Man of Steal

Movies and Television

So I guess Superman Returns ain’t looking so crappy now is it?

Heavy Lifting

Trying to be all things to all audiences, Man of Steel lifts way too much from what’s gone before. Not just Superman lore, but in the first 10 minutes alone I was all Avatar, Matrix, 300, Lord of The How Many Rings, any comic movie ever made, most of the space movies too, omg fucking Transformers?!

What made it worse, nothing new to see. Unlike Star Trek, there wasn’t even a noticeable attempt to remix or refresh the familiar while staying true to the ethos. Instead they went as far away from Superman as you can get, while both being the same and just like Smallville, except when totally not about that at all. Odd.

The women steel the show from Superman. © 2013 Warner Bros.
The women steal the show from Superman. © 2013 Warner Bros.

Who’s movie is it anyway?

The biggest weakness – and sometimes strength – of Man of Steel is that it’s a movie about the Superman character, but not a Superman movie.

  • It is a big time Jor El movie, so Russell Crowe can stump us with why some Kryptonians have accents, others don’t.
  • It’s a Zod apologist vehicle for sure. Much like The Dark Knight was the Joker’s movie, this spent way to much explaining why Zod’s not bad, he just came off the assembly line that way.
  • It’s an origin story that shakes some of the staples, yet pulls the Smallville card as Clark inadvertently starts all this mess by looking for his roots.
  • It’s the Kents movie, with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane being almost the only players to escape the Attack of the Clones wooden performance schtick. This rang true – good people trying to protect their son, teach him to be something more.
  • It’s the ladies movie. Some random bad girl was actually pretty good and entertaining. Now I wasn’t wild about Amy Adams in this, she didn’t seem a true romantic foil for Cavil’s Clark Kent, but Lois Lane was as much the driving force in this movie as anyone. (Side rant: the only way to exposit her worth was saying she’s just as tough as the boys? All ’embedded reporter’ sexism, misogyny. Really?) Anyhoodle, this Lois proved more, much more than a damsel in distress, so well played.
  • It morphs into the Transformers about 14 different times.

That’s not how news works. Nor the military. 

Trying too much with the X-Files fu whatnot. Almost laughable how much access Lois Lane can get to anything, anytime, anywhere. Unchaperoned. With a camera. Then she can partner with civilian scientists, be part of major military excursions with Jor El and company.

Then there’s her reading a story to her editor, Lawrence Fishburne’s Perry White. From a print out. Because in 2013 no one’s gone digital. More b.s. with their sparring – and her having to remind him, us that she’s awesome by default of her awards and yawn. She spends forever tracking and immediately finding out Clark Kent is Super (twist!), exhausting what would be five years worth of CNN’s travel budget. Sigh.

Remind me, who is the movie about again?

I come back to Lois Lane, to Jor El and Zod because all Henry Cavil had to do was look like Clark, look like Superman, and yell into the camera. A lot. No rescuing kittens from trees. No stopping bad guys from robbing banks. Just a few Smallville Wall of Weird rescues, random shirtlessness and that’s it.

Which circles back to my biggest disappointment with Man of Steel: Superman being a character in a movie that could or could not have been about Superman. He’s just some really strong guy with powers, who has a decent personality and hails from parts elsewhere.

Final Snark: Looking hot in a cape is a tough gig, but not exactly Super.

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    • It’s serviceable but totally uninspired save for the standard ‘how much $ can we blow on graphics and explosions and effects that add absolutely nothing new or interesting to the story.’ Given that we already know the story.. yeah, waiting for DVD seems the smart move.

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