Snyder loves turning a 2-hour long tale into a bloated motion picture, with stretched-out action sequences and forgettable second acts.” writes A Bearded Critic.
A decade after its release, Zack Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’ (2013) continues to divide critics and audiences alike with its dramatic visuals and remarkable costume design paired with its slow, lacklustre plot. As another origin story for the man in Red and Blue, and the beginning of the not-so-successful DC franchise that followed, Man of Steel manages to do things averagely well but not any particular thing quite well enough, culminating in the drabbest rendition of America’s most beloved comic book character Superman to date.
With equally polarizing movies such as Sucker Punch (2011)and the ever-quotable, blood bath 300 (2006), Snyder has possibly the most marmite back catalogue of any modern director. He has an impressive ability to feed into ‘fan service’, with striking visual effects and unique colour palatesto boot, and Man of Steel is no exception. However, with three writers all contributing to the story, Christopher Nolan being one, the pacing sadly suffers; posing the question as to whether too many cooks do indeed spoil the broth.
“People are afraid of what they don’t understand.” –Jonathan Kent
Starring Henry Cavill (Immortals 2011, The Man from U.N.C.L.E 2015) as ‘Supes’ and Amy Adams (Arrival 2016) as Lois Lane, the metaphorical ‘man of steel’ must choose between joining the small few survivors left from his own alien race or defend the planet he was raised on from birth at the cost of his own species bloodline. Throughout the film, we have glimpses into the early life of Clark Kent, Superman’s alter-ego, and through these flashbacks, we see aspects of how he was often made to suppress his abilities in order to protect those around him (from what I don’t know).
The saving grace is definitely Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water 2017), whose performance as General Zod is worth mentioning in its own right. His character has depth and reasoning, and Shannon perfectly portrays the malice and venom of Zod without simply screaming or fighting (although he does some of that too). The other support actors are just okay with Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Martha and Jonathan Kent. Sadly not enough time is given to any of them however so they all lack depth or meaning; the former is basically an AI for the vast majority of it.
“You might want to step back a little bit. Maybe a little bit more.” – Superman
It wouldn’t be a hot confusing mess without some incrediblytalented music director behind the soundtrack to balance out any issues you might have with the overall plot. Grammy and Oscar award winner Hans Zimmer can be thanked for this and thanked he should be, as the soundtrack truly is a masterpiece of musical innovation. He artistically adds sci-fi elements into the early scenes set off of planet Earth, with otherworldly trills and rolling drums, which return with the Kryptoniancharacters’ reappearance later on.
With almost century-old source material and seven other iterations of Superman on screen before this, it’s hard not to compare and pick apart the finer details of this treasured character. What makes the movie, and most importantly Cavill’s performance of Superman, respectable in the eyes of many is his commitment to that source material in both characterisation and appearance. He acts the part well, being both timid and kind as Clark Kent but also powerful and proud as Superman (helped primarily by his impressive body both in and out of the suit.)
But even with the god-like bod, memorable villain, and flashy action-packed CGI fight sequences, the film just simply isn’t all that good. From its chaotic opening scene to its abrupt ending, whilst relying heavily on flashbacks in the middle to show us character development instead of real-time events and decisions. Ultimately, the major issue with the 2h 23 minlong movie is that it’s too long. Snyder loves turning a 2-hour long tale into a bloated motion picture, with stretched-out action sequences and forgettable second acts. It’s no surprise the movie was only nominated for one BAFTA award, that of the kid’s Selection, and it lost to Despicable Me 2.
“Welcome to The Planet.” – Lois Lane
A Bearded Critic rating: 2/5