Siegel And Shuster Wept

OR:  As Zod Is My Witness, A Man of Steel Debrief

IMDB link to Man of Steelhttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770828/

NOTE: This review contains several spoilers, from seemingly insignificant moments to major plot elements.  With the movie out in wide release on various media formats, it would seem silly to make this declaration, but in the interest of fairness, consider this your SPOILER ALERT.

While Superman is far from my favorite comic book character, I have fond memories of watching Kirk Alyn, George Reeves, Christopher Reeve and even Brandon Routh making me believe in a man from another world who was larger than life…and could fly.

Now, it is another Christopher, Nolan, who has left me disappointed and angry.  More so than the stereotypical “nerdrage” that erupts with every new project featuring superheroes or Science Fiction icons.  But, the blame is not all Nolan’s.  He had help.

I’m going to address some of the more blatant examples of poor filmmaking, confused and forced storytelling and direction, and themes in “real time,” concluding with an overall explanation of why this film is not the standard bearer for bad adaptations from the comics.  (It should be noted that I make that statement having seen the 1998 telefilm Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD featuring David Hasselhoff.)

Man of Steel begins with the birth of a child.  In a large, stark room, Lara is in the process of bearing a son, while Jor El dotes and hovers, waiting for their child to emerge.  Around them are a pair of floating objects we learn are Jor El’s helper robots, for want of a better term.  These robots convey information in a rather odd manner: they seem to solidify three-dimensional images out of a mercury-like substance, a process that reminded me of the X-Men’s tactical table display from the first X-Men trilogy, or even more basically those “make a beard” magnetic toys from days past.

The child is successfully born, and the creatures of Krypton (not unlike the jungle creatures in the Lion King) react as if they are keenly aware that this is the first time an infant has cried.  It is revealed later, in a muddled moment of dialogue that took two viewings to understand, that this is the first child born naturally on Krypton in generations.

We immediately transition to an area of Krypton that brings to mind the planet Coruscant in Lucas’ Star Wars prequel trilogy, before we enter a chamber not unlike the Jedi Counsel of said trilogy.  Although, this counsel looks more like the Timelords of Gallifrey adorned in the robes of Rassilon.  Jor El is imploring the counsel that Krypton is doomed, due any moment for destruction.  In this version of the Superman mythos, the planet is decaying from within, due to years of “core harvesting” by the Kryptonians.  The counsel argues that as the planet’s energy reserves had been depleted there was no other option but to harvest the core’s energy.  Jor El, clearly frustrated by the shortsightedness of the counsel, berates the counsel for not looking to the stars for a solution: there are other worlds suitable for Kryptonian life upon which to colonize and save the Kryptonian race.

At that moment, Zod barges into the chamber, declares the counsel disbanded, and kills the counsel’s leader.  Zod, perhaps channeling John Winthrop or Cotton Mather, believes that the counsel has betrayed Krypton with endless debates and degenerate living.  He proposes that Jor El join him in saving the Kryptonian people.

Based on his performance, I can only assume that Michael Shannon watched a lot of Malcolm McDowell movies prior to filming.  I am not familiar with Shannon or his work, but everything about this performance harkened to either McDowell’s portrayal of Alex from A Clockwork Orange, or his turn as Tolian Soren in Star Trek Generations (an ironic turn, as Soren tried to destroy a galaxy to rejoin his people, a comparison that will be made clearer later).

Jor El refuses Zod’s offer, calling him a monster for taking up arms against his own people.  Zod has Jor El arrested and home, where Jor El escapes with the aid of a fancy doorbell.  Jor El calls his wife and tells her to ready the launch, and he runs off onto a platform outside his home to see Krypton already in the throes of a violent civil war.

Jor El calls to a creature that is the apparent love child of a dragon from Game of Thrones and an X-Wing fighter.  He flies off to some crater, and dives into a swamp-like area filled with gestating infants, swimming past these pod-children into another chamber.  This chamber houses a skull, floating in mid-air, in suspension between a series of tentacles.  Jor El grabs the skull, and escapes to the lip of the crater.  Zod’s men catch him, but he leaps off of the cliff and is caught by his dragon-thing, and returns to his home, dodging quite a bit of stray weapons fire along the way.  Jor El is remarkably unhurt, but the creature is shot and presumably dies.  Jor El places the skull into a device hovering above the capsule containing his son.  In his absence, Lara has found a world on which he him to live.  Jor El realizes that his son will be superior to the seemingly intelligent population when his son’s cells drink in the sun’s radiation.

Lara worries that her child will be a freak and the people of this new world will kill him.

“No,” Jor El replies, “he’ll be a god to them.”

Lara is having second thoughts, and Jor El reminds her that Krypton is doomed.  With several of Zod’s ships approaching, they set up the escape ship, install the skull (referred to as the “codex”), and infuse their son with its energy.  A key emerges from the computer bearing the iconic S symbol.  Jor El kisses his son, bids him goodbye, and tells him that all his hopes and dreams travel with the boy.

Jor El then dons a suit of armor in a process that so resembles the Iron Man suit application all that it is missing is an arc reactor.  Zod arrives to threaten Jor El, and he learns that Jor El and Lara had a son by natural birth.  Zod proclaims the child should be killed, as such a birth is heresy.  Jor El and Zod battle while Lara launches the space pod. The pod is launched, and Zod lashes out, killing Jor El.  Lara runs to the body of her husband, and tells Zod that Kal, the son of El, is beyond Zod’s reach.

Zod is captured and tried for treason and murder, and sentenced to the Phantom Zone.  As Zod and his people are covered in a crystalline coffin, Zod assures Lara that he will find Kal and reclaim the Kryptonian codex.  Zod and his forces are launched into space, through a gateway into the Phantom Zone that looks an awful lot like the lightning storm in space from which the Romulan ship emerged in the beginning of the Abrams reboot of Star Trek.

Almost immediately, Krypton begins to explode, and standing in her home, watching everything end, Lara looks to the sky and tells her son to “make a better world than ours,” as the pod containing her son emerges in our solar system from a wormhole, and lands in a field near a farm.

Producer Christopher Nolan, writer David Goyer (who is responsible, ironically, for the aforementioned Hasselhoff SHIELD travesty), and director Zack Snyder have packed a lot of stuff into this opening twenty minute sequence.  Much of it seems unnecessary.  Much of the Superman mythos centers on his being a stranger in a strange land, and not really knowing that much about his heritage.  All we knew before the mid-1980s is that he is from Krypton, and the difference in solar radiation allows him to do amazing things.  When DC Comics rebooted their various universes in the then-groundbreaking storyline Crisis On Infinite Earths, writer and artist John Byrne greatly expanded the role of and knowledge about Krypton to readers and Superman.  More recently, writer Mark Waid did a fantastic job reimagining the origin of the character in Superman: Birthright.  Many of the story elements, plot points, and even dialogue, created by Waid are present in Man of Steel, but there is no attribution or even thanks given Waid by Goyer, Snyder or Nolan in the credits.

Superman has always been an American retelling of the Christ story reimagining the birth of Christ and his ascension to savior, altering it for a new scientific age.  Jor El loved his only child and gave him to our world to save us.  That child would grow up to be a champion of good, someone to help us solve our problems with peace and kindness.  Superman allowed us to look to the stars for salvation, but instead of a deity, we looked towards Krypton for the coming savior.  In this version, we even see Jor El and Lara alone in a room (not a manger, at least), bringing forth a child born of what could be construed as immaculate, given the way in which Kryptonian children at this time are born.

However, this is the first adaptation for screen that has blatantly stated that Superman will be a god.  This is also the first time the story of the flood and Noah have been woven in to the Kryptonion saga.

The Kryptonian codex is the repository of all knowledge on Krypton, much like the Ark of the Covenant is the repository for the commandments of God.  Jor El takes this knowledge and infuses it into the space pod (and later we learn, into the child himself).  Kal El then is launched away from the destruction, carrying the hope of Krypton with him.  While he did not carry any of krypton’s creatures two-by-two, Kal did carry the genetic coding of Krypton’s people, thanks to the infusion of the genetic material the codex was holding for the infants born into the aforementioned swamp-cave-thing.  In essence, Kal is both the savior (Christ) and the Ark.

This begets a unique problem in this version of the mythos.  We learn from later story beats that Kal does not need to be alive for the coding to be removed from his DNA and the Kryptonian people to be reborn.  In other words, Kal would be sacrificing himself to save his people.

This Biblical back-and-forth gets more confused and muddled as the story progresses, and the religious imagery becomes stronger as it also becomes more contradictory.  For example, in the very next scene Snyder presents to us a grown-up Clark as another religious icon.  While saving workers on an exploding oil rig in the middle of the ocean, Clark rips open the door to the chamber where the workers are hiding, waiting for their demise.  Clark stands in the open door, engulfed in flames but not burning, and leads the workers to safety, much like the bush at Mount Horeb instructed Moses to lead the Israelites to safety from Egypt.

This is where the film, and more importantly Snyder’s direction and style, begins to be a complete mess.  Nolan has proven he can tell a non-linear story with Memento, but the second arc of Man of Steel poorly jumps through various memories of Clark’s childhood, interspersing with recent events that play out like an episode of the Bill Bixby Hulk show.  Following the rescue of the oil rig workers, Clark emerges on an island wearing nothing but ripped pants.  He steals clothes from a nearby clothes line, and begins to work at various odd jobs around the area, trying desperately not to succumb to any violent urges lest he hurt someone.

At this stage, certain visual cues remind Clark of events from his childhood, including moments when his powers began to manifest.  Another memory triggered is of a terrifying bus crash, where the school bus in which his class rides falls from a bridge and plummets into the river below.  Clark pushes the bus to safety while his classmates watch, and then he goes back to save a young man, Pete Ross, who has been bullying Clark for years.

Pete’s mother visits the Kents, and calls what Clark did an act of God, of divine providence.  Jonathan Kent then goes to find Clark, and gives us the first real moment in the film in which the creators of the film challenge their own assertion that Superman is Christ.

Jonathan Kent chastises his son for what he did, and Clark responds “what was I supposed to do, let them die?”  Jonathan responds, “maybe.”  This moment was featured prominently in the trailers, and is exactly the moment when the film entirely went off the rails for me, on several levels, including one of nerdrage.

If we are to believe that Superman is Christ, then at no point should he ever be made to doubt that he should do anything other than help people and be an example for how we should behave towards each other.  For Jonathan Kent to say that hiding Clark’s secret was more important than any one life (or more) is appalling.  It certainly seems to me to be a very un-Christian sentiment.  Also, it doesn’t make sense that he tells Clark that he is meant for great things and he will be the savior of the people, but don’t do anything to draw attention to yourself.

It is here that we also begin to see a common problem in the Nolan-Goyer cannon: unmotivated heroes.

Nolan and Goyer’s Batman had to be reminded constantly of why the world needed Batman, and that Bruce Wayne couldn’t simply slink away when things weren’t fun, got tough, or his knee hurt.  Here, Nolan and Goyer are giving Clark mixed messages constantly, with one parent (Jor El) telling him he’s a god and to go out and do good, and another (Jonathan) constantly worrying that his son not  do anything that might get him noticed, even if he’s saving a life in the process.  It is this dichotomy that leads to one of my more anger-inducing moments in the film coming up in the third act.

At this point in the film, we get the first (and probably only) real “homage” to Donner’s Superman 2.  Clark tells a bar patron to stop harassing a waitress, and the patron pours his beer over Clark’s head.  Clark simply leaves, but his “last laugh” is revealed later when the patron emerges from the bar to find his truck destroyed and, well, crucified on giant logs.  I use quotes to say homage here because director Snyder is fairly notorious for being classless and disrespectful to his peers and cinematic forebears.  If this was an homage, it’s not a good one, and I suspect it was less an homage than something writer Goyer injected in hopes of appearing clever.  From here, we are finally introduced to Lois Lane, the only other character to have appeared with Superman in the 75 year history of Superman comics.

Despite that history, and the rich history of the Lois character, I must note that like the Batman films, this new Superman interpretation has no females of consequence within the story.  Lara and Martha kowtow to the demands and wishes of their husbands at every turn, and in the sole moment where Martha is shown to be a maternal figure, it’s done only at a point of weakness for Clark when his powers manifest, and he is confused.  Lois has one very brief moment in which filmmakers try to present her as an equal to the men in the scene, primarily Chris Meloni’s Colonel Hardy.  Sadly, they chose to do this not in a scene in which she shows she is intelligent, or has the experience needed to complete a task, but with a crass comment about genitalia.  Almost immediately after that scene, Lois reverts to the stereotype for women in action films made by old white guys: that of a meddlesome female who gets herself into trouble and desperately needs a man to save her (even if she doesn’t realize it).  This is not only a tired stereotype, it’s insulting and degrading.  Lois Lane is a phenomenal investigative reporter, and is written and portrayed best as an equal (or superior) to Clark in all things but his superpowers.  She is not a damsel in distress, but that is apparently all these filmmakers think of her.  Amy Adams’ Lois seems to exist to be the pretty girl for Superman to save, or be used to lure Superman in to the grasp of the government or Zod’s people.

If you think I’m overreacting to nonexistent misogyny, consider that there is only one female character not hampered by this stereotype, and that is Zod’s lieutenant Faora Ul who resembles in character Glenn Close’s Alex Forrest as much as she physically resembles Sarah Douglas’ Ursa.  She is not a positive character, and we root for her to be defeated while the other female characters are not given personalities that make us want to root for them.  This was a problem in the other Nolan-Goyer films as well.  The style and design of the Faora Ul character I believe are the result of the same sensibilities that led Snyder to write and direct Sucker Punch, which has its own problems with the presentation and treatment of women.  (This treatment of women in the Nolan-Goyer films is one I find slightly amusing thanks to Snyder’s depiction of Krypton.  Everything of Krypton, the ships, the robots, everything, is designed to look like genitalia, primarily the female genitalia and birth canal.)

This overall issue of this new Superman-Lois-Clark dynamic begins with DC Comics, which recently rebooted their entire canon under the “New 52” banner, which included an edict that Superman and Lois must not be married, nor can they have any real relationship between them at all that resembles anything from the previous 70 years.

However, in a film (and series if you include Nolan and Goyer’s Batman trilogy) in which almost every supporting character is perceptually unimportant to the story or the main character, this should not be a surprise.  I feel the need to mention that this is the filmmaker’s greatest failing outside the thematic elements of the Superman character itself: there is not a single character within this story that I wanted to root for…or care about.

Lois is investigating why the military is in Canada looking into a weird discovery buried in the ice.  Clark is there working under a different name for the scientific company also investigating.  Lois goes exploring, and Clark is also trying to discover what is so familiar about the structure buried under the ice.  Clark saves Lois from one of the security drones, and takes Lois to safety.  Clark then returns and activates a device that launches an interactive hologram of Jor El and sends the ship elsewhere.

When her editor won’t print her story, Lois finds a guy running a Drudge-like web site and gives him the story.  Meanwhile, Clark interacts with the hologram, which proceeds to tell Clark all about his heritage and why he is where he is, and who he is.  The hologram goes on for just long enough for you to wonder if he’s also going to give Clark a recipe for Lara’s party dip.

(Here is one of Snyder’s biggest editing flaws.  The sequence in which Lois gets back to Metropolis, writes her story, and then gives it to someone else takes place in the same span of time in which Clark, after leaving her in Canada as the ship takes off, simply turns around to talk to the Jor El hologram.  In other words, ten seconds takes place with Superman while several days pass for Lois.  And Clark didn’t even spin the Earth backwards to make the timing work.)

“Not” Jor El tells Clark that Clark’s name is really Kal El, and explains that Kal El not only represents Krypton’s last hope, he actually IS their world’s last hope.  It is revealed that Krypton explored other worlds and reshaped the world’s environments to suit the needs of Kryptonians.  In essence, Kryptonians took over other planets.  Eventually they decided to legislate birth control and the actual birth process, and they stopped exploring other worlds.  Exhausting the natural resources led to the planet’s destruction, and Kal was to be saved.  Jor El reveals they are standing in a genesis chamber where all life begins, and children are engineered to play a particular and precise role in society.

Jor El explains that he and Lara believed that Krypton had lost its freedom to choose, so they had Kal in secret, in hopes that the child would dream to be something greater.  Kal/Clark would embody Jor El and Lara’s dream of a better world and the ideals he had learned growing up on Earth.  Jor El then presents Clark with a suit and tells him the S symbol means hope, and that it was up to Clark to be a symbol of hope and a force for good.  (Note that the language is clear in Jor El’s words: he is to be a force for good, not an example.)

This sequence makes my head hurt.  In one monologue, Jor El has embraced and forsaken, declared and contradicted, nearly every aphorism and truism espoused by Democrats and Republicans, Christians and Atheists, everyone.  Political hot button issues like state-legislated birth control is paired and contradicted with the concept of freedom of choice.  Intelligent design and scientific genetic engineering are paired up and then smacked down by ideas of destiny.  None of it makes sense, and seems like Nolan and Goyer are trying to backpedal from every Biblical allegory they’ve made up to now.

From there we are led through another round of backstory jumping that reveals just how Jonathan Kent died.  Jonathan forbade Clark from helping people during a tornado, while he went and rescued a dog.  Once again, Jonathan was more concerned with the safety and anonymity of his family than the safety of a greater number of people within the community, when at both times it was possible for Clark to save people and not completely give himself away.

This scene bestowed upon Jonathan Kent a holier-than-thou attitude and martyrdom that is unbecoming of the original character.  Jonathan Kent until this movie was portrayed as Clark’s moral center, the real influence for Clark to be Superman and embody the ideals for which the character is generally known.  Here, Jonathan represents the ambiguity of fear: being afraid of people finding out what kind of person you are, being afraid to do the right thing, being afraid of the very people you could help.

It takes a tremendous threat for Clark to reveal himself as Superman, and even then…he doesn’t react as the hero we are used to Superman being.  But…more on that later.  As Lois finds Clark, and decides after a few moments of dialogue exchanged with him to abandon her story entirely to protect him, the world is irreversibly thrust into the greater universe.

A spaceship emerges in the Earth’s atmosphere, and a broadcast spreads to all television screens and radio stations, revealing that Earth is not alone in the universe, and that Zod demands that Kal El surrenders himself.  The world goes into a panic, and the aforementioned Drudge-like blogger reveals that Lois Lane knows where Kal El is hiding.

Another flashback of Clark being bullied is presented, and it is suggested that the bully is now a priest, who is cleaning up a church into which Clark comes seeking guidance.  The scene is filmed in such a way that close ups of Clark have over his shoulder a stained glass image of Jesus praying for guidance.  The pastor advises that trust comes after a leap of faith.  Clark, dressed as Superman, surrenders to the military provided they guarantee Lois’ freedom.

Here we get the “it stands for hope” moment ubiquitous in trailers, in a scene that has Superman gaining (at least minimally) the military’s trust, but not before Superman threatens the military’s notion that he is their prisoner or that they could do anything to him.  Cut to the outside of the base, where Superman waits for Zod.  The minor version of Ursa, Faora Ul, comes out of Zod’s ship and accepts Superman’s surrender and demands Lois join them.  Lois and Superman are taken to Zod’s ship.  It is at this point that Snyder gives us the best evidence that Zod is evil: he’s grown a goatee.

On the ship, Superman gets ill as he has adapted to Earth’s environment and the Kryptonian atmosphere on the ship is making him sick, and he collapses and passes out.  Clark “wakes up” out of his suit outside the Kent farm, where Zod explains how he escaped the Phantom Zone and found Clark.  He reveals that all of Krypton’s genetic codes are embedded in Clark, and that Earth will be Krypton’s new home, and that Earth will be destroyed in the process.  Superman then sinks into a sea of skulls while Zod watches.  Superman wakes up tied to a table and Zod reveals it was he who killed Jor El and that nothing will get in the way of his carrying out his plan to resurrect Krypton.  Here, the genesis references are taken literally, as Zod’s plan is taken directly from the Genesis Device plot element of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Lois, held prisoner elsewhere on the ship, activates the code key slipped to her by Superman earlier, and Jor El appears to help Lois escape in one of the film’s stranger sequences.  Jor El waves his hands around a lot, opening and closing doors to protect and steer Lois, and getting her to an escape pod while explaining to her the best way to stop Zod, becoming a weird mash up of Yoda and traffic cop.

As Superman’s powers come back when the atmosphere on the ship is breached, Jor El tells him he can be the bridge of hope between Earth and Krypton, and oh-by-the-way that’s his girlfriend plummeting to earth from the ship.  Superman saves her in the nick of time, and drops her off near the Kent farm.  Zod’s people arrive at Martha Kent’s home to look for the codex, and in threatening Martha, begins the third act of the film.

The third act has accurately been described as “disaster porn,” and is nothing more than Superman and Zod beating the crud out of each other, laying waste to Kansas and then Metropolis.  Zod’s people also attack Superman, but also go after townspeople.  Faora Ul tells Superman that because he has a sense of morality towards Earthlings, she and Zod have “an evolutionary advantage.”  Nolan and Goyer have almost literally made the Superman mythos into a Creationism-versus-Darwinism fistfight (complete with Klingon-esque platitudes about death and victory).

Aside from the occasional interlude from a human or two, the next forty minutes exist purely to show Kryptonians demolishing our planet while trying to destroy each other.  The violence is staggering, and the cavalier way in which Nolan, Goyer and Snyder present this sequence and the destruction therein is sickening.

The destruction is so grotesque, that a specialist was called in by the web site BuzzFeed to assess the damage.  Charles Watson of Watson Technical Consulting estimated human casualties to range from a minimum of 125,000 dead to 1.4 Million dead and injured.  The financial cost of the damage was estimated to be roughly $2 Trillion.  (http://www.buzzfeed.com/jordanzakarin/man-of-steel-destruction-death-analysis)

There is a brief interlude where Clark returns home to check on his mom before flying off to Metropolis, and one of Zod’s men reveals to Zod that Kal El is the codex, and does not need to live for Zod’s plan to work.  Zod tells his people to release the “world engine” that will rework Earth into a new Krypton.  The world engines start attacking the planet just like the Romulan drill engine from Abrams’ Trek reboot.  Lois literally gives the military the key to stopping the machines, and Superman takes off to stop Zod.

While Metropolis begins to crumble, crushing people in the streets, Zod debates the merits of genocide with the hologram of Jor El.  Zod erases the Jor El program from the computer and flies off to finalize his plan of destruction.

There is an odd moment during the scene in which Superman flies into Zod’s world engine to destroy the machine.  A determined Superman flies into the destructive path of the world engine’s beam, dodging defensive mechanisms, and appearing to dissolve into the bright light of the beam.  At one moment, it appears that producers may have used CGI to superimpose another image over Henry Cavill’s face: the face of Christopher Reeve.  It may be simply that under the circumstances Cavill actually does resemble Reeve, but it’s such a peculiar thing to find in the course of the film that I felt it worth noting.

The military and scientists use the escape pod Superman arrived in to activate the Phantom Zone and blow up Zod’s ships, and suck his people into a black hole that erupts over Metropolis, but somehow only manages to suck in the two ships and none of the city, despite being a black hole just meters above the city.  Once again, the boys behind this epic have stolen a plot device from Star Trek (the Romulans were dispatched in the Abrams reboot also by creating a black hole in their ship).

Luckily, Lois escapes by being knocked from the Air Force jet carrying Superman’s pod to launch it into Zod’s ship just before the ships crash into each other.  Superman stops everything else to rescue her from death, and gives her a kiss, just as Zod shows up.  Zod tells Superman that as a man of the military, his job…his reason for existence…is to protect his people.  Now, thanks to Superman, he has no people.  So, he is going to kill Superman and everyone on Earth to make everyone pay.  An even bigger disaster is levied upon Metropolis as these two punch, heat vision, and throw each other across the city, leveling it more than the Chitauri could have ever hoped to level New York before the Avengers stopped them.

This is also the one defining moment that best exemplifies the real idea that this “isn’t your daddy’s Superman.”

At the beginning of this latest round of fighting, Zod launches a gasoline tanker at Superman…and Superman dodges it.  It flies into a building behind him and destroys the building in a ball of fire.

If this were the Christopher Reeve Superman…or even Brandon Routh version, he would have caught the tanker and protected the lives within that building.  Here, collateral damage is of no concern nor consideration to this Man of Steel.  Like a five year old, if he cannot see other people they are of no concern.  The fight travels miles and miles, literally through buildings with no potential towards saving any one or thing, and there is no logical way to believe that the entire city was evacuated in time, considering the time frame suggested.  Metropolis is a war zone, a disaster area, and there is simply no consideration for anyone else but these two Kryptonians…

Until…

The two combatants fall into a train station, and as Zod threatens to vaporize a family of four with his heat vision, Superman snaps Zod’s neck, killing him.  He then collapses to the ground and screams in agony at what he has just done, and then Lois arrives to hold him.

Cut almost immediately to the general driving along as one of the military’s drones crashes in front of his car.  Superman threw it there, as a warning for the military to not try and find out where he “hangs his cape.”  The film ends with a scene of a young Clark running in the yard with a towel for a cape, and an adult Clark joining the Daily Planet.  This is the only moment in the film that works.

Metropolis, remarkably, is completely repaired and there is no sense or evidence that any of the destruction ever happened, which is more in keeping with Snyder’s assertion that there wasn’t any real damage, and only a few thousand people were hurt.  Snyder is unmoved by the controversy regarding the massive death and destruction in his movie, stating that since Superman is the closest we get to ancient myth, the destruction and loss of life is necessary to give the story a feeling of true mythology, and in ancient mythology, “mass deaths are used to symbolize disasters.”  (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/man-steels-death-toll-is-617666)

I can say with some assuredness that Snyder is right: this film was a disaster.

 

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