SPOILERS! Yeah I’m going to be talking about the entirety of Man of Steel and what I like about it and the few things I didn’t like, as well as this ending that has some nerds’ panties in a bunch.
So lets start out with the film itself and what I think. I honestly have to applaud Snyder and Nolan for what they’ve done. They took on the godfather of all super hero films, the one that set the standard, Richard Donner’s Superman and they did a damn good job of it. It’s hard enough telling a Superman Origin story and trying to make it original in this day and age. Look at all that’s happened with the last son of Krypton. Smallville was his origin story and it ran for 10 years, there was the Superboy and Legion of Superheroes show which was a bit of an origin, the 90s animated series, and then of course the Donner films. That’s just the moving visual media. That doesn’t even bring up New 52 or Earth One Superman which are both fairly new.
So with all that origin, so much of it being in the public consciousness what could they possibly do to tell Superman as an Origin story and make it fresh? Well they told it in a non-linear fashion and dropped a lot of the stuff that slows it down. During the course of the film you see Superman born, sent to earth, grow up with his powers, see both his fathers die (one of them twice), and fight one of his best enemies. All of this is done without Kryptonite or Lex Luthor which is shocking and awesome.
Then there’s Lois Lane who figures out Clark Kent is an alien before she meets him. She’s smart, the secret identity is never an issue and Lois is tied to Clark being at the daily planet from the start. It works. Also Amy Adams plays her smart and strong. I buy her completely and I buy her instant love for Superman. She’s the best Lois Lane in cinema (sorry Margot).
Then it comes down to the gripes. The destruction of Metropolis is so vast and all encompassing that it’s hard to reconcile. Man of Steel 2 has to show this city completely destroyed still or show Supes helping out with the rebuild. This is a world where aliens not only fucked up Metropolis but the South Indian Ocean. Superman has to feel some responsibility for that and help with the rebuild, and Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne are prime for helping out as well.
Then comes the big scene. Superman kills Zod by snapping his neck after he’s sent the remaining kryptonians into the phantom zone. Well how is this a problem? Superman doesn’t kill you say? Did you see Superman II? He takes away Zod’s powers and THEN pushes what is essentially a powerless human into a pit to die and Lois does the same thing. They both murder people. Why? Now they’re human they could be taken to the UN for crimes against humanity or just prison and nobody would think twice about convicting them. But instead they die in a bottomless pit never to be seen again.
So here we have a classic Superman film ending with a smile and a kiss and nobody minds and then you have Superman killing Zod and feeling angst and anguish over having to kill and suddenly you understand why he has a no killing policy. He saved people by killing Zod as well. It made sense.
I like the ending. I felt that it added something to Big Blue I hadn’t seen before, a reason for his no killing policy.