Mark Millar Shares His Big Problem With Man of Steel

Man of Steel - Henry Cavill as Superman

Back in 2013, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment were struggling to get another successful franchise off the ground. The Dark Knight Rises made an impressive haul at the box office, but ended Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, while Green Lantern was a disappointment to movie-goers and comic book fans. DC needed a soft reboot to catch up with Marvel Studios after the success of The Avengers in 2012, so turning to Superman seemed like the best way to re-introduce DC superheroes into pop culture.

Director Zack Snyder is a studio darling at Warner Bros., after the success of 300 and Watchmen showed his prowess for visually adapting comic books on the big screen. It seemed like a natural decision to have him helm the Man of Steel film, which took a darker and grittier look at Superman's origin story. The end result polarized and divided Superman fans and movie lovers everywhere.

Even comic book writer Mark Millar was left with strong feelings about the film, as was made evident in his recent editorial about Man of Steel's bleak outlook on Superman in Games Radar. The Scottish comic book writer took issue with Superman's (Henry Cavill) blatant disregard for human life during Man of Steel's climax in the battle for Metropolis with General Zod (Michael Shannon), leading him to create a new wholesome superhero named Huck, who is described as "a gas station attendant with special abilities who does one good deed every day."

In describing his feelings toward the film, Millar wrote:

"I sat there on Father’s Day and saw Superman beating the bad guy by twisting his neck so hard he broke it and murdered him I really wondered if we’d come to the end of that particular road. Now I got the logic of that scene and it absolutely made sense within the context of the movie as the villain had taken down half of Metropolis and killed hundreds of thousands of people. But even so. This was Superman. This was like seeing Sylvester the Cat finally getting his hands on Speedy Gonzales. Elmer Fudd blowing away Bugs Bunny. I loved Superman as a kid not because of his edginess or his potential for a fatal solution, but because he could do anything he wanted and still chose to be nice. This was always the moral of a superhero comic to me."

Man of Steel - Michael Shannon as General Zod

Millar continued to write about what Superman means to comic book fans and seeing him willfully destroy a big city was off-putting and heartbreaking. This is the scene most people point to in saying Man of Steel doesn't stay true to the spirit of Superman. Millar continued:

"Wonder Woman was a peace ambassador who came to the man’s world to bring an end to our endless appetite for war. Batman was a kid who’s parents were murdered who would make sure no other kid out there would ever spend a Christmas without a Mother or Father. Superman was a guy who had lost his entire world and so all forms of life were something to be treasured. Superheroes always had an element of violence by their very nature, but what separated them from Han Solo and Indiana Jones and Captain James T Kirk (who were always simply ‘heroes’ to me) were their peaceful solutions to insurmountable problems."

It's more than understandable that a big comic book fan like Mark Millar would be put off by Man of Steel's climax, but Zack Snyder's vision wasn't to make a straight up Superman origins story, but rather as an examination of an iconic superhero as a deeply flawed human being. In fact, from what can be gathered from the direction of the entire DC Cinematic Universe, it seems to be a look at superheroes as reluctant and very human people. It's unclear if movie-goers are going to be on board with that direction (Man of Steel's very good, but moderate box office points to those doubts), but it's something different from Marvel Studio offerings, which are lighter, brighter, and more fun overall.

It also seems that Zack Snyder is already modifying the climax in Man of Steel with the premise of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. So instead of appearing as an attempt to make Superman more human, it now serves as the impetus for the Last Son of Krypton's showdown with the Dark Knight.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016, which is followed by Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 23, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and then Green Lantern Corps. on June 19, 2020.

Source: Games Radar

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