Man of Steel - quick review

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Patrick Sun, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Bryan Singer didn't direct Man of Steel, Zack Snyder did. Singer directed Superman Returns.
     
  2. KPmusmag

    KPmusmag Supporting Actor
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    You're absolutely right; I stand corrected, thank you. But my feeling is the same.
     
  3. Corey II

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    Wow, it's been something like 5 years since I've posted on this forum.

    There is so much I want to say about this movie. For starters, I try to be as objective as I can, especially for movies concerning characters I have cherished since my childhood. It is not always easy, but I try my best.

    This film was a mixed bag for me. There are some really good ideas in this film that I believe in the hands of a better director (or a more storycentric director) could make for a phenomenal sequel. I mean, I like the idea of Superman being on shaky ground with the government and not just the United States, but other countries as well. It would be interesting if the sequel immediately picks up where this film left off thus having Superman answer for the destruction that was caused in the wake of his battles with General Zod. To add insult to injury, the devious machinations of Lex Luthor could by the end of the sequel put Superman in a position where the world decides they do not want him on the planet and he is therefore banished from earth, an ending not unsimilar to the Dark Knight, but in the context of Superman. Or what I also think would be interesting in the sequel, because he is now exposed to the world, other countries out of paranoia and fear would try creating their own Superman to serve their interest (an idea explored in Marvel Comics The Ultimates). Luthor could somehow get involved and as a result, Bizzaro is born.

    Pros

    1.) The Krypton sequence wasn't bad. I like the Zod/Jor-El conflict. I like the idea of a Jor-El who is a fighter as well as a scientist. I know some people had a problem with this, but I feel why can't a man of science be a highly skilled fighter as well, it works for Batman. I always envisioned a Jor-El who was a great soldier before devoting his life to science. I figured maybe he and Zod were allies and friends (like Skywalker & Kenobi) in the Krytponian defense force before becoming enemies.

    2.) I like Henry Cavill as Superman. Unlike Brandon Routh who looked like a test subject who escaped from a Christopher Reeve cloning facility, Henry Cavill looks like Superman. In other words, I see the character when I look at Cavill not Christopher Reeve.

    3.) The cast is great, but they need stronger material to work with.

    4,) I liked the Clark/Lois relationship up until they kissed. The kiss felt awkward in this first movie and really should not have happened until the second giving the characters more time to earn each other's love.





    Cons

    1.) Krypton. Although I like the brief backstory of Zod vs. Jor-El and the fact that Jor-El could kick but, I felt the fight was too quick and very one sided. For a man who is supposed to be military trained, Zod got taken down too easy by Jor-EL. I would have liked to have seen a more evenly match fight before Zod resorted to dirty tactics and stabbed Jor-El. The editing in this film made it hard to tell, but I believe Krypton was already in the midst of being destroyed, yet the council had enough time to put Zod on trial and sentence him.

    2.) The cinematography and the editing in this movie are terrible. Like other people who have complained, this film looks completely washed out, even the daytime scenes look drab. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but where did the bridge come from during the school bus scene. I remember the bus going through a corn field, then the tire blew out (the most over used film cliché for causes of vehicular accidents) and then all of a sudden the bus is going off a bridge. I never saw the bus approach a bridge when it was cutting through the cornfield. Then there is the artic scene. We have Lois following behind Clark on flat ground, the scene then cuts to her being on the side of mountain. Those two scenes just don't gel together in a seamless manner. The same can be said for the Phantom Zone/Krypton scene. As soon as Zod and his cronies are taken away, the scene jumps right to the destruction of Krypton with no regard for a smooth transition. By the way, I couldn't tell what the hell that ship was that gathered all of the Phantom Zone pods,

    3.) The fight scenes are poorly staged and shot. This whole shaky cam (or handheld cam) and quick cuts seems to be the in thing with a lot of American filmmakers. Let me say, it is so played out, it's not even funny. I know Zack Snyder wants to emphasize Kryptonian speed, but the fights are so fast paced and quickly edited, you can barely tell what's going on, and you're never allowed to invest emotionally or to savor any type of combat techniques. None of the fights are memorable with maybe the exception of Superman pounding Zod's face for attacking his mother, which actually was Faora. But that scene pales in comparison to when Loki got bitch slammed by the Hulk in last year’s Avengers. That scene will go down in cinematic history just like Cairo Swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark. As a matter of fact, that roughly 3 minute fight scene between Thor and Iron Man surpasses all of the fight scenes in Man of Steel. But then again I guess that goes to show the difference between Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder.

    4.) The Armageddon style destruction. Many people have expressed how much damage Superman caused and the fact that he didn't take the fight out of Metropolis or at least make rescuing the people his priority. I do agree with people's issue with the destruction, but then I thought about it some more. Man of Steel isn't the first time where Superman chose to engage the villains in a heavily populated area and cause mass destruction.

    Going back as far as Superman II (1981), Superman whether on the big screen or small screen has thrown down with villains and put civilians in danger. I mean in Superman II, the first thing Chris Reeve does when he confronts Zod is challenge him to combat above the city of Metropolis and as result you get debris and huge antennas falling from the sky and a bus full of people being thrown. Now granted, Reeve did save the woman and her baby from the falling antenna, and he did catch the bus that was thrown, but all of this could have been avoided had he just led Zod and cronies out of the city in the first place. After all, right after Reeve said "General would you care to step outside" Zod, Non, and Ursa immediately took to the air in pursuit of Superman. Since they were after him, he could have kept flying straight to the Fortress of Solitude and they would have followed, but then if that had happened, you wouldn't have the memorable scene of Zod being thrown into the Coca-Cola sign.

    Then there was Superman IV: The Quest for Peace where Superman let Nuclear Man terrorize people in Metropolis for about 5 minutes before he decided enough was enough and lured him into the Daily Planet. This trend continued in the animated versions as well. I don't how many battles Superman has had in the wonderful Bruce Timm animated series where fought in the heart of the city, but he had quite a few. Two that come to mind was his battle with Lobo and then the showdown with General Jax-Ur and Mala. And who can forget the animated movie Superman/Doomsday. Not only did Superman and Doomsday throw down in the city, but when Superman grabbed Doomsday and flew him straight up into space, he makes Metropolis ground zero when he and Doomsday come crashing back down to Earth. In All Star Superman, he sends the tyrant sun Solaris crashing back down into Metropolis. There are other examples as well, various episodes of the Justice League, Superman vs. The Elite (yes I know he had the civilians transported away and he actually requested the confrontation to be on the moon, but ultimately there was still huge property damage), and the recently released Superman Unbound.

    From the comics to the screen, Superman has always had spectacular battles in heavily populated areas. I'm guessing the reason Snyder is being called on the carpet is because his battles were done in a much more grandiose (or Emmerich-like) manner. I honestly believe that if Richard Lester had the technology back in the eighties that Snyder has today, the battle in Superman II would be much more similar to the battle in Man of Steel.

    5.) The final resolution to General Zod. I don't have a problem with Superman making the ultimate decision, but like other people had mentioned, he still had options; placing his arm or hand over Zod's eyes, super breath to blow the family out of harm’s way, pushing Zods head downward or upward, turning Zod's head in the opposite direction, or even quickly flying Zod away from the people. Like others, I blame that scene on bad or lazy writing. Also, if Superman is that quick to use that resolution for Zod, what is he going to do when he encounters enemies who are far more powerful and ruthless then Zod, like a certain Lord of Apokolips. I would hope since this film is set in the DC Universe that a certain Lord of Apokolips would eventually make his way to the big screen to torment Superman.

    In an opposing view to that Zod resolution, other heroes have used the final solution to end villains and they were never called on the carpet like Superman. In all three Iron Man films, none of Tony Stark's opponents ever went to jail (except the fake Mandarin and Justin Hammer, but they weren't physical threats to Iron Man). And I'm pretty sure none of Joker's goons survived when Michael Keaton dropped bombs in the Axis Chemical Facility. As a matter of fact, Keaton's Batman also threw one of Joker's goons all the way down a bell tower, gunned more down in the Batwing sequence, and also placed a bomb inside the pants of the circus strongman in Batman Returns. Also, let’s not forget that Keaton also torched a guy with the Batmobile afterburner. And really, Christian Bale could have saved Ras Al Ghul.
     
  4. Stephen Brooks

    Stephen Brooks Second Unit

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    I agree with your ending points completely. Michael Keaton's Batman may have crossed the line into unnecessary killing a couple of times, but Iron Man and Captain America clearly have killed their enemies and I don't think anyone considers them "murderers". I'm not saying Superman and Batman should go mowing down bad guys like the Punisher, but in this new DC Universe, it shouldn't be a huge deal if a criminal happens to die during the course of being a criminal. The Dark Knight movies really portrayed Batman as unnecessarily pacifist IMO. At the end of TDK, Harvey has a gun to a child's head. Someone who's not prepared to take a life in that scenario should not be doing what Batman does, period. All of the Dark Knight movies rely on circumstance or other characters to accomplish what Batman can't or won't do himself. I agree with the approach MOS took. They probably could've figured out some way for the military to kill Zod so Superman's hands could stay clean, but that would've been a cop-out. Bent on endless murder and destruction, and too powerful to imprison, Zod HAD to die. And Superman had to be the one to do it. Sent from my SCH-S738C using Home Theater Forum mobile app
     
  5. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    HAD means no other options were available. But there were.

    Killing Zod was the laziest solution. The writing that led to that point was sloppy and even then there were plenty of other solutions available.

    I'm not opposed to Superman killing someone if a story that can be told that warrants such action. This story did not.

    From a thematic viewpoint, the killing Superman does here brings him down to our level. I much prefer the other movies that made us want to aim for a higher ideal to be like a Superman that does not take the easy way out.
     
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  6. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Given the situation, what options were available to him to make sure that NO ONE else would die? I'm not trying to be combative but I can not think of one that guarantees that no one else might be killed by Zod. I said it before but it's going to take months or even years for the government to manufacture some kind of prison to hold Zod so I guess Superman could literally sit on top of him for all that time and just keep knocking him out but if Zod briefly gets away from him, he could kill a ton of people. Or if they do build a prison for Zod, what happens if he escapes 10 years down the road? He could kill thousands of more people before Superman can imprison him again. Not to mention that Superman needs to stop Zod ASAP and start helping the thousands of people stuck in the rubble (though Supes and the movie seemed pretty unconcerned about doing that).
     
  7. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I agree. The argument for sloppy writing keeps getting thrown out there, but I don't think anyone has yet proposed a scenario that would absolutely, positively, 110% GUARANTEE that Zod would never harm another living being, directly or indirectly, if he were allowed to live.

    The Kryptonians thought they had that accomplished when he was banished to the Phantom Zone. We see how well that worked out.
     
  8. David Weicker

    David Weicker Cinematographer

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    Gee, another solution ...How about a Molecular Chamber that exposed Zod to the red rays of the Krypton sun. Oh wait, that would never work.
     
  9. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Throw him back into the Neutral Zone, leave him on a planet with a red sun, put him in stasis, use Kryptonian science to render him powerless, blah, blah. Its a comic book scenario so there are so the options are endless.

    But as I said, I'm far less interested in Superman killing and far more disappointed in the diminishment of the character as an ideal because of the story direction taken.
     
  10. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I don't know what most of the sentence means but I'm guessing that's how they stopped Zod in Superman II. :) However, I don't remember any mention of red rays of the Kryptonian sun in this movie so it's not a solution here.
     
  11. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    Being familiar with the mythos of Superman from golden to the modern age, I liked the movie and the direction taken. It has a lot of faithfulness to the original source... the source NOT being Superman TV shows nor Donner's movie (although Donner's movie was pretty faithful to the Silver Age).

    I find many of the detractors of this movie to have rather amusing reasons.

    I look forward to the sequel where I am sure some of the issues raised will be addressed.
     
  12. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Look, I am OK with Zod dying. The more I have thought about this, the more I realized the part that got to me wasn't Zod's dying, it's the fact that about 3 minutes of screen time later, Superman is there sporting a big smile all glib and talking to the military guy with a "this is how I roll" attitude.

    The entire film was: how you handle things forms the man you are.
    Then he kills someone, brief bit of remorse, and shortly thereafter, all smiles. So, I guess it built him where dishing out some fatalities wasn't just the only option he had, but he's pretty OK with it. That was the part I didn't care for.
     
  13. Brian Dobbs

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    8/10

    I liked the movie, although I missed Snyder's trademark style.

    Can't wait for the follow-up.
     
  14. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    As a comic book writer, Mark Waid does not share your amusement - http://thrillbent.com/blog/man-of-steel-since-you-asked/
     
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  15. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Yep. All the way through the movie is all about actions having consequences and exploring them The after the big climax - which demands the biggest exploration of consequences - the movie truckles and sweeps everything under the rug.
     
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  16. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    If you read his article, he really has just two issues with this "good science fiction story".

    One is Zod's death, which as the catalyst for his vow to never kill again, I'm ok with. So we agree to disagree.

    The second is the level of destruction, which I do agree with, however, I feel (and hope) they will deal with that in the next film. This is a Superman who is still learning as opposed to knowing it all after a 12 year journey into the cosmos so if the theme continues to the next film, there will be consequences from that level of destruction. If they do simply gloss over it or ignore it completely, then I agree, huge missed opportunity that would further weaken THIS film. I guess we shall see.
     
  17. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    The destruction is a perfect set up for Luthor to be a public benefactor with ulterior motives.
     
  18. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    Im sorry, but suggesting they are leaving the destruction of Metropolis to the next film is a copout. Are we therefore to excuse every summer movie on the basis they will deal with it in the sequel ? How convenient. I expect they will deal with it on some superficial level now especially after all the criticism about it.

    The fact is the film should be met on its own terms and not on the basis of a longer form story which it was not created for. Snyder and Nolan have made a point of reminding us about putting everything into one film and worry about possible sequels later. If they had called it Man of Steel - Episode 1 or Part 1, if they leave minor plot threads dangling for a sequel that's fine, but this was still an integral part of this film not some minor story element and Im sure they will allude to it in some way anyway. But the current film should have acknowledged it.

    I don't think he needs any more learning to know what the consequences of that kind of destruction will be - lots of people dying!!! Superman II may have had a similar battle, but actually made a point of showing Superman helping the people, Zod realising this and using it against him and Superman realising the extent to which Zod would go and leaving. In other words, Superman made an error, realised it and LEARNED from it. In about 30 minutes!!!

    I do agree with Superman realising that he would have to kill Zod anyway to protect everyone, not just the family in immediate danger. Didn't have a problem with that moment. But I refuse to accept excuses for turning a Superman film into a Michael Bay Transformers film for nearly 40 odd minutes. Its destruction for the sake of it, it offers no emotional resonance whatsoever since noone you see can actually be killed and after seeing countless summer films it is BORING!!!

    I love Guillermo Del Toro, but Im actually not looking forward as much to Pacific Rim, when I would normally jump at the chance to see one of his films.
     
  19. Brandon Conway

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    And on its own terms I have no issue with it. I was just saying that there are interesting things they can do with it going forward.

    BTW - I despise the Transformers films. MoS runs absolute circles around it when it comes to purpose to the action and direction/composition of the action. It's not even remotely in the same Universe, IMO.
     
  20. Simon Massey

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    Brandon, my comment wasn't specifically aimed at what u said, just a general response. Sorry.But equally I disagree that MoS runs circles around the Transformers films in their finales, both are equally effects heavy and offer spectacle at the expense of anything else. MoS has the advantage of having redeeming features prior to the finale - I have yet to discover any redeeming features of the Transformers films, though I did fall asleep in the last two so I may have missed something in the middle. :)
     

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