I finally watched Man of Steel last night. I know, I know…that movie came out almost a year ago. But as I’ve stated before, I’m not a fan of Superman. So I wasn’t in any hurry to watch a movie about him. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to see it just because it’s a comic book movie. I watch them all. The feedback I had gotten from people (comic fan and non-comic fan) who had seen it was a mixed bag: most thought it was either just alright or just plain bad, with a smattering of those who really enjoyed it. With such a varied reaction, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. This was probably a good thing, as I was was able to go into it with no real expectations.
The first part of the movie gives a very detailed account of the end of Krypton and the events that lead to Kal-El being shipped from his home planet to Earth. From that point on, it’s a lot of switching back and forth between the present and flashbacks to Clark Kent’s childhood. I actually thought that the glimpses of the young Clark discovering and learning to deal with his powers were the best parts of the movie. However, I thought the portrayal of his adoptive father Jonathan Kent was absolutely terrible.
It’s not that Kevin Costner did a bad job (he was just fine from an acting standpoint), but the way the character was written was awful. Having his father, who is supposed to be the one that instills the morals in Clark the morals that make him who he is, insinuate that maybe he should let people die instead of helping if it meant revealing his abilities, was disgusting and an affront to his character. And his death scene was ridiculous. Watching Clark look on as his father is killed in a tornado when he could have easily saved him, was difficult to stomach and didn’t endear to me either Jonathan or Clark Kent. In fact it made me dislike Clark very much.
I didn’t like the fact that Lois Lane knows Superman’s identity from the very beginning. Doing so steals away that great moment when it is revealed to her that meek, kind-of-dopey Clark Kent is actually the most powerful being on the planet in disguise. I also felt like they took the “damsel in distress” aspect of Lois a little too far. I mean Superman had to swoop in and save her three times in the movie. Kind of defeats the idea of Lois being a strong female lead when she has to constantly be saved by the big strong male.
I feel like they tried way too hard to make the movie feel “epic” by making it much longer than it needed to be. But most of it felt like filler. The fight scenes went on forever, and really weren’t that impressive. Seriously, why doesn’t Superman ever think to use his heat vision against his fellow Kryptonians instead of just devolving into a fist fight every single time? In the climactic battle between Superman and Zod, why didn’t Clark think to just put his hands over Zod’s eyes or fly away from the people with him still in his grasp? Instead, Superman breaks his neck, killing him. Ummm…so this Superman apparently doesn’t have his famous “code against killing.” Speaking of Zod…how could they not give us even one “Kneel before Zod”? Blasphemy!
In the end, I didn’t hate Man of Steel. But I definitely didn’t love it. It was lackluster at best, and is a lame launching point for a connected DC cinematic universe. I didn’t have high hopes for DC’s chances against what Marvel is doing before I saw this film, and it did nothing to change that view.