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Man of Steel, Le Bad Cinema

Posted by frob, in Random Thoughts 15 June 2013 · 660 views

Just saw Man of Steel.

It was a major disappointment for me.

Bad plot, bad story, bad writing, bad presentation.

To be fair, some of it is just Superman. Declaring patriotism with a flag waving in the background, I can live with that. Classic Superman.

Giving yourself up to potential death for the good of humanity, while standing in a church sharing the screen with a stained-glass image of Christ giving himself up for humanity... Very tacky. But it's Superman, so I guess I can live with that. Tacky, but still comic book.

It is a superhero movie so we get superhero physics. Catching someone falling from a fatal height without slowing them down first (they might as well just hit the concrete), okay, they are super heros. Flying around the world in a matter of seconds without burning up from compression off the atmosphere? Well, comic book Superman could do some of that if he tried really hard. So does Santa, I suppose. So we can tolerate it.

The computer graphics were both good and awful. The exploding cars look just like I imagine an exploding car should look. But things thrown by the Supers don't obey simple physics. Supers picking up full-ton vehicles, instantly accelerating to supersonic speed, smashing them into a building and only doing minimal damage? Yeah, that's not very believable. The Krypton scenes were pretty for still motion images, but ugly in motion. Not falling fast enough? Will yourself to fall faster! The models and artwork were usually good, but the animation of those graphics was terrible. Then the exploding planet, "We're zoomed in, everything moves at human movement speeds; we're zoomed out to the planet size, it engulfs the entire planet in seconds; were zoomed in again, slow it back down". Wrong physics to be realistic, wrong physics for comic book, so just plain wrong.

Then they went with the "everything explodes" method of action. Cars crash? Explosion (and bad news for auto body shops, good news for dealerships). Fistfight at a gas station? Explosion. (Note to self, never fill up my fuel tank again, too dangerous.) Superhero/villain looks at a building? Bricks and cinder blocks somehow explode. UFO flying out of a glacier? Explosions. That's right, the ice explodes in a collection of fireballs.

They went with the same "Michael Bay" style on locations. Remember Transformers? "We are out here in the desert at a wonderful military site, great visibility, lots of weapons, no civilians, and the enemy is seeking us out. Let's leave this great site and go to a city where the enemy can ambush us an kill millions of civilians while doing billions in property damage." Much the same. "We can fly and we can choose our battleground, so let's have it right in the center of a city of skyscrapers to destroy and to encourage millions of pointless deaths, rather than drawing them out over the neighboring ocean."

Then there is the writing of the people watching the fight. "This is the Daily Planet, world's largest news organization. A fight among aliens that will decide the fate of Earth is happening right outside our window. This is a news agency, so everybody sit at your desks, do not look out the window, do not take photos, and do not otherwise report on the globally significant news visible outside the window."

And the writing of the CONSTANT fights themselves. It was pervasive, so I don't know to blame the writers, directors, or both. The bad guys are supposed to be extremely intelligent; the apex of a race , and genetically engineered to be masterminds of warfare. Yet they are stupid. "We have weapons that can destroy a planet from orbit, but let's not use them, and instead go down in person. We have a group of skilled warriors with guns that can vaporize people (including Supers) instantly. Let's not use them, not use our snipers and get a headshot. Instead, let's drop of just two of our soldiers and engage in hand-to-hand combat. And not stick around to make sure they win." Bad writing, but the director followed it so bad directing too.

Let's compare the old, real Superman character vs this movie.

When Superman has a fight in a train yard, it is because he wants to SAVE the trains, not throw them as projectiles. When Superman has a fight outside a gas station he not only saves the building from destruction but also buys a slurpee on his way through. When Superman fights in the city, he always stops the bad guys, prevents the destruction of buildings, and never causes collateral damage. In this movie he was responsible for untold billions in property damage. In the movie, hhis own actions destroyed probably 15 skyscrapers full of people, and he did nothing to save any buildings from damage. That isn't the Superman of the comics. The Superman of the comics would find a way to protect the buildings and save the lives.

The real movie takes place between the explosions. It could be reduced to about 30 minutes. That part was mediocre. The love story wasn't there, apart from "he looks hot", but Superman is supposed to be all about a yes-but-no romance between Clark and Lois. Again, this was not Superman.

I could keep going on about it, but it doesn't help.

It is bad cinema. I recommend avoiding it unless you are a die-hard Superman fan, but in that case you have probably seen it already.




* Alert - Spoilers from multiple movies *

When I saw Superman with my wife, she was laughing throughout the film because she thought it was too silly. I would always say, "it's Superman." It's not supposed to make sense. I agree, that church scene was way over the top and should not have made it through editing. Then again, that whole begining scenes on Krypton should have been cut in half. It was almost like watching 2 different movies. The fight at the end was too long and they wrecked Metropolis. I guess they had to do something in that city.

This movie wasn't as bad as Iron man 3, which could have ended after 45 minutes if he had just called his army of backup suits at the beginning instead of waiting till the end. There really weren't any reasons for carrying around the broken suit and trying to fix it.

I can't wait until the "How it should have Ended" comes out on Youtube.

Alas, Star Trek for me has been the best movie this year.

 

which could have ended after 45 minutes if he had just called his army of backup suits at the beginning instead of waiting till the end.

 

They were stuck in his basement after they blew up his house. They only got it open just at the end. They could have just written it to be uncovered faster, but that was the logic of it.

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