So it’s been nearly a year and a half since Man of Steel came out, and still when I go around exploring the internet, I always seem to manage to find myself reading some argument a couple of people are having over Man of Steel. Whether it’s about the movie sucking or not, all the destruction, the snapping of necks what ever. The point is that the movie definitely causes discussion (at least within the geeksphere). Anyways I came across this Youtube video from Jay Bend who discusses his Man of Steel analysis, so let’s discuss that discussion shall we?
The video is nearly 40 minutes long, but if you’re a lover or hater of Man of Steel, or are just a little bit curious I definitely suggest checking it out.
His main analysis of the film draws upon a religious allegory. Obviously there is a lot of overt Jesus symbolism in the film (which was a bit much for me to be honest), but personally I don’t see the film the way he does. But I do love listening to everyone’s interpretations of all films. Because film is subjective, and everyone draws upon their own meaning from individual films. I love his passion for the movie, and I love how deep he looks into it. It’s definitely an interesting look at the film, describing the film as a metaphor for child labour with the rebirth of Superman, something I never really thought of whilst watching the film, but it does in a way make sense considering the first shot of Man of Steel was of Lara giving birth.
And as interesting as that analysis is, what I really loved about what he said in his video thesis was at the end where he went on to say that:
The new era lies in where the morality of the action lies in the context of the action and is not inherent in the action itself
A Superman that doesn’t operate on moral absolutes instead we have a Superman that operates on ideals such as saving others, making sacrifices and hoping others can be a force for good as guiding principles to navigate in a complex and chaotic world
Now this is something I 100% agree with. Many people are used to the older version of Superman who was the tangible manifestation of definite good. But let’s face reality, there is no such thing as a definite good in this reality. Because a definite good is an objective good, and in a world filled with different morals and values, how can someone be truly defined as the ultimate good? It’s just too simple of a thought in such a complex world. And that is something that I think Man of Steel portrayed really well.
This farm boy was taught many things growing up which he used as he guiding principles to help inform his decisions. He isn’t perfect and he screws up along the way. So here we get to the neck-snap-gate. One of the main talking points of Man of Steel was about good old Superman murdering Zod, through a pretty intense neck snap. There has been a lot of debate about whether this should have happened or not. A lot of people offer up ideal scenarios where instead Superman should have taken him to the moon or what ever, but let’s just look at what actually happened. Superman snapped Zod’s neck.
We know Superman as having a definite stand to when it comes to killing. And I believe that this incarnation of Superman still has that, but it’s this whole idea of translating such a simple, easy idea of ‘no killing’ to a convoluted world. Ideally we can offer up a thousand different ways that situation could have gone where our perfect Superman didn’t kill Zod and gave us our perfect world but that doesn’t reflect reality. This is the Superman of today’s reality who has to base his decisions on the very real context of this world.
Now I don’t think Superman is going to continue killing people, and he will try to stick to the whole ‘no killing’ rule, but there are times where extreme contexts will put our values and rules to the test, and he made the conscious decision to snap Zod’s neck because he believed that within that context, that is what he needed to do. But he still values life and his morals.
Really i’m neither here nor there when it comes to the neck snap in Man of Steel. I understand why it happened, and how it represents a more realistic Superman who isn’t constricted to moral absolutes in a world that is far too complex for moral absolutes, but I also understand those who think that it had no purpose and that it really didn’t need to happen.
Man of Steel will probably always be debated until something controversial like the neck snap in Man of Steel happens in Batman v Superman, then people will forget about it and just argue about Batman v Superman instead, which let’s be honest will probably happen regardless.
Anyways I hope that if you have the time you check out Jay Bend’s video. But in the meantime now that you have had over a year to think about Superman snapping Zod’s neck in Man of Steel, do you think it was the right thing to do? Let me know!
Categories: comic book movies