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Friday, July 5, 2013

So I got my good Superman movie

So, saw Man of Steel some time ago and I liked. I liked it quite a lot actually.

I thought that it did a good job of retelling the fabeled origin story of Superman in a modern way for a new audience. At the same time it's well-acted, has some Amazing action scenes that almost took my breath away several times and it did a good job of balancing the serious story with some nice light-hearted humor here and there, I appreciate Superman getting the army's attention by tossing the drone sent to spy on him to the ground.

Overall I'd put this movie just a notch below my all time favourite comic book movie adaptations (The Avengers, Spider-man 2, The Dark Knight, V for Vendetta and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World). But not everybody feels like I do. Apparently Man of Steel is a rather divisive movie with some people, like me, thinking it did a really good job while others seem to think it was a dreary mess.

Now some of the critique is basically just a reverse of what I've said above. But there are a few, more specific, points of interest that I find interesting enough to address.

One problem some people have is that they think that the movie is too dark and gritty which is a tone that doesn't exactly fit with the colourful Superman and they feel like it's an attempt to make him more like Batman, specifically Nolan successful Batman trilogy that ended last year. I disagree with parts of this. Mainly because Superman himself is still far from a dark character here.

Yeah, he spends a fair deal of the movie lost and mopey and unsure of what to do with his powers and of who he is. But that's kind of to be expected when you're a godlike alien on earth. It's a bit more realistic and grounded than in the Reeves movie where he just goes into a chamber and becomes aware of who he is. But once he gets that red, blue, yellow and black, in this version it has a black element too, he starts to smile and whoops happily as he jump miles into the sky in his first attempt at flying. He's never a wise-cracker like Spider-man or Iron man, but that's ok. Superman is a bit more diginified than that and he does get a few good lines here and there. What I'm saying is they don't portray Superman as a dark and gritty character, they just have a more grounded approach to his origin.

That's not to say that the dark and gritty approach isn't here and that it's flawless. For example, I really wish they could've used brighter colours throughout the movie. And while the action scenes are awesome the destruction displayed in them is just kinda terrifying, but they've said that it would be a plot point in future installments so that'll be interesting to see.

Storywise there are those who think that the movie jumps a bit too much chronologically and that it kinda messes up the pacing. I personally didn't actually have a problem with this as I thought it was a clever way of showing the audience the relevant events of Superman's young life without sitting through them all in one sitting, thus getting audience impatient for him to put on the outfit. It also did a nice job of building up his down to earth farmer's boy aspect before going into the epic superhero stuff.

That said, I can see how others would feel annoyed by the flashbacks. They're used rather frequently so some could say that they get old by the third or fourth one and a lot of them have a sameyness to them of basically just repeating that Superman will be a beacon of hope to humanity. The hope thing is repeated constantly throughout the movie to the point where you start to wonder if the filmmakers didn't trust the audience to get it themselves.

Then there's the complaint that the Daily Planet people are basically just there to be there for future installments. Beside Lois who has an important part in the movie it is true. Nothing else to say really, they're funny and give us a human element when everything starts to go boom. But otherwise they're just kinda there and not much else.

Now for a few things that I specifically liked. Antje Traue almost stole the show for me due to her badass portrayal of Faora, the movie's main bad guy's second in command. I really liked the decision to have Lois Lane figure out Superman's identity early on, before he goes public as a superhero. It leaves out silly questions about whether Lois loves Clark or Superman and other such annoying things that have been done to death. I also appreciated how Lois was never sexually exploited in the movie. She wore the sensible clothing that a reporter lacking a proper fashion sense would wear and it worked for her. It was nice that the military was shown as compotent and smart enough to get who was on their side when things got hot rather than trigger happy or completely ineffective. And again, the action scenes are so damn EPIC.

So yeah, it's totally a good Superman movie if you ask me and I recommend that people go see it if only to form their own opinion since everybody seems to have different thoughts about it.

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