Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel (2013)


The story of Krypton’s favorite son; from his simple life in Smallville to his ascent as Metropolis’s most famous caped crusader.

Reaction & Thoughts:

The greatest comic book superhero returns to the big screen a few years after Bryan Singer’s well-intentioned, but ultimately unsatisfying reboot (2006’s Superman Returns) failed to create a moneymaking franchise. This time around Warner put the project in the hands of Christopher Nolan (Memento), who had successfully engineered Batman’s resurrection. Nolan, and director Zack Snyder (Watchmen), promised an entirely new approach to the story of our favorite Kryptonian, but we got a derivative film with a bizarre nihilist attitude instead.

I grew up with Richard Donner’s Superman (1978) (not exactly like the comic book, but a great film nevertheless), but I’m fully aware that audiences have changed and a re-imagining of the character was long overdue. I get it. I still, however, want to see a good film, which this is not. Not only does the script is a hack job, the action scenes are poorly directed — loud and repetitive — and even within its new context, Man of Steel makes little sense.

I can’t shake the feeling that Nolan and Snyder were the wrong people for the material. For a film that desperately wants to be taken seriously, it is amazingly dumb and goofy. The dark, matter-of-fact style of The Dark Knight trilogy doesn’t work here. More important, the plot has no structure to it whatsoever.

I can’t say I liked most of the “updates” either. Papa Kent’s (Kevin Costner, Dances With Wolves) Randian rants are unexpected and disturbing. It explains why Kal-El is not into saving people anymore; he was raised by a man who believes that you always put your own interests ahead of others. In fact, most characters in the film are selfish jerks. There is a scene where a Daily Planet intern asks her boss (Perry White, played by Laurence Fishburne, The Matrix) to die with her simply because she doesn’t want to die alone. I was speechless. I don’t know what the screenwriters were thinking.

I was also surprised by the lack of chemistry between the characters. The Superman-Lois Lane relationship formed the crux of the original comic book, and the 1978 production, but here it feels like an afterthought.

Amy Adams (American Hustler), who plays Lois Lane, doesn’t benefit from the re-imagining of the hero’s canon; Lane has been completely emasculated. She’s a total bore. It doesn’t help that she has no chemistry with Henry Cavill’s Superman. Cavill is good but the never-ending flashbacks make him cold and distant. It’s also hard to embrace a character who is motivated by the idea that he is better than other people.

The cast also includes Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man) as Jor-El, Diane Lane (The Outsiders) as Martha Kent, Laurence Fishburne (What’s Love Got to Do with It) as Perry White and Michael Shannon (Take Shelter) as General Zod.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

To say I was disappointed is an understatement — Man of Steel is a soulless movie. Christopher Reeve must be rolling over in his grave. Followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Color, 143 minutes, Rated PG-13.


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