LADIES: Back away from the Superman. He is mine, and I am taking him to Bonetown in my dreams tonight. When I say “Superman,” I’m referring specifically to Henry Cavill, studly star of Chris Nolan’s newest superhero reboot: Man of Steel, which I saw yesterday, and which many of you – judging by the box office earnings so far – are probably planning on seeing this weekend. Cavill, complete with biceps the size of small melons, chest hair (that peeks out above the Superman suit! Sexy.), and piercing, panty-dropping blue eyes, is a joy to behold.
Then there’s the rest of the movie…
The first 20 minutes, I must concede, are awesome. The look of Krypton (Seriously though, what was the VFX budget on this movie?), cray cray Kal-El birth, and Michael Shannon channeling his inner maniac in an entertaining Boardwalk Empire x Steroids x Costumes collaboration, all had me hooked. Then we get to Kansas. No matter how fantastic Kevin Costner and Diane Lane were, I couldn’t get past my aching for some CW style Smallville Drama. Because the Clark Kent of my teenage dreams was nowhere to be found, I wasn’t emotionally invested in the movie. SO: by the time we get to the last 45 minutes of the movie, I had a harder time caring who won and lost. Not to mention, siding with everyone’s favorite superhero when he’s letting MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DIE AND HELLA BUILDINGS COLLAPSE ALL OVER METROPOLIS IN HIS RECKLESS BATTLE AGAINST ZOD.
Other (minor) bones to pick:
1. Amy Adams and her makeup artist need to have a little chat. Granted I saw the movie on an IMAX screen, but her uneven eyeliner was a serious problem for me.
2. Russell Crowe (Kal-El’s father) shows up only at the most convenient of times. Rather than letting homeboy be a guiding force and a spiritual guide, his character feels like a crutch, a storytelling device who enters and exits at Goyer’s whim, there to solve plot problems rather than connect with his long lost son from another planet.
3. Clearing the emotional bar: I meannnnn, come on, guys. Christopher Reeve and co. may have set some seriously OG standards to live up to, but you’ve got to try. Jor-El: “All that I have, all that I’ve learned, everything I feel… all this, and more, I… I bequeath you, my son. You will carry me inside you, all the days of your life. You will make my strength your own, and see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father, and the father the son.” <– that’s the bar. David Goyer sent Henry Cavill and Russell Crowe running straight at that bar, then forgot to write in the part where they jump. WOMP. WOMP.
Overall I’d give the film a solid B+. 88.5%. Then I’d blame David Goyer – mostly – for not taking it to A-. I thought it was beautiful directed, incredibly well-cast, very cinematic, and yet, the parts just didn’t come together for me quite the way I hoped they would. And they’re script problems: dialogue problems, lack of down beats, poorly written and/or cheesy lines. Caveat: I’m not a serious comic book / superhero expert, so I can’t totally compare it to other versions, but if you’re interested in doing so, check out this review by Mark Waid – with spoiler alerts! – or this New York Times slideshow to really nerd out.