We polled our entire team and ranked every DCEU film across six categories. We weighted each category based on their overall value to the success of the movie.
Plot - 25%
Character Development - 20%
Villain - 20%
Action - 12.5%
Intangibles - 12.5%
Supporting Cast - 10%
Film: Man of Steel
Release Date: June 14, 2013
Rotten Tomato - TOMATOMETER: 56%
Rotten Tomato - Audience: 75%
Opening Weekend: $116,619,362
Gross US: $291,045,518
Gross Worldwide: $668,045,518
Synopsis: Clark Kent is an alien who as a child was evacuated from his dying world and came to Earth, living as a normal human. But when survivors of his alien home invade Earth, he must reveal himself to the world.
Analysis: In an attempt to follow Marvel's path to success and kick off a connected film franchise, DC went with a safe story to establish the origin of Superman, Krypton, learning to use his absurd powers with a recognizable villain that's basically an evil version of himself. Standard stuff. However, on top of the standard origin, telling the story of Clark wanting to help knowing his capabilities while being afraid that the world won't accept him humanizes an otherwise overpowering and sometimes uninteresting character. It's a slightly darker, more grounded version of what we would expect from a Superman film, but for an origin and for the tone they were going for in this universe, I am ok with DC going this route.
Analysis: Finding any sympathy for such an overwhelming force of a being can be difficult, but seeing the situations Clark had to go through growing up makes you feel for the little super guy. He was always good-natured and had the desire to help people, but was afraid of the world and the people in it. His Kansas dad was probably right that the world was not ready for Clark to reveal his true self. The world still doesn't really seem ready when he was forced out of hiding by Zod, so I'm not sure what actually changed for Clark throughout this movie.
Name: General Zod
Bio: Military leader on Krypton who turned on the planet's leaders because he believed they were leading Krypton to ruin...Krypton was destroyed shortly after Zod was sentenced to the Phantom Zone as punishment.
Evil Plan: Find the Codex, which Jor-El hid with his son, and give birth to a new Krypton by terraforming Earth.
Analysis: It's hard to hold any of Zod's actions against him. He accurately predicted that the Council was leading Krypton to its doom and Zod had to helplessly watch it crumble. That's enough to make anyone go crazy. His only purpose in life was to protect Krypton. Sure, he tried to murder billions of people so he could get his own planet back, but ask yourself, would you do the same for Earth? I think people disregard all of this because Zod is played by Michael Shannon who has resting villain face, so clearly he is a bad guy. End of story.
Lois Layin the Smackdown
She Who Must Not Be Named
If You Build It, He Will Come...Crashing In A Spaceship
All I'm Offering Is The Truth, Nothing More
Commander Lock It Up
Have A Great Winter, I'm Gonna Go Hump The Fridge
Stamper? I Hardly Know Her!
Analysis: One of the biggest complaints about the film overall applies directly the characters: everyone is too serious. Each character is either a parent lecturing Clark on what he should do, a military leader dealing with an alien threat, or an employee at a publication that is attempting to explain a world threatening phenomenon to the people. There is zero comic relief, unless you count creepy Steve Lombard striking out with interns, which is crazy in a movie of this magnitude.
Analysis: Zack Snyder sure knows how to put together an epic action sequence. Put aside your feelings of how ridiculous the over the top destruction is and enjoy the beauty of Kal and Zod flying through the city and throwing each other through skyscrapers. Seriously, how else would a battle of two superpowered aliens who can fly and have heat vision go down? Plus, the idea of Superman being too powerful and dangerous for our world was the catalyst for the entire franchise in introducing the Justice League members, the conflict between them, and eventually bringing them together.
The Incomparable Hans Zimmer
Analysis: One of the most exciting parts about seeing this movie was looking for the Easter eggs referencing the long-awaited DC connected universe. We saw logos for Wayne Enterprises and LexCorp, which is enough to get any DC fan's blood pumping. Even if audiences wanted a little more out of this film, it did enough to have us optimistic about the future. We also can't forget another epic soundtrack by the great Hans Zimmer.
Welcome to Krypton
I Believe I Can Fly
Never Threaten A Man's Mother
Analysis: Man of Steel could have been great if they had just sprinkled in some humor and lightheartedness that typically goes with Superman. Still, this film is better than people like to remember it, especially after seeing the wheels come off for the DCEU shortly after this. Just like Superman, Man of Steel represented a symbol of hope for what we dreamed a connected DC cinematic universe could be, but hope can be a dangerous thing.
Image Credits: Warner Brothers