Let’s face it; there has never been a good Superman movie. The original from the late seventies featured effects that, though impressive for it’s time, are dated to the point of making it an unintentional comedy. Then there’s the scene of Superman reversing earth’s orbit to turn back time in order to save Lois Lane (yes, this really happens). “Superman Returns” managed to be even worse by becoming one of the most boring movies I’ve ever seen in my lifetime and featuring a number of logical missteps like the end scene where Superman lifts up an entire island of Kryptonite, his only weakness and hurls it into space. Needless to say I was hesitant to give “Man of Steel,” a chance. But many of my friends seemed to give the movie praise, some even saying it’s the first good DC comic’s movie outside of the Batman series. Having seen “Man of Steel,” I can say that I couldn’t disagree with those friends any more as I found it to somehow be worse than any of the previous Superman movies I had already disliked.
The plot, hell you know the plot! Superman’s planet is destroyed but not before his parents send him to Earth. Once he gets to Earth he has a troubled childhood (or at least more than the usual) and then grows up to be Superman who saves the world from such devious minds as Brainiac, Lex Luthor, and Darkseid, and even the less intelligent yet threatening villains like Doomsday and Metallo. But, none of these villains make an appearance. Instead, we get General Zod and a hockey actor to play him. What is this Zod like you ask? Well he’s a kryptonian so he has all of the exact same powers as Superman. So what are the fight scenes like? Well, they’re mostly just a slideshow of punches on the ground, punches in the air, jumping and then punching, a little bit of heat vision whenever they sense the audience falling asleep (which will likely happen frequently) and then more punching that sends the victim into a building or something.
My last paragraph brought up many of the major flaws in “Man of Steel” but I think it’s better to devote a short paragraph to detail each. The plot is riddled with plot holes. Even when it makes sense, everything is painfully cliché. The script appears to be devoid of anything intuitive in the slightest as most everything is predictable. And then occasionally the plot jumps around in time for seemingly no reason in a weak attempt to keep the audience’s attention.
The acting, save for Henry Cavill’s performance, ranges from forgettable and bland to laughably bad and painful. Russell Crowe proves yet again that while his voice work is superb, he still has yet to figure out how to change his facial expression. This fit in “Les Miserables” where he played the emotionless Inspector Javert but here as the father of Superman, this role demands he emote at least a couple of times. Then there’s Michael Shannon who plays Zod, whose performance is supposed to come across as threatening and dominant but ends up being wacky and amusing but not in the appropriate way. Everyone else, whether it be Amy Adams as Lois Lane or Laurence Fishburne as Lois’s boss is completely devoid of any substance due to the fact that every character save for the titular man of steel is completely underdeveloped.
The special effects might be good (with the exception of the bad 3D) but the action is downright atrocious. In some scenes, the camera is so close to the action that, coupled with the completely unnecessary shakiness of the camera, it becomes nigh-impossible to tell what is going on. Other times, the camera is placed less horribly but the actual action shown is somehow more derivative than that of the last Transformers movie. The only exception was the aerial fight between Zod and Superman near the end that lasted about a single minute.
But the biggest problem by far is thus; “Man of Steel” doesn’t do a single damn thing that every other superhero movie has done better. It’s so cliché it’s uninspired, it’s so predictable it’s boring, and despite the fact that scenes seem to come and go faster than a speeding bullet, it’s too freaking long! There is so very little I could appreciate about “Man of Steel” and far too much to dislike about it.
“Man of Steel” gets a 3/10
- Man of Cold, Cold Steel (tor.com)
- Review: Man of Steel (cineastes.wordpress.com)
- Man of Steel’s snap decision: Goyer and Snyder were for it; Nolan wasn’t – SPOILERS (comicsbeat.com)
- Michael Shanon ‘flabbergasted’ by Man of Steel (contactmusic.com)
- Off My Mind: Why ‘Man of Steel’ Wasn’t a Superman Movie (comicvine.com)
- Why We Can’t Wait to Kneel Before Zod (biowars.com)
- What to Expect from the ‘Man of Steel’ Premiere (costumesupercenter.com)
- Movie Review: Man of Steel (whnt.com)
- What Would Happen if Superman Punched You in the Face? (geektyrant.com)
- ‘MAN OF STEEL’ – Reviewed (suitandtied.wordpress.com)