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Man of Steel
Man of Steel (2013)
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"Welcome to the Planet."

This is the most recent movie I watched. I watch a lot of films. I know a lot of directors. Now, like everyone else, I have my own opinion about everything. I have favorite directors (C. Nolan, Q. Tarantino), writers (P. Schrader, J. Nolan), and of course, movies. I don't wanna seem smug. I'm not a shallow man. My opinion isn't the only opinion I want to hear. I also wanna hear other people's opinion. I've seen countless lists of favorite films, writers, etc. For all Favorite Directors lists I've read, I have watched at least one film by every director. Even the really old ones like Hitchcock and Welles. But of all those directors, there was one of them whose films I haven't seen yet. It was Zack Snyder. I was born before the mid-2000's, so I've heard of Mr. Snyder. Despite the fact he's made some actually really good and underrated movies (I'm just speaking the general opinion), his reputation has seemingly been ripped apart all because of one film. You guessed it, Sucker Punch. Yeah yeah, he had that one owl film (that's what everyone seems to be calling it now) that nobody really liked, but Sucker Punch, one could say, "defined" his career. Which is weird, because this is the guy who made Watchmen and the Dawn of the Dead remake. I haven't watched either of those, but I heard both of them were really good. I heard Watchmen would be on a Most Underrated Films list if there ever was one. He even made 300, which I heard was great fun. Three good films and one mediocre one isn't much of an AFI Achievement-worthy career, but it shouldn't have been taken down just because of one awful film. I didn't even hear Sucker Punch was that bad. I heard it was a little worse than That One Owl Film. Just a little. But nonetheless, I am not much of a strong-minded guy, and I am very easily swayed by the opinions of the critics who are much older and wiser than myself. That doesn't mean I'm a tool. I don't always meet eye-to-eye with them, but with the impression they've made for Zack Snyder as a mediocre filmmaker, I was not looking forward to Man of Steel as much as most people. It seemed like that film that most people are supposed to be looking forward to because someone who has a really good filmmaking career is attached to it. Like Avatar and The Departed. The former had James Cameron, and latter had Martin Scorsese. In Man of Steel's situation, the film had Christopher Nolan. The fact that Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer were involved at all with this film, and the fact that Snyder has actually made some (presumably) pretty good movies, were facts that made me want to remotely see this film. But even with Batman and Dr. Manhattan attached to this project, I still didn't feel like this film captured my attention like other films being shown in 2013 did. Kick-Ass 2 looks interesting. The Wolverine looks awesome. I would illegally download The World's End if I could. For this film, I felt as if I'd only go to see Man of Steel if I was offered free tickets on cereal box or something. I only started avoiding this film like the plague when the reviews came up. I saw lots of people expecting a 94% or 88% for this movie. When I saw its rating during the first couple of weeks, of all the parts inside of my brain, only three or four of those parts were surprised at this film's unsatisfactory rating of 72%. Don't get me wrong, because I don't consider films at the 70's range to be bad. I liked Wanted. It's just that really high ratings like 90% are warranted for this film, at least for other people. For me, this could've been at least 80%, but like I said, I wouldn't have been that surprised if this film didn't end up as the truly masterful adaption of Superman. But then it slowly descended into the 60's. Then I went to see it, just so I can see if it's good or not. I wasn't looking forward to it at all. Before that, I would've at least been a little excited for the film, but by then, I wasn't. I could've watched something else, but the only other film to see was After Earth. I didn't really think Nolan producing would make the film any better. Producers, in my opinion, aren't terribly important to me. Writers and actors are important, but the most important people are the directors. The directors are the first people I search for when a new movie is announced. The Summer Movie Streak has not failed me yet. I had low expectations. There was no way this movie could've been good. Right?

Wrong. Now I haven't watched any of the other Superman films. There was the original, universally acclaimed one, the similarly well-received sequel, a well-received yet extremely backlashed reboot, and two other films that no one liked. The only other Superman I can compare Zack Snyder's rendition is the Justice League animated series one. So I'm not gonna compare. I'm gonna review this film with a fresh and new perspective. This movie was really good. The performances were fantastic, and very natural. Roger Ebert said in his review of Superman Returns that Brandon Routh didn't really capture the essence of Superman and he was probably cast in the film only because he looks like Christopher Reeve. I didn't feel that with Henry Cavill. He was realistic in that role. One does not simply play the role of Superman unless the actor who's being considered has that heroic, curious, good-natured, and caring persona. Mr. Cavill seems to be a very versatile actor because he seems to be capable to have that happy Superman persona and push it to his highest capacity, but he can also turn serious and brooding on a dime. I also commend Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, and Russell Crowe. Jeremy Jahns, in his positive review of Man of Steel, said even if Shannon was good as General Zod, he anyone could've played him and it wouldn't have been that different. I disagree. Shannon turned "Kneel before Zod!" into "I will find him!", and he did it in an excellent and over-the-top manner. He looked very menacing, and one can see that he was determined and persevering in his goal to bring back Krypton. There was a giant lack of character development in the film besides Kal-El, and lack of character development usually doesn't make me care about character. Let's say I was watching a zombie film, and there were lots of characters in it. Too much characters = not much character development, right? Because of the lack of character development on the main character, if he/she died, I wouldn't care. Why would I? I don't know much about that character 'cause he had no character development. And usually, you don't really care if a guy or girl you don't know dies. That's what I would've felt with Jonathan and Martha Kent because I didn't see any character development on them. But they were played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, movie stars who's performances are unquestionable. You can go wrong with the movies they star in, but you can't go wrong with their performances. I didn't really care for them when they appeared during Kal-El's kid and teenager flashback sequences, but my appreciation for them really peaked during the middle and towards the end of the film. Besides crazy action films and dark and gritty films, I also like those films that are emotional. I'm not much of a romantic drama guy, but I like scenes that make me tear up. Scenes like that usually have a character dying. Though besides those scenes, the scenes where I tear up are scenes that are really intense or really beautiful and dramatic. I haven't fully watched American Psycho, but I watched the scene when Patrick Bateman leaves a lengthy telephone message for his lawyer. It made me tear up because it was intense and dramatic. And in Man of Steel, you have Kevin Costner dying in a tornado. That's right, Jonathan Kent dies. That may not seem surprising to anyone who watched the original movie, but it was hell of a lot surprising to me. When I saw Jonathan's grave, I could not help myself to think why, of all people in the film to kill, they chose Kevin Costner! I haven't seen much Costner films, and my favorite is probably JFK, but he was undeniably spectacular in that film. List of actors you cannot kill under any circumstances (At least in my book) Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Bruce Willis, Robin Williams, and most comedic actors (Jason Bateman, Ben Stiller, etc.) Kevin Costner was obviously on that list. It wasn't Henry Cavill who convinced me to watch the film, mostly because he was in another film the year before which I heard was an unforgivably formulaic and generic action film schlock. Of course, it was The Cold Light of Day, starring Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, and the man of the hour, Henry Cavill. Jeremy Jahns named the Cold Light of Day #2 on his Top Worst Movies of 2012. It was able to muster a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In his extremely negative review, Mr. Jahns explained if it weren't for Willis and Cavill's names attached to the main cast, the Cold Light of Day might as well have been a straight-to-DVD film. But I decided to give him a shot even if "wooden" seemed like his defining characteristic. Now that I think about it. when I see some clips of the original Superman with Christopher Reeve, it really does remind me of Henry Cavill. But that's beside the point. He may still have looked like Christopher Reeve just like Brandon Routh did, yet he was still, at best, an awesome Superman, and at least, a not too shabby one. Not too shabby, at all.

When it came to negative opinions about this film, there were very few of them. I saw some negative reviews and they were really negative, some from critics, some from audience. "Henry Cavill is emotionless and wooden.", "Too much action and too less thought makes this one a dud.", "Zack Snyder has destroyed Superman." That last part I strongly disagree with. I really, really don't have any say when it comes to Snyder's direction because I haven't watched any other movie of his, but his direction was actually pretty good in Man of Steel. It's honestly not Snyder. It sure as hell isn't Nolan or Zimmer, so who was it? Holy Bad Dialogue, Batman, it was Goyer! That is right. David S. Goyer, more specifically his writing, was one of the weakest points of the film. As you all know, David S. Goyer was a writer that worked with Christopher Nolan when he directed 2008's The Dark Knight. You might think he was a good choice for Man of Steel just because he wrote The Dark Knight, but there is one thing you didn't notice. Back in 2006-2007, when The Dark Knight was being written and stuff, David S. had a whole ton of help from Jonathan Nolan, Chris Nolan's brother. You know, Jonathan Nolan, he wrote Memento Mori, the short story which C. Nolan's Memento was based on. He also has an acclaimed new show that I really should be checking out right now, and more importantly, he was a writer who also wrote The Dark Knight. He helped Goyer with the script, which is the only reason the dialogue didn't suck. On Man of Steel, Goyer didn't have J. Nolan to help him remove all the laughable cheesiness and absolutely pathetic parts of the script. Towards the end of the film, Superman drops a giant military thing (it might a satellite or something, but the point is he drops it) and it crash-lands on Earth. That grumpy military guy and that small military girl arrive at the crash site right before it happens. I'm not saying the military guy looked so tough and menacing that he could've been mistaken for R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket, but he looked like a legit military man. That was until he said to Superman what David Goyer thought was a cool thing to say, "Are you effin' stupid?". Then, after Superman leaves, Platoon asks the rookie girl, "What are you smiling at?" or something like that (acting as if his former statement never happened and was still supposed to be a badass captain) to which she replies, addressing the Man of Steel, "Nothing. I just think he's pretty hot." David S. Goyer is not a good writer. To everyone who loved this movie to death and is now raping the thumbs-down button, repeatedly and angrily asking for an alternative to the so-called "bad" dialogue, I'll tell you people this: I don't need offensive or un-Superman-like material such as curses in a PG-13 Superman movie. I just want the film to stop trying to act like Sin City or Watchmen, films that were praised not only for its visuals and storyline, but also because it wasn't afraid to include a few possibly offensive material to stay true to the comic. When making a Superman film, the only thing that shouldn't be on the writer or director's mind is, "Should I include dialogue pieces such as "frickin'" or "dick" in the movie? Maybe I should because it would stay true to the comic." Do the Superman comics have stuff like that? No, they don't. Maybe I would've respected the film more if they just went all out with the curses and violence and stuff. If they were gonna include those pansy words I just mentioned, they might have well just went all out and screw all those who would take a dump on the film because of all the curses and violence. It might lose the Superman touch, but it would feature the most entertaining directing traits of both Snyder and Nolan, and it would've mustered at least a 63%-67%. Let's face it if someone says "freaking" or "freakin'" in real life, it sounds lame and stupid, it honestly, does. If someone says that to me, instead of being offended, I just wish he would just say what he really feels and say, "You're an inanimate fucking object!" instead of censoring his words like SOPA. Conversely, I would've also respected this film more if it were like 1978's Superman: The Movie. I saw an article a long time ago saying that Richard Donner's Superman movie adaptation was a kind of movie no one makes anymore. Superman: The Movie was said to be great fun, and it was full of heart and hilarity. Though it was fun, it wasn't Grindhouse or Django Unchained fun, where the scenes you're supposed to laugh at are scenes where a mobile serial killer is beaten by several women and when a woman is unexpectedly but physically impossibly shot by a black bounty hunter. I don't have anything against Rodriguez and Tarantino whose humor consists of those type of things, but sometimes I like to laugh at good, clean humor. The article stated, mostly referencing the then upcoming Man of Steel, that all comic book movies have to be dark. The kind of humor 2011's The Muppets and Winnie the Pooh presented, and the kind of humor Donner's Superman probably presented, just to name a few, was popular back then, but modern directors nowadays think that good and clean is boring and lame. Superman: The Movie is what Man of Steel could have been. But they still had to include those scenes where younger Clark was getting bullied by fat Ronald Weasley on that bus and when grown up Clark was getting bullied by Joel from The Last of Us in that bar, among others. Those scenes seemed to have a touch of Nolan in it. Don't think Nolan is incapable of having curses in his films because he directed Memento. They were very out of place. So in short, a film can either be full-on dark, or full-on light. I think the reason Man of Steel pathetically tried to stay in the middle was because it wanted to have a realistic tone but didn't want the inevitable comparison between it and Nolan's TDK trilogy to happen too much. It was a really stupid thing to do, and if you ask me, I would've preferred trying to be like 1978's Superman, because that, that is what Superman is. Let's get to the character development. Probably the least developed thing in Man of Steel was the relationship between Kal-El and Lois Lane. This strange guy with an overly muscular body saves you during an extremely retarded escapade, who then dooms your world when that guy from Sorority Letter sends a world-wide ransom call asking for that strange guy who saved your life to turn himself in, then you talk to him a bit, then you guys are on a spaceship and there is a whole 40-50 minutes of an over-abundance of action, he saves your life again, but destroys your city in the process. Then what? You kiss him? It's not believable, it's not cute, and it surely isn't right. Also, with the character Lois herself. This is a Superman film, and it should be about Superman, but at least have some insight on Lois Lane like Returns did (that's right, I am commending Superman Returns for something right it did). I admit it, if Lois bled out on the icy floor during the start of the movie in that Krypton storage thing, or if she had been like Hans Gruber and fell hundreds of miles and became part of the ground towards the end of the movie, I would not have cared at all. I also have some other problems like Lawrence Fishbourne's character being too bland and pedestrian (I expected him to be like J.K Simmons in Spider-Man) or Zod's female sidekick also being kind of uninteresting, they're not really center characters so I'll let it slide.

The reason I'll be putting my biggest problem with Man of Steel on the last paragraph is because it has nothing to do with the set pieces within the film. It has something to do with the word "fanboy". I believe it is like YOLO or SWAG. It is a retarded word that is used by people because it's cool to do it. I'm upset at the racket this film has made. I'm upset at the fans of this film, and I'm upset at the people who hated it. I hate the fact that Nolan's films, though most people actually think they are good, people nowadays treat them as if they were Terrence Malick films. Pretentious films masking themselves as intelligent. The worse part is that I know for a fact some people hate on him because it is the cool thing to do. I know some people actually genuinely dislike Nolan, but other guys hate him because it's what all the cool kids are doing. Another percent of these haters are the overly sensitive ones. Let's say you are on the topic of Nolan's filmmaking quality and the moment you defend Insomnia for featuring the World's Greatest Dad as a psychopath or defending Inception for stealing too much content from Paprika and that Scrooge McDuck/Donald Duck comic strip, one of the users you're conversing with immediately posts something like, "Looks like we got a butthurt fanboy on our case!" It's really, really stupid. Let's get to why I'm upset at the fans too. I'm not gonna call them fanboys because I try to be good empathizer. Remember when The Dark Knight Rises was released to pretty good reviews, even universally acclaimed? That was also when die hard fans of Nolan started posting empty death threats and vows to shut down the websites of every critic who gave TDKR a bad or somewhat negative review. A whole part of the Rotten Tomatoes website was shut down because of the controversy, and I think there was a brief comeback of the RT Lynch Mob. You may remember them for their attack on Armond White for ruining District 9's 100% rating with his review (which thought it was more important than it actually was, like all his other reviews). Like the haters, there is a large percent of these fans that are overly sensitive. I myself am a big fan of Nolan. My top two favorite films are films directed by him, so it's very obvious. But not only do these "fans" treat Christopher Nolan like a god, they also create a very bad reputation for Nolan's fanbase, as their uncivilized behavior towards who don't like or are otherwise indifferent towards their god gives a clear representation of what kind of people Nolan films attract. Because of this, being a Nolan fan isn't normal. Except when you're talking to a fellow Nolan fan, anyone else would ask, "You're a Nolan fan? Really?" They still question you, which is something they wouldn't do if you said you were a fan of anyone else, like Quentin Tarantino. These "fans" are destroying Christopher Nolan more than the haters ever did. That being said, I am still proud to be a fan of Nolan. Now back to Man of Steel, it wasn't a bad film. But it was still undeniably cheesy and over-the-top. If this was a Nolan film, I would say that in a nicer way since I've never insulted a Nolan movie like that before. But it's not a Nolan film; he may have produced it, but no. It's a Snyder film, and therefore I can say whatever damn please to. So I will say that Man of Steel is an entertaining popcorn film, a film that is absolutely perfect for the summer. It doesn't really line up with anything else Christopher Nolan has been involved with, mainly because it doesn't nearly capture the innovative style of his normal films. What's worse is that Man of Steel fails to rise above the mostly inevitable flaws of a comic book film, especially with its unfunny and extremely cheesy dialogue, bland side characters, distracting presentation of action and mayhem, and the overblown CGI. Most of all, it mostly fails to be what I expected it to be: a mediocre comic book-ish disaster. And that is why it mostly succeeds.