The Moral Implications Of Man Of Steel


If you’re the kind of person who will insist on clicking an article entitled “The Moral Implications of Man of Steel” and then mindlessly crow in the comment section about the amount of spoilers contained therein, then let’s make this clear – there are spoilers in this article. If you want to go into the movie fresh, clean, and not knowing anything, then do not read on. In fact, clicking here will take you back to the home page. Do it.

As somebody who has never read any of the Superman comics, or even seen all of the films, I’m not putting myself forward as a scholar of the character. I’m not even really a fan, if I’m honest – the story of a god falling to Earth always seemed much more interesting in the hands of Thor, not Superman. Although it got a pretty orgasmic review on this very site, to me, Man of Steel actually turned out, in the end, to be a pretty traditional Superman movie. It didn’t rewrite the rulebook in quite the same way as Batman Begins did for Batman, and I don’t think future cinemagoers will regard it as highly as that film, either.

Where it did succeed was in modernising the way Superman’s story should look in today’s world – everybody agrees that Zack Snyder absolutely nailed what a Superman film, released in 2013, should look like. Whatever you might think of him as a filmmaker (I’m not a fan, but Watchmen did have some great moments), he certainly didn’t skimp on the spectacle. The story as it was told here seemed to make sense, if you didn’t analyse it too closely.

However, I did have a few problems with the moral implications of some of the themes of the film. I’m not trying to reinterpret Man of Steel in a controversial way; all I want to do is open up a conversation, to allow people to respond in a (hopefully) nice way, and to clarify a few points.

This is where spoilers begin. 

When we discover that Clark Kent is carrying the codex within himself – the DNA of everybody who will ever be born on Krypton – Zod’s plan becomes clear. Kill Clark, harvest the DNA, then terraform Earth to make it amenable to the Kryptonian citizens as they still exist – about five of them, in total. This in itself is weird, as we have explicitly been told earlier on that Clark doesn’t suffer from the effects of Earth’s atmosphere because he has been here from an early age. This, combined with the Earth’s proximity to the sun, also contributes to his power. Why the Kryptonians didn’t also just hang around on Earth for a bit and acclimate themselves to the atmosphere, becoming even more super-powered before commencing their plan, is irrelevant (apparently).

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