After the last Superman movie – you know the one – I think
fans were expecting a lot from ‘Man of Steel.’
I think it’s fair to say that ‘Man of Steel’ is much better
than ‘Superman Returns.’ But is that really saying much?
This go around, Henry Cavill steps into some mighty big
shoes – and while he’s better than Brandon Routh (my cat would be a better
Superman, seriously) he’s nowhere near Christopher Reeve. That may be an unfair
comparison to make – but it’s still the truth.
As the steadfast hero, Cavill shows an impressive array of
blandness. When he’s on screen, he’s most often blown away by the other actors (especially
Michael Shannon as General Zod) and the cinematography.
Still, Cavill is not so bad that he ruins the movie. He doesn’t
help it though, either.
I have never read a Superman comic – but I’ve seen every
Superman movie and I was even a fan of ‘Smallville’ for a time. This version of
Superman is missing something for me.
That something is heart.
Superman has always been a tale for the underdog. He’s
always been a hero for the masses. And
Superman’s message? That has always been
on of hope.
‘Man of Steel’ doesn’t have that. Any of that.
This is not the Superman that learns about human mortality
from watching his adopted father succumb to a heart attack – something he can’t
stop. This is the Superman that watches his adopted father get swallowed up by
a tornado and does nothing because there’s a fear people will see his
That’s not a hero to me. If you’re going to be that
paranoid, you might as well have a big pot field out in corn country – because you
might as well be high if you’re going to turn Superman into a coward.
As far as the acting goes, Diane Lane and Kevin Costner
anchor the movie as the Kents – while Shannon takes it to a manic level as Zod.
Shannon really is the best part about the film.
Amy Adams has a fun introduction as Lois Lane – but then she
devolves into a damsel in distress with blowing hair for the bulk of the movie.
The weakest link for me – and no, it’s not Cavill – is Russell
Crowe. He shows no gravitas or strength as Jor-El. It’s more like he’s a
Kryptonian ninja. It’s a little unsettling.
The film is directed by Zack Snyder – a man who is
responsible for one of the only horror movie remakes I can stand (‘Dawn of the
Dead’). He’s also responsible for the empty ‘300’ and the unwatchable ‘Watchmen.’
I’m thinking he might have been a little out of his depth here.
The truth is, Snyder tried to make Superman a grittier
character. The problem is, Superman doesn’t
do gritty as easily as Batman,
Wolverine and even Bruce Banner do. It changes the character when you try to
make him gritty.
I’ve seen some complaints about the level of violence in the
movie. That didn’t really bother me on a personal level – but that is not the
Superman that I think most people would recognize.
Finally, I think my biggest complaint about the film is the
plot. The movie runs about two and a half hours – and yet it only seems to have
about an hour and a half of plot. The rest is filled with computer graphics and
rescue scenes that really only serve to wow the audience with computer
For right now, I guess I’m going to compare it to ‘Batman
Begins.’ To be fair, though, I think ‘Batman Begins’ was better than this. If
Snyder can pull something akin to ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ out of his bag for
the sequel – I’m sure he’ll cement his place alongside other qualified
If he doesn’t, I hope they anchor him to a bench alongside M.
Night Shyamalan and never let him up again..
What do you think? Did you like ‘Man of Steel’?