Man of Steel, the Zack Snyder-directed reimagining of Superman, certainly didn’t encounter kryptonite at the box office. But we’d venture to say that many of the people who helped propel it to a $116 million weekend haul left the theater scratching their heads. Was that dragon creature upon which Russell Crowe‘s Jor-El rode over Krypton from the same genus as the flying beasts in Avatar? Why did Harry Lennix and Chris Meloni’s military men have more screentime than Laurence Fishburne‘s Perry White? Is everyone else as disappointed as I am that Michael Shannon didn’t scream “Kneel before Zod”? So many questions. Here are eight which we feel we can more or less answer. But beware! Major SPOILERS ahead.
1. Is Man of Steel pretty much just the story of Jesus?
Unbelievably, even more so than Superman Returns. Sure, the 2006 picture had Brandon Routh’s Son of Krypton endure a kryptonite scourging that would have fit if the movie had been called The Passion of Kal-El. But Man of Steel goes further. It makes it very clear that Superman is 33 years old when he first chooses to don the cape and become a symbol of hope for humanity. His arms are outstretched, crucifix-style, when floating through space. He turns himself in, preparing to sacrifice himself to “save” humankind. And you could sub in God as easily as Jor-El when Kevin Costner’s Jonathan Kent talks about the “other father” who sent Clark to Earth.
2. Has it ever been established before that one Kryptonian can kill another Kryptonian just by snapping his neck? And wait, I thought Superman had a code never to kill?
In any of the main DC Comics universes, Superman has never killed a sentient being. However, in the 1988 comic Superman #22, with art by John Byrne, Superman does kill a General Zod from a “pocket universe” using Gold Kryptonite. The experience does leave him shattered, and he begins to question whether he himself is a dangerous being — moral uncertainty that Henry Cavill’s self-righteous Zod-killing Superman in Man of Steel does not seem to possess. Moreover, it hasn’t ever been established that a Kryptonian fighting a Kryptonian while on Earth could kill the other just by breaking his neck. You would need Kryptonite to do that or a molecular chamber like in Superman II — where it isn’t clear if Zod and his companions actually are killed when they’re rendered human. If just snapping Zod’s neck could kill him, it makes sense Superman would kill him before he could kill those huddled people with his X-ray vision. But why didn’t he kill Zod before the general destroyed much of Metropolis?
3. Have Kryptonians ever had difficulty adapting to Earth’s atmosphere in previous Superman storytelling?
Not really. This seems to be an invention of screenwriters Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer to make them seem less godlike. Zod and Faora can still fly and repel bullets, but they need to wear breathing masks so as not to be overwhelmed by the low-density atmosphere of Earth.
4. What does Zod’s symbol stand for?
As we learn during his incarcerated conversation with reporter Lois Lane, Clark Kent’s “S” is actually a Kryptonian symbol that signifies the idea of hope. On the chest of the nefarious General Zod, there lives another symbol (albeit a slightly S-like one in its own right). But if Clark’s is hope, then what is Zod’s swirly insignia meant to stand for?
5. Where’s Jimmy Olsen? And who the hell is this Steve a**hole?
Although we might better remember bumbling photographer Jimmy Olsen from small screen Superman, Daily Planet reporter Steve Lombard (portrayed here by Michael Kelly) is also a character from DC Comics history, first appearing in a 1973 issue.
6. Krypton is a planet with rhino dragons and embryoceans, but people can still give birth vaginally?
Essentially, the Kryptonian appears to be built exactly like the standard Earth human, right down to the reproductive organs. Sure, they generally create offspring via some weird kind of undersea embryo system, but there’s at least the option of the old fashioned way.
7. Who Did Superman Vote For?
Man Of Steel takes place in the present day, making an adult American citizen Clark Kent eligible to vote in 2012. So who did he vote for? As a bona fide proud Kansan, we might assume he has Red State leanings. Then again, his “S” does stand for “hope,” and that is Barack Obama’s go-to branding device.
8. Is Jonathan Kent’s death exactly the same as that of Helen Hunt’s father at the beginning of Twister?
Answer: With a razor.
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