16 points on Man of Steel (movie review)

man-of-steel-posterI desperately want everyone to refer to Man of Steel as Superman Returns Again. (For some reason, that is very funny to me.) Anyway, Man of Steel is a bit of mess (yet still entertaining), and so, my review is also just a rambling jumble of headings, a list that is trying to find its place on the internet, much like Superman trying to find his place in the world. See what I did there? Yeah, the movie is just as subtle as this review.

Since everything that follows spoils the movie, I’ll drop the score here: I’m giving Man of Steel a 6.5 out of 10.


spoiler alert

I’ve divided my Man of Steel rantings into two categories:


It’s just that kind of movie. On we go:


Sonic BOOM!

Every time Superman flies away, you see a big puff of white around him and you hear bang, which I assume is both a visual and auditory representation of him breaking the sound barrier because he’s super fast. It’s a good idea, but it gets old fast and it seems to happen multiple times per flight and I have no idea why director Zack Snyder thinks we need to see this over and over again. I think the answer to this and a lot of my questions is, “This is what would happen if these things happened in reality.”

Superman yells as he exerts himself
Like all the time. Dude, you’re Superman – have some self-control, show some class! I appreciate that oil refineries are heavy, but keep it together!

People go tumbling across the ground for hundreds of yards
Again, if people with superhuman strength punched each other, “This is what would happen if these things happened in reality.” But it’s redundant as hell.

Buildings collapse
See previous response, but holy ass crackers, do they do enough collateral damage in this movie? Smallville just gets wrecked – I don’t see how Smallville can recover from this movie without serious disaster aid… unless Superman makes with the super speed and cleans everything up and helps rebuild. And a square block of Metropolis looks like it got leveled… how many innocents died in this movie? Good thing Superman saved those four innocents at the end, though – let’s forget about the hundreds of people who died in building collapses and the weird gravity thing.


Product placement!
Sears, IHOP, Nokia, 7/11… whew.
subtle. They wrote IHOP into the script. THEY WROTE IHOP INTO A SUPERMAN MOVIE. Wow. This movie costs $225 million dollars and has already grossed over $600 million – did we really need that awkward shot of the Sears logo to pay for half of one special effect shot of Superman flying with his sonic booms?

That’s a big pile of skulls!
What… what? Talk about an ill-advised scene. I don’t see why we needed to have that scene played out visually. In fact, Henry Cavill and Michael Shannon are such fine actors that if they were allowed to play this out as two people talking, the scene would have been more powerful.

What was the point of Mr. Kent’s death again?
Many people in Smallville had already seen Clark do amazing things – what’s a few more going to matter? Doesn’t the kid he saved who now works at the IHOP (along with COUNTLESS other witnesses Lois finds who saw Clark do whatever before AND after his father’s death that she uses to trace Clark back to his parent’s farm) prove that Pa’s death was totally pointless? Oh well – at least Pa’s death had some dignity (he saved the dog!), unlike Jor El’s… (despite the fact that Clark was clearly the logical choice to save the dog… that made no sense.

“…where I hang my cape…”
Does the US Military not have access to Google? If Superman is going to work at the Daily Planet as Clark Kent, and they already know he’s Clark Kent… that should make it fairly easy for them to find him… drones are following Superman? What? Why? What a waste of time, money and resources. He’s Superman – just call him at work and ask him to come in for a meeting – he’s Superman – he’ll be glad to come and will arrive in mere moments, if not seconds, because, again – Superman!

Why does every scene involving Russell Crowe make me cringe?
“I’m riding a bug!”
“I’m swimming!”
“I’m putting a skull inside my baby and buying the new Bob 2016 Revolution Flex Stroller! Wait, what?”
“I’ve been stabbed! How pointless, my planet is about to explode… Hmm, perhaps Zod will mention this in passing if he ever encounters my son in the future on Earth.”
“I’m a ghost/artificial intelligence now! And I’m also a tailor! I made you a costume that looks nothing like what we wear on Krypton!”

The birthing matrix thingy receives its data from half a skull?
Does anyone have even a guess as to how the hell that thing works? At least now we know why they gave birth at home… not that it was necessary to see that scene.

Why do the Phantom Zone refrigeration units (That are then launched onto a jet?) look like male genitalia?
I have no idea why,but yikes. Seems like a design error to me.

Superman is Jesus… why?
Jor El says something to the effect that Kal/Superman will redeem and enlighten mankind. And later, after they’re done talking, Superman floats out of the space ship with his arms up in a very Jesus like pose. The bottom line is Superman is our great protector – not our savior. Superman saves us from the things that no one else can protect us from because he can and will – but he saves lives, not souls. Jeez – does the guy have to save a crashing plane and then go through passengers one by one and listen to them confess their sins? Let the dude relax every once and while and have a beer!

Why do the ‘i’m learning how to use my powers’ thing?
He didn’t roll out of bed one morning to discover he’s superman! He’s ALWAYS been Superman and the movie shows that he struggled with his powers as a child, but he’s thirty-three now (the same age Jesus was when he died… sigh.) – and seems to have it – why the “learn to fly” sequence? Totally silly, totally useless.

The oil rig scene… yeah, that’s superman!
Hey, here’s something they got right. If you want to make a movie about Superman, just have him hold up stuff that’s falling over while civilians escape. It’s that easy! That’s it! Superman!

What’s with the visual style?
At some point, handheld camera became synonymous with realistic story telling. Now Man of Steel isn’t the worst abuser of this,but it does have the annoying crash zooms and even the scene with Pa Kent and young Clark talking in the field is hand-held. Kevin Costner must have thought director Zack Snyder was out of his mind. I imagine he was thinking, “We’re making a $220 million dollar action movie and a scene with two people talking is being shot on a shoulder pack. Didn’t these guys see Water World?”

The music is… meh.
Obviously, the John Williams Superman theme is not appropriate for this film – there’s not much fun or grandiose in this movie (although it does have plenty of excess!) and Williams’ score just wouldn’t’ work. What we got instead was… basically, a major scale. And that’s fine – in fact, the theme for Krypton in the first Superman movie basically just a major scale, but at least it had some melody. Then again, Hans Zimmer’s music for the Dark Knight Trilogy was very short on melody, but it sure did hit the spot, but this time, I think he missed the mark a bit.

So there you have it. I don’t think Man of Steel is a bad movie,but it certainly has problems. As for good points, I’d say I enjoyed the performances, even if the writing did occasionally retard them. I’d recommend this flick to comic book movie fans, but general audiences may want to stay away due to the film’s weirdness, length and crazy violence. The bottom line is I had to mention Jesus more than once in a movie review about Superman, and that just shouldn’t happen.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com, BomberBanter.com and editor in chief of ComicBookClog.com

Posted on July 31, 2013, in lists, movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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