Relatively spoiler free review here – though if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve pretty much seen the film.
This is a Superman film for a post/during-Trump world, one that’s seen the rise of populism and the far right over the last few years, a nihilistic film that holds out no real promise for us. I don’t mean it’s promoting any of those ideas – it’s not – but it can be read as a miserable take on the Superman origin which, arguably, can be seen as a reflection of the times we live in.
This is almost an Elseworlds Superman story – a baby is found in a spacecraft by a childless Kansas couple and raised into a 12 year old, happy go lucky kid who’s a little odd – he’s intelligent and intense and doesn’t mix well with other kids – but is otherwise normal. Until, that is, the craft he arrived in sends out some subconscious command that he take the world. Soon after that, he’s developing a standard set of powers (super speed, heat vision, flight) but rather than fight for truth, justice and the American way, he’s using them for his own ends.
The film’s quite predictable and holds no real surprises in terms of plot . . . but it is sort of interesting when viewed as a film of the current times. Is this the Superman film this generation, this time deserves? If Kal-El had arrived in that spaceship twelve years ago and looked at the world now, would he behave like this, despite the loving family he grew up with? It’s hard to answer that as the film puts a fair bit of emphasis on the spaceship waking up and triggering him; had that not happened, maybe things would have been different. It’s not brilliant, but it was interesting.
As Mrs Earth-Prime said as we left the screen, “Was that film made by Lex Luthor?”