I’ve just seen Man of Steel at the cinema and wanted to share a few thoughts.
This isn’t intended as a review exactly, more a record of my reaction. There are spoilers.
And before we begin, I'd like to say that I am one of the few people that liked Superman Returns (don't hate me).
There were lots of things I liked and didn't like about the film although overall I enjoyed it while I was watching.
Some good things…
First off, let’s get this out of the way right now: Henry Cavill looks amazing! I say this partly to appreciate his magnificent sculptured body and partly so you keep it in mind for when I talk about the ending.
The alien angle. This film felt like a very different beast and an actual fresh take on Superman.
The fact that Lois knows who he is. It always bugged me that an ace reporter wouldn’t notice the similarities between her hero and the guy she works with every day.
The artificial intelligence action sequence.
The way they used flashbacks rather than a linear story to tell his past. I’m getting quite bored of origin stories and this helped a little bit.
The thing he did to the truck. That was brilliant.
Showing men in positions of power who aren’t white. One day we might see people who are important in a global crisis who aren’t American but one thing at a time I suppose.
The idea of individual’s being programmed for roles on Krypton (helped to explain why Zod was such a psycho)
The line about the ‘S’. It made me smile.
Making Superman make tough choices often dodged in the comics.
Some not so good things…
The whole DNA database plotline. What? Eh? If Jor-El is so against it, why not destroy it? If he wants to keep it, why not put it on a memory stick? Maybe I missed the point but something about that didn’t click for me. If you could explain what Superman was supposed to do with it, I'd be grateful.
CGI fights that go on a bit too long. I saw Superman 2 recently. Reeve aside, it is in many ways an awful film. But the fight sequence is still enjoyable for me because the characters are seen reacting and telegraphing the action. A lot of modern films have such fast sequences that it’s harder to see the narrative in them. I don’t think the final fight with Zod was even necessary, although the way it ended was interesting.
This deserves a special slot of its own. It’s a bit father centric for a start. And why do women on Krypton need to wear lipstick when fighting? And why aren’t there more female soldiers? And why is it that when we do see females in the military their role is to either (a) ask stupid questions, or (b) comment on how sexy Superman is?
And worst of all, the female intern needs Lawrence Fishburne (who is playing a chunkyish Perry White) to help her run away? And why is she the one trapped later? Is it so that she needs the two men to save her?
Come on Hollywood, you can do better than this.
The ending (SPOILER!)
At the end, he cuddles Lois when his super senses must have been humming with the sounds of hundreds of people trapped, in pain and dying. There's no Superman helping the survivors sequence. In fact there's no suggestion he's even noticed.
After everything that’s happened he decides to get a job. Given how distinctive Cavill looks (see above) and given that the whole world is interested in him and given that they know he has a ‘thing’ going on with Lois Lane. The idea that he can put on a pair of glasses and go and work for the Daily Planet is so stupid I want to use the caps lock.
IN THE SCENE BEFORE THEY SHOW HIM DESTROYING A SURVEILLANCE PLANE BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT IS SEARCHING FOR HIM!
HE KNOWS THIS BUT HE THINKS HE CAN HANG OUT WITH LOIS IN A WORKPLACE FILLED WITH JOURNALISTS AND NOBODY WILL NOTICE.
IT’S BEYOND STUPID!
I actually quite liked it that they hadn’t gone for the secret identity thing and then at the end, bang! In with the stupid.
Okay, thanks for letting me get that out.
Superman isn't as heroic as he is in previous films. Many people die. This does fit with the movie but made me a little sad.
The music is dramatic and there’s nothing wrong with it but there’s no John Williams to be heard. That makes me sad too.
Oh, and he doesn’t give you that little smile to camera at the end. That will make my mum (and Em) sad.