Sunday, June 16, 2013

Thoughts on Man Of Steel

Thoughts on Man Of Steel.

Welcome to Krypton, where there are... dinosaurs? And the TV images look like they're made out of molten lead. And there are babies floating under water in bubbles.

Meanwhile, a woman is having a baby and he's got a funny-shaped head and this is Kal-El.

Russell Crowe is this baby's father. He should be happy, but he is not because there is a new villain in town who kind of looks like Joaquin Phoenix and is one horn helmet shy of being utterly lame. This villain's name is General Zod.

Zod is dealt with (Phantom Zone! Buhbye!) but Krypton is doomed because its core is going to explode in a couple weeks, so Russell Crowe and his wife send their baby to Earth and he grows up to be a hot sailor named Clark Kent. 

One day, Clark jumps aboard a burning vessel, shirtless (but not... pantsless) to save some other dudes, and he's all on fire but the fire can't burn his chest hair or beard because it is just that badass

Seriously, why lose the shirt but not the pants? Are the pants flame-retardant? Oh well, so he saves the in-peril sailors and then he comes ashore and steals some guy's laundry so he won't be walking around all shirtless and buff (because that would be... bad?) Then he goes to work at a bar where customers are mean, but instead of punching the crap out of one of the meanies (as he did in Superman II) he simply ties the guy's truck around a pole. Funny. Mean.

Flashbacks galore! When Clark is a young boy he suffers from sensory overload issues that land him in a closet, ala that kid from The Sixth Sense. The other kids think he's a freak. Little Clark can't see dead people, but he CAN see your still-beating heart, Teacherlady, and that's pretty gross, so he'll go hide from you now. Martha Kent arrives to calm her son down. "Focus on my voice," she says. He does. All is well.

Later, Teen Clark saves a bus full of kids after the vehicle plunges into a lake. (Where were you in The Sweet Hereafter, Clark, I ASK YOU?) The other kids see that he has amazing gifts. They tell Clark's parents. Dad, Jonathan Kent, played by Kevin Costner, lectures Clark and tells him that it may be better to just let people die rather than reveal his secret because the world just isn't ready for big fat alien secrets. This turns out to be IRONY FORESHADOWING.

So then Clark is an adult again (beard!) and he's found out about some unusual thing up in Polar Bear Land, so he heads up to the area where the government yokels are investigating. Lois Lane is there, too, and when she spots Clark sneaking up into the top-secret... stuff... in the dead of night, she follows him. Turns out Clark has found a Kryptonian... ship thing... anyway, long story short, Lois almost gets dead but Clark saves her and then takes the Kryptonian ship and flies off with it. Oh, and Russell Crowe talks to him from beyond the grave and is all Kal... I am your father... here's a headless suit for you to weaaarrrr.... That's nice that Martha doesn't have to sew it.

Afterwards, Lois is intrigued because this dude with glowing red eyes has saved her life, so she decides to write an article about her "guardian angel," only Perry White, aka Laurence Fishburne, aka Cowboy Curtis from PeeWee's Playhouse, won't run the story because Aliens. Lois does some further investigating -- talking to a bunch of people who've witnessed miracles from a mysterious dude, and, without a whole lot of effort, finds her way to Clark.

Clark decides to flashback to how his father died. Apparently it happened when he was about 18. The Kent family's all driving along and Clark plays the "you're not my REAL father" card. Anyone who's familiar with Superhero movies knows that you might as well just kiss Dad goodbye at this point. So in comes the obligatory Killer Kansas Tornado and Jonathan tells Clark to take a small girl to safety, then he runs back to rescue their dog. 

But then he gets hurt. And Clark just stands there. Jonathan manages to stand up, but his leg is injured and here comes the tornado. Clark just stands there. Jonathan holds up one hand as if to say "I'm fine, don't save me, this is for the best." So Clark just stands there some more and watches as his father gets sucked up by a tornado because that's what his father wants. THIS IS DISTURBING. Why doesn't Clark have super breath in this movie? Just blow the tornado away. OMG why are you just standing there? Now you've killed him. Great. Happy Father's Day, everybody!

Back to the present. So because Clark accessed that Kryptonian ship earlier, General Zod is alerted to his presence and comes to Earth to find him. Zod hijacks all the TVs, Twilight Zone-style, and threatens everybody with certain doom if they do not turn in The Alien. Clark doesn't trust Zod, but he also doesn't want the Earth to be in peril, so he goes to Zod, and Zod demands Lois Lane as well. They go aboard this ship. 

Lois has to wear a special breathing helmet but Clark does not; however, Clark goes all ill because he's not used to this new environment. The baddies scan their brains and learn where Clark lives, among other things. Oh, and earlier Clark handed Lois a S-shield-shaped key thingie and she puts it in a slot which summons the ghost of Russell Crowe, who helps her escape. And then Clark escapes. And then he saves Lois who is falling toward Earth and things are all cute for five seconds, until Clark realizes oh no, Zod knows where Mommy lives, so he goes there and, yep, sure enough, the bad guys are there, so he attacks (you don't mess with mamas) and then fighting commences.

So for the next hour, we have Clark fighting the bad guys, one after the other, but mostly Zod and this other lady. Somehow they move the fighting to Metropolis. Oh, because I guess Zod is trying to reformat the Earth or something. Cars and things get sucked up and spit back out. Buildings crumble. People scream and run for cover. Well, most of them do. Some just stand there like "hey, that's kinda cool." WHAM! BIFF! POW! More explosions. Hey, wasn't this the plot of The Avengers? I'm tired of seeing these movies where cities are destroyed and thousands of people die. Like, how is this entertainment? Thinking of Dark Knight and the Iron Mans too. If these movies were all in the same universe (and I realize they are not) we wouldn't HAVE any more humans, they'd all be smushed and/or incinerated, but whatever.

Also, didn't Superman II have a helluva long scene where Superman fights Zod and they destroy a bunch of stuff? And wasn't it tedious and dumb then? Yes.

Okay, so while all this is happening, Lois is somehow managing to stay within eyesight of Clark. Oh, first she figures out a way to stop Zod using the ship Clark came to Earth in. That's good. So the government dudes work on that plan. Meanwhile we keep switching to the saga of "what's happening to the Daily Planet employees in all this?" 

Oh no, Jenny is trapped beneath some rubble! Wait, who the hell is Jenny? I think they changed Jimmy Olsen's gender. Why. Oh good, she's okay. Perry's okay, too. Whew, I guess. For a minute or two, things get calm and Lois and Clark kiss and it's cool and all but then he's like "NEED MOAR ACTION" so he leaves to go hulk smash Zod some more.

Superman finally gets the better of Zod by doing the one thing Superman is never ever supposed to do. (Sadface.) Now Zod is dead. And now everyone is safe... except half the city is in utter ruins. Huzzah?

Epilogue. Clark decides to become a reporter, so he gets a job at the Daily Planet (which is still, remarkably, intact), and, of course, Lois is already working there, and she totally knows who Clark is so this is a big change from the norm. Lois knows the secret! She is not dumb! Yayyy!


So, I don't know what to make of this. Sorry I'm leaving out a bunch of things, but here's the gist: If you like movies where STUFF BLOWS UP, you will be all over this. If you're in it hoping for a lot of relationship stuff, you're going to get some, but not enough. 

High Points:

*Kevin Costner is awesome. Fact.
*Henry Cavill is hot. He looks great in the suit.
*Young, wayward, bearded-Clark stuff is fun to watch, even if it's short-lived.
*Lois gets to be smart.

Meh Points:
*Music isn't memorable. No John Williams fanfare-type stuff.
*Special effects are top-notch but some of the ships look goofy.

Low Points:
*Seemingly endless action and destruction.
*Awkward dad-death scene.
*Not enough relationship stuff.

But... sequel potential!

You know, in 3-4 years. :(

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