move the fight somewhere remote, so he can fight you. The biggest problem for me is that Man of Steel didn't effectively establish this compassion, and left me wondering just how many people Superman killed. How much civilian blood is on his hands?

I did enjoy the movie, but this bothered me a lot. I definitely want to see where it goes from here, but I can't help but think this was a missed opportunity.

Posted by: M on 7/3/2013 12:23:53 PM
This is why kids aren't learning anything. They are being taught by pretentious idiots attempting to sound clever, only to show their true ignorance. If Third Grade English Teacher is truly a teacher, I feel story for his students.

As for the movie, I liked it. The original is a different movie made for a different time. This movie is more in line with the modern world and was very entertaining.

Posted by: Storcrawler on 7/3/2013 6:37:38 AM
Dear "Third Grade English Teacher",

A fable is a short story that conveys a moral which typically has animals as characters; Aesop's Fables are examples of such short stories that feature animals as characters. The word "fable" is also a synonymous with the following words:

- story;
- tale;
- myth;
- legend; and
- fiction

Bearing in mind the context of Eric Schaen's review of 'Man of Steel' and his use of the word "fable", it would be ridiculous to suggest that the Superman "fable" pertains to a short story featuring animals as central characters. Eric used a word to describe the Superman "story", i.e. how Superman's story has been told through various mediums over the last 75 years.

Perhaps during the week you could teach your third graders about context and synonyms and take a lesson yourself on how to not come off as a d***head.

Posted by: Those poor third grade English stud on 7/2/2013 7:15:26 PM
Speaking as a female audience member, I enjoyed this movie. True it helped that the new Man of Steel is a major hunk, but I liked this film for more than its eye candy factor. The action was fun and film felt more grounded in realism than most other Superman movies. The opening scene on Krypton really surprised me, but in a good way.

@ The reviewer: Nice job and don’t worry about trolls who criticize ambiguous terms.

Besides, a talking machine seems to be anthropomorphized in my book.

Posted by: Girl Power on 7/2/2013 3:31:13 PM
@ Anyone who has not seen the film MINOR SPOILER ALERT SKIP THIS POST

I enjoyed the movie a lot (and the review). The darker tone of the 'primary colours' pervaded the whole movie and made it more realistic and interesting.

My only gripe was the action sequences. Early film they talk about (and show) clark gradually absorbing solar radiation and developing powers. It would be nice if the "evil" Kryptonians had gradually become more powerful (building up to the epic Zod battle) rather than immediately developing flight, super speed, strength etc... as such all the fights were a bit samey. An initial dust-up between supes and 20 low powered Kryptonians, through 2 mid-powered Kryptonians to final showdown with uber-zod would have felt more satifying to me.

Posted by: Mantis Warrior on 7/2/2013 12:57:46 PM
MOS may not be as good as the original motion picture, but its absolutely better than every other Superman film so far.

Me thinks Third Grade Teacher should take a course in how not to come off as a condescending d-bag.

Good review!

Posted by: D-pool on 7/2/2013 6:20:19 AM
I really enjoyed reading this review. I thought it was well written and despite the minor gramatical errors that some people tend to over-dramatize and make a big stink about, I thought it was fluid, colorful, clear, and concise. If you're gonna be critical, be constructive and not a knit-picking, negative Nancy.

Anyways, I'm baffled that someone would even think that Superman Returns was "much better" than Man of Steel, let alone think that MoS was absolute garbage. Go figure. Superman Returns was an absolute disgrace to the Superman legacy, and I think the box office numbers support that sentiment, but to each his own I suppose.

Moving on, I really loved MoS. I was shocked when I saw all the critic's reviews of this movie. Especially considering how much they loved Iron Man 3, which wasn't a bad film, but definitely not an epically good or great movie that it should have been. I thought Henry Cavill was a great superman. He appeared to me to be real and human, and not cheesy. I thought his acting was pretty good, but what do I know. The way I read the harsh criticism he got on Rotten Tomato's made it seem like he was related to Twilight's Kristen Stewart. I mean, c'mon! Really? Oh well.

Anyways, great article.

Posted by: Maxweke on 7/1/2013 3:45:30 PM
Solid review. I went into to see MOS with few expectation. Krypton has to explode, and I wanted to see Superman finally in a knock down drag-em out fight against a worthy adversary. My met my expectations were met.

Posted by: S.Summers on 7/1/2013 3:28:23 PM
@Joe The fact you compared Dean Cain to Christopher Reeves makes it hard to take you seriously. Henry Cavill never got the chance to really portray Clark Kent. The only time he was really Clark was around his parents which there was no need to pretend he was someone else. The other time was when he showed up at the Daily Planet n that was the end of the movie. When he traveled the country he used aliases so he wasn't acting out Clark Kent. So your argument for him being the worst Clark holds no merit. I feel Cavill made a great Superman n I felt the Man of Steel movie was amazing. Its what all fanboys have been asking for, Supes giving n taking a beating. My only complaint was how they portrayed Pete Ross n where was Jimmy Olsen? I definitely give it four stars. @Eric great review, I enjoyed it. @ third grade English teacher, You're an a$$.

Posted by: geminimerc on 7/1/2013 9:13:56 AM
@ Mesch
Thanks. There were just a few minor things that held it back from a solid 4.

Let me share my thought process:
0 stars = you’d have a better time mowing the lawn after a fresh rainfall.
1 star = almost no entertainment value.
2 stars = not a complete waste of time but nothing special.
3 stars = Overall enjoyable but leaves room for improvement.
4 stars = solid film, very entertaining.
5 stars = a fine example of cinematic magic. Thoroughly entertaining.

@ Third grade teacher:
I welcome all observations and criticism. It’s how we improve.

Thanks all.

Posted by: Slade on 7/1/2013 7:56:22 AM
Also @ Third Grade English Teacher:

Well we can’t all be as error free as you.

Fable - A story about legendary persons and exploits.(Don’t see a problem there.)

It’s funny I have read many an article in Newspapers, magazines, web sites and even schoolbooks that have had much more glaring errors. Yet, somehow I was still somehow able to comprehend those articles making them completely viable.

I guess this is what you get from a douche more interested in endeavoring to discredit someone’s work ; such observations tend to make jerks feel superior.

@ Eric I enjoy your reviews. Keep writing, and we’ll keep reading.

Posted by: Dr. Silly on 7/1/2013 7:00:20 AM
@Third Grade English Teacher: I am the editor of this article, so if grammar issues are found then the fault lies upon me. That being said, I think Eric did a great job on this review and I fully intend on hiring him for future articles. I have 100% confidence in his abilities.

Posted by: The Le on 6/30/2013 7:57:34 PM
"Like the classic Superman fable"

Was there a talking animal or an anthropomorphized inanimate object in the "classic Superman fable"? Please look up the word "fable".

Also it is "Boardwalk Empire" not "Boardwalk empire". Proper nouns get capitalized.

It is hard to find any review viable or pertinent if the writer does not have a firm grasp of his chosen language.

Posted by: Third Grade English Teacher on 6/30/2013 7:44:11 PM
One point i would like to make is that Henry whats his name was one of the worst Superman. 2 the best Clark/Superman next to george reeves besides Christopher reeves was dean cain, He was a mix of George reeves and christopher reeves combined. next to him as clark was tom wellings tho he didn't wear the glasses the whole series to me he was clark kent. As for the movie it was the worst superman movie. Superman returns was better then this pile of $#!:.

Posted by: Joe "TRUE SUPERMAN FAN" on 6/30/2013 7:18:32 PM
Good review, haven't seen it yet. Iam sure you would like it.
Your reviews are really well put together..

Posted by: henry babenko on 6/30/2013 6:56:31 PM
Well written review, Eric. I am curious, however; for the quality and praise the film seems to have earned from the tone of your review, how come only 3.5/5 stars? I would think it would be worthy of a solid 4, from how I read it.

No, I have yet to see the film.

Posted by: MEsch on 6/30/2013 6:11:28 PM