“What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?” ~ Jor-El ~
In the final dying throes of Krypton, a baby is launched to a new planet. The planet called earth. The child is named Clark, found and adopted by two parent from Kansas. He grows up in conflit with who he is. He has the power to save people, but his father tells him he shouldn’t. Not yet. He believes the world isn’t ready, and in part, he is right.
So Clark lives a life of anonymity. He works for a fishing rig, as a waiter, or some other “low status” job. Always traveling. Always moving. This continues until General Zod arrives. He declares he is going to destroy the earth, even after Clark turns himself in.
At that moment, Clark makes a choice. He chooses to become superman, and attempt to save the people he has committed himself to serve.
Things I Liked
Clark is one of the most upstanding characters I have ever seen in a movie. The amount of positive traits shown through his actions and words truly is… Super. Early in life clark is bullied. We see him not only refrain from beating the kids up, but save some who are in desperate trouble. As he grows, the values instilled by his parents are shown as he works in a diner. He called out a man for being a bit to agressive towards a lady. When the man attacks him- Clark does nothing but walk away. (I’d like to note he does get back- just not physically) Just because a man has the power to fight back, doesn’t mean he should. Clark displays this excellently.
Clark’s father is a man of incredible wisdom, humility, and kindess. He never denies the fact Clark is different, but rather tell him he was sent for a reason. And that “You owe it to yourself to find out what that reason is.” Clark’s Mother also give him the perspective of how important life is. When some damage is done to the home due to Clark, he apologizes. His mother hugs him and says “It’s just stuff. Stuff can be replaced. You can’t.”
When Clark is grown into Superman, General Zod comes to earth and demands the return of Superman. Or else the world will face destruction. Superman, without hesitation, turns himself into the US military to save earth. When asked why he did it, he says: “I’m not surrendering to Zod. I’m surrendering to the people.” In that small statement, we see a man who could destroy all of earth, choose to be a man of service to the people on the planet.
Superman is well known to be a Christ-Figure. This movie is one of the most nods towards that idea that I have seen. Clark is 33 when he puts on the suit. When he talks to a priest, we see a Painting of Christ behind him who looks quite similar. When Clark leaves a ship, he falls out in the shape of a cross. He is the first natural birth on Krypton in centuries… And more. One quote in particular I liked regarding this topic
“Sometimes, you have to take a leap of Faith. The trust comes later.”
A solider fighting against Superman rashly declares “Why are you fighting? It is useless. We are more evolved than you. And Evolution always wins.” We see and learn Krypton was destroyed by genetic engineering of their people to fill an exact role and purpose. Because of that, They have no choice in life, as their destiny’s are chosen for them. This creates the strife which takes place in Man of Steel. What is fascinating though, is we see character and good morals in Superman win out over science and evolution in General Zod and his soliders. We see Evolution, in fact doesn’t win.
Things I Didn’t Like
“For every one person you save- we will kill a million more.”
While I knew there would be a certain amount of smashing up in this film, I did not expect the amount of destruction actually shown. Aside from the standards explosions of gas stations, trains, cars, and more. Zod launches a “terra-former” to level earth and establish his world. Sykscrapers full of people are flattened instantaneously. The people fleeing from the machine are lifted from the ground, and slammed into the cement below. Zod’s soliders dispatch the American military savagely and easily. We see arms broken, and faces punched. The death count in this movie, counting all the people in the buildings which are leveled, is unfathomably high. At one point, I was actually getting bored watching the amount of destruction occurring through the CGI lens. For me, it was over the top, and unnecessary at the level by which it was portrayed.
But perhaps the most disturbing scene of all is when Superman kills another, to protect a woman and her child. He choose one life over another- and a situation like that is always lose-lose. After he snaps the person’s neck (we see and hear the sickening crunch), we watch Superman cry out, devastated by what he has done. It is heart and gut wrenching to see him not only kill someone, but be torn apart on the inside by that action. This is not the original superman of earlier days. This is darker, made to fit our modern day culture.
Clark and Louis Lane kiss in one scene.
There are half a dozen uses of profanity and some crude sexual references regarding the measuring of certain body parts. God’s name is taken in vain three times.
You’re not just anyone. One day, you’re going to have to make a choice. You’ll have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, he’s going to change the world. ~Jonathan Kent~
Man of Steel is an excellent story which commends an incredible amount of biblical character traits. It is said the meek shall inherit the earth, and in this movie, Superman is the most meek hero and character I have ever seen to touch the big screen. He is almost flawless in courage, compassion, humility, submission, and sincerity. I say almost, because as a mortal being, he has a few flaws. But that just makes him all the more real.
I recommend Man of Steel to any older person without hesitation. It is a moving story of a boy who is taught by his parent to serve, and through those teachings, saves humanity. The apocalyptic violence is intense at times without doubt. And superman killing someone… That still disagrees with me immensely.
However, this movie isn’t complicated. It is one of a man with incredible strength, who uses that strength to save the world- After he first surrendered to those he choose to protect. Man of Steel will probably be my favorite movie of the 2013 year. It is simply- Super.