Man of Steel

Summary:

Man of Steel is visually impressive and overall delivers on some highly entertaining action sequences. The rest of the film is unfortunately caught up in terrible pacing and excessive use of flashbacks. There’s a constant sense that the movie is always on the verge of something more but it never quite finds a way to deliver on its grandiose promises. It’s a shame that the impact of the film never quite matches up with its narrative beats especially given how wonderful this movie looks and sounds. At the very least Man of Steel is an entertaining ride but it has a hard time proving that it’s more than just hollow popcorn fluff.


After a long exciting wait Superman has finally made his return on the big screen. Releasing this past Friday, Man of Steel aims to reboot the series and retell the origins of Superman. I’ve never been overly excited about Superman as a character but after the first rounds of trailers I was sold and anxiously waiting for this movie. Does Man of Steel live up to the hype and establish a solid foundation for DC’s universe or does it fall victim to being popcorn fluff?

Man of Steel

Man of Steel brings us through the origins of Clark Kent as well as the struggles on Krypton. When General Zod stages a coup in order to save the dying planet in a militaristic fashion, a worried couple decide it’s best to send their son to Earth. The young boy is forever haunted by the question of who he is and where he came from and sets out to find the answers in order to become the hero he was born to be.

My expectations for this movie were high and ultimately I walked out of this movie pretty disappointed. It’s a shame that the movie never seems to reach it’s potential when Zack Snyder’s style creates a movie that looks and sounds as beautiful as it does. The elements for the movie to be great were there but the movie’s pacing never quite matches up with the narrative beats. It comes away as mellow dramatic and often times I found myself laughing at scenes that were unintentionally funny. That’s not to say the movie is without powerful scenes but it’s hard to take seriously, especially when dialogue can be incredibly cheesy. Even with its run time sitting at two hours and twenty minutes the movie comes away with sections that feel glanced over. The opening is great, and the end is satisfying on a visual scale, but in between it’s kind of an aimless drift from scene to scene.

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The movie is told in a non-linear fashion and these excessive flashbacks ultimately hurt the movie for me. It became a chore to sit through the beginning of Clark’s journey when we couldn’t go more than 10 minutes without jumping to another flashback of Kent’s childhood. They disrupted the pacing and after a while were just regurgitation of the same information. It got to the point where it feels as though we’re watching someone’s slideshow highlights of his or her vacation instead of watching our hero’s journey unfold. In the movie’s defense these scenes more than likely would have been more impactful for me had I not seen the trailers to the film but it’s just another one of those tricky situations where it’s hard to fault a film for it’s marketing strategies.

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I’m pretty happy with the movie casting wise. Henry Cavil has me sold on his Superman, and Michael Shannon brings a satisfyingly evil persona to General Zod. Though I mostly enjoy Amy Adam’s performances, her take on Lois Lane wasn’t memorable, mostly due to the bland writing for her character. They actors do their best to overcome some of the less than stellar aspects of Man of Steel but unfortunately it’s not enough to get it off the ground. Man of Steel gets so caught up in itself that its dialogue becomes spoon fed exposition and symbolism too blatant to suspend disbelief. Another big blow to the movie is that at the end of the day it’s another origin story, one we’re all familiar with, and in this particular case, Man of Steel doesn’t tread any unfamiliar ground. There’s no unexpected twists or turns to keep the audience engaged, or at the least enough dedicated screen time for Clark’s agonizing inner conflict to give the film meat. These flaws aside I’m happy with the foundation of characters that they’ve set and in particularly happy with Cavil’s depiction of the human side of Superman as well as Clark Kent. I would be more than willing to give this series another chance if it came back with a tighter script and a more focused direction.

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Drawbacks aside, the film looks incredible and features some highly entertaining action sequences. Though the collateral damages is bit excessive with Superman’s battles, it’s still fun to watch this super being wail on his enemies and vice versa. The early scenes on Krypton are also extremely fun to watch and have a grand scope for this alien planet in turmoil. I couldn’t escape the sense that the movie was always on the verge of something more but never quite finding away to deliver on its grandiose promises. At the very least Man of Steel is an entertaining ride but it has a hard time convincing me it’s more than just hollow popcorn fluff.

Man of Steel is visually impressive and overall delivers on some highly entertaining action sequences. The rest of the film is unfortunately caught up in terrible pacing and excessive use of flashbacks. There’s a constant sense that the movie is always on the verge of something more but it never quite finds a way to deliver on its grandiose promises. It’s a shame that the impact of the film never quite matches up with its narrative beats especially given how wonderful this movie looks and sounds. At the very least Man of Steel is an entertaining ride but it has a hard time proving that it’s more than just hollow popcorn fluff.

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One response to “Man of Steel

  1. Pingback: Movie Monday Update Week of June 17th | Thinking Cinematic

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