What’s Wrong With MAN OF STEEL? (SPOILER WARNING)
Man Of Steel continues to polarize cinema goers and critics alike with valid arguments on both sides. Though it is by no stretch a terrible film, let’s take a look at what didn’t quite work with Warner Bro's and DC's most recent adaptation. Hit the jump, check it out.
Check out the embedded video below for the comprehensive analysis of Man Of Steel or read the transcript found just below that. Though please note I had a cousin who read so much that he died. I kid he’s fine. But he is a jerk.
Man Of Steel may not be making The Dark Knight kind of money DC and Warner Brother’s were anticipating, but all in all it’s a mostly faithful and entertaining adaptation of the character of Superman. It’s filled with terrific moments both intimate and action packed, the score is amazing, the cast performances are solid all round and to no-one’s dismay except perhaps mine, there’s no ludicrous slow motion moon fight like in Superman 4. However, and I know I’m not alone in saying this, there are some things that aren’t quite right with Man Of Steel. Does this make Man Of Steel a terrible movie? Well by the laws of the internet where everything is either the worst thing ever or the best thing ever with zero middle ground then yes. But more accurately no. No movie is perfect (except obviously The Tuxeudo starring Jackie Chan and Jennifer Love Hewitt) but films can have imperfections and still be enjoyed. That being said let’s take a look at what didn’t quite work with Man Of Steel.
Kneel Before Inconsistent Zod!
Michael Shannon’s portrayal of Zod in Man Of Steel was certainly memorable. He’s a suitably villainous character with clear motivations and he’s got an undercurrent of menace beneath every line of dialogue he speaks and action he takes. Not to mention his scenes through the film with Jor-El are particularly standout. The character does have his faults though, and they certainly aren’t with Michael Shannon but rather than some of the writing behind him. To begin with, he’s all about protecting the Kyptonian way for life, it’s the sole purpose of his creation and yet he’s inconsistent in his apparently unshakable beliefs. When Jor-El informs him Zod he’s had a natural child, Zod’s all HERESY! And yet minutes before he totally shot that old lady on the Jedi council, everyone saw that, that’s heresy also probably. He’s also written as a master strategist and a soldier from birth and yet Clark, who before the day of their confrontation had never been in a fight in his life, was able to defeat him rather quickly. Even Jor-El, a man of science, can best him in hand to hand combat, right after he Krav Maga’s a bunch of his henchmen. Zod’s by no means a terrible villain, just a little inconsistent.
Superman Is Distinctly Average At Saving People
(And Jor-el Is A Jerk)
Superman, but more specifically his biological father actually created more problems on earth than he solved. Russell Crowe’s always banging on to his son how he’s the one to lead the people of earth and be someone to aspire to blah de bah. But what he’s the reality of is sent a super powered being to earth (a planet that seems to be doing okay by the way) closely followed by a team of technologically advanced mass murdering unstoppable psychopaths. That’s like introducing an eagle into a chicken coop followed closely by a pack of wolves. Oh and that eagle and all those wolves can shoot lasers from their eyes. Even the line “You can save them (I think it’s her in the final version), you can save all of them,” is misguided, because clearly, he cannot. I mean Superman saved most of the people of earth granted, but he didn’t save the hundreds of thousands of people flattened in Metropolis. Miles of that city ended up destroyed and covered in ash transforming the area into what looked like the apocalyptic future. I half expected Viggo Mortensen to roll past with his shopping cart looking for some canned food. The world shown in this movie doesn’t need Superman, not yet anyways, but hopefully this is something that will be addressed in the sequel. Especially if Lex Luther, the champion behind the anti-Superman movement, is introduced as the villain.
More Like Lois…LAME!
Initially the Man Of Steel Lois Lane seems like an interesting take on the character. She’s proactive, smart and figures out who Superman is before waiting years for Clark to accidently fall into a fire. All of these are good things. And yet after she escapes Zod’s ship (not sure why she was there in the first place) she just appears to exist as someone for Superman to catch. Like her appearance in the film her dialogue also becomes less relevant. Remember the line that goes something like “They say relationships only get worse after the first kiss?” They say that huh? Who says that? Let me tell you nobody has ever said that at any point for any reason. So as I said, more like Lois LAME am I right?!? Nailed it.
Man Of Steel is structured oddly, there’s very little action in the first half of the film, in comparison to what happens in the last fifty minutes with a smattering of flashbacks throughout the narrative. It’s a structure that somewhat mimics Batman Begins, but for the most part, because of the action heavy second act it’s totally unbalanced. After Superman terrific confrontation with Faora it’s just action scene after action scene, some great, some entirely unnecessary, and some featuring a giant squid that fires a laser through the centre of the earth. By the time everything’s said and done and we get to the epic Zod versus Superman showdown it’s just too much. When Zod removes his armour, I should be thinking, well, things just got interesting. Instead I’m thinking, this is a long movie and that camera sure shakes around a lot whilst CGI men in tights hit each other.
I also don’t understand why Zack Snyder, a man known as a visual director, abandons the slow motion action sequences he’s known for. That technique actually makes more sense when you’ve got people fighting who can move faster than the human eye can perceive. More sense than using a realistic gritty handheld camera approach anyways. There’s also a reason why Zod’s fight with Jor-El at the beginning of the movie is more interesting than Zod’s showdown with Superman, it’s because it feels real and like there’s something important actually at stake. That baby needs to be shot into the vacuum of space, ASAP! Also, if people don’t like the slow motion, that’s fine, I have a solution. Have Superman and whomever he’s fighting move at regular human speed and have everything around them, including the people in the background move slowly. That way we can clearly see what’s going on and we also know, hey, these guys are really fast. That’s never been done before…probably!
Destruction And Death
A lot of negative things have been said about Superman killing Zod in Man Of Steel and how Superman would never kill anyone, which isn’t actually true. If he’s backed into a corner you better believe Superman will kill. He’s done it in the movies, the comics and even the Smallville TV series. Granted he’s never snapped someone’s neck in front of a family of four, but hey, that’s the kinda Superman we have now I guess. My problem with this incarnation is really why Superman isn’t the kind of hero where if he sees people in danger, he’ll remove the danger, or remove the people. Not fly the danger through a presumably occupied building. Not to mention he had the opportunity to remove Zod when they flew all the way up into space only to then drop him down bang in the middle of Metropolis.
Kevin Costner Stepped Into A Tornado
I don’t want to spend too much time on this, I actually think this scene kinda sorta works. Jonathan Kent is making a point, he’s saying I’d rather die to protect your secret than have you reveal it to save me. Jonathan Kent’s death in the original movie though, and some of the comic versions, is to make the point that no matter what powers he possesses, no matter how fast he flies or how hard he can look through something, Clark can’t save everyone. It’s a lesson in humility, just like in the brief but heartbreaking comic Sam’s Story. Give that a read if you haven’t already, it’s amazing. Having his father swept up in a tornado in a scenario Clark could have easily intervened in teaches him what? Keep your secret? I mean he just reveals himself a few years later, that was bound to happen eventually. Maybe the lesson is tornadoes are not to be trusted? If that’s it then message received!
What About The Justice League?
From what we’ve heard from the creative team involved, plus various easter eggs riddled throughout the film, Man Of Steel is the beginning of a brand new DC universe leading into the Justice League. Sounds awesome, I don’t think there’s a person on the planet that wouldn’t see that movie when it eventually hits. That being said the tone and real world style set up in Man Of Steel kinda makes it difficult to introduce some of the characters we’ll inevitably be seeing. You bring Wonder Woman in and suddenly your asking question like, so there is an island of Amazonian's out in the Agean sea with super powered women that nobody knew about? Also am I right in saying a man just appeared out the ocean that can communicate with fish and can breathe underwater? And that there’s also an entire civilisations down there. And just like that island, that we didn’t notice till just now?
Despite being a terrible movie , Green Lantern does actually somehow work with Man Of Steel as they both establish that there are other races in the Universe but it’s Batman’s inclusion that I’m really worried about. Batman and Superman work in the comics together because the world created allows it to make sense. There’s magic and time travel and villains who are gorilla’s so you could stand a regular (if highly skilled) human being next to Superman and have them be totally equal in their own ways. What Warner Brother’s has created here is a totally realistic world the likes of which Christopher Nolan’s Batman wouldn’t be out of place. But the Batman you need in the Justice League would have to be to some extent the Batman from the comics, the genius who anticipates every possible scenario, is inexplicably good at everything, knows one hundred and twenty seven forms of martial arts and can kick down a tree. I would love to see this Batman, I just don’t know how he’ll work at at this point without changing the world to something similar to what Marvel has done or making the whole universe seem completely ridiculous.
You know what though, at the end of the day Man Of Steel is a very entertaining if flawed Superman film. I know it underwhelmed a lot of people and completely blown others away, and that’s fine, people are allowed to have different opinions on things. The best thing is that this is a decent foundation to continue the Superman mythos on, it’s made enough money to support the franchises future and there’s a lot set up here for an amazing sequel. The character of Superman himself is still a little undefined and joyless, but that’s okay, it is after all his origin, his first outing.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Man of Steel though. What you liked, what you didn’t like, what you’d like to see in subsequent DC films, all of it. Do so by sounding off in the comments below or contacting me via Facebook or Twitter. And remember, be nice to each other in the comments, everyone’s entitled to their opinions don’t take the thoughts of others as personal attacks. Unless you get a brick through your front window. That by definition is a personal attack. Thanks everyone, enjoy the weekend.
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