I don't go out to the movies very often, but a friend of mine (Vrash) works at a theatre and he took me and Ogre to this one. For free.
I didn't have the highest expectations either, especially after our host himself said "It's good but not great".
Grife on a stick...I actually enjoyed it a great deal, probably more than Vrash did.
Okay. Extensive spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
I think the biggest reason I liked it? There's a lot of Post-Crisis blood in this movie, which is ironic after the comics have spent the last decade pretty much shitting all over Crisis on Infinite Earths
and the version of Superman created by it. In 1986 John Byrne came in with a flamethrower and incinerated a lot of the cornball bullshit that the Silver Age had tacked into the legend. The dumbass flying dog; the Mary Sue cousin; Lex Luthor as a criminal who built billion dollar robots to rob banks because Superman accidentally made his hair fall out; Kryptonite clogging every ditch around Metropolis and Smallville; and so many Kryptonians it really did start to seem Jor-El and Lara were the only ones who died when the planet blew up. Byrne brought us a better defined, more human Superman than ever before.
I guess I shouldn't be totally surprised by the similarities in the new movie--the name of the mini-series was Man of Steel
. Zack Snyder had previously directed the Watchmen
movie, which was from the same era as the MOS comic; he's just a few years older than I am, maybe he read many of the same comics.
There was MOS comic in MOS movie's Krypton, a stagnant, decaying world with children born out of pods; in the comic, Jor-El actually fell in love with Lara, which was unheard of. In the movie, they actually bumped uglies and had Kal-El the Old Fashioned Way, which was even more unheard of. The design and art direction was awesome; MOS movie Kryptonians were kind of a neat mix of Byrne Kryptonians, Time Lords, and Star Trek XI/XII with a nifty motif of liquid metal technology. The use of code keys to work the technology provided a little echo (to me at least) to the sunstone tech from the Donner movies. And the name of the El's servant robot, Kelex, is straight from World of Krypton
Like the MOS comic, Clark grows up unaware of his alien origin, his powers developing slowly instead of the Silver Age Superbaby nonsense. As far as he or anyone knows, he's Johnathan and Martha's natural son, until they reveal the space ship that brought him to Earth.
And even the battle with Zod and it's shocking conclusion have echoes in Post-Crisis continuity; Byrne's very last story had Clark going to a parallel universe....where Zod, Faora, and Jax-Ur had escaped from the Phantom Zone and killed everyone on Earth. Clark ends up killing Zod and his henchmen, which only steels (heh...couldn't resist...) his resolve to NOT be a killer.
And dear grife did I love their version of Lois. They short circuit the "Triangle for two" bullcrap pretty much right out of the gate. She does the legwork, figures out who Superman really is, and he doesn't try to convince her otherwise with dickish tricks or magic mind-wiping kisses. Hey, you know what? The comics let her in on the secret back in 1990, and that was the status quo for twenty-one years; it seemed shocking at the time, but it worked, because it makes Lois look less stupid and gullible, Clark look less like a manipulative dick, and both of them a team to be reckoned with.
Other things I really enjoyed:
Christopher Meloni as an Army Colonel. Well, we know what happened to Stabler now...
Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White. I wonder if this means DC will reintroduce Perry White Jr into New 52 continuity, except now instead of Lex Luthor his biological father will be John Henry Irons
Speaking of Luthor: the Lexcorp logo hints at a hopefully Post-Crisis based Lex, an evil businessman who hates Superman because he can't control him. Comic Lex's xenophobia would certainly make more sense--and maybe even be more understandable--in a world where the first appearance of aliens, Kal-El included, led to so much death and destruction.
Another Post-Crisis nod: Emil Hamilton. Too bad they kill him.
A bit surprised they blew up the colony ship Clark found in the Arctic. I thought for sure this was going to be his Fortress of Solitude.
I admit to finding the battles a little bit overlong, loud, and drawn out--good grief, is there anything left of Smallville and Metropolis?--but all in all, I found it probably the best Superman origin story since, well, Man of Steel