Review: Man of Steel
While the Man of Steel has been out of the theaters for a while and is now available on blu-ray, I’ve decided an analysis of this film is now in order. It also showcases what’s wrong with Hollywood blockbusters in general. Man of Steel is an excellent poster child of the problems associated with today’s storytellers populating Hollywood. It’s all about the money and never about the quality. Though, let me start by saying the Superman suit is the least of this film’s problems. In fact, even though the suit is not at all in keeping with Superman, the suit itself is probably one of this film’s best features. Go costume department! Let’s explore.
The script pieces surrounding Lois are quite unexpected. There’s nothing specifically wrong with Amy Adams’s portrayal of Lois Lane in terms of acting. In fact, she did a respectable job of acting Lois within the context of the role. Still, Margot Kidder’s and even more so Noel Neill’s Lanes seem much more human and in-line with being an actual reporter.
Unfortunately, the story behind Lois Lane in Man of Steel has created far more questions than answers. For example, every time Superman has landed after a long drawn out battle, flying at enormous speeds all over the city and destroying parts of perhaps 10s of buildings and then ultimately landing who knows where, Lois can be found standing right there within moments of touchdown. There is no way that’s possible unless Lois is not from Earth.
Also, she (seemingly) reluctantly agrees to be captured by Zod after a taunting comment by Colonel Nathan Hardy. After being taken aboard Zod’s ship, her lack of awe and concern seems dubious if not down right suspicious. Worse, she is pinpoint accurate firing a particle weapon (not found on earth) and not at all phased by it let alone killing said individual she fired upon. Most people put into that situation would not only have crumbled, but many might have fainted or gotten sick. Not Lois. She is as stoic about the whole thing as Superman. In fact, in some ways she is more stoic. It’s almost as if she knows what was going to take place in advance and her part in it.
We all know that Superman has his ‘hidden identity’ in Clark Kent, but that’s not the hidden identity to which I refer. In fact, we know that Superman is not good at hiding his identity. He practically opened up to Lois about the whole deal almost immediately upon meeting her. He certainly displayed his powers to her to heal her. Though, he verbally confirmed everything after the second meeting.
The fact that Lois is there at the discovery of the crashed Kryptonian scout ship in the ice means something suspicious with Lois is already afoot. How did she get there, how did she even know about it and how did she come to learn of that ship being there in the first place? If it’s a classified military secret operation, which it seemed to have been, why would a reporter have been notified? Also, why was Clark there? I think he was explained off as ‘yet another job’. But, that’s a separate issue entirely. The whole ‘dig up the 18000 year old ship from the ice’ plot device was far too convenient. But, that’s part of the reason Hollywood fails at making movies great. Things are inserted strictly for plot convenience, not because it makes sense.
In fact, I believe the true hidden identity here is Lois Lane. I don’t know if she an occupant from the original scout ship that landed there 18000 years ago (somehow preserved for many years), if she’s a descendent from someone on that ship (in which case there are probably more than a few) or if she’s from another world entirely. But, she’s definitely not of Earth. There’s just no way she can be all things considered.
Lois Lane from Krypton?
In fact, she seems to have the power of teleportation (being exactly where Superman is within moments). The power of clairvoyance (knowing where Superman is at all times). The power of people manipulation (able to convince military personal that she should be part of their secret projects and on board military aircraft). The power of memory manipulation (making people believe she’s always a helpless victim). She may even be a form of succubus seducing Superman at the end of the film.
There’s just no other way to explain how the Man of Steel Lois can end up doing the things she does. She cannot be of Earth. Yet, she’s obviously very good at hiding her true identity. For the same reason that Clark explains the need to work for the Daily Planet, it makes perfect sense for Lois to be there for that same reason. She can easily keep her finger on the pulse of the world and know where she needs to be and what she needs to do.
Though it’s quite clear. Lois doesn’t save people or interfere with humanity directly. She just watches, reports (within the limits of a real reporter) and lets mankind do whatever it’s going to do. That is, with the exception of Superman to which she has some kind of fascination and is willing to do all kinds of interfering. Of course, Superman is not of Earth and Lois knows this. So, if she has an official non-interference policy with the locals, then she can interfere with Superman all she wants as he’s not indigenous to Earth.
Lois Lane’s agenda?
Here’s the kicker. We don’t know. It’s clear that Lois seems to be on Earth for some agenda involving Superman. Perhaps she wants something Superman has or perhaps she knows he has the Kryptonian genetics key and needs it. Whether she’s malevolent or benevolent, we don’t yet know. Clearly, her manipulation of Superman is key to whatever reason she’s on Earth. But, it’s likely she’s from a planet that knows of Krypton and its fate.
This is not the same Lois we have come to know from the original Superman comics or indeed the Lois portrayed in the 50s, 60s or 70s. No, this Lois is a Lois who has powers of her own, but exercises them sparingly and out of sight. When she does use them in front of someone, she quickly manipulates their mind to cover what they saw (including the ability to manipulate Superman’s mind at certain emotional times). Though, it seems Superman can unknowingly resist her abilities.
Man of Steel destruction
On a separate topic, there’s all of the destruction surrounding Superman and Zod’s actions. It’s quite clear that the amount of destruction and human casualties in Man of Steel was quite large. While Superman always prides himself on saving people, the sheer carelessness of Superman in Man of Steel was quite unnecessary and appalling. We are seriously to believe that Superman would willingly throw an indestructible person through several buildings knowing they can’t be harmed or injured? And then do it again and again and again?
It’s clear that at the point where Superman first gets a hint that there might need to be violence, he would have excused himself and flown to, for example, the moon or a barren desert to battle it out. There is no other way to stop the unnecessary destruction than taking it somewhere remote. Why carry out such destruction in the middle of a city like Manhattan? Superman is way smarter than that. Of course, Zod could have insisted on destroying a large city anyway with his ships, but he can’t battle Superman if he’s not there.
Instead, this whole film treated Superman as if he didn’t have a brain in his head. That he was just some conflicted teenager unable to make heads or tails of any of his situations. That he’s some bumbling idiot with no thought to that level of destruction. No, Superman is a whole lot smarter and more reasoned than that. In fact, he’s probably the smartest person on earth, he just didn’t have the proper Kryptonian teaching. He should be able to at least make the proper strategic decision involving moving fights to places that cause the least amount of casualties and destruction.
The whole film jumped the shark when Colonel Nathan Hardy proudly announces at 1:39:28, “This man is not our enemy”. Wait.. what? You’re standing in a pile of smoking burning rubble. He just caused enormous destruction and death in the middle of a city and that’s not considered being an enemy? Really? Yes, Zod was involved and aided in that destruction, but Superman could have easily moved the battle simply by flying somewhere else less populated.
Again, this influence on the Colonel must be the Lois Lane powers at work. There is no other explanation except Lois Lane’s protection of Superman. Even Superman has an incredulous look on his face when he says this. Lois is clearly protecting Mr. S for some reason and purpose yet to be explained. We already know she has the power of human manipulation and knowing where he is at all times. That’s the only explanation for that Colonel’s statement at that moment in the plot.
The special effects are reasonably well done, but the story has some huge holes that really make no sense. This is yet another Hollywood non-sensical romp that really doesn’t enhance the superhero genre in any notable way. In fact, it makes Lois out to be some kind of alien with some agenda involving Superman. I’m just waiting to find out what that agenda really is. Maybe there is no Lois at all and this is some other Superman enemy attempting to manipulate Superman for their own bidding?