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Man of Steel's trailers suggested a Birthright/Secret Origin hybrid, which excited me since those are my favourite versions of this story. The actual film is more of an Earth One/Superman II hybrid, with lot of influence from The Death of Superman. And it's all very clearly Backed by the Pentagon.
But none of that is necessarily a bad thing. This film deserves more credit than it gets. It's serious, mature, and requires some thinking on the part of the audience. It's the most faithful adaptation of The Modern Age of Comic Books Superman in existence (even the animated series was just riding on the Byrne era). The best scenes were the prologue on Krypton, Clark learning to fly, and the escape from Zod's ship.
The supposedly Darker and Edgier elements come from the comics. Audiences should not find fault in the collateral damage/length of the fight scenes, since in the comics, Metropolis gets wrecked all the time, and Smallville has been wrecked more than once. (I would have liked to see Superman rebuild Metropolis at the end, though.)
The only problem with this movie is the depiction of Jonathan Kent. He's so paranoid he's wants Clark to let children die. Disturbing. And then he dies, which is disappointing (I was hoping he could be a supporting character like Post-Crisis Pa Kent was until the Braniac arc). Jonathan Kent doesn't ruin the movie though, and he still loves his family.
I actually rather liked the inclusion of the collateral damage. Perfectly got across the point that these are a bunch of Physical Gods beating the shit out of each other.
I have a feeling that the actual "rebuilding of Metropolis" thing is probably going to be a plot element in the next movie. In fact, I feel like some of the stuff people complain about Superman's characterization in this film will be brought up later... more than likely by Lex Luthor. Basically, instead of actually, you know, stopping and thinking that about the fact this might have been the very first "superfight" Superman has ever been in, Lex will convince everyone that Superman is a menace who "intentionally ignored the needs of the city during a crisis"... a crisis he was barely there for, and when he was, he was getting his ass kicked by the aliens creating the crisis. And, of course, the citizen's of Metropolis will be torn, I mean, who do they trust? The enigmatic alien superhero who saved their lives at the cost of some of their city, or the normal philanthropist who used his own vast resources to put the city back together? It'd be pretty interesting and would further drive the whole "trust" theme that the series is probably going to follow.
If only they did that (instead of making Lex hates Supes because he vaguely reminds him of God and his abusive father).
While I still love Man of Steel, I have since discovered even more faithful animated adaptations of The Modern Age of Comic Books Superman in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies.
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