Man of Steel has been out for a few weeks now, and fans have had time to digest it. While the critics have certainly had their fun bashing it, fans have adamantly defended it. I find myself somewhere in the middle.
The first time I saw it, the atmosphere drew me in enough to enjoy it a quite a bit. Even so, there were some things that nagged at the bag of my mind, moments that just didn’t feel right. After seeing the movie twice more, the flaws have become more clear, and they’re noticeable enough to jolt you out of an otherwise enjoyable viewing experience.
Some of these moments are structural concerns, others are logic factors, still others are character deviations. Taken together, we present Man of Steel’s 10 Biggest Blunders.
10. Superman Doesn’t Show Much Restraint
It’s all well and good for Pa Kent and Jor-El to preach endlessly about the many moral responsibilities of having super powers, but there’s often too many words and too little action. We see Jonathan telling Clark he needs to show restraint, or the world will reject him. We see Jor-El stating that Superman can be an ideal to strive towards.
The problem is that most of these speeches are made before the mid point of the movie, up to which time we haven’t really seen him demonstrate much greatness. We’ve seen him rescue a school bus and an oil rig. The rest of the time he tries to hide from everybody. Oh, and he decides to exercise revenge on a guy being mean to him by destroying his truck. And the goal was restraint, right?
Then, after Superman comes out in the open, he proceeds to demonstrate his “greatness” by demolishing dozens of buildings in a careless fight with Zod, assumingly leaving thousands of innocent civilians dead. Doesn’t really look like restraint to me. In fact, at no point in the film do Superman’s actions prove that restraint is the right course of action. The only time we see restraint is with Jonathan’s death, which is an extremely contrived scenario (more on that later). This would be okay if there were some consequences for Superman’s lack of restraint, but there are none.
For a good example of how this exact scenario can be done right, watch the Justice League: Unlimited episode, “Clash.” The episode’s climax features a showdown between Superman and Captain Marvel where their battle winds up destroying an entire city. Rather than ignoring the consequences, the episode directly deals with them, and shows Superman’s guilt over running amok, making him aware of the kind of damage super heroes can cause when left unchecked. It drastically alters the way Superman conducts himself, and the dramatic weight is real and fully felt.
If MOS had handled the climax with the same kind of realism and drama, Superman would have appeared much less careless. And don’t give me that “wait for the sequel” spiel. If Goyer and Snyder knew what they were doing, there would be consequences for Superman’s actions in the same film they’re committed.
This article was first posted on July 10, 2013