MAN OF STEEL - Grading & Discussion

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Agent Richard07, Jun 11, 2013.

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Grade the movie...

  1. A+

    10.6%
  2. A

    20.9%
  3. A-

    18.3%
  4. B+

    9.9%
  5. B

    11.4%
  6. B-

    4.2%
  7. C+

    4.9%
  8. C

    4.9%
  9. C-

    3.4%
  10. D+

    3.4%
  11. D

    3.8%
  12. D-

    2.7%
  13. F

    1.5%
  1. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I doubt it. I was weaned on Silver Age Superman, 8 years old when Chris Reeve hit the screen. I thought MoS was fantastic. I think it's a polarizing movie - it plays with Superman in a pretty complex way (not saying it's a complex film particularly, just that what it did with the mythos was). That means a variety of things either click with a viewer or don't.
     
  2. Noname Given

    Noname Given Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Overall I rated it a B. It was a bit too long and plodding in spots (I think they could have trimmed bout 20 minutes and it would be a better film.

    Overall it was WAY better then 2006's "Superman Returns"; and I know it's a comic book film (and had some really well done sequences and bits here and there; but some of the plot contrivances did detract from the film.

    Some thoughts:

    - I agree with those folks who said they made Jonathan Kent a bit of an asshole. The scene between him and young Clark where they're talking about Clark saving the school bus, and Clark says:

    Clark: "What should I have done? Let them die?"

    Jonathan: "Yes, maybe."
    (and yet in the same breath saying, "You're here for a reason that will change the world..")
    ^^^
    Talk about sending mixed signal to an already confused upper teenager. IMO = Major asshole.

    - And the Tornado scene where Jonathan Kent dies:
    Given the character as portrayed in the film to that point, my problem with Jonathan waving Clark off and doing it himself (and getting killed) is the fact that it's NOT for a non-family member who might blow Clark's super powers to the world, it's for the family dog (and I don't object to try to save a beloved animal. What' stupid for me is that IF he had let Clark do it - and Clark 'appeared' to die (in front of a bunch of strangers in a chaotic situation); no harm no foul per se - Clark lives, the dog lives, and Jonathan lives and Clark's secret is safe.

    Then we some of the ridiculous cross references (intended or not):

    - We have "Dragon Riders of Krypton" (WTF - who cam up with the idea of Jar-El riding 4-winged dragon?

    - "The Krypton/Matrix" (Hell, when they show the cloned Kryptonian baby embryos being grabbed by machines, IT look like the scene was an used one FROM the Matrix (Hell, with Laurence Fishbourne as Perry White - I'm surprised they didn't have an exchange between him and Lois asking "Where's Clark?"; and Perry replying, "He's off doing his Superman thing." ;)

    - Then we have Clark as 'the Greenhorn" on the latest episode of "Deadliest Catch". :lol:

    - And sorry, with Kryptonians being shown a a VERY space-faring capable race (they explored the Galaxy for 100,000 years, etc.) Sorry, when your chief scientist (who was genetically engineered to be the best scientist he can be) tells you "Hey, mining the planet's core was a bad idea; and the end result is Krypton will implode..." (and BTW NO ONE disputes this conclusion) - they are incredulous about evacuating Krypton and moving to one or more of the habitable worlds in range they KNOW for a fact exist?
    ^^^
    Sorry, for an advanced race that's supposed to be very intelligent, they are portrayed as quite stupid IMO.

    - The 'Codex' (from which EVERY Kryptonian as been created for the last few centuries) is just a partial decaying Kryptonian skull (it's completely black in color) uspended and being constantly scanned by laser beam? And Jar-El molecularizes is and 'infuses' it into baby Kal-El? WFTF? (Oh, and BTW - if natural birth is frowned on/outlawed; and population is strictly controlled and EVERY Kryponian cloned is 'made' for a specific job function, why do husband/wife (and or marriage) relationships still exist? (IE it' pretty clear Jar-El and Lara Lor-Van are married as the character is described as "The biological mother of Superman and loyal wife to Jor-El".

    - And once Kal-El surrenders to Zod, does Zod also want Lois Lane too? (To advance the plot she has to be there so AI Jar-El can tell her how to defeat Zod; and help Kl-El escape); but given what Zod's plan for Kal-El was, there was no logical reason to either take Lois (and keep her alive) in the first place.)

    - Also, how was Superman (who while growing up on Earth was NEVER trained to fight and avoided it at all costs lest he kill someone) - manage to defeat in hand to hand a trained/genetically created specifically as a warrior, Kryptonian General who had fully adapted to Earth and his new powers?

    There's more glaring inconsistencies, but I'm starting to cramp up from all this typing.

    Again, overall I liked it more than "Superman Returns", and the 1978 "Superman" and 1980's "Superman II" <- which had been my favorite despite being campy as heck.

    The combat CGI was amazing, and I liked Henry Cavill's performance in he role (had some really god scenes and lines that he carried well.)

    I do wish they could just write a decent story; and not a contrived mess. (YMMV)
     
  3. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Agree. There is no joy in the movie. I daresay there is not one single scene I would describe as exhilarating.

    There isn't one scene that matches the heroic grandeur of Superman saving the the plane in the middle of the baseball stadium, no jawdroppingingly obscene display of Superman's powers to match the bullet blast to the eye in SR. Frack me, if I'm remembering correctly, bullets knocked Supes off his feet in MoS.

    There is nothing to match the sheer joy watching Clark discovering his powers as a child like in Superman '78, and SR.

    In Superman '78 Superman's emotional reaction to Lois' death had a foundation that had been built which made it realistic and appropriate. The kiss between the two in MoS seemed like it must have been the prelude to a booty call to me based on the lack of foundation for anything more.

    In Supes '78, his emotional plea to Miss Tesbacher to help him save people from Lex' nuke resonated as did Supe's heartfelt, "goodbye Lois" in SR. After the "goodbye" in SR, there is that goosepimply moment when he flies above the clouds to replenish his strength with the Sun's yellow rays before, perhaps, meeting death. There were no moments like this in MoS. In MoS, emotion was replaced by action.

    Does Pa Kent going back to save his dog after suggesting to Clark that he maybe should have allowed a bus full of children to die mean he thinks more of dogs than he does kids? Maybe not, but from what I saw in the movie, I could at least make that argument.

    The lack of an emotional center in this movie along with Supes' angst and physical vulnerability maybe (maybe) works for Batman, but he is a much different character than Supes -- to me. Chris Nolan, apparently, sees them as being pretty similar.
     
  4. The Old Building & Loan

    The Old Building & Loan Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    I found it odd when Jor-El said that they abandoned space exploration because of the need for population control and the overextension of Krypton's resources. For a species that had mastered interstellar travel and found habitable worlds, it seems like those worlds would be the answer to the problems of overpopulation and overextension of their home planet's resources....But I'm willing to let that sort of thing go because we're only getting a Cliff's Notes version of Kryptonian history...I'm sure our own planet's history would be baffling to an outsider if explained in 15 minutes of screen time.
     
  5. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

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    The reviews and opinions are very wide spread on this, very strange.

    To me, it was nothing more than Transformers with another skin.
     
  6. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

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    That was what I thought, too, replace the Kryptonians with giant robots and people would be slating this as just another Transformers piece of crap.
     
  7. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    For what it is worth Superman has always been a degree or two less powerful than the other Kryptonians he encounters. Not for the usual "the hero has to be" story reasons but because Superman is gimped by being raised by humans and doesn't use any more power than he absolutely has to. Other Kryptonians use their full power. Even in many interpretations Supergirl is more powerful than Superman because she doesn't give a shit about Earth and Humans because she wasn't raised as one. So she's balls to the wall all the time. Superman uses as much power as he needs and no more.

    This argument was made last year with The Avengers but, again, there's a big difference between what Transformers did, what Avengers did and what Man of Steel has done. In The Avengers the movie is built up to know what the stakes are you know who the characters are and can identify them. Superman does that less as well but it's still there. Transformers? More time is spent with comic relief and human characters so by the time the robots start fighting it's pointless. We don't know who they are or care about them so it's just noise, not to mention a jumbled mess since we can't identify them from one another besides "Optimus is sorta red and blue."

    But I'll concede that the action scenes in MoS did drag a bit and were a bit nonsensical as opposed to how they were in Avengers. Not "Transformers" bad, but along that road.

    As opposed to the abandoning space exploration, I think they should've stuck with the idea that Kryptonians simply didn't explore space. Either they couldn't break atmo due to Krypton's higher gravity or they didn't leave the planet because they knew what different solar radiation could do to them on other worlds. Jor-El designed the terraforming device but the idea was abandoned (and Zod eventually gets a hold of it when he escapes the Phantom Zone), he launches Kal-El in defiance of the law, the launch only working to Krypton's reduced density making the gravitational pull less strong. Which may be weak/bad science but at least better than "We once were on planets but not so much anymore. Who knows what happened out there."
     
  8. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

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    For me the story was more superficial in Man of Steam than in Avengers and that lead to the feeling that it could easily have been a Transformers film.
     
  9. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Did at some point in the film something transform from a car to a robot, or why are people making that comparison all the time?
     
  10. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    D+

    Saw it tonight. A more detailed analysis will follow later, if one can be composed to properly describe the utter mess this film is. Thumbs down.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  11. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

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    Because at this point in time Transformers is shorthand for action focused CGI spectacular that's low on substance.
     
  12. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    On that note, this is probably the only blockbuster movie (possibly even the only movie period) where I've seen product placement for Alexander Keith's. Keith's is a popular Canadian beer which can be seen in the bar Clark's working at near the beginning.
     
  13. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The difference between this and Transformers is that at least MoS gives you some clues as to where you are and what's going on. The characters are easily identifiable and the battles make sense geographically. I found myself immersed in MoS's battle scenes whereas Transformers is a constant struggle to differentiate between characters and location.

    I agree that MoS is a little light on plot but to be honest, I think that's what's needed from a Superman film at the moment. We had a plot and story heavy movie and it didn't work out too well. Now all the pieces are in place for the next one to lighten up and have fun a little and maybe take a few more risks storywise.

    It's the mark of a good movie when I want to see the next one RIGHT NOW.
     
  14. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    Ok, so I stayed up all night and tried to get my thoughts in order. It's probably still a bit of a jumble, but fuck it.

    I really need to stop amping myself up for summer blockbusters right before they come out. Last year, I purposely avoided any mention of anything having to do with The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers, and walked out of both largely pleased with each film. This year though I bought in to the hype. I did it with Star Trek a few weeks ago and I did it again here with Superman. Perhaps part of it this time around was a private, (desperate?) hope for something better than what we got seven years ago in Superman Returns, a film which while I do like and enjoy is also a film I can recognize for its many faults.

    I've always had a personal affection for Superman because of my dad. It's appropriate then that I saw Man of Steel over Father's Day weekend because my dad, the journalist who, for years when we were children would joke with me and my brothers and sister that he really was Superman. And that the comics got it wrong, and Lois Lane was actually a nurse, because my mom's a nurse. As I got older I started to recognize another striking similarity between my father and Superman - both were great men who left their homes and their families (albeit under vastly different circumstances) to start anew here in the US. And so when I think about what the legend and the mythic idea that Superman represents means to me, its easy for me to equate my father with those same ideals. This movie though is not the kind of film that demonstrates those ideals in any way, shape or form.

    What is Man of Steel then? Where does it stack up? Let's start at the beginning. There is no joy in this film at all. A teaser that is exhausting and overlong before a midsection that can't decide what direction it wants to zig-zag to anf from, and a overblown final act that that includes an endgame which flies in the face -pun intended- of the very definition of the character of Superman and what he represents. And the worst part about it is that it was entirely unnecessary to the film, included simply for the sake of including it to manufacture the choice that is made.

    Henry Cavill makes for a good Clark and Kal-El. Just about anyone could have played Lois, Perry, Jor-El, or Martha based on the way the parts were written here as nearly tertiary characters. And where Benedict Cumberbatch spent the majority of his lines hissing and still making John Harrison compelling in the last Star Trek film, Michael Shannon spends most of his time yelling like a blithering idiot.

    What really got me though --and I was genuinely surprised by this-- was that (SPOILER ALERT) the retcon of Jonathan Kent's death actually had me in tears thanks to Kevin Costner's performance. It's something of a Father's Day miracle (and no, the irony that I saw the film the night before Father's Day is not lost on me and probably is responsible for part of that single drop of emotional reaction in an otherwise emotionless film) because I usually can't take Costner seriously in anything that isn't Dances with Wolves or The Untouchables.

    Despite talking a good game about the ideals that Superman is supposed represent and what Clark Kent is supposed to grow up to become, there is little to no demonstration or representation of this beyond powerful punches and mass demolition and destruction. Simply put, there is no wonder. There is no fancy at this amazing feat of flight. It's all paranoia and fear.

    The Nolan-esque approach to the film is entirely apparent throughout though and where it succeeds immesurably in his Batman trilogy, it fails entirely here. Not because it's a different look or approach to Superman but because it fails to understand who the character of Kal-El, and by extension, Clark Kent and Superman are in the world they are supposed to exist in. Where Bruce Wayne was striving to a goal to rid Gotham of crime by using fear against his enemies, Man of Steel finds Clark aimlessly just stumbling along, doing good where he happens to be and spending half the time wishing he could just be left alone.

    More egregious are the high hopes (ha!) the film pins on Jor-El's motivations in sending Kal-El to Earth at the beginning of the film - "He will be a god to them," he says to his hesitant wife, foreseeing a day when their son will save the people of the earth. "With them you will achieve wonders!" he says. And yet later it becomes painfully clear that this isn't film in which Superman is going to be worried about the rest of the world; it's America that's going to be the big benefactor. "How doe we know you're supporting American interests?" A general asks. "I grew up in Kansas!" retorts Superman. It's all glib and relies on the audience to discern that the earnestness, the wholesomeness of Superman is eroded away in favor of snappy comebacks and pseudo-wit.

    Zod's plan is based in some sci-fi doohickey that basically amounts to the genocide of the human race if he succeeds. And Zod has a very good reason for wanting to succeed. But again the film skirts around the edge of this moral issue, with Clark right in the center of it but that's all the film does - skirts the issue. There's no accountability, no consequence to anything in the end. You may find yourself wondering

    I've always liked that the mythos of Superman is one of hope. And yes it is steeped in classic elements of Americana, in the modern, post-9/11 world Superman has also become a symbol of hope for the entire world. And in case you didn't know that, both Costner and Crowe remind us about it repeatedly. Too, the film sets up Clark and the rest of Krypton in a way very similar to The Doctor and the oft-mentioned Time War over on Doctor Who. But the film itself fails to energize any of its ideals in any meaningful way, preferring to spend its second half recreating every overblown CGI cinematic climactic confrontation from the last 15 years and Superman becomes just another crazy sci-fi punching bag until he finally starts to fight back not with his wits (as the Doctor would) but with his fists, like a superpowered thug.

    Even more disturbing is the casual and unimstakeable destruction of an American city on a scale I've yet to encounter in a comic book movie. And like Star Trek Into Darkness a few weeks ago, this cataclysmic reign of destruction and decimation is completely and totally glossed over in the final moments of the film as if it had never happened. No mention is made of the likely thousands of people who had to have perished. If anything it calls to mind those old Power Rangers episodes my brother and sister watched when they were young kids... every time those dopey robots knocked each other over and crashed into a very obviously cardboard "skyscraper" equipped with a squib, the first thing we always wondered was "how is it that that damn town has no casualties when this stuff happens?" -Here now, we see the big budget answer to that exact predicament and let me tell you, it's pretty fucking disappointing to see.

    So in summation: Man of Steel is a washed out, colorless, joyless, humorless incoherent mess and indiscriminant assault to the senses. My dad however, has been and continues to be a pretty fucking awesome guy.

    Finally: For your viewing pleasure, our family gift to Dad this father's day: a cedar tree - the national tree of Lebanon and which is proudly emblazoned on the national flag - planted in his backyard. A little piece of his home, joined with his his actual home. No cape, but all hero.

    [​IMG]

     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Forty-two here and I thought it was a great movie.
     
  16. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I would stress - I don't have a problem with what Superman did in that scne. From both a legal and moral point of view, he did the right thing and as you say, he clearly was devastated by it. I was simply uncomfortable with the writers opting to include a scene where Superman breaks someone's neck, even if that someone is General Zod, in a Steven Seagal/ Jack Bauer manner.

    Hmm, I'd disagree. For all that Superman Returns got wrong - and I think MOS is the better movie and the better Superman movie - SR definitely, for me anyway, did a better job in making me empathise with Kal-El and feel his emotions. Cracking the picture frame when he realised Lois had a new man, his cry of pain when Luthor stabbed him in the side, his mother standing anonymously in the crowd, unable to see her son in hospital. Little scenes like that gave Returns the edge in that department for me.
     
  17. The Old Building & Loan

    The Old Building & Loan Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    I also had a lot of appreciation for some of what Superman Returns did, while recognizing that it was, as a whole package, a deeply flawed movie. Somewhere between the better parts of SR and MoS is a fantastic Superman movie that we haven't seen yet....
     
  18. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I've been reading Superman comics since the late 1950s, and consumed a fair portion of the comics printed in the 50s during my first few years of reading. I found Man Of Steel to be brilliant, emotional, excellently cast, well conceived and well written. I've no misgivings about the movie at all, though eventually I might have a quibble or two.

    In fact it probably helps that my image of Clark/Supes predates the Christopher Reeve version by decades. I was an adult when that movie was made, and as far as live action versions of the characters my first exposure was to the George Reeves television series. Christopher Reeve, while excellent, has never been my idea of the "perfect" Superman. Certainly Donner's movies never struck me as great films in any respect other that Reeve's performance.

    Watching Cavill portraying Clark mastering his flying ability (a power his antagonists never do quite get) was absolutely a joyful sequence and the kind of thing that the Donner movies may have aspired to but fell short of. Man Of Steel finally fulfilled the unmet promise of the advertising headline for Donner's first Superman film: if seeing is believing then, for the first time, I believed a man could fly.

    Oh, BTW, what the trucker found when he left the bar was laugh out-loud funny - even if the audience had to have been a beat ahead of him there. :lol:
     
  19. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    It's funny, the trucker scene to me is a direct homage to the Donner/Lester movies.

    As for the flying effects it all looked great -except for that piece of footage of him flying over the wildlife in africa. It looked like footage taken from the old Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Terribly blurry piece of film with a man greenscreened over it.
     
  20. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the later part of the movie there are a couple of landing shots that remind one of the wire work they did with Reeve, and they really stand out as awkward and inauthentic here.