Elliott Serrano, for Redeye
10:29 PM CDT, June 13, 2013
I’m sorry, but as hard as I tried to like it, I was simply annoyed by Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel.” At first I was conflicted. There were a few things about the film that I genuinely enjoyed - like the opening sequence on Krypton - and I started to think that I was just being a curmudgeon. As I left the movie theater, I talked it over with my buddy Jose who writes for Our Tiempo Chicago (read his review HERE) and enjoyed the non-stop action. He especially loved the carnage and how Metropolis was decimated even worse than New York City was in The Avengers. But as far as I was concerned, there were too many things that just got under my skin.
Now, if you want a spoiler-free, and mostly positive review of "Man of Steel", check out what Matt Pais had to say about it. Be warned, my rant is full of spoilers, so proceed at your own risk.
Here are my Top Five Things That Annoyed Me About “Man of Steel”:
5) Kryptonian + Yellow Sun = Instant superpowers! I don’t get it. If Kal-El lived on Earth for over 30 years, absorbing the energy of our yellow sun, wouldn’t it stand to reason that he’d be more powerful than a buncha Kryptonians who spend a few hours - or a few days at most - under the same sun? How is it that they were equal to him in strength and invulnerability? That just made no sense to me. And I have yet to get a decent explanation as to how they can fly. Just because the gravity on Earth is lighter than on Krypton, that doesn’t mean you can fly. Neil Armstrong didn’t fly on the moon did he? No.
4) Stoopid military versus invulnerable aliens. It always happens. Whenever the military gets involved with an alien invasion the first thing they do is start shooting at the aliens. Even after it becomes painfully obvious that bullets, rockets, bombs, mortars and all other mortal weaponry have no effect. Um, how about researching the aliens? You’ve got a scientist (played by Richard Schiff no less) on your staff, so why not use him? Try to figure out a weakness before you start wasting your ammo. Better yet, HOW ABOUT TALKING TO THE ALIENS AND TRYING TO NEGOTIATE? We always tell little kids to use their words to solve conflict. I guess that ends when you join the military in the movies.
3) Clark and Lois had as much chemistry as Anakin and Padme. Not since Star Wars Episode Two: Attack of the Clones has there been a less-convincing couple than the one Henry Cavill and Amy Adams portrayed in this film. Can someone tell me what Clark saw in Lois? Why did he fall in love with her? If you say it’s because she’s a strong personality that mirrors his own I’ll remind you that he does nothing but rescue her throughout the film. And the one chance she gets to rescue him, she ends up in a life-pod crashing towards Earth and needing yet another rescue! And why does Lois love Clark? Because he’s a nice guy? Because he saved her life umpteen times? Because he looks great without a shirt on? Yeah, I think that was it.
2) I knew Lois Lane, Lois Lane was a friend of mine and Amy Adams is no Lois Lane. This part hurts the most because I love Amy Adams, but I’m just gonna come out and say that Kate Bosworth was more convincing in the role. I'm not saying she was great, but at least Bosworth was trying to channel Margot Kidder. What did Amy Adams bring to the character? She lacked any sense of gravitas and she certainly didn't come across as a journalist. She comes across as a whiny gal who leaks stories that fail to follow the basic tenets of journalism. Seriously, when would a “Pulitzer Prize winning reporter” give their UFO story to a conspiracy theorist's website? And for someone who supposedly spends time in war zones she sure shows a terrible sense of judgment when it comes to danger. To be fair, the script is to blame when it comes to these character flaws, but Adams just wasn't convincing as the one woman in the world who could keep Superman on his toes.
And here is when we get to the thing that annoyed me MOST about “Man of Steel”…
1) EFF YOU ZACK SNYDER - AND BITE ME DAVID GOYER - SUPERMAN DOES NOT KILL! This was the one moment of the film that just left me crestfallen and ruined the whole thing for me. More than the endless fights that seemed to serve no purpose other than to fill screen time. More than the pointless death that Jonathan Kent experienced simply to drive the “Clark is helpless to save those he loves” theme. More than the almost complete lack of humor in the film. (The first chuckle worthy line wasn’t uttered until the last ten minutes of the movie.) When Superman has to kill Zod to save some innocent bystanders from getting cooked by the mad general’s heat vision (and COME ON PEOPLE RUN ALREADY) that was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.
It just didn't make sense! Why did Superman have to break Zod’s neck? Why didn’t he just cover Zod’s eyes with his own hands? He's invulnerable, right? He could have easily done that. But no, Snyder - and screenwriter David Goyer - wanted to put Superman in a “no win situation” where he would be forced to kill.
Well I call b.s. on that. For Superman to kill someone, ANYONE, goes against the very core of the character. Superman is about saving lives, not taking them. If you want the perfect example of this, I recommend reading the novel “Miracle Monday” by Elliot S! Maggin. It explores Superman’s moral code and the reason why he will not take a life, even his greatest enemy's.
So that’s what really annoyed me about “Man of Steel.“ And I’m not even going to get into how Superman continued fighting the Phantom Zone criminals throughout Metropolis, turning the city into something akin to Fallujah, without any thought to the number of innocents that could have been killed as collateral. Jeebus, the Christopher Reeve Superman would never have done that.
And so, another comic book movie that had me anticipating a wonderful escape into one of my favorite fantasy worlds left me wanting. And that’s annoying.
Can someone tell me why it’s so hard to make a decent live-action Superman movie these days?
Elliott Serrano is a Redeye Special Contributor and Chicago’s Top Geek. His favorite Superman writer is Elliot S! Maggin. And no, it’s not because they share the same name.
Follow me on Twitter (@ElliottSerrano)
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