“Sorry sir, I just think he’s really hot”
We’re opening this feature on something most die-hard Super-fans will have seen – it comes straight from one of the TV spots.
These 50 Best Moments features are designed to go in-depth on the experience of watching the best films of the year – to remind you of bits you enjoyed, or highlight stuff you might have missed first time out, to encourage you to see it a second time.
But these features are not for the uninitiated, so if you haven’t seen Man Of Steel yet, turn away now!
Still here? Good. We adored Man Of Steel , and we’re looking forward to discussing the best bits with you.
For a film that’s been accused of having no humour, there’s a surprising amount of witty moments.
Admittedly, most of the best jokes in Man Of Steel are incredibly subtle (and they’re mostly sight gags), but this is one of the more obvious laugh-out-loud lines.
That said, we would have absolutely no problem with a humour-free Superman movie. Traditionally, DC comics have been more serious affairs than their Marvel counterparts.
So, while it makes sense to fill the Avengers with slapstick and pop culture references, for Spider-Man to get through as many one-liners as he does web cartridges, and for Tony Stark to have a mean line in snark, Superman is a more serious beast.
It’s one of the elements of the book that actually appeals to fans – generally speaking, Superman comics are amongst the most philosophical available in the superhero section.
Man Of Steel continues that tradition by inspiring more thoughts than grins.
Love it or loathe it, watch our spoiler-filled video analysis of Supes’ big movie reboot – and get involved with debate by letting us know what you think in the comments below!
Clark’s trip to church
Some people have accused Snyder of laying on the Christ imagery a bit thick in Man Of Steel , with the biggest criticisms being aimed at the church scene.
But, as Superman comic readers will tell you, there’s a huge tradition of Clark seeking advice from the clergy. From Superman For All Seasons to Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee’s incarnation (whose run this scene most closely resembles), Superman has frequently sought solace from religious types.
Perhaps it’s because the greatest of the church’s myths and ideals match his morality so succinctly, perhaps he simply enjoys the way the light catches the stained glass, but it’s absolutely canon to see Clark in church, so we were hugely gratified by this scene.
Faora was one of the absolute triumphs of Man Of Steel.
How rare a thing – a female villain in a comic-book movie who’s tough and cool without conforming to a single cliche.
She’s not driven to evil because she’s been rejected by a man, she’s not jealous or heartbroken, and there’s not even a hint of a romantic subplot between her and Zod, she’s just damned good at her job.
She doesn’t wear form-fitting leather outfits, or use her sexuality to manipulate people.
That said, she’s not overtly masculine – even her fighting style, involving much more speed and agility than the hulking brutes she’s surrounded by, is feminine.
And that’s what’s inspired this particular entry; the first time we see her zip around like she’s playing Metal Gear Solid on a computer being run in The Matrix .
It’s an absolutely unexpected and intensely cool moment. And extremely apt for the character.
Hell, at one point she even kicks Superman’s ass.
Oh, and she’s got some great evil dialogue, too.
“For every life you save, we will kill a million more.”
Creepy, and very succinctly expressing the odds stacked against Superman, brilliantly delivered by Antje Traue.
The photo album
This one is quite brilliant, and easily missable on first watch.
After Zod’s chucked a truck into the Kent’s home, Martha enters the wreckage with one priority – to rescue her photo album, the only thing in her home that’s truly irreplaceable.
As she checks it, we see a few snapshots of a young Clark with his adopted dad Jonathan.
And where are they? At a science fair, winning prizes.
This is brilliant exposition. It at once tells us of the connection Clark had with his Earth father, who was there to share in his joy. It also tells us that Kal-El inherited his father’s scientific prowess. And, it justifies Superman’s scientific approach to defeating Zod’s army later in the movie. All in one very brief shot.
This is smart scriptwriting, and a nice reward for audience members who are paying attention.
Clark on the road
When we first saw the set pictures of bearded Henry Cavill, we wondered if Superman’s alternate identity would be that of a hobo.
We weren’t far off – in fact, his wilderness years are essentially the same plot of dog-based TV show The Littlest Hobo .
When the project was first announced, we definitely didn’t expect to see Clark Kent rocking a full beard, but he wore it well.
Oil rig rescue
Again, another shot we saw in the trailer, but what was so astonishing about this scene was its placement in the narrative.
We were totally expecting it to occur in the middle of the second act; it looked like precisely the sort of moment filmmakers use to wake up the audience in the middle of the movie.
We couldn’t believe that it was the opening scene after the prologue – but then Man Of Steel has so many action beats, Snyder could afford to stick this one front and centre.
It’s an original way to start an origin story – Goyer seems to understand that, by now, literally everyone knows how Kal-El became Clark Kent, so why waste time with a scene showing the Kents finding the spaceship, when we can just launch straight into a heroic rescue?
It’s one of the biggest laughs in the movie – when the trucker who’s bullied Clark walks out of the bar and sees that Kal-El has transformed his ride into a piece of installation art.
It’s a nice moment, and resonant of Superman II , when Clark returns to the diner to take his revenge on another bully.
Basically, never be mean to Superman. Surely that’s a fairly easy lesson?
This one is fairly obscure, but when Zack Snyder said that Man Of Steel contains lots of DC easter eggs, he wasn’t kidding.
Remember that “He’s really hot” soldier? Well, her name is Carrie Ferris.
Which sounds a lot like Carol Ferris, Green Lantern ‘s girlfriend, doesn’t it?
So, a brunette military woman who has a thing for muscly men in super suits… It can’t be, can it?
If it really is her, that means Ryan Reynolds’ incarnation of the character has been officially ditched from continuity. Which would be fine by us.
Without Jor-El to guide her, Lois gets into a spot of bother during re-entry in Zod’s escape pod.
Though, it’s probably not her fault entirely – the ship has been punched and shot at by this point.
It’s one of the few moments of peril for Lois, but Amy Adams delivers it convincingly.
Snyder’s choice to stay on a fairly tight shot of Adams’ face shows the faith he has in his actress, and it adds to the exhilaration.
We’ve just seen Zod’s invading army on a radar screen in the military base. Cut to: ALERT ALERT and we brace ourselves for impact, only for neat reveal to subvert our expectations – we’re looking at a shot of a photocopier, which has run out of toner.
It’s a fun visual gag to lighten the mood before the serious stuff starts.