Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel


 I went to see Man of Steel last night. I have always been enamored with this story ever since I used to watch the old thirty minute black and white television series back when I was a kid, the one that ruined George Reeves’ life and led to his suicide at age 45. I loved the Christopher Reeve version, and was saddened at his death too. With that tract record, I hope nothing terrible befalls British actor, Henry Cavill, who does a fantastic job of filling out his spandex uniform but little else.

The movie was a disappointment for me on many levels, but as I was walking to my car in the parking lot afterwards, I was finding it difficult to put into words just why. My wife, as usual, came to the rescue with the best one sentence movie review of all time, “It had a whole lot of too much and not enough of something.” There’s no way I can improve on that, so I will just list in bullet points the things that irritated me.

# At 143 minutes, this movie once again illustrates that Hollywood has forgotten how to edit. Story could have been told just as well if not better in less than 2 hours …easily. The final fight scene between Superman and General Zod was so overcooked and ridiculous it bordered on comical. After destroying half of Metropolis wrestling through building after building, then, just for kicks, wrestling all the way into orbit onto a satellite, it finally occurs to Superman, that he can kill Zod by simply getting him in a choke hold and breaking his neck. Apparently Superman’s superhuman powers did not include the power of deductive reasoning.

# So, in the 2013 version of this story, Perry White turns out to be black.

# Lois Lane, the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter famous for her inquiring mind, after being up close and personal with Superman in the most dangerous and emotionally powerful ways imaginable, hasn’t even the slightest hint of recognition when she is introduced to the newly hired Clark Kent at the end of the movie, a name she knew from her interview with his mother, and despite the fact that Clark’s only disguise was a pair of glasses.

# Although the story of Superman has always been heavy with religious imagery, Director Zack Snyder handles the religious themes with all the subtlety of a punch in the face. As Clark ponders what he is to do with his great powers, he wanders into a church, and as he explains his conundrum to a priest, behind his right shoulder is a huge stained glass depiction of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in the background. Nicely done Zack. I see what you did there!

Snyder’s approach seems to have been, “let’s spend as little time as possible telling the story, and as much time as possible blowing things up.” In other words, a whole lot of too much and not enough of something.