Film Review : Man of Steel (2013)

IMDB Score – 7.4
Rotten Tomato Score – 55%

Directed By – Zach Snyder
Starring – Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Christopher Meloni, Antje Traue, and Laurence Fishburne

A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extrastellar origin when Earth is invaded by members of his own race.

Earlier on in the year I reviewed “The Avengers”. I explained how I’m not a huge fan of superhero movies that don’t involve Batman. Most of this is because Batman is just a lunatic billionaire ninja in a cape and the rest of them have super powers that I just find stupid. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re into that kind of stuff, all the power to you. I just can’t wrap my head around it. Now, I did really enjoy “The Avengers”. The same can not be said of Man of Steel.

This is the first Superman film I’ve ever seen. I didn’t grow up on Superman. I grew up on Batman and occasionally Spiderman as long as it is represented by bad 90s animation. I had no interest in the Christopher Reeve films and when Bryan Singer made his version I skipped it as well. I guess the only reason I watched Man of Steel is because it made so much damn money and I felt that my 2013 end of the year review would be incomplete without it. I also think that Zach Snyder is perfectly capable of making a good film if he wants to evident by the vastly underrated “Watchmen” and one of the better modern zombie films “Dawn of the Dead”. When the initial trailer came out I had hope. It had a great narration from Crowe and just felt like it was going to be done right.

It wasn’t. It ended up being a big let down. However…

What I liked…

The visuals were fantastic. This is to be expected from a director like Zach Snyder. Pretty much every one of his films has that visual flare that makes in more than an ordinary film. It’s usually a spectacle and Man of Steel follows that mold. It’s a gorgeous film that really shines when the action kicks up. The second half of the film featured plenty of great fight scenes and it was fun to watch those. The acting was also good in parts as I enjoyed the always fantastic Amy Adams. I don’t think she’s ever had a bad role. Russell Crowe was also casted perfectly as the wise father of Superman. Oh and Elliot Stabler was in this. He was not saving rape victims with Benson but rather trying to kill aliens with bullets even though he knows they don’t work. Silly Stabler. Oh, and Michael Shannon is a badass. His face is made for villain-ry.

What I didn’t like…

Pretty much everything else. The story was full of holes. They tried to pack in ALL the Superman lore into a nice two hour plus package and it came off very shaky. Multiple times they had to create a situation where a talking head would come in and narrate a story so we could try to figure out what the hell was going on. It didn’t work well as I was constantly trying to figure out what certain words were or what the hell the Krytonians…Kryptons? Kryptonites? SEE? I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY ARE CALLED. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I don’t know much about Superman but geez did they shove that fact in my face. They also, and I don’t see this as a spoiler, killed like a million people. Seriously, Superman with his brash fighting skills ended the lives of women and children and dudes who were getting coffee in an office building that is now toppling over. This happened in “Star Trek Into Darkness” and at least they had the decency to have a scene in which they acknowledge the fact that a lot of people died. Metropolis kinda just went “Well that sucked. Anybody wan to get a pancake or something?” Maybe we’ll get an Academy Award style memorial during the sequel and it’ll last sixteen hours.

It just wasn’t very good. I didn’t like the cheesy dialogue. I didn’t like Henry Cavill’s face. I didn’t like the same blockbuster garbage that seals the fate of promising films with great visuals. It’s like they spend the entire time making sure every detail on every ship is great but forget to write a story until it’s Monday morning and your homework is due first period. It didn’t work for me in High School and it won’t work on a 250 million dollar film.

2/5


Summer Preview

It’s almost June which means that the slate of summer movies is close to being unleashed. We’ve already been “treated” to what are going to be the biggest cash cows of the year in Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast 6, and The Hangover 3. There’s still going to be room for some good films to be released this summer. These are the ones I’m excited about seeing…

THE PURGE
The Purge

Release Date : June 7

This is probably not going to be a ground breaking horror film, but damn does it look creepy. I remember seeing The Strangers a couple years ago and while the film wasn’t bad by any means, most of the horror derived from people showing up in living rooms with caricature masks on. This new film from the producer of Paranormal Activity (Seriously how many times are we going to see this in front of a horror film) should at least be unique enough to entertain. A film where for 12 hours an entire city is allowed to do whatever they want crime wise is a pretty solid idea and I’m curious as to where they go with it.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Much Ado About Nothing

Release Date : June 7

Shakespeare? Check. Joss Whedon? Check. Awesome trailer? Check. I don’t know why I’m excited for a modern black and white version of a Shakespeare play I’m not familiar with but I just am. Perhaps its the St. Germain song blaring in the background of that stylish trailer. Maybe it’s because Joss Whedon loves originality and that he secretly filmed this at his own house with his own friends while filming The Avengers. All I know is that it should be interesting.

MAN OF STEEL
Man of Steel

Release Date : June 14

Legendary always puts out some pretty amazing trailers. I remember seeing The Dark Knight Rises trailer and just being floored and excited. I get the same feeling from Man of Steel and I’m not even a Superman fan. Zach Snyder made the vastly underrated Watchmen and I’ve been waiting for a new film of his to watch ever since because face it, I’m not watching an animated owl movie or a movie that looks like a live action anime brawl orgy. I’m not going to tell you what films those are. I want you to google search them. That should be fun.

THE WAY WAY BACK
The Way Way Back

Release Date : July 5

This one reminds me of Little Miss Sunshine which is funny because Steve Carrell is in both. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash are already Oscar winners and they’re taking it a step forward by writing AND directing this film. It was a crowd favorite at Sundance and look pretty hilarious. You gotta love Jim Rash’s bit in the trailer. You can tell he’s channeling Dean Pelton from Community which is great. You also can’t go wrong with Sam Rockwell.

PACIFIC RIM
Pacific Rim

Release Date : July 12

I’m hoping to the lord our God Guillermo Del Toro that he comes through with this and that it doesn’t fall to the fate of Transformers and Real Steel. Both those films/series looked pretty cool but just left you empty and cold inside after watching them. I wasn’t at Comic Con when footage of Pacific Rim was shown but apparently it was one of the most impressive CGI segments ever seen. I’m hoping for entire film of that. If anybody knows how to put monsters on the screen, it’s Del Toro.

ONLY GOD FORGIVES

Release Date : July 19

This is my film to see of the entire summer. Nicholas Rending Refn’s Drive is one of my favorite films of the last twenty years and this is the follow up, also starring Ryan Gosling. The color in the trailer is impressive, like REALLY impressive. It’s going to be a gorgeous film. I’m hoping that the story surpasses that of Drive because that was the only fault of Refn’s previous film. It also looks pretty brutal. Can’t wait.

ELYSIUM
Elysium

Release Date : August 9

I love sci fi. I love original sci fi. District 9 still is one of my favorite theater experiences and favorite sci fi films to come out in the last decade. I’m excited to see what Neil Blomkamp will unveil as there is not a lot of information being given about the film besides what is revealed in the trailer. I like it that way.

THE WORLD’S END
The World's End

Release Date : August 23

This may be another Us v. The Town themed film but Frost/Pegg/Wright do it so well that it really matters nil. I do like how they switched the roles of Frost and Pegg. Seems that Pegg is the reckless nutjob and Frost is the conservative. Great supporting cast too with Eddie Marsan and Paddy Considine. Looks great.

THE GRANDMASTER

Release Date : August 23

Anybody that has seen either Ip Man or IP Man 2 realize the potential for any film centered around the famous kung fu master is sky high. The fact that Kar Wai Wong is directing this only adds excitement. Kar Wai has one of the most unique styles in film right now and his tackling of kung fu should be an epic sight. Did you see that rain fight scene? Crazy.

YOU’RE NEXT

Release Date : August 23

Oh man. This looks awesome. If the actual movie is as good as the trailer then you have yourself the best horror film this year. It’s been getting a lot of buzz from international festivals and is finally getting a wide scale release. By the way, for those who are counting, this is the second film on this list whose main villains are wearing creepy as shit masks.

Honorable Mentions
Monsters University
This is the End
The Lone Ranger
The Kings of Summer
The East
Fruitvale Station