EDITORIAL: Was MAN OF STEEL The Most Disappointing Movie Of Summer 2013? Well...
While Pacific Rim was quite easily the worst movie to be released this summer, I truly believe that it was Man of Steel which was ultimately the most disappointing. Now, that's not to say it was bad (because it wasn't), but that doesn't mean it wasn't a massive letdown...
At the start of 2013, we all knew that Iron Man 3 would more than likely become the highest grossing Marvel Studios solo movie thanks to the success of The Avengers and massive popularity of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. And it did. However, even with the guarantee that the threequel would take the box office by storm, it seems fair to say that Man of Steel was still the most anticipated comic book movie of the summer. Even as someone who doesn’t really consider themselves a Superman "fan", I couldn’t wait for this one. After all, despite a fairly muted and low key teaser trailer (“You will believe a man can fish,” some declared), everything we saw of the movie made it look like it would be nothing short of a masterpiece. And it wasn’t.
Now, if you’ve read my review of Man of Steel - in which I awarded it 3.5*, although I would possibly even go as high as 4* after a second viewing – you should already know that I by no means hated it. It was NOT a bad movie. However, there’s a difference between something being bad and something being disappointing. The Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t a bad movie, but it failed to live up to expectations and so it was thereby disappointing (for this hardcore Spidey fan anyway). Everything I saw of Man of Steel before I sat down and watched it on the day of release promised a movie with the intelligence of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the kind of kick ass action we’ve come to know and love Zack Snyder for. While it did ultimately deliver in terms of performances, action and sheer badassery, the dull and generic story would let the movie down enough to make it nothing short of a pretty major disappointment for me.
Whether it’s the bland and stereotypical master plan of General Zod, the naff way in which Superman’s origin story was handled (a series of flashbacks which arguably killed the momentum of the entire first half of the movie) or the fact that this was a Clark Kent who had seemingly done absolutely nothing in regards to being a hero until EVERYTHING was spelled out to him numerous times at the age of 33, it just didn’t work for me. However, for many other people, it did, and it ultimately comes down to personal taste. A similar example would be the big Mandarin twist in Iron Man 3. While I loved it, you could find countless others who feel it ruined the entire movie for them. Either way, for me, Man of Steel failed to take off when it comes to story and THAT is why it just disappointed me. David Goyer – who seems lost without Christopher Nolan – did not create a story which resonated with me and as much as I would love to dissect it here, it was so damn forgettable, that just isn’t possible.
However, there’s no doubting the fact that a lot of Man of Steel did work. The incredible battle at the end was exactly how I think a Superman fight should be portrayed (huge amounts of destruction and all), while the ending – and by that I mean the way Zod is killed and the final scene – really did give me chills. That’s how you do it. However, despite these and many other redeeming moments, I just can’t shake that feeling of disappointment. Whether it’s the totally superfluous battle with that...octopus thing...or how Jor-El is used as a plot device to explain everything to the characters and audience, the movie just didn’t work for me the way I was hoping. Were my expectations too high? Perhaps, but they were for Iron Man 3 and I had no problem with that (and before there are any accusations of Marvel bias, that’s a character I’m even less fond of than Superman when it comes to the comics).
As sad as I am to say it, I truly believe that Man of Steel may be the most disappointing comic book movie of 2013 (I’m not including the likes of 2 Guns and R.I.P.D. in that statement, because let’s face it, we all knew how they were going to turn out…). As excited as I am for 2015’s Batman/Superman, the fact that we’re getting the same writer means that my expectations will have to remain low. When he’s working on only the story, that’s fine, but Goyer shouldn’t be allowed to run riot on the screenplay. Hopefully the inclusion of Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader will help ensure that the quality of dialogue and story is at least a little better (as he helped pen The Town), but if Warner Bros. are determined to leave the DC Cinematic Universe in the hands of Goyer, then I fear for the quality of that world moving forward.
What did you guys think of Man of Steel? Agree? Disagree? Sound off with your thoughts below!
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