This is not a review in the usual sense. If you have been following my social media streams for any amount of time you will know that I have a very low opinion of Man of Steel. Indeed I may have at times called this the worst film ever made or in one fit of pique Man of S**t. As I have embraced the world of film criticism in 2014 I have been re-examining my relationship with certain films. Given how violently I reacted to watching this in the cinema and walking out before the end for the first time in my (at the time) 34 years on this earth I felt it only fair I should watch this film again.
In preparation I acknowledged my prejudices which includes a strong sentimental attachment to the original Superman movie starring the irreplaceable Christopher Reeves. I am am also a strong supporter of Superman Returns (2006) as the perfect character driven homage to the original trilogy. It’s a little bit like Star Wars (1977) – I forget about the other one. So it was that late last week my latest DVD rentals appeared in the post and Man of Steel was one of them. My nemesis had arrived.
OK so I was never going to be sold on the Dungeons and Dragons opening but I had to move past this and focus on the middle act and reassess the action packed finale. Above all else I had to watch every second of it. True to my word I watched every second looking for metaphors and hidden meaning, a glimmer of hope that this film was worth $700m+. Has a second viewing improved my opinion of the film? No, it’s still complete garbage.
The only thing that changed was that I understood more clearly why it was such a bad film. At its worst it is a cross between a Michael Bay production and the worst excesses of Roland Emmerich. The destruction of Metropolis feels like it is taken directly from Independence Day (1996) and the endless third act could have graced any of the Transformers films. The dialogue is unbelievable at times. My favourite is one of the final lines in the movie when the highly trained female Captain says words to the affect of he’s kinda hot in response to a question about why she’s giggling. The scenes of the birthing tubes are directly ripped off from The Matrix (1999) and the whole thing is totally lacking in imagination.
David Goyer and Zack Snyder turned what was once a great character based franchise and turned it into a completely dumbed down science fiction disaster movie. The credits claim that Christopher Nolan co-wrote the story. That may be true but I very much doubt the outcome was what he had in mind.