I’ve been a lifelong Superman fan and have loved what has come before. I grew up with the Richard Donner movie. It’s a timeless classic and will remain the benchmark against which all superhero movies are judged for a long time to come, but I was ready for a fresh take on the legend. It just felt like it was time.
What I got was basically the Superman I’ve been waiting for all my adult life. An epic science fiction movie that takes itself seriously. There is no cheese here. The film had a lot of awesome spectacle, but it also a lot of heart.
This is not my childhood Superman, I didn’t expect it to be, but it got everything right where it counts.
Let’s start with Krypton. It felt like a fleshed-out alien world with its own rules and culture. The relationship between Jor-el and Zod was spot on. They were two people who wanted the same thing – to save their people – but they had vastly different methods that couldn’t be reconciled.
Zod himself was a fantastic villain. He truly was the hero of his own story with believable motivations. A perfect nemesis for Superman.
We’ve all seen baby Kal-el being placed into the spaceship before. We’ve seen young Clark growing up in Smallville plenty of times, but we’ve never really seen the Clark Kent travelling the world trying to find out who he is and where he belongs. I wanted to see that character and this film delivered him. He wasn’t superman, he was just a bloke working on a fishing boat with a secret. His journey to becoming Superman was satisfying.
I liked how he had super powers but not infinite powers. At one point he is holding up an oil rig, groaning with the strain. It made him more relatable and balanced as a character. The sequence where he learns to fly was great. He had a couple of false starts. It was like a baby learning to walk for the first time. When he finally launches himself into space and we see the familiar shot of superman in orbit of earth we feel his triumph. Superman has arrived!
The relationship between Clark and his parents was just as it should be. They taught him the values that define who he becomes. Jonathan Kent didn’t have all the answers, but he loved Clark as a son, and clearly demonstrated heroism in his own life and death. The way Martha helped young Clark control his powers was wonderful.
Clark’s relationship with Jor-El was also good. The Kents taught him how to be human, but Jor-el taught him how to be Kryptonian. Clark alone figured out how to balance the two appropriately.
Lois Lane was everything she should be – a tough brave reporter willing to take risks to get to the truth, but also a strong hero in her own right. She and Clark seemed very natural together.
The final showdown between Superman and Zod was very emotional. I felt the heartbreak of the characters when it ended.
Superman’s suit in this movie was the least traditional that I’ve ever seen on screen, but again it ticked the important boxes. It had the look of a military uniform, but when you see him fly he just looks like the Superman we’ve always known.
Clearly we didn’t see enough of the Daily Planet Clark to really form any opinion on how this was treated. I’m looking forward to seeing how that aspect of the character is handled in a sequel.
Well done to Zack Snyder, Chrisopher Nolan, David S. Goyer and everyone else involved. I loved the film and can’t wait for more.
Note: I’ll be producing a video where I discuss these thoughts in my upcoming youTube series called Stories, so stay tuned for that.