Analyzing Superman’s return to the big screen in Man of Steel

If you’re as pumped about Justice League as we are, then you’ve probably been binge-watching your favorite DC Universe movies while counting down the days until November 17, 2017… the day Justice League hits theaters!

The 2013 movie Man of Steel was the original film in the modern DC Cinematic Universe, so it’s only fitting we take a look at some of the highlights from Superman’s triumphant return to the big screen.

SPOILERS BELOWHenry Cavill standing strong as Superman in Man of Steel

1. The Cast
Everyone was well cast. From Henry Cavill‘s poised Superman and anxious Clark Kent, to Michael Shannon‘s over-the-top General Zod, to Lois Lane’s (Amy Adams) wit and tenacity, everybody delivered stellar performances. When Superman leaves Jor-El’s (Russell Crowe) ship and floats above Earth, Henry Cavill physically embodies the quintessence of Superman.

2. “Maybe.”
Moral relativism has always eluded Superman, and so his movies have mostly been about good incarnate vs. the forces of evil. When young Clark Kent rescued a bus full of drowning children, his adoptive father Jonathan (Kevin Costner) was not pleased. Jonathan’s heart was in the right place, as he feared what would happen if Clark’s secret powers were discovered. When Clark asked his father if letting the children die would have been the right approach, Jonathan takes a pause and tentatively mutters, “Maybe.”

Several years later, Jonathan allows himself to die rather than be saved by his son, proving he really was willing to die before letting the world discover his son’s secret.

Man of Steel poster3. Jor-El’s explanation scene
Russell Crowe did a stupendous job depicting Jor-El (Marlon Brando is a tough act to follow!). When Clark Kent finally learns the truth about his origins — that he is an alien from the planet Krypton — he does so from a hologram created by his father. It’s a touching scene. Jor-El isn’t really there; it’s just a computer program, but the emotional tension created by the fact that the two will never meet is heart-wrenching.

4. Zod’s attack on Metropolis
This action-packed scene is everything a Superman fan could want. General Zod and Superman duke it out with the superhuman strength granted to them by the sun and Earth’s atmosphere. If you’re a fan of superhero battles, this scene is a can’t-miss.

5. Superman’s heartbreaking decision
Superman has vowed never to kill. Zod is about to murder an innocent family. Superman’s only option is to kill Zod. In a heartbreaking moment that painfully calls back to Jonathan Kent’s reluctant “maybe,” Superman decides to kill Zod. This moment is so powerful because it introduces Superman, a supposedly “perfect” embodiment of human potential, to a no-win scenario. The scream Superman lets out is the movie’s most powerful and potent moment.

What were your favorite Man of Steel moments? Let us know in the comments. ~ Yanis Khamsi

Man of Steel

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Anna • October 19, 2017 @ 11:46 AM

    I agree, cast was amazing! Hopefully Superman is resurrected in Justice League, because if he’s only in flashbacks, will it be worth even seeing it?

  2. R • October 19, 2017 @ 12:10 PM

    Worth seeing it? This is the most important superhero movie since The Avengers. I think, yes, it is worth seeing it regardless of who appears in it.

  3. Rory • October 19, 2017 @ 1:51 PM

    I loved the movie “Man of Steel”, and I agree with this analysis; it was well cast and each actor depicted their charactor’s convincingly and movingly. I felt moved to tears when Henry as Kalal screamed out in pain after he made the choice to end his uncle’s life. Beautiful performance throughout.

    I heard that the Superman character was reduced to just a few scenes in “Justice League” due to “Batman vs. Superman” not doing as well in the ratings as was anticipated and Mr. Cavill getting blamed for it. I enjoyed “Batman vs. Superman” much more than I thought I would and will no doubt enjoy “Justice League”…if I see it, but my husband and I will be boycotting it if Superman is not in it as a current character. Let’s hope I heard wrong.

  4. John • October 19, 2017 @ 3:43 PM

    Cant wait for the movie

  5. Rahul • October 19, 2017 @ 3:56 PM

    As DC Animated fan , i wish to here Lolita Ritmanis theme song in the film , or the Justice League Unlimited.

  6. CDubya • November 7, 2017 @ 12:10 PM

    Justice League will be a 2 part movie. If anyone read the Superman’s dead comic arch then he isn’t supposed to come back…yet. So Bats and WW and Aquaman, etc will band together in this flick and we will learn their stories while they search for mother boxes and then they will have a hard time fighting Steppenwolf and the parademons. They will wish Superman was there to help. He will come at the end most likely. (Mind you there were other Superman versions protecting the city and world while the original was ‘dead’). So We will see where they go with this. But anyone who’s read the comics or the entertainment news knows Henry will make an appearance, but no idea how long he will show himself in this movie. Finally a Zack Snyder movie where most isn’t revealed in all the trailers.

  7. CDubya • November 7, 2017 @ 12:13 PM

    side note:about the article, I agree with the above except I don’t think Michael Shannon was over the top as Zod. I thought it was great, even better than Terrance Stamp. And people were upset that Kevin Costner’s character had to say ‘maybe’ he should have let the kids drown…. But really people weren’t thinking that Jonathan Kent was trying to protect his son but also the bus tire popping and going into the water was an accident/act of whatever, so this was a first test to see if Superman would interfere with those sort of things.

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