Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Critic's Review of Man of Steel

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s rather boring. Some people liked Man of Steel, but it didn’t do too much for me. Admittedly, I watched it with a migraine which could have affected my opinion at the time, most definitely. But I suspect that I’m not far from the mark, and here’s why:

Cricket courtesy of

Storyline, the movie never went in depth. Don’t get me wrong, the anecdotes were fabulous, but they left you dangling. I found that I wanted to know more about life on Krypton. I wanted to see its culture, its people, its customs that are a stark contrast or similar to earth’s culture. I wanted to see more conflict/plotting between General Zod and Jor-El, not just a few moments before planet Krypton explodes. I wanted to know more about Clark Kent/Kal El/ Superman’s childhood, his relationship with his parents, and his relationships with other children. The story doesn’t go in depth about the conflicts in his childhood either, instead, his conflicts are resolved much too soon, such as his conflicts with the bullies...there wasn’t enough drama. As for his relationship with Lois Lane, I must admit I’m also a little biased because I loved the 80s Superman series. In the 80s, Clark Kent’s relationship with Lois Lane was more developed, you can tell that they were on their way to a full-fledged romance during the first movie. However, Lois Lane had more of a relationship with his father in this movie, which is fine, if it extended to more than a few short minutes.  I mean, everything was rather brief.

                                                  Image courtesy of

But even though the storyline is lacking, the film still has its perks. The most obvious one being the action scenes.It's colossal, it's bold…it is almost as good as Pacific Rim’s. But it was also a little too much…too lengthy. While I enjoyed the destruction of the entire town, give me more storyline, please don’t wrap it all up in the action sequences. Though the special effects were spectacular. And, frankly, so were the futuristic costumes. 

The message was fantastic too. You have this alien from Krypton trying to adapt to our world.  It is difficult because his genetics put him at both an advantage and disadvantage over earthlings. On one hand, he could pick up a truck as if it were a small toy and save a life. On the other hand, his sensory frequency is incompatible with earth’s because everything was more visible and louder to him, as it would be for extraterrestrials who are trying to adapt to our environment. That is why our villain, General Zod, was attempting to terraform the earth’s environment in the first place, to make it easier for the Kryptonian race to live on earth. That means humans had to die, of course, but that was the least of his worries. Yet, here was this man, Kal El, who was also Kryptonian, and was attempting to protect humanity from General Zod’s invasion- even if it meant that he would be the last living Kryptonian in existence. So, General Zod’s flawed plan for the perpetuating their species didn’t exactly pan out as he planned. If, say, he found ways for the Kryptonians to adapt to Earth, they would have survived (Pacific Rim also conveyed this message in a round about way when the scientist drifted with the Kaiju. It didn’t notice his human neurological scent, so it left him alone as if he were a Kaiju). So once again, brains triumphs brawn. 

General Zod courtesy of

The other message contained within this conflict between Superman/Kal El and General Zod, is that within one branch of the same species, are two opposing factions…one who wants to hurt humanity, and one who wants to protect it at all costs. Kind of like, aliens are not all bad, like the aliens in Pacific Rim were. Well, in the Kaiju genre in general the aliens are all bad. I imagine the same would apply to an extraterrestrial presence engaging this reality…like the much feared Reptilians.  Are they really all bad? Can’t there be a few gems amongst them? And I mean Reptilians who represent a benevolent, helpful presence to humanity, rather than a hateful, destructive one. Like Kal-El. I like the fact that Man of Steel doesn’t paint one group of people with a single broad brush.

Kryptonian baby pod. Image courtesy of

So, now that  Superman is the last surviving Kryptonian, the question remains if he can perpetuate his species. At least in the physical form…as we see in the scenes with Jor-El, they can also become spirits. But can he reproduce with Lois Lane, if extraterrestrials have a different genetic makeup than humans? Unless we have a common ancestor which makes us genetically compatible, the answer is no.  According to Wikipedia, Kryptonians have a completely different genetic makeup than humans which makes it impossible for them to breed with us. So, even if Kal-El looks exactly like a human man, he can’t reproduce with Lois Lane. And who knows what he really looks like under that suit! Underneath all the bulging muscles he could even be a hermaphrodite. So what about artificial insemination? We see in the movie that the aliens were created through artificial insemination rather than through sexual reproduction-except for Kal-El/ Superman/ Clark Kent whose parents broke the law to have him naturally. But does that somehow make him different than your average Kryptonian?  Since he is genetically incompatible with Lois Lane, or any human on planet earth for that matter, that means artificial insemination is out of the question. But is his species virtually screwed? Is he truly the last member of the Kryptonian race? What about cloning? Well, science isn’t that advanced yet, we’re not supposed to be able to clone humans let alone Kryptonians, but who knows what really happens  in research facilities these days. Perhaps they could clone him, but according to Wikipedia, his genetic structure is too complex for scientists to decipher let alone clone. So, sorry Superman, now that your species is dead, there probably won’t be another Kryptonian anytime soon.  That is, unless love produces the kind of chemicals that could facilitate sexual reproduction with Lois Lane.

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