Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Man of Steel Overwhelming?

I went to see The Man of Steel on Father's Day. I don't get out to see movies much. I kind of wish that I had went to see Ironman 3 instead. Not that I have any objective complaints about the movie; it was a competent retelling of Superman's origin story. It managed to make itself unique from the Superman movies of the past and stands on its own two feet.

However, movie viewing and immersion is a very personal thing, and for this *person* "The Man of Steel" failed to make a proper connection. There's a little boy inside every man who goes to see a comic book movie and "The Man of Steel" failed to speak to my "little boy."

There were some very nice moments in the film. I loved the sequences on Krypton the best. Zod was well portrayed and became an almost tragic figure. I would have liked to have seen more of this. If Zod had struggled more with his choices we could have really been sucked into his story and that could have been awesome.

But, it wasn't awesome ... It was good ... But it fell short of awesome because any emotional context we might have been provided was denied us in favor of "action." Too much action. So much action that I was numb halfway through the movie. So numb that when Zod finally meets his tragic demise, I was not so much shocked, upset, outraged, or excited by the end ... But relieved that maybe this damn movie was finally over.

Don't get me wrong, I liked the movie ... I did. But, I honestly think that if the film editor had cut 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there from the action sequences they could have cut 40 minutes out of this movie and only made it better. 

Any attempt at an emotional connection to the characters was "for me" ruined by the sensory overload of non-stop action sequences. This was more of a Superman thrill ride than a movie. Something that I should have strapped myself into my seat for and watched with my hands in the air as I screamed with each roller coaster plunge and violent hairpin turn. And I don't know about you, but 3 hours on this roller coaster was more than enough to turn me Kryptonite green.

Now my inner child ... That little boy inside ... He might have loved this ride, except that he never got on. There was nothing innocent and fun enough to coax him to the surface or to bring his smile to my face. So he missed it, and the grown up me had to endure the movie alone. And that adult wanted more substance.

Amy Adams was fine as Lois Lane and they "fix" the age old question of her and Clark and the stupid "glasses disguise" by making it a non-issue. But we get very little of Lois herself. Nothing to connect to. This movie is rife with near misses. Moments that could have or should have meant something to us (Pa Kent's death) but didn't because every connection the movie wants us to make is severed sharply by the cut to the next action scene and mind numbing explosion.

I started out by saying I "liked" the Man of Steel, but thinking back on it now ... I think that may have been too generous. I rode the ride ... And there is no denying that the ride was thrilling ... But in the end, the ride went on too long ... And I had gone to the cinema to see a movie, not to ride an amusement park ride. So when placed within that context, I didn't get what I came for. I understand that summer action movies are supposed to be thrill rides, but I could have used a little less ride and a little more movie.


Jeff Moore

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