Man of Steel (2013)

mos1Spoilers ahoy folks….

They just don’t know when to stop. Good grief, the amount of cgi in this film, all the huge explosions and collapsing buildings and all manner of fireworks and bang-for-your-buck effects. I trust Man of Steel 2 will be set in a desolate post-apocalypse Metropolis, as most of the city and its inhabitants must have perished in all the chaos of the grand finale. It’ll take decades to rebuild that city. The irony of Superman reluctantly killing General Zod, in order to stop Zod killing an innocent family, when we had surely seen thousands die in the wake of the great battle beforehand, almost made me giggle.

But there’s no room for logic or common-sense here. I could see where we were going early in- indeed, ten minutes in with Russell Crowe’s Jor-El riding on a giant flying insect dodging exploding spaceships/buildings/laser blasts etc, I knew the film was in trouble, as it so quickly veered into the insane cgi excess of George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels. It looked like a cartoon, and all the sincerity of Crowe’s live-action performance on-set couldn’t foster any empathy for the cgi version of him darting through Krypton’s chaotic battle-strewn skies. Will film-makers never learn that beyond the spectacular visuals there is all the emotional power of a car-wash or a kettle boiling in stuff like this? The last 45 minutes of Man of Steel was visually amazing but boring as hell. I’ve never been so bored watching a film prove a man can fly. Matrix Revolutions did all the super-hero fight/flight stuff years ago, and we’ve seen cgi cities fall in Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon and The Avengers. Its been done. We’ve seen it. Film-makers need to find ways of bringing back old-school stuff like drama, emotion and character into these videogame snore-fests.  I’ve honestly never been so bored by a blockbuster movie, and it shocked me, as I thought that title had been confidently snatched by Star Trek into Darkness. Looking at the trailer for The Lone Ranger that ran before Man of Steel, it seems that we are in for another example of mad cgi excess there too. Well count me out.

Personally, I think its evident Warner Bros and the production team simply tried too hard to respond to criticisms of Superman Returns, a film I enjoyed and actually feel is a better film than Man of Steel. I may be in the minority with that but the hell with it. Superman Returns had better acting, better depth, characterisation, an emotional core. It didn’t bore me- indeed it involved me emotionally. I loved its nods to Superman: The Movie and Christopher Reeve, its respect for both that film and the character. Man of Steel? Well, Superman is no Dark Knight, so ‘gifting’ Superman all that Batman angst was the wrong way to go for a start, and with that, and the over-reliance on visual effects, well, it was a recipe for disaster. So, thoroughly disappointed by Man of Steel.  And the less said about Hans Zimmer’s Wall Of Sound/Soundscape Of Noise score the better.

In my opinion, in order of quality, Superman: The Movie is the best Superman film, followed by Superman 2, Superman Returns (those three forming a great trilogy) and then Man of Steel (and even then only because Superman 3 & 4 are truly awful films).

I’ll end this now with one last observation- John Carter was a far, far better movie. Yep, I’ve said it. Its light-years beyond Man of Steel in story, direction, acting, visuals, music- you name it, John Carter did it better.  But as far as box office is concerned, quality is no sure-fire road to success it seems, as John Carter ‘flopped’ and Man of Steel is surely headed towards a billion dollars. Its enough to make me weep…

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