About a week and a half ago, I watched Man of Steel with some friends. I went into it thinking that a Superman movie would be difficult to pull off, or at least impress me. Never been a huge fan of Superman, since we’re talking about a nearly immortal god-like being. What kind of conflict would take place in this movie? I have a hard time connecting with a protagonist that’s invincible.
Oh boo-hoo he has no friends because he’s really strong and great at everything so he has to put on glasses to fit in. Talk about a hipster fantasy. Or the movie could take the other route, making an enemy that humanity would have no chance against. We would have to rely on Superman alone to save us. That kind of movie feels condescending to me. That just feels like the Bible – “Now presenting the only being that can save you from this thing. You’d better love him.”
SPOILERS ARE GOING TO BE AFTER THIS LINE SO STOP READING IF YOU WANT TO STILL BELIEVE THAT THIS IS A MOVIE WORTH GOING TO.
First, it was made painfully clear to us that this movie had a very good budget. The special effects were flashy and big and loud and explodey.
I think this movie would have greatly benefited from Steadicam. For the entire movie, they were trying for the old documentary-style filmography that TV shows like Battlestar Galactica did well. But this was a large screen movie, and jerky scenes don’t work as well as they do on a television. It felt like an amateur cameraman (with a very good camera, I’ll concede) was filming this while stepping barefoot on Legos and being punched in the back of the head. I was battling vertigo the whole time.
That was the first thing that bothered me about this movie.
Then there is the screenplay, which I’m convinced was written in the same room they filmed in. You know, the one with all the Legos. And then the screenwriter, who clumsily forgot to number the pages, tripped and scattered the pages all over the floor. No matter, the screenwriter thought. Nobody will notice. And nobody did. The movie leaps back and forth in time through Clark Kent’s life, from the joyless present-day threat of interstellar war to Clark’s depressing childhood memories.
There was the one memory of him getting beaten up and not fighting back. Then there was the other memory of how he got in real big trouble for saving a busload of children. Then there was the time his dad (played by Robin Hood) – for some really dumb reason – went back to save the dog in the car during one of those super common broad-daylight tornadoes, and then told Clark not to save him from the tornado. Because it wasn’t the right time for Clark to reveal himself as an invincible dude. WHEN’S THE RIGHT TIME FOR THAT, DAD? PLEASE POINT IT OUT TO ME IN YOUR HELLO KITTY DAY PLANNER.
But we can get past Clark’s really depressing childhood. Let’s focus on the present. He gets to meet his other dad. His biological one, also played by Robin Hood. This is all thanks to a spaceship from Krypton that held a recording of his consciousness. And then la-dee-da, Superman gets his super suit, which is apparently everyday formalwear on Krypton, with a symbol on his chest that isn’t an “S” for Superman, but an “S” for Bullshit.
This is all just in time for General Zod, played by a gnawed Stretch Armstrong, who wants to come to Earth to terraform it into a new Krypton. I guess there are just no other planets anywhere else in the entire galaxy, and he had to just Kill All The Humans in order to do it. This directly conflicts with the heavy-handed attempt by the movie to have us feel a bit of sympathy for Zod. I can get behind an antagonist that’s “just doing his job” if there is really no other reasonable option. BUT HE HAS THE WHOLE FUCKING GALAXY TO CHOOSE FROM, JESUS.
And then there is the dialog. Halfway through the movie, my friends suggested to me that we take this script and use it on an episode of Freddy’s Fan Fiction. There’s a point in the movie where Superman is doing the inevitable Big Badass Fight with Zod. This fight seems like it takes hours, but I’m sure that it was run past test audiences to find the perfect length for minimizing viewer suicides. In the middle of the fight, where S-Man and Zod are busy turning Metropolis into Syria, Zod yells out, “There’s only one way this ends, Kal-El. Either you die or I do.”
And then they continue punching each other through buildings, because that’s cool, apparently.
There are a couple of points of light nestled in this turd. The first one is Russel Crowe. I’m now convinced he could win an Oscar by simply reading the phone book. And then there’s whoever played Lois Lane. She did well in her part, even though the chemistry in the script was more blunt than a baseball bat tied to the front of a bus.
You’ve probably guessed that I didn’t like this movie. I’m going to have to congratulate you on your remarkable insight. This movie sucked, and it only sucked slightly less because I saw it with friends. Don’t watch it in theaters. Don’t rent it. Find a schmuck of a friend who got the DVD and watch it at their house. And then bring The Avengers to watch afterwards to see how a superhero movie is supposed to be made.
[EDIT] OH GODS I NEARLY FORGOT: Kryptonite is not a thing in this movie. HE IS WEAKENED BY SHITTY AIR. He needs to breathe Earth’s atmosphere to retain his super powers. If he breathes Krypton’s polluted air, he becomes weak like a regular human. Would he be just a normal dude in Beijing, too? What the hell? And after he beats Zod, there will never be a chance for him to be weakened again, since there’s no other chance for someone to expose him to Krypton’s atmosphere. So now he’s god, doing god things. Such a great story from now on. A guy who can’t be beaten. Guh.