Friday, June 21, 2013

8 Questions I Have About "Man of Steel"

P/S: This entry contains spoilers after the jump

Superman's making a big comeback. Well, I consider it a comeback because finally it's not a Superman movie where the spotlessly-clean-cut, ridiculously-impervious-to-damage superhero is not stuck with the Sisyphean task of foiling Lex Luthor's real estate scams. So yeah, Man of Steel ended up being exactly what people thought it was gonna be when they heard Christopher Nolan was involved.

Now, as he did with the Batman franchise, Nolan's looking to super-breathe new life into Superman. Granted, he was not as involved as he was with the former, but still he played a key role together with his long-time collaborator David S. Goyer. Big names. High expectations. I guess in retrospect, it's not really a wonder why I walked away feeling like Man of Steel tried to top the bloated-as-it-is The Dark Knight Rises [2012].


So I guess that pretty much answered the question of whether or not I liked Man of Steel. I'm not gonna review it. Because I can't. Sure, the visuals were nothing short of great, as one would expect from Zack Snyder. The story, however, didn't make a lick of sense. I must stress that as indifferent as I can be about Superman, I had no intention of trashing the movie when I took my seat.

But I did ominously joke about the opening scene where Kal-El was born. I figured childbirth should be a breeze for Superman's mother. Like, one push and Kal-El would be shot out across the room. But it was no more than a joke. I am aware of the mythology of Superman. On Krypton, nobody is superman. However it was also the last thing that made sense to me. Everything that happened after that, it felt like they all took place just because.

It was like Snyder, Nolan and Goyer sat down and decided all the action scenes they wanted to have in the movie, and wrote a story around that. So maybe you all can help me out here. I have more than eight, but the rest are along the lines of;

How this imagery made no sense to me. And;
How he learned to navigate on his first day of flying.
There's also a question of that fight scene in outer space where he was momentarily incapacitated and free-fell back into Earth, yet still somehow managed to crash-land in his own backyard. But I consider these to be a minor thing, so I'm giving 'em a pass. The questions I need answered have more to do with the storytelling, in other words, potential plot-holes. Perhaps you can help me out.

However, answers that involve reading the tie-in novel or the comic books are invalid. I mean, c'mon, movies are supposed to be self-contained.

#8 (minor point) Why did Superman's Earth-dad try to be a hero?

The hurricane scene where Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) lost his life. It's good to have principles. But when he told Kal-El/Clark to run while he guided people to safety, what was his reasoning? Not only that, he double-back to the family car to rescue the dog. The dog made it, and Jonathan got out with an injured leg. What happened, after that? He forbade Clark to help him.

Whaaaaaat?

Why didn't he just allow Clark to help in the first place? Even if the guy broke a car door off its hinges (or even flipped a car), they can just tell people afterward that it was the hurricane that did it. Plus, it was in the middle of a hurricane. I'd like to think that people are too disoriented to keep a close eye on what you're doing.

Speaking of Jonathan Kent, it's funny how he just knew how to raise a superhero. Like he had a copy of "So Your Son is An Alien: A Complete Guide On How to Raise a Superhero" book stashed under his bed. How else was he able to mirror everything that Jor-El said back on Planet Krypton?

#7 (minor point) How come no one managed to put two and two together?

Despite everything he did ever since he was a boy, Kal-El managed to remain unknown for 33 years. When he finally "came out" as Superman, the whole world (read: USA) witnessed how... powerful he was. Shouldn't there be at least one person in the world (USA) who'd be reminded of that super-strong boy from Kansas?

Then there was also that exposé which Lois Lane wrote. Daily Planet didn't publish it, but it was sent to another guy. That guy ended up on TV to talk about it, so you can't say no one took it seriously.

#6 What was the Kryptonians' plan?

This is an actual question, 'cause I couldn't follow what was said in that council. Correct me if I'm wrong, Jor-El proposed a mass evacuation and got shot down, right? So what were they planning instead? Maybe they were about to tell the audience when General Zod crashed the party. Speaking of Zod...

#5 What was Zod's coup for?

General Zod was a military man (unless "General" carries a different meaning in Krypton) looking to gain political leverage for... what, really? Again, Krypton was about to blow up, what could a military man possibly do in this situation? If I remember correctly, Zod and Jor-El didn't see eye-to-eye either. So what did he intend to do by seizing power? Lead the army to the planet's core and threaten it not to explode?

I guess we'll never find out since the coup failed. Which brings us to #4.

#4 Why was Zod's trial a bigger priority than Krypton blowing up?

It occurred to me that perhaps the leaders of Krypton were in denial. They knew that they're gonna go extinct, yet decided to do nothing but plug their fingers in their ears and go, "La-la-la-la!!" But then again, when they put Zod on trial, it showed that they still have the sense of self-preservation. Like, the Kryptonian government (?) felt threatened they're gonna lose power. So they decided to fight back, and Zod's uprising was swiftly dealt with.

Which begs the question of why was Zod's trial a bigger priority than doing something about the planet or its people? They could have just locked him up and deal with him later. But noooo~ they were more concerned about treason than the planet blowing up from under their asses.

Alright, now that they've dealt with Zod...

#3 Why did they imprison Zod in a ship that was also a superweapon capable of destroying planets?

When they passed the sentence, Zod and his followers were frozen and beamed up into space. From there, they were transferred to the same ship pictured above before their sentence prematurely ended when Krypton blew up.

Now, why did it have to be that ship? So Zod can start invading other planets once his sentence is over? But that would mean the council was banking on Zod rebelling, so they can pretend to be appalled by his actions, imprison him for 300 cycles of something (or until Krypton meets its inevitable doom) and... What? WHY?!

#2 Save us from what, again?

Many times over Jor-El said that Kal-El will be a saviour of sorts to us Earthlings. But what did he save, really? From what? If anything, he brought destruction to our planet. The city where Superman fought Zod, for instance, was totally annihilated and it's gonna take decades recover (though the staff at Daily Planet still had to show up for work the next day).

What's that? He saved us from Zod? Uhhh, why was he here, again? What did he come here for? That's right, Superman! Jor-El sent him here with the thing that Zod wanted. By the way, somehow Jor-El knew that Kal-El will end up in the hands of a noble family and not, say... A trailer park redneck who'd charge people to come into their lawn and watch baby Kal-El lift heavy stuff.

Get it? Earth was fine, but then Superman came along under the pretext that he will save us... From the problems that he'll create. It's like a sales pitch they used to have on SmartShop (or any other late night infomercial) for products that solve problems nobody has (i.e. "Are you tired of not having a knife sharp enough to cut through a shoe?")

#1 Seriously, whose ship was that?!

The one Clark stumbled upon in the Arctic, the same one that Lois Lane followed him to. The one where Clark met a projection of Jor-El. It kept popping up every now and then throughout the movie and I kept on wondering WHOSE SHIP WAS THAT?! How did it end up there? Who put it there? Why?!

7 comments:

Zulfahmi said...

I agree with question number two... They should've shown people's reaction on the alien attack after Superman 'saved' the world... Show how confused people are on whether to trust Superman or not...

About question number one, maybe that's Jor El's ship... I mean, he knew which planet to send Kal El to... He must have discovered Earth by sending thousands of similar ships to countless universes... That's why it's compatible with the S USB that Kal El had...

Zulfahmi said...

Yeah, I was also wondering about why Kryptonians didn't evacuate... They could spare a ship and their time to send Zod & gang to space but didn't act to save themselves?

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Zulfahmi:
Jor-El's ship... Possible, since he planned to send Kal-El to Earth, and also because we saw Kal-El's family crest on the ship.

(I love how you put it as the "S" USB. LOL~)

But then again, there was an exchange in the movie where they said that the ship had been there even before the Soviet era.

I don't know... I'm just not sold on the idea.

Papa King said...

I'm gonna answer for question 1 and 3 as follows:

Question 3:

Zod and his goons' prison isn't a superweapon, not even a fuctional spaceship. But right when Krypton blew-up, Zod found a fuctional Phantom Engine (some sort of hyperdrive) from the scattered debris, and fitted it into the prison-ship. He then travelled to all known ancient Krptonian colonies across the galaxy to find refuge, but found none that survives. The last colony he visited still has a World Engine (a terraforming muthafucka), right when Clark Kent activated an ancient Kryptonian Scoutships burried in the Artic, rougly 10,000 years before modern human civilization and revealed his location to Zod.

Which brings us to question numero uno:

The spaceship on Earth (Fortress of Solitude) is actually an ancient Kryptonian Scoutship, set off to find resources and possible settlement (long before the Kryptonians starts exploiting their own planet's core).

It's all on the screen, man. Hope this helps :-)

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Papa King
That thing about modifying a prison into a superweapon sounds somewhat laughable if it wasn't just a superhero movie.

But yeah, I must have missed that. Good to know.

Ninja Turtleneck said...

Papa King mesti orang Krypton ni.

Mamü Miguel Ellezda Vies said...

Waaaaaaait a minute.

If I remember correctly, Superman's suit was found on that scout ship, right? Complete with the cape.

Whaaaaaaat????!!!

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