Why Superman soars – then plummets

June 24, 2013 12:32 pm

*This review contains spoilers*

Going into this, I had the worst expectations ever. I had absolutely no faith in how the new Superman picture was being made. I hated everything they were doing. I agreed with nothing.

Not the costumes, not the music, not the director, I didn’t like anything.

So, when I finally sat my nervous behind in the seat of the cinema, for the first hour of the film, I felt bad – bad that I ever disagreed with any of the decisions they made, bad that I called the movie a total flop a year before even being released.

Then the second half happened and all my original thoughts raced back towards me.

The movie was being projected as a Sci-Fi movie which I wholeheartedly disagreed with, and I still do, because this is not about aliens, UFOs, extraterrestrials, etc. Yes, I know that sounds stupid because Superman himself is technically an alien but it’s not about that. It’s about a superhero in a human world, saving people. It’s not Independence Day 2.

The first part is okay to be considered Sci-Fi, because it’s on another planet. It can be Sci-Fi if it’s on another planet because that is what Sci-Fi is all about. But when you start applying it to earth, that’s where you lose it.

What’s sad is that the telling of Superman’s upbringing on Krypton is astounding, no question, the Sci-Fi environment compliments what’s happening on that planet, however once Clark is thrown into Earth it’s a great telling of drama, but then it throws back to Sci-Fi again, which is where I lost it.

Also, there doesn’t seem to be an act 2. It seems as though there is just an act 1 and an act 3. It seems to go from the beginning straight to the end. The only kind of act 2 performance is told through a series of small flashbacks which I wouldn’t even class as an act 2.

These flashbacks showcase’s Clark’s upbringing as a child/teen but they rarely last 4 or 5 minutes at best.

Like I said, I loved the first hour of the film. In particular the death of Jonathan Kent, I was actually close to crying. You could sense the love and emotion of the scene and the bond between Clark and Jonathan. It is a standout performance from both Henry Cavill and Kevin Costner.

David S. Goyer’s telling of the bond between father and son is clear and the acting compliments the great writing.

But then it spirals downhill, the action is just far, far too much. I don’t know what they’re planning to do for the second Man of Steel movie in works but I sincerely hope they address how the hell the city rebuilt itself because in this movie, Metropolis is virtually canned. Every building, left, right and center is destroyed.

It’s far too much, especially for the first in the new series of Superman, this probably would’ve made a great ending to a trilogy but for the first film in the series, it’s too much.

What bugged me about the whole last hour as well, explosions aside, the fighting is way over the top. In the end, I got sick and tired of seeing Superman or General Zod or whoever else get thrown halfway across the world from one punch. Each punch delivered sent the other person flying for miles before crashing into yet another building.

Sometimes it felt like you were playing a video game, the punches were so fast and quick that it felt like I was playing Batman: Arkham Asylum. Seriously, watch the way they fight in the action scenes then play that game, you’ll see the same thing as I am.

The ending as well does not work. After being smashed into every building in Metropolis without getting hurt or injured or breaking a bone, Superman snaps his neck with his own two hands. Really? Come on, I know they have to end a movie a certain way but this is ridiculous.

The movie distances itself far away from any previous Superman movie. It features more action, less romance, different music, different costumes. Whilst at first I disagreed with most of this, it actually works and the film does differentiate itself from any previous undertaking.

Performances are great, Michael Shannon’s General Zod is up there with Terence Howard’s. You generally believe that Zod believes what he is doing is right, he even openly admits to regretting the murder of Jor-El. I believed Michael’s Shannon’s performance.

Cavill’s performance is great. His outbursts when they happen are remarkable and you feel for him, you see his trouble for acceptance. His finest scene was where Jonathan dies, it’s touching and moving.

Whilst I did enjoy his performance I’m interested to see how he portrays Clark in the sequels because in this he portrays Clark as a hunk, he doesn’t wear glasses and he’s always wearing skin-tight clothing to show his body. Clark’s character, generally, is of a geeky, polite, soft, clumsy person. Apart from being polite, he’s none of the others, so I will be interested to see how Cavill and the team portray Clark in the sequels.

As for Amy Adams’ Lois Lane, it was good, although I don’t think she was portrayed as strong a person as Margaret Kidder did. I also don’t really think she should have been as involved in Superman’s battle with General Zod and his men, as much as she was.

Lawrence Fishburne’s portrayal of Perry White is nothing to be honest. It’s good for the few scenes he’s in, but nothing that makes me want to see more of him. Granted, he’s in very few scenes but he never pulls me into his character. Look at Jackie Cooper’s performances in the Superman films he was in. It was remarkable and memorable. Lawrence’s version was neither.

Russell Crowe’s performance of Jor-El however is memorable, and I think it’s more memorable than Marlon Brando’s in the original Superman. Jor-El seems to have more emotion and more connection to Superman, a theme Goyer greatly worked on and succeeded; we feel Crowe’s connection to Cavill.

All in all I think that Man of Steel is not the worst thing ever, as I originally planned it to be. It features great performances, occasionally good action sequences and good storytelling. However it fails to be that all time classic due to the over the top action scenes and failure of the right genre identity.

It’s good enough …. for now

* * * / 5

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