So, this week, the sequel to 2013’s Man Of Steel, got it’s official title (and I’ll give my reactions to that towards the end of this week’s post…promise…).
But following my opinion piece last week on the sequel, I thought I’d share my opinions on Superman’s latest reboot. I expressed my views on the franchise’s future, so why not speak about it’s current state? Right?
Where to start…
Let’s start with the positives and what I liked about the film.
First of all, I feel that the film achieved what it set out to do. Which was to make Superman relatable, even though it was done in the similar vain to Batman Begins (you know, Bruce and Clark both left home because of some traumatic event and wandered around the world moving from place to place looking for some purpose to their lives).
I’ve always felt that between Batman and Superman, Clark was the more relatable.
Hear me out for a second…
Superman, powers aside, had a pretty normal upbringing. He went to high school, had his first crush, the usual. Even him hitting puberty was touched upon through him discovering his abilities. Like the X-Men, Clark has always been and felt like an outsider. Because of who he is, what he can do, he has never been able to fit in.
All of us know what it’s like to feel isolated and alone, being left out just because of who you are. And like most of us, Superman is trying to find his place in life. Who he’s supposed to be. What he’s supposed to do.
And that’s something Zack Snyder’s film beautifully touched upon.
In the Donner series, you could touch upon the idea that Superman was isolated and an outsider, but because it was done in a subtle manner, audiences failed to see that subtext. What Man Of Steel did was that it brought those issues to the fray, making it plainly obvious for the audience to see.
Another brilliant thing about Snyder’s take on Superman was the cast. Henry Cavill, I feel, pulled through a memorable performance as the main character. One of my closest friends said he thought Cavill was the worst Superman on screen, but I strongly disagree.
I think the problem with Cavill was, like Brandon Routh’s incarnation, he was given very few lines of dialogue. It seemed at times that Cavill was just there to pose and look the part. Cavill did not speak until the scene where Clark is working at the bar. Lois had more to say than Clark.
And on that note, Adams did well as Miss Lane. She wouldn’t have been my first pick, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but her portrayal worked well for the film.
Of the cast I would say the weak point came from it’s main villain Zod. Yes, Michael Shannon gave a terrific performance. He did his best with the character. The problem was, Zod was incredibly repetitive. There wasn’t a single moment where Zod didn’t say something about “his people”.
Yes, I get it, on Krypton, most of it’s population has been genetically engineered to serve a purpose, but in Zod’s case it came off as slightly one dimensional. There was not much personality to the character. He’s like the one guy at an office whose entire life is his job and has chosen to abandon any form of social interaction.
But like I said, Shannon did a good job…
Superman has always been an iconic character, and Man Of Steel encapsulated the iconic imagery of the character wonderfully. Nearly every scene with Clark/Superman was incredibly iconic, from the scene where he’s unconscious in the ocean, to him flying over the earth, to the scene where he floats out of Zod’s ship to save Lois.
When I first saw the scene in the trailer where Superman is walking in the arctic, wearing his costume with his cape blowing in the wind, I was filled with so much excitement and high expectations for the film.
But there was one part that let me down…
My overall criticism of the film, the part I disliked the most would be Clark’s fight against Zod towards the end of the film. No, I’m not one of those fans who’s gonna bitch about Superman killing Zod. I didn’t have a problem with it. My problem was the fight itself. Not just the amount of destruction it caused, but also the choreography of it.
Superman’s fight in Smallville, though destructive, was a lot better. That’s how a fight between three Kryptonians on Earth should be.
It should be destructive, but it should be dirty. It should be gritty. It should have some realism. It shouldn’t be over the top. And that’s what the Zod fight was like.
Particularly when Zod grabs Superman’s cloak and spins him then lets go. It looked incredibly cartoonish and everytime I watch that scene on Blu-Ray I either skip it, go get a snack or turn the film off entirely.
This is Superman. Instead it looked like a fight scene from DragonBall Z.
I’m not saying I have a problem with DBZ, and I don’t mean this in a bad way, but Superman and Goku are two different class of characters. Superman is a classy character who has been around for 75 years and that fight isn’t the character’s style. It felt like the fight was an imitation of DBZ and that was my problem.
And of course, the carnage…
Yes, I did have a problem with carnage. Why? Every person who is a Superman fan would want to see at least Doomsday or Brainiac brought to life. And those villains were rumoured to be considered for the sequel.
That’s incredibly worrying considering that, if a fight between Superman and Zod can nearly wipe out a city, then what happens if the Man of Steel goes up the universe’s ultimate killing machine, does that mean the whole of Earth gets brought to it’s knees during the fight?
What’s more is Superman is supposed to be saving people. Even at the cost of his own life.
During a fight, Clark would rather rescue someone from a collapsing skyscraper and taking a blow to the ribs than let innocent people die. He instead, is causing the mayhem and destruction. That, above all, is the worrying problem about the fight between Zod and Superman.
If possible, watch this video by Max Landis, writer of the 2012 film Chronicle. Landis, in my opinion, is brilliant in what he says. I’m a fan of his and as someone who writes, I admire his work and look up to him.
He expresses his opinions on Man Of Steel which are reasonable and should be noted by anyone who loves Superman or hasn’t made their mind up on Snyder’s film. The guy knows what he’s talking about and I hope one day he gets a shot at writing a Superman (or any other comic book hero) based movie.
And finally, onto the sequel and it’s title, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I don’t have much to say to be honest. You can express your fears about the production of a film but at this point; there is no point. What’s done is done. We just have to see what how it turns out.
Yes, I am a little annoyed that a film that is supposed to be part of a Superman franchise is now being shared with a fan boy favourite (Batman) and is serving up as a Justice League foundation, but bitching about it won’t change anything.
All I’ll say is that I no longer see it as a Man Of Steel sequel.
So, what did you think of Man Of Steel? Do you agree with my post? Or with Max Landis?
Also, what do you make of the title of the “sequel”, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice?