“Man of Steel” Was Terrigood

2 Aug

It sucked. It was great.

Yeah, it’s late. I didn’t time this with the release of the movie. Why? Because I’m busy, ya hear? I’m working. I talk to you when I feel like it. Some day I’ll do it more often, but for now you’ll just have to be patient. For now, you’ll have to deal with whatever crap I throw out, whenever I throw it out.

Anyway, yeah, Superman, Man of Steel, pretty good movie. It could use some work, a lot actually. But more on that in a bit. First the good stuff. And yes, this is chock full of spoilers, so for those who don’t want any, here’s my review to you: go see it, make up your own damn mind. Sound good? Great. Let’s fly on over to Krypton for the opening scene.

Russel Crowe is a good actor.

THE BEGINNING: The opening of Man of Steel is good, if a bit brief. Krypton is dying, General Zod has launched a coup against the planet’s government, and Jor-El, father of Kal-El, is making a desperate attempt to keep his naturally born son alive. What you have to understand is, on Krypton, natural births aren’t normal. Children are bred for very specific purposes, and so they do not have the mental faculty of choice. Therefore, they are wholly determined to do whatever is necessary in order to further their “programmed” purpose. Kal-El, due to the nature of his origin, can make his own choices. This is what makes him unique. He could be a hero or a villain, a savior or a conquer, a liberator or a tyrant, or a nobody who never becomes an important part of history at all. He has a choice, and, even though we know what he’ll decide to do in the end, it’s still interesting to see how he goes about making that “life choice.”

But more about the opening. Krypton is a beautiful place, and I was surprised by how much time we spent there. Even though it’s dying, it still has this life to it that comes across great visually. The creatures and weaponry, as well as the communication devices, are all really unique in terms of design, a credit to the effects team and Snyder.

As for the actors, I thought Russel Crowe and Ayelet Zurer did a great job as Jor-El and Lara. I don’t this whole thing on Crowe being “bland and monotone.” I mean, he seemed pretty natural to me the entire time. He was just being a normal guy from Krypton, getting angry and smiling when it made sense for such things to occur. I think some critics just want everyone to have too much emotion nowadays, when, in truth, some people just don’t work that way. Some people are actually, you know, normal.

As you would imagine, being a Superman reboot, Kal-El is fired away to Earth, Jor-El dies (killed by Zod here) and the coup is put down. The coup’s participants are imprisoned while the planet burns. Now, I know a lot of people think this doesn’t make sense, but honestly, I have to disagree for a number of reasons. To me, watching your entire planet swallow itself whole is a fate worse than death. To be forced to live in darkness forever while the place you were bred to protect rots away is a terrible thing. So, for me anyway, that wasn’t a problem.

Now, Earth.

The boy who lived.

THE LIFE OF CLARK KENT: Okay, so we cut right to a mature, bearded “Clark Kent,” working on a fishing boat. He sees a burning oil rig in the distance and swims there, busts in and saves a bunch of people. And here’s where my first problem comes in: they all see him doing supernatural things. The reason this is a problem for me is the fact that, later in the movie (earlier in Clark’s life), we see him hold back on using his powers because his father wanted to keep them a secret, because he thought the world wasn’t ready. He was obeying his father’s wishes, being a good son. Now, that’s all fine and dandy, but then why THE HELL is he using them RIGHT OUT IN THE OPEN to save a bunch of STRANGERS? IT MAKES NO SENSE, and it completely negates to reasoning behind his previous sacrifice. Why didn’t he just say, “Screw it,” and do the same thing for his father when he had the chance? And why is he having a debate later on in the movie about showing the world his powers? He seemed pretty okay with it not long ago!

So yeah, the rig scene kind of pisses me off. My guess is either Jon Peters stepped in and said, “We need more explosions and superpowers in the beginning,” or story writer Christopher Nolan went all Dark Knight Rises on us and forgot that doing things just because they feel “more dramatic” isn’t always the smartest thing to do. That’s one thing that concerns me about Nolan. I’ve praised him in the past, but I’m starting to get a George Lucas vibe from him, like his ego may be getting to him. We’ll look at his future films and see what happens.

Now, even though I just freaked out about how crappy this section is, the next bit is pretty good. We essentially get a back and forth between present Clark and young Clark, watching him grow older, and watching what his growth has led him to. One of my favorite scenes in the movie has got to be when Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) is showing his son what he really is. When he shows the boy the ship, and they have their back and forth about how big everything is and how small everything is and all that boring philosophy and whatnot, it’s really touching. And I know this line’s in the trailer, but I still love it every time I hear Kent say, “You are my son.” Chills, every time.

Next, we get a bit of a weird coincidence. The homeless hitchhiker, Clark Kent, SOMEHOW manages to get a job with the exact team that is looking for frozen Cold War subs in the exact same place the Fortress of Solitude is (I know it’s a little different in this, but I’m still calling it that), that ALSO happens to have Lois Lane working them. Okay, I’m well aware that in real life strange coincidences like this happen, but that’s a LOT of things that we’re just expected to be all like, “Eh, okay,” about. Thank God Richard Schiff is here to save the day. He’s playing a scientist because, you know, he’s fucking Richard Schiff.

Clark discovers the Fortress, and has to save Lois from some robots. He does so, and the Fortress flies away so Ghost Jor-El can get through some exposition. It’s actually pretty cool, learning Krypton’s history and all, and also learning how our villains will come into play. After that Clark basically becomes Superman. Which leads us to our next section…

KNEEEEEEEL!

METROPOLIS: So, Superman come home, and it’s all good, but then Zod’s all like, “Let me tap into every T.V. screen in the world and show you how awesome I am.” And, honestly, this scene gave me chills. The way they left this eerie static hanging for a while before the message actually began was chilling. And the way it began with that simple phrase repeated over and over, “You are not alone,” was haunting. So yeah, Zod’s entrance was pretty cool.

Now, here’s where another problem comes in. In order to gain advance about what to do here Clark decides, instead of talking to Ghost Jor-El, who knows everything about what Zod is capable of and how to beat him, he’s going to go see some random priest we neither know nor care about for advice. This leads to a gigantic battle wherein nearly all of Metropolis, the main city in the Superman series, is destroy and tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of people, are killed. The entire last half of the movie could have been prevented had Clark gone to Ghost Jor-El. Instead we get more of this Jon Peters nonsense with a forced, awkward romantic scene between Lois and Superman as Zod arrives, and both of them turning themselves in.

So, Lois, through the use of this little metallic key (if you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about), talks to Ghost Jor-El. And, WOULDN’TCHA KNOW IT, he knows how to beat Zod. So, while Superman escapes (with Lois) and fights Zod, she and the military get a phantom bomb ready to lock all the bad guys away.

The action here LOOKS badass. The effects team did an excellent job making the destruction and death appear realistic on screen. However, it became too much for me after a while, and I started going, “Okay, I got it, buildings collapse when you fly through them. Can we move on?”

Anyway, Zod gets his turn Earth into Krypton machine set up and the phantom bomb is almost ready. Now, to those who think Zod’s an idiot for wanting to turn Earth into Krypton instead of trying to rule it with his newly acquired superpowers (he gets them from being on Earth), you obviously need to take a better look at Zod psychologically. Remember how everyone on Krypton was practically brainwashed into a certain behavioral pattern? Well, Zod was bred to protect and defend Krypton at all costs. After watching it burn, he failed to do so. However, in turning Earth into Krypton, he would be fulfilling that purpose, the very one which was basically drilled into his brain at birth. It’s an insane thought process to us due to our ability to choose. Zod has not choice, and that’s what makes him, to me, such a compelling character. I actually sympathized more for him than I did Superman in this movie. All he wanted to do was save his home, and he  couldn’t do ANYTHING else with his life.

So yeah, I like Zod. And I like his machine. And I like how it’s set up at opposite ends of the world, splitting our leads apart. Yeah, Lois going on the mission with them makes no sense, but that’s Jon Peters again (if not Nolan). “We need tension with Lois! GIVE HER A MILITARY UNIFORM AND LET HER RIDE THE AEROPLANE!” Superman beats the bolts out of this tentacle monster thing (weird) and destroy the first half of the doomsday device, leaving the last bit in Metropolis.

In the city, Richard Schiff saves the day with the phantom bomb and Lois is falling. Kal-El catches her and leaves her on the ground so he can have a final showdown with Zod.

I would like to interject, before I go on, that this chick

Her...

is pretty cool. Okay, moving on.

The showdown with Zod is cool, but the point where he explains his motives, to me, is unnecessary. That’s all stuff I got just from the fact that he was doing what he was doing. It damaged the subtlety of the conflict a little. What made up for it? When Superman killed him.

Yeah, he kills Zod.

I know this is a topic of hot debate, but I’m personally on the side of, “He was forced to do it, but those people could have easily gotten out of the way.” He would’ve eventually had to kill him though, because Zod wasn’t locked away in the phantom bomb’s blast. He wouldn’t have stopped. Something had to be done.

So yeah, I’m for the death of Zod. Bring on the hate mail.

Right, or easy, your choice.

OVERALL: I realize that I’ve been switching between past and present tense throughout this. It’s late. I’m tired. Forgive such minor flaws in the face of my final verdict: Man of Steal was “terrigood.” I liked it. I’d see it again with friends (not alone). There were many problems, big problems even, but that doesn’t stop me from realizing what good there is throughout the film. When that final moment comes in and Jonathan Kent sees his boy donning that red cape, I get chills. So much care was put into that little moment, that little bit. It gives me hope that the next one won’t be so bad.

It’s not perfect, but it’s art, for sure. It may not be a classic, but it’s still a Superman movie worth watching. Go see it. Make your own damn mind up.

By the way, how in the hell is Batman going to even lay a finger on this guy? What, is he going to team up with Lex Luther and use Krypto…

…no way. That’s not a bad…

Him and Him?

~D.

One Response to ““Man of Steel” Was Terrigood”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. #disappearingbears | D. Alexander - January 28, 2014

    […] of Hercules was shit, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was shit, American Hustle was overrated, Man of Steel was terrigood, Star Trek Into Darkness had an AWFUL ending, and I only saw two of those films. Can you guess […]

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