Saturday, July 6, 2013

Man of Steel Review

This may or may not reveal spoilers, determined by how well you know Superman's story. :-)

My husband, brother, parents and I went and saw Man of Steel today. I enjoyed many aspects of it, but overall was disappointed.

One of the best things about being married to a critical thinker is the opportunity to analyze movies and books together. It really helps me become a better author and to avoid the types of cliches and problems that occurred in Man of Steel.

When we left the theater, I didn't immediately say, "Let's go watch it again!" like I usually do after comic super hero movies. I'm a huge Marvel, Mattel/DC comic fan and watched the cartoons religiously growing up. In fact, the movies based on these comics are some of my favorites. It's very rare that I don't like one of them. I'm a fan of almost every Batman movie ever made (including Batman Forever), and I'll always be a die-hard X-Men fan.

The last Superman movie was horrendous. This one was better. I appreciated that. But my main issue was that it lacked the depth that I've come to expect from Christopher Nolan.

My husband gave the movie six out of ten stars - he was pleasantly surprised and wasn't expecting much. I gave it five. I went in expecting more and was disappointed.

What I liked:
  • The beginning. Krypton was fantastic. I loved the action, the character development, the setting, and how wide-scale everything was. The technology was cool and the flying creature was awesome. Loved the double wings. 
  • Superman's parents, both sets. You feel like you really know them. They were three-dimensional characters with feelings, goals, desires. When Lara said goodbye to her baby, it actually brought tears to my eyes, rather than me feeling like it was cheesy.
  • Superman with scruff. Much more attractive than without. :-)
  • The action. Lots of cool explosions, etc.
  • The plot. It was so much better than the last Superman movie.
  • Superman's training montage. It was really neat. Without revealing spoilers, I really liked how he discovered where he came from.
  • How Superman flies. The little bursts of energy added a lot of eye-candy to the scenes.
  • The bad chick. She was awesome and actually knew how to fight.
  • Watching Superman try to blend in with humans at work, etc.
 Actually, as I come to think about it, it wasn't until about halfway through the movie that I started not enjoying it.

What didn't work for me:
  • How Superman's Earth dad dies. I mean, come on! This was my first major complaint. It was a huge thumbs up to animal activists and was disappointing. And definitely NOT how it really happened!
  • The lack of character development. We get to know Superman's parents really well - both sets. But who's Superman? Who is Lois lane? We watch them a TON, but what we see doesn't successfully advance the plot or teach us about them as individuals. As an example, in Batman Begins, you really feel his suffering, pain, and accomplishments. You cheer him on, not just because it's Batman, but because you've been there with him. The only reason I could predict what Superman did was because I know his story outside of this movie, and not because they'd laid the groundwork for a reboot of him, as was the case with Batman Begins.
  • The excessive explosions. I love explody movies. Always have. I love fires and booms and things falling down magnificently with lots of drama and dust. But even I was rolling my eyes after a while. Some of the fights were too long and dragged out and my husband, brother, and I actually got bored. Those fights became repetitive and very, very predictable. You can only knock so many buildings down without wondering why certain people are still alive, why there are still buildings to knock down, and when something else cool will happen.
  • Lois and Superman's relationship. Actually, their relationship didn't bother me. This movie was a great foundation - a fantastic setup for romance in future movies. BUT NOT IN THIS ONE. So why'd they have to kiss? People in the theater were actually groaning around us. It felt unnatural and forced and there was no pull behind it. And how the heck did she get there anyway? :-)
  • The way everyone called Superman Kal. I mean, come on. When have they done that before? It was always Kal-El. Or Kal-L. Jor-El went by his full name the entire time, so why not Superman? Kal is too close to the name Cal, which is a cute, small-town boy name. I'm from a small, country town, and know many people by the name of Cal. So that pulled me right from the movie. That, and the fact that he's never been called Kal before - it's supposed to be Kal-El.
  • Failed attempt at humor. Anything emotional that involved Superman fell flat. The only thing that made us genuinely laugh was when Lois told Superman to be careful with her luggage because it was heavy. :-) I rolled my eyes at the "109 days without accidents" thing.
  • Amy Adams playing the part of Lois Lane. Lois isn't a soft, cushy, Enchanted-singing chick. She's LOIS, for crying out loud. :-)
When the movie was over, my brother's first comment was, "That was way over the top. Like they were trying to pull off 'final movie' epicness in the first movie. Where the heck are they going to go from here? Oh, I know. Superman saves the world. Again."

Out of every super hero movie I've seen, this was my least favorite (apart from the Green Lantern). And I've seen pretty much all of them.

If your aim is only to provide explosions and violence eye-candy, then this was a successful movie. But on every other level, they must have been aiming for Twilight levels of emotional and character depth, because that's what they achieved.

Yes, I do feel very strongly about this. Ha ha. :-)

I'm sure I'll watch it again, but give me Thor, Iron Man, Batman, Hellboy, The Avengers, or X-Men first, please. I'll get around to it eventually.


  1. Thanks for the review. It bugs me when I watch a movie with tons of action, lots of explosions and hardly any emotional ties that make you care about the characters.

    1. Exactly. Because when someone dies, we don't really care, and that seems like such a waste of money for the movie makers.

  2. My review was similar, especially the part where Nolan relied too heavily on our outside knowledge of the character. That's just lazy writing.

    1. Yeah, seriously. I really like him usually... but this was disappointing.

  3. For me the biggest plot hole was where Clark's dad told him that he developed his great strength and super powers from the sun as he was growing up. This made sense. Only after the other baddies slammed into earth, they immediately had the same powers, and knew how to fly without even trying. They didn't do that on Krypton, so why did it suddenly come naturally to General Zod when Clark had to practice so hard? I groaned at how long the fight scenes went on, and silently cursed the writers for not having good beta readers!

    1. Oh, my gosh, so true! My husband made a comment about that. It drove him nuts! And me too. Very poor writing/logic.

  4. Spoiler Alert! I wanted to like it, but I felt the end there had way too much destruction. Seriously. It just went on and on. And then the "big" moment when Superman kills Zod by twisting his head, I thought, "Well, why didn't he do that sooner? How many people died in all the buildings being blown up, and yet when it comes down to it, the 'reason' is so he can save people?" Someone told me later that Superman doesn't kill, which is what made this moment "shocking"--but that isn't introduced in the movie. I actually enjoyed most of the movie up until the end. ***Actually, there was one scene that drove me nuts: Clark and his Earth dad are having a heart to heart conversation and the shaky cam was very pronounced. WHY?!?!?!?!

    1. Ha ha ha ha! No kidding. I dislike shaky cam anyway... :-)

      My husband made the point that Superman and Zod were flying through buildings and such and there's absolutely no way they weren't killing innocent people on the way. Soo... Superman had already murdered at that point. :-)

  5. Good review Andrea. A good superhero movie, but not the best in recent memory.

    1. It wasn't awful, but wasn't the best. I'm almost ready for a repeat. :-)