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Suspension of Disbelief: Man of Steel

Welcome to suspension of disbelief, a weekly segment where we review movies, books, games and anything that takes our fancy. This week, Eddy kneels before Zod, and then gets back up again, realising that he’s in the wrong movie.

Yes, Man of Steel is critically acclaimed, and though the trailer did make it look as cheesy as a Dark Knight’d Superman movie could possibly be, I had some high hopes going in.

I can say this for certain: this movie was better than Superman Returns.

As rating systems go however, that barely takes it above the likes of Duke Nukem Forever, Spider-man 3 and Mockingbird. Superman Returns was an awful movie, Man of Steel raises the bar up to just disappointing and poorly thought out, which rates it somewhere between the movie interpretations of Harry Potter 5 and 6 on the facepalm scale.

Superman Returns is the widespread reboot to DC’s Superman movie franchise, based on the comic superhero that first appeared in Action Comics #1 more than 60 years ago. The character has been through a lot since then, new powers, a couple of deaths, character development and the New 52, however, the 21st Century Superman has been badly represented by this movie I fear. Man of Steel is an origins story, first and foremost, and deals with the fallout of Krypton and the subsequent emergence of both Superman and General Zod as forces to be reckoned with on Earth. The Krypton scenes are awesome, the earth scenes seemed forced at every turn.

Some of the acting is great. Every scene with Russel Crowe was worth five stars, but there were some really cringeworthy moments. It sort of felt like someone wrote half an hour of an amazing screenplay, then some intern was forced to write a terrible two hours of material to beef it up during their lunch break. The only fully-developed character in this movie is Lois Lane, who comes across as intelligent, curious and largely out of danger (except for the obligatory damsel in distress moment in which tropes vs women watchers could compete their bingo cards), which is ironic seeing as pretty much every other female character was a one-dimensional stereotype. There are a couple of lines of dialogue from Clarke Kent’s mother which are really difficult to listen to, and her reaction to her house, her village, and the entire city next to her being destroyed is ridiculous. The one woman in the human army apparently can’t control her libido to the point of ending the second to last scene by telling her commanding officer that Superman looks ‘kinda hot’, and, despite her position has no idea what terraforming is and delivers nail-bitingly bad lines clearly forced into the script just to feed information to the viewer. ‘Terraforming? What’s that?’ Pulls you out of the story, as does: ‘So what does that mean for us?’ And of course the man next to her explains it like he’s talking to a child.

The problems in the movie aren’t limited to forced dialogue however, there’s also the fact that literally every blow Superman deals kills millions of people, breaking his code, and that he doesn’t seem to notice or care. Multiple skyscrapers and flattened to the ground every minute of this movie, slaughtering everyone inside, and yet when a family of rich, white, blonde-haired people are about to get laser’d, Superman suddenly decides he cares about human life and gets upset to the point of crying, at which point Lois Lane gives him a poorly choreographed hug which pulls his head right into her crotch.

But as this movie is, in the end, about Superman, I am required to say that Henry Cavill was actually pretty good, and though his limited onscreen chemistry with Amy Adams wasn’t a strong point for the movie, he gave a terrific performance making up for the trainwreck going on around him.

I apologise, I’m just a blogger, but this was not a good movie.

I give it one kneeling Zod out of five.

(image credits: Forbes, collider)

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Cat Strickson

Cat Strickson

Cat, or Elly, or Eddy, or whatever name they're going by these days, is a British palaeontologist and fantasy author. It's a pretty awesome skill set, but it doesn't pay much right now. They enjoy science, history, vidyagames and all things SFF.

1 Comment

  1. July 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm —

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with your review. Such high hopes, dashed. Bleh.
    Also, this is terribly pedantic of me, I know, but Superman debuted in 1938, which, though technically more than 60 years ago, is 75 years to date.

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