Saturday, 22 June 2013

Man Of Steel: A review

This Review is in two parts. The top section in a spoiler free zone. When the words 'SPOILERS! DON'T LOOK IF YOU HAVEN'T SEE IT!' Appear then you'll know to look away.

Man Of Steel, or as we should perhaps correctly call it; Supeman: Man Of Steel, has had much hype surround the cape and boots. People have chatted about the 'Inny' pants, the tactile look of the costume, the muscle effect of the famous 'S', the decision to run with an all new score; this movie has been on the radar, big style.

I suppose the first thing that needs to happen is that I need to confirm that this is a completely different animal to the botched 'Superman Returns.' Well, it is. This is not a yawn fest and Henry Cavill didn't come to do his best Christopher Reeves impression. He came to fight, fly, act and be the Superman we have yearned for since the end of Superman two. He does a great job of being the man to finally put Superman four to bed.

Michael Shannon does the business as Zod too. He looks, sounds and acts the part and I love the pair of them when they share screen time. Zod and Supes are a dynamite package, that much is certain.

Backing Cavill and Shannon are many famous faces including Russel Crowe as Jor-El, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Dianne Lane as Martha Kent, Laurence Fishbourne as Perry White and Christoper Meloni as Colonel Nathan Hardy. All these fine men and women do a very good job. I particularly liked Crowe as Jor-El and I love Meloni as I'm a huge fan of the t.v show 'Oz' in which he was a pivotal character from the second season onwards. A brave and challenging actor indeed.

Right back to Man Of Steel, we see the film kick off with the last days of Krypton (of course) and Jor-El trying to make the council see sense; that the planet is dying and nothing can stop that happening. Of course it doesn't go according to plan and Jor-El's son is shot into space, taking with him the Krytonian Codex, a kind of genetic data bank. Zod vows to capture the son of Jor-El and restore Krypton's people to their former glory.

Boom, now we have Clark on Earth, Snyder builds the story cutting between present and past and brings us to a point when Zod comes back into play.

I love a lot of Snyder's films, I think he has an incredible technical ability and has some incredibly cool shots, but for me? He drops the ball a bit. There is just too much of an emphasis on the fight, the action, and when there isn't a fight or something to explode we have cars screaming off roads or weather being the enemy. There isn't a quiet, strong core here, it's all noise and action and though that is better than Superman Returns here it's overdone. There really are just too many set pieces, too many times that the volume is turned up to the max. Moments that should really have touched us and formed the kid Clark Kent into the Man Of Steel just become yet another busy set piece, this is shown most effectively in a scene with Costner that tries too hard to make our blood pump rather than our heart ache.

Snyder appears to have liquidised Jerry Bruckheimer and injected him into his veins before filming any of these scenes and that gives us an action packed roller coaster that sadly lacks heart and passion.

Don't get me wrong, I expect changes and adaptation but there are moments in this film that don't fit Superman. They in fact show a lack of core understand for the character that should have seen the writer and director pushed in another direction long before the film was released but saying that I can't say I hate it.

Man Of Steel is a modern take on the Superman myth and one that goes a long way to make itself the most action packed film you'll see this year. Because of this it feels like it's trying too hard, loses emotional integrity and misses many key parts to the core character. Many people will love this movie and claim, quite rightly, that this is the best Superman film since Superman Two. They may well be right that it's the best one ever, though I wouldn't agree.

The effects are solid but they do suffer from having the  fights thrash in front of us so we simply can't really see that's happening. Superman and his fellow Kyptonians fly about and we see plenty of walls explode but the actual impact of the blows and the ebb and flow of the fights is missing.

The sacrifice of character and emotion for explosions and action is not a fair trade, Superman is the ultimate superhero. He is a man that will always do the right thing, no matter how hard it is. He upholds the greatest of comicbook messages, truth, honour and he doesn't compromise on his principles.

This film falls short, but it gives it a good, if negative go.

Man Of Steel. 7/10.


Have you strayed into this section? Are you ready for some Spoilers and I'm afraid to say moans? Okay, let's do it!

Man Of Steel is a film that seems intent on putting the dull Superman to bed forever and giving the world a bigger, louder, more action packed hero. Snyder and Goyer clearly wanted to show the POWER of Superman and that he wasn't just powerful but that that he did indeed have Steel.

This was always going to produce a very different product compared to Reeves and Routh's Supermen and yet that intent is almost been their undoing as well. In a rush to avoid being boring they have gone to far the other side.

Seen Man Of Steel? Okay, please answer me some basic questions;

1/ If Each Kryptonian is breed to do their job and that is what they are genetically good at how come Jor-El so easily hands Zod his ass in the opening throws?! Zod is the ultimate general and soldier and yet Jor-El is a fucking action god! It makes no sense!

Snyder and Goyer have obviously gone; 'Yeah, Superman's dad needs to kick some ass too man! WOOOO!'

2/ Clark Kent pisses off to become a travelling worker, constantly changing his name. Surely he's guilty of Tax evasion as he can't possibly pay the tax legally right. Also how is he changing his documents round? A local fixer presumably? So Superman is in league with the common crim.

Now you may think that's being petty but what it I'm actually showing is that his wanderings are basically completely illogical. Clark Kent is a man who has grown up and has allowed fear to control his destiny. That isn't very Superman is it?


3/ He doesn't become Superman until he has to stand in front of Zod, how are the people of Earth meant to have a connection with Superman if they have simply never heard of him?! No.

4/ Lois Lane tracks him down with relative ease don't you think? She goes off for three weeks of holiday and finds Clark Kent just like that. Yes, she is a great journo but seriously?! No.

5/ Jonathan Kent's death was completely illogical. He allows himself to die so that Clark learns to hide in the shadows no matter what? Leaving his wife a widow to teach Clark that he can't use his powers?! Stupid! Secondly what the fuck was the need for the tornado?! Couldn't we have had him fall with a heart attack and tell Clark not to fly at superhuman speeds, or perhaps get him to just say goodbye?!


There are a thousand more including destroying half of Metropolis, fighting inexplicable tentacles in the Indian ocean... why?! Wouldn't a force field of done it?! Evidently not. Or how about the minimal chemistry between Adams and Cavill, or the bizarre idea to have her rage around Zod's ship shooting bad Kryptonians?! Can people not be strong and useful if not killing people Zack?!

You know where we are going don't you?! Yes... it's the bit where Superman murders Zod.

6/ Why? What possible reason could you have for wandering into a project where the central character doesn't kill; that's one of his big things, and making him whack the baddie at the end?! Oh? Zod was going to cook some people?! Well Zod killed half of fucking Metropolis already dude! He's just done it and by the way? YOU DID TOO! BY FIGHTING HIM IN A MASSIVELY POPULATED AREA!!!


Mark Waid; a great comic writer was rightfully horrified by the clear butchering of Superman's core beliefs and messages. I was with him, but even more annoying was the attitude by the film makers!

The passage below was on a Yahoo article about the controversial ending and shows that they never had any intent to make the real Superman;
David S. Goyer, 'Man Of Steel's writer has also revealed that Christopher Nolan had a problem with Snyder's idea to turn Superman into a killing machine.
He told Empire, "Killing Zod was a big thing, and that was something that Chris Nolan originally said, 'There's no way you can do this'…originally, Zod got sucked into the Phantom Zone along with the others."
However, Goyer soon came to the rescue, and he revealed, "We talked to some of the people at DC Comics and said, "Do you think there's ever a way that Superman would kill someone?" At first they said, "No way. No way." We said, "But what if he didn't have a choice?" Originally, Chris didn't even want to let us try to write it. Zack and I said, "We think we can figure out a way that you'll buy it." I came up with this idea of the heat vision and these people about to die. I wrote the scene and I gave it to Chris and he said, "OK, you convinced me. I buy it."

Right, so we would buy that Superman couldn't fly through the roof dragging Zod with him or yank Zod away? No, it's bullshit!

They wanted a cardboard cut-out Superman for the modern era, and let's face it, physical restraint isn't something Modern cinema could be accused of having is it? Nope. So Snyder wanted a killer hero?


The thing that bugs me about Man Of Steel most is that it makes not one bit of sense. Pa Kent doesn't teach Clark Hope, he teaches him fear. Fear of himself, fear of other people; even so far as suggesting he should have let a bus load of kids drown rather than expose himself. He's so obsessed with the idea of concealing the wonder that Clark has been gifted that he throws his life away for no apparent reason whatsoever, leaving his wife and so to face the difficult world alone.


This is not a dark tale, it's a stupid one.

Oh and how the fuck does Clark Kent get a job at the Daily Planet?! He's been a fisherman and waiter for the last decade, no more like fifteen years. He didn't go to uni, get a Journalism degree, has no experience and it's basically incredibly stupid. Again.

The Alternative view from the concerned and pissed off Comic book lover gives Man Of Steel a six for watchability and a 4 for effort.

Here is the Yahoo article referenced above:

Here is another blog that tears Man Of Steel to pieces far better than I can. Utterly hilarious, utterly brilliant, utterly depressing because its all so terribly accurate:

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