Friday, June 14, 2013

Man of Steel Movie Review

Look! Up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane...

From our friends at DC Film Review...

Superman Saves Sears

'They say it's all downhill after the first kiss,' warns the Daily Planet's Lois Lane (Amy Adams.) Sometimes, even sooner that that. Zack Snyder's Superman reboot Man of Steel opens with the best of intentions, but wanders off in all sorts of directions before spinning into a Roland Emmerich-esque ending that left this reviewer pining for the days of Christopher Reeve.

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.

What’s Best: Henry Cavill almost landed the role of Superman a decade ago, but good things come to those who wait. While not as tall as Reeve or Brandon Routh, Cavill has no trouble fitting into the suit (cue screams from the female audience.) His physical presence makes up for a lack of comedic lines, which handicaps his overall appeal: That's easily remedied with a better script for the upcoming sequel (David S. Goyer, what happened?) His best line, 'I can do things that other people can't' went over like gangbusters. More please!

In addition, Russell Crowe puts Marlon Brando to shame (no easy task) as Superman's Pops. The Oscar-winning actor earns the S on his chest with an assortment of physical feats that make the opening 15-20 minutes the best part of the film.

What’s Not: Outside of Cavill and Crowe, the rest of the cast appears uncomfortable in their respective roles. Adams starts off strong, 'If we're done measuring dicks, can you show me what you've found?' before slipping into obscurity for the rest of the movie (not including her use of a laser blaster... who thought that one up?) Laurence Fishburne and Harry Lennix lend uninspired Matrix rehashes, while Diane Lane looks ridiculous as Ma Kent (She's 48 and hot... not 60, gray and weathered.)

On paper, Michael Shannon seems a perfect fit to play the film's main antagonist (General Zod) but Snyder saddles him with an awful haircut, bad goatee and a lisp! It also doesn't help, that he and his fellow Kryptonians have to run around in dumb space outfits for the whole movie. When he finally sheds his awkward suit of armor, Shannon looks ready to kick ass! Unfortunately, all we're left with are a half dozen scenes where he shows off how angry he is.

And then there's the ending... Confusing to a fault, Snyder tries to cram an entire movie's worth of special effects into a few minutes. It's almost as if someone told him he still had half of the film's $225 million budget left; and he decided to blow everything up, rather than risk losing the money altogether.

Best Line: Great writing (Mario Puzo, among others) made 1978's Superman what it was... a magical ride, stuffed with action, humor and romance. Unfortunately, there's little to no charm in Man of Steel... nothing to draw you closer to the people under the suits. Zod reminds Superman during their first meeting, 'A foundation has to be built on something.' The same goes for good writing. It's hard to get worked up over, 'You're a monster, Zod; and I'm gonna stop you!'

Overall: Snyder has reinvented Superman, and managed to do something that no one before him has been able to do... make the Man of Steel boring. Rather than steer his audience in the direction of shameless product placement (7-Eleven, IHOP and Sears) Snyder should have spent more time injecting some kind of personality into his characters. Some of the special effects are nice to look at (including a kick-ass tornado that kills off someone close to Clark) but sadly the genius behind 300 and Watchmen mostly proves that Sucker Punch was no fluke.

There's also a recurring theme of movies past... Iron Man, The Matrix and every summer blockbuster that features New Yorkers looking up to the Heavens and running aimlessly down a big street, closely followed by exploding cars, falling buildings and oversized robots. Superman deserves better, and so does its audience.