Wednesday, June 19, 2013

REVIEW: Man of Steel

Late to the party--I actually went to a midnight showing last Thursday--but, you know, mental breakdown took precedence.  I'm actually going to go against my usual spoiler policy and put this under a cut for once; that's your one warning if you're worried about Cheerios-pissing.

Wow, that was a hot mess of a movie.  I won't lie, I am in the minority who thought Superman Returns was a damned fine movie and that Brandon Routh did an excellent job in the signature tights.  Henry Cavill didn't embarrass himself, but he didn't blow me away, either.  Not necessarily his fault, as Zack Snyder proves once again that he's a visually distinctive and stylish director, but can't accomplish much beyond that.  Cavill's Clark rings with none of the warmth, none of the inherent decency that makes up the core of Earth's Greatest Hero.  He goes through no particular moral changes.  He never seems to really struggle with his heritage or with the tension between having to be careful with his powers or being accepted for himself.  (One of the movie's few organic moments, I'll give them this, was Clark's unrestrained joy the first time he flew.)  Damn, Clark's more emotionally disturbed by having to kill Zod than the thousands and thousands of civilian deaths that must have occurred while he and Zod had their fight all across the city.  (CLARK.  CLARK.  YOU CAN FLY.  DIRECT THE PSYCHOPATH AWAY FROM THE CIVILIANS.)

Moreover, while a lot of things happened in this movie, no one really did anything.  We didn't see Lois actually being clever while figuring out Clark's identity.  Did he have a series of aliases he preferred to return to over and over?  Did he accidentally leave behind a token of the last place he stayed, either as an object or a memory that Lois could worm out of a witness?  We never find out, she just tracked down urban legends because the script said so.  Likewise, no one actually figures out how to stop Zod due to genuine cleverness, Jor-El just pops up and bleep-bloops the master plan so we can get to a series of visually stunning, but ultimately hollow action scenes that do nothing to reveal character or even, really, move the plot along.

Since I've snarled at Snyder plenty of times in the past, I do have to give credit where credit is due: he doesn't pull any of his usual misogynistic bullshit with Lois.  She's incredibly under-characterized in spite of Amy Adams doing her level best, but it's hard to rap her on the knuckles for that when everyone was drawn so shallowly.

This wasn't even a good movie, let alone a good Superman movie.  The most unintentionally hilarious moment of the movie was Clark bringing down a surveillance satellite to keep the military from tracking him.  Clark.  Boo-boo.  You just told them you were raised in Kansas.  The evil aliens conveniently attacked your mom's house and your hometown, which also has a history of weird shit going down all around you.  The military figured out your secret three weeks ago, they're just humoring you now.


  1. Nice review Mari. It could have been better in many ways, but was fine with what it was and where it ended up.

  2. @Dan

    Oh, dude. *shakes head* I was not even remotely fine with where it ended up. Superman is kind of special to me, and I would have forgiven a *lot* of storytelling flaws if Snyder had at least halfway understood *why* Supes is Earth's Greatest Hero. But he didn't, at all. The story had no heart.