Director: Zack Snyder
Screenplay By: David S Goyer
Release Date: June 14, 2013
Run Time: 143 minutes
I saw this movie midnight on opening day with some friends of mine. When we got out of the theater and for the next few days all I could talk about was how cool the movie was. But as the weeks began to pass and the more I thought about the movie, the angrier I began to get. So much didn’t add up when you thought about it, and the character is so bastardized it’s almost comical to call this a Superman movie.
But after rematching it I have to say, I still found the act of watching the film enjoyable. It has flaws, big ones, some inexcusable, but it wasn’t the chore to rewatch that I was expecting. However, one of the things I noticed is that some of the issues I had in the theater weren’t in the dvd version at all. For example: I remember when I was in the theater thinking that the Han Zimmer single bass note “soundtrack” that was popular at the time was way to loud and that it was giving me a headache. Now, maybe the remixed the music for home viewing or maybe they took out his score all together, but I didn’t notice it here at all. It’s small things like that that made me have to up the score from the 2.5 I was expecting to give the film. So, after all my previous bitching about the film, let me make one thing clear: This is a much better movie at home than it was in the theater. It still isn’t perfect, bit i’ll give credit where credit is due. So, what did I like, what do I still hate? Let’s find out!
The film starts on Krypton and by now you know exactly what happens. The planet blows up, a young boy is sent to earth as his planet dies, so on and so forth. But with that said, this is still a rather interesting take on Superman’s origins. Here, General Zod isn’t just trying to take over Krypton, but instead is coup has a legitimate reason behind it: the incompetence of Kryptons leaders is what leaded to the destruction of their home world. This almost sets Zod up as some kind of antihero witch is interesting. This is kind of reinforced throughout the film as well, with his motivations literally being “i want to bring my people back”. But this also leads to one of the films issues. Zod needs to terraform Earth to bring Krypton back, but no reason is ever give as to why it has to be Earth. Why not go to Mars? If someone had managed to say this to the guy we probably could have avoided much of this.
Once this section of the movie is out of the way we go to…Clark as a grown man. Interesting choice. We watch as he works on a fishing boat when a distress call comes in. An oil taker is on fire and Clark, being the big blue boyscout, goes to help the people taped. He manages to help, but an explosion knocks him into the ocean. And here we get one of the movies many, many flashbacks. And we come to another one of my many, many issues with the film.
From this point till Clark meets with Lois at his fathers grave we get flashback after flashback and it really messes with the pacing of the film. All of this info could have been condensed and given too us all at once. But this also brings up another issue: Clark has no character in the film. See, he’s been movie from town to town, so it makes since that we don’t really meet the “real” Clark, but that doesn’t make him as a character any less boring.
Moving on with the plot, Clark and Lois meet for the first time when the government finds something is the arctic that is too old and to big to be a submarine. Clark goes to see what it is and find out that it is pone of his peoples colonization ships, and this functions as this franchises “Fortress of Solitude. Lois also makes her way to the ship, but ends up getting injured. Clark fixes her up, but this leads to her looking to find out who he is. Once she does however, she drops the story at his request.
At around the same time Clark movies the ship and uses it’s A.I. (modeled after his father, Jor-El) to learn about his people and gains his suit.
Henry Cavill as Superman
Unbeknown to our hero however, activating the ship also activated it’s distress signal. So, when Zod and his crew find a way out of the Phantom Zone, they know exactly where to fins him. The come to earth and send out a message saying they want their man or the earth will pay. Clark decides that he’ll turn himself into the human race, so that they know that he isn’t a treat to them. And again, we have another issue. The editing and pacing here movies way to fast. We movie from plot point to plot point with literally nothing connecting them together. For example, there is a scene were Superman is talking to a General about their plan, and the general says he is under orders to turn Superman over. Then there is a jump cut to Superman and Lois talking in the desert. There is nothing connecting this two moments. For contrast, lets look at the “Harry Potter” books and movies. When you really looks at those, you’ll notice that there really isn;t much plot in the early books and movies. But people love them because we spend so much time getting to know the world and characters. A truly great story should do both: give us plot and time to know the characters. But throughout the film we don;t really get to know our hero because the movie is more interested in moving thought the plot as fast as possible. This was also an issue in “Thor: The Dark World”, but even there we got a few scenes to further the relationships with the characters. Here we really don’t get that.
Michael Shannon as Zod
Anyways, Zod tells Clark about his plan and the last 40 minuets of the movie is basically one long fight scene. And yeah, all the destruction did bother me, but it all looks really good and I do have to say, with the exception of one part the fight is fun to watch. It’s almost like watching a live action “Dragon Ball Z” fight with the way the super-speed is used. So if nothing else, this film has the best action out of every movie i’ve reviewed this month.
That one scene is were Superman has to fly around the world to stop the second transforming devise. You see, there isn’t really a reason for this to be a fight scene. Twice now they’ve set up that Clark doesn’t react well to Kryptons environment anymore. So, having him have to face it head on could have made for an interesting conflict while also give us a break from the action. But no, this movie s all about the action, so that’s all we get.
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Zod’s death scene. After Superman and the military manage to send Zod’s men back to Phantom Zone, Zod has nothing left to lose and he and Superman, both having a good handle on their superpowers go at it. Superman manages to beat Zod, but Zod uses his heat vision to threaten the life of a nearby family. In order to save them Superman snaps Zods neck.
Now, Superman killing Zob in and of itself doesn’t bother me too much. But, like with the “why not go to mars” thing earlier, there are so many other options that this just feels out of place. Superman could have just flown up with Zod or covered his eyes. This was very much a lame “we need to end the movie now” ending.
This movie has issues. A lot of them. The pacing movies the story too slowly in the beginning and then too fact from the mid point on. Then each part of the film, Krypton-Clark Pre Superman-Superman Vs Zod, each feel like radically different films. But the main issue is that no one knows who or what this Superman is. They know what they don’t want him to be, but they don’t know what they want to replace that with. Because of this out main character is just boring. But again, I didn’t hate rewatching the movie. I may never choosier to watch it again like I may with “Superman 2”, but if this is on i’ll sit through it. I think the real question is: does it bother me that this is the version of Superman that is being used to spring bored the fist live action meeting of Superman and Batman? My answer: yeah, it’s less that ideal, but it doesn’t bother me the same way it does thinking that the first live action Transformers movie was the Michael Bay abomination. So join me tomorrow as I look at “The Dark Knight”.