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. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Lot of heart in my opinion. Costner's Pa Kent especially.
     
  2. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I hope so!
     
  3. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I voted A-. Spoilers ahead as I'm too stupid to ever get the spoiler code right.

    SPOILERS ABOUND!!!!

    Going in, I had hopes that this film would be the best comic adaptation yet. Cast, writer, producer - I was less enamoured of the director but the trailers convinced me that he'd put aside his Snyder-isms (and to be fair he has). It is a good film but it's not the best comic adaptation ever, indeed, it's not even the best Goyer-Nolan comic adaptation ever. It is, however, the best and most mature Zack Snyder film.

    What works: Well, the cast are uniformly brilliant. Not just those you'd expect, the infallibly good Fishburne, Adams, Shannon and Lane. Not just the hit-and-miss vets Costner (who is particularly good) and Crowe. The many tv vets who appear - Chris Meloni, Richard Schiff, Harry Lennix etc - also hit the mark every time. And we even get to see 2 nuBSG actors onscreen together.

    And, of course, Mr Cavill is just brilliant. At times funny, at times poignant, lonely, his out-of-his-place Clark/Kal-El/Superman is always charming and pitch-perfect. I was in the camp who would have gladly seen Brandon Routh return but Cavill IS Superman for this era in the same way that Daniel Craig IS James Bond. They each put their own identity on their respective roles, no aping Reeve or Connery.

    The action sequences are as great as you'd expect with this budget and, of course, it being a Snyder film, it looks great. Not just the action sequences and the big SFX pieces, but Kansas, Alaska, Metropolis and the little character moments with Cavill, Costner or Lane in the farmhouse.

    What didn't work? Well, I think they tried to cram too much into the opening scenes in Krypton; partly to show that this wasn't going to be another Superman Returns and partly to distinguish it from the Donnerverse. Krypton looks lovely and Star Warsy, the costumes and architecture are impressive but I don't know that we needed all the action sequences there. The whole 'Last Son of Krypton' plot ties in with a McGuffin about Superman's origins and Krypton's (possible) future which is frankly a bit silly.

    A lot of the Kryptonian imagery and machinery was a little too redolent of the Matrix. Indeed, when you then have a Superman/Zod smackdown which is reminscent of that between Neo and Smith (yes, I know the Matrix copied Superman), with not only said machinery in the background but friggin' Larry Fishburne too(!), you may come away with a sense of deja-vu. Indeed, the action sequences in Metropolis are also quite like those in New York at the end of the Avengers, but I suppose that's an occupational hazard with comic book character movies.

    HUGE SPOILER AHEAD:


    Still reading? Your choice.


    Jonathan Kent's death is very badly handled. For one thing, his gravestone reads '1951-97.' Ahem - Costner is meant to be 46 (at his oldest!) in this movie - and presumably younger at other stages? Riiiiight.

    Added to which, the 1997 scene features Cavill as the 17 year old Clark (we later learn that Clark is 33 in the present day). They had in other flashback scenes used really convincing lookalikes for young Clark, but Henry isn't entirely convincing as a 17 year-old. I can understand why they wanted their leading man in this pivotal scene but it would have made more sense if they'd made modern day Clark a mid-late 20-something and set that scene when he was aged 20 or so. And made Kevin play his own age, FFS.

    Anyway, the gist of that scene is that the Kents are driving along and come across a tornado. While Martha and Clark take shelter with other road users, sensible, pragmatic Jonathan, who has grown up in tornado country, goes back to the car to rescue the family dog and gets himself killed. He waves Clark away, as he doesn't want his son to reveal his identity by rescuing him. Now, given that locals already have seen Clark drag a bus out of a river among other tricks, this does seem a rather needless death on his part. Not to mention pretty stupid for a mid-Western farmer.


    HUMUNGOUS SPOILER AHEAD.

    YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

    YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW?

    OKAY, READ ON IF YOU MUST.

    In the final battle between Superman and Zod, Zod, knowing he has effectively lost, baits Kal-El by using his heat vision to kill a family who are hiding nearby. He taunts Clark about this.

    And Superman breaks his friggin' neck and kills him.

    Seriously, that's the best solution they could come up with? Yes, it's in defence of others but to have Superman kill his enemy at the end of the film seems a betrayal of the character. Yes, he is then clearly distraught at having had to do so but surely they could have found some way for him to prove that he was cleverer and more resourceful than Zod? I predict this scene proving very controversial.

    All in all, though, a good, enjoyable movie. Possibly one which suffered from trying too hard not to be Superman Returns or the Donnerverse, though. I missed the little scenes - the little rescues, the prevention of crimes, the helping people. Indeed, while Metropolis is being smashed to smithereens, we never see Superman recue civilians - Perry and another journalist have to save Jenny (Olsen?) by themselves.

    Perhaps now with the need to be different from Returns out of the way, Snyder and co can include a little more character and thoughtfulness in the second movie. Then we might indeed have the best comic adaptation ever! For now - back over to you Mr Singer (DOFP!)
     
  4. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hmm, from what I'm hearing, the 2D is probably the best version to see with this. Apparently the shaky hand-held style doesn't translate as well to 3D as it does with other movies.

    Although I'd be curious to hear what others thought who saw it in 3D.
     
  5. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'll let you know.
     
  6. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    3D formatting?

    Distracting, to put it mildly.
     
  7. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

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    I have no illusions that I'm in anything but a minority but here's what I thought:

     
  8. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
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    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Seen it.

    Wasn't very good, great fight scenes in the last half but not enough to make up for the dull plot, dull characters and it really has no substance to it. I did nearly walk out half way through, I was that bored - the Krypton scene and origin were like a rejected idea from the prequels - but I'm glad I didn't as the fight scenes were admittedly spectacular. I would summarise it as Transformers but without cheesiness, self awareness and that takes itself very seriously. There is very little humour or cheesiness. It was a big dumb action movie without any redeeming features outside of the impressive action set pieces.

    Henry Cavill was fine as Superman though, even though I thought he was too angry and whiny.

    Though it should be noted that I loved Superman Returns and the Reeve movies.

    I'm really pretty angry with it actually, I went in with no expectations and it was still really bad. Everytime I type something or post something, I think of something else that pissed me off. The music was really terrible, it was just war drums the entire time. There was nothing impressive or inspiring about it.

    Posted this in the other thread, sorry for repeating. Gave it a D+, but the action scenes are the only thing that made is watchable.
     
  9. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Ba-Boom!
     
  10. I've thought for years that this was the perfect template for a Superman movie (though in my dreams it was a Darkseid invasion, not Zod). Why have a small threat when you're introducing SUPERMAN?
     
  11. Lapis Exilis

    Lapis Exilis Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The limitations of RT's rating system have been much commented upon so it's frequently not the best gauge. But the criticisms I've read so far sound pretty standard for a Zack Snyder film and were why I was worried about him directing Superman - it felt like a mismatch of director and material. Snyder tends towards the morosely bombastic (or is that the bombastically morose?)

    That said, the reviews do really sound like people are a tad confused by their expectations and how the movie subverts them. It makes me wonder if this isn't why Superman is such a difficult property to manage on screen. Everyone can say that it's hard to do a Superman movie because he's too good and pure of character with no shades of grey to make him interesting but that always struck me as pure bunk. There's plenty of elemental conflict in the concept of Superman. But I think Superman, these days anyway, may work better in niche interpretations and where people get into trouble is trying to do a version that has broad appeal. I mean, he's a core heroic American character and his heyday was when there was a monoculture he could play to. That is long gone, and while you'd think a postmodern America would embrace a postmodern Superman, there's enough nostalgia at our core for the myth of the grand American ideal that we still want Superman to scratch that itch. Unfortunately, we've all pretty much got different itches for him to scratch and still expect him to be able to be universal - so he kinda can't win.

    Which is by way of saying, I do think movie critics may be (haven't seen the movie, so how would I really know?) expecting too much.

    Personally I love to see someone go soemwhere unexpected with an iconic character like Superman, so I'm mostly even more intrigued by what's emerging from early viewers. It may not be great, but at least it's taking a risk.
     
  12. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

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    I think the reviews are pretty spot on from what I've read, style over substance and impressive fight scenes which make the movie watchable. The rest was complete pap.
     
  13. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    I enjoyed it. The hand held camera style in the first few minutes looks like they had problems with the dolly but it eventually fades from notice.

    The cast is perfect. The story works. I had no problems with the film.
     
  14. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Ah.

    A superhero movie.
     
  15. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Location:
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    Saw it in 3D, didn't notice any problems.
     
  16. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

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    Pretty much, it doesn't really have that factor which elevates though like Iron Man or Batman. It's just action schlock, Batman Begins wasn't a great movie because Batman beat up Liam Neeson and some thugs, it was a tiny part of the movie. It was a great new origin story we hadn't seen on film, beautifully crafted and shot, while being a deep focus on the character and motivation of Bruce Wayne.

    This movie just seems to rely entirely on the action scenes, apart from that, the only scene I really connected with emotionally was the scenes with his Mom when he returns home. Pa Kent was kinda a dick and a dumbass. Just very disappointed overall, and I went in with no expectations.
     
  17. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This strikes me as a thoughtful, well-written and unequivocally negative review of the film:

    Grim, Violent Man of Steel Sells Superman’s Soul for Spectacle

     
  18. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    SPOILERS, OF COURSE:

    I actually enjoyed the intent behind Cavill's Superman - his struggle to find his place in the world gives his nearly-invincible physical nature a vulnerable emotional one. And the brushstrokes of character that touched on that were some of the film's best parts. It was likewise good to see the awesome results of two (or three) god-like entities battling it out. But overall the emphasis skews way too much toward the action for the rest characters to gain a whole lot of traction or for the film to really connect on an emotional level (an exception: the scenes with Clark's father).

    Even all that is excusable because, for the most part, the film is simply gorgeous to look at and its 'splosions are lot of fun. With one exception. The mass slaughter inside Metropolis (and presumably in the South Indian Ocean) goes wholly unacknowledged by ... well, by anyone, really. People are upset at how Superman defeats Zod ... but I think Superman's lack of awareness about the collateral damage of the conflict is what really undercuts his character and the film because the whole film was about him choosing to save people. Even a throwaway line or an attempt to get Zod and the Henchwoman to engage him in, say, the fields of Kansas, rather than in a town square would have made a big difference. Sure, he kills Zod to save a family - but what of all the other victims?

    I still liked the film, enjoyed Cavill's performance, and will plan on seeing it again. I think I'll hold off on a final grade until I do.
     
  19. Mach5

    Mach5 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  20. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

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    I thought that was what they went for with the traveling the world, but it was done so poorly, it was just him dicking around and then he accidentally overhears soldiers talking about that spaceship. I really never felt anything for him or relatable, especially emotionally. Like I said, the closet it got was the scenes where he comes back home after finding his origin.