Best movie of the summer? Definitely! Five stars–minus the parts that bugged me. See below for details.
WARNING: there may be spoilers ahead.
If you haven’t seen the new Superman movie, it’s well worth it. But that’s not to say that it is without flaws. And who better to comment on a Superman movie than a longtime fan? (Except that I am a bit picky.)
Henry Cavill wears the suit well. Not everyone can make us believe that they are invincible while maintaining an endearing quality that keeps us rooting for them until the bitter end. It’s a balance of humility and power. Nicely done.
Every now and then I wished the director had let Mr. Cavill spend a little more time developing the character’s emotions. Too many times I just barely began to “feel” a scene, only to have it clipped short in favor of action/graphics. (And I know Cavill can portray emotions because he was great even as a kid in “The Count of Monte Cristo.”) This was especially true at the end of the movie when Superman screams after Zod is killed. He’s at one of the lowest points in his life. The last Kryptonian is dead–and at his hand. If only the raw emotions had come through. Instead it felt all too super. That was the part where we wanted to see his humanity. His cape, hair, and suit remained beautifully untarnished. There was not even a scrap of shrapnel on his shoulder. After all of that, let his suit be torn! Let him be covered in muck. Let the famous curl in his hair frizz! We already know that he’s powerful, but his clothes shouldn’t have to be. And his hair, no matter how strong, blows in the wind. It should have been a mess. After a battle to the death he should have looked more like a bloodied gladiator than an actor ready for his close up. We want to see him vulnerable. We really do!
I liked Amy Adams as Lois. Some people may have mentioned that she seems a little too fragile for the role. Eh? .… Possibly, but I still enjoyed her work.
And thank you WB (or whoever) for putting in the backstory, which was awesome. We learn a lot about who Superman is, where he came from, and why his planet was destroyed. We also learn why Zod has an eternal hatred of him and is determined to fight to the death when the two meet on Earth. But.… While the opening scene of Kal El’s birth is tender, those feelings are barely touched upon before an onslaught of special effects takes over. I wanted to be drenched in Krypton’s pain. Instead I felt like I was watching a reel of explosions.
Fast forward a few decades and Kal El becomes Clark Kent. He goes from job to job trying to maintain his anonymity while being a guardian angel to those around him. This section reminded me of the original “Hulk” series that ran in the seventies. In other words, they got it right. At last! Emotions were full blown. MY FAVORITE PART was when Clark went to the aid of the men stranded on the offshore oil rig. When he stood in the fire licking his skin I wanted to applaud. Oh yeah! It was awesome! And drifting in the ocean afterwards was a tremendous idea. I felt his pain as he tried to shut out the world. (Good job movie guys!) Another excellent spot was when Clark entered the Kryptonian atmosphere. I was feeling it there.
I’m sad to say that my least favorite part was the portrayal of Jonathan Kent’s death. Kevin Costner’s acting was good, but it was a stupid scene. No, I did not miss the part about Jonathan putting Clark’s “secret” above his life. Once again, I think they wrote & filmed it that way for the sake of special effects. Somebody wanted to make a tornado happen. It was a cheesy idea. Cheeeeeeeeeesy! Jonathan is supposed to die of a heart attack. That’s the whole point. Clark is supposed to learn that he’s just as helpless as the rest of us, at least when it comes to his family. The scene stunk. Please cut. Rewrite. Film it again and let’s forget that it ever happened.
My last criticism is the lack of sparks between Clark and Lois. Hello? They needed a little chemistry. Maybe the studio is saving that part for the next movie. I hope so, because if Amy Adams and Henry Cavill can’t get it together, then who can?
As a side note, how many buildings can you knock down before you get grit on your shoes? Cut at least a quarter of the city smash scenes, put in more emotional exchanges between the actors, shred the cape when Superman is knocking down buildings, and voila, most of the problems would have been solved.
Lastly, if I’ve deterred anyone from seeing the movie … let me just say that I plan to buy it and watch it over and over again. Great stuff! I loved “Man of Steel” and can’t wait for the sequel.