Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#602180 - 06/14/13 10:53 PM Man of Steel
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
In a word: Dreary.

The overall atmosphere is just continual destruction. It becomes so oppressive that one no longer even cares how many CGI buildings, helicopters, trains and cornfields get decimated. Roger Ebert said of The Human Centipede that it "occupies a world where the stars don't shine." Well, despite the plot point that Superman and the Phantom Zone prisoners derive their superpowers from the light emanating from the star at the center of our solar system, MoS also resides there. Shots of wanton destruction of overwrought CGI scenery occur as if Baz Luhrmann were the editor. Superman routinely and without care takes the mayhem towards the nearest structure (which is typically shown completely evacuated, unless the plot needs some drama), yet has to pause for effect before finally (and predictably) killing Zod with his bare hands.

They do try and insert some humor after the climax (the female officer saying, "I think he's hot," shown in some previews) but it just falls flat. The only time the audience laughed was a scene where Clark seeks the counsel of a local priest and reveals his identity, causing the priest to swallow hard [ha-ha-ha]. The destruction of Metropolis was very similar to the destruction of New York in Watchmen, and Zod's ship had the potential to appear somewhat squid-like, so I was hoping Snyder would take the opportunity to finally do the scene the way he should have, but that doesn't pan out. There were several vehicles here and there belonging to LexCorp, but otherwise the movie is devoid of easter eggs.

The bizarre structure of the timeline starts on doomed Krypton, then cuts to Clark at thirty-three years on Earth, only flashing back to the appropriate pieces of Clark's boyhood at the exact moments we need to know them. One really odd moment near the end shows adolescent Clark with a towel pinned to his shoulders, pretending to fly. Uhhh... if there's no Superman, what is he pretending to be?

Cavill was a terrible Superman, as expected. His chest hair protruding out the neck of his costume gave a more nuanced performance than he did. If you've seen the chagrined expression he gives in the Subway sandwich shop commercial, that's about half of the range he puts into the movie performance. His broadest smile that thing we all loved about Christopher Reeve comes when he tells Ma Kent that he's found out about his biological parents... right after she's retrieved his photo albums from the wreckage of their farm house. Superman may save some people's lives, but he's pretty much a dick throughout this movie (our introduction to the character shows him committing an act of theft). On the plus side, he doesn't become a reporter until the very end, so we don't have to suffer his trying to be endearing.

The only positive thing I can say about MoS is that, if you've ever wondered what John Byrne's pencils would look like inked by H.R. Giger, this movie answers that for you. Seriously, Warner Brothers owes those two guys a pile of money for their contributions to this expensive pile of shit.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

Top
#602181 - 06/16/13 03:58 AM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Jimbo Offline
Member

Registered: 07/13/01
Posts: 2751
Loc: New Zealand/Canada
I didn't like it either. Definitely not my idea of Superman. I did enjoy the action, but the rest of the film was boring and a poor representation of the character.
_________________________
Walla Walla Bing Bang.

Top
#602184 - 06/17/13 05:08 PM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Lawson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 11978
Loc: Lexington, Ky.
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
Superman routinely and without care takes the mayhem towards the nearest structure (which is typically shown completely evacuated, unless the plot needs some drama), yet has to pause for effect before finally (and predictably) killing Zod with his bare hands.


That sort of reminds me of Christopher Nolan's first Batman movie, where it's a big deal that Batman lets Ra's al Ghu die -- ignoring the dozens of ninja assassins that died earlier in the movie when Batman blew up their headquarters.

As for "Man of Steel," as a lifelong DC superhero fanboy, it's hard for me to imagine a Superman movie that I'll be skipping. But this is the one. Maybe I'll rent the DVD ... one day. What the hell's the point of a joyless Superman?

Top
#602185 - 06/17/13 06:16 PM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 3231
Loc: Salem, MA, USA
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery
One really odd moment near the end shows adolescent Clark with a towel pinned to his shoulders, pretending to fly. Uhhh... if there's no Superman, what is he pretending to be?


Good point, I was wondering that too. Maybe they have Captain Marvel comics instead?

I pretty much agree with most of your objections, but I still found the movie somewhat enjoyable, strangely. At the showing I went to, a fight broke out in the seats behind me during the credits. It was a moment of drama and emotion, but without much narrative coherence, much like the movie itself.

Top
#602187 - 06/17/13 07:33 PM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Jimbo Offline
Member

Registered: 07/13/01
Posts: 2751
Loc: New Zealand/Canada
I must know, what was the fight about?
_________________________
Walla Walla Bing Bang.

Top
#602188 - 06/17/13 07:50 PM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Jimbo]
Peter Urkowitz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 3231
Loc: Salem, MA, USA
Not sure. Somebody brushed against somebody else as they were getting up to leave, or touched somebody else, the other person took offense, words were shouted, there was shoving, accusations of abuse were thrown, the mall cops were summoned. Two family groups were still huddled separately in the corridor when I left, glaring at one another, but it didn't look like anybody was really hurt. It was confusing, and didn't look like it was going to be satisfyingly resolved for anyone. Again, much like the movie.

Top
#602189 - 06/17/13 08:47 PM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Peter Urkowitz]
Jimbo Offline
Member

Registered: 07/13/01
Posts: 2751
Loc: New Zealand/Canada
Ha! Zing.
_________________________
Walla Walla Bing Bang.

Top
#602190 - 06/17/13 10:15 PM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Jimbo]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
There were a surprising number of people in my audience that stayed until the very end of the credits, expecting some easter eggs, only to verbally express their dismay at there being nothing else to see. The Marvel movies have apparently set a high bar for "valued-added" extras.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

Top
#602191 - 06/17/13 10:16 PM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Jimbo]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
So afterwards I went to see This Is The End. Mildly more entertaining than MoS, the audience sure seemed to enjoy it more. I almost got sick from the heavy amounts of fragrances the audience was wearing, something I hadn't ever noticed in any of my previous movie-going experiences.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

Top
#602223 - 07/04/13 10:40 AM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Charles Reece Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
_________________________
The Gospel, wherein much Truth is written.

Top
#602225 - 07/04/13 06:02 PM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Charles Reece]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
You could have saved some time and just wrote: "I liked all the cool CGI fights and buildings getting smashed and stuff. Not enough blood, though."

The baseline issue with MoS is how does one person (Zack Snyder) direct a thousand video game programmers sitting in their dark little cubicles? Short answer: he doesn't. He just gathers the rotten fruits of their labor and then attempts to edit it all into some kind of cohesive narrative. Ask a pre-school teacher to tell you about the kinds of stories that [male] toddlers come up with. You'll discover something very much like MoS horrendous scenes of destruction with scant substance holding the story together.


Your other point the Christ parallels is also weak. Compared with the biblical references in Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake, it's once again just a case of using loaded imagery for its own sake. If one wanted to read a point into it at all (which would be extremely generous to Snyder), it's not that Superman is Christ-like. It's that he is above Christ. You say Superman displays humility by seeking advice from a priest, whereas that scene showed that the priest not only couldn't help, but also that he was frightened in Superman's presence.

Towards the end, another opportunity is taken to smack down supernatural religious thinking when Superman laments Pa Kent not being alive to witness his presence being revealed to the world (because the only reason for wanting your father alive is to witness his son's glory, right). Ma Kent says something like, "Oh, he saw it." The implication being, for about two seconds, that Pa is looking down right now from Heaven. No, what she meant was a flashback montage. The unintentional message here is that, while Superman may be greater than Jesus, the director of a Hollywood summer tentpole is greater than God.


You don't address any of the gaping plot holes, and that's fine, but you also give the most important thematic point a miss. Why is Superman super? Is it because he's got superpowers? No. Superman isn't super because he's a super-alien; it's because he's a super *MAN*. Even if he had no powers at all he'd still be the same upstanding Clark Kent, because of the upbringing provided to him by his parents. Clark didn't develop his impeccable moral judgment through the trial-and-error process of leveling Metropolis and killing his enemies with his bare hands and then deciding maybe those are things he should try to avoid in the future. Clark wouldn't allow his father to die a preventable death because the "time wasn't right," but Pa Kent himself serves as no solid foundation. The real Pa Kent would certainly have never suggested children should die just to keep Clark's powers secret. I was bothered that Pa Kent was dead and inconsequential in Superman Returns, but at least there he wasn't the contradictory mess that Pa Kent was written as in MoS.

Keep in mind that this film was originally slated for release last Christmas, but was released instead on the weekend celebrating Father's Day.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

Top
#602226 - 07/05/13 12:43 PM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Jimbo Offline
Member

Registered: 07/13/01
Posts: 2751
Loc: New Zealand/Canada
Originally Posted By: Allen Montgomery

You don't address any of the gaping plot holes, and that's fine, but you also give the most important thematic point a miss. Why is Superman super? Is it because he's got superpowers? No. Superman isn't super because he's a super-alien; it's because he's a super *MAN*. Even if he had no powers at all he'd still be the same upstanding Clark Kent, because of the upbringing provided to him by his parents. Clark didn't develop his impeccable moral judgment through the trial-and-error process of leveling Metropolis and killing his enemies with his bare hands and then deciding maybe those are things he should try to avoid in the future. Clark wouldn't allow his father to die a preventable death because the "time wasn't right," but Pa Kent himself serves as no solid foundation. The real Pa Kent would certainly have never suggested children should die just to keep Clark's powers secret. I was bothered that Pa Kent was dead and inconsequential in Superman Returns, but at least there he wasn't the contradictory mess that Pa Kent was written as in MoS.


BAM, nailed it. Ignoring the film's other glaring issues, this right here is why Man of Steel stunk on toast.
_________________________
Walla Walla Bing Bang.

Top
#602227 - 07/06/13 12:19 AM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Charles Reece Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
"Your other point the Christ parallels is also weak."

1. You never mentioned the first point that's weak.
2. It's not clear what's weak about the "second" point: that Snyder made Christ parallels? Surely, he did, which is obvious if you watched the movie. Or, is the weak point supposedly that these are the strongest Christ parallels Snyder has ever made? Since I never made that point, it's irrelevant what he did in Dawn of the Dead (but I don't remember any figure being Christ-like in that film).

Waid and others don't agree with you that Superman is portrayed as greater than God. Their view is what I was arguing against. Although, I agree with them that the film makes Superman too fallible to be greater than God.

The movie wasn't very good, to be sure (but it's the best Superman movie so far, for whatever that's worth). I just didn't feel like pointing out all the dumb problems. For me, the dumbest was why all the Kryptonians had to die when they could achieve space travel so easily. I mean, it was part of their regular day to day living, and part of their imperialist cultural heritage. In fact, it was so normal for them that even the phantom zone prison could be easily converted into an intergalactic starship by some soldiers. But, yeah, Pa choosing to rescue the dog when he had an indestructible son was pretty stupid, too.
_________________________
The Gospel, wherein much Truth is written.

Top
#602228 - 07/06/13 02:03 AM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Charles Reece]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
You never mentioned the first point that's weak.

That the level of destruction displayed has any inherent messaging value or deeper significance.


Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
I don't remember any figure being Christ-like in [Dawn].

I said biblical, not necessarily of Christ. Take the image of someone washing their hands in the fountain, as one example I can easily recall. That was clearly a reference to Pontius Pilate imagery. How it fits into the zombie apocalypse narrative... it doesn't. That's the point. Snyder uses imagery for its personal aesthetic appeal to himself, not as a representation anything else.


Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
I agree with them that the film makes Superman too fallible to be greater than God.

And yet His representative quivers in Superman's presence.


Originally Posted By: Charles Reece
The movie wasn't very good, to be sure (but it's the best Superman movie so far, for whatever that's worth).

Oh, good lord, no. Even Superman Returns was better than this dreck.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

Top
#602294 - 08/12/13 05:35 AM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Gerald Offline
Member

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1108
Allen Montogmery,

Good points made in your review.

Charlels Reece,

I always enjoy reading your films reviews. One part of me was craving to see a really epic and evenly matched fight between Superman and a villain (not Doomsday). But after seeing it, I realized it was very disappointing. The greedy trend of trying to PG-13ify mass destruction and violence is pretty sad. Especially in a film like this where at the end...it's all back to normal.
In Miracleman I'm sure Alan Moore was writing his own teenage fantasy of what a fight between two superpowered beings would REALLY be like: bloodshed, death, destruction etc. However, the mature mind of Alan Moore utilized that for a purpose. Things DIDN'T go back to normal at the end of the story. There were consequences for everything, not just for the actions of the supervillains.
I have no real desire right now to see Miracleman VS Kid Miracleman done on the screen with Disney's characters or WB's. It was already done in comic book form by Alan Moore and John Totleben. Despite the source of Alan Moore's story, and the fantasy setting, the story, IMO, is a very serious one and still carries some significance that is helped by the fact that there's no Miracleman action figures, lunch boxes, video games, etc.

Oh yeah, it's pretty weird to think that way back when, we were laughing at some WB exec for saying "The Dark Knight was successful. We need to make the next Superman film dark too, to be successful." I had forgotten that thread completely, even when seeing the trailers for Man of Steel.



Edited by Gerald (08/12/13 05:38 AM)
_________________________
"My head's lopsided *****!"-Red Gumby

Top
#602316 - 08/22/13 10:10 PM Re: Man of Steel [Re: Gerald]
Allen Montgomery Online   content
Member

Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Entertainment Weekly is reporting that in the MoS sequel/Batman crossover, Batman will be played by... Ben Affleck.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
Bob Kane

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >


Moderator:  Rick Veitch, Steve Conley