Man of Steel was the DCEU’s Iron Man – the film that laid the groundwork for the larger, shared universe. After the disappointment of 2006’s Superman Returns, many fans had high hopes for the movie. The Dark Knight’s Christopher Nolan was a consultant. Zack Snyder – who had previously made the phenomenal comic book adaptations Watchmen and 300 – was brought in to direct. The cast was littered with Oscar bait, including Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, and Laurence Fishburne.
So what went wrong?
Despite high expectations, the film received extremely mixed reviews. While some loved it, many more found it dark, depressing, and thoroughly disappointing. Henry Cavill was labeled wooden, the script bland, the direction pretentious.
But was it really *that* bad? In my opinion, no. You probably disagree, so let’s hash it out.
My biggest point against the haters is this: Superman’s backstory IS depressing. It just is. The decimation of his entire planet and species; being treated differently from other children; growing up to watch humanity destroy itself; being constantly misjudged for his attempts to help.
So why does everyone expect his tale to be full of sunshine and rainbows? We can probably blame Richard Donner for that. His Superman films were generally lighthearted and fun, with happy endings for the good guys. The late, great Christopher Reeve perfectly brought to life the defender of truth, justice, and the American way, as he was portrayed in the classic comics. Clark Kent was kind, intelligent, and unassuming. Kal-El was strong, courageous, selfless, and heroic.
The same traits are present in Cavill’s version of the Son of Krypton. Yet, for some reason, the more realistic portrayal is seen in a negative light. Personally, I like my comic characters brought to life as real, relatable people. They don’t have to be the same cheesy cliches they are on the page. I believed every character in this film.
More to the point, there’s Henry Cavill himself. We all love Christopher Reeve, but nothing about him was physically imposing. Cavill, on the other hand, trained his ass off to become the embodiment of strength and power. I had no trouble buying him throwing trucks and bending steel. He truly looked like a “super man.”
Next, we have the matter of the directorial skills of Zack Snyder. Despite his aforementioned masterpieces, it has somehow become fashionable to hate him within the last few years. Sure, nobody’s perfect (I’m looking at you, Sucker Punch), but he certainly has more hits than misses. And his faithfulness to comic sources is greater than almost any director working today.
So, what is the true reason for the largely negative view of this film? And don’t even get me started on why Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice doesn’t deserve the hate it gets.
We would love to hear your responses. But please, try to elaborate. Rather than “cuz it sucks lol,” tell us *why* you truly believe it’s an inferior film, and what you think should have been done differently. We look forward to your comments!