Saturday, June 15, 2013

Man of Steel Movie Review

   Before you head out to watch this summer’s blockbuster, ‘Man Of Steel”, you should read this review all the way to the end. I just saw it in 3D and in full surround sound. You don’t need to worry about ‘Spoilers’ I won’t give anything away that hasn’t already been featured in trailers.

   For starters the actors were excellent. Harry Cavill is as good if not better than Christopher Reeve in the part and Russell Crowe is top notch as Jor-el. I’m a fan of Amy Adams portrayal of Lois Lane and as for Ma and Pa Kent, Diane Lane and Kevin Costner are believable and realistic.  

   Although it’s basically a remake of the Christopher Reeve Superman 2, the sci-fi aspect is far superior. And the reasons given for Zod’s actions are understandable. He’s not some raging nut looking for world dominance. None of that ‘Kneel before Zod’ nonsense.

   Some reviewers have complained about the number of flashbacks interwoven into the story to explain Clark’s journey into becoming Superman. I found it a little unsettling at first it did help explain how Clark became the man he is so I was fine with it.

   On the Blowing Up Stuff scale, this outdoes ‘The Avengers’. Special effects are amazing and seemless. Hans Zimmer’s score is ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ on steroids.

   Another good point about ‘Man of Steel’ is that like other recent superhero movies, it’s realistic in the way the people, the military and the government would likely react when they discover a very powerful alien is living among them.

   There is no kryptonite in this movie. It doesn’t need it. It shoots itself in the foot mid-way in.

   I’ll explain.

   I’m a writer and I’ve written an extensive tutorial on the craft called ‘How To Get Your Book Published’  And in that tutorial I warn about plot contrivances. Plot contrivances are stale, worn out plot devices used to move the story along or to get you to feel for the character. 

   Some examples: Bad guy being chased by good guy. Bad guy turns corner into blind alley. Good guy follows seconds later. Bad guy has mysteriously disappeared.

   Another example: Hero has unsolvable problem, girlfriend tells him he’s working too hard and needs to take break. He tells her he can’t, he MUST solve problem. She prattles on about something completely unrelated until she says some word or phrase that shocks the hero. He asks her to repeat it, she does and hero says “That’s it!” Then explains how he will use her word or phrase in a different context to solve the unsolvable problem. He then kisses her and tells her how wonderful she is.

   Well, there is another one I call the Popeye syndrome. In the Popeye cartoons, he has a nemesis named Bluto, who is a big brute who is always hitting on Popeye’s girl Olive Oyl. Popeye tells him to back off and Bluto wipes the floor with him. Then at the last second, Popeye opens a can of spinach, gobbles it down and proceeds to kick the crap out of Bluto.
These are plot contrivances, they are stale, out of date and should never be used by any writer worth a damn.

   In the first Tobey Maguire Spider-man movie the Popeye syndrome is obvious. Goblin nearly beats Spidey to death then mentions Mary Jane and magically, Spidey is somehow completely rejuvenated and beats the crap out of the Goblin. Another example is the Rocky movies although not as obvious.

   The Popeye Syndrome in Man of Steel goes on for about a half an hour. And NOWHERE in this movie does the Superman character come off as a force to be reckoned with. He’s a good guy, yes and we like him, yes.

   But at no point is he WINNING the fight. He is hit with almost every punch and kicked around like a hacky-sack ball while Metropolis is being destroyed. The only thing he seems capable of, is taking a beating which explains General Zod’s dismissive arrogance toward him. Tens of thousands of the people are being killed yet Superman can’t seem to find a way to turn things around.

   One last comment on this movie. They updated the Superman legend as well as the extent of his powers yet for some reason they decided to keep the eye glasses disguise after most of the world has watched him fight Zod.

   Really? In 2013 where most people wear contacts, or eliminate the need with Lasik surgery, Clark still wears glasses. I’m sure nobody will see through that.

   So if you’re expecting an Avengers or an Iron Man entertaining epic, this isn’t it. Marvel Studios understands how to make a superhero movie, just like JJ Abrams knows how to make a Star Trek movie.

   Man of Steel is more like Rocky 3