In the latest of many superhero reboots Man of Steel attempts to replicate the great success and critical acclaim that the Nolan Batman films acquired. With Zack Snyder taking the role of Director and Nolan as Producer it was expected that the Superman franchise would take a dark and artistic turn such as Snyder’s films Watchmen and 300 and Nolan’s Dark Knight.
Superman begins I mean “Man of steel” takes the origin approach; it’s the everyday Superman origin we all know (His planet krypton is dying so baby superman is sent to earth to salvage what’s left of the kryptonian people). Its unusual that such a fearless Director as Snyder was reluctant to change the Origin. You could easily apply the “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” idea but I was hopeful that Snyder might take a different spin on the origin. But never the less the opening scene was done in the traditional origin way and it was nothing sort of a spectacle. I thought the Planet of Krypton was visually entertaining and hugely resembled moments of Avatar. The visuals in the film were decent, if the film was based on the cgi and the explosions it would score well. However the explosions, overwhelming action and cgi was bordering on Bay level. I thought Snyder wanted Dark Night not Dark of the moon. (The 3rd transformers film not to be confused with the Pink Floyd album.)
Zod (Michael Shannon) an evil Kyptonian escapes (by being sent to some jail) the destruction of his planet along with his small band of soldiers. They hunt for Superman and travel to earth to wage war on him and the people of Earth. That’s the incredibly basic outline of the narrative but it’s pretty simple and risk free. I was hugely disappointed with the safety of this film; Snyder is a director who isn’t afraid to bend the rules. He kills off main characters, brings in moral dilemmas (I am not accepting the tornado incident but more on that later) and really brings a film a dark tone. The only darkness the film had was the lighting, you don’t make a Nolan or Snyder film by dimming the lights it takes effort. The film was safe and it was as if Snyder was too scared to annoy the Superman fanboys by changing the story line.
The characters weren’t anything special but that’s more the fault of the script littered with generic speeches and moral ideas. Henry Cavill put in a decent performance as the pants wearing (not in this film) superhero. It’s a difficult job do give a human personality to an alien who isn’t human and the script wasn’t helping but Cavill gave Superman somewhat of a personality. I mean he was good and he meant well and he had morals, that is superman in a nut shell. But he is not without his weaknesses. The film was basically making him Jesus, not fighting back when getting beat up and whatever. But you know destroying the lorry of a truck driver is so he is basically jobless is fine…….. Carvill gave the best performance (even though it wasn’t great) though to be honest he didn’t have that much competition. It’s impossible to describe in words the personality of any character. Seriously you can’t define what their nature at all. The biggest bore and most pointless character is Lois Lane (Amy Adams, she really didn’t need to be in this film, if you take her out it’s the same film, you shouldn’t be able to take out the main character and get the same outcome but in this film you do. Of course she has a love relationship with Superman for some reason. If love was this easy I certainly wouldn’t be alone in my room writing this. He saves her once and immediately she’s the one and Superman and Lois Lane are in love. I’m sure superman saved a number of other women in his life prior to meeting Lois, I mean there was the waiter girl, why wasn’t she the one? She has more of a reason to be in a relationship with him. But anyway rant over and Lois Lane was a bore and dull character no real fault of Amy Adams who really needs to blame the dull script.
Zod (Michael Shannon) was pretty decent I thought, sure he could have been played by anyone else but this could have been a poison chalice of a role. But he did the bad guy acting some justice. Jor-El (Russell Crowe) was a good solid character, I thought he had the Superman dad thing nailed, he was admirable, powerful and respectable. However Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) was littered with speeches and phrases that were so corny it gives the Toby Maguire Spiderman a run for its money. Now I can get to the Tornado scene. The tornado scene was just hilariously avoidable and stupid. So basically Kent Snr won’t let Superman save him because he doesn’t want people to know he’s Superman or something. It’s some noble c**p because Superman can’t use his powers yet, Kevin Costner even puts out his hand to say stop and I believe dissolves in the tornado?! Thus Superman loses another parent even though it could easily be avoided. Seriously it wouldn’t even take that much effort to save him. In the time Costner puts up his hand he could have ran away from the tornado, Superman could have had saved the dog in the first place discreetly as everyone was running round. I mean he can lodge a lorry on a telephone pole without anyone noticing. Anyway rant over.
Anyway I need to get back to the story. I loved Zods mini Army, well basically the female one who ever she was. She was one hell of a B*tch and she really wasn’t afraid to kick ass. It might have been better if she was the main villain in this film and Zod could just be in a ship overviewing everything.
This film had no consequences, be it the millions of civilians that must have died being crushed by dropping objects or killed by buildings, even Zods death must have hurt Superman some hoe. But no this was all brushed under the rug never mentioned again and totally forgotten. It would be great to see Superman deal with the civilian death count or even remorse by killing Zod, this is what makes a good Nolan film its dealing with situations not just forgetting them and forget they happened.
The flying scenes were filmed very well I have to admit, you really did feel escaped from the world, and im going to admit it I did try to fly when I got out the cinema (Spoiler I couldn’t fly). The action scenes were immensely entertaining (you really don’t need to watch this in 3-D) and the Zod vs Superman fight was tense but quite long and repeated.
Special praise must go to how Superman can first deal with his powers. I love the fact he doesn’t automatically know how to use them and he must go through a painful process of living with his powers. It’s something that really made the film grounded and real, the effects were somewhat eye-catching for example seeing skeletons of people and super hearing.
As an action Superhero movie it was okay, I was just disappointed and too hyped up when I saw Snyder and Nolan were behind this film. I felt the film was confused, it was trying to be Batman but Superman isn’t Batman. The direction of the film was being blinded by wanting to be a darker film and I think it was missing its own identity. It wasn’t a bad film but it wasn’t good either. Sure put this on a late Friday night with friends and it will be fine but it’s nothing special. Action scenes are fun and entertaining but the seriousness and moral issues the film tried to tackle are totally missed and overdone. With the people behind it you would expect this to be a huge critical hit but it’s too safe, a few more twists and a better script it may have been close to a Dark Night but as it is its way off it. A good film to watch with friends but way off the classic it was expected to be.