Man of Steel

tn_manofsteel(contains THE SPOILERS)

I cannot tell a lie, I was really fuckin excited for the new Superman movie. I went to the midnight show and everything. I showed up way too early. I passed a guy dressed as Superman going into the john and might’ve given him a high five if I knew he’d washed his hands. I’m down for this. I wanted this to be great.

I’m not one of those people who shits on SUPERMAN RETURNS. I liked it, I just didn’t love it, mainly because I think it was shackled by nostalgia, held back by trying so hard to recapture the old Richard Donner movies. I know this is considered blasphemy in many circles (you’re gonna be hearing that a couple more times in this review) but I just don’t like those Superman pictures that much. They were great in the ’70s and early ’80s but to me they haven’t held up the way the Spielberg and Lucas joints of the era still do and will continue to. So as good of a job as Bryan Singer did of imitating that old version of Superman and goofball Lex Luthor and re-using the same font and music and all that, I feel like what I want to see now is start over and do a different take on Superman that’s made for the futuristic year of 2013. That’s what director Zack Snyder, writer David S. Goyer and producer Christopher Nolan have done with MAN OF STEEL and… well, I like not love this one also. But maybe like it a little more. Maybe a smidge closer to love on this one. I don’t feel high off it like I did off the Batman movies. But I am still thinking about it, and already want to see it again, see how it plays without all the baggage of expectations.

Henry Cavill plays Kal-El aka Clark Kent aka Superman aka The SZA. Like Christian Bale this guy is a Brit, unlike him he wasn’t in AMERICAN PSYCHO so to me he’s a total unknown. He’s a great find because he looks like how some people would draw Superman with a perfect balance of manly-man and pretty boy. In his most manly scene, rescuing oil workers while on fire, his bearded shirtlessness makes him look like Wolverine. Other times his big open face and kind eyes tell us he’s not jaded like Wolverine, even though he faces alot of the same life challenges.

The scope of the movie is pretty epic, beginning with Kal-El’s birth on the alien world of Krypton shortly before its destruction, then spanning his rural childhood with adoptive Earthling parents Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, his youthful struggles with discovering he’s a powerful being and that what he can do scares people, his later discovery of his origins and public outing when he has to defend the world from the space general Zod, who may be able to rebuild the Kryptonian race but at the expense of human life on Earth. Like BATMAN BEGINS much of this is shown in non-linear flashbacks while the young unshaven man travels the globe under an assumed name taking on different shitty jobs and trying to find himself. (As a capital w Writer I gotta say I wish we saw him jotting down some shit in journals throughout his adventures so that he didn’t seem like a poser at the end when he becomes a reporter. We never saw the guy write a god damn word in his life, now he’s going pro? If he just has to use the power of the yellow sun for that it’s not fucking fair.)

(On second thought it could be a commentary on the decline of print journalism that they’re just hiring some dude with no experience or education to be a reporter at a major newspaper.)

mp_manofsteelSnyder’s version of Kryptonian culture is less crystal-based than the old one, more fantastical. There are Star Warsian creatures and bizarre electronics out of a European comic book Jodorowsky would write. About 1 minute into the movie you’re going all right people, you seriously want the DARK KNIGHT police procedural Batman to be in the same world as this roaring space buffalo here? Come on fellas. But it does follow some of the same philosophy of trying to honor the comic book traditions while giving them new explanations and contexts, for example the Superman costume is now made out of a sort of chain mail and we see this is the layer Kryptonians wore beneath a larger suit of armor. And they put the family crest on that layer rather than an Under Armour logo like we would do.

I think my favorite thing I haven’t seen done with Superman before is in the childhood portion, when we see what a nightmare it is for a kid to be in school and see everybody as x-rays and hear every tiny sound in the room and outside of the room. Also he can hear people whispering about him, it’s bad for the self esteem. Later, when Zod and the other Kryptonians come to Earth they can face that same horror of sensory overload (minus the whispering, because they don’t care what humans think of them), giving Superman the an advantage over them.

Superman grew up as an outsider on Earth, but he would’ve on Krypton too, since he was the product of an illegal birth, born to decide his own destiny. He is truly a Kryptonian-American, and this is a story about cross-culturalism. Jor-El saw Kal as the bridge between Kryptonians and Earthlings. Superman is the combination of Kal and Clark, of the nature of the Els and the nurture of the Kents. He stops the genocidal colonialism of the race he was born into, and serves as a beacon of hope for the one he adopted. He is more powerful as an individual than the American miltitary is as a whole, because he’s an alien. But he reminds them that he grew up in Kansas. Melting pot and all that.

That said, Krypton and Kansas are very white. It’s not like there’s no color in the cast, ’cause Laurence Fishburne and Harry Lennix both have important supporting roles (I thought they were gonna start fighting over Niobe again), but I think we all know how part 2 can use its comic book roots to bridge cultures and get some more diversity going:


Until then, Amy Adams is good for the role, for sure much better than poor Kate Bosworth, and in a better interpretation of the character. There’s lots of room to explore her further but she’s established from her first scene on as a smart and accomplished woman who asserts herself and gets her way without people disliking her for it. She uses her reporterly skills to trace her mystery man from Antarctica to his parents’ house in Smallville, which is a double whammy considering it both makes her more than a scooper with connections and saves us from ever having to face that “How the fuck does she not figure out he’s Superman?” question. In this version you could say she figures out he’s Superman before he does.

In fact, the whole approach to the secret identity is pretty different now. If I understand correctly the military knows Superman is Clark Kent. Also the manager of an IHOP knows. He doesn’t worry all day about hiding that, he just tries not to spread it around too much. (I got the same thing, the government probly knows my secret identity, ’cause I use hotmail.)

I like how he tells the government to quit spying on him, but don’t they already know where his clubhouse is? They were the ones who found it, after all. I guess he moved it but it must be still in Antarctica, right? I bet they could figure it out pretty easy.

Michael Shannon as Michael Ironside as Zod is not a scene-stealer like a Joker or a Bane, but he’s a cool villain because he has a consistent goal and point-of-view. I mean, he’s definitely an asshole but more like Patton or somebody than Loki. We understand what he’s trying to do and why. Not a bunch of wicked cackling. Antje Traue gets to be more traditionally villainous as Zod’s sidekick, apparently named Faora-Ul. She just has to look mean and be a badass, but she’s good at it. She seems more like an actual evil person than Zod, but maybe she just enjoys her job. I can respect that.

The visual style of the movie is top notch, but in a way I think Snyder is pulling a Clark Kent and hiding his true self. I can’t remember a single slo-mo or speed ramp in the motherfucker. Some people may hate his sense-heightening filmatics, but fuck ’em. That stuff would’ve been dead-on perfect for a movie about a superman doing supershit. Did you see that owl movie, where he showed how the owls could sense every single drop of water in a rain storm as they flew through it? I would’ve been down for some of that. Snyder restrains himself and sticks with the mimicry of (believe it or not) Terence Malick visuals and Christopher Nolan tone. At the beginning he even pays tribute to Nolan’s biggest weakness by shooting a close up and shaky fist fight. Most of the action is subtly staged to seem objective. Not fakumentary or Greengrass style but with lots of shots where the camera can’t get close to or can’t keep up with the super-beings, you see it from a distance, with an occasional sloppy zoom, like a cameraman coming up with an idea on the fly. It looks great but by trying to extend Nolan’s grounded-super-heroes approach into super power land I think Snyder denies us his usual emphasis on strength and impact, which would’ve so clearly been a good match for the material.

But maybe I’m wrong to complain, because the simulated verite certainly makes it different from the other more digital looking comic book fantasies. Snyder’s natural talents can’t help but shine through in a ton of crazy flying and superpunching and destruction during act number three. It looks and feels different from what he’s known for (much more real and less painterly) but it’s still something only he could’ve done like that. None of the other movies with super-powered fights have made it look this good.

Yeah, there’s a sense of mild disappointment, because my hopes were set to the sky. The Batman movies set the bar real high, and the trailer for this thing gave me honest-to-Christ goosebumps every single time I saw it before a movie. I guess that trailer spoiled alot of the emotional beats, and condensing them along with Hans Zimmer’s excellent theme was a kick more powerful than they could manage in the actual movie. Or at least it didn’t connect with me the way I hoped it would.

Unfortunately a quick glance finds others in this dilemma of liking this movie when they thought they would love it, and trying to put a finger on why. I disagree with other peoples’ findings that it’s too long. It obviously follows the BATMAN BEGINS template, but that movie was so absorbing in the story of putting together every piece of the Batman methodology (training as a ninja, setting up in the cave, building the costume piece by piece) that when the big Batman vs. monorail setpiece at the end was kinda underwhelming it didn’t matter at all. In fact I remember before DARK KNIGHT worrying that it might not be as good because it would have to be more Batman and less Bruce Wayne.

MAN OF STEEL needs to have more time for the super so it speeds through the part about the man. I think we could’ve used more Jor-El on Krypton too. This works a little different from BEGINS because the becoming-Superman story is more familiar from the previous movie and the new additions are not as striking. It’s mostly a new version of the Superman story instead of a part of the story we haven’t seen before. The third act, the Superman stuff, is far and away more impressive and exciting than the Batman stuff at the end of BEGINS, but since the earlier part feels rushed through more than Batman’s we (or at least I) feel less deeply connected to the character and what he’s trying to do. Even though I like him. I mean, he seems like a really nice guy.

And come to think of it there are some ideas that I believe are new to Superman, having to do with how Kryptonian society functioned, why Kal El represented a new hope for them as much as he does for Earth, how he and Zod are in opposition in their plans for continuing the legacy of Krypton. These are high points of the movie, but in some cases they don’t find the time to weave them in subtly, they make them come out bluntly in dialogue.

(SPOILER: Wait a minute, what did Jor El want him to do when he grew up? He wanted him to re-grow Kryptonians on Earth but help them to get along, or did he not want him to do it? I’m sorry, it was pretty late at night and I don’t remember if this was made clear in their conversation about it.)

On the other hand, the way Goyer establishes an ancient connection between Krypton and Earth is very smart and is mostly explored visually. Cape’s off to that idea and the possibilities it adds to the Supersaga.

Blasphemy #2 according to most people I know: I count myself as a Zack Snyder fan. Of course I’ve had problems with him from the beginning. I forgave DAWN OF THE DEAD for being hollow compared to the original and 300 for bringing up timely political themes while being too superficial to really mean it. I had fun with those movies but I wanted to see a smarter Snyder. I got that with WATCHMEN but I get the feeling that just came from literally translating the source material.

SUCKER PUNCH seemed to show his strengths and weaknesses more than ever before, and really changed my view of him. Blasphemy #3, considered an abhorrent view to many of my friends and loved ones: I kinda love that big ol’ mess. It shows his mastery of visual storytelling and flights of fancy (there’s still no other movie that looks like that or is as ambitious in its fantasy action imagery) but also showed how hard he can stumble just by reaching for meaning and depth. SUCKER PUNCH is when I realized I was wrong all along. Zack Snyder should absolutely not be trying to make smarter movies. He should just be making Zack Snyder movies.

I’ll have to revisit this at a later date, but my day-after feeling is that MAN OF STEEL is held back by a mild case of that SUCKER PUNCH syndrome. Instead of just giving us himself Snyder’s trying to give us his version of what we like about Nolan’s movies. I think the gorgeous, poetic imagery, the stirring wall-to-wall score by Zimmer and the Nolan-esque seriousness put us in mind of something with a little more emotional depth than what we’re actually getting. So it feels good but just slightly off. I think you would be crazy not to acknowledge that this looks way better than any of the Marvel movies. It feels like something bigger, something more real, something more amazing, a higher class of super hero movie. But that’s all on the surface. THE AVENGERS, IRON MAN, maybe even CAPTAIN AMERICA beat it at least in the story department. They pull you in more and take you for more of a ride. I mean, I’d take it over THOR for sure, but that’s not what it’s aiming for. It’s aiming for Batman, and that’s one tall building it can’t leap over for american justice and truth, it’s a bird it’s a plane etc.

Now, as I’ve just said I’ve been wrong before about what Snyder should do with his movies. But if I could give him and Goyer advice for a potential part 2 it would be to stop worrying about being like Nolan. If you try to make the Superman version of DARK KNIGHT you’re just gonna disappoint everybody. Instead why not the Superman version of BLADE 2? Concentrate on iconic characters, cool gimmicks, badass set pieces, funny lines, some surprises, some twists, a fun time for everybody. This is what both Snyder and Goyer excel at. They might as well do it some more.

* * *


regarding credits:

Everybody seems to think these gotta follow the Marvel thing, have a little part after the credits where Batman and Robin break into Superman’s snow cave or he accidentally crashes into Wonder Woman’s invisible plane or whatever. They’re not doing that and I think that’s cool. I mean that stuff is fun but it has already turned into a formula. It’s better for the Superman people and for the Marvel people if it doesn’t get overused.

And by the way, I am a credit watcher. I know you’re trying to be helpful, but you don’t gotta come up and break it to me there’s nothing at the end of the credits of this or FURIOUS 6. I figured there wasn’t, but sometimes a man likes to let the movie soak in, listen to the music, maybe check who played this character or what was that song or whatever. Leave him alone and stop blocking his view and acting like there’s something wrong with him for not getting up to wait to slowly waddle out of the door with the rest of the crowd.

regarding 3D:

I saw it in Real D because I wanted to see it at the Cinerama, and that’s how they’re playing it (except on Tuesdays – they do “2D Tuesdays” now – cool policy). This is not my preference for MAN OF STEEL because it’s fake 3D, but I didn’t have a big problem with it. It does look fairly dimensional for a while and never caused darkness or blurriness problems. The only issue I had is in some of the early Krypton scenes it seemed to be a bad match with the handheld cameras, though not to the extent of the eye-hurting opening of converted 3D Imax STAR TREK INTO THE STAR DARKNESS.

One question it brings up is how much shit the 3D conversion crew gave to the poor bastard that got stuck 3D-ifying baby Kal El’s junk. I bet he never heard the end of it. Sorry about that buddy I hope they paid you extra or something.

2013 summer movie rankings so far:


This entry was posted on Friday, June 14th, 2013 at 6:41 pm and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

262 Responses to “Man of Steel”

  1. Superman & Batman were both at the theatre last night. I got a photo of me punching out Superman while kicking Batman in the jaw. And I got like 7 free comics from a local funny paper vendor. And I got another photo where I’m like 6 inches taller than Supes & Bruce Wayneman. It was awesome. It’s always nice when studios arrange to make opening night special.

  2. Great review as always, Vern. I am in love with this movie, and I was particularly glad the “super fart – excuse me” from the trailer was not what it seemed because it seemed terrible. The reality of the scene was much nicer.

    SPOILERS: I think Zod crashed the Fortress and blew it up. Also the government does not know who Superman is. The movie makes that pretty clear a couple times.

  3. Good review, Vern. I largely agree. I wanted to love this movie, but only liked it.

    Thinking about it over the last few hours since I’ve seen it and I think I’m just going to blame Nolan for everything I disliked (mostly the story) and credit Snyder for everything I did like (it’s really well shot and acted).

    The story is a bit of a mess. It does the Batman thing I didn’t like where it tries to be super serious adult drama (or super serious adult sci fi drama in this case) but is really ridiculous and, if not humorless, doesn’t seem to understand how ridiculous it is. The opening 30 minutes is the most insane prolonged opening to a movie ever. I think the movie needed to change the story dramatically if it was going to be as serious as it was, but I’m not sure if taking a more pulp approach could have worked because the first hour of post-Krypton stuff is all gold.

    I think this movie should have been a part 2. I wanted a movie of just Clark Kent being a kid and growing up to be Superman. That’s the dramatic arc it should have told, and what of it did tell was great, and I think it would have been a much better movie had the story been less ambitious and focused on the characters with a minor villain to work as a good 3rd act action sequence. Part 2 should have been all the Krypton stuff and focused on Superman finding out about his Kryptonian heritage and tie all of that into Zod and whatnot. Instead the movie just had too much and it didn’t all work.

    But outside of story elements the actual movie was good. Action scenes felt intense and had a lot of gravity to them. There were a few great shots, I loved the one of Superman from his shoulders down in the back and you see his hand and then the cape flutters in the way and when you see his hand again it is a fist, and there’s a lot to like about the movie.

    I blame Nolan for what I didn’t like, and what I did like was probably due to Snyder.

  4. I also stayed for the credits, which is how I learned the awesome true fact that the hovering computer robot with mercury marbles for a face was voiced by Carla Gugino.

    My expectations for this movie were pretty split. Love Snyder, don’t like Nolan’s superhero movies. I was prepared for it to go either way. I ended up liking it quite a bit. It feels very big, very lavish, from the spectacle to the emotions. Sometimes to its detriment. I think it could have used some more light moments, because the ones that were there worked and made this guy the movie kept insisting was this weird alien more relatable. I also got the sense that Snyder was holding himself back. He did a good job but it feels like someone else’s style. I liked the way it was shot, but I’m always gonna prefer slow-mo over shakycam. Hopefully if the movie’s successful Snyder will get to have more control over the sequel and put a little more of his own style into the action.

  5. Yeah I gotta agree about the shaky cam at the start… it had me worried, but then things smoothed out and I really liked the way super-fast motion was depicted; it was actually fast instead of the weird slow-mo-as-fast they used in Smallville (for instance).

    My favorite parts were the stuff with Kevin Costner. He was great as Pa Kent, and I especially loved the way they handled his death. It was a fresh take on an old story and it really resonated with me.

    Hopefully the movie will be just as good on second viewing. I’m amazed it has such a mixed reaction, it’s easily on par with or better than STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS in my opinion.

  6. One Guy From Andromeda

    June 14th, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I never understood why people hate sucker punch so much. For years everybody is like wouldn’t it be great if there was a movie that’s just a 2 hour music video with hollywood production values? and then they get it and everyone is like yeah, but we didn’t want it like THAT.

  7. I’m usually not a fanboy about things, but seeing Superman up on the screen, fully embodied and acting like Superman, really was something special. I know it’s not a perfect movie, but I really fell in love with it. The action was better than any of the recent superhero movies, or really blockbusters in general. Transformers-levels of destruction, but actually done with skill and shot so you could actually see what was going on.

    With the exception of the black gooey arm thing that was attacking Superman out of the big gravity machine…. that was a mess.

    A lot of the criticism I’m seeing around the web and on Rotten Tomatoes has to do with the tone of the film. I can understand wanting a bit more humor in it, but it was really nice not having each dramatic moment undercut with humor like we get in most of the Marvel movies. Iron Man 3 could not seem to have a genuinely dramatic moment without throwing a punchline or two in. (IM3 Spoilers Ahead). One second Tony thinks Pepper just burned to death; the next he’s cracking wise with the main villain. Man of Steel never reaches the genuine emotion of either Batman Begins or The Dark Knight, but I definitely did care about the characters, and the movie never undercut itself by trying to be jokey, which was a big problem I had with Star Trek into Darkness as well.

    I don’t think this film will hold up as much for home viewing as well as The Avengers or the first Iron Man. The story just isn’t there. It was a great superhero movie though and a great time at the theater. I felt like I was truly seeing the live-action Superman I’ve always wanted to see for the first time.

    Also, heat vision. Love me some heat vision.

  8. I liked the priest scene.

    I’m surprised nobody has complained about the climax ending. I liked the idea, but man it had no power. It hadn’t earned it to actually be effective. At all.

    *SPOILER* Yes I know Superman in the comics and elsewhere doesn’t kill. But in this movie (pretend this is the only Superman media in existence), why would he be that upset about breaking Zod’s neck? Hell he’s from Kansas, I could see him having a self-righteous feeling about such a thing. Where does he decide that life is that valuable and thus felt he had no choice with Zod? Nevermind this same Zod tried to kill his planet and already killed thousands if not millions of people. Oh and he trashed Superman’s house and tossed his surrogate Mom around. Nevermind Zod was gonna cook a family. Isn’t that usually movie code for the bad guy should die? Did Dirty Harry cry when he killed Scorpio. No. You know why? Because that would be stupid.

    Somebody I know tried to argue that Superman’s anguish is learning after the fact that he just realized that indeed he is the last Kryptonian ever. Bullshit. This was after he already gave his defiant “Krypton had its chance!” line to Zod and stopping him from actually saving Krypton. He was flying his Humanity flag at that point.

    Let’s contrast this with BATMAN BEGINS where it actually made a point of Bruce Wayne throwing that gun in the river, and making his unsaid declaration not to kill. Then TDK made another point of the potential limits to his code of honor. Now what if say Joker or Bane, he had killed them? I could buy why the hero would feel anguish and why such a moment would be tragic.

    For MOS, hey Supes killed space Hitler! OH NOOOOOOOOOO! WaitI thought that was a good thing.

    “The action was better than any of the recent superhero movies, or really blockbusters in general.”

    Better than FAST & FURIOUS 6? Pfft. In terms of craftsmanship, editing, and imagination, Justin Lin with that airplane scene alone beats the pants out of MOS.

    The VFX 3rd act becomes an Emmerich movie, apocalyptic mayhem porn. After the 3rd or 4th skyscraper OMG! OMG! falling on us, I…didn’t care. I generally don’t like disaster films because of that inevitable disconnect, and this was what MOS became.

    “but it was really nice not having each dramatic moment undercut with humor like we get in most of the Marvel movies.”

    Snowbie – Isn’t it interesting how many people online last summer said THE AVENGERS (full of humor) was “fun” and “this is how you make superhero movies!” Alot of those same folks are now saying it was too jokey. Remember Vern’s prediction that 25% of those fanboys would turn around and shit on the movie? Ding ding!*

    Why I can’t I like both the Nolan and Marvel approaches? I think they’re (generally) pretty good at what they do. Its like saying East and West Coast rap from back in the day, I have to choose. Nonsense! (Or I could look at James Bond. Two of the best 007 entries were THE SPY WHO LOVED ME and ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, two really different ways of making a Bond film to say the least yet they’re terrific.)

    *=Where is CrustaceanHate to slap my wrist for generally dismissing those fanboys collectively and caring what they think?

  9. Dikembe Mutombo

    June 14th, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Vern, nice call on Jodorowsky’s comics in the Krypton scenes, I got that same vibe from it.

    I remember when you big-upped Snyder’s action chops in SUCKER PUNCH and i thought “yeah right, pull the other one pal” but then eventually I watched it and I was like yeah, shit, vern was right. This guy’s just a natural filmmaker. I think MAN OF STEEL has some of his finest moments in that respect.

    I was completely floored by the action sequence in Kansas. I never thought superpeople fighting could look that good in a live action movie, or could be so exciting and cool. Faora was the badass surprise of the movie for me, and watching her and the other guy take on superman at the same time was jawdropping. It kinda made me think of Spielberg, just in the way really clear visual storytelling is married to creative and visceral action beats and dynamic camera movement. Snyder should definitely be proud of the stuff he pulled off there.

    That said, I didn’t really think the movie was that great either. I was hoping it would be, the trailer made it look amazing. But in execution it felt very wooden and stiff to me, and light on character. I thought Goyer wrote some of the worst dialogue of his career here. And as natural a visual storyteller as Snyder is, I think he has difficulty controlling a movie’s tone. Or maybe it’s just that the tone he’s going for is supposed to be turgid and samey in every scene. I don’t wanna sound like an asshole, but I rolled my eyes at a bunch of stuff in this movie, and I’m so not an eyerolling kind of guy. My internal monologue was going “nooo zach not a chris cornell song… nooo not a scene staged in front of a stained glass jesus wearing a red cape…” and so on.

  10. No way RRA, the anguish was a great touch and totally earned. It was well established that they were after similar goals. It’s not just that Zod was a vestige of his roots, but that he expected more from himself than to solve problems by snapping necks. He didn’t kill the bullies who picked on him on the farm, he walked away from the assholes who dumped beer on him at the bar. He doesn’t do the same thing Dirty Harry or Batman would do because he’s not Dirty Harry or Batman, he’s Superman. Batman failed to kill the guy that killed his parents, Superman failed to work things out with the guy who killed his father. At the very least it’s something that makes it stand out from other comic books movies, and good vs. evil movies in general.

    Majestyk, the style of the movie was actually what Snyder wanted to do. Mr. Beaks has a really good interview with Goyer:


    where he says “At one point, I had written some scenes that involved dilating time and showing Superman grabbing bullets out of the air like The Flash, and Zack said, ‘He could do that, but I’m not going to shoot it that way. I sort of want to do it from the perspective of a human.'”

    So you can see how he stuck with that philosophy. But maybe in a sequel if the story emphasis changed then we could see more of a Super perspective.

  11. I just wanted to say: Good Review, Vern. I especially like what you said about the Trailer and the expectations it gave us. That score alone is a kind of spoiler, in away.

    To be official, would you say it’s better than Batman Begins but not as good as Dark Knight or Dark Knight Rises? Because I thought Man of Steel was better than Dark Knight Rises (Rises was more flawed and clunkier to me, this had more, fun action) and not as good as Dark Knight.

    To me, Dark Knight is the sort of lightning-in-a-bottle-crazy-idea that is hard to top, narratively speaking. It ended on such a fucking high note and this did not (though it still ended OK).

  12. Does the whole “Hey guys, since you’ve obviously never heard of that new character Superman, let me tell you that he’s an alien from Krypton who grew up in Kansas” part take a big chunk of the movie or not? The idea of a new Superman movie was super exciting to me at first, but then when the trailers started looking like SMALLVILLE: THE MOVIE, I was way less excited. So, do we get to the new stuff fast, or does the rehashing of the origin story eat up half of the movie like they did in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN?


    @ Toxic, the opening is all about Krypton and is refreshingly actiony. And when I say “actiony” I mean Russel Crowe punches people and rides a flying horse and does other cool things. And people fire guns and stuff. As Vern says it is not the “Crystal-World” though some of the action is filmed hand-held and is not as clear as it could be (though it’s still better than BATMAN BEGINS). What really hit me was how good the CGI was. Well-designed and easy to follow, unlike the Star Wars prequels.

    SMALLVILLE: The Movie takes up about 15 minutes, tops.

  14. Dikembe Mutombo

    June 15th, 2013 at 5:11 am

    “Better than FAST & FURIOUS 6? Pfft. In terms of craftsmanship, editing, and imagination, Justin Lin with that airplane scene alone beats the pants out of MOS.”

    This probably won’t be a widely shared opinion around here, but I disagree. I wasn’t that exhilarated by the action in FURIOUS 6 (and I’m a big fan of the series). The style of action is much more my ‘thing’ than MOS (real stunts vs. animated people doing impossible things), but in the execution it didn’t do a lot for me aside from the big stuntwork money shots. I think it’s because Dom & co. have been pushed so far into superhuman territory, and so little legwork was done to make it appear like they even had a chance of not kicking Luke Evans’ ass, that i just checked out mentally because I didnt feel a sense of danger or urgency.

    (I know its funny to complain about Dom being superhuman and on the other hand praise a movie thats literally about Superman, but MAN OF STEEL did a good job for me of making the threats feel like they could overwhelm Superman, and also of establishing some pretty formidable stakes, like Zod slaughtering civilians. The movie also did a good job of building up for about an hour to make you really anticipate seeing Superman lay down some asskickings, like how Unforgiven makes you wait to see Clint really do his thing and it’s even sweeter for it.)

    Also, Snyder holds his shots longer than Lin (aside from the shaky/rapid edit Russell Crowe fight in the opening), which I really appreciate. FURIOUS 6 had good action comprehensibility but it still felt like an Action Stew to me sometimes with all the rapid crosscutting. Just one Mutombo’s opinion.

  15. MAN OF STEEL is easily one of the best directed films of the year, but… it’s still the story of an invincible alien who can fly & shoot heat beams from his eyes. Somehow this stuff is intrinsically boring in the medium of cinema, always inevitably moving toward anticlimax instead of revelation & fun. (Could be the writers’ fault.) I love what Snyder’s done here, making by far the best live action Superman movie yet, but I hate that he’s neutered himself, like Vern points out:

    The visual style of the movie is top notch, but in a way I think Snyder is pulling a Clark Kent and hiding his true self. I can’t remember a single slo-mo or speed ramp in the motherfucker. Some people may hate his sense-heightening filmatics, but fuck ‘em. That stuff would’ve been dead-on perfect for a movie about a superman doing supershit. Did you see that owl movie, where he showed how the owls could sense every single drop of water in a rain storm as they flew through it? I would’ve been down for some of that. Snyder restrains himself…

    Thus does MAN OF STEEL become an example of anti-Auteur Theory, which is a tragedy in my opinion.

    If you don’t buy the phrase I just coined, then fuck you, but okay, nerd, how about this:
    This is the work of Bizarro Zack Snyder, who is as skilled as Real Zack Snyder and generally looks & feels & smells like Real Zack Snyder, but who is often antithetical to the awesomeness of his Real counterpart. Bizarro Zack Snyder seems to answer to a different god (Christopher Nolan?) rather than to his own independent instincts & desires.

    And Michael Shannon is kinda shitty in this movie. He’s weak, whiny, & traitorous. Doesn’t seem like he woulda been promoted to General on any planet, though his bitchy traits & incongruous meanness make for a good villain, I guess. His voice is fucking stupid, seemingly reliant on only one lung, and, sadly, he never quite gets to go mega.

    The real find here is Faora-Ul (Antje Traue) (had to look both those names up). She’s the new Colonel Quaritch, and Quaritch is one of my favorite characters of all time. If video games have had any positive impact on pop culture & cinema, that influence can be found in this mech-woman — not afraid to be a digital creation, hiding within sci-fi constructs, costumes, & easily ridiculable alien powers, but still a fully realized being with purpose & feeling.
    She’s got all the tools & no reservations about using them — she’ll punch you, she’ll mindmeld you, she’ll stare you down, she’ll use technology to beat you. She is the ideal to strive for. She should be the General. She’s the reason Krypton should be reconstituted atop the bones of puny earth & us puny earthlings.

    Lois Lane is fantastic as well. Is it a bird? A plane? An invincible flying alien? No, even rarer, it’s a smart, believable female movie character! She uses the awesome power of investigative journalism to find Kent, further the story, establish herself as a good character, outdo the feds, and warm my heart. If only it weren’t almost a fantasy that a daily metropolitan newspaper would have the budget to send a reporter on a days-long field project in the midwest plains.

    I like how Superman’s cauterization/penetration of Lois is an act of healing. Quite a meetcute, that. Does that count as getting to 3rd base, like what Amy Adams made that horse do in CRUEL INTENTIONS 2? Superman’s Kryptonian first aid was more sexual, more arousing than Amy Adams handjobbing Lancaster Dodd, that’s for damn certain. Fucking great editing on that scene as well, cutting away from the painful/orgasmic scream. Snyder & his unique gender/sex depictions, yet again substituting (but, importantly, not conflating) a kind of violence for an idea of sex, and he sneaks it in here unchallenged because it happens to fall into the milieu & expectations of a comic book, a superhero’s powers, his penetrating super-eyes as probing surgical tool. I love it.

  16. On the SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER controversy…
    I feel that Snyder was borrowing from himself, from what many consider the strongest scene, the strongest moment, the most striking moment of his oeuvre
    (aside, arguably, from “This. Is. Sparta!” {*kick!*})
    which is Rorschach’s Antarctic suicide-by-Dr.Manhattan & Nite Owl’s anguished screaming reaction to it. That part of WATCHMEN is a fucking great scene, more cinematic & more visceral & more heartbreaking than Alan Moore’s perfect original literary depiction of that moment.

    And when Superman simmers in the rear choke position, weighing his options, trying to bargain for peace, trying to save both earthling lives & Krypton legacies, feeling an impending singular genocide in the crook of his arm, a bloodline betrayal, his faraway home planet on the verge of re-extinction… and finally snaps a neck, & cries in anguish, it’s good, controversial stuff but I immediately thought of the fantastic ending of WATCHMEN.

  17. Snyder SUCKS.

  18. For JD’s sake, I should note also the overarching sadness I feel during & toward this whole venture, this new Superman franchise, which is due to the realization that it will consume Zack Snyder for several years, likely rendering him logistically incapable of making another “personal” film like the great SUCKER PUNCH.

    Hopefully Snyder’s writing an original script in his rare off-hours, though, while hording gobs of cash & prepping a lease on a bluescreen lot in Vancouver. I’m sure my beloved Vanessa will still be in shape to play whatever character, to dance whatever number, to fire whatever weapon, to yippie-ki-yay another motherfucking dragon when the time comes.

  19. Ayelet Zurer deserves a mention as well. She looks dam regal as Lara (Especially in her death scene).

  20. Mouth: Adorability is my Kryponite, but I somehow remain immune to Amy Adams’ charms. I just don’t buy her. Nobody can be that sweet and cherubic. Instead of getting enveloped in her charm, I find myself wondering what the catch is. I find her cuteness forced, for some reason. So I agree that the character of Lois was given more to do than normal but I didn’t think she was feisty enough. The part requires either a. a classic film noir vamp, or b. a total spaz. These little girls in big girls’ clothes they keep casting are just not cutting it for me.

    Oh well. At least it wasn’t fucking Beckinsale.

  21. Through the power of Google Alert, I call upon a Superman expert and writer, Martin Pasko, to offer his opinion! He was one of the screenwriters on Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, so he knows what he is talking about.

  22. I still half-expect to see an army of varmints, birds, & insects appear & clean an apartment & sway with some princess music whenever I hear Amy Adams’s voice. Vern knows what its like to be ENCHANTED by that superheropower. (Ignore the part where he Shalitianly says he was “disenchanted” by it.)

    They didn’t have the balls to cast Henry Cavill’s real life girlfriend as his movie girlfriend here. (Plus she was busy working on a slightly better movie.)

    From a studio perspective, you really can’t improve on the choice of Adams as Lois Lane — the prestige, the look, the ability to be both cute & professionally serious, the mass relatability that’s not yet oversaturated.

    Who’re today’s “classic film noir vamp” candidates who can be feisty and aren’t movie-ruining Brits married to dubious action film directors? Lizzy Caplan?

    Who’s a good “total spaz”? When I think of “total spaz,” I think of Lindsay Lohan falling into that trash can in MEAN GIRLS.

  23. Off-topic, but what are your folks’ thoughts on the future now (i.e. sequels/spin-offs/Justice League) that MOS apparently will dominate the fuck out of the weekend box-office?

    I know they’ll inevitably do Lex Luthor for the next film, but I rather wished we got Metallo and Brainiac. Of course a friend of mine suggested Metallo being a super-henchman for Luthor, which isn’t bad.

    Darkseid in the future would feel too much like a Zod rerun, wouldn’t it or not?

  24. I gotta say, I loved this movie a lot more than I expected to. I was in the minority as someone who was completely unexcited to see this movie. The only reason I saw it was a buddy of mine had an extra ticket to the midnight showing. I loved the sheer scope of the movie, as well as the reconceptualization of the Superman mythos for the 21st century. I am curious, though, about the mixed reaction, and I have a theory about it. I wonder if this is a film that will fall along a generational divide. Is it maybe that those moviegoers who didn’t grow up with Christopher Reeve as their Superman have an easier time accepting this reimagining? Most of the mixed to negative reviews I’ve read have the common theme of comparing this film to Superman 1 and 2. I think that was a fair comparison to make with Superman Returns, as Singer was trying to make a direct sequel to those films. But this is a completely different animal, and I think bringing the baggage of those earlier films along when seeing this film can prevent someone from judging this film on its own merits.

    I think this movie has a much bigger hurdle to overcome in this regard than Nolan did with Batman Begins. There was no iconic image of Batman in the movies. There couldn’t be, since three different guys played the role in 4 different movies, and there are still arguments about which one was the best. Christopher Reeve was beloved as Superman, however, so anyone putting on the cape can’t help but be compared to him. I think the biggest reason Singer’s Superman failed is because Brandon Routh just didn’t have the same charisma as Chris Reeve did, and since he was essentially playing the same role, the movie suffered. But this isn’t the same role. This is a Superman who grew up in the 80s and 90s. He’s not a Baby Boomer. He’s not going to have the same level of…whimsy, I guess you could call it.

    So, am I on to something? Do you think enjoyment of this film will break along generational lines?

  25. I’m not sure I understand Mouth’s accusations of Zod being a whiny traitor.

    Both Zod and Jor El decide to take the fate of Krypton in their own hands. Both are (apparently) the only Kryptonians who acknowledge that the planet is doomed; both realize that the Elder Council is ineffective; Zod’s solution is to institute a military coup whereas Jor El’s is to steal the gene codex and implant it in his illegally-born son.

    Zod and his crew then go through some fucking awesome, High Tragedy type shit. They’re imprisoned for (in their view) trying to save Krypton, and then freed from their imprisonment by Krypton’s destruction (chunks of planet colliding with phantom zone prison thing). They roam the galaxy, salvaging the fallen remnants of their doomed civilization and converting them into equipment that could potentially give them a chance to rebirth Krypton, if they can find the grain-of-sand-on-a-beach that is Kal with the codex. By the time they arrive at Earth, they’ve been made appropriately bellicose and desperate: they’ve witnessed such profound destruction, and have reached this opportunity despite such impossible odds.

    In light of all this, we get to see all sorts of iconic details go down throughout the terrestrial confrontations. When Chris Meloni pulls his blade on not-Ursa and not-Ursa pulls out her own (slightly more gothic looking) blade in response, it’s not because Meloni poses a threat to her and she NEEDS her blade. It’s symbolic of her respect for a fellow warrior. In her demeanor, I totally felt the weight of someone about to inflict the same tragedy that had struck her world on another.

    There are nice moments with Zod as well, like the way he pleads with Supes to not doom their people. Fuck, how can you not feel for the guy? I felt like Shannon really got into the dark arc of the character and he sold me on all the important beats.

  26. A few other random thoughts on the film:

    -I liked the moment where Lois agrees to go aboard Zod’s ship, and Supes gives her a look like he wants to object, but doesn’t. It seems to me that Superman is still trying to evaluate the nature of his role among the humans; the slippery slope between defender and demagogue is always on his mind, even in little moments like this.

    -Why DOES Zod want her aboard the ship?

    -Although I’ve heard lots of complaints about the whole saving-the-dog sequence, I have to admit that I was won over by the last shot of Costner: shot at a reverent upward tilt, stoically accepting his fate, palm downwards to stay his son’s instincts. I’ve never been the biggest Costner fan but I had to admit that it’s a superbly all-American image. Michael Bay’s jealousy was palpable.

    -I feel like a lot of people are calling this a “dark and brooding” Superman because of Nolan’s involvement, while the film itself doesn’t really justify it. I mean, compared to Supe 2 sure; compared to TDK? No way! Superman himself, in this film, strikes me as a hugely likeable, magnetic guy. He radiates Good as is appropriate. His Kansas libertarian is worlds away from Batman’s conflicted vigilante fascist.

    -Is it out of character for him to destroy the timber trucker’s ride?

  27. Well, I grew up on Reeves’ Superman (SUPERMAN II was probably the second movie I ever saw in my life, after STAR WARS) and I liked this new version. I was glad it was different so I didn’t have to sit through different versions of the same old scenes. They didn’t show the Kents finding him and discovering that he had powers or have to do the not-believable-in-2013 thing where somehow Lois doesn’t recognize the man of her dreams because he put glasses on. There was no screwball comedy and no 12-generation Art Deco production design that tries to pretend that it’s still the 1940s. All that stuff has its place but it’s not crucial. What is crucial is what they got right, and that’s the idea that what’s amazing about Superman is not what he can do (that’s just a symptom of his biology) but that he has all these god-like powers and, despite all of the temptations to use them for his own personal gain, decides to be our hero instead of our overlord. All the other elements can be rejjggered, but if you keep that straight, you got a Superman movie.

  28. I wonder if the film wasn’t trying to reevaluate the god-likeness of his powers somewhat. Jor El mentions that the only way to figure out what are his limits is to keep testing them; Kal doesn’t really KNOW what could kill him, and certainly the Kryptonians are demonstrably able to inflict mortal wounds upon one another. Although we of course suspect that a bullet would bounce off his eyeball like usual, Kal doesn’t necessarily know that and still dodges ’em.

    The whole Smallville confrontation was somewhat informed by both Supes and the Kryptonians trying to get a sense of the reality of Earthly physics at the same time as they’re beating the shit out of each other. It was exciting stuff and, in my opinion, helped alleviate the invincible-hero problem that others have mentioned.

  29. Yeah, I should clarify that Zod is a tremendous patriot, but he twists himself & his team into treason & blind uncaring genocide. Agree on the High Tragedy. MAN OF STEEL is operatic in the best way possible, with well-established and long-burning tensions & oppositions meeting each other head-on in the most high stakes conflict imaginable, where the bad guys’ goals are actually justified and the good guys’ choices don’t offer a clean clear victory. Impressive stuff; shame it’s weighed down by the silly Jesus-ness of Superman, the 33 year old savior, redeeming the murderous sins of his peers from his ancestral home.

    The charge of Zod’s whininess is based on his promise to kill a million people for every 1 saved, and Michael Shannon’s voice in general. And it seems like if he were smart & forward-thinking, he’d just wait out his transition to Earth’s atmosphere and live there as a god. Yeah, it’d be painful for him for a couple years, and yeah Kal-El got to acclimate himself as a child so he’s got a head start, but when you see how quickly Zod’s able to manipulate his improved alien senses to make himself a great fighter (suddenly Superman’s equal, and becoming better) and when you consider his commitment to training (I think he says that he’s trained all his life, he’s a high ranking military officer, etc.), it seems like it’d be better if he didn’t unload his gravity-atmosphere-suction-flux-capacitor-wave weapon.

    Much like the problem the US-led Coalition faces in Afghanistan, with the armed forces & counterinsurgency & VSO operations trying to do a job that *should* be done by State Department, Zod needed the delicate services of a diplomat rather than the brute efforts of a soldier, someone to negotiate with Superman to extract the Codex, maybe do some test-tubing, maybe share some knowledge with NASA and sail out to another Earth-like planet where it’d be easier to convert the atmosphere and change the color of the sun or whatever so he can live without his mech-suits. Instead, he finds a candidate for his new home and he just tries to take it, taking it by force — same bitch move he made back on Krypton, when he should have learned from that mistake.

  30. Yeah it seems like things might unravel quite quickly once you start thinking about alternate solutions Zod could have tried. Just how powerful is his terraformer? Why not just go to Mars? Or does the target planet need to already be fairly Krypton-analogous for it to work? If they can rework a planet’s gravity, why did they fuck up so badly with Krypton’s core in the first place?

    As far as the advantages of leaving Earth the way it was, I think the reason Zod cites is for the benefit of all the yet-to-be-born Kryptonians, not himself. He’s a purist and a traditionalist and wants Krypton babies to grow up in Krypton conditions.

    I guess it’s clear that he’s still harboring a megagrudge against the El family and this is the best explanation for needing to setup New Krypton IMMEDIATELY on Earth instead of finding a more amicable solution, and I can’t really commend that.

  31. Dikembe Mutombo

    June 15th, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Mouth – Man, I just can’t identify with your viewpoint on Snyder hiding his true self. I mean, maybe he is, but I think the movie’s better for it. But I’m the guy who watched his previous movies, especially something like SUCKER PUNCH, and went “if this guy would learn to restrain himself he could make something really special.” Which is what he’s done now! He’s suiting his approach to the material. It’s like what happened to Fincher – he doesn’t zoom through coffee pot handles anymore, but he’s as good a director as he ever was. And he can still move the camera like nobody’s business, but doesn’t do it constantly just because he can.

    I mean, I have to say that I’m crazy about speed ramping or excessive slow-mo. Slo-mo definitely has its uses but I don’t think you should just slather it on cuz it looks bitchen. You gotta be going for a specific effect. The suddenness of the way the Kryptonians move in MOS is scary and visceral, I loved it. And Snyder basically makes slow motion unnecessary by just varying Superman’s flying speed when he wants to convey different feelings – make him fly slower to look more regal and majestic, etc. Snyder’s visual ideas and shot setups in this movie are still really creative and energetic, they’re just not borderline retarded like some of the stuff in SUCKER PUNCH.

    I’m with you on Faora though, she was great. I think the movie should’ve committed to making Zod either a menacing badass, or pushed him further into tragic territory… it was a big mistake to show Jor-El kicking his ass in the beginning. It makes Superman’s dad seem cooler, but also makes Zod feel like a pushover. If you’re gonna give him that shading, go all the way and convey his pain at Krypton’s destruction (Faora has a great look on her face in that shot), and let him get panicky and desperate when his plan to terraform earth unravels. When Superman puts him down it’d feel more like a mercy killing.

    I didn’t think Lois Lane was remotely done justice, especially versus the Kidder version. Was that Adams’ fault? I think Cavill was a bigger liability (he’s as charming as a loaf of wonderbread), but it’s hard to say when she’s so thinly written. The women in this movie really get shortchanged.

  32. renfield – I will agree that the “lack of humor” accusation holds no water. There are legit laughs in the film.

    As for trashing the truck, well….Superman is a Dick. Remember that website?

    I don’t know what to think about that Costner scene. Yes son, let me die so you can…stay hidden? Umm, OK Dad. Reminds of that scene in RONIN when Jean Reno tells Robert DeNiro about the 47 Ronin and thinks how noble, and DeNiro thought they were fucking stupid.

    I think perhaps a good deal of this movie would’ve played better for me if Superman at a pivotal time in his life legitimately learned why he should be careful and responsible with his powers? Its like if a kid found his dad’s gun. He plays with it, accidentally shoots out the TV. Or the dog. OH MY GOD I DIDN’T MEAN TO! I mean there has to be real pathos about being wary of becoming a God, as Superman is once he goes public. More broadly, why he’s afraid of pushing his limits.

    Mouth – Well the story is the classical model of the technologically superior imperialist power losing because of their lack of knowledge about this foreign territory, nevermind their utter lack of respect for the indigenous population. But I don’t know, I just think they didn’t really tapped into that idea honestly. Zod had the problem, he adapted, that was that. Moving on TO HOLY SHIT MORE MAYHEM! Why couldn’t Supes and humanity triumphed (in sci-fi trope tradition) using this arrogance against them?

    Vern – But you’re forgetting something important. Costner instilled that shit in Clark’s head because (1) using powers exposes yourself in public and you’ll be in great danger, and (2) ties into my point above, that without much effort he could very easily kill people. Even more so if he’s wreckless because these humans are puny compared to him.

    Zod isn’t one of those puny humans. Supes is also now public. Why didn’t Supes blubber when he basically doomed the Kryptonian race when he did? (Which he was fully aware of?) That scene wasn’t earned.

    (Funny this morning BOURNE SUPREMACY was on TV and I watched a few minutes. When Jason Bourne kills that guy in house, he has a look of disgust on his face. He clearly didn’t like what he did, but he was left without a choice. Its like a smoker trying to quit but sometimes he falls off the wagon, but he keeps on trying. Except substitute smoking with killing people. When he found out about murdering those 2 people in cold blood and leaving their kid an orphan, that character’s guilt was earned. And he did the only thing he could do* in that situation, he tried to make amends and admit his sin. That’s the movie’s friggin climax, albeit done after a big car chase.)

    *=Other than turn himself in to the Berlin police but nevermind.

  33. so folks, I’ll be seeing this later today, then I can join in on the discussion

  34. Dikembe Mutombo

    June 15th, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Bourne, a former CIA assassin, apologizing to the daughter of one of his hits – I always thought that was a really ballsy and moving scene. I love the shot of the depressing Russian apartment building right afterwards too.

  35. RRA: ” Costner instilled that shit in Clark’s head because (1) using powers exposes yourself in public and you’ll be in great danger, and (2) ties into my point above, that without much effort he could very easily kill people.”

    And also (3) people might start building Superman churches and shit.

  36. You know for all my bitchings aside, I am glad that Superman is actually a franchise again if this weekend’s box-office is any indications. It’s been way way way too long. I’m a fan of the character in general, so I’m glad for that. Besides, the elements are in play for the sequel to be (hopefully) better. Would you folks agree with me on that?

    Did I mention Justice League?

    (Its funny but I got an email today from a friend saying that that even though it won’t ever happen, he would suggest DiCaprio for Luthor. At first I thought that was an awful idea, but then again it kinda makes sense in the way that I suppose Luhrmann had in casting him for the Great Gatsby: Have a pleasing, telegenic face for the public like a real CEO like Luthor would be but in private, ala DJANGO UNCHAINED, he can be the ole ruthless bastard. I still decide if this is genius or a terrible idea.)

    Dikembe – Remember that scene in the first Bourne film when he opened up his safety deposit box?I remember watching the original BOURNE IDENTITY mini-series from the 80s many years ago, which played up that scene as a James Bond-ian fantasy. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could be a badass spy and have like money and guns in your box? That Liman movie instead played it as a “oh shit” moment, which I admire. Hell I love that scene after the guy beats those cops up and he’s fucking horrified.

    renfield – Hilarious. But seriously, that should be an idea explored in the sequels: Superman becoming a “God” to many people on Earth and like a crank cult builds up around him. “Unlike Jesus, I know Supes actually exists for real!” It could even become LIFE OF BRIAN when Supes tells them to cut this sillyness out, and instead they become even more fanatical in their devotion.

  37. MoS was classic “style over substance” as most of Snyder’s flicks are. But that didn’t hurt at all, because in my opinion most comic books are the same. I’m not an expert on that matter and I’m sure there are lot’s of exceptions to that rule (like Watchmen), but generally it’s the same ol’ bad guy trying to take over the world with a super smart plan and the superhero is going to save the day. And since Superman is basically the template for all superheroes I kinda dug, that this movie wasn’t that deep story-wise. I got what I wanted: Superman flying and punching bad guys through buildings etc.
    I totally agree with you Vern, that this would’ve been an even better movie, if Snyder would’ve dared to be more Snyder. But I see what he was trying to do here and I can respect that.
    Only thing I really missed was some sort of humor… I think i merely laughed once (zoom on “danger” on the printer…). That’s just not enough when you have such an epic tale to tell and so much action going on. I don’t need a one-liner every two minutes. This isn’t a buddy movie, but some sort of irony or clever joke never fails…

  38. Oh please people about poor Snyder not allowed to do his own thing. He was given this and that condition, and he still decided to make the movie because hey if MOS was a hit, it would be a huge boast to his career. Besides Tim Burton and Sam Raimi had to go through the same neutering process so they could enhance their careers. Those two incidentally after making triumphant hits were allowed much more freedom on the sequels. Sequels incidentally that are generally considered superior to the original. Sometimes it takes some pain to make some gain.

    (Plus I would add a conspiracy theory note that I think that there’s been (hell still is) a good number online who are pretty hostile to Mr. Snyder. If he was allowed his derided speed ramp and all that nonsense, I bet WB was afraid that hostility would hurt MOS on opening weekend and midnight screenings and all that. Notice Snyder made a point of saying there was no speedramp before release. Think about it people.)

  39. What I find most bizarre is that everybody is calling the film out for being too Nolan and not enough Snyder. Inferring that it basically IS a Nolan film in all but name, and of course the movie sucks, because fuck that guy right? Not that I have my finger on The Internet’s pulse but man, talk about backlash and anti-backlash.

  40. Renfield – I think when they say the film is too Nolan what they’re really saying is that the film isn’t enough Donner.

  41. RRA – again, it was Snyder’s choice to do the movie that way. We’re just questioning if he made the right choice. And I really don’t believe WB knows or gives a shit that some people on the internet hate Zack Snyder. You might be giving The Nerds way too much credit there. (sorry crustacean)

  42. well, after the huge disappointment of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised by MOS, I pretty much loved it, it’s not QUITE on the same level as TDK and TDKR, but it’s still a worthy successor to the Nolan Batmans

    I have a lot of thoughts though so I’m gonna take the easy way out and just list them

    1. this is really not a “dark and brooding” Superman at all, it’s a more serious take on Superman than what has been seen before in movies, but it’s nowhere near as grim as the Nolan Batmans

    2. there were some surprisingly touching moments that made me mist up a bit too, notably when Kal’s mom and dad were saying goodbye and when Pa Kent *spoiler* got sent to OZ (not the prison)

    3. the only Snyder touch I missed was his musical sequences, you know when he plays a song set to something cool, I normally like his slo mo but I’m kinda glad he left it at home for this, I don’t think it would have fit

    4. does anyone think showing baby Kal’s penis was a reference to Dr Manhattan’s glowing blue junk? I like to think it is because the idea makes me laugh, but if not a reference then I like that Snyder is not afraid to show junk when it’s appropriate, be it glowing blue or a baby’s

    5. I loved General Zod in this, especially his introduction which gave me a serious lieutenant colonel Dewey Novak from the anime Eureka Seven vibe as he stormed into the room and assassinated one of the three council members

    6. and speaking of Zod, how awesomely creepy was that “YOU ARE NOT ALONE” sequence?

    7. and finally, the action in this movie, in true Snyder fashion. was fucking awesome, I love just how fucked up Smallville got, just imagine what it would be like sitting in IHOP, eating pancakes and then fucking SUPERMAN crashed in, the superpeople in the movie were real forces of nature and when they fought, shit, it was like a better live Dragon Ball Z movie than the actual Dragon Ball movie

  43. and while we’re on the subject of Zack Snyder, why is his WATCHMEN so underrated? yeah, it’s not as good as the funnypaper version, but it’s still a gorgeous looking movie that really brings the world of WATCHMEN to life and is probably as good as an adaption as you could get

    it’s just kinda sad that 4 years later it seems oddly forgotten

  44. “does anyone think showing baby Kal’s penis was a reference to Dr Manhattan’s glowing blue junk? ”

    Oh Griff.

  45. sorry, these are just the things I can’t help but think about

  46. still though, you gotta admit it’s funny that Snyder is responsible for the most penis probably ever shown in mainstream blockbuster films

  47. Jor-El really lucked out. When they were handing out Kryptonian DNA life assignments he apparently drew “Superscience Ninja Dragon Rider Bad-Ass”. That’s pretty much the most desirable ranking for Kryptonian babies….

    So did anyone else get the impression that the producers still think that Superman is kind of stupid and maybe that caused some of the issues that held the movie back? They scramble his name and then when they actually say it it’s all “Superman, pfffft, that’s fucking stupid”. Like they did with the Silver Surfer in FANTSTIC FOUR 2. Thanks for calling me a dumbass for paying to see your movie guys.

    Of course, I have a Superman tattoo so I’ll admit that maybe I take the subject a little too seriously.

  48. I do think they shouldn’t have been so hesitant to call him Superman

  49. The SZA… and with that, Vern drops the mic and leaves the stage.

    I loved MOS and what I loved the most was its SUCKER PUNCHness. It’s batshit crazy. Kryptonian hentai! Smalltown Malick brooding! I thought the action was still 300 style without slo mo.

    The one part I didn’t care for was the underlying eugenics plot. That seemed very cliche sci-fi to me. Almost bordering on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN territory but not as intrusive as ASM’s Mr and Mrs Parker keeping Oscorp secrets. I’m fine with it but basically it validates that no one can change their genetic programming. You can only have free will if you’re fucking superman?

  50. They’ve been plugging this soooo much at the store I work at. I’m sick of this movie and I haven’t seen it yet!

  51. Griff: Sometimes a dick is just a dick.

    renfield: Well, personally, if I hadn’t liked it I would have blamed Nolan. His filmography shows none of the skill set necessary to make a good Superman movie, while there was no doubt in my mind that Snyder could make a kickass one if left to his own devices. But I liked the movie so there’s no need for finger-pointing.

    Fred: All humans have free will because we are born from vaginas, not baby vines. It’s just artificially grown Kryptonians who have their roles in life assigned to them. Also, I’m betting Jor-El was designated at birth to be a scientist, and since that position requires more independent thought than, say, politician or warrior or space hippo keeper, he has the mental tools at his disposal to take it upon himself to learn how to fight.

    I really liked Jor-El. The Oliver Reedening of Russell Crowe continues apace.

    Also Griff: Lois being embarrassed to say the S-word was dubious, but it was redeemed by the name being given to him by the army. I like that it was chosen by the people, not by the media as in previous incarnations.

  52. I loved it, and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of sci-fi in it. I honestly thought that the decision to not do any slo-mo was great, to see some truly super-powered feats from the human perspective made it seem so epic in scope and execution. But I have a question; how did Clark’s torso manage to catch fire on the oil rig? Clothes for sure, but his flesh and hair would not.

  53. Maybe he got some oil on him.

    Fred, I think the eugenics plot was a way to underline Kal-El’s decision to become Superman. He and Zod are both superman because of what happens to a Kryptonian on Earth, but Zod follows his programming and Superman makes a decision based on his own values and experiences.

  54. This movie was pretty awesome. I really liked it but I’m going to list stuff I didn’t like. It was not the transcendent experience that I expected after that first trailer but what I didn’t like is mostly stuff that looks like it will be fixed in the sequel:

    1. Too much story to tell meant little time for the moments to breathe, which diminishes the emotional whallop that they could pack (and that the trailers suggested they would). The main example of this is the first time Supes dons the suit and the Fortress of Solitude opens up. You see the silhouette and a fluttering cape. In the trailer, that’s a goosebumps moment. But because in the film it comes just about 3 seconds after he’s introduced to Jor-El, it doesn’t feel as epic as I would like it to. That moment should have breathed more. That moment should feel like a god has been born.

    2. Another moment that needed more time was when he reveals himself to the military. That scene should have IMO had more build-up. More wonder. More “you won’t believe what I’m seeing”. Dude, these people are seeing A FLYING MAN and what we get is a funny but underwhelming “ok, you’ve got our attention”. Really? That’s how you show Superman’s first outing to humanity?

    So these I think will be fixed in the sequel when we don’t have to spend so much time with backstory.

    I think Snyder was a great choice, but I can’t help but agree with something Evan at Badassdigest said: “Be careful what you wish for”. For all the shit we give Returns, you know what I missed? Superman lifting stuff. Superman flying elegantly in the clouds, as opposed to powerflying at sonic boom speed. Superman helping people. Sure, I finally got to see the Jim Lee Superman get punched through 6 skyscrapers at a time, and the mayhem was fantastic. But I can’t help but feel Snyder captured the AWESOME of Superman and not much of the WONDER.

    Still I liked it. Cavill looks amazing in the role and has potential for growth. I love Reeve, but Cavill’s face in that bar scene where the guy pours beer over his head, jesus, that looks more like Superman than anyone has ever looked.

    Also, Faora. What a cool chick. I absolutely loved the bit where she fucked up 5 military guys superspeed style, just zapping from one to the other, it felt like pinball.

    Awesome movie, would like some more epic in the next one.

  55. I understand the eugenics plot and how kryptonian matrix babies are born. I just don’t think it inspires much hope for a person with free will to defeat a person without it. It invents a new kryptonian mythology that manufactures a conflict, rather than exploring an organic conflict.

    UNIVERSAL SOLDIER for Christ’s sake. If they’re programmed (and later cloned) to be obedient killing machines, why is Luc Devereaux still inclined to be heroic and Andrew Scott still a monster?

    Only part I didn’t like about MOS.

    And Mouth, there was never any chance of another SUCKER PUNCH. He got to do his one, so might as well make badass Superman movies now.

  56. “Cavill’s face in that bar scene where the guy pours beer over his head, jesus, that looks more like Superman than anyone has ever looked.”

    He made me want to be a better man. No exaggeration.

  57. It’s a long term prospect, Fred. He might not franchise it, but he’ll get another crack at a “personal” film. Don’t be fooled by the fact that he’s evidently professionally inextricably married to studio-mandated/controlled comic book movies; he was not conceived for this purpose in the Hollywood under-ocean baby harvest-incubator. No, Snyder-El has free will, and once he finds himself, once re-hones & re-adapts his senses, & finds $70 million, & enlists an army of bluescreen animation assistants to color in some projectiles & zombie soldiers for Vanessa to hatchet into pieces for my viewing pleasure, he will continue to embody the ideal for all lesser action filmatists to strive for.

    A 2nd viewing improved my opinion of MAN OF STEEL. Already mostly liked it the first time, but found it occasionally problematic & lacking in a certain je ne sais quoi, but then discovered that Mouth, the viewer, was the one who was fucking up, not the movie, as I realized that in fact there are zero plot holes and zero instances of questionable motivations at play to move along the narrative (except I still wasn’t invested in the well-being of the lady trapped beneath the rubble, and the pacing & compositional geography of Kevin Costner’s tornado-ing scene wasn’t perfect, and I wish there had been more time lapsed between Zod’s imprisonment/expulsion and the explosion of Krypton –- the movie makes it look & feel like Zod was stupidly but deliberately saved by his Kryptonian peers just moments before he should have been wiped out with his planet, suffering real justice).

    Fuckin’ Zack Snyder, he keeps doing that. I love him for it, but I could go without the delayed reaction of ecstasy one of these times. Where’s that visceral first-time thrill that his imagery & action is supposed to provide, that’s so hinted at even among the reviews that idiotically lambaste his movies for being over-violent & over-surfacey? If it’s all supposedly empty spectacle & filmatic candy & transient music-video-ness, then why do I only get to love his movies after my first pass with that glorious, shiny, delicious spectacle? I don’t rewatch fuckin’ music videos.

    I think 300 is the only film of his that I liked as much or more on my first viewing as on subsequent visits. And, to its credit and to confirm that it is indeed a Snyder film that fits his movies’ pattern of unlocking themselves upon my re-watches, I’ve found new reasons to praise 300 each time. I kind of love that goddamn movie.

    [And you’ll notice, whether by coincidence or by dint of Goyer copying a bit from Frank Miller or whatever reason, Snyder’s newest film includes a callback to 300’s Michael Fassbender’s soldier’s longing prediction of “a beautiful death” as he scouts an opponent warrior he praises for being “up to the task.”
    Yeah, we just heard a new version of that overheated martyr-warrior babble from 2013 summer MVP in my opinion Faora-Ul (“A good death is its own reward.”), and from her awesome warrior opponent, the exasperated but unyielding knife-wielding badass pilot Colonel Hardy. She talks the talk; he walks the motherfucking walk. Give his medal to his mom at the funeral.]

    MAN OF STEEL probably won’t ever reach that 300 level of fascination & rewatchability, and it definitely won’t ever be as infinitely rewarding as SUCKER PUNCH, but now I see that Snyder claims there’s a 3+ hour cut of part 1 of his Superman story, possibly arriving on the blu ray this Christmas. Interesting. Could have some WATCHMEN syndrome going on here, where I never quite love the thing, but I find filmatistic pockets of interest-piquing moments & mini-arcs & images throughout and keep having to revisit the beautiful, sprawling opera every once in a while, either to remind myself why I can’t get it out of my head for being a beautiful disappointment or to remind myself why I can’t get it out of my head for being beautiful.

  58. Griff – I think Snyder’s Watchmen is the best movie version of the book anyone could have made, and that the lukewarm opinion people have about the film is more about the source material and not the movie itself. I think Snyder’s film just proves that Watchmen was a story just too dense and complex to fully capture on celluloid. He did the best he or anyone else could have done, but it just comes off a bit sterile.

  59. My friend has a theory that if WATCHMEN were a Korean, French, Japanese, or Chinese film, then it would be regarded as an all-time classic that everyone unhesitatingly raves about.

    I hypothetically agree, but of course it’s too difficult to separate the opinions of the very good film from opinions & expectations related to the excellent book.

  60. If Watchmen were a standalone movie and not based on a book listed on Time’s list of 100 best novels of the 20th century it would be considered an all-time classic.

  61. Fun is not popular anymore.

  62. Shalom82, you hit it right on the head for me! I really liked it, but didn’t love it and I’ve been trying to figure out what it was that was missing for me. It’s those moments of wonder. I kept going around and around because some of the things I missed were also some of the changes I loved about this new version. Like, I knew I was missing things like seeing him going around and saving individual people, but it just felt like that wouldn’t have fit into this version. I really liked that he struggled with revealing himself to the world and the only thing that could push him into it would be something as epic as Kryptonians outing him and threatening to destroy the planet. That doesn’t really give him much time to rescue cats from trees. I agree with you that if there had just been a few more moments to breath in the wonder it would’ve benefited the movie.

    I think Amy Adams is the best Lois to date. Lois is such a difficult character for me, because it seems like they take her spunkiness to the level of annoying unlikeability, turn her into Dangerprone Lois or try to tone her down to the point where she’s boring. There’s also her inability to recognize Clark as Superman. (SPOILER) I am so glad we don’t have to deal with that ridiculousness. I was afraid of that amnesia inducing kiss for the entire movie.

    Which leads me to another thing I enjoyed about the movie – no silly Superman tricks. I don’t know the mythology of the comics, so I don’t know if he always had a weird bag of tricks like giant flypaper Superman symbols, but they always felt goofy to me. I also enjoyed that there was no cheesy after school special messages from Superman, “Remember, kids, always wear your seat belts.”

    I struggled with Zod only because of the actor playing him. He was so terrible in Premium Rush that when I realized he was Zod I almost said out loud, “Are you kidding me?!” He wasn’t as terrible here, so maybe Premium Rush was just such a crappy movie that there was nothing he could do to not look ridiculous in it and since that’s the only thing I know him from I may be ruined on him from now on. I think upon further viewing I would probably be able to get past it. I’m anxious to see it again to see if my first viewing disappointments last.

    I agree with Vern that the ending (SPOILER) neck break and his reaction was earned. I found it very powerful and didn’t doubt his anguish for a second. Deciding to stop them from terraforming the planet (“Krypton had its chance!”) and having to kill someone, someone who was the last person from your home planet, with your bare hands after a lifetime of trying to walk away from conflict, are two different things. I loved that there was a consequential emotional outburst. During that last fight I had no idea how it was going to turn out and was quite surprised at it being a physical, violent death where one Super being just overpowered and killed another without having to steal his powers or suck him into a black hole.

  63. Michael Shannon was terrible in PREMIUM RUSH? Are you kidding me? That’s a perfect example of the power of mega-acting to turn a boilerplate heavy into a memorable weirdo. He was just so desperate in such a strange and specific way that I almost felt bad for him. It’s not easy being both a movie’s menace and its comic relief, but Shannon pulled it off way above what was expected of him. It’s what Paul Giamatti keeps trying to do in all his genre roles and never quite pulls off. There’s a reason people have been calling Shannon the new Walken for years.

    I guess we’ve got different outlooks on this whole thing, though, because I think PREMIUM RUSH is a perfect breezy little comedic thriller. I grew up on that kind of movie. Every male actor under the age of 30 had to make at least one of them back in the eighties. It’s a tradition I would very much like to see come back. That’s how you can tell who has actual charisma and who doesn’t: Throw them in the deep end of a standard running-from-the-mob storyline and see if they can swim.

  64. Yeah, let’s not disparage PREMIUM RUSH. Shannon has a part where he laughs in a way that’s so [unintentionally?] high-pitched that I think his voice literally becomes a squeak for a couple seconds. It’s pretty goddamn great, and it goes with the deliberate cartoon-homage-ness (starring “Wiley”) central to the narrative.

    And the scene where he takes a shark loan from one gambling den and then literally walks across the street to the competing gambling den to spend it is damn funny — funny with an edge, cuz his creditors see him do it, note their comic disbelief, and you know he’s about to get stomped for such a stupid move, but then you wonder if his badge will get him out of trouble, etc..

    I didn’t care for Detective Monday’s racist utterances, though (“slope,” “zipperhead,” deportation threats). Yeah, that nasty stuff neatly colored the opposition forces working against poor Jamie Chung and her subplot as the desperate mother, but it didn’t really belong in an otherwise fun bike fu movie.

    And Michael Shannon is sort of amazing in REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. I can’t totally recommend that movie to this crowd unless you want to study Acting! and what it looks like to portray simultaneously a person, a ghost, a force of nature, a projected consciousness, an embodiment of neuroses, a powderkeg, and the fuse that would light said keg. It’s insightful insanity done right, with the help of Roger Deakins’s outstanding lighting & camera work and probably Sam Mendes’s best directing (before he became my enemy with the wretched SKYFALL).

    In conclusion, Hollywood, please make more real-stunt action films filmed on location in Manhattan, thanks.

  65. I concure with Mr. Majestyk, Michael Shannon was very effective and memorable in Premium Rush.

    I liked this movie a lot. Maybe even loved it. You know Lex Luthor is going to have a field day with the damage that the Superman/Zod fight caused at the end of the movie.

    Oh also if you’re pissed at Superman for fighting Zod in the middle of Metropolis and messing up all those buildings willy-nilly (a pretty common complaint that I keep seeing), just insert a 10 second scene in your head that Superman tries to take the fight out of the city but Zod (who is equal to, or better than Superman) shows that isn’t going to work before saying “We’re doing this here, Kal.”

  66. I’ve been thinking about this one for a couple of days. I liked this one quite a lot, but I can understand those who didn’t. The trailer built it up into something really special I don’t think it could live up to. It played with super-expectations. I have really tried but I’m finding it difficult to have a single coherent perspective on this one, which is odd for what is essentially a big, daft blockbuster about a flying spaceman in a rubber suit and a cape, and I have many ramblings.

    I was not a big fan of SUPERMAN the comic – it might just be Curt Swan’s drawing (I’m old) but Superman is a bit dull. And superhero enemies are generally a bit super themselves, but Superman enemies always have to be really mega, and therefore a bit bombastic, which is fair enough but Superman’s interpretation of ‘bombastic’ is often ‘generic’. However, as a child of the ‘70’s I am a fan of shiny blockbuster movies – STAR WARS and SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE are era defining – so it’s kind of unavoidable that I have an attachment to him. And I like SUPERMAN RETURNS. I think it has problems and is certainly a bit ponderous and reverential (to the extent that I worry that in the future entire movies will be made which are so full of nods, references and in-jokes that there’s no room for plot*), but I am definitely a SUPERMAN RETURNS apologist, even prefer it to BATMAN BEGINS, just for that bloody exhilarating aeroplane rescue scene, that final orbital plummet, and the scenes of awestruck humanity.

    (*oh shit, that movie already exists and it is STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS.)

    But THE DARK KNIGHT and THE AVENGERS pretty much rewrote the superhero movie rulebook recently and define two polar approaches
    – realistic, sombre, detailed and serious DC versus angsty, cosmic but frothy and fun Marvel (highlighted when DC tried angsty, cosmic froth with GREEN LANTERN, and it tanked and Marvel tried sombre and serious with HULK and it is to many an interesting curiosity at best). I think MAN OF STEEL tries to straddle both stools. Like the Nolan BATMAN’s (BATMEN?) it is fairly sombre, given Superman’s tragic origin and the events depicted during his development from a kid into an adult, but it also has to encompass intergalactic monster-machine destruction of a pulpy fantasy adventure, very much like the AVENGERS finale. I don’t know if it is successful but it shone a light on both approaches to me.

    For the hero’s journey, MOS sort of emulates BATMAN BEGINS, where a journey of self-discovery equates with wandering in the wilderness, tough jobs in bad weather from the Discovery Channel, demonstrating how fundamentally decent and humble our incorruptible, unstoppable hero is. These heroes rarely grow into heroism or learn to be decent, they just are. Unlike Marvel heroes, big DC heroes tend to just be innately good which is where IRON MAN resonates with viewers, I suppose, where THOR had to have humility pummelled into him and SPIDER-MAN had to find out the hard way that he was not born to dance. Maybe that’s the point of this movie – despite being born with free-will (nature), through the choices of his father/mother figures (nurture), our hero can’t help himself; he might as well be programmed. Given his childhood traumas maybe he wanted to suit up and be the safest school-bus driver ever. Goodness knows they need those in superhero movies.

    (And Superman in MOS, handled realistically, and despite the hokiness, is actually a bit frightening. Think of him hanging in the air when he hands himself in, indifferent to bloody gravity – it’s reminiscent of Dr Manhattan in WATCHMEN.)

    As so often now, the villains are not true villains, merely anti-heroes. At least corny Lex Luthor was just a bad person but he was essentially just a contextually wrong-headed, super-powered soldier. As written he’s someone who is a prisoner of his personality, someone who would never stop unless stopped, giving him a bit of pathos but not much character. Even his terraforming was just a dumb repetition of the mistakes that Kryptonian’s made with their own planet (it sounded as if it affected the core). I know it palpably demonstrates his limitations, but if he’d been able to rise above it or make a choice in conflict with his nature, or indeed just escape so that he could return (strangely every one a trait of Darth Vader) as a continuing threat, they could explore the themes of nature vs. nurture of more in future movies. So a bit one note.

    (As an aside, whatever happened to recurring villains? Loki demonstrates how good they are as he has developed as a character across just two movies, or perhaps it’s all due to Tom Hiddleston’s performance. More please, Hollywood.)

    As for Faora, Antje True made a proper thumping breakthrough impression on me. And Chris Meloni did excellent work against her as the Air Force colonel (although ‘This man is not our enemy’ is not a line I would want to deliver). Is he now stuck in the Phantom Zone with a humanised (in the Krypton environment) Faora? Do I hear wedding bells? But when Faora is fully super-Kryptonian and demonstrably strong and fast, why she didn’t just hurl that aeroplane into the Sun? Perhaps her Kryptonian ‘purpose programming’ prevented her from approaching an opponent on those unequal terms. Also it appeared that Non was there (I guess it was him in the big Smallville fight) although I thought I was watching Thor fight the Destroyer in a dusty town in New Mexico again for a second.

    The Space Nazi doctor – hmm. I suppose in a eugenicist culture they’d need one.

    Amy Adams as Lois – well, I had high hopes, and they did her a bit more justice with having her as our on the spot reporter but what the hell was she doing on the spaceship? I did like ‘Welcome to the Planet’ as the last line but running around yelling out his name in front of people? Fair enough, I suppose – everyone seems to know who he is. It would have been a nice moment if the ginger guy had stood up for him though.

    As to the destruction wrought by the Kryptonians, it is altogether less cartoony and much more sobering than THE AVENGERS climax and makes the destruction of so many yellow cabs and so much cornicing in that movie look infantile. In MOS, shit gets torn apart. It is awesome, but it is also disturbing. Perhaps everyone that could run got away when the gravity hammer thing started up, but the ruins surrounding it suggest otherwise. In THE AVENGERS, the coffee shops seemed to be open during the alien invasion. Maybe that’s how phlegmatic New Yorkers are compared to Metropolitans. Okay, the human cost is probably still mindblowing, but AVENGERS glossed over that even more. And can you imagine Batman in this environment? ‘I brought my helicopter and can evacuate at least one other person, plus myself’.

    At least in the grim universe, Superman doesn’t smile at the camera in space.

    I think I loved the proper far out fantasy weirdness of Krypton (I say ‘think’, but I really couldn’t make out what was going on all the time). I liked that Krypton was portrayed as a rather decadent, flawed society and I will enjoy trying to figure out what the hell was going on in the background when I rewatch it on DVD. The Kryptonians really need to invest in some comfy chairs though. They did appear to be a bit masochistic what with their suits that looked like bone, metal and mesh and hats made out of needles. Did Tarsem make this bit? Couldn’t have been. The capes would have been half a mile long and there would have been way more stairs.

    I liked that Krypton is the architect of its own demise and that Jor-El was a bit of a rogue. I did like Russell Crowe, despite his reappearances and the fact that he’s always bloody right and is so darn just. He’d play well in STAR WARS, with his personality, I think, (and judging from some of the concept art, he was considered for or offered a role in THE PHANTOM MENACE). He was altogether more cosmic than grim, and good on him. Get him or Eric Bana for new STAR WARS for that antipodean earthiness.

    Gosh, they weren’t afraid to go there, were they? They even estimated the Kryptonian scout ship as being in the ice for 2000-ish years. Was Jesus a Krypton?!?!?!? He has a robe, ask Richard Burton. It’s in the stained glass picture! Was it a really a CAPE?!?!? And Superman floated out of the Krypton ship in a cruciform pose (as modern Superman is wont to do in space). That was a bit dumb. Perhaps like the ‘S’ the cross is not a cross but a Kryptonian symbol. Presumably for ‘Can’t breathe’.

    Actually the scene with the minister (gulp!) was pretty nice.

    They went there too, which is refreshing after skirting around it in SUPERMAN RETURNS (‘See if he still stands for truth, justice, all that stuff…’).

    Did Kal-El really get shot to Earth in a metal phallus?

    Did the army guys that took him in tow him along like a parade balloon?

    Superman confirmed as more powerful (or at least not harmed by wearing) a speeding locomotive.

    Was the truck restructuring both a nice nod to the truck-stop scenes in SUPERMAN II and also wee dig at TRANSFORMERS?

  67. Sorry, that was huge

  68. First of all, great review, Vern, and also a lot of great thoughts from everybody who’s been commenting. Personally, I’m feeling very conflicted about this movie which is actually exactly what I suspected… so… I guess they succeeded there?

    I guess I have the same feelings about it that I do with just about everything I’ve seen by Zack Snyder. I thought there were some amazing scenes and sequences, some absolutely gorgeous cinematography, iconic shots, some great inventive action, etc. etc. But, when taken as a whole, it just didn’t resonate for me. I think that’s why so many people who, like me, were going apeshit every time we saw a trailer came out of the theater this weekend going, “meh… I think I liked it.”

    Anyway, here are few things that stand out for me now that I’ve let it sink in a bit.

    I think that Henry Cavill makes a great Superman. I think the jury is still out a bit on how good of a Clark Kent he makes, since he really doesn’t become the Clark Kent we all know until the end of the movie. But, I am definitely looking forward to seeing more of him in sequels and SuperFriends the Movie.

    In fact, I think I really liked the entire cast with one unfortunate exception.

    I have to say, I felt really let down with Michael Shannon as Zod. I think that is possibly my own fault, though. I thought from day one that this was perfect casting. Zod has always been a great villain for Superman, in a large part thanks to Terrence Stamp’s amazing performance in SZA II, and I thought Shannon would bring a great menacing craziness to the role. Unfortunately, the Zod in MOS didn’t feel menacing and scary to me. I guess I wanted a little bit more of the mega-acting that Shannon does so well on Boardwalk Empire, but instead I got him doing the most toned down role I can think of seeing him in. It also bothered me that he seemed to be the only Kryptonian who was raised on Krypton but had an American accent. I know that’s silly, but it stood out to me and took me out of the world of the movie once in a while.

    Anyway, I guess my biggest problem with MOS really comes from the script. It’s actually the same problem I had with Dark Knight Rises. There are just so many moments where, even though I’m fully committed to buying into this wacky fantasy world the filmatists are creating, some stupid break in logic occurs or a glaring plot hole is thrown out there.

    For example, I am ok with accepting that by plugging the thingy into the 20,000 year old ship, a holographic version of what remains of your father’s consciousness pops up and has a conversation with you. OK. Fine. I’m not going to ask why Kryptonian technology has been frozen in place for 20,000 years and thus your portable flash drive is still compatible with the port of the ship. I’ll let that go, because movies. But the part where a perfectly sized suit has been sitting in the ship waiting for you for 20,000 years? Nope. You lost me.

    Why is the codex in him? If Jor-El wanted the codex to “survive”, why implant into his son so that the only way to access it is to kill said son? If he didn’t want it around anymore, why not just destroy it? I just see no reason to do it that way other than to give Zod a reason to want to kill Kal-El.

    I loved Kevin Costner in the movie, but his death was just a painfully dumb scene in so many ways that I’m not going to try to get into a lot of detail. I agree with most people that the Donner movies don’t hold up as well as we all wish they would, but Pa Kent’s death in SZA I is still an emotional kick in the nuts. By trying to make Pa’s death so directly tied to Clark’s journey to Supermanhood, they made it feel heavy handed and unintentionally hilarious (to me, at least).

    I felt like the movie is just chock full of head scratching moments where decisions that characters make or things that happen on screen just don’t feel like they’ve been justified. I appreciated some of the changes they made to Lois, but I also felt like there was no reason for me to think that these two were in love. I get the issue everybody has about her not being able to tell that Clark is SZA just because of the glasses, but part of the reason their relationship has worked for 75 years or whatever is because of the dichotomy of her loving SZA but thinking Clark is just some nerdy goof that she has to work with. I think that they could have found a way to make it a little more plausible that she doesn’t recognize the two as the same person rather than just scrapping the pseudo love triangle between Lois, Clark and SZA.

    I suspect that this will hold up for me better on future viewings, though, because holy shit that was a beautiful movie with some seriously epic moments.

    I also wrote a lot more than I intended just now so at least it’s got me thinking more than most films in recent memory.

  69. Premium Rush is amazing.

  70. I liked it. I have no real nostalgia for the character since I wasn’t overly attached to the Reeves/Donner movies, and I’m not a comic book guy anyway. The [redacted] movies I had more of an investment in since I grew up with the Burton and (to an obvious lesser extent) Schumacher movies. I like Nolan’s movies on a different level, and hold them in high regard much like everyone else. That all said I was more excited that Chris was lending his talent, albeit in a more distant role, to this franchise.

    I went in with realistic but somewhat optimistic expectation. It met about 75-80% of it, I have to say. One gripe is that it laid a little too heavy on the destruction but it’s a minor grievance. The Lois Lane character could have been a little more fleshed out, along with a few others. But these are all things that can be improved upon in the sequel, which hopefully it does. I agree with Vern in that I too hope it’s a bit more fun and not as dark. Not that this is as bleak as I’ve read in other reviews, but it certainly is solemn in a few places.

    Dream casting, since he will quite obviously (to me at least) be the villain. Bryan Cranston as Luthor.

  71. I can’t really see Cranston going up against this version of Superman. I like my Supes and Lex to be closer in age.

    I’m saying DiCaprio.

  72. Only if it’s the character from THE WOLF OF WALL STREET.

  73. Speaking of Luthor, I loved the Easter egg of the oil truck which gets destroyed having the LuthorCorp (or is it Lex Corp?) logo on them.

    While it would never happen, I would personally like to see Michael Rosenbaum reprise his role from Smallville and play Lex. Like I said, it will never happen. But, I think he was the best part of that show and played a great Lex,especially considering the material he was working with.

    More realistically, I think a bald cap on Ryan Gosling could make for a Lex in this version of the Superman mythos. I think he could be truly menacing while doing that thing he does lately where he barely does anything other than look angry. Mega-un-acting?

  74. It’s LexCorp. That really stuck out for however briefly it was used. FWIW, on IMDB it says the satellite that gets damaged belongs to Wayne Enterprises.

  75. Whoever it is they better do a bald test first so we don’t get another Timothy Olyphant in HITMAN situation. Or the guy from Smashing Pumpkins. Some people just don’t look right bald.

  76. Can we get Nic Cage to shave his head? That way he will finally be in a Superman movie! Plus: He obviously doesn’t care if his hair looks silly.

  77. Clancy Brown, the perfect Lex Luthor.

  78. Di Caprio would be a cool Luthor but I don’t see him bald. Dream casting would be Daniel Day Lewis but dream on, right? Once upon a time I would have said Ralph Fiennes but he hasn’t bought his A-game in a while. So who is good at always looking like the most intelligent man in the room? Without feeling like a total nerd? Mark Strong I guess but it feels too easy. He’s the go-to for the clever villain nowadays. Who else? Oh Jesus you know what? People go on about Bryan Cranston but what about Giancarlo Esposito? He was utterly chilling as Gus Frings in Breaking Bad, made you feel like he owned you. Oh shit I got it:

    Michael Stuhlbarg! And anyone who’s seen him in Boardwalk Empire will have to at least see my point.

  79. It should be Alexis Luthor and she should be played by Abbie Cornish or Carla Gugino.

  80. Saw it a few days ago and only not got the chance to properly write what I think (SPOILERS):

    For a lot of the first half of this movie, I was going in the direction of just liking, but not loving it. Primarily I think because there were some choices that were different from what I was expecting(I still liked them, they just threw me off a bit) and a few of the emotional beats didn’t hit me quite like I expected them to. I was a little concerned with the mopey Clark Kentness, as I’d read some reviews saying he was way too serious. But then we get the scene where he’s treating Lois’ wound, and he just projects this aura of complete trustworthiness and reassurance as he’s telling her he has to cauterise it, that was the first real “This is Superman!” moment for me in terms of charisma. And that sense kept growing for me throughout the film as he gained more and more confidence, particularly when he pretty much demonstrates to the military that they can’t do shit to control him, but without being a dick about it. Yes, he’s still pretty serious, but given everything that’s going on, it’s all justified to me, and losing his shit on Zod when his mother is threatened was nice to see. Don’t piss off Superman. So Henry Cavill is my Superman now. Of course, the Jesus stuff was pretty blatant and annoying, but it’s a thing we just have to deal with now it seems.
    I really liked Amy Adams as Lois. She’s smart, brave, and has the right moral center that causes her to drop the issue when Clark asks her. It’s probably going to be controversial that she finds out his secret so soon, but it does service her character by showing her investigative skills(though causes the problem of how the authorities can’t deduce the same thing as she does) and it really only speeds up something that would come eventually anyway. I can’t say I remember many people complaining that IRON MAN did away with the “He’s my bodyguard” cover story almost immediately, or that THOR doesn’t have his human counterpart, so I don’t see this as too much of a problem, and it’ll make their dynamic going forward much more interesting. By the way, I liked the final scene, and I dunno how journalism works, but I seem to recall Perry White says Clark’s there new [some term I can’t remember], so maybe he can work there without experience by being an intern? Or maybe Lois helped him create the sort of resume that she knows Perry would have liked? There might be an issue of recognisability in future films that they’ll need to address, but I believe that right now, Lois is the only person who’s seen both this Clark Kent and Superman up close.
    I really liked Crowe in this. You wouldn’t think he’d be that into this sort of thing, but I did get a sense of him giving a shit and being invested in what he was doing, and his Jor-El is a much more relatable figure than the aloof one we’ve had in other adaptations. I both the action-scientist side of him, and the simulation of him. I thought it was a neat that the later was referred to as a “ghost” and kind of depicted as such, and despite being just a computer program, still had an emotional reaction to seeing Clark grown up and trying to appeal to Zod. Some people are asking what he actually wanted Clark to do with the Codex above, and I think that he basically wanted Clark to reach his full potential as an individual first, and then when it was clear he was ready for the responsibility, reveal the truth about the Codex and try to have him find a way to bring his people back without having to harm humanity. If Clark was a douchebag, then giving him the means to raise a society of Supermen who all follow would make him into another Zod.
    Which brings me to Shannon. He was brilliant. I’ve seen some people say he’s “no Terrance Stamp”, and while I get that it can be appealing to just have a straightforward out and out evil villain, the complexity of Shannon’s Zod is great, and I think what’s interesting about it is the fact everything he does can be viewed as not out of any personal flaws, but as a product of his environment and upbringing. He defines himself by what Krypton defined him as, its protector, and if protecting Krypton involves killing the rulers, so be it. If protecting Krypton involves causing genocide to a whole other race, so be it. It’s only when his purpose is completely destroyed that he chooses to intentionally do evil. He only gets true free will when Krypton is completely gone for him. I also like that he can actually restrain his desperation for as long as he does, asking for Earth to hand over who he’s after and only once he’s got Clark vulnerable does he get more heavy. I think that’s why he asks for Lois to come too, because he’ll have seen the news broadcasts that say she knows Superman, so she’s valuable as both as a hostage and is worth keeping in case she knows anything about Kryptonians that could be tactically valuable to her people.
    The Kents were well done too, though maybe not as highlighted as I could have hoped. I appreciate that Martha gets to have as much of an influence over Clark’s values as Jonathan did, and that while Jonathan instills in him that he needs to control his abilities, she’s actually the one who helps him learn HOW. Why did Jonathan have to get killed saving a DOG though? I got Independence Day flashbacks from that. I think top to bottom there was a really good supporting cast, between Fishburne, Meloni, Lennix, that guy from The West Wing and Antje Traue as Faora, who was a stone cold badass. Though that Smallville fight did feature one of my pet peeves from movies, armed soldiers/cops continuing to use clearly ineffective weapons on individuals who are barely taking notice. Also, age rating I know, but what she does to those guys should really have been a bit more graphic(or implied to be more graphic) than just sending them flying. I think when the guy she was with jumped on that jet, there was a brief bit of blood spray you could see in the long shot.
    The action and visuals in this movie are spectacular, and I actually really liked the approach Snyder took. Krypton was thankfully a wholly new take for movies, and I think it shows how much the franchise has been held back by the Donner version that the depiction of Krypton society with the birthing matrix stuff is from a comic that’s over 20 years old(and called…Man of Steel). While I wouldn’t have minded some ramping in the action scenes, he makes the power on display seem really dangerous and hard to contain and to completely comprehend, though wow, that was a really major amount of destruction caused at the end. I hope the sequel doesn’t gloss over that. There should at least be a bunch of construction going on in that area(courtesy of Lexcorp of course). Also thinking back on it, the one power of Superman’s they didn’t display was the superbreath. Too goofy? Saving it for another movie? I also liked that the movie actually managed to make it seem like Superman was in danger several times without having to resort to Kryptonite. It just shows how far a little imagination can go. As for him killing Zod, it was a really powerful moment for me and I thought it and the reaction afterwards was totally earned, though yes, they could have actually followed up on it with him having to talk to someone about it rather than just get over it, apparently. It was still a good exploration of his moral code and way to get rid of a villain than “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you” from [REDACTED] BEGINS, and I hope it’s something that haunts him and motivates him to find another way with other villains.
    So overall I’m very satisfied and I think the future looks bright for the character.

  81. Bradley Cooper should be Lex, and he should keep his hair.

    Think about it (and see Limitless if you can)

  82. I didn’t get to see it because my weekend was very busy. I plan to sometime this week and will share the eventual lengthy review. As many of the regulars here know I’m a comic book guy and my knowledge of DC Comics characters in particular comes from reading comic books from all eras. All starting all the way back in 1987 as opposed to knowing them from their media adaptations like most other people. Hell I never even seen JLU and I’m a DC guy.

    The Zod thing was spoiled for me on another board. Though not the context of it all at least. I made a detailed post schooling them after that though because there is precedent to Superman killing in the comics across his entire 75 year history. From the Golden Age to Bronze Age and Silver Age & the modern era.

    Non-canonically off the top of my head I could think of Superman killing Wonder Woman and Green Arrow in Superman/Batman: Absolute Power. Or Superman killing Joe Chill in the “what if Superman was Batman” story Speeding Bullets.

    Mainstream versions of Superman from their time killed too so it wasn’t also non-canon including the recent New 52 version who killed an ancient Kryptonian dragon, some of Darkseid’s parademons and almost killed a friend of his because she threatened to freeze all of metropolis and there was no other way to stop her. This also includes the original Superman by Siegel and Schuster who was cold blooded even with human beings. Such as

    Amongst many other examples. As well as the John Byrne Man of Steel revamp that this movie borrowed so much from apparently also falls into that category. MoS (comic) Supes ended up killing a version of Zod and Faora even because they were too great a threat to their dimension.

    So people making a big stink about it are kind of silly because this isn’t the first version of Superman to take those measures in any media. I mean everywhere from Smallville to the Injustice video game there have been versions of Kal-El who did kill.

    To me it’s more about how Snyder and Goyer handle his reaction to it all in light of Superman now universally having a “killing is a last resort” rule.

    That’s what will determine whether they dropped the ball or not. But it’s an interesting issue to tackle with Superman who is always perceived as a “boy scout” because he had to be taken away from his original depiction due to the comics code.

    If they handle it the way it’s been handled in modern media including comics where the kill reminded him of the Kent’s moral values and why he didn’t feel comfortable with ever taking such an easy way out again I don’t see what’s so wrong with it. But it’s all about context.. We’ll see.

  83. I’m 100% against any Lex keeping his hair. I agree with Vern that a bald test is in order because of the Olyphant syndrome. But, Lex has got to be bald. I always hated how Hackman’s Lex “wore a wig” most of the time… A wig with a comb-over. Even as a little kid, I wondered why he would get a wig which had a receding hairline. Lots of interesting suggestions for casting. I think they real key will be what age they want Lex to be. Seems like most of the suggestions fall into the mid to late 30s range or the 50s. Both of which are groups with tons of talent.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that Lex will be in part 2. That would definitely go with the Nolan template. But, who knows, maybe they’ll surprise us with Mr Myxlplyx instead.

  84. Jay-Z would be a good Lex Luthor, if the part doesn’t require him to talk too much.

    He can let his minions do most of the grunt work while he sits in the exclusive VIP background, being the boss, making deal$ by scraping iPads, schmoozing world leaders with bottle service & backstage access at MSG concerts, smoking cigars, brushing dirt off his shoulder, aggressively but calmly turning millions into billions until Supes & Lois expose some evil shit he’s trying to do.

  85. I see Mouth’s Jay-Z and raise to Kanye West.

  86. What about Bruce?

  87. Motherfucker, don’t ever suggest that Kanye is in any way superior to Jay-Z.

    I’m going back to my Alexis Luthor idea now.
    Winona Ryder might look okay bald.

  88. I’m not saying he is superior to JAy-Z. Just a more believable ego fueled supervillain.

  89. Okay, yeah, that would be fun to watch. He’d probably have to become a SAG member first.

    I’m not giving up my dream of seeing a bald Sharon Stone stab Superman with a green ice pick, though.

  90. So, apparently Warner Bros is “aggressively marketing “Man of Steel” to Christian pastors, inviting them to early screenings, creating Father’s Day discussion guides and producing special film trailers that focus on the faith-friendly angles of the movie.”

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but does this strike anyone else as super creepy and cynical? Luring pastors in with free screenings and pre-packaged sermon plans in the hope they they then hard sell the movie to their congregations? I’m about as hardcore as militant atheists get, but even I think its almost criminally manipulative to recruit people’s spiritual leaders to push your big budget blockbuster.


  91. Anything the studios can do to pump up sales… ain’t capitalism grand?

    If the pastors fall for it, then fuck ’em. Maybe their congregations will finally see the stupidity & emptiness of their faith leaders (“The Reverend told us we should honor Christ’s miracle birth by watching the Superman dvd with our kids?”), and this whole MoS-sermon exercise will produce more atheists.

  92. I think the best way to do Luthor would be to simply have the US Government hire him to create some countermeasures against Superman in case they ever need them, and so he drums up Metallo, The Parasite or other Superman villains who have earth origins. They go rogue though and Superman defeats, then and the Government scapegoats Luthor, who’s mad not just for the bad press but because Superman beat his creations.

  93. I figure they’ll have Luthor create some kind of superpowered army or something. Maybe they’ll give him his green and purple Iron Man suit. In any event, I was happy to see the Lexcorp tanker trucks in MoS because it means I don’t have to worry about them going the stupid “criminal mastermind” route in the sequel. Lex is best when he cloaks himself in a veil of legitimacy, which is why one of my favorite storylines is the one where he ends up President of the United Fucking States. Kind of takes the wind out of SZA’s catchphrase when the American Way is dictated by his archnemesis.

  94. It’s good they’ve got the “destroy New York City” thing out of their system for this franchise. Time to retire that traumatizing trope for a while, Hollywood boys.

    I worry for Mr. Majestyk’s & Broddie’s psyche, having to relive the demolition of their urban front yards at least twice every summer at the cinema. It’s been a while since CHRONICLE; how about set up some villainy & ‘splosions in Seattle next time? Probably don’t want to fuck up DC onscreen again, not after the double DIE HARD ON A WHITE HOUSE we’re getting this year. Maybe set a big action set piece on a military installation; I don’t know why that’s so rare, now that we have computers that can make any set imaginable. You can have a formation of Fort Benning Ranger-trainees stepping up to become heroes after Gina Carano-in-a-LexCorp-mech-suit wipes out a battalion at the Airborne School LZ. I think that place halts training for most of December & January, and there’s not much classified in that area of Benning, so you could even film onsite, I bet.

    Point is, the 212 needs time to find $3 trillion for the damages and rebuild. And I’d like a major action movie to be filmed somewhere I can identify some landmarks, somewhere I once called home.

  95. They didn’t destroy NY though, Mouth, it was Metropolis. Though speaking of recognisable landmarks, if I’m remembering correctly, they never showed the Daily Planet with the spinning globe on top.

  96. I know it was supposed to be Metropolis, but I forgot halfway through the climax and started to calculate how many blocks of Midtown got leveled. Did they ever actually say the word “Metropolis?” If they did, I missed it.

  97. Great review Vern. I saw this one opening day and have since seen it again and really enjoyed it. I am just trying to catch up on the talk back before posting. I am not the biggest Superman fan, but I am excited for anything Snyder does and MOS is a great marriage of director and material. I hoped Snyder would go big and was excited to see how he would apply his visual sensibilities to MOS on a grander scale than ever before, but despite the scale of the action it all feels rather restrained. I agree with Vern that MOS felt like Snyder intentionally toned down his visual style and gave the film a shaky handheld feel to try and root the film in the real world the way Nolan did with the Batman franchise. The choice didn’t hurt the movie, but I was disappointed because nobody else does action like Snyder and that was part of what I was looking forward to.

    I will be interested to see who they get to play Lex and what direction they go with the character. I second the idea of a bald Cage as Lex.

  98. One little thing I liked during the mega-destruction is that Zod at one point using the cape against Supes. Somebody paid attention to the gag about capes in THE INCREDIBLES.

  99. I believe they did say Metropolis, Majestyk, but in a throw away manner. I could be wrong, though.

    I think that the Lex Corp tanker was an intentionally obvious Easter egg the more I think about it and I think it’s some definite foreshadowing. I think the plot outlined by one of you in the comments (sorry, I couldn’t find it right now to give you your due credit) would work best. Have Lex rebuild Metropolis, have his personal losses make him hate SZA, have Lex sway public opinion against SZA, have Lois uncover that he’s not the great humanitarian he claims to be, etc. It could work.

    The Jay Z thing is interesting. I don’t think he should actually play the part, but I think his shtick could be a good jumping off point for a more modern spin on the character.

    I really hope they don’t put him in the purple iron man suit, though. I’ve always hated when they make Lex get into the physical brawls.

    One other thought… I think that the Nolan/Snyder hybrid style used to give MoS its look and feel could be great for a Flash movie. Who plays Gorilla Grodd?

  100. “Did they ever actually say the word “Metropolis?” If they did, I missed it.”

    I definitely remember that when the World Engines were being deployed, the Airforce’s computer monitoring the situation said one was at Metropolis.

  101. Just out of curiosity, why do you think people are making such a big deal about the destruction in this film in particular? In Thor, they destroyed a small town, like they did with Smallville, and in The Avengers they trashed Manhattan. Even going back a bit, to The Incredible Hulk, they “broke Harlem”. Why was there no outrage about those films, but Superman and Zod jacking up Metropolis merits incredulous commentary?

  102. I think they have to go older with Lex since the have already established in MOS that Lexicorp is in existence. He can’t be in his early 30’s, he needs to be no younger than pushing 50. Also, Lex should be the embodiment of earths greatest man. He should be smarter, more handsome and more charming then everybody else, and that is part of what he resents about Superman. Until Superman came along Lex was the most powerful man on earth, but even with all his resources and intellect he is no match for Superman. Lex should also resent that Supes was born with power, but Lex has had to work hard his whole life to achieve the power he has. His ego should pervert his own healthy suspicions about the alien with god like powers and drive him mad. It will never happen but I think a guy like George Clooney (or Denzel) would make a perfect Luthor.

  103. Michaelangelo, I think the issue is that a lot of people associate the character of Superman less with action and more with heroics and MOS is focused on action more so than heroics. In the final showdown there is an massive amount of property damage on an epic scale with little to no concern for endangering innocent bystanders, and in many people’s eyes that seems unheroic and out of character for Superman. Having the fight take place in the city made for great spectacle, but it does seem out of character for Superman not to try and take the fight to space or a place less populated out of concern for harming innocent people.

  104. TexanFromFrance

    June 19th, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I’m a credit watcher, too. Always have been. The only time I don’t watch them is if someone is pulling me out or it’s a James Cameron movie and Fuckin’ Celine Dion is belting one rooster.

    The trailer also had me hoping for a film with a deeper emotional core. This is an action movie about using superpowers as opposed to one about living with them. But it opens big, exiting possibilities for sequels. It’s a great start and they have an opportunity to top themselves with the next, for sure. Greatness is so close.

  105. Is “belting one rooster” an autocorrect type situation or a completely fucking awesome new colloquialism I need to start incorporating into my daily speech?

  106. Maybe some of you will want to check out this BuzzFeed article about the amount of damage in MOS. It’s staggering. Superman is a nice guy, but I’m happy he lives in another city.

    If you want a quick summary: 129,000 killed. 250,000 missing. Nearly a million injuries. Damages estimated at 2 trillion dollars.


  107. Nope, Stu told us that Metropolis doesn’t exist, and has no real life urban correlative, thus Buzzfeed is full of shit, or “shite” as I assume the Scotsman says it.

    Also, the [REDACTED] stories, film or funnypaper, have no relation to anything resembling real life NYC, as they deal in “Gotham City,” which is totally different & unrelatable.

    Also, “fudge” is totally different from “chocolate.”

  108. “It will never happen but I think a guy like George Clooney (or Denzel) would make a perfect Luthor.”

    Clooney as Luthor would be interesting. It could give George some (probably unneeded) closure because of his previous experience in a “comic book movie”.

  109. Ooh, I like the Denzel suggestion. He definitely has that combination of charisma, intelligence, and palpable disgust with everyone around him. He could make a great villain. Not sure he’d be interested, though.

  110. This came to me in a dream last night and I can’t shake the idea that it’s the only choice: Tom Cruise. Let him finally use his reptilian charisma, great white shark smile, and cold blue Terminator eyes to play the ultimate super villain.

    Also, it will give him a chance to show people that he can be handsome bald. The opportunity to be handsome in different ways is how he chooses all of his roles.

  111. “Nope, Stu told us that Metropolis doesn’t exist, and has no real life urban correlative, thus Buzzfeed is full of shit, or “shite” as I assume the Scotsman says it.

    Also, the [REDACTED] stories, film or funnypaper, have no relation to anything resembling real life NYC, as they deal in “Gotham City,” which is totally different & unrelatable.

    Also, “fudge” is totally different from “chocolate.””
    I never said there wasn’t any similarities, but honestly, I’ve never seen Gotham or Metropolis as just “New York with a different name” in the comics. Okay, maybe more so for Metropolis, which is kinda like a cleaner, brighter, less crowded version of NY, which is why Vancouver was a good stand in for it in the SMALLVILLE show, but Gotham in The Nolan Movies used Chicago and Pittsburgh and even I can tell those places aren’t New York by sight, while Gotham doesn’t seem as bustling to me. The Burton movies version was way too stylised to just be New York for either, for me.
    And anyway, I wasn’t really sure if you were just being ignorant in your original comment and actually thought it was New York (cos as noted, they didn’t make a big point of naming the city) or saying Metropolis was New Yorky enough to fulfill that trope.

  112. As for the damage/deaths calculated, is it that hard to believe that
    1. As soon as the World Engine showed up, the people in the city would start evacuating all the buildings and head for the outskirts
    2. That Superman would actually use X-Ray/Telescopic vision to check out where he was hurling Zod before he did it, to avoid casualties?

  113. I never got a New York vibe from Nolan’s Gotham City, other than the few parts that were actually shot there, like the fight on the Wall Street steps and the standoff on the 59th St Bridge. Otherwise it’s got too parochial of a skyline, all squat, lumpy Midwestern office blocks, to be the Big Apple. But Snyder’s Metropolis is definitely supposed to evoke Manhattan. No other city has buildings that tall that close together. I was actually looking for landmarks to orient myself (as I always do when watching NYC-set cinema) but had to remind myself that this was just an ersatz New York, not the real thing.

  114. Mr. M, Cruise would be a great Luthor.

  115. I’ve always believed that metropolis is meant to be NY and that Gotham is meant to be Chicago. Not sure what that makes Star City.

    Also, I love the Denzel idea AND I love the Tom Cruise idea.

  116. Both Metropolis and Gotham are New York, just different sides of the same coin. Metropolis is the bright shiny new side and Gotham is the old brick buildings and crime riddled alleys side. This is how both cities manage to have a statue of Liberty. The Chicago idea is new and helps things make more sense if everything is to be connected but as I don’t like the Justice League I was quite happy with two versions of New York.

  117. I’m not so sure about Denzel. It’s a great idea to get him to play against type (and he’s always kind of a dick even when he’s on his life’s mission to mentor every young white male in Hollywood) but I don’t think he could ever totally ditch that tough love, voice-of-reason vibe he gives off. Denzel’s whole thing is that when he says something, you believe him, so it might make sense to cast him as the world’s biggest liar, Henry Fonda in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST style, but would Cavill really be able to stand up to that? Denzel was the villain in TRAINING DAY, too, but everybody came out of that movie thinking he’s the hero.

    Cruise, meanwhile, has a surface charm and an underlying hissability that I think is Luthor to a tee. Plus there’s the fact that as he ages he gets more and more desperate to prove how young and viable he is, which would add some great subtext to Luthor’s essential envy of Superman. Honestly, I can’t think of anyone more perfect.

  118. Denzel would be interesting but it could open up a can of worms with the black community, having him play the villain in this mostly-white world as Vern mentioned. Cruise honestly is a better choice for the reasons Mr. M has mentioned already so I will give that some merit. Plus he has been bald in a few movies before, so it won’t look as odd as the examples Vern cited.

    But I’m still backing Cranston. Heisenberg aside, he has been a growing presence in movies lately and is certainly on WB’s radar after ARGO. But I can’t ignore how close his work on BB lately has paralleled a super-villain of Lex’s caliber. Maybe I’m just too big a fan of the show but I can’t un-see him as Luthor because of it.

  119. Cranston’s too old

  120. Honestly: I think Kevin Spacey was always the best choice for Luthor, and wouldn’t mind at all if they brought him back. Hopefully they’d get away from his Donner-movie-esque wackiness and give him a better plot, but who better than Spacey to play the guy who’s smarter than everyone else (and knows it), but who is still insecure enough at his heart to turn all his smarts to villainy because there’s one guy on Earth who’s still more impressive?

  121. indeed, Kevin Spacey was pretty much perfect, too bad they wasted him for RETURNS

  122. Griff: Pfft.

  123. this just in gang, RLM hated Man of Steel http://redlettermedia.com/half-in-the-bag-man-of-steel/

    I enjoyed the movie, but man, I can’t say they’re necessarily wrong either, they raise a lot of good points

    I just don’t know what to think anymore

  124. A little late to the party. I loved it. Perfect blend of comic book-y feel (robot tentacles) and “real world” feel. (Also known as “Nolanizing”.) Costner was at his best, which is really saying something. Only complaint I had was the camerawork in the early flying scenes. Once the camera was able to “catch up” to Supes later in the film, it worked. Well, the other complaint I had was with the way Cavill’s chest hair crept up out of the suit. It was a bit distracting. Points off for lack of Supermanscaping.

    Also, I hope the Superman drowning in a quicksand of skulls scene gives kids nightmares the same way I got nightmares from Robot Lady in Superman 3.

  125. Mr. Subtlety, I don’t know if I want Spacey back as Luthor, but Brandon Routh is more than welcome to play Bizarro.

  126. Brandon Routh as Bizarro! That almost made me do an honest to god spit take.

  127. A crushing disappointment, though not necessarily a bad film. First, even though one of my big defense’s of Schumacher’s campy Bat-films was “who says Batman HAS to be dark and gritty? There’s room for different interpretations!”, I will now officially do a backtrack and say I don’t think the Superman character works in the dark and gritty/realistic style, at all. There’s a million articles out there criticizing the wanton destruction and lack of protecting the people in this one, and I agree with all of them. I appreciate that he tried to save that family at the end and took no pleasure in taking a life with his bare hands, but wow, I can’t imagine what the bodycount is for this movie. It just felt wrong. And here’s my other nitpicks:

    Remember how everyone said the first 10 minutes of The Avengers (the stuff in the SHIELD base) was kind of bad and you were like “uh oh” . That’s how I felt the whole movie. It starts off with that weird, unengaging bit on Krypton and never fully grabbed me. In fact, this is probably Snyder’s least engaging film to me. The flashback structure is clunky and isn’t done as gracefully or organically as Batman Begins. And then it just turns into a bad Emmerich movie at the end. yeesh. Snyder’s trademark amazing action sequences aren’t there either – there’s a few good bits but nothing as jaw-dropping as that fight on the train in Sucker Punch.

    The Transformers-esque shoehorning of the military in this movie obviously worked from a “realistic” perspective, but it just felt like more uninteresting characters (those same three guys from the military were EVERYWHERE!) and a vibe that shouldn’t be in a Superman movie. I didn’t like Pa Kent’s new death. Both overblown and just thematically wrong to what Pa Kent should be about. The original Reeve movie, where he’s torn between Jor-El’s “do not interfere” warnings and Pa Kent’s “you’re meant for greatness/you were put here for a reason”, got the dilemma right – two father figures, both good men, both technically right, but Superman has to choose between them. Speaking of which, Jor-El was in this way too much. I finally understand the meaning “How can we miss you if you won’t go away?”. It’s nice to know a man bred to be a scientist can do all kinds of daredevil heroics and out-fight a man bred to be a warrior and the general of a planet, by the way. The Codex subplot reeks of Orci/Kurtzman lazy Macguffin-leaning too (specifically whatever that Macguffin in Transformers 2 was) (so Jor-El hated the artificial breeding of Kryptonians but saved the codex anyway? And how exactly are they going to get the Codex out of Kal? I wouldn’t be surprised if this entire subplot is dropped in the next one)

    There’s no chemistry between Cavill and Adams (their actual acting is good though). Lois has no character to speak of, Clark barely has any either. It’s like the movie bends over backwards to contradict everything you know about Superman with their meeting early on and the lack of the secret identity, but then it still relies on your previous knowledge of Superman to fill in the gaps in their relationship.

    Shannon’s Zod is missing…something. Even forgetting Terrence Stamp’s infinitely better and more interesting Zod, this take just seemed weirdly generic. He’s not scary or funny or menacing or badass, he’s probably the most forgettable comic book villain of the new era. Shannon has been called “the next Christopher Walken”, and fittingly this feels like boring “A View to a Kill” Walken, when this movie needed “The Prophecy” or even “Batman Returns” Walken. Oh, this may be the only time I’ve ever seen Diane Lane give an underwhelming performance, by the way.

    Man the trailer was so much better. It gave me goosebumps and misty-eyes every time I watched it, it’s too bad the movie itself didn’t come close.

  128. Saw it for the second time today and still like it. I did pick up on something this time that I’m surprised hasn’t been mentioned by anyone here though…
    Is that a Laurence Fishburne thing, or a Perry White thing? Because I don’t think the same thing is true in HANNIBAL.

  129. Stu-

    I noticed the earring thing during the first close up. I think it’s a Fisburne thing. I used to see him in my neighborhood sometimes and he usually had one on. My friend and I joked at the time that he and Harrison Ford were in some sort of secret society and that’s why they both had 80s-esque earrings when they weren’t in roles. I mean think about that commitment. Or maybe the credits got it wrong and Perry White was played by Larry Fishburne, who has been MIA since the release of Boyz N tha Hood.

    Anyway, it’s funny that you mention Hannibal. When I was watching it last night, I said to myself, “It’s too bad that Lex Luthor pretty much has to be American. Because Mads Mikkelson could do that shit!”

  130. I’ll be honest I watched every episode of HANNIBAL and never noticed the earring thing. Didn’t notice it here either.

  131. Oh one more thing – I like how the makers were proud of themselves for not using the crutches of Lex Luthor or Kryptonite, but they basically had the Krypton atmosphere do the exact same thing as Kryptonite! But what really irks me is that (I think Mouth alluded to this) – WHY THE HELL WOULD ZOD WANT TO CHANGE EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE TO KRYPTON’S??? Him and his people could totally live there as gods and rule over everyone, but instead they WANT to render themselves powerless? Huh? (I know the correct answer is that the script needs the destruction and the ole ticking clock plot device, but c’mon)

    And the more I think of Pa Kent the more I dislike this movie. The whole point of Superman is that he has these god-like powers but by pure luck he landed with the Kents, and they instilled good values into him; teaching him selflessness and humility, etc… This version of Kent teaches his son that it’s better to let a literal busfull of children die rather than expose himself so he doesn’t get snatched up by the government. That’s an interesting idea for an X-Men movie, but not Superman. I find this more of an unforgivable sin than Superman killing Zod at the end.

  132. Pa Kent wasn’t trying to protect Clark from the government. He knew damn well the whole army couldn’t do shit to him. He was trying to preserve Clark’s humanity for when it would be needed most. He knew that the government would try to pull some shit if Clark came out before it was time, and that would ruin everything. He knew that Clark needed to save his big reveal for when he was needed most so that people would trust him and not fear him. In Pa Kent’s mind, Clark was put there to save the world, and anything that might derail him from doing that was to be avoided. Maybe that was worth a bus-full of kids, maybe not. He didn’t know for sure, but he knew that what his son represented was bigger than a few lives. Kind of a dick move, but not out of keeping with the evangelical viewpoint of a lot of Kansas and surrounding evirons, which seems to actually hunger for armageddon and considers any efforts to improve things and delay the inevitable to be contrary to God’s plans.

    The part where he dies saving a dog is still the worst part of the movie, though. If you’re gonna manipulate me, make it a little girl, not a ratty old animal.

    I have to admit that, after some reflection, MoS falls prey to my least favorite trope of the modern superhero film, and that is that the hero only ends up saving people from problems that he himself created. Filmmakers got this rulebook that says that all conflicts need to be personal, but a lot of times they make superheroes seem like they’re way more trouble than they’re worth. But I can’t really blame Superman for the way shit plays out in MoS. He didn’t choose where he got sent as a baby, and he didn’t choose for the Kryptonians to send their worst enemies to a safe place while they themselves got blown the fuck up. (That’s kind of retarded, but at least it fits with the characterization of the Kryptonian bureaucracy.) But it is kind of a bummer that, in the end, we would all certainly be a lot better off if Superman had landed on Venus instead.

    Hopefully the sequels will redress this by having the threat be something that would have arisen were Superman there or not but would not have been stoppable if Superman hadn’t been around. He’s got to get that red off his ledger to really earn his hero status.

  133. ” Kind of a dick move, but not out of keeping with the evangelical viewpoint of a lot of Kansas and surrounding evirons, which seems to actually hunger for armageddon and considers any efforts to improve things and delay the inevitable to be contrary to God’s plans.”

    yeah, I can speak from experience that that’s true

  134. Neal you nailed why I don’t like the codex subplot. It feels like Orci and kurtzman explaining things that have no explanation. It’s also why Zod lacks something. He’s just programmed to do this.

    And I like the movie. I don’t believe any innocents got hurt. I also believe the entire UK swat team crawled out of the rubble in FURIOUS 6 and brushed themselves off.

  135. I agree with Neal on a lot of points with the exception that I did actually like, not loved, the movie and the beginning on Krypton. I absolutely loved that beginning. It was a great sequence and it looked the way that the second Stars Wars trilogy should have looked. My only issue with the Krypton sequence was it felt rushed and I would have liked for it to have been slightly extended to get a better feel of Zod and they kryptonian society in general. Michael Shannon was underwhelming for me in the role of Zod, the actress who played Faora was actually better and would have made a better lead villan. This role needed someone a little more bombastic and intimidating in my mind and he’s just not that type of actor.

    I’ve seen this movie twice now and it’s definitely uneven and, for a 2 1/2 hour movie, rushed. It feels like the filmmakers wanted to give the audience what was missed in Superman Returns by providing great battles and superb action sequences. They did this at the expense of all of the supporting characters who you don’t get to know at all. Lois Lane is the most rushed since we really never understand why she falls for Superman except for the fact that he’s Superman. There’s no real conversation between the two of them and most of the interaction, outside of the cemetery scene, is in the heat of battle or while she’s in danger. Character development absolutely needs to be addressed in a sequel as we have no clue who these people are if you are within the context of the movie. My last issue is one that may or may not be an issue at all. I like the character of Clark Kent, who is completely missing from this movie with the exception of the very last scene. That scene actually make me worried about the sequel because Cavill just acted like Superman with glasses on. It was too quick to judge but I hope he has the chops to actually make it seem like he is two separate people. He’s a damn near perfectly looking,sounding, and acting Superman. If he can’t pull off Clark Kent then it could kill the sequel for me.

    With all that said, I think this movie was a good, not great reintroduction of Superman. What I’m hoping is that the filmmakers realize the weaknesses of this movie and address them in the sequel. The Superman origin story has been told way too many times at this point and it definitely is a weakness in Man of Steel. There was still more then enough to like in Man Of Steel that I am anticipating the sequel.

  136. There is something completely uncinematic about watching two super-people fight, when their punches and throws etc have no consequences. It’s actually boring, the equivalent of watching a small child play with its toys. “And then superman went POW, BOOM, and Zod went BLAM and etc”. This, for me, made this movie pretty dull and kind of annoying, watching these super dicks destroy people’s properties and livelihoods.

  137. I would have gladly watched a full length movie of the first bit on Krypton though. And the film did look pretty.

  138. Philip Seymour Hoffman for Luthor.

  139. Shalom, I was about to say the same thing – Philip Seymour Hoffman would be amazing as Luthor; it’s too bad he’s already mined similar ground so well in MI:III and The Master. Seriously, if The Master never happened and he gave that same performance as Lex Luthor – charismatic, angry, pompous, conflicted, but warm and enormously likable – it would be a game changer, easily up there with Heath Ledger’s Joker. (Ledger’s performance was partially so amazing because he never played anything like it before)

    But since The Master did happen, I don’t think his performance would have the same oomph, the same element of surprise. Unless Amy Adams gives him a handjob again.

  140. I would argue that Thor, despite its faults, did a good job of making understand why Loki did what he did and why. But there was some wicked cackling, if I remember correctly. I think I like Zod better, but at least in Thor, Loki has this woundedness of being this bastard child who could never quite live up to the image of the world he was raised in.

  141. Contrary to my expectations, i did mannaged to watch the movie this weekend. I found it enjoyable. Not great, not bad, an happy middle ground.
    It seems to me some of the complains about the movie, namely about the later part of the film, are a bit misleading. People complain that Superman is not saving people left and right when al those buildings are collapsing, but they seem to have forgotten that what that was happening was during the gravity machines sequence, and Superman was in the other side of the world battleling the other ghughe machine with the evil tentacles as a defense system which were causing serious hurt on Superman. How could he be there on the other side of the globe and be saving people from collapsing building in Metropolis?
    It’s not the first time i see people complaining or praising a movie without thinking what is actually happening on the screen.
    Also, i suspect part of the reason i might have a more positive opinion the the thougher detractors is that i don’t like the spirit of the Silver Age of Comics of which informs many people idea of Superman, and which also inspire a lot the older Donner/Lester movies. Silver Age was the kiddification of comics and Superman was one of the characters who suffered the most, and where he gained more and more omnipotent powers and where he could do no wrong and he was absolutly moral without doubts and room to grow. I don’t like that approach that Silver Age comics had, i far prefer the precluding Golden Age and the afterward Bronze and Dark age of comics approach. As such, this movie sits quite well with me.
    It didn’t awed me, but i didn’t find in it anything to hate either. And this from somebody who usually hates Zack Snyder’s films.

  142. I’m…I’m stunned.

  143. Statistically speaking, a truly effective Summer Blockbuster is most often a tale of an extraordinary Something in an ordinary world. This Something can be horrific (JAWS, ALIEN, THE TERMINATOR) it can be wonderful (SPIDER-MAN, E.T., BACK TO THE FUTURE) or it can be a murky in-between (JURASSIC PARK, DISTRICT 9, arguably even BATMAN). All these seemingly disconnected examples have their Something in common: they are incredible, unbelievable, remarkable… and they arise against a very realistic, recognizable human backdrop. A stasis we can all relate to.

    Superman himself has always exemplified this. He was Remarkable incarnate. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. What could be more incredible and unbelievable than that? A literal super man, able to do things none of us could hope to do in a million years. An archetype based around the very pure, very simple notion that we – the normies – could raise our gaze from our everyday world and witness something amazing.

    “Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!”

    And thus – in a tiny little nutshell – everything wrong with MAN OF STEEL.

    Superman is the least extraordinary thing in his own film.

    I’m not talking about the interpretation of the character, Henry Cavill’s performance, the way Superman is handled within the narrative, any of that. I mean that this is a movie which begins on a fantastic alien world ripe with heroics and marvelous creatures, transitions to a series of the most extraordinary events planet Earth has to offer, and concludes with what is basically an INDEPENDENCE DAY-scale otherworldly attempted takeover. Superman himself has no context. He is one tiny cog in a two and a half hour series of cogs that are all brighter and louder and bigger and more explodier than him. It’s a story unwilling to go more than seven or so minutes without a fiery oil derrick or a bus careening off a bridge or a finale-of-TWISTER-scale tornado, and that’s just tallying the things that incidentally happen when there are no supervillains around. Any of these events could be the rousing climactic happening of a slightly smaller movie, here they occur as casually as dialogue. And when the extraordinary is tossed about so casually, it is – at best– unfair to assume that we the audience will proceed to oo and ah when our hero finally learns to fly: it’s the quietest thing we’ve witnessed so far.

    Or to put it another way: imagine if JURASSIC PARK had opened with a twenty minute sequence where John Hammond escapes from a fiery, self-destructing InGen facility by jumping onto the backs of various stampeding dinosaurs. It would have been rousing, exhilarating spectacle, to be sure, but it also would have ruined the movie. When our hero Dr. Grant sees a dinosaur for the first time, he is struck dumb. He stares. His legs go out from under him. His ordinary world has been turned upside down because he is witnessing something extraordinary. And the moment would have been meaningless if we had witnessed anything like it (let alone bigger than it) at any point before.

  144. Boy, I don’t wanna open old wounds or anything, but I just saw this turkey and frankly I can’t believe you guys went so easy on it. While admittedly pretty, this thing was honestly the most ponderous bore that I saw all year. Not since PROMETHEUS have I seen a movie work this hard to do this little. It’s shockingly over-plotted, relentlessly morose, bloated, thematically overbearing, and just fucking joyless. There’s a couple moderately fun, nicely shot action scenes near the end, but by the time you get to them you’ve already had to suffer through nearly two hours of almost pure fat, a desolate non-story that would have been better told in 15 minutes. I do think Snyder –a reliably great visualist– has a decent Supes movie in him somewhere, but Goyer and Nolan are dragging him down by painfully overthinking something that should be simple and charming.

  145. Superman has to be the most boring character ever to become a major iconic figure. His personality is that he’s perfect and invincible, which doesn’t make for good drama. The problem is, Snyder and co (and Singer before him) realized this and figured that means in order to make Superman interesting, they have to angst him up. But Superman is such a silly concept that it doesn’t work. The best approach is the Donner approach; don’t go for depth or emotion, go for charm and old-fashioned entertainment. And if they ever make a Superman movie like that again, maybe I’ll go see it. Because lloyd knows I have no desire to sit through another 2 1/2 hours of dumb, morose children’s book level sci-fi about miserable, shitty people and their lives that should be fantastical but instead are miserable and shitty.

    I mean, like 2/3rds of the way through MAN OF STEEL, when it FINALLY became about super powered people punching each other, I perked up and saw a little bit of the fun, blockbustery movie Snyder has the chops to make. But holy fuck, the rest of the movie was a joyless slog. Who the fuck cares whether or not Superman feels burdened by his extreme powers? Superman is not a relateable character in any manner, he’s perfect and godlike and fucking boring. I thought this shit was supposed to be fun?

  146. Dan P — Couldn’t possibly agree more. Superman is a utterly simplistic concept meant to be an empowerment fantasy for children, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that until you start to get embarrassed about it. It feels like even more than with Batman, Nolan et al were trying to tart this simple, entertaining concept up with a bunch of self-consciously serious grown-up claptrap. Guys, you don’t have to apologize for the material being juvenile. It IS juvenile, that’s why it was made for kids to begin with. But that’s OK, because it has the benefit of being simple and entertaining; it’s elegantly made for cinema already. Why try to cover that up with a bunch of clutter about Kevin Costner trying to save a dog and so on?

    Next up: the 2 1/2 hour epic tale of CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG where they spend two hours establishing that he was tormented as a puppy and writing in dozens of pointless subplots about uninteresting minor characters before the big finale where he kills the guy who murdered his alien father (don’t worry, we’ll spend 40 minutes establishing the father first).

  147. Ooh, look at the tough guys who are too cool to take Superman seriously. They only like real mature, grownup heroes like that dude who puts on a super scary mask and drives a wicked awesome car and has a belt with, like, smoke bombs and grappling hooks and stuff on it.

    Superman has just as much right to be taken seriously as any other ridiculous comic strip hero created 75 years ago by hacks just trying to keep the lights on by selling brightly colored picture books to indiscriminate children. In fact, his origin and mythology provide far richer elements of pathos and heroism than Batman’s prosaic revenge fantasy. What’s more interesting: an all-powerful alien from a dead race who must decide whether to rule his new home or to protect it, or a guy who punches bad guys in the face because somebody hurt his mommy and daddy?

    It’s an big, heavy, emotional story. It always has been. You want a bland, smirking hero who gets into inconsequential fights against goofy aliens, go watch GREEN LANTERN.

  148. I don’t know that Superman has any LESS right to be taken seriously than any other comic character, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to turn it into a solemn, joyless and convoluted 2 1/2 hour epic. In fact, I think with the marginal exception of Nolan’s good/sometimes great Batmans, it’s generally a bad idea to do that to ANY hero. The best superhero films embrace the fundamental silliness of their concept and don’t apologize for it. That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve or want to be taken seriously, they just refrain from insisting that we’re too grown up to have any fun. I like comic book movies, but there’s a way to take the characters and stakes of the universe seriously without without turning it into an epic mope-fest which puts theme before excitement. No one watches a Superman movie hoping to learn something valuable in the human experience which explains why the man-god chooses benevolence over conquest. It’s all well and good if it’s in there, but pretending that it’s the main event is, in my view, a dire error.

  149. I see MAN OF STEEL in a larger context of DC trying to sweep their history under the rug. “Comic books have always been serious books containing serious stories for adults, guys. Full of grownup stuff like rape and violence. Pay no attention to the Silver Age goofiness behind the curtain.” That kind of irks me but the comics keep selling, so clearly somebody likes the direction they’re going.

    I’ve got no problem with a movie trying to take Superman seriously as a character. I don’t think he’s boring. I just don’t think MAN OF STEEL did a good job of it. Superman’s emotional dilemma never made sense to me. Kevin Costner seemed like a crazy asshole. None of the emotional beats connected. The whole experience just washed over me. I respect a movie that has the balls to take itself completely seriously, but this is a case where some levity might have made the experience go down smoother. I think it’s possible to make a movie that takes Superman seriously without sucking all the air out of the room. The most emotionally affecting Superman comics I’ve read have been way lighter in tone than MAN OF STEEL.

    Telling someone to go watch GREEN LANTERN is a low blow, Maj. In Australia it’s a bootable offence.

  150. Yeah, good point. Nobody should ever watch GREEN LANTERN. I think that’s in the Geneva Convention or something.

    But actually, I do watch a Superman movie more for the themes than the action. (Although, seriously, if you’re complaining about the action in MAN OF STEEL, I don’t know what to tell you.) There’s just something about the guy that makes me philosophical. Here you got a guy with infinite power who has refused to be corrupted infinitely. That can be pretty boring when the world of the movie is a wacky ersatz art deco pulp amusement park full of cackling baddies and feisty dames where there’s no real reason not to be good. But when the world is shitty and hard and color-desaturated and people are jerks and you could totally understand why a man-god might decide to just tear it all down and start again, I think that choice is a little more meaningful. Superman’s seen what assholes we are, and he saves us anyway.

    I don’t find the movie joyless. I like the way it makes the visceral emotional. I like how dense it is. I find stuff of interest in every little cranny of the overstuffed screenplay. I’ve seen the light and fluffy Superman movies, and I love them, but I’m glad this one is different. I don’t want every superhero movie to be this way. Shit, my favorite one is THE AVENGERS, the frothiest, friendliest one of the bunch. But I think the heavy approach works here. It’s a lot of weight for one character to carry, but if anyone can do it, it’s Superman.

  151. But that’s the thing Mr. Majestyk. Why didn’t Supes in MOS become a God or dictator? So his dad made him act like a closet case, wouldn’t that actually possibly backfire and make him an even bigger asshole than he might be otherwise? (Think of those closet case right wing politicians who went after the gays.)

    I mean those Nolan [REDACTED] movies, they showed why [REDACTED] would never use a gun or why he wouldn’t go vigilante and kill. There’s a clear chain of evidence from zero to hero. With MOS….something’s missing for me. Maybe that alleged 1 hour longer director’s cut might fix that for me?

  152. Mr. M — I dunno, man. I guess we just disagree about how well the drama works in MOS. I don’t disagree with you that there’s something philosophical in the character, I just don’t see that element meaningfully dramatized in this movie. In fact, Bill’s monologue on the subject in KILL BILL 2 probably better summarized the interesting dynamic between super and normal men than the whole 2+ hours of MOS. I get what Goyer/Nolan were going for, but although I see the CONFLICT spelled out, I don’t see a meaningful change for the character. Why does Kal-El choose Earth over Krypton? Pretty much just because he grew up here. There’s never really any genuine conflict about it, he never for a single minute appears to take seriously the idea that there’s a real debate about what he should do. WHY does he decide to save a bunch of assholes? I really don’t know, he never seems to be given a chance to genuinely think about the matter beyond a few simple platitudes.

    I guess I’m not fundamentally against the idea that superhero movies can be serious, idea movies, but boy, if you’re gonna try it you gotta do a lot better than this one does. Every conflict in this one feels labored and forced, I just can’t make myself ignore Goyer and Nolan running around stuffing overbearing themes into everything and preventing it from ever really taking off and feeling like a genuine adventure film. How many times must we stop the action and flash back to Kevin Costner before they’re convinced that the point has been made? How many times do we have to drive home the fact that his power means he’ll forever be separated from us? We get it, guys, it’s just not all that interesting, please, fucking move on and tell an actual story that might be enjoyable.

    By all means, if you’re feeling serious about the character, put some serious drama in there. But let’s start by having fun, not by thinking how we can turn Superman into SOPHIE’S CHOICE. It feels disingenuous, like they started by trying to think of something serious to say about the character, and then built the story around that. I think that’s why the PROMETHEUS parallel feels so right to me. Both feel like fundamentally silly movies trying desperately to seem mature and important, which just sucks every last drop of fun out of the experience. And this is from a guy who fucking LOVES Bryan Singer’s SUPERMAN RETURNS, which is arguably even less action-oriented and more deliberately plotty. But that one, at least, felt like a natural part of Superman’s ridiculous but earnest universe, not an apology for it. MOS feels to me like an enormously insecure movie, a movie that doesn’t think you’ll care until it can convince you that it’s not just entertaining but important. Why? I enjoy Superman, guys, that’s why I paid for it. It’s OK to just tell a story and then let the themes naturally emerge. The Marvel movies, while not perfect, seem to have accepted that idea much more than the DC ones. They’re confident enough to put their actual characters front and center and just let the action play out, without having to circuitously reinvent everything so it seems dark and portentous.

    No, I don’t want to watch GREEN LANTERN, but I would argue there’s a pretty wide middle ground there which gets the most out of the juvenile but enjoyable premises without collapsing into a frantic, charmless bore.

  153. I think alot of people feel the same about it as Mr. Subtlety. Devin Faraci has been hitting on the “joyless” thing hard for months, and I’ve seen other people say it too. So maybe I’m in the minority, but this is the kind of Superman movie I want. There already were, what, 5 movies done on the Richard Donner template. Personally I don’t like those movies very much and I think it’s about time they tried a different approach.

    I don’t agree that it’s joyless. They got Russell Crowe flying around on a dragon that he talks to, like, 2 minutes into the movie. They got the scene where he puts a semi in a tree. The scene where he enjoys flying around. The perfect last line that Lois says to him. It’s not like it’s deadly serious. I’ve also seen alot of people, not necessarily here, complaining about it being “dark.” Yeah, it’s more serious than the one with Gene Hackman acting wacky, but it’s not fucking SE7EN. It’s still Superman.

    And while I don’t think the Superman movies need to be as heavy as the Dark Knight ones I like that there is an obvious distinction between the Marvel movies and the DC ones so far (not counting Green Lantern, which I’m sure will get Edward Norton Hulked). Yeah, you got your fun Marvel movies with the jokes, you got your DC ones with a little less jokes but more awe. To my eye MAN OF STEEL looks so much better than the Marvel ones, the score is so much classier and I really like the serious tone. If super heroes are a worthwhile genre then why can’t we have movies that interpret their stories in different ways?

    This is not to dismiss Subtlety’s criticisms, I know he doesn’t like it for other reasons too. But please, more of these “joyless” movies from DC for me. You guys can watch THOR or some shit. I like most of the Marvel movies but to me THE AVENGERS is the only one they’ve made that’s probly more enjoyable than MAN OF STEEL, and none of them have come close to the Batmen.

  154. While I’d personally prefer a more lighthearted take, insisting that it’s too joyless or too serious is almost beside the point. If it worked as a drama then nobody would be making those complaints. Nobody watches SCHINDLER’S LIST and says “I wish they’d thrown a few more jokes in there.”

  155. I don’t remember if it was you Vern who said it, but it’s pretty clear that superhero movies are the westerns of our time. It’s a genre of it’s own and some are good and some are bad.
    Some day soon someone will hopefully, like the Italians in the 60’s, come up with a way to do cheap, quick movies about superheroes. With young and cool leads. And the huge, serious movies about Superman and Batman, with the Randolph Scotts and James Stewarts of today, will look dated and boring in comparison. Bring on the new Clint Eastwood and the new Sergio Leone!

  156. I can’t argue against whether or not the movie worked for you guys. That’s your business and I respect it. All I can argue for is the validity of the approach.

    I do understand where you’re coming from. I thought Nolan’s approach to the BATDACTED movies was the right one, but I didn’t actually enjoy the results and ended up wishing he’d gone a bit pulpier. Oddly, I find the concept of a human being deciding to dress up like an animal because he thinks criminals are nyctophobic children to be more absurd than an alien who can fly and shoot lasers from his eyes because of solar energy. One is a sci-fi concept rife with metaphor, the other is just some cartoon wackiness. It’s a concept that needs to hide in gothic shadows, not be forced out into the cold light of reality where it just looks ridiculous. I wouldn’t have thought so until Nolan tried it and I found that it didn’t work for me, though.

    So maybe it’s a good thing Snyder/Nolan found you guys’ threshold for Kryptonian realism. I love this movie, but I think I’ve reached my limit, too. I wouldn’t want to see it pushed further in that direction. Personally, I wouldn’t mind the next one being a bit pulpier to accommodate Batman, whose uber-competence I’d like to see treated as deadpan comic relief. It would be entertaining to see the all-powerful being getting flustered while this weirdly costumed meat-sac takes it all in stride.

  157. I appreciated MAN OF STEEL more than I liked it. It was kind of crazy and had, as Vern says, Russell Crowe riding around on a dinosaur in the opening scene. I think I wanted more Malick than we got and kind of tuned it out after Zod and Superman started punching each other a bunch. Not a bad movie, though.

    I like Zack Snyder. I’m just not sure he’s smart enough to get the only interesting part of Superman. Superman isn’t a great character, but he’s great as a lens to see the world through, or to see how the world reacts to him. Superman Returns had a ton of missteps, but it kind of understood that. But, yeah, I like Zack Snyder and his lack of intelligence sometimes works great: 300 is the most enjoyable piece of racist and fascist propaganda I have ever seen, and I don’t think for a second he thought it was anything more than an action movie about some bros kicking ass.

    But, I like Man of Steel more than any of the 3 *REDACTED* movies, but that may be because I expect Nolan to know how fascist and awful *REDACTED* is as a character yet he seems to be totally onboard with how vile that all is. Plus they’re boring, joyless, and really long and boring.

    Man of Steel is an interesting failure that makes me hopeful for the next one. Or, at least, I think there’s a good movie in Man of Steel and it’s one of those films I’ve thought about a lot in terms of how I would have made it to be better (ditch the Krypton opening, have it be about the Malick-y Kansas stuff, have Clark Kent become Superman and do some lower level superhero stuff, and finish the movie about his relationships with Lois or whatever. Make part 2 have all the rad Krypton stuff and Zod and whatnot, let all of that really challenge the character and let him learning about his origin be the central drama.)

  158. I would like to address RRA’s last point, which I think is valid. The short answer to “Why doesn’t Superman throw our armies into the sun and turn the rest of us into his pets?” is “Because Lois.” But the Lois/Supes relationship is not all that strong in MAN OF STEEL. I actually like that it’s not the focus for once, since “Superman has to keep saving this dilly broad who can’t stay out of trouble” is not all that interesting when compared to the metaphysical implications of the character. But Lois seems to be the lynchpin of his decision to engage with the human race, and I’m not sure she’s really up to the task. (Perhaps if I were more intoxicated by the vaunted Amy Adams charm I would feel differently.) I was more moved by Christopher Meloni’s character deciding that Superman was his ally. I could have used more of that kind of thing, of humanity deciding to put aside its inherent distrust of anything different and embracing this alien in their midst. Perhaps a scene in Smallville where Zod demands the populace give up Clark (not knowing who Clark is yet) and them refusing to. “That boy’s one of us,” the church lady says. Or something.

    But it’s a good point. We have to take it on faith that humanity is worth saving, because we don’t really see much evidence of it onscreen.

  159. Mr. Majestyk – “Why doesn’t Superman throw our armies into the sun and turn the rest of us into his pets?” is “Because Lois.”

    Another point where this movie dropped the ball. This could’ve easily been answered with “because of the values the Kents instilled in him” which is the explanation they us in the comic books via flashbacks or otherwise. However since Jonathan Kent was such a selfish guy with questionable morals in this even that would seem disingenuous.

    I’m probably the biggest Superman fan here but this movie left me completely high and dry. Not because it wasn’t the Donner movies and not because it took Superman “serious”, a lot of my favorite Superman stories (Ie: Action Comics #500, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Action Comics #775, All-Star Superman, Johns’ Brainiac story) approached Superman with pathos but still had some levity (this is what Subtlety is asking for from the movies and I can’t say I disagree). Though I don’t think MOS is “joyless” either I just hate that it feels very hollow and “soulless” but you know it’s ok. I’m sure I’ll find a Superman movie that hits the right note at some point before I die, if not that’s alright too cause I’ll always have the comic books and I am pretty sick of superhero movies at this point anyway.

    I just think the movie didn’t have one genuine moment within it to save it’s life. It all felt like producers checking off bulletpoints on a checklist as to what a Superman movie should contain even if it’s rushed and undercooked. Quite similar to THE INCREDIBLE HULK actually.

  160. See, I don’t think Jonathan was selfish. He wasn’t trying to keep Clark’s powers secret just for his own good. He kept saying over and over again that he wanted Clark to reveal himself when the time was right, meaning when Clark had grown up and found out about himself and could handle the intense pressure of suddenly being the most famous and powerful being on earth. If it happened when Clark was still a teenager, with all the anger and confusion and hormones puberty brings, the results could have been catastrophic for both Clark and humanity. (Look at what it does for the average child star.) He so fully believed that Clark should save himself for some future purpose that he sacrificed his own life rather than let Clark draw attention to himself. How is that selfish? He died for what he saw as the greater good.

    I do think that Martha’s role in Clark’s upbringing could have been emphasized. It was the push and pull between Jonathan and Martha’s views of humanity that informed the man Clark grew into. She’s the one who had faith that when mankind saw Clark for what he was, they would love him, just like she had. It’s telling that Clark reunited with her immediately before he took a leap of faith and put himself in mankind’s hands.

  161. Vern et al — I dunno, man, I’m glad you liked it and I definitely agree that the movie has higher ambitions and higher visual polish than the Marvel fare. But to me, that’s all meaningless if the story is a dud. It’s pretty, but completely inert. I know it has alien Russel Crowe riding a dragon, but that in itself is not automatically fun since the movie is so dour about the whole thing. On paper, there’s lots of fun things here, but the way it plays out it just seems like everyone is bummed out all the time. Everyone always seems like things are way too important and serious for them to have any enjoyment.

    I dunno, I’m not against ambition, and Nolan’s REDACTED films pretty much worked for me, even though I still struggled with their inherent ridiculousness balanced against their self-conscious seriousness. But if I try to imagine a Superman film this serious and heavy that I could enjoy, I kind of draw a blank. Maybe just conceptually there’s no way for me to get as intense about this premise as Snyder/Nolan want me to, maybe it’s just me. But I dunno, are you guys really telling me that you support every premise being treated as seriously as this one? Do you really think you could deal with a GARFIELD sequel with Terrance Malick camerawork, a 2 1/2 hour runtime, and only maybe 40 minutes of actual comedy (I know, I know, that would still be more than the previous films, it’s just an example)? Even if it was done with this level of skill, wouldn’t you think it was kind of ridiculous to try and turn such simple concept into something so complicated?

    It’s not like I’m demanding that comic films should be smirking, disposable trifles. I want them to take the characters and universe seriously, and I want them to try really hard to make the best damn movie they could make. But I think there’s a way to do that while still remembering that it’s OK to smile every once in awhile, and I think WITHOUT a smile you’re gonna be fighting a real uphill battle to successfully involve me in your superhero shenanigans. I guess it could be done, but I sure can’t really think of another movie this ridiculous that expects you to take it as seriously as MOS does and actually succeeds.

    I dunno, though, there probably are plenty. DREDD, for example, may be equally conceptually silly and about as serious, although it has a much better ratio of action to drama. Anyway, I suppose it’s not the premise, it’s the movie itself. Ultimately the drama in MOS just didn’t work one bit for me, and that’s the problem. Not a single dramatic beat felt intuitive and earned. Every bit feels conspicuously, self-consciously constructed, which might be tolerable if it was more fun, but at this level of serious it just ended up feeling labored and dull. Like PROMETHEUS, I just never stopped hearing Goyer/Nolan screaming “THEMES!!!” at me. And those themes are fine, but not nearly interesting enough or well-explored enough to justify the mammoth runtime and the endless setup. In fact, for all of MOS’s longwindedness, I’d argue that most of the best issues at the heart of the movie are completely underdeveloped. The mostly nonverbal finale is well-crafted, but by the time it arrived I had already completely checked out and just started to see a bunch of problematic elements there, too. How does Supes end up winning against Zod, who correctly points out that he’s been training for this moment his whole life? The fight goes one way and then another, and then just randomly Supes wins, (spoilers) kills Zod, and gets all sad about it. Why is he sad? I don’t honestly know, we don’t know enough about him to really know if he just doesn’t like killing, or is he’s sad to kill off the last of his own species, or what. There’s definitely an interesting conflict there in theory, but despite all the bluster the script doesn’t really give us much meat.

    Eh, anyway. I don’t mean to rant and to bring us all back to this forum. I’m glad you folks liked it, and I’m sincerely rooting for a better sequel and still believe this is Snyder’s calling as a filmmaker. But boy, I was stunned by how completely worthless I found this one and equally shocked to find out that you guys sort of liked it. Oh well, at least we’ll always have our mutual love for the Prequels.

  162. ” are you guys really telling me that you support every premise being treated as seriously as this one?”

    Nobody said that. I did say this: “I don’t want every superhero movie to be this way.”

    And this: “I wouldn’t want to see it pushed further in that direction. Personally, I wouldn’t mind the next one being a bit pulpier”

  163. So, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Batman vs Superman, huh? If they’re going to cherry pick from the cast of F&F I would’ve preferred Gina Carano, but it’s cool there’s a F&F alum in there nonetheless. I kinda think they’re fucking up by diluting the premise with other superheroes. If they want to make Batman vs Superman then make Batman vs Superman, not Batman vs Superman and Also There Are Some Other Superheroes Here I Guess.

  164. Carano looks the part, but her whole vibe is too girl-next-door to play an Amazon princess. Her down-to-earthness is part of her charm. Gadot would not be my first choice, but I can see where they’re coming from. She can beef up for the role, but Carano isn’t a versatile enough actress to play exotic.

  165. Mr M — sorry, should have made myself more clear: I don’t mean “do you want every movie to be this serious” since I’m assuming we all agree that we don’t. I’m more asking if there’s a line of innate ridiculousness in premise beyond which it’s simply inadvisable to assume your story is a good match for a darkly melodramatic, serious tone. “Does every premise have THE OPTION of being this serious,” And I’m asking because I genuinely don’t know. Can the right artist make an R-rated MARMADUKE epic that genuinely feels emotional and intellectually compelling? Is there a good analogy for that kind of movie?

    I did see that you asked for the next one to be pulpier, I wasn’t trying to single you out but just to generally respond to various above criticisms. Did you actually do a full review of MOS? If not, you ought to — it would be an interesting contrast with your RETURNS review, which I was completely in agreement with.

  166. Yeah, you’re probably right. I’m making the rookie mistake of dream-casting based on looks and asskicking abilities. I just wanna see Carano in more movies, is that so wrong?

    Do you think they’re jumping the gun by going full Justice League rather than just focusing on the big two? If they’re using it as a testing ground to gauge interest in a Wonder Woman spinoff movie then I don’t think it’s a good idea. Nobody is going to give a rats arse about Wonder Woman if she’s merely a spectator to a Batman/Superman dustup. I’d prefer to see a Wonder Woman solo adventure/fantasy movie in the vein of CLASH OF THE TITANS, but I think everyone is pretty sick of that sort of thing.

    DC has been pushing this idea of the Big Three for a while now, but I don’t think Wonder Woman belongs there. She just doesn’t have the same cultural cache. Everybody knows her name, but few people can say what drives her or who her arch-nemesis is or recite her origin story(s) from memory.

  167. Do you really think you could deal with a GARFIELD sequel with Terrance Malick camerawork. . .?

    Behold, our wish fulfilled.

  168. CH – I have to agree with your second paragraph. But WB has talked themselves into a corner that a WW movie just can’t make money, that it won’t be good, blah blah. It’s hard to talk people out of such defeatist attitudes.

    Plus it doesn’t help that (with zero evidence) I’m just getting a vibe that at best her role in BVS will be as “second female lead”….you know, like Black Widow in fucking IRON MAN 2. Yeah how many people cared about that character after seeing IM2? (Jesus remember how many people complemented Whedon last year for making her more memorable with less scenes?) Or she could be Hawkeye in THOR, a blink and miss cameo. We’ll see.

    At this rate the vibe I’m getting for summer 2015 is that while AVENGERS 2 will be the better film, BVS has the better marketing gimmick. Both regardless will make fortunes and the superhero World War in Hollywood will press forward on TV and film between WB and Disney, with Sony and Fox also involved as lesser powers.

  169. Black Widow’s fight scene was my favorite part of IRON MAN 2, a movie I seem to enjoy more than anyone else on earth will admit to. And she looked great in the costume. So I cared about her character, I guess. I liked how blasé she was. It was a good balance for Stark’s hyperactivity.

    Mr. S: I think the right filmmaker could do a serious, emotional take on just about anything, but MARMADUKE is a stretch. The comic strip has one joke: “Boy, this dog is big!” Even the full-length-dog-food-commercial version we got had to change the entire premise by making him able to talk despite the “character” being mute for something like 50 years. But I could actually see somebody playing it for pathos as a silent dog with expressive eyes tries to fit into a world that he can’t help but destroy with his comic oversizedness.

    Also great danes only live like eight or nine years, so that could be pretty sad, too. It’s an existential dirge, this MARMADUKE.

    Or we could just go with the Comic Curmudgeon’s interpretation and make Marmaduke a rampaging hellbeast who lives with an eternally youthful living-under-an-assumed-name Hitler and demands bloody tribute from the residents of his neighborhood, lest he strip the flesh from their ribs and make a throne of their bones.

    Maybe I will write a review of MAN OF STEEL. I do seem to have a lot to say about it, and most of it seems to run contrary to popular (or at least internet-popular) opinion. When the movie came out, consensus was split right down the middle but now it seems more like everyone got together and agreed that it sucked and there’s no need to talk about it anymore. That’s usually a pretty good place for me to start, provided I can stop myself from being a total prick about it (far from a forgone conclusion).

  170. Oh, and somebody please remind me not to go to any other sights concerning Wonder Woman’s role in THE BZA VS. THE SZA, lest I waste my entire night eviscerating people who have clearly never actually seen any of Snyder’s movies accusing him of misogyny. This is an absurd statement. There’s people joking about how Gadot needs bigger boobs to be in a Snyder movie, despite there being exactly one large-breasted woman in his entire filmography. That was Carla Gugino, whom I’m pretty sure didn’t get cast for her knockers. He’s got beautiful women in his movies like anybody else, but I think his track record of badass ladies who control their own destinies and aren’t just designated hostages is better than nearly anyone else in the action/sci-fi/fantasy game.

    A guy makes one owl movie, everybody assumes he’s all about hooters.

  171. Who was Black Widow again?

  172. Fun Facts About Galdot:
    Gal Gadot is 5’9”, served in the Israeli Army for 2 years, has been in a number of action movies over the last several years, can bulk up if you want her to look more athletic(even though superstrength doesn’t actually require significant muscle mass since it’s a superpower), and as a huge bonus for me personally ISN’T AMERICAN so will actually have an accent that makes her more exotic. Oh, and she’s relatively unknown, so doesn’t come to the role with the sort of baggage that a bigger name would.
    So yeah…I’m okay with the casting. Wonder Woman should have her own movie, but I imagine that this is about as good as WB will commit to with her, and I hope that there’s enough positive reaction to how she’s depicted in this movie that it gets her a solo outing.

    Majestyk- I’m with you on IRON MAN 2. I don’t think it’s nearly the “Avengers Trailer” that people like to claim it is. It’s got a fully realised plot of its own that follows certain logical progressions from the last movie(Tony adapting to his increased fame, scrutiny from the Government, people out to exploit his tech, supporting characters developing to some degree(Pepper being given the reigns to the company, Rhodey becoming War Machine)) and just happens to include a few kickass extra characters from the wider Marvel Universe.

  173. Shoot— Scarlett Johansson. You know… sultry voice, great rack, pooky mug, zero acting ability, and lips that could (to quote Bill Paxton) suck-start a leafblower.

    Of the two hoochies from Ghost World, I would’ve preferred that it’d been Thora Birch who’d moved on to better things, but oh well.

  174. I can hardly even remember my own questions when it comes to these things. She is just as bland as water and I cannot remember a single fuck about her. She was in THE AVENGERS,right?

  175. Oh yeah, the creepy white supremacy guy still hangs out here, despite the promise to disappear. Knew there was a reason I’ve been absent.

    I find myself agreeing & disagreeing with a bit of everything in this discussion. As for the “joyless” MOS, let’s note for the record that one of the final lines of dialogue is an Army officer making an audience-pleasing crack about Kal being “kinda hot.”

    I don’t know anything about Wonder Woman except what I saw in that excellent Justice League NEW FRONTIER movie, so I’m glad to read Stu’s blurb about the FA5T chica getting the role. It’d be great if she stayed a size 2 and the movie had her blasting motherfuckers with her teensy arms. Because superpowers.

    I have to disagree about her non-Americanness being a good thing, though. Christian Bale might be an honorary Gothamite and Henry Cavill an honorary American and Daniel Day-Lewis an honorary Emancipator & 16th President, but enough is enough.

  176. HOLY CRAP! Are you guys STILL at this? I almost wish I had seen “Man of Steel” now. Still think I’d agree with the haters – they seem to be the guys I usually agree more with anyway – but when a debate gets to “Prometheus” proportions, I start to feel left out.

    Can I just reply to one thing though: “You guys can watch THOR or some shit.” OY! Where’d that one come from? Has there been a better mainstream action movie than “Thor 2” this year? The only one I can think of that came close was “Fast and Furious 6”, but let’s be real here. As far as action sequences go, the F&F series does one thing really well, and that’s car chases. The moment it does an action scene that’s a tenth as awesome as that London finale in “Thor 2”, I will eat humble pie. Until then, I know which of “F&F6” and “Thor 2” I’m going to be revisiting as soon as I can get it on DVD. And it ain’t the one with Vin Diesel in it.

  177. Was that sarcasm or do you really feel like Scarlett “Sexiest Woman Alive” Johansson is forgettable?

  178. Personally I’m glad for Galdot. As a foreign actress, I mean the casting has logic to it. I didn’t care for MOS, but the casting for it was good. (Ah but the script…)

    The weird thing was when the news was announced, one message board I frequent alot reported the news got the wrong actress name and instead mistakenly claimed that the Brazilian cop girl from the last two F&TF movies would be WW and I thought “wait Thor’s Wife is now Wonder Woman?!?” Yeah talk about mind being blown for a moment until you know the poor poster realized his mistake and corrected the info.

  179. Mr. Majestyk – Actually I disagree, I think the nerds (from my observation) are still split on MOS but…so what? Didn’t that film get a A- from Cinemascore? Those assholes poll assholes coming out from first screenings to gauge the crowd reaction, and that movie did make a ton of money. Apparently most folks liked it I guess?

    Man I do wonder about BVS. Batman! Superman! Flash! Wondy! Lex Luthor! Metallo(?)! Doomsday! Nightwing!

    So is this BVS or the JUSTICE LEAGUE film?

  180. Oh Mouth. Still trying to stave off the full effects of the nerdening by pretending you didn’t know that Wonder Woman is Greek.

  181. Greek? A Google Image Searchening reveals a lotta redwhite&blue star-spangliness (with gold trim) in her outfits.

    I’m confuzzled.

  182. doubleh55— Forgettable?… no. But IMO there’s something about her as a whole that lacks distinction.

    Mouth— Since you so thrive on attention, I’ll begin by saying…

  183. She wore the costume to try to fit in when she immigrated to America. Like many fish-out-of-waters, she overcompensated.

  184. Man, for fucking years now everybody complaining about there’s not a Wonder Woman movie. Why didn’t they make Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman movie? Why doesn’t so-and-so make a Wonder Woman movie? Why don’t they have faith in Wonder Woman? Do they hate women? Don’t they know Hunger Games made money and has a woman in it also and her name is Wonder Woman so it would also make money? When are they gonna catch on and make Wonder Woman. Why no Wonder Woman. There should be Wonder Woman. They are such idiots for not making Wonder Woman.

    The second they announce they’re doing Wonder Woman:

    those fucking idiots, why do they do Wonder Woman wrong. Don’t they know I love Wonder Woman. They can’t do this to Wonder Woman.

    It’s like the internet is Hollywood’s nagging mother. Never happy. Shut up, Ma. I’m trying to make Wonder Woman.

  185. But they’re not making a Wonder Woman movie. They’re doing a Batman-vs-Superman-and-maybe-Wonder-Woman-I-guess movie.

  186. I just want Brit Marling as Supergirl.

    Glad to see the IRON MAN 2 love. I actually preferred it to the first one for those themes it explores, government intrusion, still dying just delaying the inevitable (which admittedly is resolved by deus ex machina, which I found less offensive than the complete undoing of the whole mythology at the end of IM3.)

  187. If they ever want to do a successful Wonder Woman movie though, I’d try to steer clear of the more radical and weird themes the character was originally created with
    And just focus on making her a kickass superheroine in an action/fantasy epic.

  188. After almost 2 decades of posting on message boards it took this casting for me to realize I am done with message boards altogether. Not to sound pompous but I miss when the internet was just overrun with geeks and nerds. At least they knew what they were talking about.

    Too many idiots with smartphones today trying to make their marks with ignorant and grossly misinformed opinions for my taste. For example I read this somewhere RE: the WW costume “the multi US colors and the tiara have to go”. Talk about missing the point. Yeah let’s just make her look like any other Woman and eliminate elements that clearly help identify Wonder Woman as well…Wonder Woman.

  189. Stu – I’d try to steer clear of the more radical and weird themes the character was originally created with.

    Speaking of which this is actually why I can’t wait for Grant Morrison’s WONDER WOMAN: EARTH ONE. Going back to the dominating female of William Marston’s colorful imagination. It’ll be refreshing to read after these past couple of decades of Wonder Woman as a compassionate warrior princess.

  190. Wonder Woman gets a new origin story every five years, so there’s really no worries about them fucking up the canon too bad. They can’t do it any worse than the comic book professionals have. Personally, I like the one where she’s Princess Diana, ambassador of Themysciria, sent to the U.S. to teach the patriarchy how to not be such cocks all the time by kicking the living shit out of them. I do hope they stay away from the one where she has a secret identity and a male Lois Lane to crush on. That’s some tired-ass shit. Wonder Woman doesn’t hide from any man.

    They can keep the part where she’s made out of clay, I guess, but it might be too weird for cinema.

  191. They might go with the current “Daughter of Zeus and new God of War” incarnation. It’s the most easily accessible one for a mainstream audience and has actually been the best that book has been in years too. Only thing is that it also does include Steve Trevor (sorry Majestyk) but that’s ok with me cause I’ve always liked the guy and William Marston was cool with him too since he did create him. Steve Trevor is now to the Justice League what Nick Fury is to S.H.I.E.L.D. so I don’t see them omitting him. I won’t be seeing this movie either way though.

  192. CrustaceanHate – Exactly. I think the Internet is just pissed that she’s not getting her own movie, instead (as I already said) they might be going the BW/IM2 route. Or she could just be a cameo? Who knows?

    I think that’s at the core of what annoys the Internet at the moment. But those same assholes will go see it anyway.

    Broddie – Man I hope they don’t because…that’s the same thing with GOD OF WAR and the CLASH OF THE TITANS (both original and reboot franchise) and PERCY goddamn JACKSON. Its run of the mill. It’s kinda boring.

    And I get why they did it because it does keep with those myths, but meh? I guess I always liked that crazy-ass clay origin story because those Greek myths at times could sure be bonkers. (Zeus impregnates as sunshine? WTF?) It plays in that crazy but original vein.

    You know what I really find funny though folks? People online saying the costume is too dumb for film. Oh Jesus, and this didn’t stop every other superhero ever?

    Hell in 2011, Marvel put out movies (solo origin stories at that) for a walking flag who wore his walking flag uniform in broad daylight fighting Nazis and a guy in a LOTR-ish costume with a red cape. I think some folks are overthinking this shit.

    Mr. M – yeah I’m with you buddy on that secret identity.

  193. There’s a lack of geeks and nerds on the internet, huh? 429 posts and counting on a certain man of steel.

  194. pegsman – This site is an exception not the rule. Which is why I proudly still come here. You’d be hard pressed to find well informed and knowledgeable movie geeks across ALL genres in many other movie sites today though.

  195. Well, they’re putting her in this movie (as a cameo, I guarantee you, I don’t know why people assume otherwise) because they’re gonna put her in Justice League and probly her own movie, unless everybody hates her. Nerds are so fucking entitled.

    Okay, we’ll give you one, we’ll put her in this Superman movie to get things rolling!

    Remember when they had GEORGE GOD DAMN MILLER doing a Justice League movie and the internet deemed that it wouldn’t work unless they spent ten years and 500 million dollars giving each character a separate movie explaining their origin? Because you know how normally movies don’t exist unless each character is explained in a separate movie. I don’t know how we could’ve ever made heads or tails of Star Wars without CHEWBACCA: THE FIRST STAR WARRIOR.

  196. Vern – “Remember when they had GEORGE GOD DAMN MILLER doing a Justice League movie and the internet deemed that it wouldn’t work unless they spent ten years and 500 million dollars giving each character a separate movie explaining their origin?”

    Don’t remind us. The death of that project still depresses me.

  197. I am so sick of nerds. Can we go back to mocking them, please? They had their chance to have things their way and all they’ve done is become the whiniest little spoiled brats in the history of the human race. We all like some nerdy shit around here, but that doesn’t make us nerds. Most of us have the intellectual and emotional maturity to have a little perspective on things. We value craft, subtext, visual and narrative dynamicism, and entertainment value over “This isn’t exactly how I wanted it when I was nine and now I don’t want it anymore, you meanies!” These are the type of ingrates whose parents give them a sports car for graduation and they complain about the flames on the side.

    My whole life, I’ve had tastes that were mostly shared by social rejects I didn’t want to hang out with. The way I figured it, a person liking horror movies was no substitute for them being a cool, smart, fun, interesting person to have a few drinks with. I gave up on ever finding actual real-life friends who shared my tastes.

    Recently, I decided to stop being such a snob and try to reach out to the nerdish community, assuming that if I’m capable of having intricate theories about why Aquaman is actually kind of badass while still being able to dress presentably, listen to cool music, and hit on attractive ladies, then there must be others like me. So I joined the New York Horror Movie Group on Meetup.com. It hasn’t really worked out for me. Most of the guys are mumbly and dull, and the girls are too interested in dressing up like evil nurses and sexy chewbaccaas to be very interesting. But I still want some people to shoot the shit with about Dolph Lundgren movies and the collected works of David A. Prior and other shit that normal people don’t know about. I just want them to not be nerds, because nerds = socially maladjusted = no fun to talk to = why am I even here?

    So I’ve been thinking of starting my own movie group. Once a month or so, I’ll show weird B-movies at a bar and we’ll all get shit-faced and laugh and try to get laid. Completely nerd-free. This is for grownups. I want to describe the concept in a manifesto that kickstarts the nerd backlash that we all know is coming. If you’ve ever been to a convention or worn a pair of rubber ears, this is not for you. If you spend more time complaining about comic books than you do reading them, stay home. If you choose a T-shirt based on what property it advertises and not how good it looks on you, forget it. If you’ve ever gone to see a movie you spent two years bitching about just so you could post about how right you were, fuck right the fuck off. I want to piss nerds off so they won’t come, leaving the rest of us to enjoy an evening of pop culture without a bunch of entitled twats who think they own it spoiling the fun.

    What do you think? Do I have a legitimate point or am I just an elitist jerk?

  198. Majestyk, this the classic Groucho Marx dilemma I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER”. But your club sounds interesting. To bad you live so far away.

  199. Oh, I know it. I am a contrary fucker. So how do I cater to other contrary fuckers who distrust being catered to above all else? My only answer is by making it less about celebrating what they’re about and more about giving the finger to what somebody else is about.

  200. I am not familiar with the comic book history of WW or the latest Justice League animations, so most of my experience is with the old Super Friends cartoon and Linda Carter tv show, but I’m excited to see a new WW. I don’t care if she’s got a bit part or something meatier. At least we’ve got something and it may lead to more. It’s a foot in the door, if nothing else.

    I do wish she wasn’t a skinny little thing, but I’m open to her impressing me. I did like Gadot in the FFs. Since my personal history with her is that she was an Amazon Princess, I always feel like she should be an Amazon, which means tall and strong, but like it’s been said, it’s a super power, so it doesn’t need muscle. That said, no one would accept a puny Superman.

    As a former owner of the WW underoos, I would be a little sad to see the costume go, but like Majestyk, I have more intellectual and emotional maturity than to let that be something that would spoil the movie for me.

  201. I’m not sick of nerds; they’re alright in small doses. I’m sick of humanity. The majority of it, at least. And within that majority mass of humanity is included a good number of nerds, some of which annoy us & should be [re-]marginalized and some of whom contribute to the tapestry of life, a tapestry that is much more colorful & overbearing if you live in a big crowded city like NYC. Old people, introverts, and button-down businesspersons & the like tend to go unnoticed b/c they tend to be quiet, their endeavors kept private; enthusiastic or whiny nerds tend to be public & vocal & obnoxious, and so we notice them and think they comprise a bigger part of our world than they really do. Suburbanites, homebodies, & itinerant nation-hoppers don’t daily rub shoulders with the asshole citizens that constitute a fair chunk of Mr. Majestyk’s neighborhood’s population, and thus he gets pissed off at the nerds & whomever is taking all the seats on the subway and crowding all the talkback space on the movie discussion forums while I can’t be too mad at them even as I share the disdain.

    It probably helps that I don’t really interact with any other websights, other than the occasional e-mail exchange with some political bloggers & war reporters I consider friends, so I don’t, uh, enjoy the immersion in nerd culture that comes with online pop culture bickering & discussion. I’ve also made clear before that I hate
    previews/trailers (FA5T excepted),
    pre-feature updates & set visits (other than pics of Vanessa training in her athletic attire),
    box office tabulation prognostication (There’s no justice in a world that fails to buy tickets for PUNISHER: WAR ZONE),
    and celebrity jibber-jabber (As far as I know, Vanessa is chaste & single and waiting to meet me and no one else),
    so I guess I’m a lucky moth who’s not attracted to the lights of other pop/nerd culture sights, though someday if I get into the literature of the Aquaman saga I likely would like to dig into his/its badassness with someone knowledgeable & eloquent.

    For example, who would win in an underwater fight between Aquaman & Superman? Seems obvious that Kal-el would dominate, but what if Aquaman has teamed up with a great white shark that has a Kryptonite grill dental implant, but then Superman holds his aqua-ground long enough in the fight to get the advantage by staying alive until high tide, at which point the shark can no longer swim & fight in the shallow water near the beach, so then Aquaman has to retreat and go fight the shark in deep water, the very shark that *was* his partner at first, in order to extract the shark’s Krypto-teeth and use them to punch Superman? Also in the middle of the fight Superman has to save a drowning boy who falls off a nearby jet ski for some reason.

  202. Maggie: Snyder is a director who likes to put his actors through some pretty rigorous training, so I suspect she’ll look quite different by the time we see her in the suit. Airbrushed abs or no, the cast of 300 all had to get pretty beefy to spend an entire movie shirtless, and Henry Cavill looked like a normal human being before his MAN OF STEEL workouts turned him into a full-size He-Man action figure with chest hair. I suspect that Gadot’s military background was a big part of her getting cast, because Snyder knew that she’d have the physical and mental discipline to handle the training process.

  203. Mr. Majestyk, if I may offer a small bit of advice: older nerds are either well-adjusted or completely hopeless goofballs who will out themselves as being terrible within 4 minutes of meeting them. That’s why I generally stick to the older crowd now; I’m a horrible nerd but I’ve worked REALLY hard on being socially presentable and not saying stupid/rude things and not thinking that I deserve to be the center of attention at all times or that I’m Mr. Superior. If you’re having Nerd Troubles then go for the older set because Young Nerds are horny, insecure, maladjusted bastards. I used to be one.

  204. That’s good advice, but I’m in my mid-thirties so I wasn’t really aiming at the younger set anyway. I find that while younger nerds and the louder, more obnoxious ones, older nerds get a little too comfortable with their nerdliness and let themselves go to the point where they don’t even try to look or act presentable anymore. Good for them for being comfortable who they are, but I’m a single guy on the prowl. They’re usually nice guys, but I need better wingmen than that.

  205. Mr. M — I feel ya, pal. I’ve never fit in with nerds, who in general are not only uninteresting but unpleasant people; angry, bitter, unimaginative. But I suppose I have more interests in common with them, and the seriousness I have about the the stuff I love is a pretty foreign concept to most “normal” people that I meet. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor about it too, but what’s the point of caring about something if you’re too cool to really it? I don’t really have anything in common with the norms, and don’t identify at all with most of the stuff that occupies their time and energy. It’s a pretty strange place to be, and one of the reasons I’ve always been so glad for this particular little corner of the internet.

    I’m in DC and rarely make it up to NYC, but if I ever head up there I’ll definitely drop by. And if you ever venture South, I know at least two Vern-ites who are always happy to get fucked up and talk shop. Stay strong buddy.

  206. sentence should read: “It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor about it too, but what’s the point of caring about something if you’re too cool to really love it?”

  207. I like that Clark Kent had chest hair. Fit in nicely with Snyder’s more grounded, earthy take on ol’ Supes. How would he shave anyway? In other news, I’m thinking way too much about Henry Cavill’s dreamy torso.

    Anyway, I apologise on behalf of nerds everywhere for imbuing the first Gal-Gadot-as-Wonder-Woman post on this site with such a negative tone. I do think Gadot is a good choice, I’m grateful that the character is finally getting a big-screen appearance and I’m hopeful that they’ll do right by her character. I guess when you read comics your whole life, with decades old characters getting passed down from writer to writer, you cherry-pick from a multitude of stories and build a very unique, personal picture of what that character means. That’s why people (read: I) get so persnickity about the movies, because they know the popular film interpretation is what’s going to define the character for the majority of the population. I guess I don’t want Wonder Woman’s first appearance to be playing third fiddle to two men. It sounds corny, but she’s more important that that. And while I like SUCKER PUNCH more than most people, the muddled feminist message makes me worry that she’s going to end up a Strong Female Character instead of a proper feminist role model.

    But you know, fiscal realities, it’s probably just a cameo appearance anyway. Whatever.

  208. I’d come to your event, Majestyk, if I lived in the area. It’s hard, as a single woman, to meet guys with the same interests I have who aren’t full blown nerds. I don’t have the same antipathy toward them that you do, but it’s hard to find one in which I would enjoy romantic activities. All it takes is to make one PITCH BLACK reference, see the hearts form in some poor nerd’s eyes and then feel like you’ve kicked his dog when you’re not interested in dating him to make you hold back on showing your interests in such things.

  209. Majestyk, I feel your meetup.com pain. I joined one movie meetup group and all they did was go to movies on opening day, but never spend time hanging out talking about movies. Weird bunch.

    On the other hand, a meetup.com group for black women who liked to date white guys worked out pretty well for me.

  210. I gotta admit, once I got married I thought “Welp, time to stop pretending to be a normal person now” and went Full Nerd. I stopped going out, started gaining weight. I got better though.

  211. MaggieMay, as a former horrible nerd (now just less-horrible) myself I know that must be uncomfortable. Nerds have generally convinced themselves that the things they love are unique and special (like them) and if someone they are attracted to likes it to well by god it was fated to be! Later in life they’ll figure out that liking awesome stuff is actually pretty common among everybody and they’ll cease to be so bad about it, although I’m sure that’s cold comfort now.

    It’s pretty amazing how you can get people interested in things that have actual quality. I used to get teased about my interest in DTV action but I showed off a few good ones to people who were open to the idea and now nobody gives me shit any more because hey – they are awesome. Confidence and quality go a long way both in art and life.

    I myself am guilty of thinking that Gal Gardot is not the best physical specimen for Wonder Woman (she’s certainly a beautiful lady though) but as a couple of you have pointed out, they can muscle her up nicely before the movie comes out. So let’s just wait and see on that. No need to be negative.

  212. Maggie: It takes a while for a young man to realize that just because a girl likes some of the same shit as you, it doesn’t mean you have any chemistry with her. As you get older, you learn the difference. The problem gets compounded when a guy has never really had any chemistry with anyone, so he has no basis for comparison, so every nice, friendly girl with whom he has shared a pleasant conversation becomes a girl who’s flirting with him. I know some guys who assume that every cute girl in his orbit is worth tilting at windmills for, regardless of the vibe the girl is putting out. Like the way romance works is that you just have to vanquish a girl’s defenses like a castle in a turn-based strategy game and she will be yours. It doesn’t work that way, dude. Trust me, if she likes you, it’s a completely different experience. I can’t really explain it but you’ll know it when it happens.

  213. Thanks, guys. I almost don’t have the heart (or would that be shame) to tell you that I’m probably older than you. The incident with the PITCH BLACK reference/hearts in the eyes did happen a few years ago, though.

  214. Maggie: None of us are as young as we used to be, but some of us still act like it.

    Fred: My group actually has parties and mixes with other groups, which is cool, in theory. But I just never have that great a time. I never clicked with anyone the way I can so easily just parking myself on a stool at any random bar and starting up a conversation. I don’t know what it is. Maybe that what happens when you get a roomful of wallflowers together with no wild cards to shake things up. It all feels very stunted.

    I’m pretty much staying in the group just because they keep me apprised of horror-related events that I can’t be bothered to find out about myself, and they get a lot of tickets to screenings and such. That doesn’t mean much to a professional-type critic such as yourself who probably hadn’t paid to see a movie since the nineties, but for me, $13 a year in dues is paid for by getting to see one free movie, so I’m not really complaining.

  215. Every cute girl in a guy’s orbit *is* worth pursuing, except the “pursuing” should take the form of “be the best person you can be and let her be impressed/attracted,” which makes me wonder why more nerds don’t take inspiration from their objects of fascination.

    That is [at the risk of sounding like a braggart asshole poseur jock or something (not like that would be a good persona to embody in this company)], why don’t more dudes, when they see, say, a hunky Chris Evans dominating an elevator as Captain America or a diesel Christian Bale doing wake-&-push calisthenics or Henry Cavill with a perfect perpendicular British smile emanating from his abdomen, think to themselves, “Oh man, I gotta hit the gym more, these superdudes are crushing it”?

    That reaction would seem natural for a fan, as opposed to, “Oh man, I gotta get on the internet more and tell people why this character choice is wrong or right…”

    The thinking behind CrustaceanHate’s marriage anecdote is so foreign to me; I’d hate myself if the woman who shares a bed with me everyday didn’t see a golden god wearing her matching betrothal band.

    Isn’t it weird that so many hero-followers/idolizers/superfans are schlubs? Nerds love to hooliganize over a soccer comics feud but they would pull a groin if forced to kick a ball. Is this phenomenon some sort of inverted psychological projection, a faux-identification, a bizarro perversion of one’s self-reflection vis-a-vis alternate fictional universes? It’s not all escapism, is it? That notional crutch should end for most people with the intellectual maturation that comes during/after adolescence, yet folks keep reading funny papers into adulthood (I wish I had time to read more myself).

    Are the Supermans & Green Lanterns & Bruce Waynes etc. all a bunch of stand-in ersatz Jesus Christs (David Goyer & Zack Snyder seem to think so, for a couple hours of MOS, anyway), carrying the burden of the sins of the lowly filthy faithful so that they may be clean & saved, in this case doing all the [pretend] physical work to be the buff salvation of the unathletic masses? These ideal-ized characters inspire so much thought & loyalty & protectiveness & entertainment (and rage) and yet they don’t seem to inspire much self-improvement.

    Kid sees Lebron James dunk on some human tree trunk in the lane, kid gets inspired and jumps up & down and begs Mom to buy him a basketball so he can go to the driveway and practice & bulk up those thighs (and get chicks).
    Kid sees Jimi Hendrix perform cunnilingus on a guitar, kid gets inspired & saves up for a musical instrument to form a band (and get chicks).
    Kid sees Superman in a tight uniform flying through Metropolis and… eats shitty food, plays video games, becomes prolific at typing & meme-ing online, and loses ability to interact with live females?

  216. Mouth, I never had any interest in physical fitness other than the minimum it requires to keep myself trim enough to look good in jeans, but I did take one thing from my childhood hero worship of eighties icons. These dudes, from Arnold to Eddie Murphy to Bill Murray, were always handy with a quip. Their verbal dexterity gave them an edge in any situation. I knew I’d never have it in me to hit the weights or learn to fight, but I have endeavored my entire life to be as quick and precise with my tongue as Riggs was with his Beretta. It’s served me well. I feel bad for kids growing up nowadays, when what passes for snappy patter in the average movie is “Come on! Go go go go gogogogogo!”

  217. And now, because I am so not a nerd, I must leave for a live-via-satelite screening of RIFFTRAX PRESENTS SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. Don’t wait up.

  218. Es la verdad; I would trade a minute off my 2 mile run time and several reps off my max pull-up abilities to possess Mr. Majestyk’s wit, clarity, eloquence, and ability to non-adverbially state things without listing like 3-4 things when I mean basically one thing.

    But still, it’s a little weird — I read James Madison’s old papers and consequently I want to try harder to write & speak like a great visionary statesman,
    or I read a poem by Phyllis Wheatley and consequently I shame myself into trying harder to take advantage of my privilege & to express myself better & more purposefully,
    or I see Lance Stephenson get another triple-double and consequently I refuse that last extra piece of pizza because I decide I’m going to wake up a little earlier than usual tomorrow & run in the morning and I don’t want extra cheese-calories weighing me down.

    Yet this mentality doesn’t seem to prevail among superhero-fan nerdkind, even though they spend so much time examining/living/analyzing/raging against/enjoying comically muscular musclemen.

  219. Crustacean, I agree with you that there’s a distinction between actual feminist characters and these badass female characters that pass for feminist. But I also like the latter, and Snyder has done them well in pretty much all of his movies. He made Lena Heady tough before she was TV’s Sarah Connor, he had the great Carla Gugino in WATCHMEN (and even made that Cameron Diaz lookalike pretty cool), he had all the great action scenes in SUCKER PUNCH and he had that great Kryptonian lady kicking ass in MAN OF STEEL here. And remember how great Sarah Polley was in his DAWN OF THE DEAD? Also there was probly a cool lady owl in OWL 300. That’s why I have faith that he will make Wonder Woman at least be really badass.

    As much as he’s earned his reputation as a bro or whatever it should be noted also that his wife is heavily involved in all his movies as his producer.

    “A black woman is my manager, not in the kitchen / So could you please stop bitchin?” –Ice Cube, “When Will They Shoot?”

    * * *

    I’ve enjoyed this thoughtful discussion about the, uh, nerd community (sorry for insensitive language, Crustacean). It’s weird that we’re in an era where REVENGE OF THE NERDS would not be fair because nerds are the overdogs. I relate to Majestyk’s frustration but I like what Mouth has to say about it. I think not just with nerds but with movie fans and people in general there is too much value placed on negativity and whining. It’s easier to say “ha ha, that Tom Cruise, what a weirdo, right?” than to talk passionately about why you love some piece of art that moved you, or to make a thoughtful argument about something. It’s hard but for me the best thing is to try to start with the man in the mirror, as a wise man who was very good at dancing once said, and lead by example. Instead of wasting time being frustrated with people saying ignorant shit about things I like I go out there and glorify it and find people like all of you who share my passion. It has accidentally become a theme for me I guess to do in-depth studies of things that are acceptable to dismiss snidely without backing it up. Seagalogy, this piece about the PSYCHO remake, and whenever I get to writing about STAR WARS prequels and MATRIX sequels. Let’s just make it more cool to stand up for something most people hate than to hate something like that.

    So we know they’re out there. Good luck to you Majestyk.


  220. The thinking behind CrustaceanHate’s marriage anecdote is so foreign to me; I’d hate myself if the woman who shares a bed with me everyday didn’t see a golden god wearing her matching betrothal band.

    Welcome to what life is like for the rest of us, I guess? Spare a thought for us poor 99% while you’re banging models in hot tubs or whatever.

  221. Dang it, my quote tags didn’t work.

    Well said, Vern. I’m going to make an effort to be more positive from now on.

  222. You say you made a conscious decision to change, though, to become “Full Nerd,” and you imply that you deceived your significant other, that you transformed once y’all had put a ring on it (though you then “got better”).
    Whatever, I’m not here to advise or judge. In fact, it’s my dream to one day dress up as MARSUPERMAN and to attend a convention and geek out while waiting in line for the character’s creator’s autograph.

    And hot tubs are gross.

  223. Having spent my youth as a nerd on the inside and punk rocker on the outside you can probably imagine how hard it was to even meet girls when the internet wasn’t around. But as I’ve told you before I found and married one who’s JUST like me. And between movie nights with my wife, talking about obscure films with my brother and a couple of collegaues, and partying with a handful of good friends I have NOTHING to complain about. Some people would of course say that it’s a warning sign that I’ve chosen to see CANNON FOR CORDOBA and AMERICAN SAMURAI on my own tonight over going to a party at work, but I couldn’t give a rats ass about what people think of me. My movie obsession has gotten so intense over the years that I’ve even (almost) stopped drinking. And as long as the people I mentioned earlier don’t leave I will probably live this way until i kick the bucket. I’m with you on the quick tongue over physical fitness, Majestyk. I look nowhere like what I did when I met my wife, but my brain is pretty much the same. I think. How do you know if you’ve become stupider? What was I talking about? Oh, yes, if you find that one good woman, preferably with the same interests as you, no matter what you were before, you’ll feel like the hero in your favorite movie. And she’ll hopefully see you as a half decent sidekick in her’s. In my case that’s THE WILD BUNCH, so I’m not so sure who that is or if I want to be, but that’s another discussion I can have with my far better half tonight. And that’s my two cents.

  224. I was also one who couldn’t really fit in with any particular group growing up. Like any person who is into being creative or the creative arts in general I was both an introvert and an extrovert. More so the former than the latter though since I’ve always been comfortable enough in my own skin to have no problems with being a loner.

    A lot of my peers were really into sports when I was little. I on the other hand liked watching sports (though not obsessively unless you count ‘rasslin which is more theater than sports to me) but never liked to play and never viewed them with the same reverence I hold for music, film, video games and comic books.

    I just found more joy in spending an afternoon beating a high score on an arcade or making beats on an MPC over some blunts than hitting a ball at the park. I was the kid who used to cut class not to go to the hooky parties I was invited to by the time I hit high school but to go to the library and check out the books that my school didn’t want me to read. The books that didn’t contain revised history and opened my teenage mind even more. Simply because I was always fairly curious and never was afraid to question anything.

    I was a public school kid and kept very average grades not because I couldn’t hack it but because I never felt challenged or stimulated by the material I was presented with so I skipped a lot of classes. I used to show up just for tests sometimes and pass the classes based on high test scores and class assignment grades from when I was present because I never even really did homework yet still knew the material. Many times because I learned it on my own time before even learning it in school so by the time it was “taught” to me it was old hat and I just came across as some prodigy like Neo in the Matrix when I used to shut shit down.

    Because of my interests in comic books and cartoons and stuff growing up I did attract some nerds that tried to reach out. Some geeks as well (yes there is a difference) but like Majestyk I found spending time with them unproductive and never really stimulating. Some were also unloyal as fuck and just tried to use me because I also knew some cool kids but where quick to flat leave me when it didn’t yield the results they wanted. The irony of being rejected by the rejected always made me chuckle in disbelief.

    That happened to me when I left my beloved NYC for Miami Beach for a year of high school. But that experience was one of the ways I learned to be more observant and separate the phonies from the real, part of that meant getting the fuck out of Florida and coming back home.

    Anywho some of these cats were people that no matter how much you tell them that being themselves REALLY is the ticket to networking just wouldn’t grasp the concept in anyway. Always looking to be labeled instead of just being themselves. Acting like everytime I decided to step to a girl I wasn’t afraid of rejection like they were and had some rehearsed routine that I practiced on every potential girlfriend.

    The truth is that I just didn’t really care I just realized very early on there was never nothing to lose just something to gain. I mean my confidence in myself is what lured them in but it always became a “take it or leave it” situation after that. My old man always told me that there are too many girls in the world to not be fearless when it comes to that and it was very helpful advice.

    That’s with everything though and not just romance. You either hate me or love me but it would never phase me and if you manage to accept me then hey even better because now we both made a new connection. I think that’s a big reason I was never bullied in my entire life despite bringing comic books to read at rest spots at school or game boys to play games on like many kids that got bullied. People respected me because I wasn’t afraid to stand up for myself yet kept to myself and respected everybody else’s personal space.

    Funny to read Mouth’s post because superheros where one of the things that taught me at a very young age to never apologize for being who I am and to respect other people for who they are. To just go on and own that shit and my confidence and belief in myself would be enough to sustain me in life.

    I was that kid that everybody knew yet they didn’t even know my name. I was like an enigma. I greeted people, I broke bread with them at parties or smoke sessions and all that but I never made any real attachments at all partly because it was very difficult to find people as genuinely passionate about my passions as I was. Everybody just had a passive appreciation of music for example while I was borderline obsessive.

    I think a big reason I still have one of the only 2 real friends & not aquaintances that I’ve known for 20 years around is because we are both as insane about music as the next. We’re the only people we know who are completely in tune with each other all the way when it comes to that especially hip hop. Same with my other friend who had that same connection with me regarding video games, movies and comic books. But that’s very hard to find in life and it was definitely a big reason I could never identify with any one clique despite being diplomatic with nerds, slackers, geeks, jocks, squares and party animals all at once.

    So I sympathize with Mr. Majestyk’s quest. There definitely are a lot of posers here in NYC so it’s difficult to weed out the authentic from the people hopping on the fad of it being “cool to be geek” sometimes due to the amount of people out here. You have no idea how many times I have met people who are self proclaimed “hardcore fans” or “true fans” of any subsegment of pop culture but end up exposing themselves as not really being about that life. It’s a constant crushing disappointment I went through when I was in my 20’s. But it’s like anything else you got to keep digging until you finally strike gold. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m leaving NYC very soon for a year due to a job opportunity I would be open to attending his gatherings cause I always felt he was a cool muthafucker. I’ll be back up north by 2015 though so maybe in the future if that keeps going.

  225. BTW in a fight in the ocean Aquaman will own the living hell out of Superman.

  226. I do believe this thread has found the nexus… that vital link between cause and effect.

    Which is only ever a good thing, and enlightening.

  227. Thanks for all the feedback, guys. I woke up this morning and reread what I wrote and I’m kind of surprised that no one took me to task for it. Who the hell do I think I am? Like I’m so cool.

    I’ve been lucky to have some really good friends in my life, and I’ve been lucky to find this sight where people passionately, articulately, and hilariously discuss the kind of silly shit I love. I’d just really like to bring those two worlds together somehow. It’s not really fair to be dismissive of “nerds” the way I have, because they’re just trying to do the same thing in their own awkward way. I’m probably not what they’re looking for either (although I can’t imagine why. My company is a boon to one and all.)

    So I’m gonna take Vern’s advice and just try to stay positive. It’s not just nerds who are the problem. Most people I talk to about movies, nerds or not, start from a place of assuming that most movies are shit, and that’s just not rewarding for me. I’ve had positive things to say about most movies I saw this year, and even the ones I didn’t like gave me lots to talk about. I’ve been accused of being an angry nerd myself (once even had my badge and gun revoked) but I don’t feel that way. I love this shit, and I still get excited every single time I go to the movies. It’s a great blessing in my life. Thanks for sharing that with me in spirit, guys, if not in person.

  228. Oh, and good luck out there in the world, Broddie. You feel like getting a drink before you leave NY, you let me know.

  229. Mouth, I read your post and while there’s a lot of truth in there, let me give you a slightly different perspective: I’m a guy in his late thirties with a wife, a job, two houses (I rent one, and the other is old as fuck and a constant maintenance hassle) and a kid on the way. I’m also 6’3″ and 320 pounds which is fat and long-term unhealthy although it does not keep me from living normally (i have a huge frame anyway, most people guess my weight in the mid-200s – so I’m a heavy dude but I’m not toodling in a Rascal around Walmart).

    After I saw Man of Steel I actually did decide to get in shape, I got on a weight lifting routine and swam and did a strict diet. I lost 30 pounds in 6 weeks and felt physically great, although the level of time and commitment that it took was tremendous but you know – Superman and all that. Then I got tendonitis in my knee and elbow so bad that I had trouble sitting and standing and using a computer. Directly from weight lifting. So it was back to being a sedate fellow, and of course all that weight came back on and now I haven’t picked up the barbell in months.

    So keep in mind that it’s not so easy as “I want to become a godly specimen, and presto – I am.” A lot of the fat people I know are fat from overwork/time crunch or a chronic injury or something else. Yes, sometimes it’s nothing more than excuses but other times it’s not. As a fit guy in his 20s who gained about a pound a month once he hit 30 until one day realized he was morbidly obese, it can happen to you and it creeps up on you. And it’s not a matter of skipping pizza or going for a run (I blew out my right knee running, actually, so please be careful with that). It’s a matter of life balance and a lot of people don’t have it. Fat is just fitness debt that is clearly visible on the body.

  230. Majestyk- “We all like some nerdy shit around here, but that doesn’t make us nerds. Most of us have the intellectual and emotional maturity to have a little perspective on things. We value craft, subtext, visual and narrative dynamicism, and entertainment value over “This isn’t exactly how I wanted it when I was nine and now I don’t want it anymore, you meanies!” These are the type of ingrates whose parents give them a sports car for graduation and they complain about the flames on the side.”
    I don’t think it’s entitlement though, at least not completely. I think it’s anxiety about how much longer this superhero movie boom can last*, and that while it does, if things don’t make a big splash when they’re made, the opportunity to see it will be lost. For every DARK KNIGHT and AVENGERS, there’s 6 CATWOMANs, and the people who are fans of certain characters don’t want to see the one chance these characters have every 6 years or so go to waste, so there can be a kneejerk reaction to how the character is apparently being developed. And if we’re honest, there is a bit of resentment round these parts to the nerd genre. Vern watches, reviews and likes a lot of this stuff, but he the sort of people are passionate fans about it can get derided, there’s a jokingly derogatory “Nerdening of America” tag, and I’m sure more than once the nerd pleasing stuff has been blamed for the reduction in top quality action movies/badass cinema, despite the fact that a bit of perspective will point out that Action and Badass Cinema had Decades of prominence, whereas until relatively recently, the Comic Book Movie Genre had very sporadic entries, and large parts of it were not the best examples. And you know, on a basic principle, if Vern can review the PARKER movie and be pissed off at how it doesn’t represent the character the way he loves it to be, why shouldn’t a fan of Wonder Woman, or Spider-man or Underdog really be able to do the same?

    *though genre fatigue is a weird thing. You can have as many buddy cop movies as you want that follow the 48 HOURS/LETHAL WEAPON template without anyone really minding, but you do one action adventure movie based around treasure hunting, and suddenly you’re ripping off INDIANA JONES, itself a mish mash of references, influences and lifts from a whole bunch of adventure titles. And why the fuck do we need a Pregnancy Comedy every 2 or 3 years? What aspect of that process can we possibly cover that hasn’t been done before?

  231. Though if you want some positive nerd examples, I recommend the Nerdpocalypse podcast

    and the same guys also do a really good one on Black Cinema:

  232. Mr. Majestyk – Thanks man. I appreciate it.

  233. All this talk about nerds and entitlement and the like, where all I want is for everybody to get along!

    …Ok, I wasn’t ever going to fool anybody with that one, was I?

    The fact is, conflict is good. Conflict is the basis of all the great stories of the world.

    Conflict can make people reconsider their own positions. It’s happened to me on at least two occasions on this very website. It’s happened to me a lot more than that in real life. Conflict was what forced me to change my opinion on subjects such as the legalization of marijuana, for example.

    Like President Bartlett of “The West Wing”, I like smart people who disagree with me. (Why do you think I still hang around this place?) I feel that I can learn from them. I also feel that on rare occasions I perform the public service of “keeping them honest” by showing them that there are other ways of thinking out there. (And that, too, has happened at least once on this website. You guys have to admit that on occasions you can get more than a little “complacent” about a topic yourselves. It’s good to have a differing opinion to make you question your assumptions.)

    So let’s set about questioning some assumptions, shall we?

    First of all take this:

    “I think not just with nerds but with movie fans and people in general there is too much value placed on negativity and whining.”

    It may very well be true that there is a lot of negativity about, especially on the interwebs. The fact is that people have to be MOTIVATED in order to post something. And generally speaking, that means one of two things: either they’re a specialist in the area in question, or they see something wrong that they want to draw attention to. I’ve said many times over, for example, that I come to this website to find new and great films that I would otherwise have missed. (And ok, the occasional Vern evisceration is always fun.) I like to post what I think about movies, and why I hold the opinions that I do. I wrote practically a love letter to the film “In A World” in the forums here. Who but a film fan would even DO that? Would I write a similar letter recommending my electricity provider, even though they’ve been selling me power at decent prices for the last seven or eight years? Somehow I doubt it. And yet loads of people post about their BAD experiences with products, or service providers, or whatever.

    The second thing I’d note is that several people have pointed out the “immaturity” of a certain section of nerds, yet nobody yet has pointed out how young most of them would tend to be. Obviously there are exceptions, but for the most part we’re talking about young teenagers here – and a lot of them have yet to learn how to express themselves on the internet in a positive way. I don’t see a lot of them on the (few) forums that I haunt, but my tactic when I do see them is simple: engage with them! Try and point out the problems with what they’re saying, but do it as non-judgementally as possible, and never dismiss what they have to say as “worthless”.

    And as for the real bad eggs (who tend to be a minority, even on the anonymous world of the Internet anyway)? Ban ’em or ignore ’em. As much as I despise the misogynist jerks who conduct hate campaigns against female games journalists, for example, I know where to go if I want to discuss videogames on the Internet without having to deal with them. (Would that the journalists had the same option.) I mean, if you honestly feel that you don’t have the option of avoiding some of the more toxic stuff here, then I don’t know what to tell you… maybe you should just get off the Internet for a bit.

    And while I despair at some of the “socially-accepted” stuff that I see, I hardly think that the “nerds” have exclusive rights to being entitled assholes. (If you honestly think that, try coming over here to the UK when there’s a general election on. I guarantee you, some of the shit you’ll see will make you think of the “entitled nerd” brigade quite fondly in comparison.) Nor are the entitled assholes ALWAYS entitled assholes – I know I’ve been one on occasions, although I try to avoid it wherever possible (I spent a few of my teenage years as one, and I can’t say I look back at myself at that age with many positive feelings) and is there anybody else here who could honestly say that they’ve never behaved in this way at times?

    In summary, I don’t really care how they use Wonder Woman in the next batch of superhero films.

  234. And in other completely unrelated news, I’m going to see a Disney film tomorrow, on the strength of glowing recommendations from just about everyone. Which means that, if “Frozen” is as good as they say, I might be forced into the position of putting a Disney film about a wisecracking sentient snowman on my list of “best of the year”. Anybody else remember when I made a similar list on this very site and had to put a “Harry Potter” film on it? Well it turns out that that may not be my worst bit of voluntary self-humiliation here. Oh joy.

  235. Yeah, it is.


  236. …Wow, I seem to have stopped the thread cold.

  237. (the sound of a pin dropping)

  238. How about the report that WB may develop lower budgeted films based on lesser known DC properties? The titles mentioned being:

    Booster Gold (goofy glory/riches seeking ex-football player from the future uses centuries advanced technology to fight crime)

    Deathstroke (the greatest hitman/merc in the world, often specialising in superpowered targets)

    Suicide Squad (The Dirty Dozen with Supervillains doing black ops missions for reduced sentences)

    Team 7 (Special Forces team. Linked to Suicide Squad by virtue of the SS’s superior was a field officer in the unit, so maybe this would be done as a prequel?)

    Supposedly 20 million as a projected budget for most, with Deathstroke being higher up at 40 million, which seems a little weird considering Booster Gold would seem like the one needing most money due to special effects and proper full blown powers, not to mention coming from the future, which I suppose would have to be shown in some way. Deathstroke and Suicide Squad are the most interesting ones due to the anti-hero nature of the characters, and at a lower budget, there might be greater freedom to do things the bigger movies don’t, maybe even have an R-Rating.

  239. There’s already a great low-budget DC series. It’s called “Arrow” and it’s sublimely wonderful garbage.

  240. I agree with you, except on it being garbage. I like it as a whole, and I think it’s a show that manages to rise above the stigma of what a CW programme is thought of being, and it’s certainly a more satisfying weekly watch than the channel’s last superhero series SMALLVILLE.
    And with guest and recurring stars like Michael Jai White, Kelly Hu and Manu Bennett, I think it shows the people making it know their action shit, and just because they homage THE RAID in one episode:


  241. Paul – I liked FROZEN enough but alot of people are overselling it, taking a perfectly good cheeseburger and serving it as filet mignon. Except for “Let It Go” (favored apparently now to win the Oscar), I found the soundtrack forgettable. I admire the filmmakers for purposefully avoiding certain Disney cartoon movie cliches here and there, I just wish it was ultimately better than it was. But still a good crowdpleaser.

    Yes even the goddamn retarded snowman was funny. (That “Hi!” gag in the 3rd act did make me bust out laughing.)

  242. As a man with three baby nieces, I don’t know how you guys can stand this princess stuff. Whenever I can, I get them to watch SHE RA, because at least she’s a Princess of Power, not a Princess of Having Pretty Hair.

  243. Stu, I’m sorry. I don’t mean it’s actual garbage. Just that it’s well-produced, smart, referential genre television that wants to entertain above all else. And it absolutely succeeds.

  244. RRA – I would agree with that, except that I think it was better than “just” cheeseburger. I also wasn’t a fan of some of the songs, and I do admit that part of “Frozen”‘s appeal is based on its attitude towards other Disney movies (and it’s willingness to admit that maybe “Sleeping Beauty”‘s message, that it’s perfectly ok for young girls to instantly fall for the guy who felt you up while you were unconscious, might not necessarily be the healthiest one ever.) That said, I think it stands up very well on its own. It won’t be my “best of the year” but I think it’s definitely worthy of a lot of praise.

  245. by the way guys, just to clear the air I thought I would share my final thoughts on MAN OF STEEL once and for all

    I’m afraid I’m a MOS hater, I’m sorry, I guess I said positive things about it after I first saw it because I always try to be a glass half full guy when it comes to my opinions on movies, but it’s one of those movies where you need time to let it sink in

    there are individual things I like about the movie, but they don’t come together to form a cohesive whole in my opinion, there’s something about the way they make movies nowadays that’s different than even just a few years ago and I feel like somebody’s blowing on a dog whistle that I can’t hear, the style now is so drastically different than how I like movies that it just doesn’t jibe with me, MOS reminded me a lot of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS which I also hated since it suffered from similar problems, both movies are just jumbled, confused messes

    let me give you an example, let’s compare MOS to BATMAN BEGINS, imagine if BATMAN BEGINS instead of showing how Bruce Wayne became Batman in chronological order it jumped backward and forward in time like MOS does, would that have been as satisfying? no

    and also, MOS doesn’t feel like a Zack Snyder movie, it lacks any of his usual trademarks that make him an interesting and unique director, there’s no slow-mo, no montages or scenes set to songs and no satire (unless you count the whole “SUPERMAN IS JESUS!” thing), I mean compare it to WATCHMEN (a movie I loved), it’s hard to believe it’s the same director

    so I can only assume WB did not give him as much freedom as they have in the past, I guess it was basically a work for hire job, so I can’t blame Snyder too much, but I know that for the time being I’ll consider SUCKER PUNCH to be the last “real” Zack Snyder movie

  246. But BATMAN BEGINS DID jump back and forward in time. I didn’t like BB either but it is indeed a better movie than MOS.

  247. Yeah to compare MOS with BB is just laughable. I’m sorry but it is.

    But Griff, I wouldn’t compare STID with MOS. STID isn’t an exceptional movie of its kind (the blockbuster) but I found it for the most part a competent blockbuster thriller with some laughs and thrills and an engaging enough plot. Sure I can complain about this and that, but STID was “cohesive” to use your words. It’s not discombobulated like MOS was.

    Its funny but I saw THE HOBBIT PART 2 of 3 and all those sequences with Smaug?* Compelling, interesting, intelligent use of both CGI and size and scale perspective. We’re so desensitized to digital effects, its wonderful when CGI can still provoke an impressive awe from you. This helps you get invested with Bilbo trying to outswit this rather intelligent adversary, then him and the Dwarves have to do the same with the running and all that.

    Contrast that with the climax of MOS, two gods beat each other up, who cares?

    *=Ignoring the lackluster Elf/Dwarf love story and Luke Evans’ Aragorn 2.0 storyline, of course.

  248. I agree with you Vern. I enjoyed this “joyless” version of Man of Steel very much. I grew up on the earlier Superman movies, but I feel this is the version I’ve been wanting for a long time. Most comic book movie set pieces just bore the shit out of me, but the Smallville and Metropolis action sequences brought out the excitement I felt as a kid wanting to recreate those moments with my action figures. I’m not one that subscribes to canon or argues that a fictional character would never do certain things. Adhering to some kind of sacred text can get boring and predictable, that’s why I liked the direction Snyder went with Man of Steel. I don’t subscribe to those people who insist a movie can only be made one particular way. The Marvel movies are okay, but I would be disappointed if every comic book movie followed their template. I’m glad we have a world big enough for Man of Steel and The Avengers.

    Concerning the ongoing negative reception by some web critics and divided reception, I feel Man of Steel is the comic book movie equivalent of Oliver Stone’s JFK. The critics who disliked JFK would sidestep Stone’s technical achievements and make readers feel like they were committing treason if they saw the movie. Twenty years later, we have some critics who usually are content writing just one piece dismissing a movie like Transformers, still tearing down Man of Steel months after its release. Some critics would even go as far as saying people who liked the movie are wrong. I loved Man of Steel, but I wouldn’t tell dissenters of the movie they’re misguided and incorrect. I respect most of their opinions and I’m fine that a movie can’t be all things to all people, nor should it.

    I really like your levelheaded approach Vern and I wish more sites follow your example with less cynicism and trolling. Best of luck.

  249. Jesse Eisenberg is Lex Luthor.

  250. I couldn’t believe the Eisenberg news at first but I’m not entirely opposed to it. It’s fresh and unexpected and doesn’t seem as lazy as casting Bryan Cranston (he plays a villain who’s bald alot! he should be Lex Luthor!) Unless, of course, this version of Lex Luthor is just a Zuckerberg-clone, and in that case, then yes, this is some lazy casting.

    Jeremy Irons is going to kill it as Alfred, though. He doesn’t play enough good guys.

  251. I like it. I know this movie is the internet’s new whipping boy, but I don’t have a single problem with the way any of this is shaking out. I think the creative team is making some interesting choices. To them I say stay the course, fine fellows, and listen to no one. Especially the “fans.”

  252. I think it’s in danger of being too much. Too many stars cast in iconic roles. There won’t be enough sufficient screen time to make them all equally interesting unless Snyder plans to make it more than three hours long.

  253. “. . . Snyder plans to make it more than three hours long”

    Be still, my heart! Oh, what sweet prospect this is.

  254. Also I don’t know what “too many stars” means (Eisenberg’s a star????!!!??)
    (and I promise you 99.99% of people can’t name the actor who just played Supes in 2013)
    or what “iconic roles” means (some other guy wearing a spangly outfit????!!!??).

  255. Okay to be more pragmatic, they are going about this ass-backwards and it goes back to my original problem for this. Look at what Marvel did for THE AVENGERS. They built it up by giving most of the main superheroes their own movie (or two in the case of Iron Man), and thus built up excitement for the movie where they all came together. What WB is doing now is the opposite it looks like. They are casting new actors in these characters (except Supes of course), and betting on it being successful enough that they will go on to set up new movie franchises.

  256. I seem to be the world’s most positive motherfucker when it comes to WHEN BATMAN MET SUPERMAN… Every time something new gets announced, the whole internet starts crying in the corner under a single bare light bulb and I just think, “Huh, that’s not the way I would have gone, but it sounds neat.” I’ve spent too much of my life giving too many fucks about men in capes. I’m just going with the flow on this one.

  257. Brit Marling for Supergirl.

  258. She definitely resembles Helen Slater.

  259. But onthewall, why is that ass-backwards? THE AVENGERS is the single case in movie history where they intentionally set up each character in a separate movie to lead up to the team-up. Why does that now have to be the only way to do it? In the past there have been many movies (X-MEN, STAR WARS, PREDATOR, CITIZEN KANE) where you just meet the characters as they appear in the movie and you are able to figure out who they are. In many cases it has worked well.

    More importantly I think these guys should do everything their own way so they are not aping Marvel.

  260. So, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. What do we think of that title? It’s fine for me. No more silly than CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.

  261. CrustaceanLove

    May 21st, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I thought the SUPERMAN VS BATMAN title was just a placeholder because it’s the only thing anyone gives half a fuck about, but I guess they’re leaning into it. The whole Justice League thing has been demoted to a sad little postscript.

  262. Overall it’s a very satisfying movie, even if Supermans aren’t real.

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