I understand where David Goyer and Christopher Nolan were going with the original pitch of the film. What if Superman was real? Almost everything in the first half of the movie (perhaps bar the Krypton opening) is geared towards the idea of an alien with superpowers trying to exist in the real world. The scenes with Martha and Jonathan Kent really empathised the “reality” of Clark dealing with with progressing powers. Kevin Costner did an admiral job, voicing a very interesting and plausible concern. Clark explains this to Lois, after flashing back to a refreashing take on Jonathan’s death; “My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they’d reject me… out of fear. He was convinced that the world wasn’t ready. What do you think?”
However once we get over the initial origin story we once again find the issue of inserting a Villain for extra substance, and this is where the movie denotes all forms of “reality” and becomes Michael Bay ridiculous really, really quickly. This eminence bombardment of destruction and meaningless attack is extremely numbing. After Zod was killed, I found myself thinking that; wouldn’t it of been great if they went straight to this scene instead of over-the-top destruction that preceded it. Less is most defiantly more.
I really liked the first half of the movie and what it had to say, I saw the manufacturing of the Kryptonian children a metaphor for our education system, forcing children into jobs that do not serve their natural talents. “What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended?” As a young adult who is just now finishing High School, this very much spoke to me and what I’ve experienced over that last five years. Further more the destruction of Krypton represents adheres to the fall of the old paradigms upheld in our society.
I only recently have been engaged with the Superman mythology, watching the Donner films and Superman Returns inspired me to read All-Star Superman and currently Superman Birthright. I’m not sure whether anyone else shares this perspective, but I see Superman as the embodiment of what out society can become, he stands for the hope for a more positive and freeing world. We “…can be a great people…” if we “…wish to be.” We “…only lack the light to show the way.” The writer of All-Star Superman, Grant Morrison defines this further in a moment of Kal-El’s imminent death, where Jor-El and his son converse in an ethereal dimension. “You have given them an ideal to aspire to, embodied their highest aspirations… They will join you in the sun, Kal-El.”
For me this intimate story about Kal-El discovering his potential and accession of mankind was blown to pieces with the remaining forty minutes of the film. However the footage of Jonathan Kent looking on to Clark playing with his dog was a somewhat redeeming flashback. I know my fanedit of Man Of Steel will be more of an inspiring drama than a “decent” superhero film. Despite what is a more negative perspective on the film I recognize the strong groundwork that this film has paved for potenially better sequels.