Man of Steel: What I Liked and What I Could Have Done Without


I saw the early showing of this movie in 2D with my family last night. If you like a fair amount of character development, mundane dialogue and endless scenes of CGI urban destruction, then this movie won’t disappoint. Warning, minor spoilers follow.

This is a reboot of the franchise and I was looking forward to a new twist on Superman’s origin story. I really enjoyed the first part of the movie, which depicted the death of his home planet Krypton. I enjoyed watching him wander the earth like Kung Fu’s Caine, helping people out when needed and avoiding the spotlight. This was done with subtlety and rare humor. When Clark figured out the secret to his awesomeness which coincided with being introduced to Lois Lane, I was onboard. However, when he battled General Zod (Michael Shannon), an outcast from Krypton, for what seemed like forever, this movie eroded much of the goodwill it had stockpiled. The second part really dragged; clocking in at 2h23min, this movie felt much longer. My 10-year-old daughter fell asleep. She declared herself bored at the 35 min mark, poor thing. My 11-year-old daughter stayed attentive throughout the film. She liked it but was quick to elucidate this film’s flaws.

This promising origin tale threw a few twists into a familiar story and then devolved into a bloated disaster spectacle. I do not want to spoil major plot points, and this movie was not all bad. Virgo that I am, I thought I would make a couple of lists (in no particular order of importance).

Things I liked about Man of Steel
No opening credits sequence
Henry Cavill as Superman, so beautiful and a good actor (talents underutilized here), I could watch him in anything (except the Immortals, that I simply couldn’t get through)
Henry Cavill shirtless
Henry Cavill shirtless with chest hair
Henry Cavill with chest hair tufting out of the collar of his Superman suit
Amy Adams as Lois Lane; fabulous and feisty
Amy Adams is 9 yrs older than the leading man
Lois Lane was not portrayed as an idiot; i.e. someone who could be fooled by a pair of glasses
Lois Lane’s role was more than just a damsel in distress and contributed to the conflict resolution
Lois Lane’s wardrobe may bring vests to the forefront of ladies fashion
Lois Lane’s clothes stayed on
Multiracial cast
Superman’s youth told in flashbacks
Russell Crowe, still has a presence
Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Pa and Ma Kent
The motivation of villainous General Zod made for understandable conflict, within the confines of a superhero plot
The Kryptonian technobabble wasn’t too cumbersome to follow

Things I could have done without in Man of Steel
Too long  (failed Ann’s watch test, repeatedly)
Very little humour, took itself way too seriously
Forgettable soundtrack
Stadium-sized plot holes, won’t list them here for fear of spoiling the film, but feel free to ask me to elaborate using the comments.
Endless unimaginative scenes of destruction
Poorly choreographed fights
Lois Lane wearing stiletto heels, ridiculous for an intrepid reporter
Lois Lane referring to herself as a Pulitzer prize winner in conversation with Perry White,  in a word, is awful (Only an insufferable jerk would do that; clearly she wasn’t that type of person. Perry White should have refered to her as such if it was an important expository fact – it wasn’t).
Mundane to really bad dialogue (see point above)
Pretty low emotional stakes during the climax
Pa Kent, farmer, makes a huge sacrifice for a dog? Hardly!
Waste of a great supporting cast, Laurence Fishburne, Chris Meloni and Harry Lennix come to mind.

I won’t be watching this again. Ok, maybe the first half, I might revisit when it is on DVD or TV. Which is a shame, as I am a fan of Cavill’s (the main reason I watched The Tudors to the end of it’s run). I also really like Amy Adams, ever since I was pleasantly surprised by Disney’s Enchanted. I think ultimately this film was not made for me. Let me know what you liked or didn’t about this film. I am always willing to revisit a film with a new perspective.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Paul
    Jun 23, 2013 @ 11:15:43

    Sorry I can’t be the one to offer a different perspective on the film. I think your observations are spot on and I have to agree- except for the allure that Cavil shirtless holds for you. Yes, he’s good. I would say perfectly cast. The dour mood of the movie doesn’t bother me but the senseless destruction of small town as well as big city America makes me doubt that the film makers were really invested in the character of Superman- or understand what makes him the icon he is. The climax was so out of character, and the fact that Superman would cause the deaths of countless thousands of people rather than try to avoid such destruction shows a flaw in his character- and in the writers’ imaginations. And don’t get me started on product placement.


    • dvdiva
      Jun 23, 2013 @ 15:31:33

      Thanks for your comments Paul! I completely agree with you, the producers seemed to disregard Superman’s iconic character. As for Cavill shirtless, I appreciate the suffering it required to achieve that level of unsustainable buffness. Also, it is so rare to see an actor go shirtless without having been waxed, I was dumbstruck. In fact, my biggest problem with Spartacus the TV series is that all the men waxed their chests, so unrealistic. A forgivable offense in the balance of things. As for product placement, I have no problem with it if it is brief and doesn’t hijack the the narrative. My favorite example of product placement was a Lexcorp truck getting smahed up during the 2nd half of the film. That was a nice wink to the audience.


  2. Trackback: Kingsman: The Secret Service, A Review | What is Ann Watching?

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