When I heard that Superman was getting a reboot, I wasn’t exactly super enthused. To be fair, I’ve always been a Batman fan at heart, but I also had the 2006 attempt at reviving Superman on my mind. If I remember correctly, the attempt was less than successful—more of a sentimental tribute to the old movies than a try at anything new.
But when I saw the trailer for Man of Steel, I perked up a little. Visually, I was taken in right away—a little boy in jeans and a red cape playing in the sunset, Superman’s fist planted firmly on the ground with snow swirling around it, lots of otherworldly bright lights, etc.—but this also seemed like it might translate better to modern audiences. It seemed darker. It seemed fresh. So how is it really? Well…meh.
Synopsis: “A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.” –Borrowed from my favorite movie site, IMDb.
The Good: Like the stunning trailer, the movie does not disappoint visually. The lighting is gorgeous, the fights and the destruction are enough to thrill any action fan, Krypton (Superman’s home planet) has interesting technology and a few cool alien beasts, and Superman’s redesigned threads are darker, scalier, and altogether more suggestive of an alien suit of armor than a flashy, cheesy supersuit. I also think Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Superman/Clark Kent is pretty spot-on: imposing strength and a certainty of what’s right paired with almost childlike innocence and a gentle nature. Sounds like Superman to me. And on a shallow note, he’s also very, very nice to look at (check out this Buzzfeed article) if you haven’t had a good look.) Favorite scene: When bad guy General Zod (played by Michael Shannon) pays a visit to Mrs. Kent and her super son is clearly not happy about it. Villains be warned—don’t ever mess with momma.
The Bad: The script. Like, almost all of it. You know you’re dealing with stale dialogue when you’re finishing characters’ sentences in your head. There’s so much time spent on action and visuals that there’s hardly any room for real character development. Of course, that could also be attributed to the way the story is told. The first half of the movie is fairly disjointed. We’re either on Krypton or hopping back and forth from Clark’s childhood memories to whatever random job he’s working (and he has quite a resume, apparently). When we’re finally on a linear plot line, so much is happening that the characters just kind of get lost in the action and clichéd, uninspired lines. Also, with little to no lead-up—boom! Clark and love interest Lois (Amy Adams) are in love. C’mon guys. Can’t we at least get up to 10 minutes of shared screen time before we make out? Least favorite scene: Pretty much any of the lingering moments where Lois and Clark are staring at each other. Do people actually have time for that in the middle of an alien attack?
To Sum It Up: This film definitely has big intentions, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark. Don’t get me wrong—it has its fair share of entertaining moments, and if you’re partial to superhero movies, it’s definitely worth checking out. But with movies like Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and Joss Whedon’s Avengers, the genre has been catapulted into something we expect more from, I think. Knock-down, drag-out fights are a must, of course, but a good script makes the rest of the movie so much more enjoyable. Man of Steel is fun, but the lackluster dialogue is, unfortunately, its kryptonite.
My Grade: C+