Kmart's "Man of Steel" Review


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Antihover.................................................................. ........................................................................... .........
Forward: Take from this what you will. If you agree with me then continue to take my movie advice. If not, then find someone else who's tastes are the same as yours.

Suggestion: Wait to see it on TV...if nothing else better is on.

Review: I should have listened to my original instincts about this movie when I kept seeing promotions for it through silly Carl's Jr. commercials and other advertisements. This should have been a clue enough to avoid it, since I don't remember The Dark Knight eating Big Macs. But the ads for the actual movie seemed decent enough. I should add that Superman was never my favorite superhero, even though I have seen Smallville a number of times. When I saw Zack Snyder and Chris Nolan's name attached to it, though, I thought this had the potential to be a good re-imagining of Superman (like the Dark Knight trilogy) and I would keep an open mind. This movie has rocked my faith in Chris Nolan.

The movie begins with a very strange sequence on Krypton that, for a lack of a better word, includes Kryptonian Pterodactyl mounts that people apparently fly around on. There's an extended aerial combat scene with plenty of lasers and explosions, and it almost felt as silly as some of the "new and improved" combats added by the new Star Wars 1-3 movies. I just tried to look past this, since I don't read the comic books and maybe things like this are in them that the average viewer might not know about. When we eventually get to Earth it doesn't get much better.

This was a movie that seems like it didn't know what it wanted to be. Some of it tried to be serious, and other parts were just plain hammy and awful. It was a movie trying to take itself far more seriously than it should have. This is compounded by the fact that the scenes felt like a sequence of disjointed, fleeting moments that never really had cohesiveness or a solid direction. It never melded to make a solid movie and really felt like a bad, made for TV mini-series. The sentimental flashback scenes don't work in a movie that carries cheesy lines such as "You know they say it's all downhill after the first kiss", or that uses cliche scenes of military personal and "Mr. Scientist" discussing their plans in the "Let's Solve S**t" control room.

As far as characters, this movie was too scattered to ever stay on one character long enough to care about them. Russel Crowe and Michael Shannon are two accomplished actors that can't save this movie, even with an addition of Kevin Costner and Diane Keaton. Shannon has moments of good performance, which you'd expect of him, but are overshadowed by scenes of hammy overacting and yelling. You almost expect him to stop mid-scene at points and yell "ACT-TIIIIING!". Crowe never seems that attached to what's going on. Costner and Keaton aren't around long enough to care what they think or what happens to them. Louis never draws you in enough with any sense of sex appeal to care if she ends up with Clark, which brings us to Superdud. Henry Cavill's performance ranges from barely competent, to wooden, to hammy and awful. There are times where he feels like a 1950s Superman and is about to say "Have no fear! Superman is here! Off and away!" The one good thing you can say about him is he looks like what people expect Superman to look like and he's pretty damn ripped.

And the action sequences? The only good thing added by this movie was the sonic boom effect they did for flying. Other than that it gets pretty stupid and, yes again, hammy. Much of it feels like an even more over-the-top version of a Matrix movie as Clark and various bad guys hurl each other through an endless amount of buildings and collide with each other in giant mushroom clouds of dust. And Superman, the guy who never kills people, NEVER tries to draw the fight away from crowded areas and continues to fling people through buildings and be flung which looks like it could probably lead to HUNDREDS of deaths if not more. Seriously, this movie seemed like it had a quota of number of body hurls and buildings falling per x minutes of film time. By the end of this I was hoping Zod would destroy the earth to spare mankind (and the audience) of having to endure more of this movie that drags on WAY TOO LONG.

I'm not sure if there was a conflicting vision where Chris Nolan lost control, but I'm really hoping this was NOT the movie he intended to make.

If you Like: Superman as a character and like superhero movies in general you might like this if you're just looking for mindless action entertainment.


I agree about the building throws in the final battle After a while, you'd think at least one of them would notice that it's an ineffective tactic. :)

Frankly, I think I would have really liked the movie if it had just ended when they blew up the big terraformer thingy. I found it to be dumb-but-cool up to that point. Then it just got dumb-but-nothing.

From a logic standpoint it was clear that no one was hurting anyone with what they were doing to each other. It equated to a sissy slap fight. This movie could have ended very early on by superman flying up to the ship and just blasting himself through it like he did later. No working ship and they can do nothing and would just float off into space...

And took Super-dolt like 2 hours and 45 minutes to actually care about people dying and figure out that he can GRAPPLE and not just throw people through 500 innocent bystanders.

Reminds me of a time in college when someone was earnestly asking everyone who their favorite superhero was. Our buddy Bryan was drunk and said, "Superman. 'Cause he could take a super-piss like the one I'm about to. Except he could measure how far it would go. That would be awesome." That also ended that conversation pretty well.

Btw, this thread was moved from off topic because I had some of these sections minimized and forgot there was a movie section..which is why this has its own thread.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

I would give it three out of five stars. ***SPOILERS AHEAD***

While not a Superman fan myself, I know enough about the comics that I recognized some of the obscure things they put into the film, like the flying dino looking beasts you mentioned. These didn't phase me because I liked that they attempted to put the comic book superman onto a screen, instead of ignoring it all like all the other films and tv shows have done. The problem with that is those things can make Superman a bit too odd and out of place.

Superman is actually my least favorite super hero. He can do anything, has few weaknesses, and while he claims he wants to protect mankind he treats the world like a playground half the time and a small helpless child the rest of time. In the early comics he literally had the mind that worked better than super computers, but more recently that has disappeared. No matter the era, he displays a tactic of shoot first, think later. It is the reason Batman has been able to defeat him in every fight I have read them having. This is in contrast to Superman's altruism, or his desire to protect and serve. In the comics, he tries his hardest to save people and keep them from dying, even going so far as to put himself into horrible danger. However, he has no mercy for most of his enemies. Unlike Batman, he has no moral code to never kill,and has done so several times. Oddly enough, keeps showing mercy to enemies he should have killed long ago, namely Lex Luther and Brainiac. All this creates a confusing character that I just can't relate to.

What I liked the most about what they did is that they changed the mythos of the story just enough that I could actually like Superman. Start with an actual backstory for Krypton that I can understand.

A great technological people that could have actually seeded live on Earth, but who grew too disinterested and prideful to bother finishing their colonization of the universe. Their technology even included genetic improvements and perfecting the body. In the end, their greed and pride was their downfall. Stubbornly refusing to leave their planet, but having too great a need for power to rely on renewable sources, they tapped their planet's core and inevitably caused the destruction of the planet and the majority of their race. In this, we have the House of El. Kal-El, being the first natural born person in centuries to rebellious but well respected parents, is the only hope. Krypton is a slave to its own developments, as each person is genetically bound and obligated to perform their life task, except Kal-El who was not born with such genetic programming because of his natural birth. Most of the rest is familiar to us. Kal is sent to Earth while the planet Krypton explodes. This also sets up the villain, General Zod, who tragically is only acting on his nature to protect Krypton by attempting to overthrow the government that really did act against the well being of the people. The problem is that his genetic programming doesn't allow him to consider peaceful options and he is bound act violently and treat each problem as an enemy soldier. He is defeated, and he and his followers are thrust into suspended animation in the nightmarish Void Dimension.

The film skips everything we already know. If you don't know that Superman was found by the Kent's after his ship crashed in their farm and raised by them, you aren't American. Not to be insulting, it's just that we have Superman's backstory deeply ingrained in our culture and it is hard to not be exposed to a few times. Smallville, the Superman Movies, the show Louis and Clark, radio shows, comics, cartoons, movie serials have all done the backstory for the last 80 years. By not showing the details we are so used to the movie is allowed to focus on more important elements. While it is arguable if it does this well, we do see a couple moments where the story is changed for the better. The first is where Clark's senses kick in full and he freaks out. This where we learn just how painful it is to be Superman. The world is too big and it takes a huge amount of self control not to freak out and go crazy. While it is a bit lame that we see him gain control so quickly it is feasible that this is an on going problem that he has to learn how to deal with for a long time. In a way, this subtlety tells us why he doesn't have the super brain previous comics claims he has, as he has to put so much into just processing and focusing on smaller amounts of information that he can't put much else into coming up with strategy and tactics.

The other moment is when his earth father dies. The ramifications of having someone like Clark watch him die like that are a bit too much to discuss here, but I think it was a good move. Mostly because it sets him up to be more human and relatable.

There were only a few things that deviated from the myth of Superman after that. Mostly everything was very close to what you would find in the comics. I did like the deviation from Krypton crystal tech to a small key like device that worked with all Kryptonian tech, which sets up for a more believable fortress of solitude and education from the Kryptonian father. However the two big changes on the later part of the movie are what I ended up having mixed feelings about. The first is a vulnerability no to a substance like Kryptonite, but to the environment within Zods ships. This opens up more possible vulnerabilities, which I like, but also makes it nearly impossible for an Earthling to harm him. The second change was that Lois Lane knows Clark is Superman before she even starts calling him Superman. That has good and bad points, but we can debates those later and just say it is a logical step and done in a way I can accept.

At this point, everything goes downhill when Zod shows up. At first we don't have much to groan about. Zod and his forces are scary and formable, they look badass and clearly know how to fight. We have a bit of a moment where I was lost when both Clark and Lois were on Zods ship. In short, she had no reason to be there other than to save the day. Then more explanation on a McGuffin, then Zod turning from a brilliant mastermind general to the equivalent of a dumb foot soldier shooting without thinking things out.

So Superman gets away. Where does he land after saving Lois? Smallville. Not in a desert, mountain, forest, or other wilderness. A populated area, but at least one with farms and large open areas. Where does the next fight happen? In the middle of town. While the movie rarely shows someone get killed, the fight involves not just Superman and two other super beings, but full blown artillery strikes and military action. In short the town is nearly leveled.

Which brings me to point out how dumb this movies makes the military look. Populated area on American soil, and do they show regard for the civilians? Nope. They just fire into buildings blindly. I also question how long it would take to realize that they can't harm them, especially after missiles and artillery fire. Later we have planes flying way low, way close to targets just to be destroyed, like they would in real life if they were doing that on real missions. Lets not even mention the knife being pulled on a Zod minion.

At some point we find ourselves watching Metropolis being destroyed, which is an understatement. It is not being leveled, it is being disintegrated and made to be a smooth circle of sterile ground. The buildings that remain are damaged to the point of being inhabitable. This isn't just because Zod just randomly picks it to be ground zero of his world destroyer, but also because Superman and Zod decide to have a huge slugfest in it. Not just in the ruined part, but in the surrounding area where buildings are still safe to be in until they throw themselves into it.

The fact that Zod is killed is fine by me, but it is done in a very weak and face palming way.

After all that, why three stars? It did just as much right as it did wrong, and it was enjoyable. While I probably could have waited to see it on DVD, it was a good popcorn movie where I could enjoy myself. Will there be a sequel? Yeah, I think so. I just hope they learned from their mistakes and make the next one better.

Staying true to the comics is not reason enough for me to give 3/5 stars. Not even close.

I had a feeling it was more fanboy (as I mentioned about the flying things), but it was waaay too flawed in terms of writing, directing, acting, and action sequences to get more than 1.5 stars at best.

And I never was that into superman for the same reason. He's boring and nearly invulnerable, so you know kryptonite or Louis/his family is going to show up every time.

Agreed with nearly everything above. It's worth saying that the footage was artfully and (often) beautifully shot.

That only goes so far, though. I enjoyed it, but I didn't have high expectations. Superman is one of my least favorite heroes of all-time.

There should also be a good amount of blame put on the editing. How they chose to put the scenes together and cut from scene to scene was noticeably awkward and bad.

Silver Crusade

This movie was just awful. All computer generated special effects, and no personality. It's like they decided to see how many good actors they could have in the same movie competing to see which one could bring the least personality to their characters.

I'm not a huge fan of Superman, but I've liked some of the past live action versions, and read enough DC comics from being a fan of other characters to have seen a lot of him there. I liked the first two Christopher Reeve movies, Superman Returns, and Smallville. So I recognized and liked a few of the Easter Eggs that were thrown in, like Pete Ross, Lana Lang, and that the last names Ford and Sullivan showed up in Smallville scenes. For those who don't know, those are the last names of characters Whitney Ford and Chloe Sullivan, who were both invented specifically for the Smallville TV show, where they were main characters.

But that also means that I know Jonathon Kent died of a heart attack in all the past versions of the movies, comics, and TV shows. The way they killed him off in this one just REALLY bugged me. No version of Superman would ever put his secret identity ahead of the life of a person he could save, especially someone he cared about personally. And the fact that his human father's death was something that all his powers couldn't do anything to prevent has always been the point. Despite all that power, he couldn't save Krypton or Jonathon Kent - that's a large part of Superman's vulnerable side, what keeps him grounded as a person.

And no, Superman doesn't kill people regularly in the comics. He did it once that I know of. Probably not coincidentally, it was Zod and his sidekicks that Supes killed. And it was a big deal with major consequences at the time (this was late 80's, early in the post-Crisis continuity). Ok, he supposedly killed Doomsday when Superman and Doomsday killed each other in their first fight, too, but that was a fight against a seemingly brainless monster, not a sentient person. Doomsday was more of a plot device than an actual character. (speaking of bad stories that were all action with no personality...)

Also, in Superman 2 with Christopher Reeve, Superman intentionally retreated from his big fight with Zod and his goons in Metropolis, to prevent any more civilian casualties. The Superman in this new movie doesn't seem to care at all about such considerations until the last 5 seconds of the final fight.

All in all, complete crap. I'll give it 1.5/5 stars, and it's only that high for a couple of cute Easter Eggs and a couple of interesting special effects bits here and there. But even the special effects stuff is similar to too many other recent movies that have done extended length action sequences where they have a huge battle that's nothing but big, computer generated images. Not much in the way of new material here, other than the Kryptonians moving faster when they go around clobbering helpless Earthlings, and fighting each other.

I saw Smallville a number of times so I didn't know Lana Lang was reserved just to that show. I figured she was part of the comics and all as well.

And ya, as I said it's pretty damn stupid for him to care about civilian casualties in the last 10 seconds and make no effort to save ANYONE before that.

The Exchange

Lana's comics cannon, its Chloe and Whitney who were created especially for the show.

Ok, because I was always under the impression she was a part of the Superman storyline besides Smallville.

Who was Whitney? Was that the token black guy friend in the show? I remember Chloe though. What ever happened to her, she was pretty and had a great smile.

Lana Lang was Clark's first girlfriend. At one point in the Superman canon, all of Supes' girlfriends had the initials "L.L."

As a kid I always liked Lana more than Lois anyway. Maybe it was the red hair...

Well in the show Lana was 3000x hotter than Louis anyway. And tbh Louis always came across as Clark's lesbian buddy in the show.

Diane Keaton wasn't in this movie.

Whitney Fordman was Lana's quarterback boyfriend when Smallville debuted.

The black guy from the show was Pete Ross (white in the comics, black in Smallville, white in Man of Steel).

Brian E. Harris wrote:

Diane Keaton wasn't in this movie.

Whitney Fordman was Lana's quarterback boyfriend when Smallville debuted.

The black guy from the show was Pete Ross (white in the comics, black in Smallville, white in Man of Steel).

And her name is *Lois*, not *Louis.*

...though apparently they applied rule 63 and made Jimmy Olsen into Jenny Olsen, so maybe Lois will BECOME Louis in the next movie?

*lol I meant Diane Lane. Sorry for the mix up.

*And yes, of course its Lois not louis. I made it the man's name several times. Probably because I'm so used to the Smallville Lois being so manly.

If you look at most of the criticisms of the movie, you'll find they're pretty endemic to Zack Snyder movies in general. His average on Metacritic is 51 and his overall percentage on RT is 54. They're often quite beautifully shot movies, with a lack of character development and unoriginal writing/characters.

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