Opening disclaimer: I’m a Batman girl. I’m not a huge Superman girl, but I’m well enough aware of the character’s canon to understand what’s going on in this ambitious reboot. I’ve admittedly never watched any of the previous Superman movies - not the Christopher Reeve versions, nor the flop of a reboot earlier this century.
However, last night I was sad because it was Pridefest on the Park Strip here in my home town and with sun poisoning, I couldn’t go out and volunteer. So my husband took me to a movie so I’d feel better and it would be dark and cool on my awful sun rash. The only movie that I was interested in seeing last night was Man of Steel, so off we went.
We elected to view this one in 3D, unlike our foray into Star Trek: Into Darkness. We didn’t spring for the extra IMAX experience, but I am glad we chose digital 3D. The use of 3D technology in this film was well balanced against the storyline, which gets pretty fantastical and over-the-top. The film opens on the doomed planet of Krypton, where Russell Crowe as Superdad is preparing to shoot Superbaby into space and over to Earth as a last ditch effort to save the race. Superbaby narrowly escapes after General Zod (whom people may or may not kneel before at some point) tries to stop all of the things from happening. After Superdad is murdered in front of Supermom, Zod is aprehended and sentenced to a really shitty life in some sort of hypersleep in a black hole. Then, Supermom watches while her planet implodes. Sucks to be Kryptonian, am I right?
Then we watch Superbaby’s life in a series of disjointed flashbacks as he tries to live a normal life but dagnabit, just can’t seem to stop saving people with his superhuman powers. People like bus bullies or an entire oil rig full of dudes. Flashbacks are a difficult thing to do well in a movie without leaving the viewer completely lost and confused, especially when you jump to 13 year old Superteen to 30 year old Superdude and then back to 8 year old Superkid. Kevin Costner tells him “you’re not from here, but you’re still totally my kid and I love you” in a few touching moments. Superman is pretty much content with his life except for that whole “where the fuck am I from and why did they send me away and seriously, why hasn’t anyone come to find me?” But despite the confusion at times, the back story is sufficiently illustrated and you have an idea of why Superman is where he is in his life.
He finds an old, old ship belonging to his people and the dead conscious of Superdad tells him about where he’s from and why he was sent to Earth in the first place. Superdude understands and begins to embrace the Superman within. And then, oh shit, someone comes to find him. Zod has escaped from his hyperhole and arrives at Earth with the demand that Cal-el (Superman’s Kryptonian name) be returned OR ELSE GUYS I AM SERIOUS. Superman finds out Zod intends to completely wipe out all humans, presumably to make Bender Bending Rodriguez from Futurama proud, and that’s not cool with Superman. Cue all of the epic fights.
I really enjoyed the plot of this film, and the use of 3D and the cinematography was well put together and the acting was top notch. However, it could easily have been an hour shorter if the fight scenes had been more concise. Superman and Zod realize that the Earth’s yellow sun radiation makes them basically invulnerable to ass kicking, but the proceed to wreck the entire fucking city of Metropolis trying to kick each other’s ass. Dudes. We get it. You’re very good at punching each other, but it’s been ten minutes and I’m ready to see the plot move on, now. Oh. No. You’re going to start fighting in space now? That’s cool, I guess. Less stuff to ruin OH MY GOD YOU’RE RUINING THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION WHAT IS THE ACTUAL POINT OF THAT?
Also disappointing, Zod does not actually ask anyone to kneel before him. Even though I’ve never watched the older movies, I understand this line is kind of a big deal, much like the epic “KHAAAAAAAAAAAN” from the Star Trek canon. It would be like a remake of Star Wars without “Luke, I am your father.” It’s just not fair to the fans who have come into this with certain expectations.
Random bits I liked:
- Lexcorp tanker trucks. This leads me to believe that a) there will be a sequel and b) our good friend Lex Luthor will be involved.
- The glasses made it into the movie. It would have been like a reboot of the Freddy Kruegger movies without the striped shirt if the glasses had been left out.
- Laurence Fishburne in a decent minor role without a crazy leather trench coat and glasses with no ear pieces.
- A decent explanation of Superman’s suit.
Random bits I disliked:
- Zod had a slight lisp on his “s” words and it was a little dishtracting, if you shee what I mean.
- The Kryptonians who show up pretty much instantly have Superman’s same powers. They do make a point that they can’t really control them - so they can do crazy jumps but can’t fly, for example - but I had to call bullshit. Superdad explains that the radiation from the sun absorbed into his cells over the course of his life - that’s 33 years. But the bad guys are there for like, a day and have the same bonuses? Not fair. Not okay.
- Christopher Meloni didn’t have enough screen time. Since he’s no longer Detective Stabler, I must protest anything that doesn’t have him front and center and glaring at injustice.
Last thoughts: Go see it. If you’re a diehard Superman fan you’ll appreciate where it stays true to comic book canon, and if you’re not a big Superman fan you’ll still enjoy the movie. There’s hot chicks for the dudes or ladies who like ladies, and the guy playing Superman’s pecs are bigger than my boobs. So. You got that going for you, too.