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Jun 15 2013

Man of Steel, Movie of Wreckage

A couple of things are driving me to distraction in the recent crop of superhero movies. Maybe Man of Steel was a fine piece of entertainment — they certainly threw money at the screen — but it also contained a fine collection of irritants.

  • Lens flare. WHY? What does it mean? How does it add to a scene except to remind you that this is being seen through a camera? And not even that — I think a lot of it is added in post-production. What next? Dirt on the lenses? Fake scratches on the digital film stock? I hope that a decade from now, people will look back on the film output from this era and wonder what the hell they were thinking.

  • The falling woman trope. It’s everywhere. The poor woman is plummeting to her doom at the terminal velocity of 200 km/hr, and superhero swoops upwards at even greater speed and catches her. This doesn’t work. At that speed, invulnerable super-strong arms are like blunt blades and are going to messily trisect the victim.

    There’s a variant! Women fall and need to be rescued; men fall and land on their convenient flying vehicle/mount. Just stop it.

  • Slugfests. In every case, bad guy meets good guy and you know that shortly they’ll start throwing roundhouse blows at each other. This is not how people interact with each other, except when they’re very drunk and stupid. These are supposed to be super-intelligent, powerful beings, and their standard response to any challenge is to punch someone in the nose.

  • Ever-escalating explosions. And frantic pacing. Superhero movies have become giant demolition derbies, vying with one another to provide the biggest booms and demolish the most real estate. Superman, his military allies, and his enemies basically flatten the town of Smallville before moving on to turn New York into rubble.

  • There are no human costs. We see skyscrapers fall, entire New York city blocks destroyed, invulnerable super-bodies flung through office buildings like missiles, and never see a single person injured or killed. We see one death and Superman howls in anguish, and I just wanted to say, “Hey, Supe, when you smashed that IHOP? You probably turned half a dozen people who were just trying to have a pancake into bloody mush. I don’t even want to try to get a body count from that imploded building over there. So why are you upset over the quick and painless demise of that one jerkwad?”

  • There has to be a witness. This is a corollary to the absence of deaths. A couple of the secondary human characters face the most traumatic event ever — one of them is stuck under a pile of rebar and concrete (don’t worry, they pry her out and she’s completely uninjured!) so they can stand around and gawp as the superclowns rampage all over their city. Titanic forces are shattering whole buildings, but they stand there getting a little dust in their faces, and that’s it.

  • Specific to this movie: Pa Kent is a goddamned evil idiot who makes his adopted alien son feel like a shameful criminal every time he does something good. I would have cheered when he died, except Kevin Costner looked so smug and sanctimonious about shaming the superboy into not saving him when he could have easily. They also make a point of the Kents being Christian, which fits that pious humble-bragging attitude so well.

So yeah, there might have been an interesting movie buried under all the metaphorical rebar and concrete rubble of the detonation of special effects, but in the real world, it’s not going to crawl out alive afterwards.

122 comments

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  1. 1
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    PZ:
    Alyssa, over at ThinkProgress has a positive review of the movie, especially as it relates to the treatment of women: http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2013/06/14/2155581/man-of-steel-and-the-meaning-of-the-american-way/?mobile=wp
    (Sorry for the lack of link, my phone won’t let me copy/paste from that site)

  2. 2
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    These are supposed to be super-intelligent, powerful beings, and their standard response to any challenge is to punch someone in the nose.

    Well, the punch isn’t always to the nose. Often its more to the jaw or temple.

    But, yeah, you raise a lot of good points there PZ.

    Even if Superhero movies conventionally are supposed to be more fantasy and require by necessity a pretty huge glob of suspension of disbelief in their premises.

  3. 3
    Brett McCoy

    I gave up on the superhero movies a while ago. Overblown and overproduced and quite tiresome now.

  4. 4
    kevinalexander

    I saw the movie last night. I kept thinking (when I could think with all that stuff getting blowdup good) that while our super hero was getting on with his angst ridden adolescence, which seemed to go on for thirty five years, there was other stuff happening that he could have helped out with. OK, he saved ten guys on an oil rig while a hundred thousand humans were being erased over some WMDs that his X-ray vision could have seen to be not there.
    Just for example. There are others.

  5. 5
    ChasCPeterson

    Lens flare. WHY?

    research.
    focus groups.
    polygraph tests.
    It’s science.

  6. 6
    PZ Myers

    Not thirty five years. Exactly thirty three. Because that’s how old Jesus was when he died, remember?

  7. 7
    kevinalexander

    I forgot to mention the Jesus part. Pa Kent tells him even though he has incredible powers he should emulate that other guy with infinite powers and don’t do squat with them.
    Then the guy in the church scene tells him to take a leap of faith so he goes to sacrifice himself to save the world.

  8. 8
    Marcus Ranum

    Huge props for the reference to Niven’s “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” :)

  9. 9
    kevinalexander

    The Jesus analogy does break down at the end when he (not the Jesus guy) actually returns.

  10. 10
    PZ Myers

    #1: Some strong women, yes. But, wracking my brain here, I don’t think it passes the Bechdel test. Men are at the center of all the action.

  11. 11
    Inaji

    Oh my. I wasn’t expecting much, I’ve never cared for Superman,* but Mister was hoping this would be a good movie.
     
    *Even as a kid, I couldn’t get past the ‘eyeglasses of disguise!’ nonsense.

  12. 12
    Lynna, OM

    PZ, I liked this part of your review so much that I passed it on to my excellent progeny:

    The falling woman trope. It’s everywhere. The poor woman is plummeting to her doom at the terminal velocity of 200 km/hr, and superhero swoops upwards at even greater speed and catches her. This doesn’t work. At that speed, invulnerable super-strong arms are like blunt blades and are going to messily trisect the victim.

    That made me laugh. Let’s see that in the movies. Physics.

  13. 13
    Alex Richardson

    It was shot on real film stock, not digitally. And take a look at E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Ghostbusters, for examples of lens flares—it’s not a new thing, and was quite common.

  14. 14
    kevinalexander

    I liked the agonizing birth scene at the beginning. That trope just doesn’t wear out. A super advanced civilization somehow hasn’t figured out analgesics.
    Oh, wait, they explain later that it was the only natural birth in centuries so that must have some significance but I’m too slow to get what that might be.

  15. 15
    ryanb

    I really wanted this film to be good but was so disappointed when I saw it last night. A few annoyances to add to yours:

    - The editing style of a new scene every 20 seconds. Seriously I hate it when films do this, I’m not sure if it’s to enforce a sense of pace but it ruins any form of development/narrative. One minute they’re in the Arctic, then the desert, then the city, then space, then the past, then a military bunker, then an office. Moving around wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that very little time is given to any of it.

    - So the Kryptonians have been spacefaring for millennia and have built terraforming machines but without their home planet every colony dies. Seriously?

    - Why didn’t they evacuate Krypton? Was this meant to be a climate change analogy that people didn’t pay attention to the threat until too late?

    - So Kryptonians get magic superpowers on Earth which Zod learns to master in about 30 seconds and yet he still wants to convert the Earth into a world where his powers wont work….?

    - Crap dialogue. Amongst the worst: “they say it’s all down hill from the first kiss” and “how do we know you wont act against AMERICA’s (fuck yea!) interests?”

    - Why exactly did superman feel the need to destroy all those thousands of Kryptonian babies in the genesis chamber? And perhaps I missed something but if all those babies are floating around in their pods why does Zod even need the codex? Couldn’t superman have saved them and then raised a group of Kryptonians to live peacefully on Earth?

    - Apart from Zod why do all the bad guys have accents that make them sound like they are from Eastern Europe?

    Also mild spoiler but there’s obviously going to be a sequel given the various shots of “Luthercorp” logos on various objects before superman was thrown/threw someone through them.

  16. 16
    ryanb

    Oh one more I forgot:

    - Why does superman go to a Church?

  17. 17
    kevinalexander

    About the agonizing birth scene. That must mean that the first woman on Krypton must have taken a bite out of whatever passes for an apple there.

  18. 18
    anchor

    “Lens flare. WHY? What does it mean? How does it add to a scene except to remind you that this is being seen through a camera? And not even that — I think a lot of it is added in post-production. What next? Dirt on the lenses? Fake scratches on the digital film stock? I hope that a decade from now, people will look back on the film output from this era and wonder what the hell they were thinking.”

    Junk food for the eye. Stylish. Chic. Popular.

    My pet annoyance that’s left me seething for decades is the near indiscriminate use of gradation filters placed over the sky above a horizon in a pathetic effort by cinematographers to set the mood or elicit a somber environment.

    It does nothing except make the scene look as if we are viewing it through a tinted automobile windshield: the filters obviously darken the objects that protrude into its influence, such as trees and buildings. It wrecks what would otherwise be a wonderful sky. The most ludicrous examples employ the filters in the idiotic expectation that fair-weather clouds obviously and blatantly illuminated by bright sunshine will be mistaken for ominous storm conditions.

    One would think cinematographers would appreciate that the audience notices how hideous these filters are. Some small percentage of them do, but most are convinced that the audience is capable of discerning very little. One motto in the industry describes the film-making craft thus: “Its all about cheating the audience”. And they think this is easy.

    The only possible output from such a remarkable philosophy is junk.

  19. 19
    Heather Frackiewicz

    Why does every alien civilization that has mastered space travel always make these weird-shaped vehicles? Jellyfish shapes, leaf-shapes, etc. – do laws of aerodynamics just not apply?

    When there is a huge battle between superheros going on and buildings are collapsing all around, why do people stand there and watch? What do they THINK is going to happen, other than the buildings coming down and destroying anyone unlucky or stupid enough to be in the way? Take shelter somewhere! Get as far away from the crazy people as possible.

    And why does Superman insist on fighting in areas where there will be the highest possible amount of destruction and carnage? Instead of fighting in Kansas and Metropolis, fly up to the polar regions or something, fight with the bad guys and keep the people out of it. Zod came to earth specifically to find Superman, Superman is the only one who can stop him, does he really think that the baddies wouldn’t follow him if he flew off to a desolate region?

  20. 20
    Reginald Selkirk

    Is Man of Steel all about Jesus? Warner Bros hopes Christians think so

    There’s been a lot of talk lately about the Jesus imagery in The Man of Steel. To some extent this goes with the territory: Superman The Movie and Smallville both played with Christian iconography too. But Warner Bros. is actually encouraging Christian churches to do sermons about Man of Steel this weekend.

    Warner Bros. paid a theologian, Pepperdine University’s Craig Detwiler, to prepare a nine-page set of “sermon notes” for ministers who want to preach about Man of Steel, titeld “Jesus: The Original Superhero.” …

  21. 21
    Inaji

    kevinalexander:

    I liked the agonizing birth scene at the beginning. That trope just doesn’t wear out. A super advanced civilization somehow hasn’t figured out analgesics.
    Oh, wait, they explain later that it was the only natural birth in centuries so that must have some significance but I’m too slow to get what that might be.

    Naturally, all aliens everywhere have pretty much the same bits we do and procreate in the same way. Yep.

  22. 22
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Even as a kid, I couldn’t get past the ‘eyeglasses of disguise!’ nonsense.

    That was one of the things that put me off Superman too.

    And he just annoyed me, I’m not sure exactly why, but I couldn’t stand any of the movies.

  23. 23
    grumpyoldfart

    Do they still have Superman? Well I’ll be damned! I used to read Superman comics in the 1950s.

  24. 24
    epicure

    I’m really glad that I gave Hollywood the elbow years ago… my last cinema visit was back in the early eighties, for Monty Python’s Life of Brian

  25. 25
    Inaji

    Beatrice:

    And he just annoyed me, I’m not sure exactly why, but I couldn’t stand any of the movies.

    Same here.

  26. 26
    legal9ball

    Ryanb: He went to church because he was representing spiritual “free will” against the evil determinism that Zod was doomed to protect. This movie’s philosophy was as retrograde as the alien tech.

  27. 27
    shabadu15

    ryanb,
    The Genesis Chamber in the ship at the end had the artificial placentas to hold kryptonian babies in them but without the codex the placentas were empty so Superman wasn’t killing a bunch of kryptonian babies, just destroying the technological ability to create a bunch of them in the future.

    Some problems I had with the film (some have been mentioned by others):

    -Pa Kent telling Clark that maintaining his secret identity is more important than saving human lives. BULLSHIT! Ma and Pa Kent are the origin of Superman’s moral code and the reason why he values human life as much as he does.

    -During the big, dumb action climax (which I otherwise found entertaining) Superman shows no regard for civilian casualties. I kept expecting him to try to move the fights with the Kryptonians away from Smallville and Metropolis but, no, he just tell people to get indoors (like that’s gonna save them).

    -How exactly are General Zod and his soldiers absorbing the sunlight they need to develop superpowers when they’re wearing full body armor?

    -The military can’t immediately tell that Superman is on the side of humanity and fires on him along with the other Kryptonians.

    -That military woman who’s an aide to that douchebag general HAS to comment on how she finds Superman “hot.” Way to make a woman who rose to the rank of captain seem like a flighty tween experiencing her first crush. Professionalism! What’s that?

    And I actually commended the film on sidestepping the problem of Clark’s stupid disguise and civilian identity that even a two-year old would see through, let alone an office-full of investigative journalists. And then, the ending. Ugh!

  28. 28
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    The falling woman trope. It’s everywhere. The poor woman is plummeting to her doom at the terminal velocity of 200 km/hr, and superhero swoops upwards at even greater speed and catches her. This doesn’t work. At that speed, invulnerable super-strong arms are like blunt blades and are going to messily trisect the victim.

    Not necessarily. The trick is to match velocities before the grab, so that the falling person and the flying person are moving in the same direction at the same speed. Then catch and begin to slow down and change direction.

    There are no human costs.

    This one’s not just limited to superhero movies either. I recall watching the Last Airbender series, at the end of which the hero agonizes over whether to violate his principles by killing the big bad, despite the fact that he’s done things onscreen several times that would inevitably result in dozens, if not hundreds of deaths. Those don’t happen on screen, though, so everyone’s supposed to forget about it. (Not meant as a dig at the series, I really love the show; just something that jumped out at me.)

    Caine

    *Even as a kid, I couldn’t get past the ‘eyeglasses of disguise!’ nonsense.

    The later writers really kind of dropped the ball on that one. In the original comics, back in the 30s, the glasses were part of a whole Clark Kent persona that he put on, which included hunching, affected clumsiness, and ‘inadvertently’ offending toughs in bars and letting them slap him around where his colleagues could see. The idea was that he made sure to act like such a complete hapless twerp that no-one would even think to compare his face to Superman. (That said, why has Superman got bulging, defined muscles anyway? Assuming that Kryptonian biology is as similar as it appears in other respects, the only way to get that kind of muscle is to regularly move objects that are at the outer edge of your lifting capacity. Where does he find things like that that would test his strength? Supes should be on the skinny side, or possibly showing a bit of flab and paunch, depending on his frame. There’s no way he should look like a bodybuilder.)

    Alex Richardson

    It was shot on real film stock, not digitally. And take a look at E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Ghostbusters, for examples of lens flares—it’s not a new thing, and was quite common.

    Yes, but then it was because there was no choice. The lens flare was an inescapable artifact of the available camera equipment. This is no longer true; higher-end modern cameras have lenses that do not generate lens flare. Despite this, some cinematographers deliberately add it, either by using sub-par cameras or by editing in after the fact. There is no apparent reason to do this, which is the source of the complaint.
    kevinalexander

    Oh, wait, they explain later that it was the only natural birth in centuries so that must have some significance but I’m too slow to get what that might be.

    I can make a few guesses without even having seen the movie. There’s basically two kinds of significance that they could be getting at with that one: The first is ” These people are backwards Luddites, what fools they are for not taking advantage of the wonders of science.” The other is “These people are pure, righteous and unspoiled by the evils of the modern world (which evils can vary, but usually they involve lack of Jesus and/or distance from nature), they are heroes who should be emulated for their sacrifice.” No prizes for guessing which one the movie was aiming for.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    It also occurs to me that if they’re trying to play up Superman=Jesus, doesn’t it kind of spoil Superman’s uniqueness (Like JESUS™) if there’s a fucking army of other Kryptonians running around with the same powers?

  31. 31
    Inaji

    Dalillama:

    Despite this, some cinematographers deliberately add it, either by using sub-par cameras or by editing in after the fact.

    I wonder if the current obsession with lens flare has to do with Whedon – he loves lens flare, and deliberately put a ton of it in Firefly. Given his success with The Avengers, maybe other people think it was due to the lens flare. ;D

  32. 32
    scottruplin

    Lois Lane falling is a classic Superman trope, which I don’t mind. I thought Lara Lor Van, Lois Lane, Martha Kent, and especially Faora, who WAS at the center of much of the action, all lent substance to the story as powerful women who had an enormous impact on Superman’s character and choices. Hopefully Warner and DC will finally get the Wonder Woman movie together as we move toward the JLA…..

  33. 33
    markmckee

    As for all the carnage in movies lately… They have to use up all the cars from Hurricane Sandy that were totally but still look OK from the outside.

    All the cars from Katrina are either starting to look dated or are all gone by now.

  34. 34
    karley jojohnston

    I went away impressed by the movie. I normally hate Zack Snyder movies, but this one kept me entertained.

    Thoughts:

    1. It’s obvious that no one involved in the production has ever actually been in a tornado before. You don’t go from a calm, bright sunny day to an E5 in 10 seconds.

    Actually, since I’ve grown up with 9/11 and been caught in the storm that took out Joplin, disaster scenes ring false to me.

    2. When there’s a flashback of young Clark with a billowing red towel cape, striking superhero poses…what exactly is he pretending to be? Superman doesn’t exist yet! THAT’S WHERE THAT CONVENTION COMES FROM

    3. Faora should have been the main villain. Bad-ass. There was a barely-there Bechdel moment when she tells Lois to put on a breather onboard the ship. It was so miniscule I don’t count it.

    4. My boyfriend hypothesizes that Battlestar Galactica actors always come in twos. Holds true here– hi Gaeta! Hi Helo!

    5. No Lex Luthor? :(

  35. 35
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I think a lot of it is added in post-production.

    More likely all of it added in post.

  36. 36
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    @32:
    Trope it may be, but it stills plays into the sexist trope that women require men for rescuing.

  37. 37
    ryanb

    karley there were plenty of Lex teasers in the form of Luthercorp logos. Seems clear they’re setting up for a sequel with him as the main bad guy (probably introducing kryptonite as well given that it was absent in this film)

  38. 38
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Oops, my comment was for #32

  39. 39
    kevinalexander

    5. No Lex Luthor? :(

    With the deterministic soulless Zod (evil trope 1)dead, they’re saving Evil Genius™(evil trope 2) for the sequel.
    And, as someone has already pointed out, it will involve corporations. Which are persons. Just soulless ones so we have a perfect circle.

  40. 40
    karley jojohnston

    Oh! Another thing: at some point Faora starts monologuing at Superman about weakness and evolution. Because we know how immoral people LURVE evolution.

    “The fact that you possess a sense of morality and we do not gives us an evolutionary advantage. And if history has proven anything, it is that evolution always wins.”

    I wasn’t the only one in the audience who riffed “Joke’s on you! WE’RE IN KANSAS!”

  41. 41
  42. 42
    laurentweppe

    These are supposed to be super-intelligent, powerful beings, and their standard response to any challenge is to punch someone in the nose

    Human beings are super-intelligent, powerful beings, and punches in the nose remain our standard way to deal with conflict, with the “civilized” versions (micro-agressions, bullying, cyber-stalking, etc…) and the Fuck-that-we’re-technological-demi-gods-No-hold-barred versions (bullets in the chest, chemical weapons thrown at residential areas, genocides powered by machette-armed mobs or high-tech weaponry but always sustained by top-notch logistics, etc…), and, of course, the classic use of “civilized” punches in the nose as a taunt to elicit an actual punch in the nose which is then used as an excuse to hit back with the murderous version of punches in the nose ’till death do us part.

  43. 43
    Loqi

    Worst movie I’ve seen since Daredevil. And I don’t mean “worst superhero movie.” The fact that they’re both superhero movies is pure coincidence. Or not. Something about “guaranteed money maker, so we can take the money we’d spend on decent direction and writing and spend it on blowing shit up” seems to result in bad movies. Who knew?

    -The physics were absurd: small-city-sized terraforming machine hits the earth at near the speed of light? Small dust cloud. Smashing the two ships together creates a singularity, but all it does is make the bad guys disappear?
    -The bad guys somehow knew they had superpowers when they got to earth. They went from non-super on Krypton because of high gravity, low solar radiation, or some other shitty hand-wave, then they land on earth, step outside, and are like “I can fly now! And I can instantly do it as well as that fellow who just had a montage of learning how to fly.” If they can adapt so quickly and instantly gain superpowers, why the hell terraform the planet? Zed talks about having to take years to adapt, but he does it in a matter of seconds.
    -The dialog was awful, and the scenes were painfully contrived. Especially the yeehaw America scene at the end. And the church scene. And the “evolution wins” scene. And the rest of the damn movie.
    -Why did the bad guys take Lois onto the ship? They gained nothing by it. They didn’t want anything from her. They just locked her in a room with the fucking command console (“I’m in the mainframe” – WTF? Did they make the ship with technology from the 70′s?). What was the point of that? She made some mention of them probing her mind for information, but they did the same damn thing to Superman, making probing her pointless.
    -Superman destroys the enemy ship in a matter of seconds with his laser vision. For some reason, it doesn’t occur to him to do this until the end of the movie, and it never occurs to him to do it to the giant machines that were destroying the planet. Conflict could have been over in minutes with millions of lives saved if Superman had an ounce of rationality.

    Ugh. The tickets were free and I still feel like I didn’t get my money’s worth out of this movie.

  44. 44
    Rolan le Gargéac

    Heather Frackiewicz @ 19

    Why does every alien civilization that has mastered space travel always make these weird-shaped vehicles? Jellyfish shapes, leaf-shapes, etc. – do laws of aerodynamics just not apply?

    Hahaha ! Funniest thing I’ve read all day ! And I’m reading Casino Infernal droods !

  45. 45
    Rolan le Gargéac

    Buggair ! I dropped the ‘e’ on Infernale !

  46. 46
    profpedant

    There are a number of things that I liked about the movie, and a number of things that I disliked. On the good side I was able to perceive the movie as one that remembered that any time Lois Lane is in a Superman story the story is really a “Superman and Lois Lane” story.

    I also liked how his identity is not-exactly a secret. Lois was able to put it all together, the US government is sure to have done at least as thorough a job (I can imagine some government agents showing up at the Daily Planet wanting to speak with Clark in the next movie). I imagine that Clark has explained to the government that interacting with his mother or his childhood friends/acquaintances in a way that annoys them will not work out well. Lex Luthor is likely to have some excellent investigative resources as well….. (They should also have Perry figure things out fairly quickly, and play with the ‘who recognizes him’ problem throughout the movie….without making any ‘super-disguise power’ nonsense.)

    On the not-so-good-side, Superman should have made obvious attempts to move the fighting away from towns and cities. He also should have been shown doing some impressive ‘Search and Rescue’ work after the battles were concluded. Some more saving of civilians in the middle of the fight would also have been appropriate. More examples of Clark saving people before becoming Superman would also have been good. (It also would have been nice if Pete Ross said hello to Clark when he paused during the fight in the IHOP.)

    Also, when Clark did the ‘flying attack’ on the Kryptonian who had just thrown his mother to the ground he made the mistake of continuing to pound on that Kryptonian instead of going back to protect his mother from the other Kryptonians.

    Kryptonian Ships: they obviously have anti-gravity or contragravity, so why do their ships have reaction jets that fire inappropriately? And what was with the ‘beetle wing-covers’ that some of the ships had hanging off of them?

    Having Lois Lane or somebody point out to Zod that this solar system has a couple of other planets – Mars and Venus – that they could use their fancy ‘world engine’ on would have been an excellent way to amp up Zod’s villain status. Doing so would have removed the slight patina of pseudo-legitimacy created by the ‘them or us’ situation that Zod was perceiving, making Zod an even more thorough creep and potentially dividing his followers for additional plot complexity.

    The movie was inconsistent with the ‘magic nature’ of Kryptonian superpowers. At a couple of points it seemed that acquiring full power would take years and years, but then they had Zod and his friends acquiring full powers ‘right away’ (except for the inconsistency of the super-senses kicking in – and why did Clark give Zod advice about how to deal with that?). It would have been better for the Kryptonians to acquire limited powers and for Zod to ‘amp up’ his powers to Superman’s level for the ‘big fight scene’. Also: they should have just stuck with ‘yellow sun’ as the magic answer instead of also mentioning local gravity and atmosphere.

    Kevin Costner’s “Pa Kent” was a truly reprehensible individual. He should have been teaching Clark that his powers were ‘very cool!’ and that while discretion was socially desirable he should always be himself. The criticism of the bus incident should have been about how to more discretely save the day. And practicing self-control so that Clark would be able to ‘get into a fight’ without anyone suspecting his ‘super abilities’ (although why those bullies were hassling Clark, or why they didnot get into trouble for doing so, is disconcertingly unclear).

    It would have been good if Clark’s ‘wandering years’ had been shown to include places all around the world.

    Why did the Kryptonians all speak perfect English? Creating ‘Kryptonian’ for the film and having Kryptonians speaking it to each other would have been a good move.

    The ‘had interstellar colonization for thousands of years, but retreated from the stars and every remaining oupost died when Krypton did’ thing was really annoying.

    The tunnel through the icecap that Clark ‘dug’ with his heat vision – apparently he was heating the ice enough to turn it to steam because Lois did not have to deal with lots of water flowing out of the tunnel….but there should have been a lot of steam/fog coming out, even if it was no longer dangerously hot.

    and so on.

  47. 47
    NelC

    Dalillama, I haven’t seen the movie either, but I imagine that, in common with every superhero movie I’ve ever seen, the match-catch-and-slow maneouvre is exactly how they didn’t handle the falling damsel in this one, instead swooping and colliding with the woman not reacting as though she’d fallen on the forks of a forklift from a great height.

  48. 48
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Why does every alien civilization that has mastered space travel always make these weird-shaped vehicles? Jellyfish shapes, leaf-shapes, etc. – do laws of aerodynamics just not apply?

    Not for spacecraft that aren’t meant to land. Mind, in that case you should be shown shuttlecraft with more reasonable designs. In the case of hovercars/spacecraft that land, the usual answer is, “Not really; we’ve got antigravity and reactionless thrusters and we can make our vehicles look like whatever we want.” If they’ve got forecefields too, they can just generate nice rounded forcefields towards the direction of travel and be completely free of worries.

  49. 49
    Rob Grigjanis

    At that speed, invulnerable super-strong arms are like blunt blades and are going to messily trisect the victim.

    He obviously has complete control over gravity in his vicinity*, so this is not a problem.

    Unless the flying is explained by controlled super-farts or something.

  50. 50
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    I haven’t seen the film yet, but there’s a few things that need to be noted:

    Christopher Nolan (the guy who directed the best Batman trilogy to date, even with the rather lackluster and too-short Rises… at least, in my opinion, and I know people disagree, and that’s fine) produced this, and he’s a really big fan of that vintage Imax look (see: every single one of his movies). Hence the lens flare. Could be Zack Snyder, too, but apparently Nolan actually had a good amount of control, almost being an unofficial co-director himself.

    There’s been rumors and talk about the WB, along with DC, building up a Justice League universe. One of the confirmed Easter eggs in Man of Steel is a Wayne Corps satellite (I’d say when, but I’m loathe to actually spoil a scene in the film, especially as I haven’t seen it, yet, myself). Also, supposedly Wonder Woman gets a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo, though that isn’t confirmed. If anyone who’s seen it can confirm or deny that, it’d be great.

    The whole Superman-is-Jesus thing is not unique to this film. Superman’s faith tends to change with the whims of whoever’s writing/filming him. I’ve read comics where he basically does pull a Jesus and even declares himself a Christian, to others where he scoffs at the idea of belief in a higher power and responds by saying that he believes in humanity. Batman, along with other superheroes, have shown this same inconsistency, because it all depends on the beliefs of who’s writing them. here’s a decent breakdown of superhero religions. Note that Superman is generally consider both a Methodist as well as having been a practitioner of the main Kryptonian religion. Also note that Superman has actually been killed and resurrected in arguably the most popular Superman storyline in which he fights Doomsday.

    As to the girl-falling trope. I’m not at all surprised as these are comic book films and comic books are, sadly, traditionally sexist. I had been hoping that they would do away with that, but they haven’t…

  51. 51
    andybutula

    *** CRAZY SPOILER HERE***

    To PZ’s point about Supes howling over killing Zod, I’d say it wasn’t a bad moment if you think about the fact that Kal just killed the last survivor of his race. This incarnation of Superman is much more conscious of his alien nature and he is literally forced to destroy all traces of it to protect the people around him.

    I totally agree about Pa Kent. What an asshole. Forcing his son to watch him die, knowing it’s unnecessary, to preserve his bullshit secrecy. Yech.

  52. 52
    Inaji

    Rob Grigjanis:

    Unless the flying is explained by controlled super-farts or something.

    Now I’m thinking about Errol [Goodboy Bindle Featherstone of Quirm] in Guards! Guards!

  53. 53
    kyoseki

    Good news everyone!

    Hollywood is effectively moving more and more towards “vfx tentpoles” (aka cgi craptaculars) instead of actual worthwhile movies (once Transformers 2 made nearly a billion dollars during the writer’s strike, they realized that slack jawed idiots were easier marks than serious cinephiles), so expect more and more of this kind of thing coupled with a continuing decrease in the overall quality of the cgi – the major studios have basically spent the last 10 years dismantling the US vfx industry, forcing everyone they can to move to Canada because of some pretty ridiculous kickbacks (the Canadian taxpayers effectively cover 60% of all labor costs for these movies in subsidies paid directly to the studios, so the studios now DEMAND that all the vfx work be done in Vancouver or Montreal), with the net result that most of the senior, experienced guys have simply left the industry entirely so you have more and more work being done by increasingly junior people.

    So yeah, you can expect the quality of both the effects and the story/acting to go downhill as the studios cut corners coupled with radical increases in the price of tickets (early tickets to World War Z, for example, are currently being sold for $50 a seat), all in order to pay for their next Maserati.

  54. 54
    The Mellow Monkey

    Rob Grigjanis:

    Unless the flying is explained by controlled super-farts or something.

    Perhaps he reorganised his digestive system to form a supersonic jet engine?

  55. 55
    Dennis Pearce

    In the good old days, the most damage George Reeves would do was poke a hole in the wall. Then he would simply stand and smile while the bad guys emptied their revolvers into his chest, grab the barrels of their guns and bend them into a u-shape, and grab them by the collar to haul them off to jail. Simple and efficient.

  56. 56
    Inaji

    Dennis Pearce:

    In the good old days, the most damage George Reeves would do was poke a hole in the wall. Then he would simply stand and smile while the bad guys emptied their revolvers into his chest, grab the barrels of their guns and bend them into a u-shape, and grab them by the collar to haul them off to jail. Simple and efficient.

    George Reeves is the reason my husband retains a fondness for Superman.

  57. 57
    Amphiox

    Even a civilization possessing antigravity technology should still care about having aerodynamic designs for atmospheric craft. Wind shear and air resistance and so forth are still things, and requiring your antigravity drive to constantly work to counter and balance all those forces can’t be good for your fuel efficiency.

    And space travelers have lots of motivation to care about fuel efficiency.

  58. 58
    Amphiox

    Even in the oh so sexist comic book world the falling woman trope has been subverted at least once, decades ago, when Spider-Man broke Gwen Stacy’s neck trying to catch her from just such a fall. The continued use of this trope is pure regression.

  59. 59
    Alverant

    I just got back from seeing Emo of Steel. Are you sure Shyamala-ding-dong didn’t direct this movie? I haven’t gone through all the comments but from what I’ve seen so far, I agree. The movie was visually impressive but the rest of the movie sucked. It was dark and gritty, like finding sand in your ice cream.

  60. 60
    juniperann

    I actually liked the movie OK, though my husband, who’s far more invested in the Superman mythos, hated it. I think I’ll forgive a lot of stupid if the super “hero” isn’t a smug sexual harasser who forces his employees to dance on a stripper pole for his own amusement (looking at you Iron, Man). I also think I’ve finally gotten past rage to numb acceptance of the fact that action movies are made by stupid/lazy people who don’t care about physics (or psychology, or any other kind of truth) at ALL.
    After that rousing note of approval, I will note a few things that I liked about the movie.

    I LOVE the scene at the school. Superman’s powers as a metaphor for the autism? Love! Superman’s mother’s unconditional love in the face of the difficulties of non-neurotypicality? Love!

    I loved the consent bit. Lois looks at Superman, Superman nods, they kiss. Yay! More movies that show consent, please!

    My husband and I liked that the S had two different meanings to Superman, and also that Lois laughed at the absurdity of an alien culture having a symbol that just HAPPENS to look exactly like an S. In fact, both of us liked the whole scene in the interrogation room.

    I liked that Superman got to have emotions. I wasn’t actually sure WHY he was crying—was it exhaustion and leftover adrenaline? Having killed someone? Having witnessed all the carnage that the camera didn’t show us? Having lost the last living link to his past? All of the above? But the fact that he actually had an emotion after a stressful event was a very nice change of pace.

    I thought the costume was pretty, if not very practical. I always like Russell Crowe. I liked the over-the-top horn music.

    But every complaint mentioned above is totally valid. Pa Kent’s character got screwed over and, thus, much of Superman’s motivation was lost. The birth scene was terrible on SO MANY levels.

    The Jesus allegory. I actually like religious allegory. I just don’t like being hit! Over! The head! With it! HE’S JESUS! HE’S JESUS! SUPERMAN IS JESUS! DO YOU GET IT YET? If we add in a completely unnecessary scene that puts him directly in front of this depiction of Jesus for several minutes, will you get it? I mean they made Superman 33. It should have been 30, because Jesus started his ministry at 30, but it HAD to be 33 because that’s the famous Jesus-age, and maybe ignorant people would get it. Argh. They even had a lovely little bit to pander to creationists where the bad guy says “evolution always wins”. Grrr.

    In addition, I HATE when alien cultures evolve to be identical to humans, down to the same gender roles. The bully’s arc just kind of ends in the middle. It’s like they were setting him up to be the Neville and then…not. And Ma Kent sure does take Zod’s ultimatum lying down. There’s no, “OK, what am I going to do to save my child?!” She just gives up and lets her child—the one whose life is actually in danger—comfort HER.

  61. 61
    craigmcgillivary

    The Bechdel test was an important commentary on the unfortunate sexism in the movie business, but it doesn’t really capture very well which movies suck from a feminist point of view and which don’t.

    The problem with this movie is that Lois Lane she spends most of the movie following orders and never does anything useful except when a man tells her to do it. Superman had to save her on the ship because she didn’t listen to orders. Having apparently learned her lesson she then buries a story about Superman, In theory we are to believe that it was because she wasn’t really much of a journalist and thought that the public just wasn’t ready to know the truth. But really she sat on it because Superman told her to, and her male boss backed him up. But that was just a prelude to a scene in which a man was literally walking her through a battle giving her step by step instructions! Similar themes were touched on in the intro where Superman’s father has to walk his wife step by step through his plan to save their son. She didn’t really like the plan, but ultimately she new that her man was always right.

  62. 62
    craigmcgillivary

    Also the dumb “Being evil gives me an evolutionary advantage, evolution always wins!” villain monologue!

  63. 63
    profpedant

    craigmcgillivary at comments 61 & 62 makes some good points. I’m inclined to see Lois’s role somewhat more positively and invoke ‘circumstances!’, but that interpretation would be a lot more credible if the sequel has Superman succeeding because he does what Lois tells him to do, and messing up when he doesn’t listen to Lois. (Similarly with Lara – one cannot be too pleased with a plan that happens to be the ‘best available plan’….but if that was the intended interpretation of her lack of enthusiasm for sending her infant son into space it needed to have been clearer.)

    The ‘evil evolutionary advantage’ comment was just stupid, and it really needed a comment from Superman. Something along the lines of “Why am I always having to deal with idiots who flunked biology?” (a reference to a non-existent scene earlier in the film which explains why those bullies were picking on young Clark, and I would have had him reading Darwin instead of Plato). It is fine to have stupid lines in movies – as long as they are identified as ‘stupid things stupid people say’.

  64. 64
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Meanwhile, Captain America or some other douchehat was busy noisily hammering detour signs up in front of my place at 10-fucking-forty-five in the PM, blocking my road and bridge, providing us with an incessant cop-lights show, then returning at 10-fucking-forty-five in the PM to take down the previously noted detour signs. Fuck Hollywood.

  65. 65
    YOB - Ye Olde Blacksmith

    Oh wow. You all are going to HATE “This Is The End”!

    Bad physics
    Stupid story
    Bad acting
    Extremely crude and non-PC
    Also, Wife and I thought was one of the funniest movies we’ve ever seen. ( and then felt bad after leaving the theater)

  66. 66
    sonorus

    Some of those problems are just standard superhero comic memes. The woman falling to be rescued by Superman goes back to the beginning (perhaps even all the way back hi Supe’s 1938 debut). The same with the fight scenes. As a kid we considered it a rip-off if there wasn’t enough fighting in our comic books.

    But I agree about the long string of bigger and bigger explosions. I remember seeing the gas station explode relatively early in the film. It was hardly abandoned and couldn’t help but think that about a half dozen people would have been killed (if it had been real and with that many cars at the pumps. It’s not real of course so the violence doesn’t have the same consequences of real violence. Since two super-powered aliens are hardly going to be slugging it out in my hometown any time soon, the cause-effect problem that should be shown in some violent movies is perhaps not such a big deal. Even so, I think a little more care in the staging of the these things especially if more creativity were involved. This was my 3rd 3-D movie to watch this summer and there were lots of explosions (very loud ones!) and it has lost its appeal for me. Also all the buildings collapsing was a little disturbing for someone like me who was you know where for you know what 12 years go.

  67. 67
    johnmarley

    @Loqi (#43)
    Good, points, with one correction:

    small-city-sized terraforming machine hits the earth at near the speed of light? Small dust cloud.

    The military tech tracking it stated that it was approaching Mach 24 (28?). Your point about the dust cloud still stands, though.

  68. 68
    hypocee

    My favorite take: unsurprisingly, Mark Waid’s post, by a guy who can write and did write some of the stories wrapped into the film. Spoilers: No, he’s not pleased.

    And yeah, reducing the Clark Kent persona to “lol glasses” is just modern snark that’s forgotten it’s parody. The man’s essentially been omnipsychic his whole life; he can feel the pulse, smell the pheromones, track every saccade of everyone around him. You think he can’t have learned how to act like a funny backwater bumpkin?

  69. 69
    johnmarley

    Also, the material unknown on Earth shtick. There are no holes in the periodic table. And even if the material was some kind of artificial element, my understanding is that hypothetical islands of stability mean that a material has a half-life measurable in minutes or maybe hours, rather than micro- or milliseconds. I barely qualify as an informed layman, so I may be way off, but I’m pretty sure that baby-Supes’ ship would have been radioactive as hell.

  70. 70
    scottruplin

    Tony comment 38.

    I agree – but with source material going back 75 years there’s a balance to strike between some kind of fidelity, and modernization. I thought this movie did a pretty good job with that.

  71. 71
    scottruplin

    Given the destruction involved, and the fact of the humans having no powers relative tot he Kryptonians, a hell of a lot MORE people should have been shown “needing rescuing”!

  72. 72
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Thing is .. this movie (which I admit I haven’t seen and aren’t overly bothered about seeing) like other superhero movies is meant as an emotional ride, a sort of daydream fantasy where the laws of physics and logic aren’t intended to really apply.

    Question is, if you wrote a movie script – esp. in the superhero genre and esp. a superman one – that addressed all these issues would it ever get made and if so would it be a blockbuster that had widespread appeal and made money or some weird art house flick that only a small group of intellectuals ever saw and appreciated? I think the answer to that is pretty clear case of the nayes have it but I’d love to be proved wrong on this.

    I gather that superhero movies are about escapism and emotional appeal -not science or logic and not supposed to be judged as such. And like it or not, there is a human tendency to be emotionally satisifed with violence being used against the bad guys. An ending where the main villain(s) is talked down into coming quietly and then treated with the usual, slow, costly leniency by the courts rather than having the living daylights beaten out of them then either killed in self-defence or captured for a high probability of escape and re-offending in a sequel is one that would be considered by most a massive anti-climax and unsatisfying disappointment. Conflict and violent conflict involving fistfights, swordfights, gunfights etc .. has always had a major emotional and dramatic appeal to the average human. Which isn’t to say its always the best and most humane or correct method of dispute resolution in reality of course -a point I think most of the viewers also acknowledge.

  73. 73
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @56. Caine, Fleur du mal :

    George Reeves is the reason my husband retains a fondness for Superman.

    I was going to say don’t you mean Christopher Reeve – then I checked wikipedia and found you were right. Had never heard of him before – something new learnt for today. Cheers.

    @57.Amphiox :

    Even in the oh so sexist comic book world the falling woman trope has been subverted at least once, decades ago, when Spider-Man broke Gwen Stacy’s neck trying to catch her from just such a fall. The continued use of this trope is pure regression.

    I think its more what I wrote in #72 about putting artistic and dramatic and emotional impact over scientific reality and plausibility. Suspension of disbeleif.

    I also wonder about the scene in Point Break where something similar~ish was done with parachutes in mid-air although that was a slightly different scenario with more closely matching speeds.

    @60. juniperann :

    The Jesus allegory. I actually like religious allegory. I just don’t like being hit! Over! The head! With it! HE’S JESUS! HE’S JESUS! SUPERMAN IS JESUS! DO YOU GET IT YET? If we add in a completely unnecessary scene that puts him directly in front of this depiction of Jesus for several minutes, will you get it?

    So Jesus was / is Superman eh? Guess that explains why Jesus was famous for flying, wearing a red cape and jocks over his clothes and him being a ancient Judean crime-fighter invulnerable to damage by say crucifixion, y’know bullets bounce off his skin, swords spears and nails do likewise, right? ‘Spose the ancient Romans must have had kryptonite handy too.

  74. 74
    juniperann

    Kevinalexander:

    “Oh, wait, they explain later that it was the only natural birth in centuries so that must have some significance but I’m too slow to get what that might be.”

    They do explain that babies on Krypton are raised in a Brave New World setting where they are destined from conception to be leaders, soldiers, laborers, etc. So, apparently, the only way for Jor-el and Lara to opt out of that system and let their kid choose his own destiny is to avoid the baby tree altogether and go the old-fashioned route. It seems as though they needed to do this all in secret, which SORT OF explains why they couldn’t access medical care (you’d still think that the most powerful scientist on the planet could pull some strings for his wife and child’s sake). It would also mean that Lara would need to hide out in her home for several months before the birth so people didn’t notice the baby bump. Unless cottage industries are big on Krypton, I guess she had to quit her job. If the pregnancy was successfully kept secret, then Lara must be so deeply unimportant that no one came to visit her during her (literal) confinement. And then, after all that secrecy, the council takes the child’s birth pretty much in stride.

    Of course, the out-of-story reason is that it’s a cheap attempt to infuse drama, and a way to bring a female face on the screen without in any way turning any “men do things, women make babies” ideas upside down. Jor-El: Greatest Scientist in the World. Lara: Uterus. Babies: made better with the tears of women.

    Karley Jojohnston:

    “’The fact that you possess a sense of morality and we do not gives us an evolutionary advantage. And if history has proven anything, it is that evolution always wins.’
    I wasn’t the only one in the audience who riffed ‘Joke’s on you! WE’RE IN KANSAS!’”

    OMG, I’m dying. :D

    And, contrary to what Faora says, Zod very explicitly states that he, at least, DOES have a morality. In his eyes, the greatest moral good is the survival of the Kryptonian race. Altho, to be fair, Faora may not agree, since she and Zod were apparently sentenced to some kind of…torture (?) for their coup (I never really understood their sentence. What is “somatic reconditioning”? I assumed from that, and from the reference to hell, that they were being sentenced to mining labor, but apparently not). Many of the humans seem to imply by their actions that the survival of the human race is their greatest good, as well. But after Zod shares his morality and his pain, Superman says, “You’re a monster.” Uhh…no, he’s not. He doesn’t seem any better or worse than the military that you’re fighting FOR.

    I do wonder if anyone writing Faor intended for her to know that, after the baby tree got destoyed, she was the only person left capable of doing the heavy lifting of achieving Zod’s goals with respect to the Kryptonian race. I might have not fought so hard if I realized that those were my boss’s plans for me.

    Loqi:

    “Why did the bad guys take Lois onto the ship? They gained nothing by it. They didn’t want anything from her. They just locked her in a room with the fucking command console (“I’m in the mainframe” – WTF? Did they make the ship with technology from the 70′s?). What was the point of that? She made some mention of them probing her mind for information, but they did the same damn thing to Superman, making probing her pointless.”

    Well the “everyman witness who is taken everywhere for no apparent reason” has been a thing for a while. Doesn’t make it less stupid, it’s just an old kind of stupid.

    I assumed that every room in the ship had a USB port that connected to the main server, and the reason that the Superman USB was able to take over the whole computer was because Jor-El designed the ship and knew how to override its security. Which would make Jor-El, Krypton’s Greatest Scientist, also Krypton’s greatest mechanical AND software engineer.

    Oh, craigmcgillivary in comment 61 is 100% correct about the women in this movie mostly just doing what the men tell them. Even when Clark is arguing with his dad before the tornado, the camera cuts back to Ma Kent a couple of times and she looks uneasy, but she never says anything. She is, in fact, apparently so silent in her disagreement with Pa Kent that Clark doesn’t realize that she doesn’t feel the same way as his dad until he’s 33 years old.

    And Lois totally had her rightful moment of awesome ripped from her hands when Nameless Scientist Dude is the one who figures out how to get the superman USB drive to work with the baby pod.

  75. 75
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    what was Jesus’s Kryptonite?

    Gold pieces?

    Iron nails?

    Reality?

  76. 76
    anteprepro

    what was Jesus’s Kryptonite?

    Being questioned. Also 90 degree angles.

  77. 77
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    They do explain that babies on Krypton are raised in a Brave New World setting where they are destined from conception to be leaders, soldiers, laborers, etc. So, apparently, the only way for Jor-el and Lara to opt out of that system and let their kid choose his own destiny is to avoid the baby tree altogether and go the old-fashioned route.

    Yep, that’s a type 2. The artificial wombs are symbolic of the amoral technocracy who rules Krypton, and only by breaking away from the technology and rediscoveing their true purpose can they produce the Saviour (of another world, because theirs is too far gone in sin.). So, type 2b, with overtones of 2a.

  78. 78
    Ing

    Out of curiosity, does the movie explain why, if you have teraforming technology, you’d actually bother with earth over any other random space body that doesn’t currently have squatters?

  79. 79
    Ing

    what was Jesus’s Kryptonite?

    Figs

  80. 80
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @78. Ing : Haven’t seen the movie so can’t say but I’d guess even the best terraforming (Krypto-forming?) technology still has its limitations.

    Any “random body” could be in the wrong place eg. too far outside a habitable zone to be comfy even with the right tech, the wrong size – you might be able to say terraform a small asteroid,comet or moon but would it be worth the effort and energy required if you just get a few kilometers of world for your Kryptonian dollar and so on.

  81. 81
    Ing

    @StevoR

    Space is big, there’s almost guaranteed uninhabited suitable planets free for the taking

  82. 82
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    But yeah, terraforming a world which is already inhabited by sentient creatures – even perhaps creatures at all – seems an unethical and probably unnecessary thing to do.

  83. 83
    Ing

    @StevoR

    Hence my point. They’ll be, in most likelihood, enough uninhabited planets in the right stellar location to terraform without any conflict.

  84. 84
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @82. Ing : Quite probably although we’ve still got insufficient evidence on that count I think.

    Out of the few thousand exoplanets discovered so far there are just a handful that are potentially earth-like and inhabitable or even terraformable and still question marks over them.

    One world, Gliese 581g, that was postulated as being potentially habitable and earth-like may not even exist at all according to other later studies. Others, eg. Kepler 22b , may be too large and massive instead – a recent news item* suggested that Kepler could be underestimating the mass of exoplanets found IOW the worlds its rated as super earths may be more like gas dwarfs or Hot Neptunes.

    Some exoplanetary systems around otherwise suitable stars have gas giants in close orbits making them unlikely to host habitable worlds. Some like 51 Pegasi are Hot Jupiters that have migrated all the way in to their current orbits probably wrecking any earth-like worlds forming in the process. Others are just warm Jupiters taking the equivalent place of our inner rocky worlds but again, making earth-like worlds in their systems unlikely. Note that any hypothetical earth-sized moons of such HZ close in Warmish Jupiters would have to face huge radiation levels and increased risk s of bolide impacts with their primaries deeper gravity wells. Or such stars could have eccentric gas giants -ones in comet-like elliptical orbits that would disrupt the orbits of earths in the HZ and render such systems unlikely abodes for life.

    Most stars too are red dwarfs which pose problems with extreme stellar flares and very narrow close in- Habitable Zones which would likely be tidally locked. At the other extreme all the super bright much more massive than our Sun type O-B & A stars are short lived and fast evolving making the window for life to get established and thrive a very brief one and so planets round such suns would barely form and settle down before being destroyed. There are other issues as well in terms of element abundances or scarcities, stellar and galactic histories – nearby O type stars disrupt planetary formation and irradiate worlds and you have gamma ray bursts and supernovae risks to habitable or forming planets and so forth.

    We don’t know, not really whether “earth-like” planets are actually all that common or perhaps very rare for various reasons.

    Just in our own solar system we have Venus which shares Earth’s physical properties in mass and size but is hellish due to its dense carbon dioxide atmosphere being too close to our daytime star and thus would be extremely difficult to terraform. We also have Mars which is probably too small in mass to retain an atmosphere and have plate tectonics and a protective magnetic field

    I am hopeful that there are plenty of inhabitable worlds out there, plenty that could be terraformed. Yet at present I must acknowledge that I could be badly wrong, that it could be that earthlike worlds and worlds suitable for terraforming are very few and very far between indeed.

    There still isn’t sufficient evidence to say with much certainty one way or the other although its great that we are working on this area and improving our knowledge all the time.

    That noted, gain what I wrote in #82 perhaps even more so. Even *if* earthlike worlds with our sort of life are rare, terraforming one with inhabitants living upon it still would be ethically problematic and potentially genocidal. If Earthly worlds are precious few messing upone becoems even more serious a crime. Given the pandemic end to War of the Worlds itself a tale of a failed alien terraforming of our globe in some ways – potentially self-genocidal even.

    * See :

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/06/06/3775933.htm#.Ub1VL-dHJRY

    “Kepler’s worlds bigger than first thought” by Irene Klotz on ABC online news -science- astronomy, posted Thursday, 6 June 2013.

  85. 85
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Now imagining cross over of Superman eries and War of the Worlds Kyptonian baby lands on earth, develops amazing superpowers of flight, super strength, bullet resistence, X-ray vision etc .. then promptly catches a cold and dies. D’oh!

  86. 86
    timanthony

    So you went to see another crappy movie. Do you hate your self? Or do you know they’re going to be crappy, but your dedication to the scientific method demands that you make sure because the whole study can be completed in 90 minutes, self-funded on pocket change?

    Anyway, PZ, thanks for publishing your results! I won’t go. Not that I was going to anyway. I know all about Hollywood, and the three/seven/thirteen jews – no, druids! – who run it. Or was that the world? Anyway, it’s a prime number so that they can’t have tie votes no matter how many factions they divide into. Like cicadas, only not.

    There are two routes to zen disappointment. One is to pray. The other is to pay to watch a Hollywood blockbuster. It’s just that praying occasionally works, PZ!

  87. 87
    Azuma Hazuki

    @84/StevoR

    I dunno, Venus cools right down with 8 or 9 Oxygenators, and sometimes Gaia places an Oasis giftbox in the middle latitudes. You’re constantly going to have a problem with fires though, since you need to run 45%+ oxygen to keep the heat down. Mars is considerably easier; place a couple of Vaporators, an N2 generator, and seed the lowlands with Boreal Forest and the rest will take care of itself.

    No, the real bears are the Ice World (do NOT attempt to create oceans; they’ll just freeze over, and the Mini-Sun gift is bugged!) and the Dune World, which will sometimes just permanently overheat for no good reason.

    …if anyone got any of this, I love you forever ;-; [/Nostalgia]

  88. 88
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    As to the “why earth” questions… there wouldn’t be much of a storyline if they didn’t pick earth, would there?
    I’d venture to say that every storyline ever put down, be it a book, or movie, or TV show, or comic, or… starts out contrived, because you need a conflict to have a story.

    My favorite example is this review I read once for the TV show Murder She Wrote complaining that “murder always seems to follow Jessica around”. Well yeah, because if it didn’t, they wouldn’t have a TV show.

    You need a premise for a story, and I’d argue that the premise is contrived 100% of the time.

    Of course, being contrived doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t make sense. And since I haven’t seen MoS yet, I can’t say whether this particular contrivance makes any sense given the context of the film, but again… they needed a conflict, and I guess terraforming the earth was their contrivance to get that conflict…

  89. 89
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Oh… “why do Kryptonians look human?”

    I like the way they deal with this in Doctor Who, so I’m gonna steal it for this…

    Kryptonians came first, so, technically, we look Kryptonian…

    (And to be entirely honest, considering the sheer size of the universe, I’d be surprised if “body plans” weren’t “recycled” at least once in the evolutionary history of the universe. In other words… yeah I do think there’s a teeny tiny potentiality that there’s one other planet out there with a form of sentient life that resemble us enough at least on the outside [that is, physical appearances] that, if we ever met, it’d take a little digging to find the differences…)

  90. 90
    iangreer

    PZ, I’m starting to wonder if you like anything anymore. :\

  91. 91
    atheistchaplain

    Sorry PZ but you have hit the equivalent of the old man shouting at the kids to get off his lawn when it comes to movies.
    Instead of just sitting back, eating the popcorn and putting your brain in neutral, you seem to be actively looking for flaws in the movie so you have something to whine about. Superhero movies are NEVER made to be critically analyzed, they are made to be watched and enjoyed by people who don’t give a flying fornicate about body counts and how many or big the explosions are.

  92. 92
    Bryan Leger

    Directed by PZ. Myers, Channing Tatum is the ultra powerful guy who watches bad guys kill people, because he doesn’t want to hurt anybody and seem like a hypocrite. What a fucking tool. Stay away from theatres Oz.

  93. 93
    Bryan Leger

    Directed by PZ. Myers, Channing Tatum is the ultra powerful guy who watches bad guys kill people, because he doesn’t want to hurt anybody and seem like a hypocrite. What a fucking tool. Stay away from theatres PZ. Obviously fantasy is too complicated for you. By the way, why didn’t Romeo check Juliet’s pulse before killing himself? Because that’s a shitty ending.

  94. 94
    Ing

    @Nate

    I Am working on a space opera thing and while I tried to keep aliens alien, similarities needed for artistic reason I justify with convergent evolution.

  95. 95
    Ing

    @Bryan

    Done with your hissyfit now?

  96. 96
    ck

    I have to say I’ve never liked Superman as a superhero. He never seems to have any more personality than a manila envelope, likely due to the fact he’s only got two weaknesses – other beings like him of near invulnerability (usually other Kryptonians) and being depowered through Kryptonite, which means every conflict revolves around those two scenarios eventually, and the fact he’s always portrayed as unequivocally good. It makes him incredibly unhuman-like and nearly impossible to relate to.

  97. 97
    ChasCPeterson

    Instead of just sitting back, eating the popcorn and putting your brain in neutral,

    Yeah, jeez, PZ. These movies are made to be experienced in real-time with your brain in neutral and your digestive system set to auto-pilot/carbs. Just enjoy the sensory superstimuli and switch the human parts of your mind to idle.

    If you can. See, that seems to be the rub. For me, and I am extrapolating to PZ, the damn brain has no voluntary clutch. In the absence of sleep or criminal self-medication it just keeps on thinking,
    (right now it’s thinking that ‘atheistchaplain’ is probably not intended as oxymoronic irony)

  98. 98
    Crissa

    PZ, I saw the movie, it was crap. Filled with things that Superman just shouldn’t do. It wasn’t a Superman movie, period.

    But you’re making shit up about ‘men falling’ vs ‘women falling’.

    The guy thrown from the helicopter? Caught. WTF. Each of the air force commanders were caught at some point, too.

  99. 99
    Crissa

    If you want to catch someone, you come from above or the side and match speed then slow down. A superman style swoop and catch just doesn’t work vis-a-vis physics, unless the moment he touches someone, they no longer operate under the laws of inertia. Which it may be, since he doesn’t seem to, either.

  100. 100
    Crissa

    15 ryanb 15 June 2013 at 10:40 am (UTC -5)

    I really wanted this film to be good but was so disappointed when I saw it last night. A few annoyances to add to yours:

    - The editing style of a new scene every 20 seconds. Seriously I hate it when films do this, I’m not sure if it’s to enforce a sense of pace but it ruins any form of development/narrative. One minute they’re in the Arctic, then the desert, then the city, then space, then the past, then a military bunker, then an office. Moving around wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that very little time is given to any of it.

    I like it you don’t. That’s not a thing. Epic movies should move around alot. Movies that don’t move around when the protagonists are supposed to be world-spanning are stupid. Why would Thor’s weekend in a Nevada town be epic, exactly?

    - So the Kryptonians have been spacefaring for millennia and have built terraforming machines but without their home planet every colony dies. Seriously?

    The movie very specifically says they died long before the home world. Why would happen to the ISS without funding? What happened to the Viking colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland when they were cut off?

    - Why didn’t they evacuate Krypton? Was this meant to be a climate change analogy that people didn’t pay attention to the threat until too late?

    Are you new to the story or what? That’s always been part of Superman’s background. You’ve read a book in the last fifty years, right?

    - So Kryptonians get magic superpowers on Earth which Zod learns to master in about 30 seconds and yet he still wants to convert the Earth into a world where his powers wont work….?

    And he’s supposedly the strongest of them. Remember the scene where he’s one of two conspirators not to scream when put in the ice-things?

    I think it’s stupid, too.

    - Crap dialogue. Amongst the worst: “they say it’s all down hill from the first kiss” and “how do we know you wont act against AMERICA’s (fuck yea!) interests?”

    You think that’s crappy and forget the last fucking line in the movie? “I think he’s hot.”?

    - Why exactly did superman feel the need to destroy all those thousands of Kryptonian babies in the genesis chamber? And perhaps I missed something but if all those babies are floating around in their pods why does Zod even need the codex? Couldn’t superman have saved them and then raised a group of Kryptonians to live peacefully on Earth?

    There were no babies in the pods. Superman didn’t destroy it, he took down a ship used as a weapon. Are you saying he should have known how to excise the chamber from a ship being used as a weapon? He didn’t even know to destroy the world-machine before it landed! WTF was he doing?

    Why did it even matter that the ship had a genesis chamber? There were hundreds of thousands of those ships across the universe, there must be another laying about if they’re so common to be on earth were humans happen to find it in the twenty years during which Superman can intercept it.

  101. 101
    Crissa

    Re: 64 F [is for fluvial] 15 June 2013 at 6:31 pm (UTC -5)
    You live in Cleveland?

    We got stuck there for a couple hours a week and a half ago because they had blocked a major freeway for filming downtown and hadn’t bothered to put up detour signs.

  102. 102
    unclefrogy

    you bring up something that has beginning to bother me more and more. That is in movies and TV and also in seems in our war policies of ignoring collateral damage almost completely.
    It is worse in action movies especially involving supper guys but it not restricted to the comic book base ones, car chases and crashes kill too!
    Where are all the innocent dead and injured caused by all the wanton violence? Where is the gore?.

    uncle frogy

  103. 103
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I guess.

    Collateral damage in comics isn’t really a new thing.

    It’s has been a part of Comics for as long as I am aware.

    And this is a comic book movie.

  104. 104
    WhiteHatLurker

    I think that this crap rules the movie out for me. I know there were negative reviews from other quarters, but I rather enjoyed the new Star Trek, in opposition to the reviews of it.

  105. 105
    Crissa

    …Last bit, wouldn’t Superman have to take down every global satellite to stop from being watched as he does his sub-orbital jumps to where ever he’s changing clothes?

  106. 106
    anteprepro

    Superhero movies are NEVER made to be critically analyzed, they are made to be watched and enjoyed by people who don’t give a flying fornicate about body counts and how many or big the explosions are.

    From the same category of complaining about complaints as “Why are you pointing out sexism in comedy routines?”. Here’s the answer: Culture. If you aren’t criticizing the wanton collateral damage caused in the name of Teh Good Guys, and just sit back and accept it in movie after movie after movie, you are supporting the reinforcement of that attitude in our culture. Even moreso if you decide to instead criticize people who dare to criticize it. (And there is also the other toxic element of “Self-sacrifice is inherently noble even when it is pointless”. And just the general glorification of violence as Option Numero Uno.)

    Directed by PZ. Myers, Channing Tatum is the ultra powerful guy who watches bad guys kill people, because he doesn’t want to hurt anybody and seem like a hypocrite. What a fucking tool. Stay away from theatres PZ. Obviously fantasy is too complicated for you.

    You’re the fucking tool for not realizing that that is a fucking awesome idea and would make for a far more interesting film than a Good Guy killing more people than he saves and never acknowledging the fact so that he can continue to pretend to be The Good Guy. Especially since the latter is almost every other film that Hollywood churns out, with or without superheroes involved, and the former is Dr. Manhattan.

  107. 107
    carlie

    Superhero movies are NEVER made to be critically analyzed, they are made to be watched and enjoyed by people who don’t give a flying fornicate about body counts and how many or big the explosions are.

    Why criticize pop culture

    Why isn’t there a Wonder Woman movie?

    There are no women in the movies

  108. 108
    Ichthyic

    Warner Bros. paid a theologian, Pepperdine University’s Craig Detwiler, to prepare a nine-page set of “sermon notes” for ministers who want to preach about Man of Steel, titeld “Jesus: The Original Superhero.” …

    so what else is new?

    religion has NEVER been anything other than a tool of manipulation of the gullible.

  109. 109
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    My favorite example is this review I read once for the TV show Murder She Wrote complaining that “murder always seems to follow Jessica around”. Well yeah, because if it didn’t, they wouldn’t have a TV show.

    See also, Midsomer Murders; it’s as pretty and rarified as one could expect, but the catastrophically-low life expectancy should be doing something for the local property values.

    See, also also, Inspector Morse. It’s no wonder the smart academics head for Cambridge. ;-)

  110. 110
    AtheistPowerlifter

    Meh. I enjoyed the movie. Yes – loads of plot holes and ridiculous physics (speaking of ludicrous physics, please PZ do not go and see Fast and Furious 6 haha).

    I enjoyed Lois Lane and thought she was written as a strong character (as an fyi regarding the falling woman trope – SuperMan also saved a couple falling men). Maybe my expectations are low since so few movies have any strong female leads. Star Trek was also disappointing in this regard. Recent action movies seem to always have a strong female villain (or sidekick villain) who can kick butt but they are typically protrayed as a psychopath.

    I still want to know why kryptonians speak english, and how SuperMan shaves or gets his stylish white-guy prep haircut.

    I was also bothered by what would obviously be enormous collateral casualties during the fist fight (I kind of thought that’s a part of why Supe broke down in the end – the family he saved from Zod’s heat vision represented the innocent deaths…maybe not). On the other hand, two superbeings fighting would do damage like that, which was at least realistic. I guess.

    There were worst movies I could have taken my dad to see on Father’s Day…like “after earth” or “now you see me”…terrible.

    AP

  111. 111
    anteprepro

    Yes – loads of plot holes and ridiculous physics (speaking of ludicrous physics, please PZ do not go and see Fast and Furious 6 haha).

    Hypothesis: In the Fast and Furious universe, you can gain biological immunity to car crashes.

    (Also, much like buildings in other movies, there are only actual people in cars, and thus a feeling of moral outrage expected from the audience, when the bad guy is the one destroying them.)

  112. 112
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Chas @97:

    I’m the same way. I do not intentionally set out to analyze a movie as I watch it…it just happens. As you say, there is no off switch. I used to get annoyed when watching movies with friends and afterward, while discussing a particular movie, I would offer up specific criticisms (e.g. the dialogue was stilted, you cannot survive a close range nuclear explosion by hiding out in a refrigerator, the movie’s plot tiok a 180 degree turn from Hancock being an asshole superhero to…something with no foreshadowing and a nonexistent transition to the point that it felt like two movies), and frequent responses were ‘I enjoyed it’ or ‘that was cool’, or my favorite which was a variant of Bryan Leger above. It took me time to realize that my movie watching experience involved different elements than others. So getting annoyed was silly. If they did not want to discuss the racism inherent in the second Twilight movie, then so be it.
    Bryan could stand to learn that lesson as well.

  113. 113
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Oh yeah, ‘superhero movies are never made to be critically analyzed’…aside from the obvious psychic nature of this statement, I guess neither Watchmen nor Dark Knight Rises* should be critically analyzed since we have Bryan’s word that they were not created for such.

    *not speaking of the quality of either movie, simply that they dealt with themes that easily lend themselves to critical analysis

  114. 114
    Amphiox

    Superhero movies are NEVER made to be critically analyzed

    No movie is MADE to be critically analyzed.

    ALL movies can be WATCHED to be critically analyzed.

    Now as for this particular movie, it should be noted that the guy who wrote Superman: Birthright, presumably a man who knows the Superman “superhero” mythos well, wrote a review that is pretty much spot on in agreement with PZ’s analysis above.

    And can anyone, ANYONE, who has read or followed Superman NOT know that the avoidance of collateral damage is, like, a major, if not THE MAJOR, plot/conflict point in pretty much ALL the Superman works? That was the central conflict in Superman I. It was a critical point in Superman II. It was rather hamhandedly emphasized in Superman IV. It was the WHOLE POINT of Superman’s famous character-defining “world of cardboard” speech in the DCAU. Superman DIED fighting Doomsday because he expended extra effort to minimize collateral casualties.

    The care for collateral damage is at the heart and soul of who and what Superman is. Kryptonite might be his weakness, but his real disadvantage, vis-a-vis the supervillains he usually fights, is his self-limitation, his care for avoiding collateral damage.

    A Superman who does not demonstrate a care for collateral damage may be a superhero. He might be a man of steel.

    But He. Is. Not. Superman.

  115. 115
    Ace of Sevens

    On why they took Lois: Lois mentions they didn’t a brain scan think on her, which is presumably how they find Martha Kent later.

  116. 116
    ryanb

    @Crissa #100

    I like it you don’t. That’s not a thing. Epic movies should move around alot. Movies that don’t move around when the protagonists are supposed to be world-spanning are stupid. Why would Thor’s weekend in a Nevada town be epic, exactly?

    You misunderstand me, it’s not the moving around that is the problem but the frequency of it. It detracts from developing the narrative and takes away any sense of epicness because rather than thinking “wow they’ve gone a long way” it’s reduced to “ok where are they now? Desert? Ok where are they now? Arctic?”

    The movie very specifically says they died long before the home world. Why would happen to the ISS without funding? What happened to the Viking colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland when they were cut off?

    Those are very different things. Krypton has apparently been spacefaring for millennia. On top of that they can terraform planets so aside from perhaps needing industrial help I can’t see why they would die without the homeworld. It’s less analogous to Viking colonies and more similar to the American colonies and Europe. Even if they lost all their technology on a terraformed planet there should be hunter-gatherer survivors.

    Are you new to the story or what? That’s always been part of Superman’s background. You’ve read a book in the last fifty years, right?

    I really don’t like your tone to be honest, not sure why you feel the need to get so aggravated. Firstly superman isn’t such a modern classic that you’d know about it by reading a book. Secondly yes I’m familiar with the canon but in this case it doesn’t make much sense that they wouldn’t evacuate the planet if they knew it was coming. It wouldn’t be hard, for some reason their automated scout ships contained genesis chambers. It wouldn’t seem to hard to build a few ships loaded with terraforming machines, genesis chambers and as many colonists as possible to go set up new krypton elsewhere.

  117. 117
    andybutula

    “…Krypton has apparently been spacefaring for millennia. On top of that they can terraform planets so aside from perhaps needing industrial help I can’t see why they would die without the homeworld. It’s less analogous to Viking colonies and more similar to the American colonies and Europe. Even if they lost all their technology on a terraformed planet there should be hunter-gatherer survivors.”

    Unless Krypton intentionally ensured that their colonies could not survive if cut off form the home world. From the look of the flashback scenes the planet(s) Zod’s crew stopped on seemed pretty inhospitable. Also, given that Krypton has at least one dystopian hallmark (the caste-bound Kryptonian children), it isn’t a big mental leap to imagine that they would be very leery about allowing colonies to have even the tiniest bit of autonomy.

    Also, I kind of enjoyed the stupid line about evolution. It’s nice to know that even futuristic alien rightwing douchebags misunderstand evolution.

  118. 118
    Denverly

    I loved it. I’m not going to wade into analyzing it, any more than I did when Batman let Ra’s al Ghul die in Batman Begins or why Captain America managed to fight in a WWII movie without Nazis. It could have been better, it could have been worse. I loved it anyway. I guess the Batman movie that shall not be named lowered my standards quite a bit.

  119. 119
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    I guess the Batman movie that shall not be named lowered my standards quite a bit.

    Am I, like, the only person on the planet who didn’t think Rises was that bad? Yes, it was missing a whole ton of stuff, had numerous plot holes… honestly, it needed to be two movies, not one.

    But come on… it was at least better than Joel Schumacher’s travesties. It’s not even the worst comic book movie to come out in the last five years; see: Spider-Man 3, Superman Returns, Iron Man 2, X-Men 3, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Green Lantern, Green Hornet…

    In fact, I’d argued that, of the comic book movies to come out just before and with it, only Avengers topped it. I’m not counting Iron Man 3, which was actually good (I thought), because it came out after.

  120. 120
    David Marjanović

    The falling woman trope. It’s everywhere. The poor woman is plummeting to her doom at the terminal velocity of 200 km/hr, and superhero swoops upwards at even greater speed and catches her. This doesn’t work. At that speed, invulnerable super-strong arms are like blunt blades and are going to messily trisect the victim.

    Averted in Avengers, when the Hulk jumps up and smashes Ironman into a skyscraper sideways.

    I wasn’t the only one in the audience who riffed “Joke’s on you! WE’RE IN KANSAS!”

    Full of win.

    my understanding is that hypothetical islands of stability mean that a material has a half-life measurable in minutes or maybe hours, rather than micro- or milliseconds

    Back in the day when Superman was invented, it was thought that there were indeed stable elements in the island of stability. Such elements have featured a lot in science-fiction, including (implicitly) Star Trek.

    What is “somatic reconditioning”?

    Treknobabble. See also: Red Matter.

    There are two routes to zen disappointment. One is to pray. The other is to pay to watch a Hollywood blockbuster. It’s just that praying occasionally works, PZ!

    :-D

    you need to run 45%+ oxygen to keep the heat down

    What physics is this? Nitrogen is not a greenhouse gas.

    Instead of just sitting back, eating the popcorn and putting your brain in neutral, you seem to be actively looking for flaws in the movie so you have something to whine about.

    WTF? The kind of things PZ reports jump out at people like him or me.

    By the way, why didn’t Romeo check Juliet’s pulse before killing himself?

    Because Shakesbeer preferred really bad comedy, just like his Comedy of Errors?

    Rhetorical question.

  121. 121
    consciousness razor
    By the way, why didn’t Romeo check Juliet’s pulse before killing himself?

    Because Shakesbeer preferred really bad comedy, just like his Comedy of Errors?

    Rhetorical question.

    No, because it wouldn’t have worked to check her pulse:

    Take thou this vial, being then in bed,
    And this distilled liquor drink thou off; 2460
    When presently through all thy veins shall run
    A cold and drowsy humour, for no pulse
    Shall keep his native progress, but surcease:
    No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou livest;
    The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade 2465
    To paly ashes, thy eyes’ windows fall,
    Like death, when he shuts up the day of life;
    Each part, deprived of supple government,
    Shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death:
    And in this borrow’d likeness of shrunk death 2470
    Thou shalt continue two and forty hours,
    And then awake as from a pleasant sleep.

    The story follows a long tradition of stories, going back to (at least) Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe, in which the tragedy involves someone mistakenly thinking their lover has died. Shakespeare made it more believable with the super-convincing secret potion the Friar has, rather than simply having Pyramus assuming she’s dead because he finds some of her clothes covered in blood and promptly killing himself. (I guess the thought might have been that the lion ate her whole, so there wasn’t even a point in trying to look for her body.)

    The Comedy of Errors follows an ancient formula too, for what it’s worth.

  122. 122
    Ichthyic

    I still want to know why kryptonians speak english, and how SuperMan shaves or gets his stylish white-guy prep haircut.

    things I’ve wondered since reading my very first superman comic.

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