This morning I saw Man of Steel. Overall it was better than Watchmen.
Although I could write a dissertation about the film, I am only going to focus on how it addresses the Superman mythology.
WARNING! POTENTIAL SPOILERS!
In the Superman mythology there are two rules.
1.Superman does not kill.
2.Lois Lane does not know Clark Kent and Superman are the same person.
In the comic books those two rules have been broken repeatedly but not without consequences.
Superman actually killed General Zod and his lieutenants in Superman #22 published in 1988 which was part of the Supergirl Saga.
Despite the justifications, Superman experienced a severe amount of guilt over his actions and he reflects upon it during his self-imposed exile in space that began with issue #28 published in 1998.
One of the enjoyable aspects of the Lois Lane and Clark Kent/Superman dynamic was that Lois Lane had no idea who Superman really was. The big payoff was when Lois Lane eventually learned the truth that they were both the same man which was years in the making regardless of the medium.
One of the problems of being bound to a mythology is that the stories are in danger of becoming stale. Therefore the challenge is to shake things up without radically changing the mythology itself. I empathize with that the Man of Steel team and I understand why they took these actions. But by breaking these rules, they created potential plot issues for future films. For instance, if a villain wants to know who Superman really is, all they have to do is follow the trail that Lois Lane left out. In fact they could go to Lois Lane herself to find out what she knows. When Superman face another villain who is more dangerous than Zod, there will be an expectation that he will have to kill that villain. See where I am going with this?
Man of Steel is actually based on the Mark Waid’s Superman: Birthright which is an amazing retelling of Superman’s origin. However, like the Dark Knight Rises, the film would have been better off using more of the source material.
The film was also way too long and it felt like they rushed the ending of the film because they realized “Holy Crap! We spent so much time on Superman’s origin we barely have enough time to wrap things up with General Zod.” Visually speaking the muted colors did not work for Superman and a little flare would not have hurt.
On the brighter side, Man of Steel has a great cast thanks to the amazing Kristy Carlson.
The special effects were excellent and I agree with Io9 that it featured some of the best super powered combat I have seen in awhile.
In the end, it does not matter since Man of Steel is on its way to make a bazillion dollars, so any criticism will fall on deaf ears filled with cash. But Nolan, Snyder and Goyer are going to be in for a rude awakening if they do not make any efforts to change their game.