Thursday, June 27, 2013

Man of Steel

By Sati. Thursday, June 27, 2013 , , , , , , ,

In the immortal words of legendary Aldous Snow from Forgetting Sarah Marshal - "Awful bloody movie". I was left with a number of reflections other than this one as soon as the end credits of the new Superman movie Man of Steel came up on screen -  how the hell can a movie with Henry Cavill 1. shirtless 2. in a tight suit be so dull? How in the world Adams and Cavill had zero chemistry? Why did they make Diane Lane look like a homeless person? But among those questions there was also one request - don't ever let Zack Snyder direct a movie again.

I don't really have high standards or crazy expectations for a movie like this. All I need is even a cliche romance story, as long as it has chemistry, some humour, and explosions and ridiculous plot devices in moderation. Man of Steel fails on all the three fields.
Let's start with the romance. Watching Amy Adams and Henry Cavill together was like staring at two siblings who don't even like each other's company. How the hell did that happen? I imagine when Cavill enters a room women's panties just fly off and start circling the Earth from the sheer excitement. As for Adams she is just lovable. Still, I was relieved when these two kissed because a superhero movie without a kiss would be too odd for me to handle. However the kiss just came off so awkward. I have to blame Snyder here because these two are much better and capable than that and he directed their scenes so poorly any chemistry died because of his meddling.

There is no humour in the movie. Well, no intentional humour anyways. The only funny bit, which was also shown in most trailers for the movie, happens 3 minutes before the end of the film with the female officer saying she thinks Superman is hot. That's it. Everything is so dead serious - considering the amount of silly or just plain laughable events in the film the tone really should have been much lighter.
But all of those would have made for somewhat enjoyable movie if the story was interesting. But it's not. We open with ridiculously long (20 minutes!) sequence on Krypton which is filled with people who look like just escaped from Phantom Manace and some sort of space dinosaurs randomly running and flying around in the background. I knew right then that this is not a good sign.

It gets worse - I can buy a lot of stuff and I have no problem with films like Avengers with alien invasions or even Thor with other dimension kingdoms in space, but there were times during Man of Steel I actually laughed out loud.  Take for instance the scene where General Zod (main antagonist of the movie) requires that Lois Lane is brought on his ship with Superman. Why? Well, because the plot requires Lois to be there, But do we get explanation as to why she is there other than for even more exposition dialogue? No.
But it's the twister scene that takes the prize. Oh, sweet baby Jesus. Several scenes before that moment we see Clark as a teenage boy pushing the bus from the bottom of the river, with kids seeing what he does and even the mother of one of them visiting the Kents to talk to them about it. But when years later the Kents drive right into tornado (!!!!) papa Kent gesticulates to Clark not to save him because "God forbid people realize who he is". What the hell have I just watch?

The tornado bit is just one of the many disasters Clark is conveniently near of. Also for the life of me I don't understand why out of all the possible ideas out there they went with the ridiculous alien invasion plot. There is nothing wrong with the classic Clark Kent working at Daily Planet/saving people story. Here they altered whole bunch of crap just to justify the invasion plot that ended with the biggest, loudest and dullest third act of the action movie I've seen since....you know what I cannot even remember when.
As enjoyable as hearing Henry Cavill say the words "I can do things other people can't" to Amy Adams was, I really didn't like that they altered the first meeting of Lois and Clark. The charming and fun part of these type of movies is that the main chick falls both for the ordinary guy and the hero he is underneath. Here it's completely lost but maybe it's good because to see those two lack chemistry in two relationships would be even more terrible to witness.

I have to mention my favorite plot device in the movie - favorite because I kid you not I'll be laughing at this one for years to come. Russel Crowe's Jor-El (Superman's dad) dies in the beginning of the movie. But do not worry - whenever anyone puts this space crap with S on it into random holes on space ships he appears to help our heroes with their troubles.
Don't know the family history? Russel is there to help you. Don't know how to fly the ship? Russel is there to help you. The chick you hope to score with is falling out of the ship? Russel actually did tell her to get into capsule hence she is falling in the first place but never fear - he will deliver some soapy lines and send you after her. After all she is just approaching the planet with super-speed but there is time for chit chat and cool slow-mo shot of Superman spinning before he launches after her.

Russel deus ex machina space ghost Crowe plot device was so random, if at any point he would yell "And I'm JAVEEEEERT!" I would not be surprised.
I have to give the props to Crowe, though, because he managed to do a good job even if every single situation we see him in was like straight from parody movie. Laurence Fishbourne is also doing well as Lois Lane's editor as does Chrisopher Meloni as one of the military guys - up until now I only knew this guy as one of the very few bright points of True Blood season 5.

Amy Adams is convincing as witty, brave and nosy Lois Lane. As for Cavill this casting is one of the two things that worked so well in this movie that it actually kept me watching it. There were times during this film when I wondered if Cavill isn't actually a Superman in real life, sent to us from different planet. The man looks - and sounds - so ridiculously beautiful. Also it's wonderful to finally see him in high profile role, seeing how he almost got cast as Batman and James Bond in the past, but didn't have much luck in the end.
Anyways, as I said, just terrific casting there. He is able to create really likable and not dull hero, who you can see has a very good heart and bravery, not only because he knows he can beat anyone, but even if he couldn't he would try to stand up for others and help them. And then there is eye candy element of it all - there were loud gasps of disappointment from female audience when he found a shirt and wore it.

Diane Lane and Kevin Costner did a pretty good job as Superman's foster parents. In fact there is only one bad performance in this whole movie - and I never thought I would write these words - but Michael Shannon was just terrible. It was heartbreaking seeing a man of such talent deliver such atrocious performance.
I am bitching a lot about this movie, but it's probably because there were literally 3 scenes I liked. Two scenes where Superman catches Lois and they are flying together - even if it was bit too CGI loaded and lacked certain kind of magic, let's face it, ladies - we would risk jumping off the building if there was a chance this guy would catch us. And then the last 5 minutes of the film were really fantastic - if the whole movie was like that it would be great. Those last minutes were lighter in tone, fun and had heart. Something 115 previous minutes lacked.

As weird as it is that Superman was seen up close by a bunch of people in the movie and in the end his only disguise is glasses, I liked that 1. if they pick the story from there and in more traditional Superman story manner 2. they get an actual script 3. they get a different director for the film, the sequel may actually be enjoyable.
But my favorite part of Man of Steel, other than Cavill just walking around and you know, being on screen, was Hans Zimmer's masterful score. This guy should score every movie out there. Not only did he gave us incredible and original Batman theme for Nolan's movies, he now gave us wonderful Superman theme. Hell, there is this 28-minute long track on score which is one of the most amazing things I've ever heard and is MUCH better than actual movie. The score for this movie is so fantastic If I were on Zimmer's place I'd send Snyder a box with dog poo in it for using my awesome music in such a movie.

Speaking of Nolan, each promo for Man of Steel mentioned proudly how he is the producer of it. It was probably done so that people wouldn't freak out about Snyder directing it and instead said "Oh, well, Nolan is producing so it can't be bad". I don't know whether Nolan was just there on set laughing his ass off about Snyder's "directing" methods or just having a coffee and chatting with the cast, but as for actually supervising Snyder so he would do a good job....yeah, well he certainly didn't do that.

Man of Steel is so overloaded with CGI and so slim on story you really can't hang on to anything there. The last hour of the movie is just explosions over and over again. At least Michael Bay's movies have some funny moments in it and they are occasionally fun. That was just dull. Hell, I even enjoyed Sucker Punch more than this.

I felt relief twice during the movie. First time, when we saw the cute dog that was living with Mrs. Kent was fine. Second time when the end credits showed up on screen and I knew I could finally leave.

Man of Steel 
(2013, 143 min)
Plot: A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: David S. Goyer
Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon




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37 comments:

  1. This review seems so right. Because I had so many of the same thoughts (Nolan being on the trailer credits, for one) from the clips and trailers. Yet it's so wrong that I aim still aiming to see this next time I'm at the theaters. Should I miss Henry Cavill and all his hotness?..My mind is broken trying to decide - as obsessively fangirly as that makes me sound.

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    1. Well, he made this movie watchable, I think you should see it on the big screen for him, it was just unreal how amazing he looked there :)

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    2. I so badly wanted too but the showtimes weren't right for me to see it - took a chance on The Bling Ring instead. If I have another opportunity in the next week or so, I might go for it. *crosses fingers*

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    3. Oh, I bet Bling Ring was better than this one :)

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  2. I liked it more than you did. For example that tornado scene was one of my favourites in the movie. I think convenient plot points are to be expected in superhero movies, but the relationship between Clark and Jonathan there is really powerful for me.

    I am actually going to give Nolan a great deal of blame. I think Snyder might have made a wayyyy more enjoyable film if the Nolan influences weren't there. At the end of the day my biggest issues with the film was its super seriousness and that awful, brain-numbing climax.

    I loved Diane Lane. Her and obviously Cavill were my favourites. Even Crowe wasn't bad, which is a big thing because he usually makes me ill. Oh and yes, Shannon = wasted.

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    1. I liked the relationship between them, but the whole scene was so absurd I couldn't stop laughing. If they didn't show the bus thing I could maybe be OK with it, but it just made no sense the way it happened in the movie.

      I think the writer should be blamed the most, the story sucked so much it was as if they didn't even think about whether or not the script was good and approved it by only glancing at it.

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  3. I agree Cavill was great in the role. Wow did he have the physique for it! I liked how they left it in the final scene too. Bodes well for the sequel I hope.

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  4. "I imagine when Cavill enters a room women's panties just fly off and start circling the Earth from the sheer excitement."

    LOL. Agree with quite a lot of this review. What did you think of Zod's henchwoman, Faora, played by Antje Traue? I thought she was better than Shannon.

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    1. She was much better than he was, I think if she was the main villain the movie would be more interesting. Shame she didn't have much to do, though, I really liked her performance in underrated Pandorum.

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  5. I liked it a bit more than you but it definitely had its problems. The kiss just felt so forced; not once before that did they seem to have any kind of attraction to each other. Also, I'm glad you brought up the whole 'why was Lois on the ship' thing. I genuinely couldn't remember why Zod wanted her to be there. I thought there was half a good film there (the first half) but then it just went CGI crazy. I really do think Superman works best as a TV show.

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    1. Yeah, there was really no chemistry, come to think of it I think it's a problem with Adams, she is really cute but she doesn't usually have passionate chemistry with actors she plays with.

      I don't think they even bothered to give a reason for Zod wanting Lois to be there :/

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  6. I completely agree with your assessment. This failed in so many ways. Your review has so many quotable lines but I think my favorite was:

    “I felt relief twice during the movie. First time, when we saw the cute dog that was living with Mrs. Kent was fine. Second time when the end credits showed up on screen and I knew I could finally leave.”

    That pretty much says it all.

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    1. Thank you! :) Yeah, it was so long and boring, last year I had such a good time on TDKR which was longer than Man of Steel but this one was insanely dull.

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  7. "Russel deux ex machina space ghost Crowe plot device was so random, if at any point he would yell "And I'm JAVEEEEERT!" I would not be surprised."

    That made me LOL. I think of that line quite a bit when I see Russell Crowe now. I loved his Javert, and I'm not afraid to admit that! I'm still trying to decide if I'd rather see this movie or World War Z. I lean towards this for Michael Shannon, but from what I understand he's pretty over the top.

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    1. Yeah, it's just unforgettable, completed with that blue outfit he wore in Les Mis :) I thought he did a good job there, but him reminding people what his name was made me laugh every time it happened.

      Oh, Shannon is awful in this and I usually love his work.

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  8. This review has led me from "Well, that was average but passable" to "HEY, you're right!!!" to all the plot holes.

    I'd completely forgotten how stupid I thought it was when Lois is asked to come on the plane.

    I must be the only one in the world who thought Michael Shannon was good in this though. I usually can't stand him (again, probably the only one who usually doesn't like him haha).

    I think there were glimpses of brilliance in this, amongst 2+ hours of a poor film.

    Good review :)

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    1. Yeah her on that plane was so random!

      Haha, that's cool you liked him, I usually really adore his work but here it didn't work for me at all.

      Thanks! :)

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  9. This makes my insides hurt. I haven't seen the movie yet. I had such high hopes though. Ooh well. Another movie that can wait for dvd.

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    1. Yeah, it really can. CGI is petty good but the film is horribly boring.

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  10. So glad someone agrees with me about the chemistry between Adams and Cavill. I personally blame the writing and directing, but it was just hard to believe that they had any feelings for each other. There was nothing there.

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    1. Absolutely. The story was terrible in the first place and even if situation could be romantic or at least hot, they totally blew it with the way it was written.

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  11. Yes yes and yes, I was hooked for the first forty five minutes or so of backstory and then this film just goes off the rails. Too much punching, yelling and explosions and not enough story in the last hour and a half that seemed like three hours.

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    1. Oh God, yes, I was so bored during the last hour I completely lost interest there. Even if there was a story there I don't think I would even like to follow it anymore, at that point I was just staring at the screen.

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  12. I didn't really have any major issues with this one.

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    1. Really? Well, glad at least someone liked it, I suppose.

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  13. Sorry you didn't like it more. I had some minor issues with it, like the way Clark's and Lois' relationship was handled, but I liked the film overall.

    Zimmer's score has a 28-minute track? I need to check that out!

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    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lu7RW1Ss4U There you go :)

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  14. haha hilarious post, Sati! You had me cracking up with this one, because I bet my sentiments on this one would be very comparable to yours. I was tempted to this this, because I had a free ticket, but I fortuitously passed. There are so many superhero movies coming out (like zombie movies) that it's hard to appreciate one over the other, with the exception of Batman. From watching the trailer, Amy Adams did look like an odd choice for Lois Lane, and your assessment confirmed this. I will definitely be passing this one.

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  15. You hit just about every point here. Nicely done Sati.

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  16. I agree with most of the things you've mentioned but I definitely don't want a traditional Superman storyline for the sequel. Superman is too invincible. Perhaps that's why they decided on an alien invasion here. Plus, the glasses as disguise annoy me as hell.

    Cavill really does embody Superman perfectly. Always did question Snyder as director but apparently he's signed on for more movies in the franchise.

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    1. Yeah, the glasses thing is hugely naive, but at least that story wouldn't bore me to tears so that's why I'd prefer it :)

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  17. I hear ya about the CGI overload, and that's why I didn't give this movie a full score despite my undying love for Superman and of course, Cavill. Not sure if you saw my post on this or not but all that fighting in the third act is my biggest beef w/ the movie, but I LOVE the first hour or so of origin story & character development.

    Glad you LOVE Cavill though, absolutely agree w/ what you said about him... "There were times during this film when I wondered if Cavill isn't actually a Superman in real life, sent to us from different planet. The man looks - and sounds - so ridiculously beautiful." I was ready to burst into a giddy fangirl every time they did a close up on him and I was swooning uncontrollably during the scene of him with Diane Lane as Clark Kent [forget his pecs, his smile is KILLER!!!] :D

    I saw this twice on the big screen and I grew to love it more the second time around, but then again maybe I'm just so biased about Cavill, ahah.

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    1. I have yet to read your review, I was jut very busy and didn't get a chance :( But I'll get to that this week!

      His smile is so beautiful and sweet :) And I think I like him with his ragged look a bit more, my God those scenes in the cave when he was wearing that white shirt....he looked so hot!

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  18. I liked this one more than you did. I find Costner and Lane as foster parents were great, very ideal as parents. Well there's too few scenes between Adams and Cavill to know if they really clicked. Maybe in the sequel? Sometimes I think Cavill hid from his looks or something (so we don't really see his lack of depth).

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