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Dec 14, 2003

Smarts > Wisdom


So somehow way back before I was born, Richard Donner managed to whip up cinematic gold with the original Superman film followed by Superman 2. Both films have stood the test of time, and have since become the standard by which Superhero films are judged. Unfortunately since then every other director's somehow forgotten how to make Superman at all appealing, so we've suffered though two more dismal flights in the suit by Christopher Reeve, and then a bland and boring homage to those classics staring Brandon Routh as perhaps the most melodramatic Superman to date. But hey, thank goodness for television. At least in that medium they've somehow succeeded again and again at giving us a Superman we can attach onto, with in my humble opinion the animated series and Justice League cartoons standing out.

Now we have a new contender to the ring in Man of Steel. How does it stack up? In one word it doesn't. It instead punches the stack so goddamn hard that the moon explodes and an entire city is destroyed, and then square-jawed Henry Cavill now in a more stylized Superman suit steps in, setting new precedent for what we might expect from a Superhero film.

There's a lot to love with this film. Cavill is a Superman who genuinely seems to love his powers, even if he's burdened with the words of a xenophobic Johnathon Kent who'd have him spend his life in a basement away from society. It's honestly fun to watch him develop new abilities, with flight being the big thing. And Lois Lane, star reported for the Daily Planet, is... wait for it... actually a decent reporter! Yes, believe it or not the woman is finally portrayed to not be an idiot! It takes her all of ten minutes to figure out Superman's secret identity simply by tracking back the path of random heroisms laid out in his travels. Now traditionally this doesn't work for Superman because he and Lois are supposed to have this blinded-by-love thing going on while he's in disguise, but drat if it doesn't work well enough here... Even if his lust for the woman does seem a bit forced.

Where it really succeeds is losing the Superman verus man aspect of previous films where Lex Luther is constantly toted as being the greatest threat of a man who could punch the Earth in half. Instead we have Zod, a fellow Kryptonian who you might recall from the second Superman film. There's a lot of homage paid to that here with Zod having a ruthless, dark-haired female seconds, who is in turn aided by a silent giant. Donner created a pretty fun match-up between these four way back in Superman 2, but obviously he was limited by the graphics of the time. His battle had to be more clever than intense. Well welcome to the future bitches!

For the first time we see what happens when Superman has to fight half a dozen other Supermen. These are the absolutely most over-the-top battles in the goddamn history of cinema. Basically imagine the final battle of Matrix 3 TIMES A BILLION! All I can really compare it to is the episode Clash from the series Justice League: Unlimited. Every time any Kryptonian throws a punch it's literally 9/11 times a thousand. These guys cause at least a trillion dollars in property damage, with battles ranging from rural Smallville to the great metropolis of Metropolis.

Oh, and of course the film spends some time pointing out how futile our military is against these gods from outer-space. But not so much so. Christopher Meloni, who you might recall as the most rear end-raping man from the tv series OZ, plays a Colonel who could give a poo poo less that he's a man bringing a knife to a nuclear bomb fight.

Like any good superhero film you'll catch Easter Eggs if you watch the background. Lexcorp logos dot Metropolis, setting up Lex to be a corporate tycoon rather than the outright villain we saw him as in the Donner films. But no need to stay for after the credits. Apparently they're not eager to be compared to Marvel.

Speaking of which, it is a wonder about how they plan to tie all of this in for a potential Justice League movie. There's no hints to anyone being aware of other heroes out there. I would have expected a quick jib about there "being a masked lunatic in Gotham" or something, but no, nothing. Not that Superman needs a Justice League I suppose. I mean he saves the world every time he sneezes.

Summary: Definitely my favorite film of the year so far. It tops Ironman 3 in my book.

Pros: A likable Superman. Battles straight out of the comics with modern, fantastic graphics.

Cons: Rushed romance. An unlikable Johnathon Kent.

Wait, why is Perry black?


Jul 13, 2005

Its hard to make a superman movie when any actor who plays the iconic character is inevitably going to be compared to Christopher Reeve. That being said the actor in this movie did a fine job with what was handed to him. The problem with this movie, I believe, is what was handed to him. I feel like I learned more about the supporting cast of this film than I did the titular character. I learned tons about his Kryptonian father and mother. I learned about his home world. I learned all these things about everyone surrounding superman but very little about superman himself. We are given small looks into his life growing up but I was left wanting more. I basically feel like this movie tried to squeeze both act 1 and 2 together in a single movie. I would have been just as happy with a bit shorter movie and more character development, especially of clark. I just was not that emotionally attached to him and by the ending scenes I found myself just not caring as much about him as I wanted to.

That being said, the battle sequences were great, if not a bit drawn out. You really do leave this movie feeling that these were gods battling on earth, and there was little earth could do but stand back and watch. I loved the development of the Kryptonian back story. I loved the portrayal of Jor El and I actually enjoyed the portrayals of Martha and Jonathan Kent and did not get a xenophobic vibe there at all.

Overall a real good movie. Not great. Just real good. Could have maybe been better in my mind but still worth your dollars


Apr 4, 2007

That could've gotten in my eye!
*launches teargas at unarmed protestors*


Liar posted:

Speaking of which, it is a wonder about how they plan to tie all of this in for a potential Justice League movie. There's no hints to anyone being aware of other heroes out there. I would have expected a quick jib about there "being a masked lunatic in Gotham" or something, but no, nothing. Not that Superman needs a Justice League I suppose. I mean he saves the world every time he sneezes.

There is a W on the sattelite Zod wrecks during the fight. Its small, but it was confirmed by Snyder a few days ago it was supposed to be a Wayne Enterprises logo. Small, but present.Also, there was a queen industries sign on the side of a destroyed building, a truck with the Kord Industries beetle logo aaaand a booster gold soda advertisement.

Not a lot to say other than this is the first new superman movie to not be terrible. It paced through things well, and the Krypton background stuff with Jor-el was really really well done. Action was fantastic, and really captured the "super" feel of all the kryptonians. The music was outstanding and really supported what was going on screen as well.

There were some minor nitpicks, but for a summer blockbuster, led alone a superman movie, it was quite entertaining. Not really a spoiler, but how anyone didn't notice how those pods looked like space dildos is beyond me. They even had a flared base.

Critically viewing rating : 3.5/5

Summer Blockbuster turn your brain off rating :4.5/5

Crunkjuice fucked around with this message at 22:02 on Jun 20, 2013

Corn Thongs
Feb 13, 2004

I hated this movie. I hated the multiple just in the nick of time saves, especially when you know millions are dying yet he goes out of his way to save Lois Lane or Det. Stabler or whoever. I hated how hard they shoved in my face that Clark is so heroic because he overcame so many odds . I hated the action. It was so ridiculously over the top that all I could see were the billions of dollars worth of collateral damage he was doing. I hardly even noticed the actual fighting because any single punch knocked over a loving skyscraper. I hated the forced chemistry between Clark and Lois (as in there was none, but whatever they're in love). I am all for turning off my brain to watch an entertaining blockbuster, but this tried so hard to be that plus a pity party for Clark because boy he sure had it rough. I hated the completely irrelevant and out of place message at the end about spy drones.


Baron Bifford
May 24, 2006
Can't post for 2240 days!

Having watched the trailers, I feared that this movie would persist with the Messiah theme of the previous films. It's still there, but a little more muted. Jor-El's final wish for is son is "be whatever you want to be as long as you are a good person". It is Jor-El's reaction to Zod's fascist ideology, so it actually has a purpose in this film. Whatever messianic ambitions Jor-El had for his son are rendered moot by the fact that Clark loves helping people anyway and has been doing so long before learning of his origin.

Aside from this, I was disappointed by how deadpan everyone's performances are. See the picture below?

This is Henry Cavill's face 90% of the time. He's always thinking deeply about deep issues.

The only emotion we get from Zod is anger. The only emotion we get from the humans is fear. Zod is angry at everything and the humans are terrified of everything. Henry Cavil is about as flat as Brandon Routh was.

At least we have a smarter script and great action sequences to distract us. The final battle in Metropolis is fantastic. It's the action sequences in Superman II done right. A pity they couldn't do Superman II's charm and emotion as well.

This film left me with the same level of satisfaction as Batman Begins. It shows that the producers have the right idea even if the execution is a bit stiff. It's a decent start to a new era, and perhaps the sequel will be Superman's Dark Knight.


Baron Bifford fucked around with this message at 08:02 on Jul 28, 2013

Jun 3, 2003

Hostile negotiations since 1978

Another example of how it's apparently easy to make an emotionally charged Superman movie trailer, but apparently VERY difficult to make an emotionally charged Superman movie.

It'd be pretty pointless to try to review this movie without comparing it to previous Superman movies or even to other superhero movies that have come out recently.

In short, the movie felt flat. In Superman movies past (or in other "first" superhero movies, such as Batman Begins) there was always a few moments that gave me chills, made me sit up and really pay attention, or simply think to myself "gently caress - this is awesome." Man of Steel had none of that.

The film was competently made, I can't fault the film for its look. The movie looked fantastic. Every second was an interesting image. The story just didn't resonate with me, and by the end I was bored.

Someday, I hope that someone realizes that two invulnerable beings slugging it out is incredibly boring. Amping it up with colorful lights and explosions doesn't make it any better. Forgive me for the tangent, but this is why Star Trek 2 (from the 80's, not the recent one) is awesome and why Nemesis was terrible. In Trek 2, every shot mattered. Every hit carried a very real human cost to it. And there weren't that many hits - but the ones that were there REALLY hurt. In Nemesis, it was just shot after shot between the ships, and in the end it was basically meaningless. Everything that led up to the final moments could have been left out and it wouldn't have mattered.

In the case of Man of Steel, it was similar. Yes, the two bad guys were slugging it out, toppling sky scrapers, creating ton upon ton of debris, but there was no loss of life. No emotional cost to the viewer. Since it never shows any people being hurt by this, we're free to assume that there was nobody hurt. I'm sure this was done to maintain the PG-13 rating, but might the people who rate these movies stopped and considered that with all the destruction in these movies, it's important to remember that THOUSANDS of people would have died in this? It might actually be a good thing to show people - that mass destruction such as this carries with it a price.

In any case, none of it mattered until the end where Supes had to deal with a few people actually, potentially, dying. As opposed to the tens of thousands that likely already have.

I didn't really so much mind the re-imaging of Krypton, or Kal-El's upbringing. It DID bother me that Clark was so stupid. I know they were trying to make a point with the scene, but any Clark from any previous movie would have told Jonathan to seek shelter, then would have done his hero thing, then after it was over, placed himself under some debris and "miraculously survived unscathed."

The orchestral score was a bit disappointing to me as well. I wasn't expecting (and was glad not to hear) John Williams' iconic score, but I was hoping to hear something on that level from Hans Zimmer. The major theme isn't bad, but it's nowhere near the level of Williams' theme. It's not one that you'll be humming for decades to come. It was basically just sonic wallpaper.

I dunno. It's not that this was a bad movie. It's just that it wasn't a good one either. And with respect to the poster above me, this movie was NO Batman Begins.


Apr 6, 2009

Best Superman movie ever to me, by far. Not much I wasn't impressed with. I thought Jonathan Kent's death was stupid and the military dude was a cliche, but otherwise really awesome. Really, really visually beautiful too.


Red Bones
Aug 9, 2012

"I think he's a bad enough person to stay ghost through his sheer love of child-killing."

I didn't like Man of Steel. Its annoying, because I did like bits of Man of Steel, and I would've liked to have seen the film that the trailer promised me, but I didn't get that film.

The film does have some really good moments. The flashback scenes with Clark, especially when he's left Smallville and is roaming around the world, are some of the best bits of the movie and show him as someone who's struggling with the alienation of having superpowers but still wants to help other people with them. There's some really interesting stuff as he's growing up and how developing these powers is scaring people that ties in really nicely with how scared of Superman people are in the main story. The film has really strong moments right the way through to him putting on a superman suit and fighting the other Kryptonians in Smallville where we see him struggling to actually fight people as strong as he is, trying to save people who are terrified of him and some really nice action sequences.

The film takes a sharp nose dive from pretty much the end of that fight and onward, but before I talk about that I'd like to mention how disjointed this film is and how much it hurts it. The flashbacks with a younger Clark do a lot to flesh him out into a more complete character, but we get them woefully late in the movie. He makes the jump from Clark Kent to Superman, from hiding from others and being this ambiguous, quiet figure to the much more clean cut Superman pretty loving instantaneously, getting a pep talk from his alien dad Jor-El and a complimentary superman suit and then suddenly he's acting completely differently - he's much more like the old charming Christopher Reeve superman when he's talking to the military than he ever was talking to Lois Lane or Jor-El before he put on the suit, and that very jarring change is only smoothed over afterwards as we learn more about him when he was a kid. This isn't just superman's problem either, the key plot with General Zod and his very character is changed from more of a straight villain to a tragic figure in some lines he delivers after the entire plot was resolved, lines that should really have come much earlier in the film.

Lois Lane is in this film too as a very competent reporter who after being a pretty cool character in the first half of the film and trying to track down the wandering Clark Kent is sidelined into being a really boring love interest who does nothing that is not laser-focused toward putting her into situations that Superman can save her from, plausibility be damned. The romance between her and Superman also falls pretty flat because they barely spend any time together or develop any chemistry. Sure Lois might have a crush on the dude that keeps on saving her, but what does Superman see in a woman that he's barely spent any time around?

Anyway after Superman fights a bunch of kryptonians in Smallville we're treated to about forty minutes of uninterrupted action scene that had me wishing for the end credits. Superman fights a bunch of CGI tentacles with absolutely zero suspense because of course he's not gonna lose in a fight to a bunch of loving cgi robot tentacles, c'mon, and follows it up with another equally long action sequence of punching invincible people through buildings with absolutely no visible damage done to either dude, until suddenly one of them wins the fight even though they weren't strong enough to hurt each other before. It's really loving boring and as you've probably already heard, they destroy most of Metropolis and probably kill a whole ton of people even though Superman could totally fly away from the city to anywhere else and avoid the ridiculous collateral damage. It's a film that tries to say interesting things about what being a superhuman might actually mean in the real world and how scary some people would find you if you were, but its ruined by (I'm hedging a guess on who to blame here but I think I'm pretty close) Zach Snyder's almost fetishistic addiction to explosions and enormous action setpieces, as well as its disjointed story issues. People try to criticise the bad press for this film by saying that people hate it because it isn't the superman they're familiar with from their childhood or their comic books, but this film is bad for a bunch of very good reasons.

I'd love to see a director's cut of this film, on the condition that its done by a different director to the one that hosed it up in the first place. Maybe Richard Donner, if he feels up to it.

2.5/5, although just on how ridiculously boring the ending was I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Red Bones fucked around with this message at 11:01 on Jul 6, 2013

Feb 7, 2008

It was horribly shallow. That is not to say it was completely devoid of life, but it was very violent and very much against the Superman I most identify with. Of course, everyone has their idea of what a good Superman is, but this one missed the mark more than most, especially once direct confrontation with Zod began. More of the first half of the film and less of the decidedly unheroic mess that was the second half would have helped a lot. In particular, the characters were clearly dealt with in a half-assed and forgetful manner. This became more than slightly apparent once the main plot started moving.

I've seen just about every motion/film adaptation of Superman, and I'd say I enjoyed this one simply because it was Superman, but not on its own merits. Of the major feature films, I would rank them this way:

Superman 2 > Superman 1 > Superman Returns > Superman 3 = Man of Steel > Superman 4

Superman III was a mess by most standards, but it had Christopher Reeve being cool and heroic and didn't have the completely collapsed budget that 4 had. I'd put it on par with MoS for entertainment value.

(Off topic, but Smallville, Lois and Clark, and the Superman animated films all fall somewhere around Superman Returns)

Clearly, my tastes have hardened over the years. I have no patience for "epic" action movies anymore, especially when story/characterization is so far removed from the focus. Those with less strict standards may go with a 3/5, but I wouldn't trust the tastes of anyone who went much higher than that.


StickySweater fucked around with this message at 19:12 on Jul 16, 2013

Jan 21, 2001

Right now Nintendo is the Titanic slowly but inexorably heading towards the iceberg. I can't wait for the ship to start sinking. It will be awesome to behold.

Moves along at a brisk pace despite the 2+ hours running time. We are thrust into scenes of insurrection and mayhem on the dying planet of Krypton at the start of the film, in a highly entertaining prologue that lays down the foundations of the Superman mythos.

I loved the costume design and the special effects of the Krypton scenes. Snyder does well to create a compelling and visually interesting alien world in a limited amount of time.

We initially see Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent as a bearded young man moping around truck stops and fishing boats before accidentally stumbling upon his legacy as the last son of Krypton, at which point he turns into the bland clean-shaven superhero we all know and love. I found some of the back story of young Clark Kent coming to grips with his powers to be genuinely moving - especially his interactions with Pa Kent. Kevin Costner is excellent as Superman’s adoptive father.

There is no ambiguity when it comes to General Zod; his determination to preserve the Kryptonian race at all costs drives the plot of this movie. Zod is an unyielding fanatic with a single unwavering purpose, a role Michael Shannon plays to unblinking perfection. Russell Crowe’s powerful-yet-soft-spoken Jor El carries a great deal of gravitas.

The fights felt realistic and kinetic, but went on too long. Perhaps sensitive to criticisms that the last Superman film lacked action, Snyder overcompensates and makes the latter third of the film almost entirely an extended action sequence. The endless scenes of explosions and collapsing buildings were gratuitous and left me exhausted.

I’m sure all the nerds will be picking this to death, analyzing every minute of footage for inconsistencies, but I thought it was fine. As far as noisy special-effects laden super-hero punch-‘em-ups go, this was alright.


El Perkele
Nov 7, 2002


I can't even call the right one bad.

Tonally consistent, technically professional, cold and brown Man of Steel tries to establish a more "realistic" Superman/Clark Kent mythos - and falls flat on it's face.

The best part of the movie is the very beginning. In Krypton, the movies describes a needlessly byzantine and degenerate society deciding to blow itself up - both literally and metaphorically. Hooray for old-school ecological catastrophe triggering a societal collapse, been a while since I saw that before! For reasons... not very well explained Zod overthrows government, fails and is locked in some sort of stasis field. Just why and how Zod begins his coup and why it fails are not really explained, but it doesn't really matter because gently caress it, we're going all scifi. Russel "Dad" Crowe then sends his child (together with the DNA of entire Krypton, I guess) to Earth to wreak havoc, cause societal upheaval and unrest, xenophobia, destruction and become a space god. These good intentions are explained very throughly [note: cheap rhetorics included] with blatant string orchestra blaring unimaginative music in the background.

After this, everything goes to poo poo.

Although Superman is alien and superhuman in all his virtues, the attempt to bring at least some sort of realism and human factor into a superhero movie would require if not subtlety then, at least, humans. The plot reveres Superman so much that it absolutely forgets just why he is supposed to be an idol for mankind. The humans are supposed to be the things that both define Superman and whom he protects, but no. Look at this stuff:
- Superman has two dads, both which are pretty much the same character. Another one explains to Superman (and audience) that superman will be a god, he will lead them somewhere, the mankind shall fear him. The earth dad explains to him that he must keep the superman side of himself a secret. This is what turns him into a good guy?
- Louis Lane is there for plot reasons and doesn't really do much and their entire love story makes no sense. I would believe that love conquers all if you gave me just enough to believe that love even exists in the plot
- Superman's colleagues in the Daily Planet are empty and meaningless to everyone. We don't really care. Our obvious common people avatars don't really work.
- Superman let's at least thousands die when he wreks two cities while fighting Zod, who was there to find him to begin with.
- "You can save them, Kal-El, you can save them all." -> Superman saves about 7 people. Oh, the last four are supposed to be important because Superman has to kill Zod's neck. But we have not established any kind of ground rules for the character - there is no drama in Superman killing Zod. It just raises the question of why he didn't that sooner, why did he let all those other people die? This is a bad thing: when movie fails to establish motives and defining traits for our main character, it makes the entire thing meaningless. The movie fails to justify itself or make any kind of statement other than "Superman can punch".

And oh boy, was this movie an extravaganza of cliches. Unimaginative string orchestras repeatingly playing the same theme? Check! Needless slow-mo? Check! Unnecessary woman chorus in a prolonged near-death experience? Check! Dialogue replaced by dramatic monologues? Check! Monomyth? Check! Convoluting the monomyth by telling it in flashback, which didn't really serve the story? Check! Brown? Check! Trying to make the American audience care about the accidental deconstruction of the American Dream Personified by placing carnage into a familiar setting? Check! Glorification of military? Check! Realy, really long battle scenes which replace thrill and excitement with PUNCH? Check! I don't remember if there were unnecessary african action drums, I bet there were. Overall, these resulted in a movie that is compared more with Battle Los Angeles or [token American semi-jingoistic war movie of 2000s] than with other superhero movies - and that's not a comparison Superman movie should be aiming for.

Overall: Big, dumb and extremely calculated movie with little or no redeeming features.


Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next

I absolutely loved this until Zod arrives on earth. Liked the flashbacks of Superman growing up, liked the darker feel, then suddenly there is a massive orgy of violence and destruction which while well done doesn't really fit with Superman.

I cant really see the world being very happy with Superman after he has killed thousands of people and destroyed a city and a town. I like me some action but that was way over the top.


Sep 16, 2002


Zack Snyder is a mediocre movie director. David Goyer is a mediocre screenwriter. Together they combine their powers to give you another videogame movie with terrible dialogue. Everything else about this film, actors, scenes, score, special effects and transitions are spot-on and I quite liked it. Don't listen to all the "boo hoo Superman is a brooding loner in this one/ this movie is daaaarkkkk" comments, it is actually not true at all.



Dec 14, 2004

Kinda like Tron Legacy, the entirety of this move is a long, long trailer. Every scene is overly stylized and played for emotional factor based on the visuals and sound, in the shallowest sense possible.

I think that this is one of the most pretentious films I've ever seen, and the ultimate example of style over substance as far as my opinion goes. This movie is so devoid of life, of meaning, its allegories are so obvious and pointless, every scene is so dramatic and stylized. You could make a trailer out of any combination of scenes in this movie. And as much as that could seem like a good thing to someone, that's not really what I'm looking for a full-fledged movie. There's only so much my stomach can take of the same string compositions, over the same wistful, sad looks. Superman's direction could just be "pretend you're in The Passion of Christ and you're carrying the world on your shoulders and it's miserable, really go all out Sisyphus here."

I have a hard time thinking of movies I deem lower than this, with a few key exceptions that go above and beyond trying to be offensive on purpose and succeed. But out of all the movies that bored me the most, this is high up there with Manos: The Hands of Fate. It's a long, boring, pointless series of over-the-top, cliche-infested scenes that ultimately culminate in the same ending fight as almost every superhero movie. A long, boring road, to a different long, just as boring ending. This is a movie I find bad enough that it shifts most of my scores higher. A bunch of movies that would get a 1/5 get a 2 instead because in contrast with this movie, I felt something while watching them that wasn't gazing into the eye of bland pretentiousness, and yawn.


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