People care about Superman. Warner Bros’ attempt to reboot the Last Son of Krypton’s big-screen franchise was infamously dogged with problems and missteps: The failed Tim Burton/Nicolas Cage project Superman Lives, the McG-directed/J.J. Abrams-scripted Superman: Flyby, the momentary flirtation with Batman vs. Superman, the disappointing-but-better-than-you-remember-it Richard Donner homage Superman Returns. The long struggle to create a successful Superman movie led to conventional wisdom that people just didn’t want a Superman movie — that the character was too old-fashioned, too square, too un-Batmanlike.
The conventional wisdom was wrong. Man of Steel has already made a superhuman amount of money. It has also inspired a whole host of serious and extreme reactions, with some praising the grittier take on the Superman myth while others complain about the raw brutality and skyscraper-collapsing imagery in the film’s action-heavy second half. The film inspired strong reactions in the EW office, too. I wrote a dismayed critique of the ending; my podcast co-host Jeff Jensen wrote a serious inquisition into the film’s Christ allegory. On this very special episode of Entertainment Geekly, we have an in-depth conversation about the film. There are passionate arguments on both sides — this might be our feistiest episode yet. But there is also a serious attempt to grapple with the issues addressed — both directly and accidentally — in this very serious movie.