Notable Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishburne
To give this review a bit of context, I probably should state that I've never been a big Superman fan to begin with. My brother was always the one inclined towards the Superman tale (as one can tell from his reviews of the film franchises) and I was always the Batman guy, yet I felt inclined to see "Man Of Steel" due to some intriguing elements. Firstly, it would be the film to kick off DC Comics lead up to a "Justice League" film. Secondly, it's directed by Zack Snyder who, while I'm the first to admit is usually style over substance, tends to make entertaining films. Thirdly, it's produced by Christopher Nolan. Although I have love/hate relationship with his "Batman" films - can still bring a new level of thought to the super hero genre. So what do we get with all of these unique and interesting elements in "Man Of Steel?" We get a clusterfuck, of course.
Clark Kent (Cavil) has struggled most of his life. Despite his insane powers of strength, laser eyes, and speed, his father (Costner) taught him to keep it in check in fear that others will try to persecute him for his abilities. So he wanders as a young man, helping where he can and struggling to live a normal life. When he discovers a lost ship in the ice he discovers his past as the last of a race on a dying world. Then he learns he's NOT the last of his race, but that a group of militant rogues are coming to Earth to colonize it. Now its up to Kent to stop them to protect his foster home.
|Getting out of that suit had to be a bitch.|
|"Knock knock..."Man Of Steel." That's the joke!"|
The biggest issue I had with the film was its pacing and tendency to be oversimplified while treating the audience like children. Yeah, we get some humanization of Supes with some oddly placed flashbacks of artistic intent (any random shot of something small and meaningful will do - how about a butterfly on the chain of a swing set?) that give us some reasons why Supes is the way he is, but for whatever reason the pacing here felt a bit convoluted. It sort of jumps to convenient memories when needed where we are preached to by two different fathers (the other played by Russell Crowe) before it fully succumbs to an odd need to push the film into a straight on science fiction arena. While the exposition was there, it certainly felt like exposition and it never caught me to feel for Superman. Perhaps its because the guy wanders around and saves burning oil rigs, smashes trucks when almost gets into bar fights, and generally acts like a simpleton.
And in this oversimplification, "Man Of Steel" then seems to say "oh well" to all that exposition in the second half and relentlessly pummels the audience with action. The first sequence as Supes battles a pretty creepy henchwoman I enjoyed. They throw one another through buildings, ignite trains, and generally hop around like kung fu experts on crack and beat the shit out of one another. Unfortunately, from there the action never ends. As an action fan, this should be awesome. Too bad its ALL CGI and it becomes a boring flurry of destruction, flying bricks, and tumbling buildings. By the time that Supes and the evil Zod, played to bug eyed hilarity by Michael Shannon, finally duke it out in Metropolis (certainly killing far more people then was probably necessary if Supes had just taken the fight up like a 1000 feet higher in the air) I couldn't give two shits about the action. Yawn. Seen it before for, like, the last 40 minutes, I swear. Where is Zack Snyder's knack for pacing an action sequence? Well, it's no where to be found in this CGI world of boring action. Yeesh.
|I'm shocked they didn't just CGI his costume like in "Green Lantern."|
|"I'm staring into your film...and I see a BIG paycheck."|
Written By Matt Reifschneider