Escape to the Movies: Man of Steel

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This movie was a piece of shit, I don't know what that was, but it was most definitely not a Superman movie. That was not Superman.

I thought it was ok. I did think it was better than any other live action Superman movie to date, mostly because they didn't waste half the movie on a date with Lois. They also came a lot closer to living up to the potential of what a Superman movie could be, mostly because of modern day effects coupled with a guy that loves to make fight scenes with 'em.

The time cuts bugged me, too.

I did like that we got to see the difference between power and skill show up now and then. The other Kryptonian soldiers were definitely much better fighters than ol' Blue Boy.

I got a sense that Nolan was trying to work a little of his trademark 'realism' into this movie, what with

I don't think it really hurt anything, but I also don't really think it was necessary.

Loved both the tanker and satellite easter eggs towards the end of the film.

I still think that the best Superman movie they could make would involve Darkseid. I'm not necessarily saying he should be the big bad in the next movie, but he's the perfect opposite to Superman: near equal power, used to dominate instead of protect. He's the black to Superman's white, and that works for a character who is as unequivocally GOOD as Superman is.

I think that if I had MoS and Iron Man 3 on dvd, I'd end up watching IM3 all the way through more than once, but probably skip around to the fight scenes on Man of Steel.

My bottom line: Pretty good, but the DCAU still ranks supreme for me.

The hilarious part about this film from what I can discern is just how much it feels like a money-printer film. Everything is there:
A. Recognisable comic book hero? Check.
B. Brooding back story that makes him dark and mysterious but never has a lasting impact? Check.
C. The Hero's Journey done to the letter? Check.
D. Wazzy exploding action scenes? Check.
E. Shout outs to comic book lore, but with some re-imaginings that'll probably upset comic fans but will draw in the mainstream crowd? Check.

I don't see anything about this film that makes it seem like it has a soul. At least Iron Man, as soulless as that film is, is amusing enough that I can numb that nagging feeling that maybe I could of spent my money and time on something better. Hell, the only thing I can say about Iron Man 3 after I saw it in cinemas and people asked me what it was like, was the phrase "it's an Iron Man film". Maybe my standards for comic hero films are too high? They are set to Watchmen level which pretty much flipped everything onto it's head and went places with it's plot.

I saw it. Visually it's stunning, (except somebody really really needs to buy Zach Snyder a Camera Dolly and a Tripod. Really they do. Pretty please. Not every movie has to look like the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan all the way through.)

And it's weird. With the exception of Russel Crowes scenes, it's the silences that work best in it. The scenes where the visuals are telling the story, and the action sequences are wonderful. However anytime pretty much any character except for Crowe opens their mouth and starts to deliver dialogue it all goes to shit. The script is quite simply awful. On top of that it totally lacks charm and humor. There is one funny or amusing line in the movie. And when you get it it is totally jarring because there is literally only one. I normally love Amy Adams, but there is less chemistry between her and Cavil then between Natalie Portman and Thor. It's almost as bad and senseless as the chemistry between Natalie Portman and Anakin Skywalker. 9(K maybe not that bad or creepy, but damn its not good.)

Not a bad movie per se. But nowhere near any of the Marvel movies. It reminds me a lot of the JJ Abrams Star Trek films. Great fun popcorn action movies that somehow missed a few critical points of their source material.

What can I say MovieBob? You're just wrong on almost all of these things (except Zod, fucking brilliant). Also, they're not really 'falling for one another'. They're caught up in the emotions brought about by their circumstances, and what's better, they know it, that's why the film makers didn't simply have their first two almost-kisses immediately interrupted by events, Lois and Clark awkwardly delayed it themselves because they both knew they were mostly just caught up in events but also knew they needed and wanted an outlet. It's even more brilliant cause the film makers must surely have been aware that the audience expected it and that the audience would be pretty pissed at the cliche at the same time. If they were really 'falling in love', they would have kept in touch before he just showed up at the Daily Planet. She was not expecting to see him. So, what emotions? Well, it might be cliche, but it's really true that people usually like you more if you save their lives. That handles Lois. What of Clark, he knows he's unlikely to die, so what's he feeling? He's an outsider on an alien world, and he found someone to trust.

Yes, the movie is taking itself somewhat seriously, but they're just defining Superman for you, that's all really. Go take a look at the DeathBattle episode of Goku vs Superman. Clark knows he's different, this causes angst in sentient beings, don't know what else to tell you; other than they didn't lay it on too thick so I'm cool with it.
Only complaint is the city destruction fight actually did go on too long, which is not something I thought I'd hear myself say ever. Of course I was in slight physical discomfort from the theater's speaker system at the time.

And really, what the hell is wrong with explaining what the hell is going on?

faefrost:
A) I saw it. Visually it's stunning, (except somebody really really needs to buy Zach Snyder a Camera Dolly and a Tripod. Really they do. Pretty please. Not every movie has to look like the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan all the way through.)

B).. The script is quite simply awful.
C).. On top of that it totally lacks charm and humor.
D).. missed a few critical points of their source material.

A) yes
B) Blatant lies
C) Well, duh, they weren't trying to add any. Good on them for trying to tell a serious story.
D) You don't know much about Superman, he's been reinvented too many times to make this valid.

It definitely feels like a Superman movie with a Batman filter on it. I'm willing to lay like 90% of the films problems at the screenplay's feet. This is a movie that's supposed to not only make Superman "cool" again, but remind us about how he's an ideal to look up to, but the movie ends on kind of a downer despite having Superman win. For all the talk of how everyone is going to look up to Superman, we never get to see that. Despite all the very impressive action, we never get a real "Fuck yeah!" moment out of the movie. The film is almost devoid of any of the joy and energy of watching a great superhero movie. Everyone onboard is trying their damndest, but they're all getting dragged down by the film's tone.

RTR:
For all the talk of how everyone is going to look up to Superman, we never get to see that.

We're not supposed to. That's something that takes a long time. "They will stumble. They will fall." Superman can't make everything better just by showing up. He's not magic ;)

Riobux:
Maybe my standards for comic hero films are too high? They are set to Watchmen level which pretty much flipped everything onto it's head and went places with it's plot.

What? Watchmen wasn't that great honestly. It's not a bar-setter.

RTR:
It definitely feels like a Superman movie with a Batman filter on it. I'm willing to lay like 90% of the films problems at the screenplay's feet. This is a movie that's supposed to not only make Superman "cool" again, but remind us about how he's an ideal to look up to, but the movie ends on kind of a downer despite having Superman win. For all the talk of how everyone is going to look up to Superman, we never get to see that.

Instead, we get nonsensical "Oh, they'll be mad at you/afraid of you/not trust you/not ready for you, so you must wait until the time is right, until your DESTINY CALL UPON JOO TO BE SUPAMAN."

...yet we never see THAT either. Other than a few hand-wavy lines by some military dudes, we never see ANYONE "afraid" of him one bit. Not even with that one redhead kid that's at IHOP. Just a line perhaps? No? Oh...well...um okay...nothin from nobody. Hell it's Lois that tracks HIM down and doesn't flinch even for a second by his presence. It was all just lip-service that went nowhere.

To all the people complaining about joylessness, in a movie where an alien race with superpowers invades your home and are trying to TERRAFORM your planet, I can't expect the people to be randomly singing happy happy joy joy, and I honestly don't want them to.

I just got back from seeing the movie (I watched the review before watching it), and I have to say: I didn't see anything you said was a failing in the film. Quite the opposite in fact, what you saw as failings, I saw as minor gripes that absolutely don't hurt the film, even in the slightest.

I mean, seriously, You're entirely wrong, and truthfully, I think you went into the film expecting it to be the original, and when you saw that it didn't live up to your expectations, you nit-picked the hell out of it.

This film and the original are two entirely different films, each made to entertain the respective times they were made (Had the original been made now, it would be considered a bomb).

/rant

mattttherman3:
This movie was a piece of shit, I don't know what that was, but it was most definitely not a Superman movie. That was not Superman.

It may not have been your superman but do you not realize superman has been re-envisioned dozens of times? This version is just another one.

J.j. Trusello:
To all the people complaining about joylessness, in a movie where an alien race with superpowers invades your home and are trying to TERRAFORM your planet, I can't expect the people to be randomly singing happy happy joy joy, and I honestly don't want them to.

That doesn't really explain the boring first half where we're supposed to be getting to know/care about Clark Kent before all the shit goes down...where they keep playing Tug of War with the "Be The Ideal You Were Meant to Be" or "No Son, Don't Reveal Yourself Because Humanity Isn't Ready For You" to tedious degrees.

Sick of reviews which are far more about the author than the film itself. Similarly, I am sick of reviewers who spend so much effort speaking for the motivations of artists they have never met nor spoken to. Who knows how much Goyer and Nolan 'understand Superman'? There's an assumption there, Bob, that it is YOU who truly understands, yet that is something without any objective meaning. I don't care what you believe to be the film makers' motivations and understanding, nor do I care for your 'protest-too-much' theory on which maturity level coincides with the liking of this film.

RolandOfGilead:

faefrost:
A) I saw it. Visually it's stunning, (except somebody really really needs to buy Zach Snyder a Camera Dolly and a Tripod. Really they do. Pretty please. Not every movie has to look like the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan all the way through.)

B).. The script is quite simply awful.
C).. On top of that it totally lacks charm and humor.
D).. missed a few critical points of their source material.

A) yes
B) Blatant lies
C) Well, duh, they weren't trying to add any. Good on them for trying to tell a serious story.
D) You don't know much about Superman, he's been reinvented too many times to make this valid.

Wow! Way to cut and prune my post to take it out of context. But yeah the dialog between characters is kind of not what it should be. I understand it's a comic book movie. But by this point in time I would hope that the actual lines written for the characters take more from modern writing than from the Golden Age. The script does the job. It communicates the needed information. But that's about it. It's nowhere near Transformers or Star Wars Prequels levels of bad. But nobody is gonna win any awards for these words. And I don't care if you are telling a serrious story or not. Stories are told through character moments. Warmth and Charm and interplay. Even in darker or revisionist comic book movies. Things like the interplay between Batman and Alfred. Things that humanize the characters. For the most part they forgot this here. Let me put it this way. The two warmest most charming characters in this movie. The two that the audience is most able to interrelate to are Russel Crowe and Kevin Costner. This is not necesarily a really bad thing, as the two turn in great performances, but still think about that for a minute. Crowe and Costner.

As far as the not knowing Superman, and that he has been re-invented too many times. Sorry but yeah I do know Supes. I also know that outside of a few Elseworlds stories (and the recent Injustice video game) there are a few character traits that stretch accross every single interpretation. One big one is one that he shares with Batman.
MAJOR SPOILER

Galletea:
The word I would use if dull. I'm sure it was spectacular in 3D, but I was decidedly bored.

Quite honestly the overuse of out of focus shaky cam in 2d made me contemplate hurling in my popcorn bucket. I shudder to think what it must be like in 3d. I'm thinking the theater mop boys are having a bad weekend.

elvor0:

And you're right, Alan Scott being Gay does add nothing to the character. The way it should be. Him being gay doesn't add anything to the character because it shouldn't /have/ any bearing on things.

I agree that "Him being gay doesn't add anything to the character because it shouldn't /have/ any bearing on things." BUT if you're going to do that, you must have a reason better than "The controversy will sell more comics!" That's the same reason they used for making Batwoman a lesbian... IT WILL SELL COMICS; which it didn't.

Look at Marvel's Northstar (from Alpha Flight).

image

He's had to deal with all the bullshit that comes from being openly gay on top of being a mutant.

misterprickly:
As for Green Lantern... Yes it is bad. Why? Because it doesn't REALLY add anything! One minute he's white, then black, then Latino, then an angry red head and now GAY; what's next the bipolar version?

The problem here is that you interpret straight as default and gay as a variation.

What does being straight add to Green Lantern's character?

I'm watching the film tomorrow with a friend, so I'm just glad that Bob didn't spoil anything.

I'll rate the film when I see it.

misterprickly:
As for Green Lantern... Yes it is bad. Why? Because it doesn't REALLY add anything! One minute he's white, then black, then Latino, then an angry red head and now GAY; what's next the bipolar version?

The problem here is that you interpret straight as default and gay as a variation.

What does being white or straight add to Green Lantern's character?

The movie was amazing. Ignore Bob on this, he's simply continuing his jihad against Nolan.

He is being willfully obtuse in summarizing the movie:

"Brooding teenager?" - No. Demigod that's aware of his powers, and is grappling with an identity crisis in superbly acted scenes.

"Chemistry"- I don't think this word means what Bob thinks it means. I hate to border on the personal...but I hope people are aware that people don't have to be in full romantic love to kiss right? Besides being too very attractive individuals, the enormity of the situation (LITERALLY SAVING THE WORLD) makes it a powerful moment.

"Derrrp I dun get the eugenics derrrp I hate when Nolan explains stuffz to meh" - This point is just repeatedly demonstrating that Nolan and crew play this game at a much higher level than Bob can be counted on to comprehend.

The entire eugenics angle was a reference to Plato's republic (Young Clark is even shown reading it). It famously argues for a deterministic, fascist, absolutist world as a form of utopia, where your role is predetermined to be either a warrior, a worker, or a philosopher (3, as reflected in the noble lie of 3 kinds of 'inherent worth', 3 parts of your mind, and the 3 levels of humanity raised in a hierarchy from your head, to your heart, to your appetites).

Plato's world, as did Krypton, offered Utopia in exchange for an explicit rejection of democracy. Nolan who never hides his left wing politics from his work, rejects this view, in has Kal-El "take a leap of faith" with humanity. Superman is clear that "you will never control me", and rejects hierarchy.

For reviewers like Bob, who have a far more authoritarian politics (his support for drone bombings and defense of the CIA), this message is a problem, so of course, it gets ignored in his review.

As was pointed out earlier, Plato's determinism also explained the storylines. Zod did what he did, because that's what he was supposed to do, and ultimately, the authoritarian scheme failed because Superman was a wrench in the machine, an unplanned contingency, an unknown unknown - the deathknell of all authoritarian power grabs.

It's a great combination of efficient story telling, and substance.

__________

The rest of Bob's criticisms are pure weaksauce. The film features plenty of well timed levity, plenty of the Superman universe (lexcorp). It's an amazing spectacle, and THE movie of the Summer.

I liked it. I really liked it. I kinda see the concerns that Bob had, but, I disagree that they were serious problems. I really like the issues that faefrost had, and I agree with him, but, I don't feel that those are as big of deals as he/she is making them out to be. Sort of, you won the race, but, you could improve your form, sort of a thing. I also have enjoyed Roland's evangelizing. In short, I recommend it. Is it a perfect movie? No. Is it a damn good movie, and a damn good Superman movie? Yes. Feel free to disagree.

also, weird political aside, yes, Toxic Sniper, straight is default, gay is abnormal. Not bad, but, definitely not standard factory settings. Math and reason are pretty clear on this.

First off, I don't think this was a bad movie. I have to say, go see it. So long as you're not so deeply entrenched in your own well established vision of what superman -has- to be, that -any- deviation will send you into a frothing nerd rage, you'll be entertained.

And yes, I do agree that there were some problems with the film.

The opening scenes once off Krypton all come off as extremely cold and unwelcoming, and, while this is fine in general, not having it paced or broken up is really off putting. More fit for a survival-horror film, perhaps.

I also do agree that there could have been more focus on rallying around Superman as an ideal by the general populace. There were numerous places and opportunities for this, and they passed by without incident. Seeing the citizens or soldiers who Superman just saved do something other than run, hide, or just -not- try to shoot the guy saving their lives would have helped leverage some of that "heart" that was missing. Maybe not a Spiderman saves the Train like scene, but definitely more than what we got.

This, however, ties into a problem that really falls apart as the movie goes on, and that's scope.

It's not a problem with size, mind you - there's enough action based destruction to make Michael Bay fall to his knees weeping. No, the problem is, is that Zod's depicted as a global scale threat, but that's never given much of a worthy, global response. No, we can't have the military sealing Superman's thunder, but when Zod basically drops his pants and moons all of mankind, you'd think they'd send in more than a single squadron of fighter jets.

And, if the threat is really "all mankind will die", then we start onto the nuclear path, which... honestly, that was the one part of the entire movie which felt like it didn't have the level of realism or intelligence the director was going for. They scaled the scope of the movie up too high, and failed to deliver on the follow through.

Lane is a disappointment, but I guess that's because I'm more used to a more cynical, "tough girl" type depiction, where as this one is a bit softer. She feels like, yeah, she'll argue and she'll snap at you, but she's not going to knee you in the balls or anything. I always pictured Lane as a tough talking news jockey, but this one slid more away from that - not a scream-y damsel in distress, mind you, but not particularly interesting or compelling.

The rest of the Daily Planet is... I suppose underwhelming, but come on - do we really want to waste time exposing Lois' day job when we can be fighting super space nazis? I think the subject really got more of a role than it needed. Plus how they ultimately tie in Clark's involvement to it is looked as in a very canny manner.

Other than that, though, the movie does a wonderful job of displaying Superman in a way that doesn't reek of camp and silliness. I know Movie Bob complained about a lack of heart, but really, I'll take the gritty, realism take of this over diluted, Batman and Robin-esque cheese fest any day. Yes, it could get almost needlessly dark at times, but that really helped leverage the drama being attempted in ways it really couldn't have it this was your grandpa's Superman.

Further, I can't agree with the reaction to the "needless additions" complained about either. These aren't midichlorians - they don't particularly ruin or detract from what's already there. The "McGuffin" complained about actually has a great deal of exposition and rationing behind it, and tying Superman directly to Zod's in the manner they did really serves to give the story a more personal motivation from all parties involved than just "what a coincidence". It was a smart angle to take, and really made Zod into more than just another wind-up evil dictator.

In the end, the movie works a lot more than it doesn't, not just visually, but plotwise as well, going far deeper and being more mature than one would ever expect a story of this subject matter could be. Yes, it could do some things better, but that shouldn't stop you from seeing it.

It won't redefine cinema. It probably won't redefine the hardwired, preconceived notions of what and who superman is to the most diehard of fans. But it will entertain you, it will be worth your time, and you will not regret seeing it.

Six Shooter, you're fun. I think you have many points right, and I didn't quite catch the meaning of the Plato reference when I watched it. However, I worry that you're an idiot. Your comments are needlessly inflammatory, and your sense of political landscape is weird as hell

SixShooter:
Nolan who never hides his left wing politics from his work, rejects this view, in has Kal-El "take a leap of faith" with humanity. Superman is clear that "you will never control me", and rejects hierarchy.

I'm going to take my own leap here and assume that left wing politics maps with the Democratic Party in the Unites States. Also, I'm going to argue that the stance of that party is (generalized) one of pacifism and egalitarianism. As such, I don't believe that Nolan is a left wing writer at all. His famous Dark Knight Trilogy is of a super rich protagonist becoming a vigilante, (because he's better and above the law), who uses a clear allegory for the Patriot Act (cellphone radar) and who's big final battle is against the misused spirit of populism (Bane's Communist Revolution). I'm sorry, The Dark Knight Trilogy is obviously and inherently conservatice.

SixShooter:
For reviewers like Bob, who have a far more authoritarian politics (his support for drone bombings and defense of the CIA), this message is a problem, so of course, it gets ignored in his review.

Also, what? I need quotes for this. While, I do believe Bob is probably rather liberal, (movie buff in Boston, MA), I was unaware of his political leanings being pro surveillance. It seems as though you're making a blatant ad hominem attack to defend why he ignored (didn't notice) the aspects of the story that you cared about politically (and that I cared about). Show your work.

In short, I probably agree with your positions on the film, but, I think your needless and mistaken attacks on Nolan and Bob only hinder your points.

I'm slightly disappointed with the reception. I wasn't expecting a film adaptation of Superman to trip on the rock of being too complicated but at least I can look forward to amazing fight scenes. I also didn't expect there to be no chemistry since Zack Snyder can make hip replacement surgery look sexy.

I'm feeling somewhat defensive. I enjoyed the film, and I think that, while it did have some clunky parts, it was overall well done. I specifically avoided any spoiler material and went in armed with only a vague hope that it would be fun and competent film. I wasn't disappointed.

Long and short of it, good movie. Go see it.

Bob... you totally 100 percent got it.

You got to be a fan while being critical. it's strange you seemed almost uncomfortable and shy about doing it,
Bob, the only thing bad about this review? If we could only channel this in you just a little more often.

To be fair you came in wanted to like this movie for some time now. and no doubt I'm sure it has it's moments and while others will leave you kicking the tires so to speak.

And Bob, try to re out grow maturity lol life might be more fun.

I find it hilarious that people are busting Bob's balls when he said that it's a good movie.

Please Bob, we both know tebow's ass is planted firmly on the pine for the season and will rarely get up. Your brown haired pretty boy Goodel co- uh... quarterback will still lead the pats to wherever they're going to go and make it all the more painfully obvious that they'll totally implode when he's too old to give Goodel the lipservice.

Anyway, I guess is good the superman movie will likely do well, puts us one step closer to a justice league movie a la the avengers type deal (though I doubt that will happen).

Varya:
When you mentioned "his two dads" I immediately thought of a Superman sitcom, wherin Clark Kent goes to journalism school, and his two gay dads Jonathan and Jor constantly try and control his daily life in various ways, embarrasing him infront of his crush LL (dependent on which season, it's a new LL, when Lex is introduced, Clark goes through a crisis, trying to figure out if he is gay, or his dads just have too much influence on him)

Anyhow, too bad about the movie, but I'll try and go see it anyway.

I have a bizarre wish for this to exist.

The big problem is they DIDN'T make an origins story. They made a Man of Steel 2 or even 3. An origins story needs to be smaller and focused on the character and his development. In the squeals you can do the big actions scenes with the character you now established. They went straight to those big action scenes and left out the character building. This movie really really really needed to be smaller and quieter. Focus on superman growing up human coming into his powers and facing a minor threat to show the building of his powers. Braniac could have been good here, starting off week and growing in power with Clark having to learn his new powers and stop him before he gets too strong. Zod is a beast that should have been in 2 or 3 to really challenge him. Now what are they going to do for Man of Steel 2? Sequels are always bigger, and they've already used the 'death of entire human race' card.

Oh and they could have learned more form DBZ. At no point did I believe Zod and superman were actually hurting each other. At least in dbz they have damage indication, torn clothing, cuts, bruises, blood. At the end of the fight, Superman looked as fresh as he did at the start, his hair wasn't even mussed. :P While it looked cool, it really took away any impact.

It's not the tone or lack of humour that annoyed me
It's not the 'not staying true to the comics' that annoyed me (because I have not read any)

.....

It was just a very very poor movie. The story, the way the plot advanced, the character development. It was all broken.
Bob says there were good performances but it amounted to nothing because there was barely any build up or context to it.

When Zod is screaming 'I will find him', he just sounded like a madman. When superman finally meets his dad's hologram I felt nothing...it was just loosely connected to a flashback where the topic of his real parents came up once.

And I didn't even realise there was supposed to be a 'Superman doesn't kill' theme but thinking back to it now, apparently a 10 year old Clark not punching a bully and early twenties Clark not snapping a rude customer in half was supposed to connect to that final Zod scene. He just came off as passive aggressive.

I'm not even going to get started with the nonsensical plot, even if you buy all the throw-away one liner techno babble to justify every random event. 'we converted the something drive into a hyper drive', 'a distress beacon came on- you led us here!'

Here;s the thing..stupid stuff happened in Avengers...but that was a fun up-tone movie, Man of Steel was serious and it made even less sense. You can't have your cake and eat it too

I watched this film yesterday and thought it was fucking awesome. Yes the chemistry between Supes and Loius is not great, but Supes as a character is fantastic.

I still don't understand why Bob seems to hate Nolan so much as well.

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