"Man of Steel" Review - All Frosting, No Cake
"Too Far East is West"
So, fine. I guess I'm in the .0001 percent of the entire world population who was actually bored with "The Man of Steel." I was waiting for Superman, my Superman, and all I got was boring old action.
I was riding that natural high of anticipation standing in line waiting to get into "Man of Steel." I was totally engaged as Jor-El, magnificently portrayed by Russel Crowe, made the wrenching decision to launch his son into the unknown. I was enamored with the on-screen beauty of Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer who played Superman's birth mother. I adored Kevin Costner's portrayal of Superman's earthly father. But somewhere after the first third or so of the movie, writers Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer must have worn themselves out and the story devolved at that point to a cake-less frosting of a movie and a modern day example of that old Chinese proverb "too far east is west." There was a point about five-eighths into the movie (and yes it felt like there were around eight parts) where the narrative stopped and the movie with its the superfluous, redundant explosions, all meant apparently to be exciting I suppose, became an absolute snooze. I yawned. I fidgeted. I took a noisy sip of the Coke-flavored melted ice left in my cup. I looked for the Mentos in my purse. I wondered if anyone called my cellphone while it was silent.
There is a point where excitement on one end of a line and boredom on the other, are bent around in a circle, until they meet. And they met, in my humble opinion in "Man of Steel". Claudia Pwig, movie critic for USA Today and a few other brave writers in that field have gone out on a limb against the mighty Warner Brothers and the little boy/men lobby of movie goers to actually say that the "ka-BOOMs" POWs, and PWAKA-PWOOMs of the comic book world were a tad-bit overly done in "Man of Steel! Pwig made an important observation pointing out the irony of the Superman character, trying to save the world from destruction, participated in destruction beyond comprehension. Brad Brevet, member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, gave the movie a B- in his review at Rope of Silicon and states that "Man of Steel is best when it's at its quietest." I think Roger Ebert would give it a thumbs up, but would agree with Brevet.
Jesus VS General Zod
And if there had been one more reference to Jesus in this movie, I was going to have to choke. Arms outstretched, the ascension up to the heavens - iiiii yiii yii. I sure hope the risen Lord doesn't have to bring down half of a city, killing millions to save us from the General Zods of the Universe. (My husband argues this 2013's Superman Death Toll by all his leaping and bounding and chasing of Zod would have "only been in thousands").
One does have to wonder, though, if there is a connection to Goyer's youth and the obvious symbolism. Wikipedia references a quote attributed to the writer regarding his public school experience: "...a lot kids beat me up, saying that I killed Christ." Well, David, you brought Jesus back to life ten times over in "Man of Steel". If this movie lives on in sequels, as it surely seems destined, can you just assume we all get the symbolism and can move forward?
Pick an Ending, Any Ending
And speaking of "ten times" over...how about having made this into THREE movies right off the bat, saving us, your huddled paying masses, from suffering in seats placed in an upright and locked position for two hours and 15 minutes? Here's a thought for screen writers: pick an ending, any ending and go with it. The last 45 minutes of this movie reminded me of a 6 year-old birthday party for little boys that has gone on way past the time that the sugar (explosions in this case) has kicked in and it has the kids now climbing to the top branches of the front yard trees, swinging from limb to limb, and dropping to the ground until someone ends up calling for an ambulance. It’s really important to know when to end the party.
"Faster Than a Speeding Bullet, More Powerful Than a Locomotive, Able to Leap Tall Buildings in a Single Bound..."
The good part of the movie was that as I was yawning and planning my "to do" list for the next day, I glanced over at my husband and his eyes actually shone with excitement and I think he even was kind of smiling when Zod and Superman zoomed in and out of three buildings. So it wasn't a TOTAL waste of my time. Next time, though, I "ain't goin'" unless Clark Kent is in a suit in the first scene and a deep voiced announcer opens with "Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall building in a single bound," with a cut to a crowd of people shouting, one after another, "Look, up in the air.... It's a bird... It's a plane... No it's Superman!!!"