The Big Picture: The Big Letdown

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Bob hit the nail on the head with this.

Man of Steel made such a critical misstep in terms of tone and approaching the subject matter, on top of your typical terrible David Goyer script, combined with the at this point cliche Chris Nolan 'dark and gritty realism' tone, and it wrecked the entire movie. It was the same issue with Dark Knight Rises - way too gloomy, not nearly as smart as it pretends to be, terrible acting, awful plot, and completely mishandles the adapted source material.

Of course, everyone blames Zack Snyder for this failure, when I argue he was the one thing that saved this movie - the movie suffers because Goyer is a hack screenwriter, and Nolan has at this point proven he has no business adapting material like this.

The worst part? Rather then try and get it right for the next Superman movie, they do what DC always does when they have no clue what to do, bring in the Batman.

It's sad that it's been almost 40 years since we had a great Superman movie - almost 20 if you count the origin story from Superman the Animated Series.

Strazdas:
Because he is trying to make a show that he wants other people to watch and listen, whereas the commentators aren't making a show that they want to be popular and others to listen to.

The dozen or so people who are complaining visibly about this don't constitute a majority and doesn't indicate the show isn't popular or that people aren't listening to it, so I have a hard time believing popularity, which is a numbers game, is the goal here. I think the detractors are only interested in whether the show interests them personally, not the majority of people.

Liked Man of Steel, its good to see Superman not being portrayed as total bitch (like he usually is). He is the most overpowered hero ever, it should be not stop action.

JimB:

Strazdas:
Because he is trying to make a show that he wants other people to watch and listen, whereas the commentators aren't making a show that they want to be popular and others to listen to.

The dozen or so people who are complaining visibly about this don't constitute a majority and doesn't indicate the show isn't popular or that people aren't listening to it, so I have a hard time believing popularity, which is a numbers game, is the goal here. I think the detractors are only interested in whether the show interests them personally, not the majority of people.

I didnt say we represent majority of his viewers, but just because we are minority does not mean we should not voice our opinions. Majority does not divulge their opinion to us, as they do not comment, so we cannot know what majority of his watches, and thus popularity, think. we can only know our personal opnions which is what we express here.
Of course we are interested in our own gain, after all we are watching it. and so does every single person that watches the show.

endtherapture:

Silverspetz:
snip

All I'm going to say its that it's cool when you have to extrapolate, use your head a bit, and the film doesn't spoon feed you things. I don't need to know every thought in Superman's head to know what he's feeling. I don't need to be shown everything. You obviously do so this isn't the film for you with it's non-linearity. Nothing wrong with that, but it wasn't a bad film just because it required a bit of thought and subtlety in it.

I see Avengers series as fun, brainless films you can have a laugh watching.

Hopefully DC will go for a tone similar to MoS with more gravitas and seriousness, with inspiring moments.

That's cool with me, there's room for 2 franchises.

Man of Steel isn't a bad movie as you keep saying. The score was great, the acting was great, the action was flawless, the visuals and art style was great, so tone back your fanboy rage just because it wasn't the exact adaptation of Superman you wanted.

1)So establishing anything important about the character at all is "spoon feeding" the audience? By that logic I can say that my cousin's stick-figure drawing is a work of art matching that of Mona Lisa, because the creator doesn't "spoon feed" me anything I can impart whatever meaning to it I want. Making shit up and claiming that this is actually what happened in the movie is not "using your head". It is using your imagination, BIG fucking difference between the two. If you don't establish the important values and beliefs of your character, you have failed as a character writer. There is nothing "subtle" about MoS. It just throws around half-assed metaphors and symbolism that doesn't fit in an attempts to PRETEND that it is deep and subtle.

2)You can see it however you like. It doesn't change the fact that objectively it is a more well-directed, well-acted, well-shot, well-written and overall just more well-put together film that required a lot more talent and hard work to make than MoS did.

3)Indeed there is, and there are good moments in MoS. If they made the rest of the DC-movieverse in the same style I probably wouldn't mind. As long as we are clear on which franchise actually produced the better movies.

4)I didn't say it was a "bad" movie. In fact, like Bob, I went out of my way to clarify that I DON'T think it is a particularly bad movie. It just isn't a particularly GOOD movie either when you really start to analyze the filmmaking skills that went into it. On the spectrum of good and bad however, it comes down on the side of good, just not all that high up on the ladder, and quite a bit below The Avengers. There are good things about it for sure, the score is great, the acting is good in most cases, the action is very enjoyable and heart pumping if a bit poorly paced and hard on the eyes, the visual and art style was...not very good. Very same-y and monotone with a color-scheme that isn't particularly diverse or pleasing to the eyes. I'm a fan of good movies, and I only got into superheroes because talented people started making REALLY good movies out of that kind of material. I'm not disappointed because this wasn't the Superman movie I wanted to see, I'm disappointed because it isn't a very good Superman movie period.

yellost:
"who wants a superhero who isn't constantly morose and tormented all the time"

Obviously, every top people at DC, considering their excuse about the no marriage allowed for Batwoman.

And before we start a big gay marriage debacle, I haven't read the comic, I don't care she's a lesbian and apparently, their given reason for refusing the marriage has nothing to do with that particular issue but it points out to what I find a much a bigger creative problem nowadays : what they said was that no superhero can be happy for him/her to be engaging to the readers.

The issue is that apparently they have a literal policy at DC that superheroes are not allowed to marry. At all.

Why? I don't know.
I don't understand how being married will impact said potentially married character aside from the fact that they are married.

But that is their policy and that is how it's going to be. Regardless of the sexes between the marriage, regardless of correct character progression, and regardless of fans and the creative staff whims.

endtherapture:
All I'm going to say its that it's cool when you have to extrapolate, use your head a bit, and the film doesn't spoon feed you things. I don't need to know every thought in Superman's head to know what he's feeling. I don't need to be shown everything. You obviously do so this isn't the film for you with it's non-linearity. Nothing wrong with that, but it wasn't a bad film just because it required a bit of thought and subtlety in it.

The problem is that Man of Steel does engage in spoon-feeding (of a sort), and fails to provide the ideas that are genuinely important to establishing its characters. We're constantly told what's supposed to be important to Superman, but he never really does anything to show us what he wants. Oh, sure, he occasionally catches the thing and saves the humans, but why does he do it? Why does he care about Ma Kent? Why does he care about Lois? Hell, why does Superman care about anything or anyone in his life? Why does he do anything that he does? The film keeps telling us who he is and what he wants, but I'm not buying it.

And I find the notion of subtlety Man of Steel laughable. Like I said, we're constantly told the way things are and what we should think about them. They may as well have provided an "Ostensible Themes in Man of Steel" flyer with the movie ticket.

endtherapture:
I see Avengers series as fun, brainless films you can have a laugh watching.

Hopefully DC will go for a tone similar to MoS with more gravitas and seriousness, with inspiring moments.

And stop it with the whole "grimdark == quality" thing. Not just you, everyone espousing this nonsense. Just because a work acts all grim and serious does not make it somehow more thoughtful or meaningful.

endtherapture:
Man of Steel isn't a bad movie as you keep saying. The score was great, the acting was great, the action was flawless, the visuals and art style was great, so tone back your fanboy rage just because it wasn't the exact adaptation of Superman you wanted.

My experience with the comic book incarnations of Marvel / DC superheroes consists of the first ten years or so of Ultimate Spiderman and Ultimate X-Men, and I still found Man of Steel disappointing. My knowledge of Superman consists of what I've picked up from the films and what I've learned through cultural osmosis, and I still found Man of Steel disappointing, as did many others like me. It is not just different from what "fanboys" want it to be. It is fundamentally flawed as a work of fiction.

anthony87:
I like how a city being destroyed is suddenly 9/11 symbolism.

Well it sure as hell was shot to look like the 9/11 footage on the ground. Panicked city dwellers running down the street while a shaky cam is pointed in the direction of what they're running away from. Great clouds of grey ash and smoke billowing into the streets and chasing them down to engulf them, leaving them covered in ash like ghosts. Then air shots of the big cloud billowing out, eating up large portions of the city skyline....

What else did they MISS when it comes to classic 9/11 imagery? Not much

Vitagen:

endtherapture:
All I'm going to say its that it's cool when you have to extrapolate, use your head a bit, and the film doesn't spoon feed you things. I don't need to know every thought in Superman's head to know what he's feeling. I don't need to be shown everything. You obviously do so this isn't the film for you with it's non-linearity. Nothing wrong with that, but it wasn't a bad film just because it required a bit of thought and subtlety in it.

The problem is that Man of Steel does engage in spoon-feeding (of a sort), and fails to provide the ideas that are genuinely important to establishing its characters. We're constantly told what's supposed to be important to Superman, but he never really does anything to show us what he wants. Oh, sure, he occasionally catches the thing and saves the humans, but why does he do it? Why does he care about Ma Kent? Why does he care about Lois? Hell, why does Superman care about anything or anyone in his life? Why does he do anything that he does? The film keeps telling us who he is and what he wants, but I'm not buying it.

Why does he care about Ma Kent? BECAUSE SHE'S HIS MUM. That doesn't need to be established.

endtherapture:
I see Avengers series as fun, brainless films you can have a laugh watching.

Hopefully DC will go for a tone similar to MoS with more gravitas and seriousness, with inspiring moments.

And stop it with the whole "grimdark == quality" thing. Not just you, everyone espousing this nonsense. Just because a work acts all grim and serious does not make it somehow more thoughtful or meaningful.

I'm not saying grimdark = quality, I'm saying there's room for 2 sets of comic book movie continuities with differing tones. MoS has obviously gone down that route to establish itself as different from the Avengers film.

endtherapture:
Man of Steel isn't a bad movie as you keep saying. The score was great, the acting was great, the action was flawless, the visuals and art style was great, so tone back your fanboy rage just because it wasn't the exact adaptation of Superman you wanted.

My experience with the comic book incarnations of Marvel / DC superheroes consists of the first ten years or so of Ultimate Spiderman and Ultimate X-Men, and I still found Man of Steel disappointing. My knowledge of Superman consists of what I've picked up from the films and what I've learned through cultural osmosis, and I still found Man of Steel disappointing, as did many others like me. It is not just different from what "fanboys" want it to be. It is fundamentally flawed as a work of fiction.

It's not fundamentally flawed as a work of fiction. At worst it's an average film, it's not The Expendables or Transformers 2 or Alien vs Predator 2. Fundamentally flawed would be a film that has a story that doesn't make sense at all, with giant plot holes and inconsistent characters.

I never liked Superman before this film. Now I do, and I hope they keep the tone and style of MoS for the sequel.

Detractors of the film need to stop acting as if their opinion is fact, because a fair amount of people did actually enjoy the film.

The Dubya:
Heh, I knew I wasn't the only one that thought of this as "Terrence Malick Presents: Superman".

So yeah, this is what happens when you try to remake Batman Begins. I mean it's SO obvious that's what they were doing. Why else do you think EVERYONE on the Internet is thinking the same "iconic archnemesis comes in to smear Superman's name" storyline for the sequel? Because they clearly want to remake THE DARK KNIGHT next.

- Lex Luthor gets the people to trust him
- Lex Luthor dirties Superman's name, making the people turn on him
- Lex Luthor does some evil stuff under their noses, meaning Superman has to stop him/kill him
- Oh no, Superman can't tell the people what Lex did because they'd be sooooo heartbroken, so he decides not to tell Metropoliis how much of a dick Lex was.
- Repeat the end speech of TDK while Superman flies away to build the Fortress of Solitude
- ____ years later, Brainiac or someone shows up to cause havoc and THE MAN OF STEEL RISES

DC really hired some limited writers for their movies, huh?

That is amazing. I saw some similarities to Batman Begins, but I never thought on it that much, but what you put her makes a scary amount of sense.

I also agree with your assertion that Zod is the actual protagonist, with his willingness to do everything and anything to save his world being his tragic flaw. There was a lot more complexity and nuances to his character than to anyone else on screen. With Michael Shannon's overacting, I think that is a requirement to chew the scenery in a movie like this. It's bombastic and unsubtle, but he sells his rage, pain, and even remorse, which is more than I can say for the "chemistry" between Lois and Supes.

Strazdas:
I didn't say we represent majority of his viewers, but just because we are minority does not mean we should not voice our opinions.

No, but it does mean that if you're going to justify your complaints by saying it's all about bolstering Mr. Chipman's popularity, it behooves you to prove he's unpopular, or else it comes off as disingenuous.

I can't help but get the feeling that he's looking at this wrong.
This whole movie was about superman's first outing as the man of steel, if he had immediately gone from zero to icon in the space of one film I would have been thoroughly unconvinced. He's only just started so he doesn't get to be "super-man" yet.
What's more, in the context of the retelling of the back story, he was a naturally born kryptonian who was defending himself against genetically modified soldiers bred for fighting. It would be the equivalent of an average human fighting captain america. The thought of him having the presence of mind to save the people in the buildings he was being blasted through is just preposterous.
He'll have room to grow as a character as the series progresses but in this film he's just getting started.

MOS was worse than Green Lantern. Mainly from being disjointed and 2 movies time compressed into each other. I also think GL shares alot of the same issues.

JimB:

Strazdas:
I didn't say we represent majority of his viewers, but just because we are minority does not mean we should not voice our opinions.

No, but it does mean that if you're going to justify your complaints by saying it's all about bolstering Mr. Chipman's popularity, it behooves you to prove he's unpopular, or else it comes off as disingenuous.

every single view is part of his popularity. I didnt say he is unpopular, merely that listening to constructive cirticism can boost his popularity.

I'd be really interested in knowing what kind of Superman movie Bob wanted to see.

"Disappointment" suggests that expectations were not met. So what was Bob expecting?

I had pretty much no preconceived notions about this film (aside what I saw in the trailers) and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The movie for me did in roughly two hours what the whole "Smallville" series tried to do in its entire way-too-long run: make Superman relatable.

I didn't think it was too dark. And given the nature of the central theme - a man's quest to find his place in this world - the tone was appropriate.

Yes, there were the typical hallmarks of a Nolan/Goyer script that were bothersome (the weak female lead, some character inconsistencies and a couple of gaping plot holes). But I found it to be a good modern take on the character.

My guess is that most people, including Bob, who were disappointed by this movie were expecting the Second Coming of the Richard Donner film from the 70's.

But that movie had such a unique congruence of components it would be hard to duplicate.

Yeah, I'm sort of with the consensus of the first few pages on this one:

Bob, we appreciate that you had high expectations and were disappointed that Man of Steel was bad. We also appreciate that TBP is sort of where you rant about whatever you feel like.

... but c'mon, man. Basically no one else not getting a paycheck from the studio thought the movie was going to be any good to begin with, so the rest of us have just moved on to the meh + forgetting it exists stage. These continual rants about this movie have no common ground with your audience whatsoever and aren't any fun for us to listen to.

Please find something else to obsess over.

Zen Bard:
I'd be really interested in knowing what kind of Superman movie Bob wanted to see.

"Disappointment" suggests that expectations were not met. So what was Bob expecting?

I had pretty much no preconceived notions about this film (aside what I saw in the trailers) and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The movie for me did in roughly two hours what the whole "Smallville" series tried to do in its entire way-too-long run: make Superman relatable.

I didn't think it was too dark. And given the nature of the central theme - a man's quest to find his place in this world - the tone was appropriate.

Yes, there were the typical hallmarks of a Nolan/Goyer script that were bothersome (the weak female lead, some character inconsistencies and a couple of gaping plot holes). But I found it to be a good modern take on the character.

My guess is that most people, including Bob, who were disappointed by this movie were expecting the Second Coming of the Richard Donner film from the 70's.

But that movie had such a unique congruence of components it would be hard to duplicate.

Yeah but Superman is not supposed to be relatable in the traditional sense I don't watch or read Superman to imagine someone I can really meet in real life I want him to be someone I could only hope to meet. He's the ideal the ever unreachable goal.

Winnosh:

Yeah but Superman is not supposed to be relatable in the traditional sense I don't watch or read Superman to imagine someone I can really meet in real life I want him to be someone I could only hope to meet. He's the ideal the ever unreachable goal.

Well, we ALL read comics as a form of escapism. And I'm not suggesting "relatable" meant Superman's someone I could have a beer with after work.

"Relatable" in this sense means that he has more depth and dimension to him than the "Overgrown Boy Scout" that he's come to represent.

For instance, as an immigrant myself, I could empathize with and "relate" to someone literally from another world trying to find his identity.

I thought the film did a really good job and getting that across.

The Gentleman:
I will give Man of Steel one thing in how it changed the (cinematic) version of the character: it decoupled Superman from America (albeit in very blunt matter).

As I noted long ago on this site, the image of Superman as the embodiment of America's moral and strengths means that a movie in the vein of the original comic or prior movies just wouldn't work in a world where people look at the US as coming down from decades of partying and arrogance. The earnestness that Bob wants to see doesn't represent the US today, now suspicious of its own power and what it has become.

Do I think they could have done it in a better manner than having him literally chuck a drone at a general in an obviously tacked-on scene? Of course, but they at least tried.

Superman Returns worked much harder at this decoupling. Bryan Singer, who had done the Xmen films, is interested in alienation (Xmen being like, I think, being Gay, it comes at pubescence, parents ask if it can be cured, etc.) He treated Superman as the ultimate alien. When Superman tells Lois in 1 that flying is safe, he is a nerd trying to look smart to a cutie. When he tells a plane full of frightened passengers the same, he is an alien pretending to connect to humans. It really, really failed. Even Perry White fails to ask if he stands for the "American Way".

But this new movie still has him very alien. He tries to reign it in, noting he is from Kansas, but he is friendless, an alien freak. Watch the Smallville series. It is closer to the real Superman. He is not a freak. He has friends. He is the ultimate immigrant. Movie makers need to understand this.

Meh, I liked it. It would have been better to let Snyder do it Watchmen style, instead of doing a Nolanafication though.

Pa Kent made the film longer than it had to be and it did get tiresome, but other than that it was a good movie.

This video was a lot less whiney and complaining than I thought it would be. bob very carefully articulated why he was disappointed with Man of Steel. I get that not every superhero movie has to be The Dark Knight (still awesome, btw), but I like how they get introspective about the nature of heroism, especially in this day and age. Nothing wrong with that, but still, they should get up and kick ass, because that's why we go to see them.

cynicalsaint1:
Oh good ... more of Bob whining about Man of Steel just what I was hoping for ...
No wait, the other thing ... just what I'm utterly sick of.

Look at it this way: he should have it all out of his system now.

yellost:
"who wants a superhero who isn't constantly morose and tormented all the time"

Obviously, every top people at DC, considering their excuse about the no marriage allowed for Batwoman.

And before we start a big gay marriage debacle, I haven't read the comic, I don't care she's a lesbian and apparently, their given reason for refusing the marriage has nothing to do with that particular issue but it points out to what I find a much a bigger creative problem nowadays : what they said was that no superhero can be happy for him/her to be engaging to the readers.

Isn't that Joss Whedon's philosophy on writing? "Happy people are boring." Now really, who at DC said they don't want their superheroes to be happy at all?

Darth_Payn:

yellost:
"who wants a superhero who isn't constantly morose and tormented all the time"

Obviously, every top people at DC, considering their excuse about the no marriage allowed for Batwoman.

And before we start a big gay marriage debacle, I haven't read the comic, I don't care she's a lesbian and apparently, their given reason for refusing the marriage has nothing to do with that particular issue but it points out to what I find a much a bigger creative problem nowadays : what they said was that no superhero can be happy for him/her to be engaging to the readers.

Isn't that Joss Whedon's philosophy on writing? "Happy people are boring." Now really, who at DC said they don't want their superheroes to be happy at all?

It's from Dan DiDio, co-publisher at DC at the Hollywood Reporter

And I would say that Joss Whedon is half right. Happy people may be boring but constantly unhappy people are not only as boring but also depressing to boot. Hell, that's why I can't stand that Game of Thrones show, situations get from bad to worse to even worse, with absolutely nothing good to look forward to for any of the characters. Makes you wonder why they even bother to keep on going.
What makes a story interesting is the actual up and down of happiness. you need them to go from one to the other through crisis and their resolving to keep wanting to invest in them. So yes, obviously they can't be happy all the time but give them a reason to fight. And I'm sorry but "for the greater good" is not a compelling one.

If Man of Steel is the "biggest and most crushing disappointment of 2013" for you then you need to come to terms with the fact that your life is @#^%ing awesome and get over this. I get it, you hated the movie, and Star Trek, and you hate Batman. I just can't bring myself to care.

I haven't watched this one, mainly because I feel like I've heard what he had to say in several previous videos already. At least it's not yet another video about some stupid, obscure cartoon.

Do I need to do **** Spoilers ****** or something?

Anyway **** Spoiler!!***

I realize I am coming to this party way way way too late for anyone to actually read this, but I was having a conversation about this movie and while discussing this point, one of my friends raised the point that actually in the source material Superman does kill Zod quite a few times. Apparently even in the original movie Zod being alive was a deleted scene, and an addition. Also in the comics apparently he has also killed Zod. Perhaps maybe it sets the wrong tone for the first movie, but also that brings me to my next point which is tone. Superman's tone has always been awkward.

The barrier to entry for a lot of the character was and is the god like power that constantly holds him back from being believable even in the context of a comic book. Look at the writing for Superman. The challenge for writing superman seems to be "how do we make a situation in which Superman has to try?" which seems to be a pretty difficult task. Interesting Superman stories tend to look like this. Even the Christopher Reeves version which I still like, ended in the most ridiculous way possible, not because its moving but it's because you just continue to establish how little rules this guy has to play by.

Sure the argument that he is supposed to be the Superior man and supposed to do the impossible, but whats the point if it doesn't look at least a little at least a little challenging.

I guess my point is Superman is an interesting paradox in that the character who is ostensibly the perfect being who's perfection makes him impossible to be interesting unless you do something to remove that perfection there by giving his antagonists a slight and always fleeting chance. Even the guy that kills superman has his bones laced with a substance that makes Superman weak.

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