Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Five: Man of Steel

Welcome to this week’s Friday Five. If you haven’t been here before, this is nothing more than my random rambling about something that interests me, with a list of five, in no particular order. This week’s list is five scores for Man of Steel. Hope you enjoy!

Five Scores for Man of Steel

Last weekend I went to see Man of Steel. Then, I went to see it a second time this week. I admit I was a little worried about this movie because Superman happens to be my favorite superhero, from the unforgettable Christopher Reeve to the amazing Smallville. But based on the previews, I really thought it was going to blow me away. It did, but maybe not in the way you might expect. Below is my rating of 5 aspects of the movie starring the yumm-a-licious Henry Cavill. The scores are on a scale of 1-10, 1 being poor, 10 being perfect.
If you haven’t seen the movie, you’ll probably find SPOILERS below. But if you know the story of Superman, I don’t think any of them will be a surprise. If it contains a plot point spoiler, I marked it for your convenience so you can skip that part until you’ve seen it.

Casting: 8.2 Averaged
Henry Cavill: 10. Can we just give a little swoon here for the casting of Henry Cavill? Or a really large swoon? This dude is seriously gorgeous. I don’t think he’s human, in fact. How can someone who looks like that be real? The only thing that assures me of the slight possibility that he’s real is the fact that his bottom teeth are charmingly crooked. If you go see this movie for no other reason, it’s well worth 10 bucks and 2 ½ hours of your time just to look at him and watch his amazingly nuanced, deep performance. He is, without a doubt, a 10 on both my personal deliciousness scale, as well as my perfectly casted scale. (How in the world did he hide himself in the repulsive embodiment of Humphrey in Stardust?)
Amy Adams: 6. I love Amy Adams. Her turn as Giselle in Enchanted is one of my favorite performances. But as Lois Lane, not so much. Lois is supposed to be brunette, not a redhead, and she’s supposed to be tough, brash, in-your-face, not sweet and vulnerable. Amy Adams can’t help but be sweet, with her ultra-sweet voice. It’s just who she is. Nothing wrong with that—except in this movie. So though she remains one of my fave actresses, she’s the 2nd worst incarnation of Lois Lane that I’ve seen (Kate Bosworth in Superman Returns gets honor of 1st worst). Still, while she doesn’t quite pull off Lois, her acting is good, and would have worked as anyone but Lois Lane, hence my score of 6.
Kevin Costner/Diane Lane: 8. Kevin Costner manages to pull off a Jonathan Kent that the viewer can’t help but sympathize with. He’s constantly trying to teach Clark how to be a good person, and how to hide the abilities that might label him a freak and turn him into a lab experiment, all while trying to teach him that he’s perfect the way he is, while also teaching him to control those abilities so that someday he can use them for good. Hard job, shown to near perfection by Costner in his struggle to find the right balance. Diane Lane does a respectable job as Martha though I think any other actress could have done as well.
Russell Crow/ Ayelet Zurer: 9. I’m not a huge fan of Russell Crow, mainly because he seems to be a bit of an egotistical jerk in real life, which of course could be just the way he’s portrayed by the media. He might be perfectly nice person, but I admit my view of him is dimmed by some of his past antics. However, he’s amazing as Jor El. The emotion he portrays with nothing more than his eyes is really touching. Ayelet Zurer as Laura, Kal El’s mother, is heartbreaking and moving.
Dylan Sprayberry/Cooper Timberline: 8. These boys played Clark at ages 13 and 9 respectively. They genuinely look like they could grow up to be Clark Kent. They both did a fantastic job of portraying young Clark, particularly Dylan, showing his anguish as he grows up in a foreign world where his gifts are to be hidden, and he’s considered a freak even without showing the very thing he’s worried will label him a freak.
Lawrence Fishburne: 3. As Perry White, Lawrence Fishburne was just a big fat NO. Not one thing about him recalled any version of Perry White that has ever existed. So, um, just no. End of story.

Character Development: 6.5

(SPOILERS) This was a tough one to decide. The first third of the movie had great character development from the destruction of Krypton and little Kal-El’s parents sending him away in an attempt to save some part of Krypton, to Clark’s interactions with his earthly father. Glimpses of Clark’s troubled childhood and trying to hide his true abilities were heart wrenching. The second third of the movie, from the time Lois Lane makes her first appearance the character development begins to sag. It seems the PTB (powers that be) decided that they didn’t need to give us much insight into the characters because we should already know the story. The final third character development flew out the window. If you didn’t already care about the characters by that point, you weren’t ever going to. Some of the characters I definitely cared about (Clark/Kal-El, Jor-El, Jonathan Kent, and the family dog were about it for me). The rest I could take or leave, and would have been interchangeable with any other character.


Storyline: 5

This was the most heartbreaking part of my scoring. Why? Because I love all things, universes, incarnations of Superman that I’ve seen or read so far. So when I heard they were making a movie with all of that big money behind it, I was stoked. And Zack Snyder at the helm? Double stoked. Then I was disappointed. The movie could have easily come in under two hours rather than the 2:23 it is. At least 30 minutes of fighting could have been trimmed. Far too much of Clark’s childhood and what formed him into the man he is man was left out. Far too much of his big fight with Zod was left in. (SPOILERS FROM HERE ON) I hate it when movies play the whole: big climax, movie’s over. No wait, it’s not, there’s another climax coming, now it’s over. Wait, nope, there’s still more to go, with another several seeming climaxes before it actually ends. And there was so much destruction of tall office buildings that I cringed, reminded too strongly of a couple other buildings that came down in NY in 2001 that took a lot of lives. Are we supposed to believe that all of those buildings were empty, and no one was on the streets to be killed or injured by the massive amounts of falling debris? So that really bothered me, especially since it was unnecessary. I can take some destruction, in fact would have been disappointed without it, but it was way too much. The storyline overall is rather thin, seemingly wishing to wow you with so many special effects that you don’t notice the plot holes and lack of meaty storyline. With all of the Superman history, the best they could come up with is Zod coming to take back the codex, which can’t be retrieved since it’s part of Clark, and revenge because Jor-El sent the codex to earth with his son? Plus the huge plot hole of Zod being built for nothing more than to protect Krypton, and yet he wants to kill the one person who has the ability to restore the Kryptonian race? Um, yeah, okay.

Love Story: 4
There wasn’t much interaction between Clark and Lois, and certainly not enough interaction that would make their love understandable or even desired by the audience. It’s as if the writers decided the fact that they are Clark and Lois were enough to make us root for them and it wasn’t necessary to show us why they should be together. I admit, I thought my huge disappointment in this area was due to the fact that I’m a writer and understand how important it is to show why your MC’s belong together—until I heard several other people complain of the same thing who aren’t authors. I can understand why Lois fell for Kal-El based on the fact that she knew the accomplishments and selfless acts he’d performed. Plus there’s, you know, the whole hotness factor. (SPOILERS FROM HERE ON) But why did he fall for her? Because she kept his secret? Then he should have also been in love with the many other people who knew who and what he was (and in this movie, there were plenty). Because he rescued her multiple times? Same as before: he should have fallen for any number of people. There just wasn’t any substance to their relationship, certainly nothing to make me fall in love with them as a couple. And that was crushing to me, as the Lois & Clark partnership has always been one of my favorites.

Villains: 6
Michael Shannon did a fair-to-middling job snarling and chewing his way through the movie as baddie Zod. But here’s my deal: Where in the heck was Lex Luthor? When you think of Superman’s archnemesis, who do you think of? Not the one they chose to put in this movie. Zod should have been held off for another sequel or two, because it would make his anger more believable. Plus, how awesome would it be watching Lex Luthor try to control Zod to help him in his quest to bring down Superman, ala the original Superman movies? (SPOILERS FROM HERE ON) As is, Zod was hardly in the Phantom Zone long enough to work up more than a little irritation, let alone a full-blown, wanna kill all of earth’s people beginning with Clark Kent kind of fury. Plus, Zod is a criminal, not some sympathetic, misunderstood soldier as portrayed here. Seriously. That really chapped my hide (channeling my cowgirl-ness there). Zod should be a cruel, sadistic, uncaring villain who is nothing more than a criminal who can’t be reasoned with, for whom sympathy wouldn’t even be a side note. Not some dude who claims he’s just trying to do his job, for gosh sakes! There were more plot holes in Zod’s villainy than even in Lois & Clark’s love story. So why the higher score? Because not only did Zod put up a good fight, managing to kick Superman’s butt around a little—which reminds me, Superman was more Man of Aluminum than Man of Steel considering how many times he’s hurt in this move. But I digress. Not only the Zod thing I just mentioned, but also the cold hearted, kick-buttedness of his sidekick Faora-Ul, who was so beautifully played by Antje Traue. And they had some awesome weapons and ships.

Overall Score: 6.

You have no idea how much it kills me to give this movie a 6. I so wanted it to be a 10, or at least a 9 based on all of the recent superhero movies that have been taking money from my wallet. Christopher Reeves would be horrified at what they’ve done to his Superman. I do recommend you see it, because it’s worth a viewing. I saw it both in Imax 3-D and in Digital 2-D, and I honestly liked the 2-D better. I don’t think the 3-D added anything to the movie to make it worth the extra $.

I hope they make a sequel, and I hope they write a better story for the sequel and focus a little less on special effects and destruction than they do on the characters. Give us something to root for in the movie other than Cavill’s surreal good looks and expressive torment. And those eyes! And smile. And, well, just everything about him both looks-wise and character-wise. A romance with a certain reporter comes to mind as something that could be fleshed out into something vaguely realistic. A girl can dream, anyway.

Now, if only they’d make a movie based on Smallville, staring the utterly beautiful, beautiful Tom Welling (yep, he deserves two beautifuls), as an apology to fans for the lackluster 10th season, I might forgive Zack Snyder for taking such a large budget and making a sub-par movie. A girl can dream two dreams, anyway, right?

I created the Friday Five graphic from an original image copyrighted by: <a href=''>marincas_andrei / 123RF Stock Photo</a

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