A “Man of Steel” Review by Michelle Lawhorn
I am not a Superman fan. In the slightest. Never have been. At all. That said, I do enjoy Zack Snyder’s films, as over the top and flashy as they are (yes, I even loved Sucker Punch). I went into Man of Steel hoping that my affection for Snyder’s style would turn me into a Superman fan.
It did not.
There were so many problems with this movie just from an objective standpoint. One of the biggest issues for me was the constant use of the “shaky cam” gimmick. J.J. Abrams made it work in Cloverfield, Star Trek, and Lost, but ever since it’s been overused and used poorly to the point of distraction. Man of Steel doesn’t escape the stigma either. The most noticeable moment was when Jor-El was addressing the leaders of Krypton in the beginning of the movie. Voices were not raised, everyone was miffed but not let-me-shout-and-throw-things-to-fully-express-the-level-of –my-rage in which shaky cam would be appropriate. In fact it was a very somber, sobering scene. And yet the camera would not be still. Contrary to its purpose of creating a dynamic atmosphere, in that instance it was nothing but a giant distraction. This went on for the entire length of the movie.
The second major problem was the sudden time shifts. I spent the majority of the movie wondering where on the timeline this scene or that moment fit in. “Wait, is this before or after he saved those people?” “Hang on, how long after that fight is this supposed to take place?” The constant time jumps were not only annoying, but downright confusing. It’s not a good sign whenever a viewer spends more time trying to figure out the linear timeline than just enjoying the story.
The last issue I had was the relationship between Clark and Lois Lane. Amy Adams did a pretty good job taking on the mantle of the Daily Planet reporter (complete with a balance between the irritating nature of investigative reporters wanting to stick their noses in everything and the strong-willed nature of the woman herself), but the chemistry between her Lois and Cavill’s Clark was nonexistent. There was more dynamic energy between her boss (played by Laurence Fishburne) and two co-workers. The romance was sloppily thrown together at the last minute (up until the “big kiss” their relationship had been more based on “let’s save the Earth together” rather than “you’re hot”) and would have been better left on a cliffhanger to build up in the next movie.
Although there were numerous problems with Man of Steel, there were some good parts. The fight scenes and the effects were very well done. Snyder’s unique directing style is really more suited to those types of scenes than the majority of expository material. The opening sequence on Krypton was probably the best scene in the whole movie because of the effects (Crowe’s and Zurer’s performances as Kal-El’s parents were solid as well).
General Zod was made much more sympathetic than he was in the original film, and by establishing that connection with the viewers we almost begin to root for him to destroy the human race. He’s much more three-dimensional in Snyder’s version, along with the fierce and frightening Faora-Ul, as little as we see of her. Clark’s reaction to a very pivotal moment in the last moments of the film (no spoilers!) was also a very nice (and welcome) inclusion as it made him into a much more emotionally conflicted character than most people recognize him as.
As much as some diehard fans protested the new suit, I quite liked the new version of Clark’s suit and cape. The red “underpants” may have worked in the original films and the comics, but not for the quasi-realistic angle Snyder and producer Nolan were going for. The details in Clark’s and Jor’s suits along with Zod and crew’s armor made the costuming nut in me drool in lust.
Overall, Man of Steel wasn’t a complete waste of two and half hours, but it clearly didn’t set out to make fans of the non-fans like myself. I found myself bored more often than not, and while it was a beautifully filmed work of art, the story was so tragically lacking to be almost laughable (coincidentally, this was the same problem Snyder’s previous film Sucker Punch suffered from). If you’re not already a fan of Superman, avoid this movie at all costs. If you are a fan, you’ll either enjoy the ride from start to end or scratch your head in confusion whispering, “what have they done to you, Clark?”
Do you agree or disagree with this review? Leave a comment below!
About Reporter Michelle Lawhorn:
a.k.a. Stormraven, is what can only be described as an eclectic nerd. Her interests and expertise range from Doctor Who to Lord of the Rings, cosplay to comics, and Bollywood to opera to name just a few. When not raving about her fandoms, she can be found spending time with her family and adding to her ever-growing list of Things to Cosplay. She can currently be found searching for more Star Wars material to feed her newfound obsession with the Clone Wars.