Man of Steel is a film I went into, not expecting great things based on the reviews I’d read and heard.
Sometimes, it’s good to lower your expectations because when a film turned out to be a belter, such as with Brit flick Welcome To The Punch, it’s all the more enjoyable. Unfortunately, Man of Steel turned out to be mostly an unrelenting pile of incomprehensible bollocks.
The story is familiar. Krypton is about to explode. In a basic moan about global warming and the assumption that an has a direct effect on the planet’s sustainability (which is a load of utter…), after mining the planet’s resources all this time, the core has become unstable and is about to explode. Knowing this is about to happen, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) takes steps to ensure his son, the first naturally-born child in hundreds of years, is safe from all the palava and sends him our way. At the same time, angry prat General Zod (Michael Shannon, looking a tad like Kasper Juul from Borgen) wants to kill everyone and everything and, after an exchange with Jor-El, ends up sentenced to enternity a long way from everyone else.
Of course, this doesn’t last long because about five minutes later, Krypton explodes, frees the baddie and his henchman & henchwoman (Antje Traue as Faora-Ul, page 2), and they can then make plans to kill the new child… when they find him, that is. This takes 33 years and he’s living in Kansas, BTW, which brings us into the present day. Well, sort-of… Despite the lack of a time machine, the plot flicks back and forth between various points in young Superman’s life, or Kal-El as he was christined, which started getting way too random for its own good. I know Christopher Nolan (co-writer and co-producer, this time) can do the necessary when it comes to this sort if thing, but Memento this is not.
Where else does Man of Steel go wrong? Let me count the ways.
It treats its audience like idiots. Without going into detail, the concept of terraforming comes up. Are viewers of sci-fi that thick that they don’t know what terraforming is? Apparently the makers of this film think so, as one army girl says, “Terraforming?”, and may as well have said to her superior, “Can you explain it for those out there watching this film?”
There’s also a glaring lack of humour in the script. This is made obvious all the more when the occasional line is dropped in. One of these lines comes from the aforementioned army girl. It gave me a giggle. The film needed more of them. Why is there hardly anything to laugh at here? (apart from the whole piss-poor effort)
I did drop in a snigger, however, relating to the ‘S’ control key and the fact it’s not quite working properly, when Lois Lane says to Dr. Emil Hamilton (Richard Schiff), “It’s supposed to go all the way in!”
It also goes on way too long. Rarely does any film need to last longer than two hours, these days, and this one, at 143 minutes, could easily lop off over half-an-hour and tighten up the rest. Even when there’s been crash/bang/wallop aplenty, director Zack Snyder doesn’t know when to stop, and has them smashing up buildings that are now derelict! And after Superman & Zod have had a fight, I wouldn’t want to have to pay the insurance bill…
Go to page 2 for my thoughts on the cast.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.