Reviews: Man Of Steel
DC Cinematic Universe: Take 2. SPOILERS
After failing to emulate the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Green Lantern, Warner Bros gave Zack Snyder the task of trying again to start their DC Cinematic Universe, only with their own unique style to stand out from Marvel Studio's. Good or bad, they accomplished that with this Superman reboot. The pluses are very apparent in the action. The full might of Superman has never been better depicted on the big screen than when Snyder directed him. Every Kryptonian in the film, from Zod to Faora, is given incredible fighting scenes to represent the destructive might that being this powerful can deliver. It's all very cool and intensely satisfying to see the 4 Kryptonians trade blows and use their powers on one another, and the final fight with Superman and Zod was one of the best fights I've seen in years on film. The actors all turned in respectable and good performances. Henry Cavill and Amy Adams were both fine, while Russell Crowe and Michael Shannon put in good work stealing their scenes. That ll being said, some of the destruction they cause gets excessively focused on. The scenes of the World Engine totaling Metropolis works be itself to demonstrate the tension, we didn't need to cut to Perry White and Not-Jimmy running from the debris. It just gets distracting and confusing to see this went time could be better spent on the World Engine siege. As for other issues, I can only be amazed at how it feels like Nolan was a writer for this film when he isn't, because the characters feel like his. Sometimes, you get cases where Lois or Perry with deliver a ominous one liner meant to cause navel gazing and build up the Jesus Superman image, which is weird but manageable. Pa Kent however, has his entire character gutted in order to serve as a walking roadblock to Clark becoming Superman, never really treating him a person in duress went onscreen in favor of delivering more navel gazing dialogue meant for building up Superman's Jesus imagery. Clark's own character is shuffled around and made harder to follow thanks to the non-linear storytelling, When simply following Clark from childhood would have been a better way to get the audience behind his characterization and personal struggles. It's too convoluted to do what it set out to do properly. Finally, we get to the Neck Snap Superman did on Zod to end his threat. My feelings on the killing are supportive for 2 reasons. First, Superman didn't have his no-killing code yet. It's a little Spider-Man in the way he did get it, but I do get that the point was to give him a reason to have it. Second, Superman has resorted to lethal methods in both the comics and other adaptations. The option doesn't fill hum with joy, but if there's no other way to end a threat then he will end the fight lethally. As a film, I give Man of Steel a 6/10. It's above average and I had a good time watching, but it needed work. As the first step to a DCCU, I say let's hope Warner doesn't mess up.
Not A Bad Film, But Certainly Not A "Super Film".
I remember reading about how controversial this film was, but never really paid attention to it. But after watching the film myself, I figured I could put my two cents in. Personally, I don't think the film is as bad as people say, but it's hardly flawless.
- The film does a great job at Deconstructing just how Superman would adapt to life on planet Earth. Even doing something as using his Eye Beams is a painful experience. His attempts to control his godlike powers come off as very realistic.
- Likewise, the fight scenes with Superman and the Kryptonians, particularly the final battle with Zod, are extremely well choreographed and give a frightening demonstration of just how destructive a bunch of Flying Bricks can be when they duke it out in real life.
- The action sequences in general are pretty badass. Especially the scenes with Faora.
- The general tone of the film was too joyless. It felt like the movie was trying to be The Dark Knight in Superman's costume. Not even Lois Lane, DC's queen of snark, could entertain me as her snarky was heavily toned down. Darker and Edgier doesn't mean it has to be gloomy and dreary.
- Likewise, the acting for most of the characters felt too lifeless, almost as if the actors weren't really invested in their roles and were just going through the motions. Michael Shannon and Henry Cavill were the only believable acting in the film. Though I like Shannon's acting better as most of Cavill's lines were him screaming all the time.
- Jonathan Kent came off less like a caring father and more like a selfish jackass. I mean, telling Clark not to save a busful of drowning kids just to keep his secret? What the hell, man?! Also, his death was pretty Narmy to me. You're just gonna stand there and not try to run from a tornado? Give me a break.
- Also, Clark felt a little OOC during the fights. Case in point: When fighting an opponent as strong as he was, I would think that Superman's first priority would be to take the fight somewhere safe and avoid collateral damage. Also, while Superman has used lethal force before, him snapping Zod's neck was a bit jarring.
Well, That Didn't Quite Pan Out
Put simply, Man of Steel was not a very good movie. It had a great deal of bombast and a stellar cast, but it failed to rise above an abysmal script. The script, for the first half of the movie, at least, seems to largely consist of a series of vignettes, very clunkily strung together with no real sense of progression. Throughout the movie we have segues to flashbacks that only seem to be there because Batman Begins did it. Little, however, actually seems to be important for the character's growth. I think on the events that happen during the Superhobo segment and I can't really think of what actually mattered as far as character development prior to finding the scout ship. As far as that scout ship goes, it sure is fortunate the tech on that still worked and was compatible with much, much later Kryptonian technology. Otherwise Clark would've been stuck with Jor-El's space drive and not had any way to use it or talk with his dad. In fact, the characters in this movie are fairly weak. All I get from Superman is that he A. doesn't like watching people getting hurt and B. he's kind of passive-aggressive. Decent character traits, but there isn't really a whole lot there. Lois Lane is quickly established as a tough gal and a competent reporter (though the script feels the need to clunkily exposit to us that "I'm a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter," one clunky line out of many), but needs to be contrived into scenes for Superman to save her. The pair also has no chemistry as a screen couple. General Zod, for all the attempts to make him into a quasi-sympathetic, tragic villain, ultimately just boils down to a screaming crazy person who tries to destroy the earth with a giant space laser. He's basically Nero from the 2009 Star Trek movie. The script is also full of contrivances, things that don't make sense, and thematic inconsistencies. For example, the movie makes a big deal about how Superman, being a natural birth, has free will, whereas Zod does not. However, Superman doesn't really make any big choices of his own, as almost everything he does is because Zod forces his hand. Even becoming Superman and coming forward is something that he only does because Zod is threatening everyone. Since when is Superman defined by his villains, anyway? Ultimately, the movie falls through because it's badly-written.
It's just okay
Man Of Steel is not as awful as it's detractors claim, but it's also not as good as it could have been. But I still found it to be...watchable enough. First off, I liked the set design, effects, action scenes, and socre (when it wasn't cranked full blast at the worst moments). I also liked the cast, with Henry Cavil making a solid Superman even if the writting doesn't make the character all that complex. It's the writing that kind of hurts it. For one, the characters end up being kind of flat, and any attempt at making the story complex either makes it more simple, or just fails. The main romance is especially undercooked, sadly wasting a =great casting choice with Amy Adams. But i love that they finally ditched the whole glasses crap by the end. Most of it just feels kind of empty yet the movies seem to think it's far more complex than it really is. It's hard to explain but it just felt kind of empty, but i do think it's worth watching if you wanna watch it.Zod makes up for an okay villain (with a fun performance by Micheal shannon) I'm up for a more dramatic approach to Supes but this was just okay. Though I think it's not "too dark" now is the city destruction a big deal at all. Seriously, calm down guys. Again, it's not awful (infact, the hate is really overblown)but I can't call it great. It's just okay.
A Truly Dreadful Experience
SPOILER WARNING Man of Steel was complete garbage and one of the most joyless experiences I've ever experienced in the theater. It goes against everything that the Superman character stands for and doesn't even have the intelligence to realize that it isn't an intelligent redesign. Almost everything is wrong with this film, from the script to the washed out pallet to its failed attempts at being "mature" to the fact that Superman, the ultimate hero of our time, saves no one and actually causes more destruction than the villains. The fact that Superman actually kills General Zod doesn't help either, not only because it's a betrayal of the character, but because there were any number of ways that he could have solved that problem, like flying away or sending him back to the Phantom Zone earlier. Hell, the entire movie runs an idiot plot because Zod could have just made the new Krypton on Mars or Venus and never would have had to fight anyone. And Jonathan Kent, Superman's moral center growing up, suggesting that it might be acceptable to let a bus full of children die when he could have done something about it? If I may drop the pretense of professionalism for a bit... FFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCKK YOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!! There is nothing to be gained from watching this cinematic stillbirth except the growing realization that you wasted good money and hours of your time. This has officially set my new standard for bad movies. It's drab, it's depressing, it's downright worthless. And do you want to know what the real kicker is I never knew how much I cared about Superman until I saw him butchered on the big screen.
To take a word from Inception... Disappointment
Not a fan of the movie. I respect the vision and attempts of Nolan and Snyder to bring supes back to the silver screen, but the delivery suffered some lackluster bits. I can respect those on the other side of this base breaker film... but I will never cross that gap myself.
Has the best action in a movie I've ever seen.
That being said, Man of Steel has some glaring flaws that made me only remember the movie for the action, except for a few things. The beginning of the movie with Krypton in crisis has some pretty narmy dialogue and one of the most impressive fight scenes in the entire movie, Jor-El vs Zod. The problem with that fight is that it undermined Zod's status as a total badass but it did surprise me later on in the movie when he gains it back with his One Winged Angel transformation. A decent start to a movie. And then hit the rest of the first half, which I consider to be the most confusing part of the movie. It tries to use the Batman Begins method of using flashbacks to tell an origin story, but it's so poorly done in this movie that I was confused as to which scenes are flashbacks and which are not. It stabilizes later on when Lois Lane is introduced to the movie. The second half contains the most action packed scenes I have ever seen in a blockbuster, beating out the Avengers. There's just so much Scenery Gorn, you can't look away from it. However, that is not a good thing. It got so drawn out and overly long that it was like watching a Dragon Ball Z episode, but with no dialogue to it. By the time Superman has to twist Zod's neck to save a family, I didn't give a damn whether they died or not. So many people died in the destruction of Metropolis and Smallville. Why should I care about the safety of an ordinary and plot-unimportant family? Oh, and Superman's scream after killing Zod was Narm due the lack of empathy towards it. I would like to point out that the humor is either pretty cringe-inducing or inappropriate to the tone of the scene at the time. Lois Lane's attempts at being a Deadpan Snarker just come off as too mean spirited or make her look like a bitch. I still remember the "measuring dicks" line because of that. And the scene where the cute military captain admits to fangirling over Superman made her look very incompetent at her job. Man of Steel could have been a good movie, but it's too serious for its own good. I couldn't treat this movie like it was Batman Begins and instead increased my suspension of belief to an action-loving but apathetic level, especially when the final fight scene begins. Just so you know, I've never watched any of the original Superman movies in full.
Didn't Think This Through: The Movie
'Superman: Man of Steel' is a movie that essentially embodies the phrase, 'We really didn't think this through...' Unfortunately, I only have 400 words here, so I'll keep this as condensed as I can. Man of Steel suffers from a lot of things. It suffers from — outside of Perry Laurence Fishburn, Ma Kent, and maybe Louis — some pretty poor and wooden acting. It suffers from a sterile, lifeless mood and tone that makes you think you're watching a different movie altogether. It suffers from a few different scenes that make you think you are watching a different movie altogether, specifically, a horror movie. (X-Rays, skulls, and at least one other thing.) It suffers from an ill-thought out use of shakey-cam. It suffers from poorly laid out pacing, with the majority consisting of rather uninteresting attempts at drama, (and the bleh acting doesn't really help,) and with the action being mostly saved for the last parts of the movie, which all comes at you at once. It suffers from 1-dimensional characterization, which isn't helped by the mostly bleh acting, and so, because you aren't attached to most of the characters, Superman included, you don't really care about the fights as a result. But most importantly of all, it suffers from a plot that you could swear wasn't looked over before they started filming the movie. A film filled with so many things unexplained, and so many instances of 'pull it out of your ass', and also with so many instances of wall-banging, that you could swear this was written by actual monkeys on a typewriter. And it doesn't help that the plot ultimately results in Superman killing somebody. And don't get me started on 'there wasn't any other way.' Anyone who saw the scene; Clark could have easily tilted Zod's head to the opposite direction, and thus saved all of those people without killing him. The problem with having Superman killing people is twofold. One is that he has so much raw power; if he just went about killing people, that power could go to his head. But Superman is also the definite Superhero; the Superhero that all other Superheroes should be compared to. And by having killed someone, he comes across as being no better then anyone else.
I went into this movie hopeful. I prayed Zack Snyder wouldn't mess things up. I prayed Henry Cavill would make a good Superman, and that Michael Shannon would somehow live upto Terrence Stamp's iconic Zod. I prayed they could somehow work both the origin story and an actual compelling plotline and villain into the film. And for once I was not disappointed. Cavill and Shannon are excellent, as is the rest of the cast. The story is good, showing Superman's transition from reluctant hero to icon. Perhaps more importantly, there's an understanding that this is a film, not a comic book, and that things that work in comics do not work onscreen. When Superman and Zod throw down, Metropolis takes a lot of punishment. When confronted with the option of killing Zod or letting him continue to rampage, Superman does the sensible thing and kills Zod. Lois Lane isn't fooled by the "Clark Kent" disguise, and is in fact in on the secret from the start. These are all things that help Superman transition from the world of comics to the world of film. Will there be naysayers and people who complain about how the film isn't "true to the comics". Sure. But since many of these same people have no issues with the changes that Christopher Nolan made in his Batman films, it's hard to take them seriously. I am a comic book purist myself, and yet, despite that, I do not feel that this film in any way "betrayed" its source material. Rather it took that source material and brought it to life, in a way that few comic book films do. Highly recommended.
The Death of Mandatory Heroism
I am not familiar with Superman. My only exposure to it was Superman Returns, where the real focus was the Two-Person Love Triangle (and Kevin Spacey's wonderful Ham and Cheese). But when I heard that Man of Steel would be a Darker and Edgier reboot, I was skeptical. Superman has always been The Cape, and his moral Beauty Is Never Tarnished. How could this go anything but wrong? As it turns out, it couldn't have been more right. The archetypal Superman is an automatic Boy Scout, one who does good and basically cannot conceive of doing anything else; even his villainous Elseworlds portray him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist. He's Born Lucky; he has some quality that makes him virtuous and that muggles can never have, making him the sole upstanding citizen of the world. The Superman presented in this film had to learn to be a good person, the same way all muggles do, and that makes him infinitely more accessible. He's not The Cape, he's The Paragon. His heroism isn't mandatory, it's a choice - and that makes it all the more meaningful. And that's the Central Theme of the film: choice. Jor-El and Lara conceive naturally to grant Kal-El the chance to Screw Destiny. Perry White at the end decides to stay with his employees rather than be a Bad Boss. Col. Hardy and later Gen. Swanwick elect to trust Superman, despite understandable caution towards Flying Brick Human Aliens. And Jonathan Kent encourages Clark to stay selfish and avoid All of the Other Reindeer treatment, for which some viewers criticize him - myself included. (Despite this, he sacrifices himself the sake of his son. Master of the Mixed Message?) It's not a perfect film. Faora was unnecessary, and Amy Adams just didn't have enough to do. Henry Cavill brought too much gravitas to the role; he lacks charm and delivers poor Clark Kenting. And the film doesn't dwell nearly enough on the whole Thou Shalt Not Kill thing (Sequel Hook?). But these are minor flaws, outshone by an excellent Decon-Recon Switch and a fight that manages what The Matrix Revolutions tried. I missed this one in theatres, but I won't miss the sequel. Now if only they'd kept Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Batman...
I've seen some complaints about Lois in this movie that fall into two basic categories. The first, that Lois does nothing. The second, that she's too bland or sweet. Addressing the first one. People making these complaints are fixated on the external conflict, Superman vs the Kryptonians but there's also the internal conflict of Superman's place on Earth and among his people. Lois' contributions in the external conflict are limited, and I'll even admit tacked on in places (you really need Lois to stick the thumb drive in the rocket because she did it once before? Pretty sure Hamilton could have figured that out.) but thats as it should be. She's a reporter with limited action experience, they let her contribute as much as a war reporter can. But for the internal conflict, Lois finds Superman, she helps him explore his options, she accepts him and he trusts her. She gives him the strength and hope to believe that he can have a place out in the open. Regarding the second point, this is the arc Lois always goes through when she discovers Superman. We're always introduced to her as a snarky, tough as nails cynical city girl who's heart thaws when she finds that one person who is the real deal, an honestly good person who is really just here to help. He brings out that compassion in her that normally stays beneath the surface. After she gets used to the idea of Superman, we see the snarky cynical side of her reemerge, and we'll see that with her. This whole ordeal would give anybody pause, finding a saint and discovering we're not alone in the universe. Think of what catastrophes do to our own cynicism.
The Degeneracy of Commercial Culture in 2013
Let me get this straight, the most I know about Superman is from reading Superdickery and Wikipedia. I'm not a fan who's super attached to this character. But I was pretty excited to see the trailer for this movie. I thought it was a new and serious take on an established character that would show a lot of his development. Turns out, we had plenty of seriousness but hardly any development. The tone of the film is captured in its washed out palette, making everyone look lifeless. That's exactly how their characters are. Clark Kent is simultaneously brooding and smug, which might be appropriate for a teenager, but he is 33 in this move. He is accompanied by a lot of unsubtle messianic imagery that never pans out. He has no serious connections to anyone in this movie except for his mother, who might as well be a scarecrow on the Kent farm, and Lois Lane. I've liked Amy Adams' work before, but here she simultaneously is put into the role of a tryhard rough action girl who later softens at the sight of Superman. She exists to receive exposition and to appear in non-sensical locations in order to be rescued by Superman. And Superman's pal Jimmy Olsen is rechristened here as Jenny, and she along with the rest of the Daily Planet staff are awkwardly shoehorned into the plot in an attempt to drawn an emotional response from the viewers. My response was laughter. Some people object to the complaints about Superman's characterization in the film. But forget about that. Even as an original character, there is no way this plot could stand up to scrutiny. The last hour of the film is non-stop action with one fist being thrown after the other. In summary, I think this film shows the worst things about the direction Hollywood is going in. CGI has allowed for fantastic imagery, but it has taken away a lot of the soul in films. I do like my action and explosions to an extent, but computers will note ever be able to recreate an honest emotional relationship between characters, whether romantic or not. There were some nice things about the film. I thought a lot of the action was quite well-done, although there ended up being far too much of it. And I did like Shannon as General Zod. But when a genocidal, robotic maniac is your film's most likable character, there is something quite wrong with the film.
Enjoyable, with moments of What The Hell? (spoilers)
TV Tropes ruins movies for me. I've found myself reading some movies before I go to see them, on purpose, when I suspect something is not right about the film. So, spoilers in my head, I finally went to see it. And liked it, in general. The yet-another-origin story had a reason to be. This depiction of Krypton as neo-medieval tech was a nice touch to the eye. Crowe's Jor-El was most enjoyable. Same for Amy Adam's Lois Lane. Kudos for making her the brilliant reporter that she is, and discovers Clark's secret powers in the first 20 minutes of the film, getting that schtick out of the way. Her Action Survivor role is also appropriate. In general, I liked the script taking a hint from the Marvel universe. Here, Superman isn't welcomed with open arms by the populace, but treated for what he is. Foreign. Alien. Unbelievably powerful. The xenophobia fits a Nolanverse film where even a guy dressed as a Bat is first looked on with derision before they see how freaking scary and effective he becomes. Then Fridge Horror hit me for a couple of serious inconsistencies. First: If Lois can figure out Clark's identity, so can the government, especially after Clark notes that, not only has he lived on Earth, but raised specifically in Kansas. Uh...do you not expect the government to put 2 and 2 together after looking at what's left of Smallville, Kansas, Clark? Second: the incredible destruction and lives lost seems greatly out of place given that Superman should be equally as concerned in stopping it as much as stopping Zod. No mention is given of how Metropolis deals with a city-wrecking wave equivalent to 5 or more 9/11 disasters. (At least "The Avengers" lampshades it at the movie's conclusion.) Overall, I did enjoy and remembered that it's just a show. Now that this film is not only greenlighted for a sequel but a team-up/beat-down with the Batman, the stakes just got higher. A Batman/Superman combo is the only card that WB/DC can play with all other attempts to have their characters (save Batman) go to film success becoming lackluster and mortibund.
Half a very good movie. Spoilers!
The movie begins with a gorgeous and grim wrought Krypton suddenly erupting into war about who to blame for its obsolecence. The scenery, weapons, iconography are dark, fantastic, evokative. It's a world and a culture I want to know more about. Clark's ship travels to earth and it jumps to him on a boat many years later. A nearby oil derek explodes, and he swims to it, saving the men on board while he is ablaze and holding up the collapsing structure with his bare hands. It's a glorious Fuck Yeah! moment, particularly when looked at from the view later in the film, where it's shown that Clark's own abilities convinced his father to hide them and keep his hero son from being hero. The narrative flickers back and forth in history now, showing him as a child learning to cope with his senses and trying to reconcile how saving a bus full of children could be bad, while at the same time showing him as a grown man keeping the powers under control and venting anger only when it won't hurt anyone. It's very well done, and I want to know more about this Clark. Lois Lane is introduced by sniping at a general and exploring when she's not supposed to. You see her be inquisitive, fearless, and clever. She ends up being lasered for this, but it just makes her look for Clark that much harder. I want to know more about this Lois Lane. And then he puts on the suit, and it's a differet movie. He leaps great heights in a single bound, and then suddenly learns to fly by putting his fist on the ground and powering up his chi. The Christ imagery becomes overwhelming and blunt. The Kryptonians arrive and the character growth turns into window dressing. A great story becomes a great fight scene. Aliens capable of placing people into blackholes for temporary storage use massive gravity cannons to terraform the world by bludgeoning it. The airforce fires missles at a thing that is screwing with gravity, then charges it. A great fight scene becomes a boring one. A boring one becomes a stupid one. Zod can suddenly fly now. A stupid fight scene becomes aggrivating. Zod is killed in a moment that genuinely pissed me off, and then I don't want to know anything else about this world. This is a very weird, flawed movie. It felt genuinely strong opening, but loses its spark about halfway in and what should be ignored becomes glaring. Watch, but prepare for MST 3 K.
Man of Steel's trailers suggested a Birthright/Secret Origin hybrid, which excited me since those are my favourite versions of this story. The actual film is more of an Earth One/Superman II hybrid, with lot of influence from The Death of Superman. And it's all very clearly Backed by the Pentagon. But none of that is necessarily a bad thing. This film deserves more credit than it gets. It's serious, mature, and requires some thinking on the part of the audience. It's the most faithful adaptation of The Modern Age of Comic Books Superman in existence (even the animated series was just riding on the Byrne era). The best scenes were the prologue on Krypton, Clark learning to fly, and the escape from Zod's ship. The supposedly Darker and Edgier elements come from the comics. Audiences should not find fault in the collateral damage/length of the fight scenes, since in the comics, Metropolis gets wrecked all the time, and Smallville has been wrecked more than once. (I would have liked to see Superman rebuild Metropolis at the end, though.) The only problem with this movie is the depiction of Jonathan Kent. He's so paranoid he's wants Clark to let children die. Disturbing. And then he dies, which is disappointing (I was hoping he could be a supporting character like Post-Crisis Pa Kent was until the Braniac arc). Jonathan Kent doesn't ruin the movie though, and he still loves his family.
I've seen worse adaptations of Superman
Well I suppose I should say there'll be some spoilers here, so...Yeah. I'll go with the positives of the movie and then go onto the negative aspects. First, the effects and the fight scenes are fucking fantastic. When I saw the fight between Clark and Faora, or Clark fighting Zod, it felt like I was really watching people with superpowers beating the crap out of each other. Say what you will about Zack Snyder, he knows how to make things look really cool. Henry Cavill does a really good performance as Superman. He's not Christopher Reeve, but I think he did a better job than Routh (Though he does have one pretty narmy scream at one point.). Faora was pretty badass, shame she didn't have a larger role. Jor-El was pretty good, and Amy Adams made for a good Lois Lane. Now for the negatives...Zod is a major one. I mean, I like the characters motivation and there is a certain degree of tragedy to him, but the actor is just so insanely over the top and he talks as if he's trying to channel Abe Lincoln into his voice. As for Superman killing him...well he did that in the comics, so that doesn't bug me. On the plus side, at least Superman was fighting someone with powers, rather than Lex sodding Luthor again. The romance between Clark and Lois seems really forced to me, and it would have been better if they built it up in the next movie rather than shoehorn it into this one. Plus she falls for Superman, not Clark, which is kind of annoying to me. As for the narrative...well it's Superman's origins, who doesn't know the story already? The problem is that the story is constantly jumping all over the place and showing events in a bizarre order rather than just having a straight narrative. There were some stupid moments (Really Johnathan? Just gonna get sucked up into a tornado?) and there were some plot holes (Couldn't Zod have just put that terraformer on Mars? I mean I know he's a dick but I didn't think he was stupid.) That said, it's certainly one of the better Superman movies in recent times. It's much more entertaining than the snorefest of Superman Returns, and much more competent than the atrocious 3 and 4. I imagine this will go much the same way as the Dark Knight movies. So-so 1st movie, great 2nd movie that people harp on for months on end, and then an absolutely atrocious 3rd movie.
Too much super, not enough hero (Spoilers)
People go to superhero movies because they want to watch people with great power accept the responsibility of saving and inspiring others. I was excited for this movie because the trailer promised that we would see Clark Kent grow from outcast to Superman. However, instead of seeing his character develop once he gets the suit and decides to be a hero, he has to immediately fight Zod and his cronies. It's like skipping the lessons and starting with the tests, and rather predictably it causes Superman and his new movie to fail spectacularly. If Zod wins, then the entire human race is wiped out. However, it's pretty much impossible for us humans to actually comprehend the scope of our world, so audience members need to be shown what's at stake before they care about it. You can have Doctor Doom explain that he just wiped out Australia, but it will only elicit a shrug if Australia never appeared onscreen because it's still there in real life. That's one of the reasons this movie fails: other than a quick montage when Zod reveals to everyone that aliens exist, the only places we see threatened are Metropolis and Smallville. And while Superman is off punching evil alien technology so that he can save all the people we don't see, the people we do see are dying horribly. A building falls onto people because Superman isn't there to catch it. Rubble crushes people Superman isn't there to stop it. People are stuck in the wreckage because Superman isn't there to help them. Essentially, all the saving was done away with after the first half hour. Instead, we are bogged down with repetitive action sequences that greatly outlive their welcome. Realism be damned, I go to movies to enjoy myself, and action without relent gets incredibly tiresome. The writers chose to make so much action, when they could have instead used the time to expand the character development. The movie also fails in showing us that Superman makes the world a better place. Zod says that he's only on Earth because that's where Superman was sent. If he had come because of the crashed ship and stumbled upon Superman, or if some other villain had come, it would mean that Superman was stopping a threat that would otherwise destroy the world. But instead, it just makes everything indirectly his fault. So I found the movie pretty bad, but you can go see it if you want to.
Not as dour as I thought it would be
Like others, I was worried about Man of Steel because of the supposedly darker tone of the movie (which deepened when that turned out to be the biggest complaint in reviews). After watching it, though, I must say that though the movie is darker than the Donner flicks, I ultimately found it an uplifting film. Why? Because it reconstructs the idea of Superman. The most common criticism leveled at Superman is that he's an unattainable ideal, and a real world version of Superman would be emotionally unstable due to his alien heritage, and be feared and rejected by society. Man of Steel, however, accepts these criticisms, and then show how Superman rises above them. Jonathan Kent realizes that an emotionally unstable Clark with superpowers would not be a good combination with a world that will fear him, so he discourages Clark from using his powers (and is even willing to die in a tornado to do so) because he knew that Clark needed to wait. Jor-El's AI gives Clark his past, the reason why he's special, and his purpose in life. Now given some closure on his past and finally forging an identity and purpose for himself, he is now emotionally stable and is able to cut loose with his powers without fear of going insane. General Zod's invasion is what makes the world ready, as people are more than willing to accept Superman fighting by their side when their world is being attacked by a gang of superpowered beings wanting to terraform Earth. Plus, by fighting on the military's side even when he's considered a target, he convinces the brass that he's not their enemy. End result is a moral, emotionally stable individual who is accepted by the world, meaning Clark has finally become Superman. All of this shows that Superman can rise above those criticisms and become the hero we know and love, even in the more cynical (or at least what we percieve as a more cynical) age. And by doing that, he proves that we all can become Superman as well. Because of this, the movie ultimately had a very hopeful and uplifting story that left me smiling at the end. Combined with solid acting and downright amazing action, and we have the first good Superman flick since 1981 and one of the best superhero movies in recent times.
Man of Steel: Not perfect, but an excellent take on the origin
Here's my take on Man of Steel: What I loved: 1. the casting was perfect, everyone turned out a fantastic performance, especially Russel Crowe and Henry Cavill. Cavill was very believable as a man who'd spent his childhood as an outcast, and the younger versions of him all gave excellent, genuine performances as well. 2. The dark tone (which others criticize as too dark) is something a character like Clark Kent was begging for. I found the fact that he was an emotional character to be refreshing. And, in my opinion, he wasn't "brooding" at all. He was presented as a character who didn't know himself, and had to grow as a person to reach the maturity necessary to be Superman. I think this aspect was covered quite well as he went from an brash and vengeful teenager to a competent and rational (though not too rational) adult. And the fact that his morality was tested really helped set him up as the character present in the comics and previous films. 3. Zod was an incredibly well developed character. We got to see him from both sides of morality, and he was easily more complex and realistic than in Superman 2. 4. The opening sequence on Krypton was very well done, in terms of looks and plot. It helped set the tone for the film itself. What bothered me: 1. Lois Lane; while Amy Adams is one of my favorite actresses, and my favorite one to play Lois Lane, her character was severely underdeveloped. Also, though she had great chemistry with Cavill, their romance felt fairly tacked on, and they could have saved it all for the sequel. 2. Jonathan's attitude about the bus scene didn't quite click with me either. His statement that maybe Clark should have let the people die seemed wildly out of character. 3. The direction was all over the place. There were whiplash inducing scene transitions, blurry angles, and lens flare all over the place (including in space, ridiculous). some of the action sequences were nearly nauseatingly fast. The suits that the Kryptonians wore also confused the hell out of me, I couldn't tell who was who amongst the "bad guys" half the time. Overall it was a solid film, it's polarizing, of course, but I'm on the side of those who loved it. This was also the first Superman film I really enjoyed.
I went into Man of Steel with as open a mind as can be expected. Sure I'd heard plenty of negative things about it before I went into the cinema, but personal experience has taught me that a succession of bad reviews ultimately makes a movie more enjoyable, by encouraging you to appropriately lower your expectations in advance. For Man of Steel, I don't think I lowered them enough. Man of Steel is first and foremost, an idiotic movie. Second and third, it's hammy and cheesy. Everyone communicates via speeches, and no conflict can be resolved without punching it a lot. I took note some of my favourite stupid moments, just to give you a flavour of what to expect [minor spoilers]:
- Early on, Clark saves a bus full of children. His dad seems very disappointed. "What should I have done, let them die?" asks an exasperated Clark. "...Maybe" shrugs the dad, in all seriousness. Apparently the natural response to seeing a boy save his entire class is to call him a freak.
- Later in the movie, the dad dies in the most absurdly pointless fashion. In the heat of the moment, Clark forgets he has superpowers, and the dad is like, "no son, I got this" before immediately getting himself killed saving the family dog.
- During a dramatic showdown between the villainous Zod and Superman, Zod shouts "there is only one way this can end! Either I kill you, or you kill me!" No Zod, that's two ways, you fucking dumbo.
- Lois and Superman make out in the middle of a scene of utter carnage, romantically locking lips as the ashes of millions of dead fall about them like snow flakes.
Slow, noisy, disturbingly inhuman
As a movie fan who wasn't a huge Superman fan, I went into Man of Steel with high hopes. The trailer that first shows Superman's takeoff and flight is one of the best trailers for a movie I had ever seen. I came out of the theater feeling underwhelmed. This isn't Superman, this is subparman. The individual elements of this movie range from merely passable to downright broken, with nothing stellar. It's an origin story to a character we all know the origin story of. Why is this necessary? It would be bad enough to just redo the origin story, but the film commits other pacing sins too, like using exposition to explain an entire segment that we have already seen. The movie-making itself is an assault on the eyes and ears. I watched this film in IMAX, and the one thing I remember most was the incessant noise. Even the film's "quiet moments" don't have the periods of silence to relax the viewer's ears. The film's theme, an uplifting tune in the trailer, became a chore to listen to after it was blared the fiftieth time. The visuals also hurt; while the computer effects are stellar, the shaky camera and overuse of quick-shots are only really useful in short bursts. Sadly, the entire final hour of the movie is just one big action scene that constantly uses those techniques, and it can feel overwhelming. The worst part is that the characters don't feel like characters, but props. With the exception of Jor'El, they lack any genuine heart and soul beyond a wink at comic fans. The actors feel adequate at best, but the real monster here is the script. It reads as if it were written by aliens from the planet Krypton who have never had meaningful human interaction. There is a scene halfway through the movie involving Clark Kent (Spoilers: He's Superman) and his adopted father that feels outright bizarre. Pa Kent does not want his son to reveal himself to the world, but the extent this goes to is downright ridiculous and from a real life standpoint emotionally crippling to his family. The characters act in ways that fit their roles as symbols, but it makes no sense when you remember that these are flesh and blood people, not automatons only there to make a point. Overall, this movie hurt me to watch. I can't really say that about many summer blockbusters. It's bad, really bad.
The Most Depressing Superhero Film Ever!
"Man of Steel" was fun for the most part, but it's also extremely dumb. (Can someone please explain to me why it takes Superman 33 years to fully develop his powers, but Zod gets them in one day?) There are plenty of plot holes and bad character moments, which the great action can't completely overcome. It's also remarkably depressing, which surprised me. I think there were twenty attempts at humor total (and I think I laughed at half of those). "The Dark Knight Rises" looks like a slapstick comedy by comparison! Worth seeing, just be prepared to be forgiving.
You'll believe a man can mope.
It is safe to say that, in terms of characters, Superman is one of the hardest for the writers to pull off well. He can do anything. He doesn't have conflict. He's as Lawful Good as they come. In short, he's hard to make interesting and engaging. It is also safe to say that Christopher Nolan, David S.Goyer and Zack Snyder tried hard to make him interesting, and failed. Well, not completely: the movie makes money, and when I went to see it, the theater was almost full, despite it being a weekday, and almost a week after the release date. But the finanicial aspect might be the only succesful aspect of this movie. The screenplay is what really sinks it. Who on earth decided that giving it to David S.Goyer, the man responsible for the awful sequel to the Ghost Rider, is a good idea? There are no dialogues in this movie - there are speeches, most of them about how the society is not ready for the arrival of Kal-El the Messiah, and how General Zod is going to rebuilt Krypton on the corpses of the untermensch. Lois Lane stumbles awkwardly from scene to scene, contributing almost nothing to the plot; she spends, at best, 15 minutes on screen with Clark, and they share little to no dialogue. There is no difference between Superman and Clark Kent: they act and talk exactly the same. Not that our main character talks a lot: he mostly grunts, roars, and makes constipated faces. And after he finds the magical plot device about 30 minutes into the movie, there's no character development, just fight scenes. And even the flashbacks don't really help to establish the character, what with their chaotic order. I get what they were trying to do here: Superman Returns was not well-received, so they decided that Man Of Steel should resemble it as little as possible. Also, Nolan's Batman Darker And Edgier trilogy sold well, so let's make Superman more like Batman. But the whole point of Superman is that he is not like Batman; if anything, he's the complete opposite. In Richard Donner's movie, however goofy it seems now, Superman had lots of personality, but remained true to his Nice Guy resume: he had a sense of humor and was nice even when fighting bad guys. As Clark, he looked like a dork, but he was not the one to fuck with. If only we had anything like that here. P.S.: I really miss Ned Beatty's Otis.
It turns out that being Superman is much harder than it looks...
I liked this movie quite a bit, honestly. In fact, I'd say I liked it more than the original Superman movies. I find that it definitely met the lofty standards before it, and has left me certainly looking forward to the next installment in this franchise! Now, that's not to say the film didn't have problems, of which there are a couple. 1: The editing wasn't exactly a good kind of 'different'. Maybe it's because I haven't seen a ton of movies with a lot of quick, hard cuts that chop off the very end of a scene. It's not really a flaw, but I could have done with more traditional scene-to-scene transitions, personally. 2: Lois could have had some more screen time and maybe a bit more bite to her role, but overall I think this is a good interpretation of Lois Lane done by a good actress who I would love to see more of in the next movie. 3: The ending action piece was rather overblown. Now, I personally enjoyed it, and was very glad to see Superman cut loose, but they could have dialed it back a bit or made it a couple of minutes shorter, but at least it wasn't an "action for the sake of it" kind of thing for the most point. Ma and Pa Kent are given ample screen time themselves and are nicely fleshed out, Pa being a protective and reluctant man on top of being a good, true father figure and Ma being a grounded, optimistic and wise mother who does her best to help her son through his odd life. All the side characters, Perry, Steve, Jenny, Dr. Hamilton, Hardy, General Swanwick and his aid were given brief but glorious life, and added some needed humanity and different, everyday personalities to a movie about an alien sun god learning to be, well, an alien sun god. Zod and his cronies were also very entertaining and Zod himself was well fleshed out and proved to be more striking than even Terrence Stamp's portrayal. The opening Kryptonian prologue was a real experience as well, and Crowe's Jor-El is very cool. All in all, I think this is a very fine movie that manages to be a summer blockbuster, a rather stirring look at being an outsider, an entertaining character study, and a good depiction of Superman himself. It had depth, action, humor, joy, darkness and a very strange, steady heart to it that pumps something special into the movie. For a moment there I was a little worried, but now, once again, I believe a man can fly.
It's not a bird, it's not a plane, but it's also not Superman
In short: D+. More thoroughly...I walked out of the film reasonably pleased, but then my brain re-engaged (presumably switching itself off in self-defense upon realizing I was walking into a Zack Snyder film) and immediately I started finding faults. After the opening scenes on Krypton, which are well-done, Man of Steel quickly loses all sense of direction. The casting is great, but they're given nothing to work with—that Adams and Cavill manage as much chemistry as they do is a testament to their skill, not having anything to do with writing or directing. The effects and visuals are gorgeous, but the film is so leached of color that, among other things, Superman's suit might as well be dark gray, and that's in 2D. The childhood sequences are acceptable, Pa Kent's character aside (don't even get me started...), but the script or editing necessitating those be flashbacks absolutely ruins the pacing of the film as a whole. I could even buy the big ending, which I know many fans of Superman might not be able to...if they had just set it up better. As it is? Well, it could have been worse, I guess. In fact, virtually everything positive I can say about the film comes with "but [something negative that all but invalidates the positive]". About the only thing I can recommend wholeheartedly is Hans Zimmer's score (and even that's not really true, coming with the caveat of "if you're a fan of Hans Zimmer"). In the end, Man of Steel is sit-throughable. It is everything you would expect from a Zack Snyder superhero film with a weak script—it is style over substance, as shallow as a coat of varnish, diverting and vaguely entertaining but ultimately empty of anything but spectacle. It's in no way a Superman movie, and the word "disappointing" doesn't even begin to describe it.
A very polaziring movie
No wonder it's a Love It Or Hate It . It's a roller coaster of very good and bad moments, and overall feel unpolished, but far from bad. In my opinion, the main flaw of this movie is that we saw very little of the mature Superman, who puts thought in what he does and manages to use his power more intelligently (few people know Superman is a scientist as much as Jor-El). The blandness of the secondary cast, Info Dump abounded and the second part suffers of Ending Fatigue and too much destruction for the sake of Rule Of Cool. However, both the Big Bad and The Dragon are well developed (for a comic book movie), and the action was great, very worth Dragon Ball Z (in a good way). I also dislike how Superman was a Screaming Warrior. And the least I talk about Johnatan Kent, the better he is. I understand he wanted Clark to be happpy, but all he did was to repress him, up until his Heroic Sacrifice (regardless, Superman all of sudden stands up to military despite having been submissive so far) I also saw in the second act very little Superman saving people, dropped in favor of Superman fighting Kryptonians (and collateral destruction) Overall, a 'Super' film, but lacked the 'Man' part. Had they advertised it as 'Superboy' I would have been more tolerant of its shortcomings, but the character was very immature. It is good? Yes, but I hoped more for a movie about the greatest hero, especially after reading All Star Super Man. Still worth a look, because it can be a very enjoyable experience... or completely hate it Rating: 7.2/10
Flies well but expect turbulance. (Spoilers).
I am ashamed to admit that I had my doubts about this movie. What I believed was that Warner Brothers were simply aiming to churn out a movie with the name "Superman" so they could retain the rights to the franchise. But I was woefully mistaken as this movie is anything but lazy when it comes to setpiece design, mythology and great acting. Henry Cavill is a worthy successor to Christopher Reeve and he manages to provide a majestic Superman with the dignity of his Kryptonian side and the self doubt from his Human experiences. The criticism by snobbish critics that Cavill is too serious is rather unjustified as Henry Cavill's potrayal is more than capable of making you both smirk and sadden given the opportune moment. Other actors add their impressive weight to the roles such as Russell Crowe's Jor-El and Kevin Costner's Pa Kent who create moments so emotional that I felt myself go teary-eyed; and I am usually an unemotive person. Antje Traue plays a great Faora who manages to both cold and menacing. This movie contains some great scenes such as a submerged Clark being passed by two whales which makes the film seem poetic. The film's portayal of Krypton does an excellent job of looking like an ancient, alien society which has become decadent; Time Lords take note. Kryptonian technology is where the film gets to show it's impressive visuals and it's unique approach to the mythology. As for the movie's kryptonite. The biggest two problems with the movie were the J. J. Abrams-style shooting and the generic Bayformers-style plot. Firstly and most importantly is the terrible filming containing infamous Abrams staples such as shaky cam, lens flare, unyielding close-ups and too much cutting between scenes. This makes the viewing experience very difficult and it sullies the action sequences. Secondly, the overused and unwelcome plot of making giant alien thingamajig go boom and hero dooming their own race to extinction. It's problematic because a) its formulaic and lacks real drama and b) evil aliens inevitable return (Q.E.D the Darleks). So this film has reinstilled new hope for the great Superman franchise. Provided they remove the taint of Abrams and Michael Bay from subsequent movies, I will be very happy to see the real return of Superman. I look forward to seeing how the new films aim for even greater heights.
Though it rains, it soars
Man of Steel is an extremely difficult film to respond to. It is, for all intents and purposes, a slick, exciting blockbuster with a style and approach to design and action that raises the bar higher than a giraffe on stilts. It is also, however, a film with a messy screenplay that seems to have been designed out of two or three different drafts. For every perfect modernisation of the old Superman tale - the most perfect of which is the re-imagined Clark/Lois dynamic in which Lois is A. aware that Clark is Superman from the off and B. one of the main backers of the entire identity - there is a bizarre (and sometimes headache-inducing) addition to the plot, most egregious of which is the baffling 'Codex', a badly-explained Macguffin that somehow helps make Kryptonian pod-babies and is also downloaded into baby Kal-El. But despite the regular stumbles in the plotting and the often awkward dialogue (there are at least three scenes where characters po-facedly explain their motivations and themes of the movie), the film succeeds in the end. Most of this comes on the back of the killer opening sequences, which despite featuring the nonsensical Codex also features a sequence of shots that left this Troper's jaw agape for a good minute, and the perfect second act. Everything falls into place there, and for the duration of the act the film is sublime, let down only when the extraordinary huge fights of the final act begin to become both overly destructive and physically exhausting to watch. The casting is without flaw - Russel Crowe redeems his turn as Javert as a surprisingly fallible Jor-El (never before has the much-maligned holographic presence of Superman's 'real daddy' felt this poignant - one can almost feel Jor-El's sense of redundancy and intransigence), while Amy Adams shines as Lois Lane at every moment the screenplay gives her. The standouts, though, are Michael Shannon's charismatic-but-demented Zod and Henry Cavill's phenomenal Clark Kent/Superman. Never before has Supes felt this tangible. It's the last moments of the film that will make or break it for audiences, though. For all the beautiful score and shots, the scale of collateral and the outright execution of the baddie may prove too much. For me, at least, Cavill sold this as the origin of Superman - this is by no means a flawless piece, but it's a worthwhile one.
I enjoy what Nolan's film company is doing. I like that we have the two dichotomies of comic books, Marvel's movies are more fun and smartass superhero movies while the DC movies ( i am only talking nolan's films, f*** green lantern) are feeling more realistic and dark. I really liked his realistic take on Batman (especially the fact that as a human there was only so much punishment one can take) and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED his take on supes. I am not even kidding. Superman is an alien on a planet that will not simply look to the heavens and trust him. It felt like it had a great heaping of what was done in Kirkman's Invincible comic book series. Supes feels lonely, isolated, and different. Yet when his own kind shows up, he fights them. He has to surrender up people he leaves in flash backs and contend with his own expanding powers as a scared child. It's all moving and gave much depth to the character. Throughout it all, he is still a boy scout, but you can tell he's been pushed, been prodded but still chooses that path. I liked this movie and I liked this character and I normally hate superman. This started off a new series for me and I look forward to what Nolan/snyder can do for this series. ALSO! Snyder made the most badass scenes of fighting for this film. There was no slow motion, only beating, fast beating, flight beating, and "flash step" beatings. Got what I wanted.
A purposely laconic review.
There are a number of long reviews here. I will keep mine as short as possible, especially as it represents only my private opinion. I enjoyed the film. Although I felt the first act had a number of problems, and though I felt as though between fifteen and thirty minutes of the film had been chopped out and replaced with scenes I would not have used in their place, the completed movie still succeeded in producing a good story, with good performances and good special effects. Most of the side characters did fine in their assigned tasks, Zod is a good, somewhat human villain, Lois does a perfectly serviceable job, and the character of Clark Kent is pretty much spot-on. The only weak link is Zod's lady henchwoman, whose only saving grace may or may not be her action chops, as my eye is not developed enough to tell if she relied on CGI and stunt doubles. And if you say it doesn't matter because she's hot, I will e-mail myself to your monitor and bite your dick off. A pretty good Superman film. I am glad I saw it, and I am glad that my money will help ensure that we get another, better one later.
A Moderate Start
I am mildly disappointed. Man of Steel is a good modern superhero film, but for something that's supposed to be a start of DC Cinematic Universe, it leaves a lot of rooms that need improvements. Let's start with the good things. First and foremost: the action. Man of Steel provides the largest scale of action and best visual effects I've ever seen in any superhero movie. The Avengers and Iron Man 3 are soundly K.O'd. The actors are great. I can feel the characters' emotion through even their slightest gestures and expressions. Special mentions go to the menacing General Zod and his minions, Pa and Ma Kent, and Russell Crowe's Jor-El. The theme of identity crisis and making choices is cool, realistic, and perfectly fits with Superman. And don't forget Hans Zimmer's majestic soundtrack. Now here come the bugs. Goyer has obviously been influenced by Chris Nolan's storytelling, but I wish Nolan had been more involved in the writing of the script. It's overall story and structure is great, but it could really use some refinements. Flashbacks and time skips happen pretty often, almost randomly at times. They mostly work as narratives but don't have as much impact as say, Batman Begins' or The Dark Knight Rises'. Slow motion isn't used in this film, something I both miss and feel relieved about. To compensate, Snyder shot this film with single setup hand-held camera. That's awesome. Shooting with this method, if being done correctly, will allow the audience to feel the experience of being in the film, running around with the hero as if chronicling his adventure like a good pal. Unfortunately, Snyder just has to force its usage to an unhealthy dose. Hell, the entire film was shot this way. Really, when Supes and Zod clash in the air, it becomes hard to tell where and who they are when the camera covers the area around them. They never really ruin the moment, but they cause those awesome moments to never reach their fullest. Other than that, there are several hilariously weak plot points like Lois suddenly has super speed, people suddenly know this and that, unclear time frame, egregiously cheesy dialogues and some lack of character developments. In conclusion, Man of Steel is good but doesn't reach its full potential. However, I do hope to see more of Henry Cavill in the blue suit in a hopefully better and improved sequel.
A great start
I'm a really big fan of Superman, and I feel the character gets little respect in our society today. This film is excellent. It provides everything one would want in a Superman film. Henry Cavill id a great Clark Kent, second only to Reeve in live action Superman actors. the action is great and mesmerizing, though it gets carried away at certian points. Overall, a great film.