Man of Steel (Warner Bros., 2013)
DC has finally entered the arena. Marvel has been dominating comic book movies for the past decade, with DC chasing their tail like a dog. Sure, the Dark Knight trilogy was good, but it was an island compared to Marvel's movie universe. Superman Returns and Green Lantern were both mediocre at best and widely derided. Whenever anyone would ask me what I thought of them I'd give a smirk, basically saying Yes, that's nice, but make mine Marvel movies. Man of Steel is DC movies with their gloves laced up and entering the ring.
I am not a Superman or DC Universe expert by any stretch of the imagination. I am current on Superman up to 1945 and have read a handful of other things, like the mid-80s relaunch collected across the first six Man of Steel trade paperbacks. This was a complete frame up restoration of the franchise and I loved it. While Christopher Reeve was and still is Superman to me, the fact of the matter is that even if he were still alive that he would be too old to play the role again, so we'd be right back here anyways. I felt that the war on Krypton angle was a sensible way to introduce General Zod and company as the adversaries for this film. Russell Crowe was great as Jor-El. I doubt that he needed much practice for his fight scenes in the beginning of the movie.
There is an overall sense of urgency to this movie, a make or break desperation that bred greatness. That underdog vibe helped propel everything forward, from the script to the acting to the CGI. Thank god they didn't do those annoying digital effects where things ssssslllloooooowwwwww ddoooooooowwwwwnnnn in the middle of an action sequence and then really speed up. Those are so gimmicky and lame, and any movie that uses them loses a full point.
I found the seemingly endless action sequences to be breathtaking. People that complain about fight scenes in superhero movies are douchebags. They probably don't like orgasms that last too long or songs that Rock too hard, either. Commentary on the human condition this is not.
My biggest gripe about this movie is the ending. MAJOR SPOILERS...TURN BACK NOW...YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED...Superman breaking General Zod's neck at the end broke my heart. Why can't we have a superhero movie without it being “dark”? Why do people believe that “dark” is better than heroic? It's certainly an easier sell, but do you really think that it is better? I'm sure that many adolescents cheered for this “darker” Superman, but I was severely disappointed. I'm from an era where superheroes didn't kill. Call me a dinosaur. Maybe I am. Shit, maybe it would have been cool if Superman did drugs and had onscreen sex, too. I had an 8” Mego Superman doll and a TV dinner tray as a kid. Watched Superfriends cartoons on Saturday mornings. It would be nice if I could share this new version of Superman with my son since I liked him when I was his age, but no way, Jose. Sad.
Other gripes: rampant product placement. A big fuck you to Sears, IHOP, 7-11, and Budweiser. My ticket wasn't any cheaper even though you helped “defer costs”. Superman drinking a beer? Horrible.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.5 out of 5.
I am ever so cautiously dipping my toe back into the waters of moviegoing after my Iron Man 3 incident. People are rude and inconsiderate, which is their right as Americans. It is also my right to choose not to deal with assholes. So I waited two weeks after the release date to see this film, and it still may have been too soon. I strategically selected a theatre nearly 20 miles outside of Detroit so as to avoid the thug life crowd, and went to a showing at a non-peak time in order to avoid the humans.
My mission was immediately compromised when I went inside the auditorium and saw rows of humans, possibly of the variety who believe that it's not a big deal to text during a movie. I looked to the front three rows which do not have stadium seating. Nobody ever sits there, so I sat in the second row. It wasn't long before two morbidly obese scooter riders came and sat in the handicapped row behind me, with their middle-aged obese daughter in tow. It wouldn't have bothered me if they didn't smell like mildew and cat pee. I stuck my face in my popcorn bag like someone inhaling from an oxygen mask aboard an airplane during a crisis.
I forewent the 3D or IMAX experience, as both are just scams. The higher ticket prices might deter some humans from entering but I have found that assholes text during movies no matter what the cost of admission. Having said that, I still find that the farther the theatre is from the city core, the better your chances are of having an enjoyable experience. Besides, when you sit way up front like I do now the smallest screen appears to several stories tall, just like an IMAX! The humans could be texting away behind me and I no longer care. It will be the front row for me from here on out. A pox upon you, humans!