Well I finally got around to seeing the latest Superman movie. Yeah I know it’s been out for over five weeks now and made nearly $350 million worldwide, but I’ve been waiting because I wasn’t sure if I was ready to have my perception of my favorite super hero maligned. Last night I was in just the right state of mind to finally see what the fuss was all about and settled in to watch the “Man of Steel.” Frankly my friends I was not impressed. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad movie, not at all, it just didn’t live up to all the super duper hype we’ve been hearing for years now. On a scale of 1 – 10 I’d give it a very, very generous 6.5 and I do mean generous. It actually had the potential to be a really great movie, but unfortunately it failed to do so.
It started off with a real thud. The first half hour or so sucked rocks! The re-imagining of Krypton was way too over-done and oh so depressing! This version of the dying planet is much too dark and detailed and not really relevant to the story of young Kal El except to introduce his arch nemesis General Zod. And what about those flying dragon-like creatures Jor-El flew home on? Did they borrow them from Avatar or what? Just because we have the technology and resources to create an in your face, computer generated dying world doesn’t mean we have to! The picture they painted of Krypton was totally bogus and unnecessary. Sure there are some terrific sci-fi effects but this whole intro is over-kill. It would have been a better movie with only about half of the opening sequence. Just Saying.
I am a product of the 50’s & 60’s DC Superman comic books and the original television series “The Adventures of Superman” starring George Reeves playing a dual role as the man of steel and his alter ego Clark Kent. Although the show was developed on an extremely low budget, with minimal special effects, it was very entertaining series. The series began on the planet Krypton which is on the verge of total destruction. As their world collapses around them Jor El and Lara save the life of their only child Kal El by jettisoning him off into space in a small space craft Jor El had constructed just for that purpose. The capsule crash lands on Earth where the infant Kal El is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, while the planet Krypton explodes into oblivion. Simple enough right? Maybe five minutes in the telling, not twenty or thirty! The original series gets the point across quickly and adequately and avoids the boredom of the current films beginning.
And what’s up with Jor-El and all his pontification? I was tired of him after just a few minutes. Then his ghost kept popping up throughout the movie. His speeches were tedious and over-bearing and down right boring to say the least. I like Russell Crowe but as Super dad he was a super bore! And since we’re talking about characters, who did the casting? Lois Lane sure left a lot to be desired. Her character was weak and equally boring. Not at all like the Lois Lane we have come to know and love. What about Perry White! “Great Cesar’s Ghost” what happened to the editor of the Daily Planet? Sadly, in ‘Man of Steel” he’s become a mere shadow of his former, fiery self. And where the hell was cub reporter/photographer Jimmy Olsen? I guess he was too minor of a character to be included in this super tale. Too bad.
Yeah I was really disappointed. Just like ‘Ted’ last year and ‘ Pacific Rim’ last week, this movie left me wondering why I was even watching it. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting. ‘Man of Steel’ simply takes itself too seriously and the added baggage the director has seen fit to throw in only makes the movie more tedious. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of action, destruction and computer generated imagery especially in the big final battle scenes in the city. Buildings tumble like legos. I wonder what the final body count was after the battle was over. Staggering I’m sure. The Superman I know would have done as little fighting as possible in the city streets. To spare loss of life and destruction he would have drawn general Zod and his meanies to a more desolate location to wage his battle. Instead the gratuitous destruction is just more window dressing, more eye candy. If your looking for total escape and are capable of not only suspending belief, but completely forgetting everything you thought you knew about Superman, then this movie is for you.
I just wasn’t feeling it. The twist and turns in the Superman myth that this film takes are just too much for me. This is not the Superman I know. This Superman kills. He breaks the code. He takes Zod out by breaking his neck. My superman would have found a way to send Zod back to the Phantom Zone or used kryptonite to trap him somehow, but kill Zod? No way. Besides is it even possible to break Zod’s neck? He’s got super powers here on Earth like Superman so how could it even happen? Maybe only Kryptonians, super or not can kill one another.
And what happened to the humor? There is absolutely no humor in this film. At least the Superman of the 50’s, 70’s and 80’s was playful. George Reeves and later Christopher Reeves added a touch of humor and playfulness to the Superman saga. This new film is having none of that. I’m not saying that the director should have played it for laughs, but a little humor, would have been a nice touch. Actually there was some unintended humor. Every time there was a close up of the man of steel I had to smile. I had to wonder what the costume designer could have possible been thinking when he designed Superman’s new suit. Have you taken a close look at the material. I once had a hamper that looked just like it. Sure looks like wicker to me!
One thing that came as a bit of a surprise was Supey’s big red S! Forever we have believed the S stood for Super. Now we learn that the S is merely a Kryptonian symbol that means ‘hope’. I guess that’s a good thing. It may mean that there is hope that the sequel, and there will be one, will be better, that the writers will learn from this film and develop a new film that has a viable plot and better character development. A film with heart that adds some humanity to Supey’s character. After all the man of steel has been on Earth for 33 years and was raised in Smallville by very human parents. He is by all accounts human. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what the production team comes up with. One can only hope…