At about 8:45 last night, my husband was overcome with a desire to see MAN OF STEEL—despite his constant beratement of superhero movies for a number of injustices to the source material. I checked the listings and found the next showing was at 10pm. A little late, but I’m on summer break, so I don’t have a bedtime. Let’s go!
Let me just start by saying that I’m not hypercritical when it comes to evaluating movies. I’m pretty easy going with regard to what I’ll accept as a good or bad movie. My tastes are broad and I have a high tolerance for a lot of things. I’ve seen a lot of terrible movies (that I sometimes love). I’ve seen a lot of great movies (that I sometimes hate). Great movies where the entire theater “oohs” and “ahhs” synchronously at all the right moments or erupts into applause at the end. Those are great movies. Those are also usually the movies that get panned by the critics. Not always, but more often than not.
That said, I need to also warn you that the remainder of this post contains SPOILERS. Do not read this if you haven’t—but plan to—see the movie at some point in the next twenty years. Also, don’t read if you don’t like movies. This will bore you. Consider yourself warned, don’t blame me if I ruin the movie for you.
I am not reviewing this movie to tell you to see (or not see) the movie. I’m just commenting on my own personal viewing experience.
Anyhow, MAN OF STEEL was more like Man of Stole 2 ½ Hours of My Life That I’ll Never Get Back.
For the sake of time and not recounting the entire plot, I’m just going to focus on the things that annoyed me. So, I won’t spoil everything.
First and foremost, we have to understand that this is a reboot to a tried and true franchise. The failure of Superman Returns to establish a new fan base and the popularity of superhero movies in general led to this newest attempt to make modern day movie goers love Superman. And they failed. Again.
It isn’t really the fault of the cast. I think they were all great. Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent was excellent (lets just face it, he’s hot—end of story). He didn’t butcher the role, so that’s a plus. The only casting that I felt was a bit questionable was Amy Adams. Love her, but she isn’t the no-nonsense, stop-at-nothing investigative reporter that I picture Lois Lane to be. Of course, my vision of Lois might be a little biased thanks to the saucy Lois Lane (played by Erica Durance) in Smallville, the TV show. Amy Adams—I don’t know—just isn’t Lois Lane.
She brings me to my first beef with the film. Character development. While I think they were given good material, they weren’t given enough time to do anything with it. Granted, many of the scenes might have ended up on the cutting room floor, but the connection between those two happened too quickly and rather unbelievably. I mean, they were making googly eyes at each other almost the second their eyes met.
The fact that this is a new rendition means they need to provide backstory. They needed to show us how Clark Kent, the boy who was afraid of his abilities, evolved into Superman. They did this through flashbacks. Normally, flashbacks are pretty informative, but in this case they were just snippets from his childhood where he displayed just how different he was from the rest of the world—they didn’t connect emotionally with the viewer.
The only part they did begin to get right with the flashbacks was his relationship with his earth father, Jonathan Kent, and how Jonathan feared the world wasn’t ready for Clark to reveal himself…which ultimately led to his death. Jonathan Kent died so his son wouldn’t have to reveal his secret…yet. Now we have an alien with daddy issues.
These snippets were short and choppy. The transitions back to present day were rough and sometimes unclear. And there were A LOT of them leading up to Clark finally deciding to take the leap and trust that the world was ready for him…. especially since Zod had already let the world know he was there and that he’d obliterate them if they didn’t hand him over.
It was kind of a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” situation for Superman. Not a real breakthrough moment, if you ask me.
Again, I’m not sure if I can contribute these issues to bad writing or bad editing. Jury will remain out on that one until I read (if I ever read) the script. But what it boils down to is why does Clark Kent love mankind so much? Throughout his childhood he was bullied by kids who thought he was a freak? That’s not very endearing on humankind’s part. His only good examples of humankind were his parents. Is that enough to be willing to sacrifice yourself for the whole of mankind, especially since one parent is already dead?
The one thing, in my opinion, that they did get right—despite my husband’s disapproval—was the ending. MAJOR SPOILER!!! – Quit reading if you don’t want to know how it ends. Superman and Zod are battling to the death (again) in Metropolis’ Grand Central Station. Zod harnesses his laser vision and declares to Superman that if he loves the humans so much, mourn for them. His laser beams inch closer and closer to group of trapped humans in a corner. Superman begs and pleads for him not to do this. The lasers are mere inches from the humans and Superman realized Zod, who was genetically engineered to show no mercy, was not going to stop. SNAP! Superman breaks his neck. Zod is dead. The human’s are safe….for now.
Then we see the torment of having killed a living being, one of the last of his people, wash over him. He cries out….and who should come to console him? Amy Adams….I mean, Lois Lane. Lame!
They should have let him cry it out alone. But, the ending was absolutely necessary. For two reasons. One, Superman now understood that Zod would never stop until he was able to terraform Earth into a new Krypton. Two, who wants to come back for a sequel and watch him battle Zod all over again? I don’t. The first time was painful enough. I say, bring on Lex Luthor in the sequel or bust. Bring on a new, bigger, badder villain.by