Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Overblown Films: MAN OF STEEL
Having failed to catch Man of Steel when it played our local second-run pizza and beer theaters, I got the DVD from the library. And even though it was free, I wanted my money back.
This is the most schizophrenic movie I’ve seen since From Dust 'Til Dawn. The important difference is, I liked From Dust 'Til Dawn.
The first three hours of Man of Steel (OK, it was only an hour, but seemed like three) stumbled and sputtered and snoozed until I almost yanked the disc and rushed it back to the library. The last thing this world needs is another retelling of the Superman origin story, especially one with contrived and annoying details. After suffering through thirty minutes of that stuff, there were hints the story might actually be starting. Each time, though, was a false alarm.
Instead, that entire first half was a jumble of disconnected and unnecessary scenes. Someone was trying to be artsy-fartsy in their storytelling, and failing miserably. But right at the halfway point, as my thumb was caressing the stop button, the fighting started, and the mayhem didn’t stop for another hour.
I have to admit the second hour held my attention. It was the most violent and wantonly destructive sequence I’ve yet to see in a superhero film. It was almost like an apology from the producers: Having bored us silly in the first half, they felt compelled to deliver non-stop shock and awe in the second. But while I enjoy a bit of gratuitous violence, it needs a little story to go with it.
As Supes, Henry Cavill showed promise but never got a chance to act. And Amy Adams would have acceptable as Lois Lane if she'd been given a story. But Michael Shannon was abominable as General Zod. He was consistently wooden and boring, and seemed to think he was still on the set of Boardwalk Empire.
Having paid no advance attention to this film, I didn’t know until the end credits that it was a Christopher Nolan production. That explained a lot. I didn’t like his ultra-dark Batman, and liked it less in each sequel. Man of Steel was a new low, and if I can help it, I’ll avoid Nolan's films in the future.
The folks at D.C. have good stable of characters, but they need to put them in the hands of people who can give them the J.J. Abrams/Joss Whedon treatment. These movies should be fun.