This time I really had a problem. Normally I tend to write only about movies that spawn a certain reaction in me. May it be positive or negative. But this time it took me more than two days before I sat down to write a review. Because, in all honesty, this movie left me with nothing. But why is that?
Well, do I have to explain the story behind this movie? I don’t think so. It’s pretty much the same origin story we all already know from Superman. We follow him when he discovers that he’s different. We see how he learns about his powers. We see him struggle with his powers. We see him struggle with the question what kind of man he wants to be. Something that ‘Superman Returns’ did different in 2006. There were glimpses of Superman’s origins and that was enough for me.
I enjoyed the first half of Man Of Steel. But when the first hour of the film is done there come so many stupid things into play that it feels very off. Yes they did the origin story over again and tried to go different ways to present it to the audience. We get a very extended look at Krypton. Surely a Krypton that doesn’t look like I would imagine it. It took me a while to get used to it. It’s a little weird. But if I would have to say what I expected Krypton to look like I would say that Vulcan (from the 2009 Star Trek) was kind of what I expected. On the other hand I expected Vulcan to look like the Krypton we got in Man Of Steel. So yeah, Krypton has the feel of a Volcano/Lava Planet. Which felt a little off. Surely 30 minutes are on Krypton before we get to Earth. And there we get an already grown up Clark Kent, trying to find his way and doing jobs like everyone else. Flashback bring us to places in his childhood. Situations that will define who he becomes. And all that is nicely done. But, yet again, we already kind of know this stuff. The movie starts to go its own route when General Zod arrives on Earth.
As soon as our bad guy General Zod arrives, the movie goes down hill. And by that I don’t mean the acting or technical aspect. It’s the story and how it treats its characters. The movie kind of starts to be an alien invasion movie. Strangely enough there is only an Air Force Colonel and a General who know about it and do something against it. Not a single time we hear or see the US President or a voice from Washington. It’s Superman, Colonel, General and Reporter VS Aliens. Yes Reporter! Because Lois Lane is everywhere! She must have a teleporting device since every normal military operation would not allow her to be where the action is. But she’s always there. It’s a miracle! And stupid.
And now for the ending of the movie. Where I sat in my fluffy theater seat and thought to myself “really?!?!”. Of course you have tons of battles in this movie. First Smallville, then New Yo… erm Metropolis and then THE WORLD! Oh well, I guess THE WORLD comes in the sequel. But yeah, Superman fights some epic battles, wrecks half of his hometown and at the end of the film half of Metropolis. From what we get to see in the film the damage that happens in the city must have been 20 times worse than what happened on 911. I mean half of Metropolis is a wasteland! The Superman I grew up with would have tried to avoid that. No, the Superman of today needs to punch his opponent through 10 skyscrapers, without wasting one thought about the thousands of people IN THE F***ING BUILDING. Wow. Are we so desperate that we betray what the main character actually stands for, just to CG in as much destruction as possible? Is that really necessary? Superman’s first thought should have been “Hey, to fight Zod IN THE CITY might actually not be the first best choice! I have to get him away from the population!”. Not in this movie. It’s ridiculous.
It’s save to say that this movie will make back its budget and spawn a sequel. No doubt about that. Even if the movie itself is stupid and even boring at points. They still don’t understand that loud kaboom every ten minutes is no entertainment. After a certain point you had your dose of explosions and the audience grows numb. The last 40 minutes of that film is a huge CG Kaboom clusterf*ck. It’s tooooo much. What happened to the screenwriters today? Don’t they know how a build up and pay off works? No, they have to bombard the audience with all possible things, right from minute one. It’s a shame and so many wasted opportunities. They could have done something amazing with this film. They failed.
Who do I blame? The writers and producers. And maybe the Studio. Who knows how much interference was going on there. Zack Snyder does what he does best. His visual directing style worked perfect for the movie. Even though, once again, there was far too much shaky cam going on. But overall it’s a very beautiful film to look at. The acting was fine. Not outstanding though. Henry Cavill does a nice job with the material he got. I think a worthy Superman. Michael Shannon does a great Zod as well. Very over the top. All the others… standard I guess.
They wanted to approach the material as realistic as possible. Much like the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. And the same time they go so damn over the top that you sit there shaking your head and ask yourself ‘why’? It just didn’t work.