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Travesty said on June 23rd, 2013 at 11:46 am

So to start with, I loved this movie, although good GOD do I agree about the color palette. Seriously, guys. Bright and colorful. Bright and colorful. Two things, though, one in response to the film and one in response to this discussion:

First, I did not like Pa Kent’s ‘what would the neighbors think?’ speech at all. That felt weird and creepy coming out of his mouth. I can see what they were going for, but here it was handled in a way that left a weird taste in my mouth.

Second, about not killing Zod, I’m going to ask: what about these other options is ‘merciful?’ Project him into the Phantom Zone? Leave him stranded on some other planet without a way off? Stick him in a cell that removes his powers? So killing him is a no-no, an unthinkable act, but leaving him to rot somewhere and to spend the rest of his life going mad with grief and loss is totally kosher and the right thing for Superman to do?

Frankly, I LIKE that Superman killed him. Yes, Superman is the man who shouldn’t kill if there’s a better option available, but this is the kind of situation where killing IS the merciful option. Zod is a broken man, pure and simple. He’s not going to get better. He’s never going to come to terms with what happened. And he has shown that if you let him he WILL KILL HUMANITY. Putting a rabid dog in a cage and waiting for nature to take its course is not merciful.

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SIlverHammerMan said on June 23rd, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Andrew Wheeler had a really good piece over at ComicsAlliance, that along with Chris Sims’ review pretty much sums up my feelings about the movie ad the carnage/killing we see.

To say something using my own wrds though, I’ve gotta disagree about the pacing, I thought it was terrible, especially once we got into the second half and were forced to endure extended fight scenes. Like, yeah it was cool to see a Kryptonian get thrown through a building the first time, but when it seemingly became the go to move, that and using superspeed to be standing ready to fight in a location that they weren’t expected to be, I just got bored. I spent most of the fight scenes just sitting there growing increasingly irritated by the implied bodycount and the fact that it ust felt like padding.

As for the killing, one thing I don’t like is that Superman gave in to Zod’s ultimatum after his origin made a big thing about how Kal-El would be free to follow his own path in life. Honestly I think it would have been more powerful to see Zod not, killed, but just totally broken by the loss of his purpose, it would have been sadder without making the movie uncomfortable for me.

Also, I realy dislike Zack Snyder’s comments that they felt Superman needed a reason not to kill in the future, I think do it could work fairly well, but at the same time the reason Superman doesn’t want to kill anyone is that he’s a decent dude, he doesn’t particularly need a big, angsty, reason.

Another that sturck me waking away from the theatre was that the movie didn’t really have any “Fuck yeah, Superman” moments. They came close with the oil rig scene at the start, but there was never a moment later in the film where we actually got to see Superman swoop in to save the day and be a symbol of hope, after all the noise they made in the movie about him being all about hope.

What bothers me I guess is that in the movie universe, Lex Luthor would be absolutely right, Superman’s very presence is a massive danger that isn’t even close to outweighed by his benefits, this Superman was actively bad for his Earth.

That said, I did like the Krypton stuff when it was actually doing world building and not just dumb action sequences, and I genuinely enjoyed the first half, honestly if Superman had been in costume for his rescues and we’d seen a couple more of them, “Chasing Superman, Starring Lois Lane” would have been a damn near perfect mature take on the character. Everything after Zod shows up though? So not for me.

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Silver Hammer I had the same thought–in many ways this seemed to confirm every “Is Superman a menace?” claim someone’s brought up in the comics.
I thought of Miracle Monday although it’s not a perfect match. Superman’s not simply faced with killing a demon but a completely innocent woman possessed by the creature.
But as for giving Superman a motive never to kill, I’m not sure the big wail of anguish gets that across (a statement to Swanwick later would have helped). Okay, he feels bad about it, got that–but next time? It doesn’t convince me he’d choose the alternative route.

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Though I still think Miracle Monday does a better job by making the question of Superman killing front-and-center from the start of the book (Pa begins worrying what would happen if Superboy does cross that line).

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Candlejack said on June 24th, 2013 at 1:50 pm

“Okay, he feels bad about it, got that–but next time? It doesn’t convince me he’d choose the alternative route.”

Good point, Fraser. Don’t know the reality, as I’ve never killed anyone, but doesn’t fiction assure us that the first kill is the hard one, and it gets easier after that?

Though I think I have read at least one piece of military sci-fi that claimed the second one is the hardest, because you now know how bad it will feel and haven’t gotten used to it yet, that’s not generally the arc taken in action movies. On the other hand, action heroes rarely feel bad about killing even the first time. So…hope?

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Candlejack said on June 25th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Belatedly, I find myself wondering how Jor-El sold Lara on his plan.

I mean, sure, the kid has to leave the planet to survive. That’s the easy part of the pitch. Having the capacity to go with the kid, and not doing it because you’re a product of old Krypton and old Krypton is bad? Harder sell, especially when you’re aware of the problems with old Krypton and have already proven willing and able to work against them. Is forgetting the mistakes of the past really the best way to avoid repeating them?

And is dumping a kid on the mercy of whoever happens to find him better than guaranteeing he’ll grow up with loving parents? What if, instead of dropping in the laps of a kindly couple who wanted children, he’d ended up in the hands of the state, and raised to be either a lab monkey or a tool of the government, with his ship and the key taken off some place for study where he’d never even know they existed?

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David Grossman’s excellent “On Killing” says the first one is usually the hardest. Once you’ve done it you rationalize it (the victim was non-Aryan/non-white/evil incarnate/an enemy of the state) and it gets easier.
Good point about Jor-El and Lara staying behind. In the comics, it was either impossible to send anyone but Kal, or Lara chose to stay with her husband over his wishes, depending on the version.

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I like that he killed Zod; someone who acknowledges that killing a genocidal maniac is an option and still fights not to do it is more interesting to me than someone who simply always follows the rule to never kill anybody. The latter is an abdication of responsibility, the former an acceptance of it. And I get that this puts me in a minority on this thread – the “following the rule must always win no matter how absurd the plot twist that allows Superman to defeat the enemy without killing him” contingent has simply made a different decision about what they enjoy, and that’s fine.

On to the one truly important topic, though: Cavill vs. Reeve. Cavill was a fine Superman; I’d say his Superman was about even with Reeve’s in my eyes. But at the end, at the Daily Planet? He was still playing Superman. Reeve’s performance as Clark Kent is just untouchable. His Kent is so perfectly believable as the guy who absolutely could not be Superman.

Also! I was really irritated that the shot of the Lexcorp truck dropping Clark off at home wasn’t the only time we saw the name. Boo to them for having such a subtle name-drop and following it up with such a heavy handed one.

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I agree that what Lois got to do was awesome, but I think the plot density worked against making her really register as a character. Amy Adams is a really good actress and they should have given her more dialogue that wasn’t explaining the story.

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socraticsilence said on July 2nd, 2013 at 2:32 am

The movie did do one thing very, very right– it makes the case for a good Luthor, I mean normally its possible but really hard to buy the whole “the world needs to protect itself from people like Superman”, in this iteration– Lex would not just have a point he’d be right: Earth would have been better off if a noble, yet misunderstood genius had smothered Clark when he landed.

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Superman doesn’t kill.
But this wasn’t Superman. It was SuperBOY at best.
Or maybe even Superbaby.
Despite his advanced age he’s never gone up against any sort of powered foe or even Luthor sort. Hell, even a Toyman. When he has saved people he either splits and assumes a new temporary identity or hopes they forget/clam up.
He’s never taken any real personal responsibility for his actions, or had to.
So now he gets a load of crap dumped on him. Your people are here, and they wanna kill us all. Here’s your dad too, and he wants you to stop them. Your foster-mom just got banged up a bit btw as did your new galpal.
Now go forth, naif, and do the Jesus Christ – Captain Kirk – Magic Pixie bit.

How do they avoid this next time?
Show that he grew up, and that he won’t.

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