Man Of Steel - Your Verdict

Tuesday 18 June 2013, 14:28

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

The long awaited Superman reboot Man Of Steel opened at the weekend. I liked it in parts but some people seem to REALLY hate it. Where do you stand?

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Man of Steel

 

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    Comment number 4.

    I did think that Man of Steel had a problem very much like Prometheus did last year. I think when you see a big sci fi super hero blockbuster promoted on the side of every bus, on every bus shelter and on countless tv spots, it's a big promise you are being told and a big promise to live up to and that promise is that the film is the bees knees. Personally, I wanted an origin story and I got it. Clark Kent being the drifter man and the boy who suppressed his abilities from society, the idea of Lois Lane finding him was great and the threat of zod seeking him out was the perfect setup you could ask for. Even the unhappy event at the end of the film for me ticked boxes, but that 40 minutes of Michael Baye inspired "stuff" happening all over the screen made me really question if I liked this film. When the DVD of Man of Steel comes out, I suggest a 40 minute cut. Only then will it be the Movie I waited for after all this time.

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    Comment number 43.

    I'm not a big fan of comic book films (the super hero genre) but I was looking forward to seeing Man of Steel I did like the Superman films as a kid (they are now very difficult to watch because they were actually rather poorly filmed and have dated very badly)

    The problems I had with the film was firstly with the editing, the being in the present, then having a flashback to his childhood with his parents and then back to the present, then another flashback. Because of this intercutting, I fund everytime I was beginning to get emotionally involved and connected to the character of Clark Kent, I found myself then completely disconnected by the adult Kent, who was a bit of a different character. They would have been better if they had kept a linear narrative, but I felt they probably intercut the film for no reason other than not wanting the audience to get bored, and they didn't trust the material enough that it would connect with the audience, and if the film makers don't believe in and trust their own material, how can the audience?

    Zack Snyder wasn't a very good choice in director for this. In the same way that 'The Sweeney' was made by people who reckon that they're tough guys and hard men (but just comes across as comic and silly) I felt that this was him trying to make all the characters really manly and tough. The problem is that in order to respect a tough, manly characters, they need to have that emotional side to them (as Maximus did in 'Gladiator' and even Leonidas had in '300') but Snyder seems to have been too involved in badly filmed action sequences (with some bad CGI) and was it just me, or did the last 40 minutes completely remind you of a mix of the final battles in both 'Transformers: Dark Of The Moon' and 'The Matrix: Revolutions'??

    Henry Cavill is an excellent actor and a good choice for Superman, however, I felt that he didn't have much of a character to work with, you never got to know who Clark Kent/Superman was, because of the intercutting you didn't go on the journey with him. I felt as well that Hans Zimmers score let the film down, they really should have kept the original John Williams theme because THAT theme creates an emotion within the audience (certainly me) that really helps you get involved and behind Superman, in a way that I never did in this film.

    I think that the two most well rounded characters in the film and the two actors that stole the show were Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe. Their characters were well drawn, I cared more for them than anyone else, and when I left the film, they were the characters that stuck in my head. The only thing that hurt Kevin Costner's performance was THE BLOODY INTERCUTTING!!! But for me, Russell Crowe is the most underrated part of the film, i can't believe how no one else is talking about his role and his character. I have to say, Michael Shannon is a great actor, but he's no Terence Stamp, and even though Zod isn't the best drawn villian ever, even he has more going for him than Clark/Superman.

    Amy Adams is a talented actor but she was sorely disappointing as Lois Lane, who again, was a badly written character. I didn't believe in the connection she and Clark had after just one brief meeting in the graveyard, I didn't buy that whole "secret identity" part. and I have never seen Laurence Fishburne so wasted and so poorly used. They're saving so much material to put into the sequel, that they forgot to put any decent material into this film!

    Ultimately I found the film a very unemotional experience. There's just not much going for it really, they had fantastic actors and source material, and they wasted it on an action film, whereas with the original, even though there was action in it, it happened to characters whom the audience cared about and got emotionally involved with. It is a perfectly serviceable action film, but in the same way that I don't consider 'A Good Day To Die Hard' as a 'Die Hard' film (as it lacks everything that the original was about (I also feel this way about the 'First Blood'/'Rambo' films)) I don't consider 'Man Of Steel' as a proper Superman film.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 60.

    Also, can I also say that this "Superman is powerful therefore the action isn't interesting" is another utter BS argument. How many GREAT action scenes in superhero cinema involve the character GENUINELY being in jeopardy? Superheroes are not like other heroes: the tension isn't about whether THEY will be hurt but whether others will. TDK: Batman tries to save Rachel, tries to save Harvey, tries to save Harvey and Rachel. TDKR: Batman tries to save hostages, tries to save the city. SM2: Spider-Man tries to save a train full of passengers. SR: Superman tries to save passengers on a plane. IM3: Iron Man tries to save passengers on a plane. These are SUPERheroes, who lack physical vulnerability, and it is only AT THE END that they experience a genuine physical threat to themselves. So, I am baffled by the Kermodian (or is it Kermode-like) ignorance of commentators who dislike Superman because of his lack of vulnerability because ALL SUPERHEROES are invulnerable. In fact, they are designed to be that from the comics, in which EVERY WEEK they survive a GIANT BATTLE.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 61.

    I liked Man of Steel but I didn't love it. I left the cinema thinking "that was decent" rather that "that was amazing". Which is a shame because there's some really good stuff in there, it just gets lost under a mess of big noisy action that could have done with some serious trimming and a lighter touch.

    The cast are all great - Cavill makes for a moodier Superman than we've seen before and does a good job of selling the notion of a man uncomfortable in his own skin. Shannon is s scary and intense - even without powers or a big scary spaceship his General Zod is not someone you'd want to mess with. Amy Adams makes for a smart and determined although strangely un-sassy Lois Lane. Costner and Lane are both solid and good value as the Kents but both they both feel a bit underused, especially Costner. Russell Crowe is a brilliant Jor El though.

    The first 90 minutes or so is compelling but it all gets a bit boom-bang-crash samey once the Battle of Smallville gets underway, and watching Supes and Zod destroy most of a city in the process of slapping each other around just gets dull. The climax of their fight is a a pretty effective moment though and may yet have repercussions for Kal-El in future films. I also think the massive destruction may have some knock on as well - in fact I really can't see how it won't.

    Still it looks great throughout, the performances are for the most part bang on and the whole thing has an epic scale. Next time though ( and we already know there'll be one) can we have a little less smashy-smashy (let's leave that to The Hulk), a little more rescuing (orphans and kittens optional) and a maybe even a little bit more humour?

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    Comment number 62.

    I think part of the blame for 'Man Of Steel' being pretty terrible should go to Kevin Smith, he moaned in his 'stand up' that 'Superman Returns' was boring because Superman didn't throw a single punch and just moped about all movie. Well in 'MOS' he throws punch after punch for 45 minutes and I just wanted it to end. I even found the first two acts tedious, nothing stuck for me, I felt nothing for characters and thus the movie never did earn the 45 minute brawl.

    Give me 'Superman Returns' over 'Man Of Steel' any day.

 

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