Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review: Man of Steel

For a lot of kids, the first superhero they're exposed to growing up is Superman. When I was younger it was Batman but as I got to the age of six or seven, I really became interested in Superman. I'd read whatever comics my parents were nice enough to buy, even though I didn't always understand the continuity going on and when I was in grade two, me and the teacher wrote to the ABC network after he heard talk that Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was in danger of being cancelled. I was such a big fan of the show around that time that I even used to wear a home made Superman shirt to school once a week.

And for the record, the show stayed on the air several years after we mailed that letter. I don't know if we had any impact on it's remaining TV run or not but I still have the letter that ABC sent me in reply. I watched the Superman animated series that aired in the mid-nineties and while it never reached the popularity of...another animated series, I think it might actually be a bit underrated at times.
"Someone's playing Superman 64? I'll stop them!"


But there were never any movies about the Last Son of Krypton when I was growing up. Then finally in 2006, Superman Returns. I felt it was risky making it a sequel/reboot to the first two Christopher Reeve movies but that with the right cast and a capable director (Bryan Singer, who directed the first two X-Men films)...it could work.

It didn't.
I can't remember if it was the story, Kevin Spacey's overacting, the retarded looking kid whom Superman ditched Lois with...yeah, it was a let down. Which is too bad because had they decided to just do a straight reboot with a new origin story, I think that it might have worked.

So of course with the growing popularity of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight series combined with rival comic book publisher Marvel getting The Avengers off the ground while DC can barely get so much as a script for a Justice League movie into a rough draft, it made sense for them to reboot the reboot so to speak.

Thus...Man of Steel.

It's been just a few hours after seeing it and I gotta say, I enjoyed it. More than perhaps I expected to because in my opinion, it's hard to write a Superman story that's compelling and creates a sense of danger for the hero. Superman has all these abilities and can bench press the entire planet...I don't see him getting hurt too easily. Batman, yeah, seems immortal but when you get down to it, just a rich man wearing a mask. He can be hurt or killed and has come close on many occasions.

 And I suppose that's why Superman has such an array of powerful villains: Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Darkseid, Lobo, Doomsday etc. These people can and have hurt him, therein lies the drama.

This time our villain is General Zod...
"KNEEEEL BEFORE-"

Except this time he's got more than an angry chick and Andre the Giant's American cousin. He's got a whole army of Kryptonian criminals who have come looking for Kal-El. 

I'm not going to spoil too much because this is the opening weekend however there were a few things that stuck out to me that I would like to point out so ignore the last few words where I said I wasn't going to spoil too much because that's probably going to change in the next few seconds. So if you think you're gonna be a whiny bitch and say, "Oh I didn't want to know that!", I suggest you get out of here faster than a speeding bullet.

Henry Cavill has the tough task of playing our hero and I say tough task because sadly, anyone who plays Superman is going to be unfairly compared to the late, great Christopher Reeve. I hate to sound cliched but Reeve looked like he had leaped out of the best issues that DC had done up to that point. I remember watching the trailer for Superman Returns on YouTube and people writing dumb comments like, "Christopher Reeve's Superman would have been able to stop that plane no problem-this movie's gonna suck!"Granted the movie did suck...but for different reasons. Moving on.

Even though there are many scenes where Superman is out of costume, the Clark Kent we're used to seeing (Reporter for the Daily Planet) doesn't show up until the very end with...a pretty shitty disguise. Just take a look at how Henry Cavill looks at the end of the film. I was expecting someone to just come up and say, "Oh, Superman works here now?"


"These hipster-douchebag glasses should fool them."

If there is anyone who almost says it, it's Lois Lane played by Amy Adams. She actually encounters Clark early in the film, tracks him down all the way back to Smallville and then refuses to reveal his identity when word gets out that she knows a secret that has the world on edge.

In today's information age, I'm surprised that no one figures it out within a few days. With governments following our every move, they could easily track what flights she took to where, who she spoke to...hell, the people she spoke to could probably figure it out. The cop who drops Lois at the Kent farm where Superman is clearly in sight would be able to figure it out due to Lois screaming, "Clark" as she runs towards them. He has super-hearing Lois, no need to shout. The dude's probably got his own Tumblr account about it already which will probably serve a plot point in the sequel.

How did the hologram of Jor-El have memories for stuff the real one wasn't alive for? I imagine it was the will of the plot but...yeah, the hologram just seemed too smart for it's own good.

I liked Krypton because in the 1978 movie...all it consists of is a white, Arctic looking landscape with a large dome. I have no idea what the hell I'm looking at but it doesn't seem like a civilization thousands of years ahead of us.

I really wanted to avoid this...and I wasn't even looking for it but...they certainly do make Superman comparable to Jesus.
His birth is somewhat unusual for Kryptonian society (By that I mean it's a natural birth) compared to being grown in an artificial womb.
He reveals his age to be thirty-three, spends part of the movie with a beard and there's that scene in the church where the priest believes everything he says.

This is produced by Christopher Nolan and everyone takes that to mean the film is going to be darker like he did with the Batman movies. But here's the thing: Batman is supposed to be dark. He's named after a nocturnal creature. Superman is supposed to be positive, uplifting, an example for which all of humanity can strive to reach. The fight scene in Metropolis and the destructing it brings seems like the director is trying too hard to let us know this is serious.
Speaking of the director...Zack Snyder. Acclaimed director of 300, slow-motion overkill maestro of Watchmen and I don't know anyone who liked Sucker Punch. I was worried about what he might bring to this. He wasn't terrible but at the same time...lot to be desired. The fight scenes I felt were too rapid and I couldn't tell what was going on. Also, the camera seemed to move unsteadily at times where people were just standing still or making small movements. It felt like a five year old was holding it at times.


At the end of the movie, Clark Kent joins the Daily Planet even though he's been going from job to job, doing whatever he can to keep low. Not sure how he can join a major newspaper just like that but whatever. My main point is, Metropolis gets fucked up royally. But when Kent shows up in his glasses, everyone is walking around like it's business as usual. With all the buildings collapsing and tipping over (It looked like a wet dream for Al Qaeda) you think people wouldn't be looking forward to the next basketball game...which they are. Based on how dead and hopeless Metropolis looked, I'm surprised they didn't rename it Detroit.

Superman's logo in this film, despite being the shape of an 'S' actually means hope. Did anyone look at the logo of General Zod and think that it looked like the sickle from the communist flag? That or a question mark on it's side but considering how American Superman is...are you not surprised that he's fighting a commie?

In Soviet Krypton...

Despite flaws I did enjoy the film and if this is the film that helps with the launch of a Justice League film within the next 3-5 years, I'm all for it. Not much for ratings systems, but out of five, I would give this film a three, maybe three and a half stars.

1 comment:

Justin said...

Thought the movie was awesome. However, you caught on to some things I didn't like Jor-El knowing stuffing even though he was just a computer simulation at the time.

The only thing I didn't like was Zod having an American accent. I'm so used to the accent from Terrence Stamp and not once did we hear, KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!