Man of Steel: Superman reboot less than super?

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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+

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20 thoughts on “Man of Steel: Superman reboot less than super?

  1. I would probably give this less than a B-. I mean, I honestly wanted to leave the writing was so bad. The transitions were awful and it was hard to follow too.

    • Yeah, I agree, Blair–it was definitely cringeworthy writing sometimes. I agree about the transitions, too. Do you think the story would be any better if it had been told in a more linear way? I was kind of surprised they went about it the way they did.

  2. Pingback: Blogiversary Bash: The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger | Silver Screen Serenade

  3. Reblogged this on Silver Screen Serenade and commented:

    Reblog time begins! I’m kicking it off with my very first movie review ever. Basically, this is the film that gave birth to Silver Screen Serenade. For better or worse, that film is Man of Steel.

  4. I have actually had this debate with a few people I know. Man Of Steel was not all that it could have been to be honest. There were numerous inconsistencies that made no sense whatsoever. Such as, it takes Kal about 30 years to adapt to his powers, then along comes Zod who masters his abilities in 5 minutes… And the way Zod gets killed by Sups… Yeah okay… While the SPX were good, I will go on record here and say that only one person brought the character to life, and that was Christopher Reeve. (At least in Superman The Movie and Superman II). Superman Returns was so-so, and Man Of Steel was.. Yeah… Compared to the 1978 release, this one fails in comparison.

  5. C+ is about right. It wasn’t terrible, but it should have been so much more. Cavill was ok. Crowe and Shannon were big pluses, though. The action that closed out the film was also nicely done, if overly long. Check out the ’78 and Supes II from ’80 if you get the chance. BTW, part II is the one that has multiple versions floating around. I’ll be doing the Donner cut of that one for my Blind Spot this month.

    • Yeah it’s a shame. I really wanted the film to work, and it’s an especially hard pill to swallow now knowing that they’re going to try to throw him in with all these other DC heroes. I’m hoping for the best, but mostly expecting the worst. Lol. Thanks for the tip, Dell! I definitely need to track these films down. Honestly, I don’t know how I’ve gone so long without seeing them…

  6. Great review and you’re pretty much spot-on about the film’s flaws (which are many). i hated it; i thought it was loud, humourless and badly written, and badly acted for the most part (Cavill tries but he doesn’t ave much of a character to work with). Shannon was the only bright spot in the whole mess, bringing some much-needed energy to an otherwise dull, ponderous and shitty movie.

    • Thanks, Niall! We’re pretty much on the same page, my friend. This was such a disappointment for me back in 2013. But, hey, without it, I might not have started this blog, so I can at least appreciate it for that. Hahaha.

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