This. Is. Collateral. Damage!
|Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman|
|Amy Adams as Lois Lane|
|Michael Shannon as General Zod|
|Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Superman’s real daddy|
|Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Johnathon and Martha Kent|
|and Harry Lennix as Lt. Gen. Swanwick|
|with Laurence Fishburne as Perry White|
I have to admit, I was never the biggest fan of DC Comics. I’ve always preferred the variety of superheroes from Marvel. However, the recent Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy has really made me a fan of Batman. So, when the previews for Man of Steel, Nolan’s Superman movie came out, the expectations were high.
The main difficulty with Superman is that he is just so awesomely powerful. Where most of Marvel’s characters tend to have only one or two interlinked powers, Superman has pretty much everything, laser beam eyes, the ability to fly at hypersonic speeds, immunity to Earthly weapons and the most rigid hair gel ever invented in the universe, for his hair always emerges as immaculate no matter how many buildings he demolishes on his way through them.
As this movie is what I expect to be the first in a trilogy of Superman movies, it has to set up the origin of our handsome superhero. The destruction of Krypton is a poignant reminder that Superman had a loving family who would never see him grow and mature into someone to be proud of. Even the flashback sequences scattered throughout which tells the story of Clark Kent growing up, wanting to punch bullies in the face (really, who hasn’t wanted that?), but knowing the true consequences of that and finally that heartbreaking choice of letting his adoptive father – John Kent – die in a tornado rather than reveal his powers allows the audience to understand how he came to be the person he is.
Special mention should go to Amy Adams who played Lois Lane. I thought that she filled the role really well, a proper investigative journalist who is confident, fearless and makes decisions based on merit. I also thought that it played to the movie’s advantage that there is no awkwardly forced, weird romantic chemistry between Superman and Lane like there is in the Star Wars prequels between Padme Armidala and Anakin Skywalker.
Logically of course, the origin movie should have a good villain, and this requirement is satisfied by having General Zod as the baddie. The psychotic military man from Krypton bent on creating a new Krypton and seeking to restore the glory of his people by wiping out everyone on Earth by terraforming it. That’s a pretty nasty business. This brings me to the level of destruction seen in the movie. Now, I’m willing to forgo the realism of nigh invincibility for the Kryptonians, but seriously, it appears that the entirety of Smallville gets destroyed in the one fight scene there, plus a large part of downtown Metropolis when Zod, his cronies and Superman pummel each other with seemingly no bodily consequences. There would literally be thousands of fatalities and serious injuries, not to mention the billions upon billions of dollars of property damage as a result of that and the film barely rates that as a mention. In fact, it reminded me a bit of what Dragonball Z fights looked like. Although it would have been hilarious if the Kryptonians suddenly had blonde, spikey hair.
Then there’s the bit where Superman is trapped aboard Zod’s prison ship and somehow gets weaker. It’s made explicitly clear in the movie that it’s the solar radiation on Earth that gives him his powers and yet, it’s now the atmosphere on board. Which is it? This doesn’t even describe the utter stupidity of creating a BLACK HOLE within the atmosphere of Earth (and barely a few hundred metres above the ground) to get rid of all the baddies. Seriously, that should have been the end of the movie. Black hole opens up, Earth gets slowly sucked in to it piece by piece as it grows larger. As you can tell, I really don’t like using black holes as solutions to crazy military maniacs bent on world domination. Finally, I don’t get how or why Zod is killed so easily in the end. Surely, his neck should have been as indestructible as the rest of him?
While I really enjoyed Man of Steel, it really makes me think that there are a few things that need to be tightened up before the next one. Firstly, the fight scenes, as much as possible need to be slowed down. There’s only so many shots of Superman impacting buildings or the ground that you can do before it gets boring. Secondly, it might be good to not generate black holes willy nilly inside the atmosphere so that it can get rid of bad guys. Do it in outer space. Finally, the film really did need exposition for the uninitiated in some things – the Phantom Zone and how Zod manages to come back after the destruction of Krypton. The next one will be all the better for it.
Another reboot of Superman, because the last one just didn’t cut it. This one sort of does, but geez Superman isn’t very good at saving innocent people…
Should I watch this?
It’s a good movie, but bring a chunder bucket, because the action scenes are disorienting and may cause motion sickness. Well, for you, not Superman. He’s invincible, see?