Everyone in the YOMYOMF office hated it, except for me. Why does MAN OF STEEL works for me? I loved it’s sci-fi take to on the Superman mythos. To have Clark/Kal El feel truly alienated, it made sense that Zack Snyder, David Goyer and Christopher Nolan would embark on a different, darker route and this was truly a reinvention of the character for the 21st Century, while still keeping the basic DNA of what Superman is and why he has lived on in American pop culture for 75 years now.
Structurally, it was an exact blueprint of Nolan’s BATMAN BEGINS, and I liked that. Origin stories, especially superhero movies are such a chore for the viewer, because everyone pretty much knows how they came to be. That’s why I was lukewarm on THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN reboot because I had just seen it less than a decade ago (and done better) with the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire version.
With the flashback structure, hitting key points in Clark’s history, we get a greatest hits, in a way, of Jonathan Kent’s sage wisdom and life lessons that shape the man we will soon know as Superman. And sure, the Jesus/Messiah metaphors were a bit much (Superman is 33 years old for Pete’s sake), but that’s been done to death in the previous Bryan Singer SUPERMAN RETURNS and Donner films as well.
I also loved the supporting characters and it was a gallery of exemplary character actors (Richard Schiff! Chris Meloni! Laurence Fishburne!) and they all had a stake in the story, especially in defending Earth from Zod and his army. Plus, Amy Adams is a great Lois Lane — a smart, driven journalist — and I really liked the new direction they went with her on Clark’s trail, as he wanders the Earth.
Henry Cavill IS Superman. He was great and looked the part, and there is no residue of the great Christopher Reeve. Not to belittle Brandon Routh, but he looked like Christopher Reeve and played it from the standpoint of Clark Kent, bumbling reporter. Cavill plays it with youthful wandering and in search of a sense of purpose. And when he becomes full fledged Clark Kent, who becomes the disguise and not Superman.
Now, the third act is the most problematic and I agree with that. It did, however, deliver on the action and it was truly the first time you see on the big screen, the massive, immense power of the Kryptonians. The destruction was 9/11 x 10 and it was relentless, almost tiring. But I liked how it was very inspired by anime action sequences from the likes of Dragonball Z, for example.
Overall, I wanted to see something different and it delivered. My friends who hated the film complained that it had no humor or they wanted some small, cute moments with Superman or have him save people randomly or save cats out of trees or have a more rousing soundtrack. My answer to that is we had that already and it was called SUPERMAN RETURNS, which was almost criminally nostalgic for its masturbatory love of the Richard Donner films.
MAN OF STEEL isn’t perfect. But it’s a welcome step into an exciting new direction in the DC movie universe. Watch out Marvel.
What did everyone else think?
DAVID: In the words of Thumper from “Bambi”… “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”……………………………………….. forget it.
I had some big issues with this little titan of a movie so called “Man of Steel”. I can see this film being compared to Donner’s original called “Superman: The Movie” back in 1978, but for those who has never seen it or barely remembered it, I can see why you might love this film.
But for me, I have to put this on a scale. Why the non-linear cut backs to Clark’s upbringing? It would have been so nice to see the growth of young Clark (which we don’t see in Donner’s version) as Jonathan (played by Mr. Brooks… I mean, Kevin Costner). Imagine a 5 year old Clark playing with his dog and somehow discovers he can run fast… really fast. Jonathan sees this and now knows how to raise his son.
I love Costner, but not him as Jonathan. He needed to display love, care and acts of sacrifice for Clark… not suppress him… he’s his dad! Especially that scene where the tornado, Jonathan and Clark scene happens… COME ON… IT’S HIS DAD!
Speaking of dads… Jor El (played by Russell Crowe) gave more wisdom to Lois (played by Amy Adams) than Kal El (Superman). I need to HEAR Jor El say the wise words to Kal El. Give him something to processes the wisdom.
As I’m writing this… I’m growing tired. Maybe because “Superman: The Movie” was my first American movie watched in a American theater, which my mom took me to, when she didn’t want to. Of course I begged her to go. Reeves’ embodiment of Superman is the definitive Superman, bar none. There was more sensitivity and discovery in Donner’s version. Maybe it’s preparing us for Justice League and keeping it dark or less comicbooky and wanting to keep it more consistent with Dark Knight. I dunno?
Many has challenged me on why I didn’t love it. I just didn’t. I wanted to like it, but nothing… There is more to this, but I’ll spare you. Don’t let me prime you for disappointment. You should enjoy this movie on what you get out of it.
Anderson… I respect you for your love of this film. We’re just on the different entertainment wavelength. You really like Fishburne as Perry, huh? Still braddahs!
ROGER: I thought MAN OF STEEL was exceptional. If only for one reason – every single main character had a deep, heart-felt, emotional arc that traveled through the film. Kal-El, Jor-El, Lois Lane, General Zod, Martha & Johnathan Kent, etc. You really got to know them and hence, care for them. General Zod, in lesser artistic hands, would normally just be a one dimensional heavy/baddie that you know Superman will have to climatically fight and defeat at the very end. But man, that last few minutes, you really feel for General Zod and empathetically understand why he had to murder and kill so ruthlessly. You almost start to root for him. And for Superman, you really get to know and feel how truly alone he is in the universe. I think this is an incredible achievement. Especially in a “comic book” movie. More often than not, these big budget comic adaptation go heavy on the CGI but really lack characters that you really feel for. MAN OF STEEL was able to pull off “pop-corn action wow” with the deep emotional punch usually reserved for more subtle, character driven pieces. Yes the movie may have story issues and a few convenient plot twists, but as a whole, MAN OF STEEL really surprised me in the best possible way. So you’re not alone, Anderson (unlike Superman, who is truly, truly alone).
ALFREDO: Haven’t seen it, but did read a story on-line about how the original comic book creators of Superman, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, were taken advantage of royally by DC comics. No one forced these two young poor Jewish immigrants to sign away the rights to Superman for pennies, but still, it sucks. One of them died nearly penniless. An interviewer found him homeless on a park bench in the 70’s, and, when the story broke, and the Christopher Reeve version was about to come out, the studio set him up with a modest pension, just to avoid bad press. An obvious case of enlightened self interest, but thank God someone did something.
QUENTIN: I haven’t seen it either. I haven’t been a big Superman fan though I thought I was pretty stunned as a kid seeing the original Superman by Richard Donner. I was pretty heartbroken when Margot Kidder got buried. Wasn’t that supposed to be a cursed movie?
PHILIP: Finally saw it. Didn’t hate it like David and many other YOMYOMFers did, but definitely not as good as I thought it could have been. I loved the first half and thought the filmmakers had a great take on what a contemporary Superman would look like, but once Zod shows up and it becomes one long CGI fight fest, I thought the film lost a good chunk of what it promised–the exploration of what happens when the existence of an alien with God-like powers is revealed to live among us. It could’ve been more interesting and still had the badass visual effects you want in a Superman movie. So more of a disappointment due to missed opportunities.
JEROME: Count me among the disappointed – although I’ll be the first to admit that Anderson did a helluva job convincing me to give it another shot.
While the flashback structure worked for me on an intellectual standpoint, there was something about the jumping back and forth in this film that affected the momentum in a significantly negative way.
That being said the performances were great all around and Hans Zimmer did a fantastic job with the music.
Also, Faora? Kind of a badass. Her presence affected me whenever she showed up more than Zod, all things said and done.
BEVERLY: Haven’t seen it. I usually like to wait til films are less packed… I’m a ‘wait til about 1 month and ½ after the premiere and then I’ll watch the movie’. But I’m kinda meh about going. I rely heavily on word-of-mouth and it just hasn’t been something anyone has said to me, “OMG, you have to see this!!!!” And maybe I’m just not a big superhero movie kinda gal… the trailers I’ve seen of it, makes it look like such a SERIOUS superhero movie…they are so thwarted by their own self doubt. The marketing (from my easily distracted view) just doesn’t make it look like a fun night. It makes it look like a superhero movie written by Chekov and acted by someone picked by the Academy. Meh.
But I am interested in seeing MONSTER’S UNIVERSITY!!!! (It just looks fun!)