Film Score Monthly
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Nov 21, 2013 - 12:49 AM   
 By:   Warlok   (Member)

Just watched the BluRay of Man Of Steel. I did not view the special features.

Having never produced (in any capacity) a film of my own, it is wholly correct of those whom I may in the following words point to and criticize to call me on my own timid achievements, yet I may say with an uncharacteristic level of confidence that were I to produce film, I would never make some of the errors to be found in Man Of Steel. I apologize for any harsh critiques or bold declarations inherent here.

Man Of Steel`s story by Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan to me feels like a thing stitched together out of set-pieces. A series of spectacles with considerable numbers of advanced CG effects caught on shaking camera. Most of the participants do well enough, especially Mr. Cavill and Mr. Costner, yet they seem bereft of a greater, grander, smoother noble purpose. Superman never really is the being he ought to be. Cavill gives us a glimpse here or there as the plot allows, but never unleashes that eminently civil ideal to which all of Mankind ought to strive. And a Superman that does not do that fails.

The story itself has moments of inspiration, primarily as Ka-lel tries to live anonymously amongst us. But more frequent are bursts of cliche supported by uninspired dialogue, stuff you would categorize as common rather than as strong theater. Plot resolution rests primarily in the realm of screaming, yelling, and hollering more emphatically than the last time, with that mere effort the excuse for heroic success. We have seen these tools at work before in lesser fantasies. They ought not reside in a Superman film that wishes to compare favourably to the original #1 and #2. I conclude that this is not Mr. Nolan`s finest hour.

I definitely prefer my sci-fi or fantasy gritty, but with that should also attend intelligence, both in story and in the wiser execution of that story. If a thing seems illogical, drop it. If a scheme seems flimsy, improve it. If a device seems familiar, change it. Unfortunately many of these things exist in Man Of Steel.

Donner`s Krypton is a wondrous, eerily beautiful realm filled with that which we do not quite understand. Man Of Steel`s Krypton is utterly conventional. Far too parallel to us Earthers in both form and conduct. Many trappings are even simply such things as would arrive from the mind of a brilliant CGI animator... creations of mathematical sophistication and symmetry without mystery or wonder.

People die in this film. That I like, as even for a 'super man' one could not possibly save everyone in every calamitous circumstance of the order of which we would speak in such a film.

If one tells more tales about a mythological character, there are always foundations to heed in order for those tales to work. Play can be had with other elements. If you do not heed them, you are better off working with one of your own original concoction. I must absolutely prefer Superman Returns, Superman, and Superman II.

 Posted:   Nov 21, 2013 - 1:39 AM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

I went into the theater with very low expectations and, aside from a miscast Amy Adams (who I felt had zero chemistry with anyone), I enjoyed it much more than I ever thought I would. Even went back to see it a second time, which I've rarely done in recent years, even with films I like, because rising tickets costs make me want to save my money for other films.

Anyway, I enjoyed it a great deal. Was never really a film of the earlier Christopher Reeve films. I did like Superman Returns, despite some minor problems I had with the pacing and length. But Man of Steel I liked the best out of them all, and have enjoyed it a couple more times so far on Blu-Ray.

 Posted:   Nov 21, 2013 - 4:57 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

Thanks for that, War.

I haven't seen Man of Steel yet but will no doubt do so in the not too distant future, and hope to disagree with you! However, of all the generally negative reviews I've seen, yours is the one that's given me most pause for thought.

I'm not a big Superman fan. I know there has to be some tension, some possibility of failure, but he always seemed to make hard work of any challenge put in front of him, given his powers. I prefer the shades of dark gray, navy blue and black that normally surround the Batman to the primary colours and flag-waving of the thinly-disguised MoS.

This new incarnation may appeal more, but your explanation of why you were disappointed makes more sense than most (if not all) of the other pannings I've seen.


 Posted:   Nov 21, 2013 - 9:14 AM   
 By:   Dan Hobgood   (Member)

What a letdown this movie was in the wake of its sensational trailer. You'd be better off just watching that over and over again for two hours. It did a much better job establishing the Superman mythos than the movie itself.

I agree with you 100%, Warlok.


 Posted:   Nov 21, 2013 - 9:46 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

I particularly liked Amy Adams as Lois Lane and I enjoyed her chemistry with Henry Cavill. Yes, I noted chemistry between them. She was a far sight better than the last Lois.

I loved Crowe as Kal-El's father and I loved Costner as Clark's dad. His adoptive mother was too hippy-dippy for me.

I was pretty much enjoying the film until Zod hit town. It wasn't enough to demolish every building in Smallville, though, was it? They had to then go to Metropolis (NYC, as it were) and repeat "9/11" a thousand times over with death and destruction and it went on and on and on and on and on and on and on. I fast-forwarded at one point as I got very bored with all the CGI nonsense.

The "end" of Zod was a bit off-putting, too. I realize it was a major moment of identity crisis for Superman...this dispatching of a being...but think of all the death and suffering that could have been avoided had he done it in an earlier encounter...with Zod's female officer and with Zod when he had opportunity to dispatch them but chose not to.

Such things as this are really too bad. It's a not-very-good film with some very good things in it.

The worst thing about it, though, is that it has no musical voice. Zimmer's drone pretty much damns the proceedings from start to finish. Superman without a heroic theme is a very sad thing.

 Posted:   Nov 21, 2013 - 10:08 AM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

It's a not-very-good film with some very good things in it.

I hesitantly find myself agreeing with this.

 Posted:   Nov 21, 2013 - 10:47 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Very interesting! I had almost bought the most recent "Star Trek: Into The Darkness" with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto on Blu-ray without seeing it, but good sense took over and I rented it from Netflix and was SO glad I hadn't wasted $20 or more on it. But even with that experience I had still come close to buying the "Man Of Steel" Blu-ray without seeing it. This post has convinced me to wait until I've at least watched it once! I'm a fan of Henry Cavill and have been renting some of his recent movies that have fallen between the cracks -- we all remember him as Jim Caviezel's rather callow son in "The Count of Monte Cristo," but in that role he bears almost no resemblance to the man he grew up to be, much like the young Tyler Hoechlin in "Road To Perdition" growing up to be the hottest of the werewolves of MTV's "Teen Wolf." But it doesn't look like I'll be buying the "Man Of Steel" Blu-ray after all … nor its soundtrack!

Follow-Up: I did see "Man of Steel" a week or 2 after writing the above and was very disappointed by it. But I liked Henry Cavill and feel that he has gotten a bum rap for NOT being Christopher Reeve. With what he had to deal with, I felt he did a very good job, and he comes across as probably the most human Superman I recall seeing -- not the air-brushed perfection we sometimes see. I just hope they get a better script with the next one!

 Posted:   Nov 21, 2013 - 1:00 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I agree with Ron P.'s assessment. I liked Cavill, Crowe, Costner especially and Adams. I found the first half of the movie interesting. When Zod arrives, it all turns into CGI effects that go on and on until I was totally bored. The heart of the movie was wrestled away by CGI effects. I like some of Zimmer, but this score just droned for me.

 Posted:   Nov 21, 2013 - 3:01 PM   
 By:   Mike_J   (Member)

As I've previously said here before, I am a huge fan of Dick Donner's first Superman movie so that is the bar that others have to touch to impress me and sadly this one didn't. Whilst I didn't find it as horrendously awful as Bryan Singer's risible Superman Returns, Man Of Steel still struck me as being distinctly average. The last battle seemed to go on for hours and was just incredibly repetitive. None of the acting especially impressed me and I hardly even noticed Zimmer's score.

I found the writing particularly poor, especially the death of Jonathan Kent. In Donner's version Pa Kent's death has resonance because Clark realises that his powers are not always going to be enough to save those he loves. In Synder's version Kent dies trying to save the flipping dog and stops Clark from saving him so that his superpowers are not revealed to the world.... even though it is later shown, ad nauseum, that Clarke can move at lighteningast speeds so that he is virtually invisible. The death here was pointless and frankly a bit silly.

I thought none of the characters had chemistry (and I usually like Amy Adams) and that Clark / Supes was pretty stiff, dull and humourless.

Donner's movie is visually pretty dated - most of the effects look poor on the small screen, for example. But it is still im my view far and away the best Superman film ever made. Chris Reeve's little smile to the camera at the very end still gets me everytime and the helicopter rescue is still one of the most gloriously uplifting action sequences ever filmed.

 Posted:   Nov 21, 2013 - 5:10 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

You're holding me? Who's holding YOU!!!" And Christopher Reeve was perfection.

 Posted:   Nov 23, 2013 - 1:09 AM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

For me , no film was a greater disappointment this year than MAN OF STEEL -- the trailer was promising , a lot of potentially great performances, a charismatic lead, state of the art CGI -- but it failed in so many ways - many already mentioned - but at its core, it did not engage me emotionally ( except for a few moments).

 Posted:   Nov 23, 2013 - 7:47 AM   
 By:   Rexor   (Member)

- but at its core, it did not engage me emotionally ( except for a few moments).

I feel the same way. I wonder how much of this can be contributed to my feelings about the use of the score/songs in the film.


 Posted:   Nov 23, 2013 - 7:52 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Today's films are cold and soulless.

 Posted:   Nov 24, 2013 - 12:02 AM   
 By:   Rick15   (Member)

Today's films are cold and soulless.

Wow….pretty sweeping statement.

While I was disappointed with MOS because of points mentioned earlier, there are recent films that I thought have had great heart, humour and warmth…

The Avengers
Amazing Spiderman
Pacific Rim
Hunger Games: Catching Fire (well…maybe not humour and warmth…but certainly not soulless)
X-Men: First Class
Seeking a friend for the end of the world
Any Iron Man movie
The Muppet Movie
How to Train your Dragon

I don't know….those are just a few of "today's films" that I can think of that I would not describe as cold and soulless…..

 Posted:   Nov 24, 2013 - 9:35 AM   
 By:   Mike_J   (Member)

Today's films are cold and soulless.

Do you know, I totally agree with you. Everything seems to be "dark" and all the heroes seem to be damaged.

 Posted:   Nov 24, 2013 - 9:44 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

Not all of today's films are soulless and cold. I found Real Steel to be very uplifting, emotional and enjoyable, due in no small part to Danny Elfman's terrific score.
Man of Steel was a tiresome bore to me and I don't even count it as a Superman film, just another grim Dark Knight-styled wallow in misery.

 Posted:   Nov 24, 2013 - 10:06 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Kev: I found "Real Steel" exhausting!!!

 Posted:   Nov 24, 2013 - 2:14 PM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

I've never been a fan of Superman but it's hard to escape its popularity and hype; I saw the Christopher Reeve movies as a kid on tv during the day and they were an ok pastime (even then they looked rather dated), the tv show with Teri Hatcher (is there a hotter Louis Lane?) was ok but silly at times. I waited a long time before seeing Superman Returns and well it didn't really resonate that well. Fast forward to Man of Steel which I waited till last month to see and only found marginally better than Superman Returns. Costner and Crow were good but the new guy playing superman meh, louis lane looked too twilight, and Michael Shannon I can't get over his 'Boardwalk Empire' persona but in all fairness he wasn't that stellar a villain. For all it faults, Superman Returns to me still looked like a Superman movie, Man of Steel I dunno... but I have to say I've been burnt out on the superhero adaptations/franchises for a while now, there's just so many reboots I can take.

 Posted:   Nov 24, 2013 - 2:41 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Today's films are cold and soulless.

Wow….pretty sweeping statement.

While I was disappointed with MOS because of points mentioned earlier, there are recent films that I thought have had great heart, humour and warmth…

The Avengers
X-Men: First Class
Any Iron Man movie
How to Train your Dragon

I don't know….those are just a few of "today's films" that I can think of that I would not describe as cold and soulless…..

I've seen the films above. How to Train your Dragon was the only one I found engaging or moving. The relationship between Hiccup and his dragon was amazing. Iron Man was good but ruined by a horribly detached score and post 9/11 influences. Avengers was "fun" but I felt nothing afterwards. X-Men First Class wasn't bad but missed the mark.

 Posted:   Nov 24, 2013 - 6:55 PM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

“Superman” – it has been said numerous times – traditionally has been seen as an embodiment of the ultimate American emigrant success story. American to the bone – including the colors of his costume. Also, for some readers, a paradigm of the non-traditional adoptive family having moral worth.

This new film subverts some of the traditional values usually associated with “Superman” – focusing instead on a story that would warm the hearts of Hemingway or D.H. Lawrence – it becomes the story of a young man, an outsider, attaining adulthood by experiencing the pain and anguish of his first hands-on “kill.”

In his entertaining book, “Studies in Classic American Literature”, Lawrence wrote, “The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.” This could almost be a capsule summary of Clark Kent. Lawrence also describes the impulse to come to America thusly,
“ They came to America for two reasons:

(I) To slough the old European consciousness completely.
(2) To grow a new skin underneath, a new form. This second is a hidden process.

The two processes go on, of course, simultaneously. The slow forming of the new skin underneath is the slow sloughing of the old skin. And sometimes this immortal serpent feels very happy, feeling a new golden glow of a strangely-patterned skin envelop him: and sometimes he feels very sick, as if his very entrails were being torn out of him, as he wrenches once more at his old skin, to get out of it.

Out! Out! he cries, in all kinds of euphemisms.

He's got to have his new skin on him before ever he can get out.

And he's got to get out before his new skin can ever be his own skin.

So there he is, a torn divided monster.

The true American, who writhes and writhes like a snake that is long in sloughing.

Sometimes snakes can't slough. They can't burst their old skin. Then they go sick and die inside the old skin, and nobody ever sees the new pattern.

It needs a real desperate recklessness to burst your old skin at last. You simply don't care what happens to you, if you rip yourself in two, so long as you do get out.

It also needs a real belief in the new skin. Otherwise you are likely never to make the effort. Then you gradually sicken and go rotten and die in the old skin.”

This also pretty much describes the psychological action of “Man of Steel.” The forming of a new costume, a new skin, for a new view of life, etc.

Not sure what to make of the film focusing so much on the inherent superiority of a traditional family – on Krypton so much is made of the fact that our hero is the product of a NATURAL birth – almost placed in capital letters by the film – and our hero, of course, is not a complete human being until he discovers his real parents – this is somewhat softened by his obvious love of his adoptive parents – but still...

And then in the final moments before the “kill”, the “cause” is our villain threatening a family unit with death.

The road to manhood via a “kill” reminded me of the opening scenes with De Niro in “The Deer Hunter, of course. With a little “A History of Violence” thrown in. Hemingway and his hunters, too. Lawrence also wrote this, “... one is forced to admire the stark, enduring figure of Deerslayer. He is neither spiritual nor sensual. He is a moralizer, but he always tries to moralize from actual experience, not from theory. He says: 'Hurt nothing unless you're forced to.' Yet he gets his deepest thrill of gratification, perhaps, when he puts a bullet through the heart of a beautiful buck, as it stoops to drink at the lake. Or when he brings the invisible bird fluttering down in death, out of the high blue. 'Hurt nothing unless you're forced to.' And yet he lives by death, by killing the wild things of the air and earth.” Superman apparently feels anguish when killing Zod – but Snyder does seem to portray that anguish as part and parcel of our hero’s growth.

Just some thoughts that were brought up by my first, fleeting, viewing of the film via an Amazon 10 hour rental.

You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2018 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.