Depending on the comic, Superman's invulnerability is depicted as an invisible forcefield that emits about an inch or two off his skin. Therefore, any hair underneath it is invincible to any blade, any hair above it is normal strength and can be trimmed with scissors.
And there's the Hancock method: by scratching his face.
Some continuities have had Superman shave by using a Kryptonian mirror (from his ship) to reflect his heat vision back at his face and burn off the hair.
If he's got a Kryptonian mirror, why not a Kryptonian razor?
The mirror is a piece of his ship.
After seeing the Kryptonian drone wound him when he first accesses the ship, I assumed he took something off of it that was sharp enough to shave with. However...he logically would had to have found some way to shave long before that point or he'd have had a Robertson family-esque beard by that point in his life. He didn't seem too shocked that it was able to wound him, maybe he used something sharp from the ship that brought him to Earth to shave with before?
SPOILER: Zod and the Genetically Engineered Society
So General Zod is the "best warrior on Krypton". We know this because he tells us. He was bred specifically to be this. He has spent his entire life training to be the best, or fighting and being the best. Yet he still loses a fist-fight to Superman at the end of the film. Maybe you can handwave this as a result of Superman being far stronger due to having lived on Earth for 30 years while Zod has only been there for a day. But then at the beginning of the film he loses another fist-fight to Jor-El... who is a scientist. In this movie's universe, he has always been a scientist, and by the rules of this movie it's what he was genetically bred to be. And then he fought his planet's perfect warrior and won. What?
Perhaps Jor-El is a Genius Bruiser? Just because Zod is the better fighter doesn't mean that he might fight smart, whereas Jor-El may be less of a direct fighter, more of a tactical one. I just saw the movie last night and I admit I might be wrong because I don't exactly remember the fight's details, but just throwing an idea out.
Zod only knows Jor as a scientist who never gets physical. He underestimates the head of El family and gets defeated as a result. Also, he is in shock and anger after knowing what Jor and Lara have done and getting emotional will hinder you in a fight.
Jor-El still died by Zod's hand.
Jor-El is a scientist who recognized the flaws in Kryptonian selective breeding. As scientists go about their work by testing theories, he would have tested to see if he could break the mould and be more than the scientist Kryptonian society intended him to be. We know he's right, hence why he's able to fight so well against Zod and his soldiers.
Also he usually has some kind of explicit or implied advantage during his fights. The first time is the flash bang and the second time he is seen noticeably putting on his own suit of armor that may have been some kind of Power Armor that he had been tinkering with to give himsemlf an edge in just such a situation.
Seemed to be a bit of Fridge Brilliance, actually: It was noted that taking up arms against their own people was a grave offense to the Kryptonians in the movie. If they have been living on Krypton for centuries with no in-fighting, and they weren't expanding into space anymore, what real need of a full-on military did they have? Zod's influence was obviously far beyond just policing the populace. He probably didn't have as much real experience as we might assume at first. Plus, if he was bred to just be the Kryptonians' general, he may not have been immersed in direct combat training as much as tactical training. This would seem to be supported by his Dragon Faora being able to do better against Clark with even less power than Zod had in the finale, since she was probably more experienced in hand-to-hand fighting.
Jor-El also had the advantage of well... having both the most to lose and nothing to lose all at once. His son was in about the most exposed and unsafe a situation he could be in and no matter which way it turned out, the planet was going to implode; either way, someone is going to wind up dead. Situations like those bring the most ferocity out of people, especially those who appear to carry a strong Papa Wolf vibe.
Zod seems to have regarded Jor-El as a friend. He had a knife he could have pulled at any time, likely ending the fight. The fact that he doesn't do so implies that he wasn't trying to fight as hard as Jor-El was. And when you're son's on the line and you've come to terms with your impending death, you're going to be trying really hard.
Jor-El and Zod both allude to an earlier friendship; Zod even calls his killing Jor-El something he has lived with every day since.
Pherhas deep inside, Zod is just a selfish man that doesn't really want the best for his people (and yes, his species becoming physical gods would be a good thing) and instead just wants to satisfy his own needs, to get his old home back. He is a comic book villain after all.
Powered armor or superpowers?
When Zod and the Kryptonians arrive on earth, they seem to have superstrength and jumping skills. Is the armor they wear Powered Armor or are they showing the same powers as Superman? It would make sense that it's the latter, but Zod and co. only get the sense-related powers (x-ray vision, hearing, etc.) once their armor and breathers are damaged. And the armor Zod and Jor-El used on Krypton looked to give them superstrength. So did Zod and co. just get the strength powers early, or was their armor helping them out?
Earth has less gravity than Krypton, and since they would have developed more powerful muscles on a planet with higher gravity, this would explain the super strength, speed and ability to fly/leap long distances. The air is stated to be more nourishing the Krypton's- increased nutrient/oxygen flow would also contribute to this, not to mention that Kryptonian artifacts are noted to be incredibly sturdy- the above factors just made the Powered Armor they were wearing that much more super.
Also remember that this movie follows the New 52's explanation that the entire ecology of the Earth contributes to Superman's powers, not just the sun. Indeed throughout the film the more exposure each Kyrptonian got, the more powerful they became. Once Zod shed his armor in the final fight he began to develop the powers on a similar level to Kal-El.
But before that, Zod's crew arrives on earth and is a match for Superman in strength and speed. Is that the armor, or Yellow Sun Powers? They seem instantly aware they have these powers, but not the sensory powers.
I would hazard to guess that they knew beforehand that they would gain superpowers under an earth environment and that their suits were modified to filter out the powers that couldn't be handled without significant practice. They did have at least one scientist along for the ride who could do that if needed.
They definitely knew beforehand. Jor-El was well-aware that Kal would have powers on Earth (it was part of the reason he sent him there), and when Kal first collapses on the ship, Jax-Ur tells him that "you're just as weak as a human here".
When Zod and Jor-El fight, it does not seem like a knock-down, drag-out powered armor fight, but rather just a regular bar room brawl. So it may just be that the armor is for ballistic protection and environment protection.
The suits were powered but, remember inside them it was the Kryptonian environment, negating the effects of Earth's biosphere. Zod didn't start getting superpowers until after his suit was breached. The Kryptonians most likely thought that the atmosphere was deadly to them, considering their initial reaction (sensory overload, breathing problems, etc.)
Millions of people dead?
Superman was extremely reckless to this movie, where he smash through buildings and creating utter destruction. Superman actually drag a fight with Zod to Smallville instead of battling it in the vast farm fields they passed, probably for a Sears or IHOP advertisement.
Dude, civilians always get out of the ways just in time to avoid the damage in superhero movies.
Regarding Smallville, taking the fight to the town proper can be attributed to a rookie mistake caused by going berserk. When it comes to fighting, he's raw, outnumbered and mostly outclassed so they cause the most damage by hitting him with things or hitting him into things. And then the military shows up and causes more damage.
Regarding Metropolis, most of the property damage and implied deaths was caused by Zod's ship and later Zod again smashing things at Superman or Superman into things. The most damage was dealt while Superman was elsewhere dealing with the World Engine. During that time, people are seen evacuating, and the destruction didn't encompass the whole city. Some hyberbole is at work here.
The implication is that several thousand people are dead in Metropolis due to the World Engine. How many, if any, casualties resulted from Superman's fights in Metropolis or Smallville is debatable.
We are talking about multiple people with powers on par with Superman's. If Clark just left a city to try and get them to follow him, they may well start killing civilians just to fuck with him. He really can't dictate the terms of engagement on this one. He tries with Zod, punching him into orbit, but Zod takes the fight right back to Metropolis.
Are we seriously saying 90% of the city didn't just say Screw This, I'm Outta Here! when they saw a giant freaking alien space-drill over the city?
Considering everyone we see just stands and stares until the destruction actually starts, including the Daily Planet workers who were at least ten stories up, yes, we're saying that. Besides, Super Man and Zod move around a lot, and falling buildings have good potential to block paths: just because they ran doesn't mean they actually got anywhere safe.
During one flashback scene, we see young Clark running around his yard wearing some kind of red clothing at his neck, trailing behind him like a cape. But, er, why? Sure, kids use other shirts for capes and run around pretending to be superheroes, but they're following Superman's inspiration. In a world without Superman, why are kids running around in red capes?
Maybe fictional superheroes already exist in that world.
Considering that 300 had the same director as this movie, little Clark imitating the Spartans would be Fridge Brilliance.
Maybe part of Krypton's genetic engineering includes genes that make one predisposed to wearing capes, and those specific genes were passed on to Clark.
Or maybe he was imitating Captain Marvel?
I thought the scene might have been Clark's imagination. He wishes he could have looked the part of a hero for Jonathan Kent.
Scene was a real flashback though.
It could also be an universe where the Justice Society of America existed before Superman, and some of them, like Hourman or Dr Mid-Nite, wear capes, so they could have been his inspiration.
Or he just thought the cape looked cool and heroic; there's a reason so many heroes wear them.
Capes predate superman by a big margin. Capes were worn by royalty, for instance. Perhaps Clark is pretending to be a prince or something.
Clark is seen reading 'The Republic' by Ancient Grecian philosopher Plato at one point in the story. Capes were a piece of clothing typically worn in Ancient Greece. Philosophers are often seen wearing capes in paintings such as 'The School Of Athens' by Raphael. Philosophers were also important in society as well somewhat powerful. This is reflected when Clark is seen standing over Krypto(?). Although it is a very young Clark, we already know he is very smart (Science Fair Winner), so it is possible he would have an interest in ancient times. With the cloak, he is clearly trying to emulate the philosophers.
In the DCCU, it's been said that Batman will be older and wiser than Superman. It's possible that Clark was imitating him.
Zod has found a planet with an environment that gives his people godlike powers... and his plan is to destroy that environment and remake his old world because adjusting causes some pain. To me, the trade off of a few years adapting to the atmosphere and focusing your senses is well worth being, you know, Supermen.
A planet full of Supermen? That's much more chaotic and terrifying than it sounds. It's just not efficient and quick enough way to bring back the glorious Krypton Zod longing for.
A planet full of genetically-engineered supermen that can be conditioned to accept a rigid hierarchy and that apparently lack any non-programmed initiative unless they're turned into scientists...
Zod was looking for Kal-El in particular and he finds him on Earth, which proves it's already habitable for Kryptonians with some adjusting. He decided to go without adjusting.
Also, keep in mind that Zod is a zealot who wants to bring back his society, and considering Clark's reaction to Kryptonian atmosphere, odds are pretty good babies wouldn't be able to take it.
Clark was able to make it. And while I've seen people say they doubt that the genetically engineered babies would be able to survive, I don't see how or why that would have an affect.
Um, why not terraform Mars? And why did Superman not offer up himself if they take that option?
Perhaps Zod's goal was to not just make Earth more like Krypton, but less like Earth. It was noted when Lois was brought aboard Zod's ship that Kryptonian environments are dangerous to humans. His Hostile Terraforming could have been just as much about destroying Earth's people as its environment.
I think this comes with his "programming" if you will, he "exists" as he puts it, for Krypton and Krypton alone, its all he know and all he is. Bonuses be damned I suppose, but with it that ingrained in his system, he probably can't see any other alternative.
Also, remember that while Earth's environment does make the super powers more potent and, well, powerful, it is ultimately the yellow sun that gives them powers. Sure, a Kryptonified Earth wouldn't have made them as powerful as they would be if they just adjusted to Earth, but they would still have super powers.
He mentions that it's not just the environment but being around humans in particular is extremely discomforting. It is possible that Kryptonians are simply not a gregarious species like humans are, Krypton looked fairly underpopulated and they specifically brought about population control to keep the world underpopulated. Perhaps they evolved from something similar to earth bears that are extremely asocial in temperment rather than our hunter-gatherer tribe oriented ancestor. It is entirely possible he inherently saw humans as 'perverted' in a deeply unsettling way looking so much like kryptonians but with radically different behavior.
Zod is a soldier and a bit of a genetic elitist, if Jor-El's arguments against his uprising were any indication. Humans are a different species, and now they know Kryptonians exist. Even if they use the world engines on Mars or Venus, the humans are nearby. Zod probably viewed them as a potential future threat that he felt needed to be neutralized as soon and swiftly as possible.
It would also explain why Clark sought out isolated places to live rather than just refraining from using his powers, crowds probably always unsettled him to some degree, his super senses allowing him to realize just how many humans were in close proximity didn't help.
Fridge Brilliance If Kryptonians were like bears, that only become social to breed, the presence of Louis at the Daily Planet may have been what makes living in metropolis possible for him, activating his species gregarious behavior.
Regardless of whatever the Kryptonian Missing Link was like, modern Kryptonians are, culturally, xenophobes. They wouldn't have got along with humans even if they had decided to settle on Mars. They would have regarded Earth alien, worthless, and a potential threat. (Not an immediate threat, but xenophobia is often not rational.) The fact that restarting their civilization requires Kal-El, and he's defiant, is a reason to destroy Earth now, but they'd want to eventually.
Krypton is said to have much higher gravity than Earth, and the fact that Zod's troops can make giant leaps while still insulated from Earth's environment seem to bear that out. Presumably their ships would have artificial gravity at Kryptonian levels. How come Lois can walk with no trouble? Maybe they lowered the gravity or made some other accommodation for her, because they needed her healthy (not crushed under her own weight) for the Mind Probe interrogation.
Krypton's Society and the Els
If Kryptonians are genetically engineered, how exactly did Lara get pregnant AND they manage to keep it a secret? Furthermore, why exactly haven't babies been naturally born, anyhow? The pods they kept in are kind of pointless seeing as how they're going to have a role chosen for them regardless.
Jor-El could say "Oh, Lara is, uhm, visiting some friends" when asked about his wife. You know, lying. As for the pods, the Kryptonians aren't just told to fit a role in the society, they are genetically engineered for such purposes.
I'm more amazed that Lara, on a world where no after-natal care exists for mother or child, was up and running around with no signs of pain or exhaustion from giving birth.
It does happen in real life. Besides, they most likely did have means of after-natal care, more advanced than anything we currently have, they just haven't used them for eons. And with Jor El being a scientist, he would probably be able to recreate them.
I got the impression it was sort of a GATTACA scenario, where there's not actually anything outright preventing Kryptonians from having a natural birth if they wanted, there's just very strong cultural taboos and the fact that it'd be hard to hide for very long afterwards, which could lead to the child being taken away or worse regardless.
I know this might be a case of Too Dumb to Live, but how are these people the leaders of a race of superbeings and THIS incompetent? Surely they could've known that genetically engineering everyone for a specific role was going to backfire in a ridiculous amount of ways?
They are also the leader of a race that had grown quite stagnant in the centuries since they came into prominence. Believing their system was flawless was probably second nature.
Considering that this is species who mined their planet's core to the point that it exploded and killed everybody, I think Too Dumb to Live is a fitting description.
Intelligence does not necessarily bestow common sense.
Genetic engineering did not "backfire in a ridiculous amount of ways" at least to our knowledge. What backfired was over-mining their planet instead investing in their space program.
It backfired in that each and every single person on Krypton was bred for one purpose & one purpose only. Jor-El & Zod, despite their trying, could not overcome that which had been preordained for them from birth, while Kal-El was born with true free will. Hell, the miners kept mining and the Council kept looking after the people instead of the very real signals that they were killing their planet too quickly, all because that's how they raised to be.
Why couldn't the Kryptonians leave?
It's mentioned by Jor-El that because all Kryptonians other than the natural born Kal-El would die because since they were born artificially, and therefore "our fate was tied to that of our planet." What the hell? Zod and co. seemed to take Krypton's Earth-Shattering Kaboom just fine. What reason (other than hewing to the established Superman mythos, of course) is there that no one could use Krypton's Crystal Spires and Togas technology to get off the planet en masse?
While their technology was impressive, the prequel comic shows that they are technologically stagnant, especially concerning their space program which hadn't been used in millennia. They wouldn't have been able to construct the engines & ships needed to even evacuate a percentage of their population, even in the short few weeks they had left. But what Jor-El was talking about was that because of their role-assignment at birth, the already grown Kryptonians would not be able to function properly (i.e. Zod) on a new world. Jor-El's plan was that, even though the Codex would be able to allow for artificial birth, Kal-El (who was free to choose what to do with his life) could pass on that trait to the next generation, something that the former generation would never have allowed. The social stagnation also was essentially what lead to their planet's premature demise, so there's that too.
The Council themselves also initially believe that Jor-El was implying a planetary evacuation, something which they outright seem to be rather hesitant in taking as an option. That said, they probably hadn't the resources left to try an evacuation even if they wanted to.
The reason is that the Council arrogantly believed that they had absolute control over the planet. To them, it wasn't going to blow up if they didn't want it to, and thus they saw no reason to do anything.
Lois in the Arctic
After Lois gets shot by a security drone, Clark uses his heat vision to stop the bleeding. While Clark may have saved her life, he then opts to abandon Lois on the bare ice in a part of the world that can reach 40 degrees below zero at night. The military guys don't find Lois until the next morning, so how did she survive?
Who's to say Clark dropped her off in the middle of the night? The cauterizing seemed to take a heavy toll on Lois, so it would've knocked her out naturally for a while, thus he probably held her on the ship until dawn broke and dropped her off himself in an area he knew a rescue party would be patrolling.
Daylight is everywhere
How can the sun be up in both Metropolis and the Indian Ocean when they're explicitly shown to be on opposite sides of the world?
It's always night time in Gotham, and the sun is always up in Metropolis. Basic comic book facts!
There is not that much light, maybe is sunrise in the ocean and sunset in Metropolis. You can actually see that in the final Zod-Superman fight the buildings have the lights on.
One size fits all?
When Clark finds the 18,000 year old scout ship in the arctic, the Superman costume is on-board and is somehow a perfect fit for him. How is that even possible?
Kryptonian technology. If they can make a spaceship that's still functional after sitting around a few thousand years with no one maintaining it, they can make a suit that expands or shrinks to fit its wearer (we already have some shirts that can do this to a degree, thanks to spandex and clever construction). Or perhaps all Kryptonians are genetically engineered to be within a certain percentage of one another in height and bone structure, barring accidents or malnutrition, and so any male suit would fit him (it would certainly be more efficient for a society to be similar enough in size that any article of clothing would fit any member).
Nope, in the fight in Smallville there is one gigantic dude that shows up to help Faora (possibly the Man of Steel equivalent of Non from Superman II). Also the scientist on Zod's ship was incredibly skinny. If the Kryptonians had the control over their genetic sturcture that you are proposing, such outliers wouldn't be possible.
If it helps, the comic says the scout ship has cloning facilities on it because it was for Krypton's planetary expansion project. So there's probably more than one El suit on board. I think the Man of Steel artbook also said it was one of many.
They had a super-science 3D printer on board, and Jor-El's upload used it to knit his son some nice jammies?
A suit isn't very complex. We don't know how complex of objects such a device could make.
Codex in his genes
Okay, I admit to being a Spoiler Hound (I was notat all impressed by The Dark Knight and wanted to see how much Darker and Edgier things went) and having not yet watched the film, but why exactly does Zod need Kal-El's corpse to extract the Codex from his cells? Can't he just take a bucal swab and sequence the DNA or something?
Watch the movie, and this isn't the place to talk about your tastes. Zod wants Superman dead because he doesn't want to go along with the Kryptonians' plans to create New Krypton on the corpses of Earth & humanity. The Codex is not in his DNA, but literally carved into his cells nearly microscopically. Only the machines they have can get all of the information from his cells, something that can't be accomplished by "a DNA swab".
I think what the OP was saying that by taking a bucal swab, Zod could sequence the codes from the cells taken from there, with no need to kill Supes. There probably wouldn't be enough information to create enough Kryptonians for Zod's tastes, though.
Also there is the fact he WANTED to kill Supes. He asked "does he need to be alive?" meaning the only reason he'd keep Supes alive if they had to. Scientist underling says no, they don't have to keep him alive to extract what they need. An answer Zod is happy with because he wants him dead anyway.
Questionable. Zod may have been considering the difficulty in taking Kal El alive. Don't forget he and his men still don't know the full extent of their powers and how to use them. He may have had Kryptonian weaponry which could kill but a live capture would have been harder.
When Clark was first taken aboard the ship, Zod's scientist guy drew a blood sample from him. If the Codex was written on his cells or in his DNA or whatever, why didn't they just use that blood sample?
My understanding of that scene was that the Codex was encoded in all of Kal-El's cells. From that I took to mean that either bits of the data were strewn about here and there, whether that meant bits of people-code were in this cell, more bits in that one, and so on, or some similar. Granted, that only raises further questions, considering cells divide and some are replaced, but still.
While obviously less horrible than Zod's genocidal plan, wouldn't Jor-El's version of rebuilding the Kryptonian race, still end up bad for Earth? I mean, even in the unlikely case that every Kryptonian born was a super-nice dude like Clark, you'd still have a ever growing population of superpowerful men and women among the much weaker humans. There is simply no way they would co-exist as equals with us, in the best case they would end up as benevolent ruling class of dictators. Hell, a lot of people probably would ASK them to become exactly that.
Jor-El seemed like the kind of man who would believe in the best of people. After all, that's what his clan symbol means. That said, he also states to Clark exactly that in time, he would need to rise up and the be the example to help bridge the species together. It's not a perfect plan by a long shot, but it is the kind of plan the leader of what's possibly the most optimistic clan of Krypton would come up with.
It's not like Jor-El had many other options. it was either letting his race to become extinct or preserving the Codex and hope that his son will figure out a way to rebuild his race without endangering Earth.
Shut up, Clark!
Clark talks way too much about things he really shouldn't throughout the entire film.
When Zod asks "What have you done?" while going through Sensory Overload, Clark tells him how his mother taught him to control his senses. Why would you do that? Punch him with the force of a bomb or toss him in the air at supersonic speed and let his eardrums explode—or possibly make him pass out!
Yeah, that's a bit of a headscratcher right there. I guess this being his first encounter with superpowered foes, Supes is too green and not thinking like a fighter. Also, it took him years to learn how to focus his senses, so he probably wasn't counting on Zod to get used to the sensory overload so quick.
As a child, Clark figured it out over the course of one conversation. It's plausible that Clark was simply too green, but that only makes it that much more of a What an Idiot moment.
I don't think that scene in the movie when Ma Kent tells Clark to focus on her voice was the first (or the last, for that matter) time he freaked out like that.
It's an intimidation tactic. The scene is lifted straight out of the comics where Clark does the same thing to utterly break Braniac. It's very effective there. Zod just happened to have back-up.
When the General asks if he has America's interests at heart, he flat out tells the General he was raised in Kansas. WHY?! Until now, the army may have had no idea why the fight started in Smallville. But now, they have a perfect trail of bread crumbs to lead them back to your mother, and thus completely ruin the purpose of destroying the spy satellite.
Now this has a clear explanation. Clark trusts the General, and gave the info that he was raised in Kansas to reassure him that he is an American and won't ever turn against his country. He is confident that the General is going to understand (and make the goverment understand) that Supes needs his privacy and that he is an ally they can trust.
But that answer just raises further questions. Superman having that much trust in someone who is essentially a stranger is a lazy answer to the inconsistency. For example, you could have Superman walk up to a random cop and say "My name is Clark Kent" and explain it with the same excuse of "he trusts the officer to do the right thing". Yes, it could be true—but even if it is, it's just lazy.
That isn't really the same situation. For a Superman so early in his superhero career, it's vital that the US goverment trusts him enough to let him do his job, and the General is the highest ranking officer he's met so far.
Exactly, this is a green Clark slowly but surely taking steps to becoming the iconic paragon. He chooses to make the leaps of faith first in the hopes that he can inspire trust to come later. To make people choose for themselves to do the right thing. Keep in mind that many people in Smallville, specifically people he had apparently saved over the years, have been Secret Secret Keepers for a long time. They don't rat Clark out, even during moments of terror.
Not to mention, your original observation. Do you think the military didn't notice there was a random throwdown in Kansas of all places? They knew that the Krytonians wanted Kal-El for a reason. Logic states that there was something in Kansas that they also wanted since they had some kind of agenda. Their planes deliberately left their mother ship with a trajectory the military was tracking and went there first before Clark had even broken out of the ship. If they were tactically going after Earth, they would have started out with the larger cities. It's not a huge jump to think Kal-El's identity might have ties there. He doesn't lose anything by giving the information and gains trust by giving it. We already know what few people in Smallville knew about Clark's powers hadn't given him up and legally Clark Kent exists. And he hadn't been there for a long time, travelling the world under false identities, so only life long members of Smallville knew about Clark Kent's oddities. Not to mention Kansas is a decently sized state and they'd have to take into account that he "grew up" there, not that he'd moved away or traveled (which he did). Not to mention the Kansas fight literally spanned miles and only landed in Smallville (the town proper) because of Clark. If you'll notice at the beginning of the fight, it looks like they have traveled miles away from Clark's home to the actual town, due to the speed he was flying when he was pissed off that Zod threatened his mother. So, to sum up, they know he has connections to Kansas, he grew up there at some point or another (for how long no one knows), and he's been on Earth thirty-three years. Also, he could have lied about growing up in Kansas to make the general feel better, picking Kansas because it's the place the fight occurred. It's not the most brilliant thing to do, but it doesn't lose him as much as you might think.
There's also Lois's article, which may have already disclosed Kansas as Clark's home (although she probably didn't give full details beyond the state itself). The military has no doubt already reviewed that article and put together many of the same pieces by that point. Clark's not telling them anything they don't already know.
Not to mention if we're going by Smallville's(the show) geography, Metropolis is also in Kansas. Even if it's not, judging from the time it took the military to get inbound to Smallville with the Colonel Hardy, the same commander that was there when Clark and Lois left with Zod, the entire movie (aside from the Arctic, Canada and Clark's travelling) may have been set in or around Kansas. Notice when he says it he gestures just to his right. So he could have basically been saying, "I'm from right here, get off my back."
Turn his head, fly away, something
In the fight with Zod, Superman snaps his neck to prevent him from heat visioning a family. He's trying to hold him back, but Zod keeps inching his head farther to the right. Okay, but why can't Superman lift Zod's head upward? Why doesn't he just fly out of the building? He's got Zod in a good grip, and Superman can easily lift him. There were other options.
The assumption seemed to be that he was trying. Zod was about as powerful as Superman at that point, and they were both pretty beat-up, as far as Kryptonians go. Pulling you head down is stronger than turning it to the side, due to both SCMs being engaged together. So Clark trying to keep Zod's head from turning right was probably his viable option. As for flying away or trying to pull him in another direction, you have to keep in mind that Zod's heat vision is obviously an Eye Beam based power. All Zod need to hit his mark is a slight eye movement or twitch of the neck, which would be easier to do in the struggle if Superman tried to move him rather than give everything he had to keep Zod from moving. Even if none of this is the case, though, Zod's simple "Never." to Clark's "Stop!" really drove his determination home: if Superman doesn't stop him here, he's going to keep killing people and fighting until he's down for good, regardless of whether this specific stand-off ends without collateral harm. So Superman does what he feels he has to, to save everyone.
In addition to the fact that Zod made it clear that he would never stop, it's quite possible that Clark was trying to fly away with Zod, but that Zod was flying down with all his might.
Zod himself made it absolutely clear that the fight was going to end in only one way: "Either You Die! Or I do!" He had since turned into a Death Seeker and nothing short of that would end the showdown, no matter how Clark would've attempted to stop him. Especially since: nothing on Earth could reliably contain him, there's no other way to imprison him back into the Phantom Zone at that moment, and even if he could get him out of Metropolis, Zod would simply find another civilian filled target. Like Batman learned at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, sometimes, you just have to pull the damn trigger.
Clark had enough time to position his hands to grip Zod's head and twist it. With that, he could've punched him away or turned his head. Sure, Zod said it was a death match, but you can still knock the guy out. And I don't think kryptonian's can fly down as hard as they fly up. In fact, from what I've seen, they seem to have trouble staying grounded in general, seeing how much times kryptonians have been sent flying and actually let themselves hit the ground rather than correct their positioning (but don't quote me on that).
And then what? Clark doesn't have the knowledge to recreate the Kryptonian environment necessary to depower Zod. So, then what? Zod wakes up and escapes and kills more people. Zod made it perfectly, inescapably clear: If Clark did not kill him, Zod would spend every moment of his life killing more people. Every single person on Earth in fact.
As it has been pointed out time and again, Zod was going to kill Superman or Superman was going to kill Zod. There is literally nothing on this Earth left of Krypton (stated by Zod), meaning there's no technology that can stop him. If you watch closely, Superman was struggling with his entire body to keep Zod in that choke hold and trying to move his head away from the family and couldn't. Zod was actually getting closer to the family by moving his head. So, Superman was also losing his grip on him, which mean that entire family would have died. In the space of a few days, Superman has fought all of the Kryptonians, he is exhausted and Zod was kicking his butt. He begged him not to hurt those people and to stop with the laser beams and Zod said "No way, Jose." Keep in mind, these people have destroyed buildings and cities with fighting each other and there is an innocent family at stake. Zod also stated he was never going to stop even as Superman was begging him to. Since Superman chose humanity over Krypton, Zod vowed to kill every living human on the planet. Not to mention, Superman probably got lucky with this choke hold considering how devastating the fight was. And Zod is trained and literally has nothing left to lose. Also, to fly it looks as if your entire body needs to be coordinated, not like the easy flight of earlier versions. Clark hovers exactly twice with his hands and feet free, every other time he uses some sort of propulsion. Zod also took moments to do what it took years for Clark to learn (focusing your powers). He has a tactical advantage in that he doesn't care who he hurts or what damage he causes. Not to mention fights happen very quickly and Superman has seen how woefully underwhelming the military is compared to their physiology. So Superman kills Zod. All of the other options have the glory of hindsight, not the fury of battle behind them. He did the best thing he could in that moment.
I can't confirm if Clark knows what gives him powers, but if not, Jor-El should have told him. But if he did know, he could've tried to work something out. Knocking him out would've at least bought him and the government some time to think of something (you could even use that to introduce Lex Luthor), or at least attempt to. Plus, you can't take what Zod says at face value; the guy was in a rage. If nothing worked, fine, kill him. But it was a choice made in a moment of desperation, and that's the main justification. This Superman is nowhere near as experienced as the comics version (and that's very important to note) nor does he have the same resources. There may have been alternatives that hadn't been explored, but Clark didn't consider them all. If he didn't kill Zod then, he may never have gotten the chance or the nerve to ever do it, and Clark couldn't risk that. With all that was on the line, it's doubtful he was even capable of considering all of his options. Again, he's new to this, and that's the main justification.
Clark knows where her powers come from; the Jor-El A.I. told him. The composition of Earth's atmosphere & the absorbtion of yellow sunlight from Earth's sun. But really, there is no realistic, established way to imprision Zod and/or remove his powers left at the end of the movie. Zod is a superpowered alien now capable of everything that Superman can do, there is no believable way of keeping such a being unconcious in what could take months or years, at least a few weeks to give the government "some time to think of something" (it would be laughable if the superpowered Kryptonians could be taken out with common anesthetic gases or drugs). Introducing Lex Luthor at the tail end of the movie wouldn't have been a smart move (unless it was an aftercredits scene) since it would have taken away the movie's "Zod vs the House of El" theme and would leave the audiences grumbling that they wasted Luthor on a few minutes; that's why the shoutouts to Luthor in the movie were all low-key. The only way the movie established that a Kryptonian's powers can be lost is if they are in the natural or simulated settings of Krypton's atmosphere, which can no longer be done with the destruction of all of the Kryptonian ships. Between stopping Zod from causing any more casualties and surely knowing full well that nothing now can stop him let alone Zod, Clark had to make his actions... decisive. After all, he can't very well remove Zod's powers with a heretofore unmentioned spiritbending in the last moments, leaving him a broken shell of the man he once was, right?
Superman vs. the Elite... it wasn't any better there. An after-credits scenes would be fine. It would at least set-up Lex's intellect and that he was capable of harming kryptonians. Sequel Hook is a trope, after all. Mainstream audiences seem to like Zod in this film, so only comic readers would be annoyed that they 'wasted' Luthor, and even then, it's not like you can only use a character in one film. Look at Scarecrow in The Dark Knight Saga. The "Zod vs House of El" conflict was done when Supes snapped his neck, or more specifically, defeated him. While it would rob the film of a more conclusive feel, the film was meant to not only be the start of a trilogy, but the launching point for the DC Cinematic Universe, and having it be an after-credits scene would solve that conclusive feel-problem, as the Marvel movies don't seem to suffer for having them (there's a large enough gap between the main feature and the after-credits scene for it to not impact the tone of the movie).
Realistically, the only thing that Luthor can do in an after credits sequence is just show up and tell the audience "This is who's gonna play Lex Luthor". And it might not even matter since he might not be the villain in the sequel. He might show up and maybe antagonize Superman, which could lead to him being the Big Bad in Man of Steel 3 or the Justice League movie, whatever comes first. Scarecrow in the DKS were nice continuity nods, but his appearances in the second & third movies were merely cameos, which wouldn't really work with a big character as Luthor. Of all of the Superman movies, Lex Luthor has been in four of them (I, II, IV, Returns) so even non-comic book readers would know how big a player Lex Luthor is. Man of Steel was written to be self-contained, with the sequel plans (as well as the later announced Flash & Justice League movies) finalized after the movie proved to be a hit since the first attempt to make the DCCU, Green Lantern was a false start (Amanda Waller would have been the Nick Fury equivilant), Warner Bros. needed to see if audiences would take to this new universe first. So that's why aside from a few super quick cameos (the Lex Corp shoutouts and the Wayne Industries satelitte), the movie didn't dare go beyond the origin & Zod stories, not even for an aftercredits sequence. Will there be one in MOS II? Probably, but remember: even Loki had to have a movie (Thor) to become the major player he is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Avengers, Thor II). Lex needs more than a few mere minutes.
A related question too this is why didn't the family move? You can understand one of them being paralysed by fear, but all of them? Surely one of them would try and make a break for it?
If I recall correctly they were cornered, with a wall on the right and Zod's eyebeams approaching from the left.
They actually had a few seconds to run away with the rest of the crowd. And when the father goes to the family, he just stays there. You'd think they'd try to leave the crumbling building or follow a large group.
It is shown that the dad (who is in front of his family) is clearly shocked with fear and/or surprise when Kal get the neck hold on Zod, after all, wouldnt you be frozen if you see a couple of guys crushing from the sky, making a dragonball's kind of crater in front of you, keep struggling and one of them shooting damn death laser beams from his eyes?
Then they duck under the eye beams and move away.
That would require getting closer to the beams in order to escape them. That method is far too risky (especially since Zod could then easily look down and fry them), and I doubt any sane parents would risk their children like that.
On a similar note, Superman was holding Zod's head to keep it from turning, but why didn't Zod just look to his right? He could freely move his eyes.
Maybe moving your eyes while they're spewing out beams of death is, you know, difficult? OR maybe he was moving them as far as he could and they were just out of reach? Or, most likely, he was trying to push Clark into killing him and was deliberately trying to waste time until he did something.
I noticed a subtle difference from the previous versions. In Superman Returns, the heat vision beams are fired from the cornea area, so he can change the angle just by looking in a different direction. In Man of Steel, the beams are spewed from the entire exposed part of the eyeballs - which may mean that he can't change direction without moving his head.
I Want The Earth woman... Why?
Why exactly did Zod ask for Lois as well as Superman? She doesn't have any information to tell them, they just throw her into a cell and she sets off the chain of events that sets Superman free and the world! There was literally no reason she needed to be there.
He may very well had intended originally to use her as a backup bargaining chip, knowing that there was "some" kind of connection between the two if he monitored our broadcasts prior to hijacking them. Also to probe for more information, sure he could've gotten a decent bit of information from Clark alone, but seeing as he's been a ghost Walking the Earth, Lois would have far more information to give at least about the world he was about to attempt overtaking. Might have even played a key role in positioning his ship over Metropolis specifically.
Lois actually states in the movie that Zod's people scanned her brain while Clark was unconscious. Presumably, Zod saw the two of them on TV and wanted to find out how much Lois knew about him.
But what could they possibly get from her that they wouldn't get from Clark? And how the heck did they even know who she is?
They were able to access all of Earth's screens to broadcast their message. They must have thus kept watching the news programs afterward and saw the show where it was admitted that Lois Lane knew where Clark was.
To sum up - from what they know (if they'd been watching the news) she's the one who found Kal-El and didn't give him up. 1) That means they have some sort of relationship which could be a weakness to exploit. 2) She found him out of a planet of millions of people, which means she has resources and information others may not. 3) She's a squishy human and they can take her under the guise of her knowing Kal-El to experiment on to find out about humanity. 4) She's not as strong as a Kryptonian so she may be easier to mind-probe than Clark. 5) For the evulz. 6) If they had been observing them from afar just before Clark's surrender, they could tell she had some sort of connection to Clark which again, weakness to exploit (note she doesn't use her name but says " that" woman). Tactically, it's just a sound thing to do to keep Clark on a leash. Every action he took on the mothership would have to factor in Lois's safety, especially if they were separated. And she's just a human, so obviously they underestimate her.
Why are Zod and Superman fighting at all? The film has established that there are planets elsewhere in the universe, Zod has a terraformer, and Superman can easily give him a few drops of blood. Couldn't he just, you know, ask for the codex and go to another planet? Hell there's eight in our own solar system that nobody's using. And conversely, couldn't Superman just say, I'll give you what you want if you just find somewhere else to make New Krypton?
Superman did ask to spare Earth and look into another option to rebuild Krypton, but Zod denied him. Zod is still quite pissed off at the house of El aftar all those years, so he actually wants Superman to suffer.
Also, there's not eight other terraform-able planets in the solar system (there's also only seven other planets in the solar system, but that's not the point). Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus have two major problems in regards to terraformation: they're gas giants AND are too far from the sun to support life. Mercury's too hot (and pretty dang small), so that leaves Venus, Earth and Mars. And why should Zod go to Venus or Mars when there's a perfectly good planet right below him? Zod's entire existence is to save and preserve the Kryptonian species, damn the costs.
If you find another planet someplace else, you have to waste some extra time and some extra energy. But if you terraform Earth, you have to deal with friggin' Superman, who has clearly demonstrated his amazing powers. If Zod was reasonable, he'd try to find another planet. But he sticks with Earth For the Evulz. Also, he has a personal grudge against the house of El.
There are already pre-terraformed worlds out there that Zod has visited. The lack of the codex and no new population from Krypton was implied to be the only reason the old colonies withered and died. Why commit genocide when it would take LESS effort to simply grab the codex, head back to an abandoned colony and repair the pre-existing infrastructure there? Because... the plot says so!
There's also the little fact that they would have to deal with Superman anyways because Superman has the codex. Terraforming Earth in this situation makes sense, because why bother moving all that equipment to Mars when you have a perfectly useable world that you'll have to visit anyways because the Codex is there. Since the humans can't do anything about the World Engine, if they killed Superman (a task they would need to do anyways, as noted before), terraforming Earth would require just as much power as terraforming Mars, if not less so due to the next comment.
Superman seemed relatively willing to cooperate with Zod until he decided to flat out Kill 'em All. There was little in the way of practical reason to use Earth other than Zod just being a dick. Hell, New Krypton could have had a neighboring ally in Earth if Zod hadn't decided to go Ax-Crazy on them. For the efforts of pointlessly choosing to terraform a populated Earth, Zod lost the codex and the only ships capable of restoring Krypton's population. From a Kryptonian point of view, it ended up as a great big Nice Job Breaking It, Hero on Zod's part.
Earth is an ideal planet to support life. It would take far less energy to "Kryptoform" Earth then it would to do the same to either Venus or Mars. On the simple grounds of Cost Efficiency, it's easier to just Kryptoform Earth then to either go look for another ideal planet or spend more resources to convert a less ideal planet. The only issue is the presence of native sapients, and Zod simply does not care.
Or rather, maybe Zod does care, but from a different standpoint. Even if they adapt Venus or Mars as a new Krypton, they've got a planet right next door full of those native sapients whose attention was gotten when the Kryptonians sought the Codex. Zod, being the extremist soldier that he is, probably decided not to take the chance that humanity would become a threat later on by eliminating them as soon as possible. And if he's going to kill them all anyway for tactical reasons, why not just terraform their world while he's at it?
So the codex which stores all the genetic information of Krypton's potential generations is... an australopith skull? How?!
That's a good question. Perhaps the skull is of one of the ancient Kryptionians evolved from, and they chose to imbue it with the Codex info as some sort of symbol. You know, past and future together. Perhaps the prequel comic does have some extra info on it?
Because the first rule of Kryptonian engineery is: It must look cool
Kara, I am your...something, or other...
So, are Clark and Kara still even cousins, or what?
Yes, they are cousins. Really, REALLY distant cousins. She was part of the House of El back when the Kryptonian space colonization program started, and in fact she was the pilot of the ship that crashed on our planet millennia ago, the one that Superman finds in the film. It's all detailed in the prequel comic.
This would also explain why an 18,000 scout uniform has the symbol for the House of El on it.
Not but last year, we saw New York get a whole new asshole torn into it during The Avengers. And sure enough although some complained about it, no one really looked at it any further than that, a big climactic finish. Yet here, Metropolis (and Smallville) got wrecked all the same (hell, worse) and suddenly everyone is up in arms? Is it that the film took itself more seriously? Is it because more collateral damage was shown outright? Was it really that far off for people to suddenly go "hey, you've taken it too far!" ...i'd imagine, this is exactly what would happen when a real situation like this happens; it bleak, its horrible, and it sure as hell isn't pretty. Wonder where the disconnect happened.
In The Avengers, we see Captain America both convince the city the team was there to help, as well as make their efforts to fight as well as rescue and evacuate, Iron Man ostensibly giving his life to save the city, and a quick look at a wall dedicated to the lives lost during the fight. in Man of Steel, we see Superman wipe Smallville off the map, head for the part of the world engine that ISN'T endangering the lives of millions of people, and then proceeds to kill more innocent lives and turn Metropolis into a crater during his fight with Zod.
From the film I watched, it didn't much look like Superman had his choice of battleground.
Didn't they outright state that they wouldn't be able to create the "Phantom Drive Singularity" until the World Engine was disabled? Superman had to go to the other side of the world and stop that thing or they wouldn't have been able to stop Zod and his crew at all, since it's highly unlikely the humans had anything that would stop the World Engine.
The Avengers were fighting One-Hit Kill mooks. Superman was fighting guys with the same powers as him and military training. If anything, the Avengers are even more responsible for any collateral damage!
All valid points, true. That said, then this was a no-win scenario either way isn't it? Zod's ship was slaved to the World Engine, not the other way around (this implies that the World Engine can operate on its own, and Zod's ship was only there to accelerate the process, especially since his ship doesn't emit the particulates the World Engine does for terraforming)- even if he did manage to take out his carrier ship and take out Zod (somehow bypassing the issue of getting his Phantom Drive to collide with the core of the carrier as is the original plan), while still in Metropolis' airspace...he'd still have a World Engine to deal with that's been spurting out Kryptonian matter for a longer period of time...something he struggled with bringing down while it was only operating for a short period of time, he might not have been able to do the same if it had been working for that much longer. That said, back to the point, with the military fully coordinating the plan, I'd also assume some effort must have been given to assist an evacuation attempt of a major city. Admittedly, the situation at Smallville is harder to justify though it seems that since the military in this was given the green light to fire openly in a civilian area, even when their own was in line of fire; perhaps they already accepted an "ends justify the means" approach was the only option left when dealing with dangerous aliens.
Cap America could dedicate to helping civilians because he had Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man out there punching and zapping the bad guys. Superman was alone in this.
David Goyer said that the immense collateral damage was there to emphazise that as powerful as Superman is, he is still just one guy, he can't save everybody. Also, that the goal was to show the physical consequences of such godlike beings duking it out. Yes, hundreds, even thousands of people died, but the option was the extinction of the human race.
I just assumed that the military was taking actions to evacuate the city as best they could once they knew Zod was setting up camp in Metropolis. Since they were attacking Zod's ship anyway, it only made sense for them to oversee the evacuation as well since that's one of the things we train our soldiers for and one of the reasons the National Guard exists. Logistically, it's also a lot easier for us to send soldiers in to oversee an evacuation on American soil than it is to send fighter jets to attack a target in the Indian Ocean that we're not even sure we can damage.
Yeah, the buildings seemed to be cleared out, and Superman was trying to keep the fight away from the populated streets. Most of the fighting happens in the empty buildings or in the skies.
For me, it wouldn't be so bothering, if not for the fact, that all of the events in the movie were caused by Clark (unintentionally, but still): first by coming to Earth, second by activating an alarm on the scout ship and luring Zod and his minions to Earth. So, at the end it's like: "Yeah, I've brought some evil aliens to Earth and they killed millions of humans, but I had stopped them before they wiped out the Earth completely.". I'm sure that the remaining humans will be very happy and thankful for that. It also undermines the whole "Superman being an ideal and helping the world achieve wonders" thing, because so far the world would have been much better, if Clark had died on Krypton. Edit: also, in the Avengers, the destruction is more of the "A-team" type - the aliens are incompetent, they shoot at humans, but miss all the time. I don't think we actually see any innocent people dying. It is actually possible to believe that not that many people died during the whole assault. In the Man of Steel on the other hand, Kryptonians don't fuck around - in their first attack they level a large part of the city, we actually see many people dying horribly. It's more of a "disaster movie" level of violence, not the usual "superhero movie" type people are used to.
The superhero's actions bringing the villain is not unique to Man of Steel. In Superman II, it was Superman's actions that freed General Zod and his cohorts. In Thor, it was Thor's arrogance that caused him to be sent to Earth in the first place, which is what eventually led to Loki wanting to conquer Earth in The Avengers. In the Dark Knight, it was Batman's actions that convinced the mob to hire the Joker and create all those problems. In all these cases, the hero's actions (unintentional or otherwise) caused the villains to appear. Heaping blame on this movie alone is hypocritical. Plus, since the aliens in The Avengers are shooting "A-team" style, that means the Avengers caused more deaths than the aliens did. Iron Man tricks Chitauri ships into crashing into buildings, Thor electrocutes the entire Empire State Building to power up his lightning, Hulk smashes through tons of buildings and drags Leviathans throughout the city, and finally, when Iron Man takes out the Chitauri mothership, the Leviathans fall onto numerous skyscrapers (causing far more damage than Superman and Zod's fight did in its entirety). Finally, the Kryptonians not screwing around raises the stakes for the movie and makes it more intense as a result. That is a good thing, plot wise.
He didn't exactly have much choice about coming to Earth. And he had absolutely no way of knowing that entering the scout ship would summon a genocidal alien maniac. How do you blame him for any of that? If anything, he's less culpable for his what happened in his movie than Thor or Batman are for what happened in theirs.
I honestly think it's just because everyone hates Superman. Star Trek Into Darkness did at least twice as much damage, and I can think of at least 3 different cases of Batman killing the bad guy in movies. (And only one of those was to save lives)
DC is known for heroes that are idealized heroes who always save the day, whereas Marvel heroes are notably flawed and deal with more real-world issues. The Avengers explicitly contain the destruction of New York. Metropolis looks like ground zero for a nuclear bomb once Superman is finished fighting Zod and company. Is it any surprise that some fans are perturbed that the squabbling, dysfunctional piles of personality flaws managed to tell a more hopeful, uplifting and inspirational story than the guy who was promised to "save them all" and "give them an ideal to strive toward"?
That's not always the case. In The Dark Knight Saga, Batman is never able to save everyone and be a totally ideal hero. In the Justice League cartoon, all the team members have flaws and have to deal with them in each episode. It's not just Marvel that has more flawed heroes. Only the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, and the comics it was based on, had Superman is a purely ideal hero that can save everyone (and even then, in Superman 1, it required a Deus ex Machina of flying back in time in order to save Lois Lane), and that version of Superman hasn't been around since 1986. Finally, that's not even getting into the fact that most of the damage caused in Man of Steel is because of Zod's World Engine (a force far more powerful than the Chitauri), and Superman and Zod's fight itself actually causes less damage than the Avengers did. The damage was contained as best as possible given the circumstances, so while it is not surprising that some fans would be perturbed, it doesn't hold up to any logical scrutiny.
It's not a question of whether the destruction made sense, it's a question of whether the consequences of the scenario contrived by the writer, director and producer struck an appropriate tone for a Superman movie. To many, it did not.
The consequences of the scenario were Superman saving the entire human race from extinction. I'd say that's appropiate for a Superman movie. Hell, he saved more people in Mo S than in any other prior Superman movie.
The sole reason that people are complaining about Superman killing Zod and destroying the city in the fight against him is because of Fan Dumb, most of which is the fault of the Reeves movies. There is a widespread public perception that Superman would never kill anyone and would avoid causing massive destruction at ALL COSTS, no matter how little sense it makes. However, Superman hasn't been like that for over 3 decades now, and he wasn't even like that in the Reeves movies either. It pretty much comes down to They Changed It, Now It Sucks, even though Mo S didn't actually change anything.
From a purely visual standpoint, the black smouldering crater left by the Zodship is much worse than anything in The Avengers. Look at how smooth the ground is at ground zeroónot even the rubble survived. And then, just when you think the worst of the destruction is over, Zod pops up again and they go smash some more buildings. I agree that a lot of the complaints were from people who expected Superman to be Lighter and Softer, but the sheer visual bleakness mixed with Ending Fatigue also had a lot to do with it.
The so-called Brooding Clark
A number of critics and others who've gone to see the film have made note of the rather stern faced Superman that they see before them now. One who doesn't crack too many lines, and is often stoic enough to even give Batman himself a few pointers. Isn't it justified though? This is a Superman who's literally fresh in every sense, this is his trial by fire. With all that weight bearing down on someone who isn't even sure just what he can really do help to his fullest...I'd understand if he wasn't exactly thrilled about the whole situation.
I'm constantly amazed by what critics will choose to complain about. I once read a New Yorker review of Iron Man, where the chief complaint was that Robert Downey spent too much time in the suit.
The writer of that must have LOVEDIron Man 3 then.
It's not complaining so much as confusion. This Superman is much more faithful to the comics than it would seem, but a lot of people only really know him through the movies where he was generally much more optimistic and overt. While it's justified it's still going to take a bit of getting used to.
Superman has always been a case of Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch. Most non-comic fans don't get that he isn't always the goofy Silver Age-style character and that he actually can be serious.
What really ticks me off is that everyone seems to think it is either Silver Age silliness or super grimdark. Dark does not equal serious. A story could be serious without overly dark, and that's what a "realistic" Superman should be. In the end, brooding anti-heroes are a dime a dozen, but Superman is one of a kind.
(Above replier) You're right. The Silver Age wasn't just silliness. Allow me to rephrase: everyone thinks the Silver Age was just goofy cartoonish-ness and that Superman has always been like that as well. And, yeah, "last son of Krypton" may have become an Artifact Title, but there's only one Superman.
The Carl's, Jr. Commercial
In the Carl's, Jr. commercial, at the end, when Superman takes off, why does the dust and debris fly away from him like it would if he had rocket propulsion? If he's using his own super powers, shouldn't the debris fly inward and upward with him instead of outward and downward?
His propulsion method is super-powered farts fueled by fast food.
The Kryptonians scan Lois's brain but fail to discover Jor-El's key?
If the Kryptonians scan Lois to find information. How is it that they missed her holding Jor-El's AI?
For the same reason that they didn't find out about it when they scanned Superman's mind—that wasn't what they were looking for. The scan doesn't tell them everything the subject knows; it simply gleans specific information.
Plus Lois had no idea of the significance of the little trinket Superman gave to her.
Yeah, but it really ought to be standard procedure to search your prisoners physically. If they'd just checked Lois' pockets, they would have found the key and instantly recognized its significance.
Searching a prisoner's pockets wrongly implies that the Kryptonians still used pockets to know that they should search within.
Perhaps the mighty Kryptonians were so confident that the squishy human could not do anything against them, they didn't even bother? They certainly weren't intimidated by the hardware the U.S. military had, just before Lois & Clark boarded the ship.
Human Soldiers vs. Kryptonian Soldiers
When Clark confronts Faora and the other Kryptonian soldier in Smallville, Colonel Hardy sends two fighter jets. They open fire with what I assume are 50 caliber rounds through a Gatling gun. Both Faora and the other Kryptonian soldier are hit several times, but just shrug it off. They then proceed to jump on the jets and tear them apart. After seeing this happen what does the Colonel do? He sends regular soldiers, with regular body armor, and regular machine guns. How exactly is this a good idea?
Actually those jets are armed with the GAU Avenger, which fires 30mm shells at ~ 4,000 rounds per minute. In reality this weapon would rip anything to shreds within milliseconds, which I guess serves to back up your original point!
And letís not forget that the Colonel was ready to attack Faora armed with nothing but a knife. If Clark hadnít of intervened she would have killed him in a split second. Thereís being brave and then thereís being just down right stupid.
What was the alternative for him? Grovel and beg for mercy?
Exactly. Like Faora said, "A good death is its own reward." His choices were to die running (from a woman with superspeed martial arts), or to die fighting. He chose the latter.
There is a thing called a "tactical retreat". Having to retreat because you are outmatched does not make you a coward. For him to "die fighting" does not help earth defeat the Kryptonians. Now when he died while helping the others to create the blackhole/portal to send the Kryptonian to the phantom zone, at least that was a proper plan. Using inferior weapons and hope that it works out is not.
And pray tell how would he preform the tactical retreat? His helicopter was crashed, the other soldiers with him on it were either too injured or dead. And a super powered alien woman who can run faster than he can blink is like 10 feet in front of him. He could try to retreat but she'd still go after him. He was all out of ammo in his guns, but if he was going to die, he figured he'd at least die knowing he TRIED to put a dent in her. Also it sets up for a great Ironic Echo at the end.
He is right, though. Retreating in that situation would have probably been the move a real life officer would make, if he was thinking tactically. Super speed or no, attacking her head on was certain death while retreat was probable death. That being said, who knows what was going through his head in that situation. He may have been trying to waste as much of her time as possible, down to the millisecond. In that case, it worked, because he lasted long enough for Superman to save him.
No, Faora just wasted all his men effortlessly and had her sights on him. Death was as certain if he ran way as if he faced the alien invader. As to waht was going on through his head, again, Faora just wasted his men. The guy most likely was pissed off and wanted to fight until the bitter end, no matter how futile it may be.
That's not how probability works. In this case, we're talking about the degree of certainty in Hardy's mind, not Faora's. To explain, let's say you're being chased by a 100% certain wall of death, and you reach a locked door. Death becomes "certain" in your mind the second you turn around and decide to face the wall head-on. If you die attempting to open the lock, you are opting for the least certain method of death, although both are nigh-impossible.
What I was getting at was he should have ordered a retreat immediately after they ripped the fighter jets apart. Or at the very least call in some bigger guns to help them. Faora and the Kryptonian soldier were only interest in fighting Clark until the human troopers came in and started shooting at them. The Colonel pretty much threw their lives away.
Imagine that you were the general/colonel in that situation. Three aliens of unknown origin and unknown capabilities are fighting and destroying a town. At that point, you don't know who's on whose side, only that they're hostile to each other and don't seem to care about collateral damage. Sure, you lost a couple jets to the aliens, but are you going to just give up and let the aliens do whatever they want, causing who knows how much damage to innocent people and property? The colonel's orders are standard reactions to a hostile force: if something doesn't go down at first, keep throwing things at it and hope it eventually works. After all, the jets did manage to hurt the Kryptonians and eventually knock one of them unconscious. Besides, getting tanks and artillery and whatnot would have taken hours to get to a little town such as Smallville. Chances are, they were on their way, but didn't arrive in time to do anything.
What's kinda funny is that taking what's been remarked as the statistically highest probable course of action to survive would have actually been statistically fatal. If he turned and "tried to unlock the door" as it where then Faora would have treated him like she did everyone else previous to. A swift and decisive death. By standing up to her and giving her pause enough to comment he allowed Kal to show up and save him.
That's just a problem with analogies: they often don't hold up in every detail. The general point works - faced with a "wall of death," defiance to the end means fumbling with the lock on a door. Faced with Faora, defiance to the end means continuing to fight and hope.
Young Clark's Powers
How is it that his X-Ray Vision and super hearing only manifested at age seven? His parents have been trying to get him to control it for all that time, so why does it seem it's the first time it happens?
The talk with his Mom in that scene implies it's not the first time it's happened. In those circumstances his attention probably wandered and he got overloaded, panicked and made things worse for himself.
Martha also mentions that when he was a baby, it was hard for him to breathe—because he was adjusting to Earth's atmosphere, but they probably assumed it was something like asthma. Sick children are generally kept inside, away from the sun. It's perfectly reasonable that he only started developing superpowers once he could breathe properly and become exposed to sunlight.
Here's a better question: what kind of school lets a boy's entire class hang around and watch while he recovers from a freak-out?
A classroom from the 70's/80's where people had different ethics and standards.
Superman vs. Zod Fight Conclusion (spoilers)
Towards the end of the movie Superman and Zod battle it out one last time, and the climax of the battle they are in a museum and Zod is attempting to kill a family with his Eye Beams. How does Superman stop him? Snap his neck. Now naturally people were in an uproar about this saying "Superman doesn't kill." and I've read some people claiming that by killing Superman's character has been tainted and that when Lex Luthor eventually shows up Superman has no excuse not to give him a Heat-Ray lobotomy. Ignoring the fact the time he has killed Zod with Kryptonite in canon and Superman showing remorse for killing Zod in this film, respectively. Now I have no problem with the ending of the battle. My concern is regarding if they went with a more non-lethal conclusion. How would Superman stop Zod? Wouldn't the fight go on longer? And if Superman did manage to take out Zod non-lethally, and remember Zod is as strong as Superman, and they didn't want Kryponite showing up, so how would they deal with him?
Well he could have thrown him back into the Phantom Zone for one thing. And he seemed to get over that remorse really quickly. Seriously, we have him doing the My God, What Have I Done? scene and literally the next moment, he is telling the solider to stop looking for him, with no issues over the fact he just committed murder. That is the main problem people have. If they had given some scenes to show that Superman still felt really bad over this, then we wouldn't be complaining as much.
I don't care about the aftermath of the killing itself, it was more Suicide by Cop any how, what I'm concern about is how'd he'd deal with an alive Zod. Now you said he could throw him back into the Phantom Zone, okay. So how would he do that? If I recall they used his ship for when he came to Earth to send the rest of the Kryptonians to the Phantom Zone, so how?
It's pretty clear that the scene with Superman crashing the spy drone and then speaking with the general happens some time after the fight in Metropolis. Actually, I have no idea why you assumed it happend "literally the next moment". Just because two scenes are continuous in the movie, it doesn't mean they actually happen one right after the other.
^ That troper was talking about the whiplash that the audience experienced. Even if we know, logically, that the spy drone scene happened three weeks later, it feels weird that we didn't actually see another minute or two of Clark dealing with the fact that he had killed someone.
The reason why Superman doesnít give Lex Luthor a lobotomy is the same reason why the police donít do it. There is a difference between killing in self-defense or in defense of other and cold blood murder. Superman did nothing wrong, he didnít even break the law
"That is the main problem people have" Not sure what people you're talking about, the only people I've seen/read make that complaint are you, and Doug Walker; in general the problem people have is that Superman killed him, and given that Zod was determined to kill this family and as noted there was no place to really put Zod, Clark's hand was forced.
Probably I'm alone on this, but here it goes: for me the biggest issue is that I don't buy for one second that Superman's only option was to snap Zod's neck. If he was strong enough to do that, he also was to grab Zod's head and force him to look somewhere else. Or to take off to fly to another place while still holding him. Or just punch him out of the building like he had already done like a bijillion times in previous 5 minutes alone. Seriously, there were plenty of alternatives.
Those are only temporary solutions. There are no advanced anti-Kryptonian jails, there are no Green Lanterns who will take him to a jail near a red sun. There isn't even any Kryptonite or another Phantom Zone engine to send Zod to join his people. Zod himself said he would never stop until every human and Superman are dead. Please, tell us what else could have been done? Keep in mind that, as of now, this is not a shared universe with sci-fi stuff like the DCU.
As an addendum to this: a few others have stated that perhaps Clark should've tried reasoning with him. For what it's worth, as noble a thought as that might be, Zod is clearly beyond any form of reasoning by this point. So if that can be somehow justified, theories would be good, because attempting to pacify Zod with reasoning just genuinely doesn't seem to have been anywhere near a feasible option.
Also, Superman is just barely able to hold on to Zod, and he was weakening from the strain of battle. If he hadn't killed Zod right then, there was the chance that Zod would eventually kill Superman. And then he would kill everyone else in the world. So think of it this way: You have Hitler in a headlock. You have the strength to kill him right now. You have no obvious way of putting him in jail or whatever. If Hitler escapes your headlock, he will attempt to commit genocide. Shouldn't you just go ahead and kill him? Why would you risk any other alternative?
Supes also TRIED to stop Zod in any other way he possibly could, only killing him when he had no other choice. Superman could have killed Zod at any time, it was only when innocent people were unavoidably in danger that he decided that it was the only way to stop Zod.
As it has been pointed out time and again, Zod was going to kill Superman or Superman was going to kill Zod. There is literally nothing on this Earth left of Krypton (stated by Zod). In the space of a few days, Superman has fought all of the Kryptonians and Zod was kicking his butt. IIRC, he begged him not to hurt people and to stop with the laser beams and Zod said "No way, Jose." He also clearly stated he was going to kill Superman or Superman was going to kill him. Keep in mind, these people have destroyed buildings and cities with fighting each other and there is an innocent family at stake. So Superman kills Zod. Now, I know people have stated all of these reasons, but this is an origin story. Considering how wracked he is at killing his last link to Krypton and a person in general, this could be the REASON for Superman's no kill policy.
Word of God is that this was indeed the intent; however, people who dislike the movie argue that plenty of real people have arrived at the idea that killing is always wrong without needing to first kill someone and then feel bad about it.
How the hell did Lois's camera manage to capture such a clear photo of Clark? Now I can buy that Lois being the journalist that she is could spot something in an existing photo that no one else saw, but she takes a photo from the bottom of a large cliff, straight away zooms in one one spot that was half way up the cliff and gets an almost clear photo of Clark, save for a bit of blurriness around his face? I will admit that I know nothing about camera's, but I'm still fairly certain that make of camera cannot get such a clear shot with that type of lens. Plus, you have to ask how did she even see Clark from that far away?
It's the power of product placement.
Are you sure the camera wasn't that powerful? I wouldn't know either, but technology has been getting pretty badass lately.
The camera lens technology has gotten badass enough to reach that far and even beyond that with a lens the size Lois was using. I myself am not surprised.
Lois' camera was a Nikon D3s... which is a bit odd since the camera is a bit old and Nikon released a newer model in 2012. Still, it's a pretty damn good camera, well known for taking great pics on low-lit situations.
With a bit of luck, my phone can take pictures with enough detail to show the stitches on clothing. It is hardly surprising that even slightly outdated professional cameras would capture a clear shot of anything, with an experienced journalist behind it. Also, Lois might have brought an older model because she didn't want to ruin a new camera in the harsh conditions.
An older, less-complicated model would be less likely to fail in extreme conditions. This is why space and Arctic exploration missions usually stock older equipment than what is usually available commercially: it's cheaper, and already validated to the conditions.
The Kryptonians' Powers
I must admit that I don't have a great deal of knowledge about the Superman canon, but based on the explanation provided by the film I found the reasoning for the Kryptonian's powers on Earth unsatisfying. Ok, so Krypton's gravity is much stronger than that of Earth's, which would explain why they would be able to jump higher; it doesn't, however, explain why Superman and his enemies are able to fly (as in hover in mid-air, like Superman does before shortly before entering Zod's ship). The energy from the sun and the environment on Earth has apparently made their skin more resilient to damage, but I fail to see how this explains why the Kryptonians are able to slam each other into walls at Mach speeds and shrug off minigun bullets capable of penetrating several inches of armour plating without taking so much as a slight graze. Also, where the heck did the laser vision come from? Do Kryptonians have that ability when they're on Krypton, but it just wasn't used in the fight scenes that took place there in the movie? I can't see how it would simply just develop when they come to Earth. I suppose the invulnerability of all the major super-powered protagonists essentially just has to be put down to 'magic'.
It's a stacking effect, with sunlight being the major catalyst. Lower gravity helps their powers, but the majority is a combination of the air and the yellow sunlight. Regarding the toughness specifically, in the comics Kryptonians get a skin-tight forcefield while on Earth, not just "really really tough skin."
The forcefield surrounding Kryptonians have been used to explain their flight too. I think that may be also the case in the movie, as it was shown that Superman "pushes" stuff around whenever he is about to take off.
Quoted from The Other Wiki: "Superman's ability to fly under his own power is explained with the concept of "self telekinesis", an invisible telekinetic field that allows him to lift himself off the ground. Any objects that Superman touches are also enveloped by the field and this allows him to move them with the force of his will. In addition, the idea of a supercharged bioelectric "aura" which acts as an invisible "force field" around and within his body was introduced by Byrne to provide an explanation for his invulnerability. Superman's skin-tight aura allows his equally tight costume to come through his fights relatively undamaged, although his cape will tear as it is not protected by the aura."
Superman's powers, especially the heat-vision, have never really made sense. You have to invent entirely new laws of physics just to make sense of them. The cannon explanation is that the environment of Earth, most especially our yellow sunlight, gives Kryptonians superpowers. The details don't make a lot of sense.
IMO, the heat-vision actually makes more sense than some of the other powers. His body's cells absorb solar radiation and store it like batteries. He can release that energy through his eyes in the form of heat, using the lenses of his eyeballs to focus it like a laser.
Energy doesn't work that way. Plants absorb sunlight, too, but they don't magically convert it into death beams. People use "energy" as a shorthand for "glowy semi-physical force", which it isn't.
At least some comics have explained the heat vision as a side effect of his other abilities- it's essentially a waste product. As to the explanation for his powers, by the standards of modern science-fiction (as opposed to golden or silver age comics where Superman's mythology originated) the yellow sun/ lower gravity and other various explanations for Supe's vast range of disparate powers make no sense. However, that vastly disparate number of abilities and the fact that they derive from earth's environment have become keystones of his mythology. The Grandfather Clause trope is in effect.
Assuming Superman has a very alien biology, it's not particularly hard to make up an explanation for his powers. Heat vision, for example—he's powered by the yellow sun, so we can assume he has some sort of hyper-efficient photosynthetic pigments (which convert photons to electrons—i.e. light to electrical energy [and then to chemical energy] and exist in real life in all plants) very specific to that wavelength of light, peppered all over his skin or eyes, which probably originally came about as an evolutionary adaptation to Krypton's light conditions. Now, we can assume another organ, probably in the head area, that acts as an extremely powerful capacitor (?) to hold the charge produced by the aforementioned photosynthetic compounds, in addition to some sort of mechanism to transfer the charge to that capacitating organ. One more super-organ can release that energy in the form of intense light, which his super-eyes then focus with their super-lenses to make a concentrated high-energy beam of light. Pseudoscience!
The stronger skin goes along with the stronger muscles. Heavy gravity requires the muscles be stronger to compensate for the weight, and the thicker skin is needed because all that muscle strength would shred it and to compensate for the stronger atmospheric pressure. Superman is supposed to be heavier as well because of how dense his entire body must be. I've also heard somewhere that the heat vision is probably focused x-ray vision superheating the air. Possibly from Smallville.
I think it would make more sense to just chalk up ALL Kryptonians' Powers to telekinesis: they get themselves up in the air to fly, they strengthen molecular bonds in their bodies to be invulnerable, they use it on other objects as Super Strength, they speed themselves up, they speed up molecules in things they look at (heat vision), they slower molecules in things they breathe at, X-Ray vision is their ability to telekinetically 'feel' objects Daredevil-style. And they only have it under yellow sun... for some reason, maybe whatever activates it, requires a lot of melanin.
Gravity manipulation is part of it. As Clark learns to fly, we can see snow and debris start to hover around him. The World Engine explicitly alters the Earth's gravity. It's not scientific, obviously, but it's consistent and explained within the work, at least.
The Fallacy of Choice and Jor-El's Hypocrisy
Jor-El says the whole reason he and Lara had Kal-El in the first place was to prove their own theories about how Krypton was losing something by genetically breeding their children for specific roles. He specifically cites wanting children to be able to make a choice as to what they become when they grow up.... and yet, he denies Kal-El that choice. He forces his infant son into the role of a diplomat between the now-dead culture of Krypton and Earth and expects his son to become a savior of Earth's people.
You are exaggerating, Jor-El wanted the best for his son, and wished for him to follow what he thought was right (like any father does, really), but it ultimately was all on Clark's moral compass. If he had wanted to live like a simple farmer, or conquer earth, there was nothing Jor-El could do about it. Contrast that with Zod, who was wholly unable to escape from what was genetically programmed into his being.
Incompetent Jor-El A.I.
After being uploaded into the Phantom ship's mainframe, digi-Jor-El shows he's capable of controlling the entire ship on a whim. He also explicitly displays knowledge of Lois' human biology, Zod's plan, the need to stop him, and how to stop him; he even pep-talks Lois and Kal-El. All of this shows that his digital existence is fully sentient, capable of creative thought, and more than able to make tactical and moral decisions on past experience and brand-new information. So how come he didn't disable or scuttle the Worldship? He "exists" throughout the entire Phantom ship at once, and it's evident Zod's troops were in such disarray they didn't think of overriding him until long after Lois had escaped.
It seems like although he designed Black Zero (the ship's name, only referenced in the production materials and the one corresponding LEGO set), Jor-El and by extension his virtual-consciousness-A.I. might simply not have had the ability or time to shut down the World Engine; there might have even been limitations to what he was able to do the ship before he gets quarantined as an invasive A.I., just as Zod would do in the scout ship later on the film. After all, though he did design it originally, Zod seems to imply that modifications were made over the years between breaking free of the Phantom Zone and reaching Earth, perhaps Jor-El could only tamper with whatever it was that still remained intact. Stretching I know, but it's viable.
The Jor-El AI took over Zod's ship because Lois directly installed it on the ship's systems using the key. The World Engine is a separate machine, and most likely it has protections for getting remotely accessed.
However, it is autonomous and doesn't seem to have a cockpit, so it still needed to be launched and directed from a central command aboard Zod's ship, within Jor-El's access.
It is reasonable for the central command to be firewalled off from the rest of the ship and requires special access, and that Jor-El may be able to affect the World Engine if installed in the central command chamber.
Nuke the Indian Ocean
So we've got two massive ships working in tandem to terraform the Earth. One is hovering over metropolis, while the other hovers over the south Indian Ocean. If these ships complete their objective, everyone in the world will die. (Well, except the Kryptonians.) You know what they ought to do? They should launch about 500 nuclear missiles at the ship in the Indian Ocean. Collateral damage would be minimal compared to (a) nuking Metropolis and (b) allowing the human race to go extinct. You wouldn't have to risk Superman's life, who might well we be needed to fight Zod (and indeed he was needed for that task.) It doesn't matter if the gravity field makes it hard to aim, because they're nukes and they have a huge blast radius, and in any case you would fire lots of them. And if none of that works out, you can still send in Superman after the fact. Now of course it all worked out in the end just using Superman, but realistically nobody could have known in advance that Superman wouldn't just die in the Indian Ocean. They should have tried the nuke option first.
Well, the nukes would take some time to reach their target, depending on the location of the nearest nuclear submarines. Superman appears to arrive in just a couple of minutes. Perhaps it was better to use a speedy solution, and cut off the terraforming as soon as possible?
Don't forget that India is a nuclear power. They're a lot closer that most U.S. bases. (Though subs is another matter.)
Nukes are bad for the atmosphere right?
You'd think that having earth's the atmosphere destroyed and replaced with the atmosphere of another planet would be much worse. On the other hand, one has to consider that the events in the film happen very, very quickly. Nobody else knew that World Engine represented THAT big of a threat.
Nukes take time to deploy and India only has a few nukes. In fact, nukes might make things a whole lot worse for the humans. Superman was able to outrun shells shot from a 30mm and Faora is even faster than him, potentially the Kryptonians could catch any incoming nukes, rip out the warheads and throw them back!
How did all the Kryptonian colonies die out? Didn't anybody have an FTL ship with which to find habitable worlds? Or, heck, they had a terraforming device. Why didn't they just create a habitable world? I understand that it would suck to be cut off from supply lines to Krypton, but you'd think they'd at least be able to set up basic farming or whatever, and keep themselves alive.
Remember they used the codex for reproducing. I reckon that their whole society is engineered to be not able to reproduce naturally. (with Jor-el as an exception as he most possibility genetically fix that flaw in his wife.) So when those colonies are left out without the codex, they will just die out.
They likely had small populations, and thus were vulnerable to sudden disasters that would thin their genepool. Cloning would also make them vulnerable to disease. Also consider the possibility that someone wiped them out.
Must be those savage Thanagarians!
There might be something to this—on at least one of the worlds shown in the flashback, Zod is shown finding a body with a breached environmental suit clutching one of those energy rifles. A lot of the ships probably just ran into hostile environments of one sort or another. A lot can happen in several thousand years.
Possibility; they were not able to adjust to the earth's atmosphere. Neither was the next batch of clones, or the next. Also, one assumes that the ship did not deliberately wind up frozen in a glacier and may have run out of power at some point. Maybe the Super USB Drive also contained a small power source. Because aliens!
^OP wasn't talking about the ship that crashed on Earth. He was talking about the various non-Earth colonies of Kypton, which Zod visited.
It's only been 33 years. Did every colony suffer some sort of disaster within that timeframe? It would make more sense if some enemy force had intentionally traveled around and killed everybody, but there's no evidence of that.
It's only been 33 years since Krypton exploded, but it's been several thousands years since the colonies were established. Jor-El proposed to try and contact the colonies, but it's pretty clear that nobody was sure if they were still around.
Zod expressed surprise that they were able to find a World Engine. Presumably, that wasn't part of the standard colony kit, which in turn implies the explorers weren't really given everything they might need. So when something went wrong, they didn't have the tools to fix it. Combine with the fact that they were an extremely traditional society not good at reacting to disaster, and it's easy to imagine all the colonies dying out over the centuries.
Perhaps a planet already has to show that it can hold a significant atmosphere before it can be terraformed. It would suck to waste all that energy terraforming a planet only for your new atmosphere to drift off or solidify be cause your planet doesn't have the proper gravity to hold it there or is too cold. This could explain why Zod found a world engine on a planet that wasn't terraformed. Maybe it was terraformed, but it didn't take. Perhaps lack of success in this area is why the Kryptonians abandoned colonization of other planets altogether.
Put a note in the capsule
Jor-El sends his son to Earth in a space capsule, along with a Kyrptonian USB drive containing his AI. The idea is that the AI will explain things to Kal-El when he grows up. But oddly, the only way to use the AI is to plug it into a separate ship which has been buried in ice for 20,000 years. Um...why not just activate the AI in the capsule itself? Jor-El could appear and explain things to Ma and Pa Kent soon after the landing. Or, if the capsule's computers aren't enough to support AI, why not just include a message? Maybe a little hologram saying "This is my son. He's from Krypton. Keep him safe." Or heck, maybe just a note, written on paper, would be helpful. (Apparently the AI knows how to speak English. It's not a stretch to imagine that you could write some English, too.)
Jor-El's hologram is keyed to the babyship in some versions. Apparently they just wanted to change things for the movie.
Maybe the holoprojector on the babyship is damaged? There's also the circumstances of his departure to consider, he was likely sent off early in order to protect him from Zod, under a very tight schedule.
Since Jor-El's plan in this continuity wasn't just to save his son but to rebuild the Kryptonian race on earth, he probably considered that "the less they know, the better" since such intentions could be easily be mistaken, and not entirely without reason, for something far more sinister. The option would be to outright lie to the humans.
It is also a possibility that the presence of the scout ship was what made Jor-El decide to send his son to Earth instead of another planet with a yellow sun and intelligent locals.
Maybe the babyship just didn't have enough computing power to run the AI program, and he didn't have time to rig up something simpler. Also remember that this was something like 20,000 years ago; none of the languages we had then exist now. The AI presumably has a translator program, but maybe he couldn't get one to fit on the babyship, and therefore a talking hologram explaining the basics of the situation ("This is my son, the last of our species, please take care of him") wouldn't have done any good.
Just to compare:
Before DC's 1985 reboot, Jor-El left no notes or devices at all, Superman only found out he was alien through time travel, when he was already active.
Superman The Movie had Clark being compelled to go to the Artic where he finds out about his origin.
After the 1985 reboot, The Man of Steel had a hologram of Jor-El upload information into Superman's brain by touching him, some years after he goes public. It wasn't connected to the baby-ship since it had been stolen by villains.
If Jor-El hadn't stolen the codex at the beginning of the movie, nobody would have pursued Kal-El to Earth, and no human beings would have ever been threatened. Now, I understand that Jor-El hopes to save his entire race in addition to his son. But here's a follow-up question: Is it somehow impossible to make copies of the codex? I mean, seeing as you have the tech to put in a capsule, or encode it into the cells of a living being, it seems like making copies wouldn't be too hard. So just make a copy for Zod, and put the other copy into Kal, and then everyone's happy.
Jor-El didn't want Zod to have the Codex.
More than likely Jor-El suspected that Zod would create a society with a dominant warrior cast and proceed to wipe out all nearby civilizations for resources.
Then again, the whole, impending implosion thing would have rendered it something of a moot point in about a week.
Though it's only a moot point if Zod's coup fails. If the coup succeeds, Zod will take the codex off-world. (He agrees with Jor-El that Kypton is doomed.) At the point when Jor-El stole the codex, it wasn't clear whether Zod's coup would succeed or not.
Kryptonforming with only one ship
In an ideal scenario, how does the World Engine actually function? In the Metropolis-Indian Ocean version, each of the three-pronged ships had to act as an antipode to the other, sending the gravity beam back and forth through and across the planet. Furthermore, Zod has the crew activate the Phantom Drive, so presumably this has some function during the process. But all of the scout ships seen are elongated, cruiser-shaped vessels. They don't seem to have Phantom Drives, especially if they predate Jor-El (who was the one who refitted the Projector into a Drive in the first place.) Can they even act as counterparts to their World Engines?
It's not clear precisely what kind of FTL travel Kryptonians had during their space age, but it may have been something similar to the phantom drives. Just, you know, not built out of a re-purposed extradimensional prison. The point regarding the scout ship is a good one, but for all we know it could have been a counterpart to the World Engine, though it might have needed minor modifications first. Or, since they were aiming at a habitable world, it was never designed for terraforming.
My theory is that World Engines originally came in pairs and one would sit on each side of the planet. As the world engine Zod had came from a derelict colony it's possible he had to rig his own ship to act as a makeshift World Engine to complete the pair. If you look at the destruction the engine caused it wouldn't be particularly safe to use one's own ship to power it.
Where is everyone?
An alien has just announced the existence of extraterrestrials and threatened to kill everyone on Earth. But when Clark goes into a church to seek advice, it's completely empty. Surely such events would drive at least some people to church?
After hours or between services?
Some people, sure. But not everyone, to every church. Then consider that Clark would probably prefer one that's quiet, under the circumstances. He already knows about aliens, and he has to deal with the crisis from a completely different perspective. If 99 churches were as crowded as you posit - which sounds high to me, but whatever - Clark would seek out the 100th.
Lois on board the plane carrying the phantom drive
Why was it necessary to take a journalist on a military operation? Seeing as the plan was apparently just 'shove the command key in the slot and fly it into the terraformer', it's not like she had some kind of special knowledge that meant she had to be there.
She was the only person who had practical experience using the technology, she knew how it was supposed to work and function. Yes, it's simple (insert key and push) but infinitely more dangerous if there is a problem. It's faster and safer to have her there instead of on the ground trying to communicate the information. What if the ship cut off communications? Considering it didn't work like it was supposed to, it was a good thing she was on the ship, because someone else may have thought the electrical connection meant everything was working, no matter how it was described. That's also why they brought Hamilton, as their research scientist, he may have a theory or theories of how things function or don't function or notice something a general soldier may not, which he also did.
In fact, why was Lois even allowed onto the Arctic base anyway? The military has found an 'anomaly' buried in the ice for 20,000 years, so they invite a journalist to come take some photos, and then cover up everything when she finds what they were looking for?
Lois specifically says that the only reason she's allowed into the arctic camp is because they're on Canadian soil and she won an appeals court ruling. So they didn't "invite" her; she forced her way in with legal maneuvers.
The people in charge of the operation were not aware of the nature of the anomaly under the ice, it's not even after Lois got there that they got readings showing that something quite odd was going on. It's made clear in the movie that the military wasn't exactly too keen about her presence and that she loves to put her nose where unconventional stories may be found, so she probably put lots of pressure to get "invited", perhaps even threatened to write an article denouncing the military doing strange secret operations on the arctic. As to why she was kept around, well she obviously meant something for their newfound alien ally, so why not.
Isn't her father a general? I doubt she's the type to ask Daddy for help, but she might know how to navigate military red tape and get into places she normally wouldn't be allowed.
In fact, that's always been one of Lois's most consistent and useful skills.
How does Faora look as young as she does? Clark certainly looks like a man in his early thirties, and I can buy that Zod is a late fifties/early sixty-something who's aged well. However, Faora has to be at least 20-25 years older than Clark, and yet she doesn't look a day older than she did when he was a baby. Admittedly, I'm not up to date on my Superman lore, so I have no idea if Kryptonians age at the same rate that Humans do. I just assumed that they did, going from Superman and Zod's examples.
Assuming it's the same as the comics/cartoons, Kryptonian aging eventually slows down. Case in point: during the Batman Beyond years, Bruce is a withered old man while Clark has only started graying. Also, the only real differences between Zod's appearance at the start of the film and 33 years later (Clark tells the military he's been on Earth for 33 years) is a graying goatee and maybe minor wrinkles.
Perhaps time in the phantom zone flows slower than time does in normal space. Alternatively, as suggested above, Kryptonians just don't age the same as humans, whether the just live longer or they stay in their prime longer.
If the key fits...
Lois inserts the key into the console in Zod's ship, and that summons the Jor-El AI. Okay, pretty good. Later she's shown aboard the plane to put the key into the ship that carried Clark. But the Jor-El AI is still aboard Zod's ship. How is it still there if the key it's housed in has been removed? And if Lois removed the key to take it with her out of the cell, how was the AI still working when the key was out?
It's an AI. It copied itself into the ship's systems, but the key still had a functional copy. So yes, there were two different copies running around at the same time—one on the scout ship and one on Zod's ship. It just didn't really matter, and both ships were destroyed.
So Clark seriously thinks that the government won't notice that he's hanging out with Lois Lane because he's wearing glasses.
I mean... seriously? It's not like the comics where people don't think that Superman has a secret identity and he just hangs around in his Fortress of Solitude in his free time. The government know that Zod landed in Smallville. Zod's ship landed in his backyard. A cop saw him talking to his mother in the suit!
No. The government already knows he's with Lois Lane. Probably he's counting on them not thinking he's going to hide someplace so obvious.
He is also counting that the General will keep the government off his back.
Really? You might as well complain about Clark Kenting in general if this is your problem. The world doesn't know that Clark landed when he was a baby, for all they know, he showed up only a few years before Zod & crew showed up. They might just think that Martha Kent decided to keep the ship to get rich off it. And Smallville just went though hell, they just might think he's helping the woman with a car thrown through her house and is hurt. This is even ignoring the sometimes comics canon where there were people in Smallville who KNOW that Clark is Superman, but choose to not reveal it.
But the thing about Clark Kenting, at least in Superman's usual case, is that he completely changes his outward appearance by slouching, wearing loose fitting clothes and using a different voice. Other than riding a bike and wearing glasses, Clark here has NOTHING different about him.
There could be a number of reasons it's relatively safe for him to work at the Planet. This is weeks later. They could have been watching Lois for a time with no activity and stopped. All they know is Lois found his identity and didn't reveal it, at most they saw a hand hold with a guy who may or may not be going to his death (the desert scene). Lois was actually really good about not alluding that she knew and/or felt more about him than his name in the base scene, until she freaked out during the battles and calling him Clark left and right (which the military wasn't present for, Thank God). The only people who saw Lois kiss Superman were Lois's coworkers, who were some distance away. News moguls as they are, the guy did just save their lives, so they probably kept it to themselves, same for the family who saw them hug. The world knows about Superman now, not just Lois, so his identity is less of a need to know issue. From their perspective, he was just a source/story to Lois that she met at the Arctic Base. They've known each other a matter of days. They don't know she knew about Martha or Jonathan, or why she's keeping his secret other than she's a stubborn reporter that won't give up her sources. Hypothetically, to them, she found out his identity on the Arctic Base. Why would they hang out together? Plus hey, he killed our millions of dollars drone. Maybe we should just ease up on the surveillance portion on the nice alien who just saved our neck?
My issue with this is the idea that the military doesn't know who he is. The last scene with the General makes it clear that they want to know who Superman is, that they believe he has a secret identity, and that they don't. Yet... it's ridiculously easy to find out. Hell, it's hard NOT to. Daily Planet aside, we've got the cop who showed up at his place, the fact that the Kryptonians went to his home (when we know that the military was tracking their ships), not to mention the fact they must have picked up Clark's ship from his family's farm. Yet they had the gall to insert a scene specifically to say "yep... we have no idea who this mysterious man is."
Maybe someone with a lot of reach is covering for him(Checkmate, Shade, Etc).
The scene could be interpreted in a way that the military does know Clark's identity. Swanwick never overtly says something to suggest that they flat-out don't know who he is; only that they want to know 'where he hangs up his cape'. Which could mean his new Fortress of Solitude or whatever equivalent the writers give him in the next movie. The drone could be to try and spy on him to see if he's up to something, not to find out his identity. The way the scene plays is almost as if Supes is telling Swanwick the equivalent of 'hey, man, quit watching me through the window. I'm not gong to kill you in the middle of the night, don't worry. You gotta now convince the rest of the block to leave me alone too.' Its not about finding out who he is, in this interpretation: its about trusting that he doesn't need to be watched all the time. Which calls back to when the priest told Clark to take a leap of faith, and 'the trust part comes later'. Hopefully this theory is confirmed in the next movie, both because it makes more sense and it allows Clark Kenting to possibly work in this reboot. Because by the next film, he's got the government helping keep the masquerade going to the general public.
Clark in the Daily Planet
How the hell did Clark get his job there in the first place? Don't you need a college degree or at least proven (and successful) experience to join a newspaper as respectable as the Planet? I doubt Clark's education went beyond high school, and he's been in low paid jobs since then. Even worse if we consider he's going to be the partner of a Pulitzer winner!
He's not going to be her partner, she's just showing him around. And there's a rather dark way he could have gotten the job: They were nearly at ground zero of the attack. A lot of their employees died, so their hiring standards have to drop for a while.
Simple: Lois Lane recommended him. If your star reporter recommends that you hire a certain person, you're likely to follow her advice. Especially if they just hired him for a minor, unimportant job to start.
But Perry INTRODUCES her to him at the end of the movie. Why would Perry introduce Lois to someone she recommended to him to be employed?
Perry and Lois may very well know his true identity, but not everyone else in the newsroom does. They're helping Clark maintain the charade.
The bigger headscratcher here is how a daily newspaper is adding a new reporter in the first place, and hell, how it's still in existence at all after the attack—didn't they evacuate the building because it was about to fall down? Most daily papers are cutting back massively on their reporters, if they're holding together at all. One would think that most of the staff being killed and the building being destroyed would be enough to kill the publication.
If a lot of the staff was killed, that certainly would account for the newspaper hiring new reporters.
In the comics, Clark graduated in university before Walking the Earth; since Man of Steel follows the comics pretty closely in the origins, I'd hazard a guess that it is also true here. What do you think this is, Smallville?
The film implies that Clark has been Walking the Earth ever since Jonathan died, and that happened when Clark was 17 (Jonathan died in 1997 according to his tombstone. Clark is 33 in 2013, meaning he arrived Earth around 1980). Plus, if Clark wasn't emotionally stable enough to keep a low-paid job, or even stay in the same place for more than a few months, he wouldn't be able to finish college either.
It implies it, but doesn't really outright comfirm if he went to college or not. Getting a bachelor's degree in journalism would only take about four years in college, so he might have gone on his walkabout after he was done with his education. Clark could have even gotten his degree online (online degrees from accredited institutions have been around since the 90's).
Not to mention Clark is both very intelligent and secretive about his powers. Who's to say that instead of participating in sports, where his strength would need extremely tight control to keep from injuring other players, he joined the journalism club? It might have contributed to his desire to help people in a more direct way than agriculture, no one would think twice about a farmer's son lifting large-scale printers or boxes of papers easily, and he could have used it as experience to get a low-level job. He may even have worked for the small-town weekly that no doubt serviced his community, giving him at least a little bit of experience to put on a resume.
During that scene, Perry White explicitly introduces Clark as the new "stringer". In journalism, a stringer not a salaried employee of a particular news outfit, but rather a freelance writer or photographer associated with them who is paid individually for each piece that they contribute and get published. In the long term, a stringer usually either becomes a contract worker (as the movie suggests Lois currently is, thus it makes sense for Clark to be hanging around with her), or is eventually hired as a regular full-time employee.
But everyone knows Clark is Superman, including Lois, the military, even White. What's the point?
Not everyone in Clark's immediate circle knows. His boss and his love interest/professional mentor know and are in a position to help him maintain cover, but not every resident of Metropolis (or even every single employee of the Daily Planet) is in on the secret. Lois's article ultimately ended up on a conspiracy theorist's blog, thus reducing its credibility and placing the matter up for debate, which helps Clark hide in plain sight. And the military has just as much incentive as Clark does to keep his identity a secret: they don't want the Chinese/Russians/al Qaeda/whoever trying to harass him and start trouble.
No Lara Hologram?
Why did Jor-El only make a digital copy of himself? Why not of Lara as well? She is Kal-El's mother, he will need her advice too. Mothers and mother figures are just important as fathers and father figures, you know.
Watched the How Man of Steel Should Have Ended video? Yes, it brought up a good point. Back when Superman was created, I guess mother figures are usually overlooked. Incidentially, in Superman Returns, it seems that Lara's consciousness has also been programmed into Kal-El's baby ship - but she disappears for the rest of the movie. Even more jarring as Lex's diabolical plans revolve around the explicitly "father" crystal (the other crystals went unnamed).
Jor-El and Lara had the first natural birth on Krypton in centuries, while most babies are artificially grown. We have little knowlege on how child rearing is done on Krypton (in the John Bryne continity, men & women on Krypton weren't even allowed to live in the same area; so boys would never be allowed to be raised by mothers), so perhaps there is a whole different values system on raising children. In any case, Jor-El barely had enough time to encode his entire personality onto the drive before Zod came hunting for the Codex; perhaps there wasn't enough time. Thank goodness for Martha Kent.
About the prequel comic...
So, a young Kryptonian called Dev-Em goes mad with desire to make a name of himself, and murders a friend in order to have better odds at qualifying for the upcoming space colonization effort, the very first murder in Kyrptonian society in over a century. He is caught, and held in prision until his fate is resolved, since the Kryptonian council is divided about giving him the death penaly. Then some of the council memebers who did not like the idea, not only free him from prision, but put him in one of the precious spaceships, along with the person who caught Dev-Em in the first place. Okay, exactly how could such a plan not end terribly wrong? Even thousands of years earlier in their history, Kryptonians apparently were ruled by morons.
Perhaps the council thought that if they game Dev-Em what he wanted, he'd surely get over his madness and act like a proper member of Kryptonian society. After all, the death penalty on Krypton in multiple versions, which presumably includes this one, was considered barbaric which is why the Phantom Zone was used for punishment.
Superman can breathe in space?
Okay, so maybe I'm missing something here, but if the thinner atmosphere on Zod's ship caused Superman to black out, how come he can casually fly around in space? How come he can breathe?
It's not the thinner atmosphere that made him black out, it's the Kryptonian atmosphere that caused him to black out.
And lack of a yellow sun. Earth's atmosphere is part of what gives him his powers, but the sun is still the most important part. Being outside the ozone layer would give him more direct exposure, and help mitigate any negative side affects being outside the atmosphere would have.
And it has previously been established in comics that, despite being capable of doing so, Superman doesn't actually need to eat food or breathe oxygen; he can survive entirely on the radiation he absorbs from the sun.
Superman wins how?
So what is it that makes him able to kill Zod? I've been waiting the whole movie for Chekhov's Gun to show up.
More specifically, considering Zod has super strength as well, plus a lifetime of training, what is it that gives Superman an advantage in the end?
Zod was not at full strength yet. Superman had an advantage that was quickly decreasing as Zod coped with this new abilities, which caught Supes by surprise.
The advantage Superman had at the end was that when they landed in the station, Superman was able to grip Zod around the neck. That's it. Not everything needs to have come from some super-secret technique or Chekhov's Gun. Sometimes the guy who wins the fight is just the guy who managed to land in a better position than the other guy.
See Sith, The Revenge of
The other advantage really was that alot of Zod's training simply wasn't that useful. He had trained in combat skills that were designed for normal, human-level (or slightly superhuman as the case may be) fighting. He was not trained to know how to fight mid-flight, or aim eye-beams, or do any of the other things that Supes had at least a vague understand of how to do (if he'd never had to use them to this extent). The only thing that Zod's training had taught him that remained useful was improvisation (ie he couldn't figure out how to fly, so he wall-crawled at one point), which is the only thing that kept it from being an outright Curb-Stomp Battle.
Where did Clark/Kal-El learn to fight (hand to hand combat)?
This sort of falls under the "Clark wins how?" question, but that was sort of answered. What I want to know is how did Clark know hand to hand combat? He's not bred to be a soldier, so that's out. His genetics come from a scientist and whatever Kara was (we can see she wasn't a soldier.) You can learn to fight by training, but to actually fight and use those moves, you have to spar. There is literally no one in the world Clark can spar with. Even if he had control over his strength, growing up with his father, he wouldn't have trusted himself in the heat of the moment of combat training. Even if you study all of the fighting styles in the world, putting them into action is a completely different story (spoken from experience). So how did he know enough to hold his own in the two Kryptonian fights? Not just the big punches, grabbing and pummeling, but the smaller defensive and offensive close up moves he had like with his fight with Faora. (Yes, he sort of lost that fight, but he still had moves in it.)
Beating up crooks in alleys during his traveling years? Then again, any punch to them would shatter their skeleton, so he probably wouldn't feel inclined to punch them knowing it would kill them.
Zod's eye beams
Ok, the method of killing Zod confuses me. The family was to the right. Zod was trying to force his head to the right to fry them, Supes was pulling it back to the left. When he snapped Zod's neck, he pulled it to the right. Now, this makes sense in terms of him using Zod's own force against him to suddenly accelerate his head, but my question is, SHOULDN'T THE EYE BEAMS HAVE PASSED OVER THE FAMILY, AND KILLED THEM ALL!?!
1) Neck snaps tend to work quickly and the eye beams seem to take a great deal of concentration. 2) Even if it hadn't, pivoting the head in a neck snap would have angled the beams upward, not in a straight line to the right, though it would still be a close call. 3) Clark might have tried to move Zod's entire body to the left so the family would be entirely out of danger, but could only manage twisting Zod's head and breaking his neck. So, Clark was still damn lucky, but it wasn't quite as dangerous as "instant frying".
Why did Clark's father go back for the dog? Clark would have been GUARANTEED to survive the tornado, even if he didn't make it out in time. And if he survived, he would not have revealed himself, because no one would have thought twice about it, seeing as the words "tornado" and "freak accident" almost always show up together.
Johnathan had just spent the entire previous flashback reminding Clark that the world wasn't ready to know his secret. This scene hearkened back to that sentiment. It's the same reason he refused to let Clark go to the car for the dog and instead directed him to take shelter in the overpass, even though they both knew Clark was in no real danger. It's also the same reason he signaled to Clark not to try and save him. There was no way he could be absolutely certain Clark wouldn't accidentally reveal himself to an enormous crowd of people, all watching in horror as Johnathan is swept up by the tornado (and it almost guarantees someone would have seen something). He loved his son too much to let him take the chance, and would rather die than risk losing Clark revealing himself before he was ready.
But there was no reason going to save the dog had to reveal Clark's powers. John goes to get it, and people generally put their own lives over that of their dog, so obviously he thought there was at least a small chance of a normal human surviving, if not a good one. All Clark would be doing would be running at normal speed (but probably faster than his old father) to the car, opening the door, and helping the dog out. If he's that paranoid that he wouldn't be able to keep his powers a secret while just doing that, why does he even let him go out in public?
Never mind Jonathan's stupid, suicidal, paranoid, ass-backwards reasons for getting himself killed. Why did Clark let him go? He seemed to have an overall positive relationship with his dad, and you'd have to hate your father pretty badly to just stand there and let him die when almost any action you might have taken could have saved him.
Why did Jonathan tell everyone to "get to the overpass" when just about every news report over the last twenty years has said that it's probably the worst place someone can go in that situation?
Reality Is Unrealistic, because lots and lots, and lots of, if not the majority of, people actually do still believe it. Old behaviors die hard after all.
I'm a Computer!
So, Jor-El possessed the technology to transfer is entire personality and memory into, essentially, a USB stick. A USB stick that's backwards-compatible even with thousand-year-old, abandoned colony ships. There are so many potential uses for this technology that I find it hard to believe Krypton's entire society didn't revolve around it. Did Jor-El just keep it to himself? Was it a new invention? How did he have time to design it and build an FTL-capable life pod for his infant son in the few weeks before the disaster? If he didn't invent the process of creating an AI based on one's self and memories, why wouldn't the Council of Silly Hats have taken advantage of the technology to make themselves functionally immortal? I mean, we're talking about a stagnant, decaying empire with delusions of grandeur—of course its leaders would think themselves too important to die. Even if Jor-El was the only person who had access to this technique, though, why wouldn't he make one for his wife? And if he was planning to put his AI-self in Kal's pod, why did he bother writing the Codex onto the kid's DNA, making it harder for Kal to revive the Kryptonian race—not to mention potentially making him a target of any of Krypton's enemies—instead of just including it on the USB stick?
Looks like a plot hole to me. On the other hand, Jor-El might had invented it earlier (he was a scientist after all, inventing stuff was his job) and just thought it would come in handy in this situation. Why didn't he share it with Council of Jerks? Well, because he knew they were Council of Jerks And Silly Hats, and would you share that sort of tech with that kind of people?
And about writing Codex into the DNA: Jor-El might have been paranoid (properly, as it turns out) that some bad guys might try to reach genetic code of every Kryptonian child. I guess it's just safer to store it in the cells of someone with powers to defeat himself. Not to mention that it's easier to lose or destroy USB stick (even alien) than your own body cells.
Fridge Brilliance also says that, if the genetic code for all kryptonians is embedded into Clark's DNA, there are three possible outcomes, depending on his choice: Clark recreates Kryptonians the same way all Kryptonians were born (cloning), or he decides to be the "Last Son of Krypton" forever, or he becomes the forebearer of a new Human-Kryptonian race by conceiving a child with a human (probably Lois, duh) - one hopefully better than the last Kryptonian race. Since Jor-El seems obsessed with "choice" and fighting against predetermination, it would make sense for him to give his son a "choice" of whether or not to continue the Kryptonian race, and how he'd go about it if he chose to.
Lara walking free
In the prologue, Jor-El and Lara-El steal the Codex and launch it into space. Now, the Codex is vital to Krypton's survival, and it's explicitly mentioned that stealing it is a major offence, probably comparable to high treason. Yet at the trial of Zod & co., Lara is standing among the ruling council, and when Krypton is imploding she's at her home, so it appears she's completely free and has suffered no penance from the theft of the Codex. Shouldn't she have been tried and sentenced to the Phantom Zone as well?
Zod's men are the only ones who attempt to stop Jor-El. Considering Superman's pod is already gone and we have no idea how often Kryptonians grow children, the council may not even realize it's gone. Jor-El says "we may only have weeks," not "we only have weeks." As far as we know, the planet exploded later that day.
The surveillance devices protecting the Codex recorded Jor-El stealing it, so the council should know it's gone. Also, I doubt the whole process of arresting Zod's crew, investigating their crimes, putting them on trial and executing them would be done in one day. Most likely there were days or weeks, maybe even months, between the launch of Superman's pod and the execution of Zod and his crew.
His identity was a secret?
Until the end, all signs pointed to his identity being known to the military. Clark Kenting aside, the Kryptonians went to his childhood home in Smallville, and the military themselves also went there to pick up Clark's ship. Not to mention Lois, fresh from being on the Kryptonian ship, has a cop take her to Clark's house. Then at the end they put in a scene to just let us know that somehow the government not only doesn't know, but is actively trying to find out and failing. And if, somehow, they managed to ignore all that information and think "well, it's just a coincidence that all that happened in Smallville, Kansas. I'm sure it has nothing to do with his secret identity" he then goes and tells the general that he's from Kansas. How could they possibly not know who Superman is?
Also, all it took for Lois is some interviews and investigative journalism to figure out Clark Kent is Superman. Admittedly, she's a great journalist, but given the resources the miltary has, it shouldn't be that hard for them to do the same research and reach the same conclusion.
One possible explanation is that the military does know his identity, but they pretend they don't to humor Clark. Given how Clark reacted to his mother being threatened, they probably think they should stay on this guy's good side and let him feel his loved ones are safe.
It's not his identity that he's hiding from them — it's where he lives. Listen to the dialogue in that scene, Superman says they want to find out where he hangs his cape. They want to keep track of him, and that's what he objects to.