Notes on a second viewing of MAN OF STEEL

tn_manofsteelb(spoilers, of course)

Last week I decided I wanted to see MAN OF STEEL a second time. (Don’t worry, I saw FURIOUS 6 twice too, so this is not a sign of disrespect toward its reign as Best Summer Movie 2013.) I already liked MAN OF STEEL but the second viewing raised my opinion of it. Going in already knowing what it was, all my minor quibbles faded away and I was able to focus on what I loved about it. It wasn’t one of those movies where looking at it again brings out all kinds of flaws you never noticed before. I mean, a few odd things came to mind:

* I wonder if they ever had a meeting specifically about the decision to have chest hair poking out of the neck of the supersuit. That looked a little odd but I can see how they were trying to remind us how manly he is. Not just super.

* Although Lois Lane is a good detective I noticed one journalistic error in her story about the alien spacecraft. In narration we hear her say that the military guys “surmised” it was a Soviet sub, when it fact it was “much more exotic.” This is a misrepresentation – in fact she asked them if it was a Soviet sub and they explained to her why it couldn’t be. I want a retraction, Lois.

* I’m still not clear how/why the supersuit was there ready for him. There’s gotta be an official answer to that. I’m leaning toward it being created specifically for him when he put the command key in, but if so I don’t know why they don’t show it being created.

I’ve heard a whole lot of complaining about this movie, and I was worried that some of these things that I’ve heard repeated by so many people would start to nag at me now that they were pointed out. But it’s actually the opposite. Watching the movie with those criticisms in mind only made me more sure I disagree with them and their understanding of what the movie is trying to do.

#1 complaint: collateral damage

It has been alleged by many prominent writers and podcasters as well as various random editorials in non-movie forums that this is a Superman that just fights the bad guy, doesn’t bother with saving people, and destroys things with reckless abandon, a complete disregard for human life. This is not true.

Saving people is actually this guy’s main interest in life. For an unspecified amount of time between childhood and the age of 33 he actually travels around the world under assumed names, looking for people to save, and saving them. His father taught him to hide, worried that the world wasn’t ready to know about him. Why does he argue with dad about this? Because it makes it harder for him to fucking save people.

When he battles fellow Kryptonian Faora in Smallville they have a philosophical debate – about saving people. When she tells him his love for humanity is his weakness, it implies that he is holding back or directing their fight to avoid hurting humans, something she doesn’t have to worry about. She taunts him that for every few he saves she’ll destroy many more. This is visualized when he flies up to rescue one pilot from her attack only to see the other soldiers on the helicopter crash. Later, he’s forced to fly around the planet to destroy the world engine before it completely terraforms the world, something that only he can do. To do this he has to leave Metropolis vulnerable to attack, something that some comic book fundamentalists have said He would never do.

I believe that we’re playing by a certain amount of comic book rules here – that we are to accept that when the Daily Planet staff is shown escaping the destruction, when the buildings that Superman and Zod crash through are clearly shown to be empty, that this means most of the people did somehow manage to evacuate. That might be harder to swallow than you want considering the quasi-realistic tone of the movie overall. Fair enough. But I believe it is the intent of the filmatists because if we’re supposed to think Zod is killing humans by the thousands here then why is his trump card to threaten one family in a museum with his heat vision? In context, this has to mean that this threat is taking hostilities to the next level.

But even disregarding that, I think the complaints are missing one of the major ideas about this take on Superman: that he’s not a fucking god who can make the world spin backwards to travel through time. He’s an amazing being, but there are limits to his powers, especially at this point when he’s still learning what he’s even capable of. For as long as I can remember people have complained about Superman being a boring character because he’s too powerful, that it’s not dramatic if he can just do anything. So we have kind of a careful what you wish for/Goldilocks type situation here. You don’t want him to be too powerful, but you don’t want him to fail too much. I think the filmatists made a deliberate decision – one that I agree with – to make things harder for him. When he saves the kids on the bus, when he fights Faora, when he stops Zod, he is struggling with his instinct to save everyone and the reality that he can’t. He can’t but he’ll try his hardest because he’s Superman.

#2 complaint – he killed Zod. Superman doesn’t kill.

Well, he killed Zod in SUPERMAN II, the movie that we all know Zod from in the first place. Come on, people.

But in MAN OF STEEL it’s different because this time it’s portrayed as a failure instead of a victory. In a sense Zod beats him, because he tells him one of them is gonna have to kill the other, and he turns out to be right. The movie doesn’t argue that sometimes you have to kill people. Zod is the one that argues that. He gets his way but from Superman’s anguished cry I’m pretty sure he’s not taking a “sometimes you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette” type lesson out of this.

#3 complaint – too much action and punching

Well, I can’t argue with that if that’s what you think, but I like the amount of action. And it’s another Goldilocks deal here, considering the universal complaints of SUPERMAN RETURNS not having enough action or punching. While most Superman movies have Superman dealing with a human threat, here he battles his genetic equal or superior (but with the technology to illustrate this more spectacularly than when he fought Terence Stamp’s Zod in a small town). I like this for two reasons:

one: it’s fun to watch fully fleshed out super being fights, something that really hasn’t been explored enough in comic book movies despite some instances in BLADE II, the X-MEN pictures and THE AVENGERS.

B) it’s fulfilling one of the main themes of the movie, Clark’s struggle between his childhood on Earth and his Kryptonian heritage. Both he and Zod have the powers given to them by being Kryptonian on Earth. Zod has some advantages from being raised on Krypton: he was trained to battle since birth, he has a bunch of Kryptonian technology with him, he has Kryptonian minions with him.

Shouldn’t he be able to beat Superman then? Well, our boy has some advantages from being on our team. He’s had 33 years to adjust to the atmosphere, to learn how to focus his powers and to practice using some of them. And that respect for human life that Faora said was a weakness? It’s what taught Christopher Meloni that “This man is not our enemy.” It’s what gave him the trust of human kind that he and his father worried about for so many years. So working together, using Jor-El’s plan, communicated by Lois, executed by Superman, Lois and the military, they were able to literally save the world. And that’s why the movie had to force Superman to abandon Metropolis to fly around the world and fight a giant space machine. It’s not a movie about one guy that can solve all our problems. It’s a movie about one of us who will help us to do it.

(I mean, admittedly he does most of the heavy lifting, both literally and figuratively.)

Anyway, I dug the movie, and if the Nerd Community ultimately decides they don’t then I’m claiming Superman for myself. Sorry boys, go find something else then. Star Trek is fine, you can keep Star Trek if you want.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 at 7:34 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.

256 Responses to “Notes on a second viewing of MAN OF STEEL”

  1. The problem with the collateral damage thing is that, regardless of what the movie tells us, the movie shows us very little of Superman saving people. In your description you have to keep saying “implies” and so on; it’s almost all offscreen. It’s tell, not show, and that’s why regardless of what we can assume the movie is doing, it doesn’t feel to the audience like the movie is doing it.

  2. Douglas.J.Needles

    July 3rd, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    I like you suttle Batman quote Vern, but to be the bearer of bad news its ‘you can’t make an omelette, without breaking a few eggs’. But yes theyre are alot of hidden things in MoS. It does take a few times of watching. I recently.re-watched The Dark Knight Rises and its not as disapointing as i remembered it.

  3. “Anyway, I dug the movie, and if the Nerd Community ultimately decides they don’t”

    Vern – As somebody who roams nerd websites and boards…I don’t think you have to worry about that. Hell from my observational post, they’re more generally bitchy about STAR TREK 2.0 than they are about MOS. Others may disagree. (But I’ll quit on that topic before Nate C. comes here and wags a finger at me for bringing them up because….well who knows?)

    Anyway no offense to MOS but that was June. Bring me PACIFIC RIM! I want a good giant robot movie! Please prove to me that a creatively inspired, (semi) intelligent giant robot fighting monster movie can be made.

  4. Brit Marling should play Supergirl. Not sure if it should be in MOS2 or Justice League. Personally I’d prefer her own movie, and it could even be a direct remake of the Helen Slater one.

  5. I’m all for Supergirl. Same with Krypto.

  6. caruso_stalker217

    July 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    My second viewing really only confirmed that Faora is super hot, as opposed to the regular amount of hot.

    Bring her back for the sequel, guys. She’s aces.

  7. Vern, so are you saying knowing how the movie ends allowed you to focus on the details and get better enjoyment out it?

  8. Vern, this is one of my favorite things that you do. They (they being the script to CLOUD ATLAS) say “What is a critic but one who reads quickly, arrogantly, but never wisely?” You’re never afraid to go back and see a movie with fresh eyes, to give it another chance, to amend your opinion from the first go-round. Too often these days we see a movie once and then rush to commit our initial impressions to the internet, effectively immortalizing them, setting them in cyber stone for all eternity. It takes a big man to examine those initial impressions and see if they actually stand the test of time. How many critics have the nuts to step back and admit that they are not the word of God? Too few.

    As for all the MAN OF STEEL talk, I’ve heard all the pithy dismissals. They’re full of shit. This is a vigorous, full-throated movie. It’ll survive. Movies that give you something to chew on always do.

  9. grimgrinningchris

    July 3rd, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Too funny. I jokingly thought to myself before reading this (still haven’t even delved into your original review or its thread), “I wonder if Vern or one of the other cats on this sight noticed or thought to mention the abundance of chest hair…” and lo and behold…

    The imdb trivia actually mentions it as a conscious decision by Cavill.
    So weird.
    Superman should NOT have chest hair (and I don’t give a shit if he has been drawn with it from time to time in the comics). Batman? Yeah. Wolverine? Well of course. Superman? No way. Pretty sure Spidey is hairless too.

  10. I finally saw this movie a few days ago, so I’m glad I’ve got a chance to talk about it. I guess I’m one of the vile Nerd Community you’re talking about here. It’s fine that they did a very different take on Superman, but it’s not one I particularly like. I thought I’d be cool with it, but I wasn’t. It’d be like if they did a Blade reboot where he’s always happy and constantly making wisecracks. It might be a good movie and they might be really funny wisecracks, but it’s still not going to feel like Blade to me. I accept that I’m the minority in this.

    #1 complaint: collateral damage

    I think a lot of the complaints here are overblown, as it’s clear Superman isn’t smashing through buildings intentionally; he’s at Zod’s mercy. But like you said, the tone of the movie and the way it’s shot (9/11 imagery ahoy!) made the destruction a lot more visceral and upsetting than other comic book movies. I have no problem believing that the NYC civillians in AVENGERS evacuated in time or crawled out of the rubble unharmed, but here I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief. The big fight scene ends with Superman crying, surrounded by thousands of dead civillians. It really bummed me out.

    I also think it was a bad decision to disconnect Superman from the destruction of Metropolis by having him fight the terraformer on the other side of the planet. When Superman punches through the terraforming machine I should have been jumping out of my seat. Instead I just thought “oh, good.” I get what they were going for, having Superman make a tough decision and abandon Metropolis so he could save people indirectly, but I didn’t find it dramatically satisfying.

    #2 complaint – he killed Zod. Superman doesn’t kill.

    I had a bigger problem with the way Zod’s death was handled in SUPERMAN II, actually. At least here it was tied-in thematically, forcing Superman to make a binary, life-or-death choice between Krypton and his adopted planet. I still don’t like it, though. It would be like if Batman (sorry) had compromised his principles and killed the Joker in the end of TDK. You could argue that it was the only sane, logical thing to do and maybe you’d be right, but it destroys the central idea that Batman’s principles are incorruptible. The question isn’t “how is Superman going to get out of this one?” because, duh, he’s Superman, it’s “how is Superman going to get out of this without compromising his principles?” I don’t know, maybe this version of Superman believes in the death penalty. He IS from Kansas, after all.

    #3 complaint – too much action and punching

    I didn’t have a problem with the amount of action and punching, but for a movie over two hours long a lot of the non-punching parts seem really rushed. The relationship between Lois and Superman is never given time to grow organically and the part where Clark meets Ghost Dad and accepts his destiny seems to happen way too quickly.

    I see what you’re saying about Superman helping humanity to help itself, but I never really got the feeling the Superman was a source of inspiration, just that they were going along with his plan because it seemed like it might work and they were out of other options. It felt like any other action movie climax. Maybe it’s just me, but I like it better when Superman inspires people on a much smaller scale, his big, bold actions inspiring people to work together and help eachother out in small ways. For all the Christ imagery in the movie, there was nothing Christ-like in the way he acted or inspired people.

  11. “It’s not a movie about one guy that can solve all our problems. It’s a movie about one of us who will help us to do it.”

    That is the best distillation of this movie I have read.

  12. grimgrinningchris

    July 3rd, 2013 at 11:05 pm


    After MOS I went back and read everything wiki/imdb on the Donner and Singer movies and re-watched all three (with and without commentary on the Donners). SOMEWHERE in this “research” I either read or heard Ilya Salkind say that Superman actually did NOT kill Zod, Non and Ursa- that they all three just fell into a pit below the fortress and a cut scene (not sure if it was actually filmed or not) had Supes somehow putting them all back into the Phantom Zone and that regardless if what was or wasn’t shown/filmed/cut blah blah blah that they never meant to imply that the trip was dead.

  13. grimgrinningchris

    July 3rd, 2013 at 11:24 pm


    I don’t really have any issues with the bullet pointed problems you detailed.

    But I will COMPLETELY agree with the idea you put forth in your opening…and that is that this did not FEEL like a Superman movie. I really don’t have problems with any of the changes to the origin story or changes to any individual characters setups or motivations…all if those changes could have still been incorporated into a movie that still captured the spirit and tone of Superman’s world.
    This LOOKED like a Superman movie (and a damn good one at that) but it sure as hell didn’t FEEL like one. I just felt no sense of fun or joy in the handling of the material.
    The cast were all game, the story (changes and all) was fine, the action well staged and shot (for the most part)… It just FELT wrong. I feel like a Superman movie should have a real whiz-bang feel to it, not so damn serious (but also not as hokey as wigged Hackman and stupid Otis…fucking Otis…ugh).

    And no disrespect because I love Zimmer, but I think a large part of the movie feeling off was the lack of Williams’ theme. Yeah yeah, I know I know, I GET it. And I understand that Superman existed just fine without it for 40 years beforehand, but in the 35 years since it was introduced, Williams’ theme has become as much a part of the character as the fucking cape.

  14. This might be an interesting counter point article. Not saying I agree with it, just throwing it out there: http://badassdigest.com/2013/07/03/film-crit-hulk-man-of-steel/

  15. Fantastic bit of honesty, thoroughness, and journalistic following-through here, Vern. So glad I’m not alone, as I also stated in the MoS thread that I only sorta like-meh’d the movie on first viewing but then decided I really fucking liked MoS on 2nd viewing. All your points are spot on.

    I have a feeling that I will forever love the “controversial” neck-snapping denouement of MoS in the same way I love the great tv-monitor/philosophy-convo ending of MATRIX RELOADED, or the end of THE LONG GOODBYE, or the middle part of DEATH PROOF. Most people won’t “get it,” but… fuck ’em.

    There’s no tactful way to say this, but. . . the writings of Film Crit Hulk are terrible. Lately, anyway. If I had the time, inclination, and awareness of when he posts new shit, I’d tear his last several articles apart in real time. He’s the opposite of useful. He’s the Kathryn Bigelow, or the nepotistically-enabled but idiotic unknowingly egotistical stepbrother of Charlie Kaufman, of film “criticism” in my opinion.
    Only rubes & elementary students would enjoy his [accidentally?] condescending bullshit. I feel like my purpose on Earth is to defeat him someday, though he practiced & honed his craft on the sets of Soderbergh films while Where was I trained, on a farm? {<–Zod voice}

  16. The Dark Knight trilogy impaired this film. The whole theme of Superman being a symbol of hope and inspiration for people to aspire to was needed (and obviously tailor made for both Supes and Bats) but coming so soon after the Dark knight trilogy, using that theme again would have felt like a rehash.

  17. It would have been a bit better if they made it clear Superman wanted to take his mega fight outside the city but his enemies were deliberately making the fights take place there to gain a psychological advantage. We just need to see superman thinking the same thing we are about it instead of “dude, can’t you see your killing people here?”

    I liked it quite a bit, loved the sci-fi / Fantasy aspects of it with the richer background and world. The excellent action made up for any lack of character identification. I liked that this superman was more of an alien and not a super-human.

    It just needs to be a little more in tune with the audience and acknowledge what were thinking and feeling while watching it.

  18. Yeah, a lot of Hulk’s recent writings have been a little obnoxious.

    I was lukewarm on Man of Steel, but I think he brings up some interesting points that I would enjoy seeing challenged by the film’s defenders.

  19. I don’t see the conflict. I really like this movie and like Vern, I liked it much more the second time when I didn’t have those absurdly high expectations from that 3rd trailer. That said Hulk is bang on the money with his article. Much of Vern’s (and my own) defence comes from telling, not showing and from our own projections of who Superman is and what he must have been thinking feeling. I don’t see a problem with that though. The MoS script has definite problems, that doesn’t stop me from liking the film, cause I love Superman and there were enough amazing elements in there to make me forgive this pretty fundamental structural issue. We’ve all loved far worse films than MoS while admitting they were crap. Ultimately I agree 100% with Hulk but I feel like Vern about the movie.

  20. That’s a fair enough response.

  21. Of course the Williams Superman theme is great, but Zimmer’s is also so fucking good. I’ve had this argument with one of my friends who is attached to that theme. I say the Danny Elfman Batman theme is untoppable, but shouldn’t be in the Nolan movies, and this is the same.

    Mouth, I would like to see that battle if nobody dies and there is honorable bowing before and/or after. Hulk is a smart and nice guy, I respect him, but I think we’re in philosophical opposition, like Professor X and Magneto, or Popeye and Bluto. I agree with a buddy of mine who said Hulk sees movies as math. He can use all the words in the dictionary explaining why DAY OF RECKONING doesn’t fit how he thinks movies are supposed to be made, but it just bounces against our hearts and brains like a bird against glass because of the visceral response we all had to that movie, and partly due to the very rule-breaking that he decries. And this is a low blow but he’s the one that finally made me question if people were right all those years telling me my reviews were too long. The Superman piece has four separate introductions, not including the one where he says that it’s necessary to have four separate introductions.

    Again, no disrespect, and partly in envy that he’s so much more read than me and he has that all caps gimmick so he doesn’t have to wait for the new keyboard that’s supposed to be coming in the mail because my fucking shift key doesn’t work right. i gotta hold it down just right. look at this shit1

  22. To simplify, FCH sometimes comes across as a slightly more eloquent and far more verbose Paul in my opinion. You can always see where his mind is tracking, which I appreciate, but he’s almost always off-base (though Paul’s un-assumingness makes him far more bearable).
    He’ll give a detailed description (or 4) that serves as the foundation (or 4) for his ensuing arguments, and indeed his arguments will *seem* to be aight, but his foundation bit, upon more than cursory inspection, will have been so far off the mark or backwards that everything is ruined & poisoned & fucked up from word one (1) of his dangerous babblings.

    No promises, but if I make it through the VERN PRESENTS THE SUPER-KUMITE! tournament with my being intact and my shift key spring-y & functional, perhaps I’ll bring the fight to The Green Man.
    Billy Blanks & I have some quadriceps stretches to do; Phillip Rhee will be waking me up very early to run at the beach; one of those guys from NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER I’m pretty sure has been emboldened in the wake of Obama’s DADT repeal and SCOTUS’s recent DOMA repeal to sit on my abdomen and suggestively eat ice cream while I do modified sit-ups.
    So I’ve got a rigorous regimen facing me, and I shall see whether this quest is worth the effort, and if it can be waged without me accidentally involving the people I care about in a petty internet flame war. I don’t want Vern to end up like the poor cop whose car is crunched by Arnold Schwarzenegger at the joystick of a Harrier, or like that shanty town in Jackie Chan’s POLICE STORY, or that town in Michael Bay Presents Rip-Off of Jackie Chan’s POLICE STORY called BAD BOYS 2. I shall minimize collateral damage, but I hope to do some damage.

  23. the Red Letter Media guys completely fucking hated it, but I think it’s kind of a generational thing, their complaints basically boiled down to “this is not the Super Man I’m used to, therefore I don’t like it”

    I being younger and more opened minded, liked it a lot better than they did, any movie with that fucking awesome and creepy “YOU ARE NOT ALONE” scene is at least somewhat worthwhile

  24. OOOOOHHHH let’s compare my favourite critics!

    I agree with you Vern that FCH sometimes treats films like math (I think more like chemiostry actually, to be precise). But I think that his points are extremely well made most of the time. His piece on Les Miserables was completely on-point IMO, as was his criticism of why John Carter doesn’t work. And I couldn’t agree with him more about MoS.

    You are a very different film critic, because fundamentally, you’re not a film critic. You’re a film lover. That’s why I come here, because with you I know that (a) you are completely uninfluenced by the geek hype (case in point, you, like me, enjoy but don’t fully understand the absurd levels of love Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim and Kick-Ass get); and (b) I always get the feeling you actively want to love every film you watch, and on its own terms, not based on what you want the movie to be. But although you are predisposed to loving every movie, it’s not the slightly childish, acritical love of a Harry Knowles who just seems to love films based on the personal memories (real or made up) these evoke in him, your love seems to come from an active desire to understand what a film is trying to do and praise it for the attempt, while still recognising its failures.

    Another favourite of mine is Drew, and he also seems like he genuinely wants to love films (with some notable exceptions) though recently his views seem to be a tad coloured by the fact that he has kids. I think it’s rather wonderful actually, after all I love critics who are unashamed of putting their own personal feelings into the mix (Note: as long as it’s done intelligently), but I simply cannot fully relate to Drew’s seeing all movies through the eyes of his kids. It makes for great reading, but it also means we’re coming from different places, which means I can’t always “count” on him to know whether I’ll like a film or not.

    Devin I don’t get. I like his reviews and always read them avidly, but my problem with him is I just don’t get a sense of him, of what his attitudes to movies in general is. And sometimes I get the feeling (and I may be wrong) that he’s made up his mind about a film way in advance. Still an excellent reviewer.

    Anyway, back to FCH . I think FCH also wants to love films, but do also agree his primary objective is to engage with the chemistry of films. What are the ingredients of a good film and how do those ingredients provoke a chemical reaction in the brain of the viewer. He has a highly intellectualised view of cinema, but where I think I disagree with you and Mouth is that I do still believe he loves and appreciates these films. I just think that he’s interested in writing about the intellectual side of things. That’s just the conversation he wants to be having. By which I mean he may write a bit like a snobby film-school student, but that’s just because that kind of thing is his chosen topic, he’s not actually as snobbish as you might think he is. But that’s just my impression.

    Of course though, I’ll take your recommendations over FCH’s any day of the week. Cause you’re watching movies from the exact same place I am, i.e. I hope I love this, and unless it openly insults me as a viewer or has disdain for its subject or audience, I will actively try to give it a pass and appreciate it for what it is. Also, there’s no ego in your reviews.

    Sorry for the long monologue.

  25. okay, now I actually read (most of) the piece in question and it’s frustrating in the same way Alex jones is frustrating. You can’t really rebut it because it makes dozens of points that shoot off in different directions and require you to also read a dozen other previous essays by him that shoot off in other directions. I should be happy that he’s taking up the fight against “it’s not supposed to be Hamlet,” but I don’t believe in the science of some of his arcane formulas. for example take the big section near… i want to say the beginning but… anyway, deep in the middle there where he says that clark does not change throughout the movie. I mean he has a point, other than him learning about where he comes from and his purpose on earth and having to decide between the destiny of the people of his birth planet and his adopted one and finally going through with making himself public and all that. To me that stuff is important but I see his point that clark saved the people on the bus and Superman saved the world and it’s the same thing.

    Except… who says that’s not a way a character can be? What is the difference between Luke skywalker as a boy wanting to join the rebellion, and as a man succeeding in blowing up the death star? Isn’t that also a matter of “leveling up”? If not, what about bruce Lee in ENTER THE DRAGON? What about steven seagal in everything? what about dutch in PREDATOR? They don’t all have to be reluctant, they don’t all have to change their mind. There are different types of great characters in cinema. you can do it different ways. that’s my main beef with this type of argument. by his estimation this version of the character is loved by half of the audience, but this can’t possibly mean it works despite breaking his formula, it means that we “fell for it.” if i’ve ever been that insulting in my pieces i hope I won’t do it again. and the fucking nerve to lecture about ‘indulgence’ after that essay is off the charts.

    but again, big fan, love your work, jealousy, etc.

    And i appreciate what he said about FURIOUS 6 at the end although he got the title wrong.

    p.s. i was not joking about the shift key. sorry.

  26. Thank you Shalom, I really appreciate your comments, and I hope my response to Hulk’s writing doesn’t come across as (or isn’t) some of the petty critic in-fighting i’ve noticed other writers getting involved in. I get passionate about a disagreement with other people’s pieces sometimes but don’t ever want to be a dick about it. I honestly do respect all of the people you mentioned and read alot of their work, and also they sometimes make me want to pull my hair out. As I probly do to them if they read me much. Hopefully all in good fun.

    On the other hand I have been thinking i should figure out a way to bring more pro-wrestling into criticism and start some feuds and stuff. i wonder if there’s a way we could introduce a championship belt of some kind.

  27. Vern after reading you for years I’m not sure you could come across as petty if you tried. I understand where you’re coming from and I didn’t even feel you needed to clarify that.

    I have this friend whom all my other friends hate. She’s extremely childish, a total attention whore, likes to play up to the whiny dumb blonde stereotype and is frankly a bit of a slut. Annoying to the extreme, but I see her as an amusing little sister and I’m just quite fond of her. Doesn’t mean I disagree with what my other friends say about her. I just say “yep, yep, yep. I see all that, you’re totally right. Doesn’t stop me from also being fond of her.

    What I’m saying is we don’t actually even disagree on FCH. It’s just that despite my seeing his condescending tone, his gimmicry, his ultra-intellectualisation of an artform that I prefer to enjoy viscerally, I also really enjoy reading his shit.

    Much like how I enjoy Man of Steel.

    Just on a side-note, I rewatched Watchmen last week, and think it’s utterly excellent. I don’t understand the terrible backlash it’s had.

  28. grimgrinningchris

    July 4th, 2013 at 4:41 am

    That’s the thing though, Vern. Zimmer’s score IS terrific and it fits Man Of Steel to a T (or is that an S?).

    The problem (for me) though is that since the whole tone and feel of Man Of Steel is all wrong for Superman, the score (which fits THE MOVIE perfectly) is as well.
    There is a particular mood and feeling of adventure and fun and optimistic (not beleaguered) heroism in Williams theme that perfectly represents what I feel Superman should be.
    I’m generally one of the first people to jump on folks for judging a movie based, not on what it is, but what they WANT it to be…but in this case I just can’t help myself.

    Elfman and Zimmer’s seperate work with Batman are both incredible and both completely valid to me in capturing the essence of the character- even though their scores are just as different as the movie interpretations that they’re attached to- because aside from some basic tenets, Batman is open to different interpretations in a much broader way than Superman is.

    I wanted to love this movie. I love Superman, I love (yep, unabashedly) Snyder… On top of that it was the first (theater) movie going experience that I’d had since both of my parents died within 3 weeks of each other between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year. I’ve been a (at LEAST) weekly theater-goer for as long as I can remember, so I was primed and ready. My first communal movie going experience in over 6 months with a character I love and a director that I really really really dig.
    But in the end, even though I was extremely impressed (and in some cases blown away) with many individual elements of the movie- I came out extremely disappointed with the whole.
    Perhaps more viewings will change my mind.

    Oh yeah- off topic- in the next month I have Big Daddy Kane, Coolio and Souls Of Mischief all playing at my club (seperate shows). Since your knowledge of hip hop is far greater than mine (I’m a rock/punk/indie guy), who should I be most excited about? If anyone.

  29. I don’t know, just can’t get into the DC universe as much as the Marvel. All these points are so interesting and valid yet I still can’t quite care about the Dark Knight or MoS more than any of the Marvel stuff.

  30. Doesn’t Kane tour with a band now? He’s a seasoned performer with a really versatile, well-rounded flow and it should be interesting to hear how he adapts it to the more fluid format of live instrumentation.

    I’m sure Souls of Mischief put on a good show, too. They’re kind of a less adventurous Pharcyde, but I bet they come up with some good routines.

    Coolio…I got nothin’, man. Unless his whole set is “Mama I’m In Love With A Gangsta” I’d consider calling in that night.

    I’m sorry to hear about your folks. Having only one parent myself I can’t even imagine how that feels. If you do feel like some escapism, though, there are plenty of fun, silly movies out right now to take your mind off things. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen so far this summer, even the movies everybody else hated, which is weird for me.

  31. I wish I could agree with you on all this. I was angry by the end of this film. Not because Superman doesn’t save people, etc., but because of how incredibly bored I was. My first midnight movie in years for THIS??!? The action in the last hour was tedious, and without identifiable stakes. It was just smash after computer-generated smash, and I felt nothing. Visceral action doesn’t work if you aren’t invested in the characters, and I wasn’t.

    I did love the introduction, with Jor-El on Krypton. I could watch an entire movie about Jor-El on Krypton.

  32. P.S. I love Film Crit Hulk, but he needs an editor to steer him away from his self-indulgences. Sorry, bud. It’s true!

  33. I hope that MAN OF THE STEEL will turn out like BATMAN BEGINS. Really liked the first half, but felt it lost confidence in its own convictions by the ending. Still enjoyed it overall, and it laid the groundwork for the more rounded DARK KNIGHT.

    I will reserve judgement until the second time I see it, but I thought it did a pretty good job of reworking the character. The “You are not alone” bit was creepy (really liked how Clark was just chilling, watching the TV while his mother is the first to see the spacecraft) and the fishing boat bit was nice in an INCREDIBLE HULK kinda’ way.

    Reckoned it could have done with a bit more humour, though. And wasn’t gone on Lois Lane being able to shoot a bunch of Kryptonian super-warriors on their own spaceship without getting a scratch (yeah, yeah, Russell Crowe was helping her, whatever).

    I read that SUPERGIRL comic tie-in (supposedly linking to the empty life-pod inside the Fortress of Solitude-esque spaceship) and my two cents are that, 20,000 years ago (or whenever) Supergirl landed on earth and set up her own Krypton/Human clan who would go onto to be known as AMAZONS (and eventually, WONDER WOMAN). This just popped into my head when I was thinking about the film again; is this something people on nerd sites have already mentioned?

  34. Hilarious Vern, made my day. Best twelve bucks I ever spent !

  35. Good stuff Vern. Here’s my thoughts on a few things:

    -People who claim he didn’t save anyone in the movie must have missed when he saved the oil rig workers, the bus of school kids, Lois, Lois again, his mother, the soldier who falls out of the helicopter, Christopher Meloni, The Whole World, Lois again, and that family. That’s just observation.
    -Collateral Damage: Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve heard people complain that he goes and takes on the thing at the Indian Ocean rather than go to Metropolis, but the fact is, both of those things needed to be taken out and since Superman could get to that one faster than the military, doing it that way meant things got done quicker, ultimately saving more lives. Also most of the Collateral Damage is done by the World Engine in Metropolis, NOT the actual fist fight at the end, but some people are acting like that big crater in the middle of the (still mostly intact) city was caused directly by the fight. It wasn’t. I think people might have a point when you look at the Smallville fight actually, when that opens with him just rushing Zod and angrily charging him through the silos and exploding a gas station. That’s harder to defend, but I think the Metropolis fight was something that wasn’t in his control, and that common sense indicates that the buildings and streets would have mostly been cleared by then anyway.
    -Besides all the in-story reasons why that kill was justified, here’s a good one that people complaining about this are happy to overlook: Superman killed Zod in the comics in one version of his history. Zod and two of his followers had killed billions of people and Superman used Kryptonite to end it. And it haunted him. So much so that in a SUPERMAN VS. ALIENS crossover he refused to kill any Xenomorphs. FUCKING XENOMORPHS! So to say this a betrayal of the character when it’s in fact a possible nod to a momentous event in the character’s history is a bit silly, and it does give a real reason for not killing in future than just “it’s not what Superheroes do”.
    -Yes, a Superman story needs to have quite a bit of action to it, since the possibilities with what Superman can do need to be exploited and it needs to be shown that he’s needed to take on the sort of threats human beings can’t. I was fine with the story and the way they handled the origin, but some people complain that it’s too rushed or minor…but if they did more then people would complain that it’s another origin movie telling a story everyone knows already(even though I think 2 movie origin stories total in 40 years isn’t too bad, myself).

  36. Oh, something else that was pointed out elsewhere that I saw on my second viewing that was nice- on the fishing boat, when that guy pushes him out of the way of the falling cage and yells at him about it, he smiles afterwards, because he’s happy to see the good in mankind that that would risk himself to save him when he barely knows him.

  37. I’m all for bringing feuds into film criticism. Too bad Paul Bearer isn’t around to be Vern’s manager.

    I enjoyed MoS, and I was fine with shift to a more Nolanesque tone.

    Things I dug:
    -the casting was pretty much perfect across the board
    -performances are great (but see dialogue)
    -looks beautiful, and the effects have weight and tangibility, even the space stuff that has to be near 100% cgi
    -action sequences are breathtaking
    -the zod death scene is good, feels earned, and has symbolic value (his commitment to earth and earthlings, etc)

    Things I could have done without
    -technical execution (the action/effects) of the last 35-wish minutes was great, but I did find myself getting antsy. I have only about a 10 min attention span for big action set pieces, at which point I need a breather.
    -a lot of really atrocious dialogue that distracted me a lot. The scene with Clark hiding in the janitor’s closet: Ma Kent’s dialogue is cloying and ridiculous, and why on earth is not only the teacher but also the entire class standing right outside the door the whole time including however long it took someone to notify Ma Kent + her to get there + after she gets there and is having this poignant/cloying moment). That probly seems nitpicky, and maybe so, but tone deaf dialogue or social interactions that unfold in completely implausible ways make it very difficult to suspend disbelief…much more so than any aspect of the superman mythology itself. And it happens frequently enough to pro e a major distraction.

  38. grimgrinningchris

    July 4th, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Majestyk. Thanks for the kind words. And yeah, it’s been rough. With no patience or desire to get out previously (running the club didn’t afford me any time off to grieve and being constantly around hundreds of people for work has made me a virtual shut in the the little free time I’ve had) I’ve wound up spoiling myself on just about everything I want(Ed) to see from reading Vern’s reviews and all of y’all’s comments. What I really need is like a week off and a trip to Disney or Universal.

    As for the acts at the club. Yeah, Kane is Sunday and he is with a full 10 piece band now called Las Supper. Everything I’ve heard has been great neo-soul (ala the stuff coming out on Daptone Records) with a sideways shot of hip hop. I think Souls are touring with a live band too, I know its an Anniv tour for 93 Til Infinity. Tell you what, if anyone gets a chance to see The Geto Boys on their reunion tour, do it. I was only familiar with their stuff made (more) famous in Office Space but man did they ever put in a show…and total fucking class too (I’ve had some serious issues with some severely uncool/unprofessional behavior from a lot of hip hop acts lately, but these guys were aces all around).

    Back on topic, I want to revisit MOS too see if my position changes and if expectations blah blah blah might give me a better experience on Round 2 (I actually hated The Avengers on first viewing, but now its joined the ranks of my “comfort movies” that I can just watch again and again. But I don’t want to use up a rare theatre trip if there’s something else out now that may hit the spot better.
    Am I crazy for wishing for a period Superman movie in the vein of The Hudsucker Proxy…but with tights? I’d stake my Pulitzer on it!

  39. “It’s not a movie about one guy that can solve all our problems. It’s a movie about one of us who will help us to do it.”

    Damn, I wish I’d said that.

    Thank you Vern.

  40. Vern, I am all about the idea of some sort of critical film analysis championship belt, or you could do it like the they do in Japan and have trophies/cups that are awarded for winning specific events.

  41. I liked it even more the second time around, too.

    I think it has flaws, but for the most part it’s a great film. I think the biggest problem is that the film never really spells out what Pa Kent is afraid of, so a lot of people misinterpret his character as just living in fear. My take on it is that he’s afraid that Clark’s existence will destroy religion. After the bus crash, he tells Clark that there’s more at stake here than just their lives of the lives around them. Clark’s reveal to the world would raise questions that would shatter the notion that the Great Holy Light of God (or whatever you want to call it) only shines on us. He probably had visions of bible-thumping nutballs picketing Smallville with signs that read GOD HATES ALIENS. That would suck ass. One of my favorite scenes in the film is at the end, when they visit Jonathan’s grave and Martha tells Clark that Jonathan DID see what kind of man Clark has become (because he’s up in Heaven, and all of your dead relatives spend all of their time in Heaven watching what you do here on Earth, according to my granny). In the end, you see that Clark’s existence never shook The Kent’s faith at all. Maybe in some way, it strengthened it, and I like that.

    I’m a hardcore Superman fan, and I have no problem with him killing Zod. This take on the character seems to be partly based on the John Byrne version from the late 80s, and that’s how the Byrne Superman rolled (but only once and NEVER again). Besides that, in his early adventures, Superman killed dudes and smashed the shit out of all kinds of stuff. He was young and reckless, just like the one in the movie. But he grew out of it, and I think this one will, too. If someone feels that this isn’t a Superman movie, I’d say that’s true, this a Clark Kent movie. He’s not really Superman yet, but he will be.

    And I must say that the discussions about the film that I’ve read here on Vern’s site are among the most level-headed and adult conversations I’ve seen. Most of the internet comic book and movie sites are just full of butt hurt nerds wailing and crying over the movie. I’m a big nerd, and I get butt hurt about nerd things, too, but this movie did not hurt my butt. If anything, it made it feel better.

  42. Knox Harrington

    July 4th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I was finally able to watch this last week (was only released on the 28th here in SA). I haven’t read Vern’s original review yet, nor any of the comments, but I just wanted to say that the reason Superman has always been my favourite character is because, more than anyone, he is the guy who has to make the tough decisions. And boy, does this movie show it.

    I loved it (but then again, it’s tough for me to be objective about him. Superman is to me what Star Wars is to the average geek). I’ve always been of the opinion that, deep down, Superman is a much more tortured character than any of the other comic book icons. I also love how, in the comics, the bond he shares with Batman was built on the one simple, basic principle they both share: to see no one get hurt. What makes it even more interesting is that Superman is the one who has been forced to kill in the past, while Batman never has (in the comics, as in the film, Zod is the one and only character that Superman has ever killed).

  43. Oh damn, I neglected to mention my very favorite thing I forgot about in the movie: the whale. After he saves the oil workers and falls into the water, he flashes back to his childhood. When he wakes up he takes a moment to watch two whales swim past him. Maybe it’s a father and son. Maybe it’s a reminder that Earth is, from some points of view, just as exotic and amazing as Krypton. Mostly it’s just a pause to appreciate a beautiful moment. I love it.

    Also, since the first time I saw it was at midnight and it was over around 3 am I feel I did not properly appreciate how excellent the exchange with Lois is at the end. The first time I didn’t think it had really earned the BATMAN BEGINS style title at the end moment, but this time I absolutely thought it did.

  44. Speaking of the animal cast of MoS, a few older ladies in the audience were audibly distraught when Jack Knife’s Krypton-Pandora dragon took a shot. Tough sacrifice for the beast, filmed just long enough to juice his/her heroic moment for pathos, and then the movie moves on to the next bit of action/destruction.

    And I continue to contend that there is more eroticism, of both the problematic & pure varieties, in Kal & Lois’s eye-beam cauterization scene/scream than in the entirety of Dick Linklater’s BEFOREilogy.

  45. Knox Harrington

    July 4th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Yeah, that last scene was great. That “Welcome to the Planet” line really worked for me. I love how the film ends with the birth of the classic Clark Kent persona.

    Also, I think the best ever title-at-the-end moment is in Children of Men. Damn, the timing on that was just perfect. Granted, the title-at-the-end cuts in There Will Be Blood and The Lion King were pretty great too. I think 2001: A Space Odyssey does it as well.

  46. I like the dragon part too. I don’t know if that would be the “short hand” FCH dismisses in his essay, but I respect it as efficiency. The way Jack Knife and his beast regard each other implies plenty about their past adventures and the intelligence and loyalty of the creature, and that’s all we need. We wonder about their backstory and that’s part of the fun. We don’t need to delve into it.

  47. Zimmer did a good job with the Batman movies, but James Newton Howard’s contributions are just as important (of the first two anyway, it’s no wonder he didn’t do TDKR after Hans’ work on INCEPTION). The piano theme in the first one and the Harvey Dent theme are brilliant pieces of music. JNH actually would have been better suited to doing MAN OF STEEL, actually. Kind of because he’s American but also because the only other superhero movie I can think of that he did was UNBREAKABLE, which is an awesome score (despite being an iffy movie, why he still works with Shymalan is beyond me).

  48. BTW, my “title-at-the-end” goes to ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.

  49. FCH’s supra intelligence coupled with a complete lack of insight is something specific you usually only see with ABIs and autism spectrum, in his case more in the midway aspergers zone. Not to defend his insulting tone, just sayin it’s not genuine arrogance or narcissism – simply the dude’s prolly just been dropped on his head as a baby :P

  50. I have to say in all honesty, and not meant as a back-handed compliment, that the piece is truly impressive in the amount of introductions and references and analogies and questions and links to further reading that he weaves together to get to the parts where he makes his points. For me it makes it almost impossible to read and entirely follow, and my instinct if I was an editor would be to cut out like 75% or more of it. But going through the comments on all his pieces it’s obvious that people really enjoy and get something out of what he does, so I wouldn’t recommend him listen to me. I suspect I spend more time on my reviews than alot of people but I can’t even imagine what kind of time and concentration it takes to write something like that. He’s doing something different.

    So if I were to become a supervillain or wrestling heel archnemesis to him it would be one of those mutual-respect type battles.

  51. Vern! Thank you for this post. I’ve been really wanting to go see MAN OF STEEL again, but I’ve been worried that a second viewing will ruin it… I truly loved the film the first time around, and it’s been a little disappointing to see how negative the reaction has been.

    I’m gonna go again this weekend, and I’m gonna wear my superman t-shirt.

  52. Seen it twice now, once in IMAX.

    (Note on that: Pretty sure I could sue Snyder for assault and have a pretty good case. CHRIST this movie is loud.)

    For me, the movie was much less satisfying on second viewing. I think Hulk nailed it in his piece when he talked about how the film spends a whoooole lot of time “talking” about problems without actually “showing” them all that much.

    I agree with Vern, I’m glad that they didn’t try to make Clark tortured or anything, but it does get old watching character after character talk about their concerns about first contact and how people will react, only to then sort of ignore any realistic fall-out to just focus on Supes belting Zod a couple miles with every punch. And, hey, that was AWESOME. But it’s not the pay-off they built up to over the previous couple hours.

    It’s the same problem DARK KNIGHT RISES had. Every other exchange was people debating how the people of Gotham would react to all the…you know…Batman stuff, but Nolan never actually SHOWED US the average citizen reacting to all the events.

    That said, the Hulk essay bummed me out. I love the guy, he’s one of the best, most informative writers writing about film right now, so to see him take a hard left turn into insulting the (not insignificant) amount of people who disagree with his take on film was…disconcerting.

    Anyway, I still like the movie. At the end of the day, it’s another BATMAN BEGINS scenario where you can see the really great, transcendent superhero movie *just* beneath the surface of the pretty good movie we got. Hopefully Goyer and Snyder make as big a jump in quality as Nolan did from BEGINS to DARK KNIGHT.

  53. Brendan why did you think he was insulting MoS lovers?

  54. In an alternative universe, the complaints are:

    “I can’t believe we waited for another Superman film and the big fight is in… a field?! What the hell, dude? Where’s the drama? Where’s the danger? Sick of this namby-pamby Hollywood bullshit where they won’t dare kill a few innocent bystanders. Superman and Zod kicked hell out of each other in Metropolis in Superman 2 and we can all agree it was great, so why push the big battle into some cornfield in the middle of nowhere? Yawn…”

    I really don’t get the complaints about the collateral damage of a few buildings when the film is talking about the fate of the whole planet.

  55. I read parts of the hulk piece, and I agree that it’s undisciplined and self-indulgent in its verbosity. It’s also helps patronizing.

    Even so, I think some of his analysis is on-target, including the business about showing vs telling, earning vs assuming the audience’s emotional investment in the character’s plight and having an actual character arc to supplement the plot. whereas above I just have a pros and done list, I think hulk smashes into some deeper insights. although I liked mos, I think the more fundamental issues hulk identifies are primary factors that make mos pretty good and not great.

  56. Hella patronizing. Dang autocorrect.

  57. I’m a geek – not sure if I qualify for the vile category – and, I fancy myself a Superman aficionado. That being said, I f*cking love this movie. There are some things that don’t quite work but, as a whole, it’s put us on course for a Superman that is more representative of Superman as a whole than any other entry to date. The Silver Age apologists need to let the Silver Age sleep.

  58. flyingguillotine

    July 5th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    MOS has a lot of great moments, and I really liked how the film handled Zod — he’s a great villain. But I found it uneven. More so, I kept seeing choices made for plot convenience, instead of actual character logic.

    For example, Zod has… how many Kryptonians with him? Ten or a dozen or so? When they realize they need Kal-El’s DNA to revive Kryton, why don’t they all fly down and beat him up? Superman can handle one or two opponents, but not that many all at once (they could probably just grab him and haul him off). So why don’t they…? Ah, because then we wouldn’t have the act three the script wants to see.

    And so on… I’m not a huge stickler for every little logical detail; I realize it’s a superhero movie. But there were enough of these choices throughout that they kept pulling me out of the movie.

  59. grimgrinningchris

    July 5th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    That’s something I’d actually defend, flying guillotine.

    I’d imagine one of two things (or a combination of both).
    1) not all of the Kryptonians that were imprisoned in the Phantom Zone were bred or trained as warriors. I’m sure that some were locked up for the Kypto equivalent of white collar crimes.
    2) not all of them had the chance or (if they did) the fortitude to acclimate themselves to Earth’s atmosphere or their new powers. Zod had a hard enough time getting used to shit. Imagine the trouble that some evil scientists or inside traders or krypto-pedos would have with all that.

    It’s not air-tight, but its passable and certainly more reasonable than a dozen ninjas waiting to attack a hero one by one like in every other action movie ever.

  60. “For example, Zod has… how many Kryptonians with him? Ten or a dozen or so? When they realize they need Kal-El’s DNA to revive Kryton, why don’t they all fly down and beat him up? Superman can handle one or two opponents, but not that many all at once (they could probably just grab him and haul him off). So why don’t they…? Ah, because then we wouldn’t have the act three the script wants to see. ”
    More like because he’s a military commander and isn’t rash enough to send all his people into a situation he can’t completely control, on a planet he’s not completely familiar with, with a populace he hasn’t engaged in a fight with. Plus, he actually managed to capture him without using force, and the fight in Smallville only breaks out when he goes to retrieve what he thinks is the codex. When the later realise it’s IN him, they don’t exactly know where he is and figure that either
    a) terraforming the planet to be like Krypton might weaken him again, giving them an advantage
    b) it’ll provoke him into coming at them, allowing them to use their superior numbers

  61. grimgrinningchris

    July 5th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Yeah… And what Stu said too.

  62. Superman vs an army of Kryptonians didn’t happen because Zod understood that all Clark has to do is rip their helmets off, overload their senses and then beat their asses. The super powers gained from our sun weren’t a bonus in his mind, they were a hindrance. If anything, they gave him even more reason to terraform the planet. At one point he says that he won’t subject his people to the pain of our atmosphere, but I suspect he also realizes that it’ll be hard for him to tell the rest of them what’s what if they all have powers. Based on that mind meld scene between him and Clark, I got the impression that he planned on altering our sun and smashing up the moon, to make Earth even more like Krypton. Here’s a fun fact for ya: that creepy scientist on Zod’s ship, Jax-Ur, is the dude who blew up Krypton’s moon. That’s why his ass was in the Zone.

  63. Savage I respect what you’re saying but surely you must see how this is mainly you projecting your own interpretation of the characters’ thought processes onto the movie.

    Nobody is saying that it’s wrong to put some thought into a movie but when you are for ex to interpolate your own additional information and interpretations NOT to gain a deeper meaning of a scene but ONLY to make some sense of a scene I think the movie has not done a good job. The reasons why krypton owns didn’t attack en masse are not only not explained, they are never even hi red at. Same with Lois’ presence on the ship.

  64. “forced” not “for ex”

  65. Dikembe Mutombo

    July 6th, 2013 at 3:47 am

    I saw this a second time too. The first time I saw it I didn’t really think it “worked” but it did go down smoother on a second viewing; I still don’t think much of it, I just wasn’t rolling my eyes at it. Still enjoyed all the crazy spectacle aspects, and I only spotted the copier toner gag the 2nd time around (pretty subtle).

    Vern – you talk about character arcs and point out that Dutch in PREDATOR doesn’t need one (paraphrasing). That is a good example of a movie that doesn’t need a traditional character arc or a lot of dynamic character stuff, because it sets its sights on one thing and makes an efficient motherfucker of a movie about that one thing – a determined, skilled man being tested in the most primal conditions, against the most dangerous opponent. The Dutch we have works perfectly for PREDATOR, but if they slapped in scenes of soul-searching and backstory and brooding it would dilute the raw power of the film.

    Or how about NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, and the way Carla Jean and Llewelyn’s relationship is presented. We get a few exchanges between them that show their chemistry together, but otherwise we don’t get the story of how they met or a really fleshed-out look at their marital life – we get enough to feel like we have a quick and human portrait of their dynamic. And that works perfectly for what the movie’s doing (a lean and mean existential thriller); the low-key approach to character suits the slightly dry tone, and it’s consistent about not over-sharing throughout the movie – scenes where Llewelyn is clearly driven to protect Carla Jean, or the perfectly understated sadness of the scene where Carla Jean returns to her mother’s home after burying Llewelyn and her mom, work because the movie sticks to its guns – it wasn’t giving you any more than you needed to know about these characters earlier in the movie, and it doesn’t overcompensate with long and sloppy character scenes as it approaches its end.

    But the way I see it, MAN OF STEEL sort of halfway embraces the eliptical approach to character and doesn’t make a full commitment to fit the movie to the approach. There’s so many moments in the movie that require fully fleshed out characters to work, and which are ill-served by the snapshot approach that left the movie populated with two-dimensional mannequins. It’s not just the usage of shorthand, to use the FCH term, it’s how you follow through on it. You mention the part where the dragon dies – it works because we’re never called on to care about it past that effective little moment. The groundwork you lay has to be proportionate with the magnitude of the payoff, is I guess what I’m saying.

    FCH needs an editor (As a guy who is way too longwinded myself I feel like I can’t knock him too hard, but 18,000 words or whatever it was… c’mon man.) but I strongly agree w/his core points about MAN OF STEEL. I hated the flashback structure from jumpstreet, I understood the desire to not rehash material Superman ’78 did so well but the flashbacks all landed awkwardly as hell and seemed to rob the movie of any sense that we were going on a journey w/Clark. Hated how marginalized Lois was, her role in the movie reflects a take on Superman that’s incredibly adolescent in its conception – whereas traditionally he’s always been one of the most romantic of superheroes, and the one most comfortable with women, this Superman not only isn’t interested in women, he’s not interested in people.

    As it is, I’ve come to be convinced that MAN OF STEEL is a supervillain’s origin story. Autistic, alienated childhood gives way to brooding, repressed adulthood, which gives way to full-blown petulant godhood. The structure of the movie forces us to anticipate seeing him finally unbottle his adolescent rage and deliver a country asskicking to Zod. He saves some people along the way, but cinematically it’s treated like an afterthought – it’s a sideshow to the more important job he has, which is brooding constantly and pushing down his desire to hurt people with his insane alien powers. Instead of going on a quest to find his moral compass and learn to become a force for good, he learns to brood until triggered into action by some kind of trauma. At the end of the movie he’s basically at the same place, brooding even more sinisterly and waiting for the next apocalyptic excuse to take off the kid gloves.

    The way he relates to humans is scary. Almost everything he says as Superman conveys his superiority, even the quip after he kisses Lois. When he saves the fat kid, they don’t become friends – the kid regards him with a mixture of silent awe and terror for the rest of his life, like Clark Kent is William Munny or something. He’s different than… better than everyone else, and he knows and enjoys it. Some people don’t like that he didn’t show more concern for the massive destruction and death he was causing when fighting Zod & co.; but if he did it would’ve been wildly out of character because he was finally in his element, he was finally getting to act like an angry chimp. There’s little apparent desire on his part to not put himself above humanity. This Superman is basically the caricature that Lex Luthor always presented of him in the stories in which he attempted to turn the public against Supes. Which is why, if Snyder/Goyer/Nolan have the balls for it, Luther should be the protagonist of MAN OF STEEL 2 (if they have extra big balls, they could make it a black comedy where Superman is the Homer Simpson to lex’s Frank Grimes). The Nolan Batman movies always flirted with that same dynamic, but they pulled back from really following it through to their logical conclusion – that Batman was a legitimate menace who actually should’ve been stopped.

    Mouth – “And I continue to contend that there is more eroticism, of both the problematic & pure varieties, in Kal & Lois’s eye-beam cauterization scene/scream than in the entirety of Dick Linklater’s BEFOREilogy.”

    That’s probably true, but also about as meaningful as saying it has more laughs than Andy Warhol’s EMPIRE.

    anyway just my opinion

  66. shalom82 – Zod took Lois along to put the mind meld on her and get some dirt on Clark. That’s how he knew about Martha. Clark and Lois briefly discuss this after he rescues her from the escape pod.

  67. Shalom82- By basically saying that the ONLY way you can enjoy this movie and version of the character is if you turn your brain off and allow it to ‘indulge’ you.

  68. The colossal one-two disappointment of THE AVENGERS and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES last year have put me off superhero movies for good. I was going to see this the other day but at the last minute opted to watch FURIOUS SIX instead. It’s ironic that I enjoy superhero comic books so much because I really have grown sick of the superhero movie subgenre. I realized it when I didn’t even want to bother with a Superman reboot after asking for one for decades. Didn’t watch IRON MAN 3 either. “Superhero movie” is now synonymous with “less than mediocre” in my eyes.

  69. Vern, thanks for revisiting this movie. I’ve seen it three times now and loved it more with each viewing. I do think the key to enjoying this movie or not is whether you can leave the 70s Superman at the door when you watch it. Can you take this movie as its own, singular encapsualtion, or are you unable to watch this movie without making comparisons?

  70. I’ve watched it twice myself and I had a little different reaction on the second viewing. I still liked, not loved, the film but the lack of emotion was more pronounced the second time around for me. All of the “emotional” scenes are completely emotionless. I really didn’t give a shit if Jenny Olsen died or not in that scene where she’s trapped in the rubble. In fact, who the fuck knew who she was anyway until the end credits? I hate to say it, but I didn’t give a shit about Pa Kent’s death either. It was handled horribly. I hope they fix that in the second part.

  71. serious question: that character is named “Jenny” in the movie and credits, and she’s an intern and doesn’t have a camera or anything. But I’ve seen at least 6 or 7 reviews and comments calling her “Jenny Olsen.” Is it confirmed that the filmatists really intended that or is it one of these nerban legends?

  72. grimgrinningchris

    July 6th, 2013 at 7:31 pm


    There ya go, Vern.

    NOT “Jenny Olsen”. Straight from Snyder’s wife/producer’s mouth.

  73. Ahhh, was going with what had been said. The funny part is, who gave a shit anyway because she was the definition of a throwaway character if I ever saw one.

  74. Dikembe Mutombo

    July 6th, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I wasn’t exactly worried about Jenny, but I still found the ground-level scenes of destruction stressful to watch – this is probably the most unsettling and scary evocation of 9/11 I’ve seen in a movie.

  75. Seriously? There never seemed to be any real danger to anyone on the ground to me. They outran a falling building. How much danger could they have actually been in? The ground level stuff were the worst parts of that scene to me. They almost felt like they were thrown in at the last second so we could have something to relate to. They felt completely detached from the actual fight.

    The Kyrpton scene was the most thrilling part of the movie for me. It was the only piece of the movie were the stakes felt high to me. I would have loved for that piece of the movie to have been extended. There is lots to like in this movie but nothing to love for me. With that said, I think they built a good template for the sequel. If they add some emotion to go with the effects they can make something great.

  76. it’s ironic that in roughly 12 years Hollywood went from pretending the Twin Towers didn’t even exist in the first place to putting blatant 9/11 imagery in a Superman movie, could you imagine the controversy that would have caused around say 2002 or 2003 or so?

  77. I hope they do include Jimmy in future installments, as they do at least have a cool human character who’s can be defined as taking crazy risks to get the photographs that’ll make big stories, and having him tagging along with Clark and Lois will make maintaining the secret identity more of a factor into things.

    I doubt very much they’ll go the OTHER routes with Jimmy


    Griff- I don’t want to be a dick, but how is that “ironic”? Over a decade passed and people got enough distance from it to do things in film that were evocative of that.

    Chitown- Well there was that one part when the fighter jets fired a missile at the World Engine, but the gravity effect deflected it and it went right down and impacted in a crowd of fleeing civilians. I did feel that was a pretty unnecessarily unpleasant thing to show.

  78. grimgrinningchris

    July 7th, 2013 at 7:59 am

    If they keep Jimmy Olsen out of the series, it might be an effort to avoid similarities to Spider-Man (teenage photographer for a major big city newspaper in a superhero/comic book movie).

    Sounds silly, but its definitely possible. Heck, if memory serves, even though Jimmy Olsen was in the movie, I don’t think we ever saw him even holding a camera.

  79. Stu, I think the ironic part in this case (although technically it’s not ironic, since the word means something else) is how 9/11 images are used in a popcorn subtext as “Hey look, collapsing buildings! Cheer, motherfuckers!” There were other tragedies in (American) history, but when their imagery is used in movies, it’s usually in a more dramatic and Oscar baiting subtext.

  80. grimgrinningchris

    July 7th, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Durp. I meant to say even though Jimmy Olsen was in SUPERMAN RETURNS he wasn’t ever shown holding a camera or as a photographer- at least as far as I can remember.

    Hasn’t there been 9/11 imagery in popcorn movies since at least CLOVERFIELD?

  81. Oh definitely and I remember a small controversy about CLOVERFIELD, yet since then, 9/11 became an action trope for the PG-13 summer popcorn movie.

  82. I thought WAR OF THE WORLDS was the first popcorn movie to appropriate 9/11 imagery, with all the ash filling the air during the first attack. Then everybody was like, “Well, if Steven does it, it must be okay.”

  83. grimgrinningchris

    July 7th, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Yep, Majestyk. True true. Can’t think of any further back than that though, so yeah, that was probably the first.

    I guess it could be argued that WOTW and CLOVERFIELD were both more serious/thrillers so easier to understand using the imagery since they were SUPPOSED to be unsettling and not as much straight up “popcorn” but whatever…

  84. Max Landis did a video talking about Superman and how he didn’t like the destruction. I don’t agree with his take on it as it basically being a big hopeless massacre, but I can see where he’s coming from, and he does have a point about the killing being the responsible thing:

  85. Where are these piles of dead bodies everybody keeps wringing their hands about? They sure weren’t in the movie. I just saw some buildings fall down.

  86. Knox Harrington

    July 7th, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Even if there are piles of bodies, isn’t that what’s supposed to happen in disaster scenes like that? It’s not like Superman could possibly be blamed for all that destruction, he was trying to save the planet, so why the controversy? What are we supposed to be controversed about here? Why is this a topic?

  87. Knox Harrington

    July 7th, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Also, I wonder why we haven’t had that many 9/11 films. They made United 93 (excellent film) and World Trade Centre (Cage with a moustache!), and that’s pretty much it. I really thought we’d see more by now. Maybe people just aren’t that interested in seeing a movie version of something we all saw far too much of on the news.

  88. CrustaceanHate

    July 7th, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Maj: It’s one thing to argue that all the death and destruction is thematically appropriate, but to say it doesn’t exist because you didn’t “see the bodies” just seems silly. This isn’t the fun, cartoony action of THE AVENGERS or even the Gods-eye-view abstracted destruction of 2012, this is a “realistic”, ground-zero view with tonnes of 9/11 imagery that purposefully suggests death and destruction on a massive scale. If we’re to believe that it’s relatively casualty-free (like the empty office building and Zod’s final threat would suggest) then it’s a massive tonal blunder.

  89. No, it suggests destruction on a massive scale. Like Vern said, if the staff of the Daily Planet can just waltz out of their building LONG after the situation got dangerous, then we have to assume that the majority of the rest of the Metropolitans who had no interest in sticking around and seeing how the story played out for journalistic purposes probably evacuated as soon as the shit hit the fan. I’m not saying nobody died, but the movie is not suggesting that hundreds of thousands of people were killed. That’s something that some viewers brought to the movie that was not supported by textual evidence.

  90. “I guess it could be argued that WOTW and CLOVERFIELD were both more serious/thrillers so easier to understand using the imagery since they were SUPPOSED to be unsettling and not as much straight up “popcorn” but whatever…”

    yeah, that was my point, movies like CLOVERFIELD and WAR OF THE WORLDS are supposed to be scary, WOTW especially used it in a clever way that effectively made the movie scary

    but MAN OF STEEL is not supposed to be scary, so it’s arguably inappropriate for it to have so much blatant 9/11 imagery

  91. CrustaceanHate

    July 7th, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Maj: I guess my question is, why be so blatant in evoking 9/11 and disaster footage if you didn’t want people to think that thousands of people are being killed? It’s no accident that people are focusing on that aspect of the film in a way they didn’t for something like AVENGERS. Saying “everybody evacuated” makes sense in a comic-book kind of way, but it seems completely at odds with the tone of the movie and the way it’s presented. I also seem to remember seeing people and traffic everywhere when Superman and Zod were zooming around the city and smashing into buildings, but maybe I’m remembering wrong.

    Griff: I’d argue that the destruction in MAN OF STEEL is supposed to be scary and upsetting and “real-seeming”, but then they also want to use “comic book logic” to explain why the casualties aren’t that bad. Seemed to work for Majestyk, but my brain rejected it like a donor organ.

  92. I’ll concede that there’s something a little off there since it bugged so many people. Even I couldn’t help but ponder how long it would take to rebuild the city afterward. But really, what were they supposed to do? We’ve seen whole cities leveled dozens of times in movies where the good guys weren’t the most powerful character in the history of popular culture. The ante needed to be upped. The movie has to feature a threat so massive, so devastating and impervious, that it’s worthy of Superman. It’s possible they went over the line, but I don’t think so. It fits the movie. Its tone is overwrought melodrama, not popcorn escapism. The carnage is like the music in an opera, expressing the emotions of the characters. The destruction is big because its hero is, too.

  93. grimgrinningchris

    July 8th, 2013 at 1:17 am

    BIG DADDY KANE and his new band were AMAZING tonight. Shame that so few people got to see it. Really bummed at the turnout. C’est La Vie.
    If anyone has the chance, I can’t recommend this show enough though. Big Daddy Kane & Las Supper. The absolute shit. Believe me.

    Back on topic. I watched some of the old Fleischer Superman cartoons today for the first time in years.
    While still very much one dimensional Boy Scout Superman (my preferred iteration of the character) I think at least VISUALLY, Snyder’s movie relied on these shorts as inspiration moreso than any live action iteration to date.

  94. Funny, Mr Vern, but i noticed all of that only with one viewing.
    And in that one viewing only i could tell most of the detractors of this film got it wrong.
    It’s this srange thing i see with so many american viewers of movies, for some reason they miss so much of the details or what is happening in the movies, as if they are so transfixed with the show they are not paying attention. and this is why so often a good movie like MOS or TDKR gets trashe or why a bad movie like the two Abrams Trek movies get liked and defended. I don’t get that attitude. If i go to watch a movie, i WATCH the movie. I don’t need second viewings to see the obvious. MOS doesn’t need a second watch to notice all those details you mentioned about, just he first time would suffice.

    You want to see a movie that really needs a second viewing to try to figure out what you just saw, that movie would be the small independent canadian SF film BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW. Actually, i would love to read your reaction and opinion of it. I thinl from it it could come one of your best reviews ever, just from your writing down of your reaction to that offbeat strange crazy awesome movie. If i need to perk more your curiosity for it, it was directed by Panos Cosmatos, who is the son of the late George P. Cosmatos, director of such movies as CASSANDRA CROSSING, RAMBO 2, COBRA and TOMBSTONE.

  95. You guys know that I usually hate to plug my own stuff on here, but I also appreciate your opinion on movies and would like you to participate in this poll. It’s about which one of these movies, that I didn’t like or hated although they are considered very good or damn masterpieces by many, should get a 2nd chance from me next week?


  96. As for the suite thing, from the movie it looks like that the suite was already there, and it is a spare from the now dead kryptonian explorers who once visited the Earth in the past. The S in the suite is explained by Jor-El in that those dead explorers of that ship were ancestors of the house of El, which was a clan of scientists and explorers. This is why the suite is there, as if waiting for Kal-El, or to be mroe exact, it’s why Jor-El sent him to Earth, he knew one day Kal-El would find it in the kryptonian ship.

  97. grimgrinningchris

    July 9th, 2013 at 4:02 pm


    Why do you have to pinpoint “American viewers”?
    I sincerely doubt someone’s nationality has anything to do with whether they notice details in a movie on first viewing or not. You’re aware that the movie was made by (mostly) Americans, right- so the details were PUT THERE by Americans.

  98. Asimov, be careful with the condescension. This piece is “notes on a second viewing” and for the most part is not about things that I only noticed from watching it twice. It’s just some additional things I was thinking about and wanting to add to the discussion. If you misunderstand that it’s not fair to use against the intelligence of myself and my entire country.

    And by the way, Superman grew up in Kansas. Do you think HE doesn’t pay attention during movies?

  99. As a redwhite&blueblooded American, I am proud to allow, and even endorse, asimovlives’s statement that American audiences are not keen on picking up details, as well as his implicit suggestion that nerdkind & guarded critics are too quick to jump on perceived plot holes, discontinuities, and nonexistent bits of cognitive dissonance-facilitating in scripts & characterizations in order to diminish an okay movie as something much worse than that.

    The derp is strong among critics who simply have their knives out for Zack Snyder & David Goyer. As Vern details in this article, and as our friend Stu heroically & rightly points out in his comments, there really aren’t many plot holes in MAN OF STEEL. Everything can be explained, either by the source material itself or by a not-difficult stretch of offscreen understanding of likely thought processes, 2nd-order effects, sensible logic, and/or Game Theory & strategic thinking (“Would the alternative to the supposed plot hole or to the betrayal of your notion of Superman’s purity bother you less than what was actually in the film?”).

    Unfortunately, the critic I so bigged up in the Ebert eulogy thread is Russian (maybe American now? I dunno), and he wrongly, dismissively claimed there were big plot holes in MAN OF STEEL.

  100. grimgrinningchris

    July 9th, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I just don’t see it being an issue with “American” audiences any moreso than any other audiences. As though audiences from other countries are somehow inherently more acute and/or observant. Nope. Dummies are dummies, smarties are smarties and there are keen observers on both sides of the fence as well as less observant folks. It doesn’t matter what your money looks like.

    HOWEVER…there might be DIFFERENT things that people in different countries may pick up on. Different, not MORE. If only because in having to read subtitles a certain VISUAL detail may be missed here while a certain spoken detail may be given more weight/attention there- simply because it IS actually typed out at the bottom of the screen. And if you’re watching a dub instead of subtitles then you’re at the mercy of the translated script and what it does/doesn’t decide is important.
    But these are different simply based on the nature of the sub/dub…whatever.
    Asimov’s comment obviously was implying that it was due to a lack of intelligence or savvy though. Which is what I really take issue with.

  101. Yeah, but I support any nationalistic homerism in favor of one’s own homeland (a few wacky countries excepted) and at the expense of others’ home nations. It’s patriotic and American to assume your ‘hood is The Yankees (Yay!) while everywhere else is the fuckin’ Red Sox (Boooooo!).

    Just cuz Americans ain’t generally intellectually savvy at analyzing The Films of Cinema doesn’t mean we aren’t the best at everything. We’ve got Superman on our side, for fuck’s sake, and he’s even from the 2nd worst state in the Union.

  102. grimgrinningchris

    July 9th, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I hate Lee Greenwood.

  103. Vern – Asimov being condescending?

    In other news, the Pope wears white.

  104. The best thing in this movie.

    Is Russel Crowe.
    Or at least the movie Russel Crowe’s personal mind garden says he’s in.

    Jor El: Man of Science.
    A film I would watch a billion times.

  105. Speaking of being condescending – I looked at your poll CJ going into with intention to participate, but due to list of your hated movies being almost a list of top 10 greatest movies… (well most in top 100 anyways) I concluded you were well beyond help.

  106. Well, that’s why I wanna give them another chance! It’s a list of movies that I didn’t like (I didn’t HATE all of them. There are only four that I really hated, the rest just didn’t do anything or at least not much for me), although the rest of the world seems to think otherwise.

    So far RED DAWN is the leader, btw, although it’s not on the poll. But I also count verbal votes.

  107. The Original... Paul

    July 11th, 2013 at 8:05 am

    “To simplify, FCH sometimes comes across as a slightly more eloquent and far more verbose Paul in my opinion. You can always see where his mind is tracking, which I appreciate, but he’s almost always off-base (though Paul’s un-assumingness makes him far more bearable).”

    Ouch. What’d I do? Also, looking at the above comments: don’t I have the natural advantage of not being American?

    I do like a lot of FCH’s stuff (his piece on Damon Lindelof was masterful), and most times I feel as though he and I are on the “same page”. I’ve read his MoS write-up (yes, all of it), which I don’t mind doing because I will almost certainly never see the film anyway so spoilers are pretty much irrelevant; and while I can’t judge his remarks on the film itself, some of the over-arching points about the state of film as a medium, etc, seem to be absolutely dead-on. In particular his ideas about how people “appreciate” film, which it seems to me that most of the guys disagreeing with him are giving weight to with every other thing that they post here.

    I mean, how many other critics do you see asking the question “WHY do different people have different reactions to the same film? What is different in the way that those people view it?” I don’t always agree with his answers but I kinda love that he asks questions like this. I don’t mind the verbosity either. Comes under the heading of “I understand why it bothers some people, but I can handle it just fine”.

    And honestly I don’t see a need for FCH and Vern to duel to the death just yet. I see a place in the world of film criticism for them both, and either one would be a loss.

  108. CJ: I was the guy who voted for INCEPTION. I just watched it for the third time and I still like it just as much as I did the first time. I think it’s a keeper.

  109. Actually I think that I might enjoy INCEPTION much more the 2nd time either, just because how much I enjoyed Nolan’s other not-Superhero related movies.

  110. Fine, put me down for Inception too. It pisses me off that there is anyone out there who puts it on their top 10 shit list. And dun let me get started on Red Dawn. Wait a minute, you had Pulp MOTHERFUCKING Fiction on your shit movie list… and 300… and Oldboy… Oh fuck Blade Runner?!? On what fucking planet is Blade Runner a shitty movie… man Casino Royale… your list makes me cry tears of blood.

    Man, maybe Underworld you can argue has the possibility not to be appreciated, despite its layers of cool concepts and villain that is a Trent Reznor lookalike, you still got a craptonne of posers and half the vampires just hiss like cats and run away from anything that looks at them… and even the cool concepts can seem stupid if you think about them for a sec like the shared reign of the elders, but all that aside it’s still very watchable – sat through it at least 3 or 4 times, not so much parts 2-4 though.

    Let the right one in was seriously beautiful, and V for Vendetta will at least increase your Vocab, even if you dun like the uber fun politics, or action, or cool performances, or cool action… man, wanna watch it again now. And Zodiac… ok, lemme get back to Pulp Fiction for a second here and take this in… no dude, I can’t, this conversation is over cos after all this years I still dun know a way to express emotions civilly and I dun want any of Vern’s (very reasonable) Hey Bud e-mails. But seriously CJ… Pulp Fiction.. FUCK MAN, just if nothing else, explain that, cos until today I didn’t imagine it possible.

    Wait, mebbe list your top 10 will make better sense of this, excluding disclosure that you are blind.

    Lemme try guess your top 10 based on your shit list (not to say these are bad movies).
    CJ Top 10
    1: Howard the Duck
    2: Biodome
    3: Martyrs
    4: Ballistic vs (the one with Banderas and Lui)
    5: Bad Boys 2
    6: Men in Black
    7: Clueless
    8: Willow
    9: Zoo
    10: GI JOE: Retaliation

  111. I actually explained Pulp Fiction pretty often here (but even I don’t read every post, so I’m not critizising you, but apologizing to all the others, who might be sick of the story) and it’s the only movie on the list, that would get its 3rd chance. It’s also the only one that I originally liked. When I was 16 and saw it on TV I was blown away by it! Then the 2nd time I was already annoyed by Tarantino’s never-cut-a-scene-or-line-of-dialogue approach and kept fast forwarding some of the movie. It was like riding an awesome rollercoaster. The first time everything is “WOOOOOAH”, but by the second time you just keep waiting for the loopings. It just didn’t feel as fresh anymore.

    And I never finished my 3rd viewing and turned the DVD off before Travolta met Thurman.

    About your “my” Top 10:

    I am able to enjoy HOWARD, but more on a nostalgic level. It’s that 80s-special-effect-action-comedy charme. Hard to resist.

    I haven’t seen BIODOME since I was 16. I liked it back then, but I also liked PULP FICTION when I was that age.

    MARTYRS: Never saw it. I want to, but unfortunately someone spoiled the movie to me and I’m recently stuck in a phase where I don’t want to watch horror movies just for the gore.

    BALLISTIC has some good action scenes and starts pretty cool. The first half, when we don’t even know why anything is happening, is seriously good IMO. But then they reveal the mystery and everything falls apart and nothing makes sense anymore (Kinda like what I think about OLDBOY, btw.)

    BAD BOYS 2 is actually one of the four Martin Lawrence movies that I enjoy, although mostly for its I-can’t-believe-this-movie-really-got-made factor. (And no, none of the other movies is BAD BOYS 1. Or a BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE movie.)

    MIB is the only one in your list that I REALLY like. I don’t think it would be in my top 10 (Maybe top 25), but I like to watch it every once in a while and also like the sequels and the cartoon series.

    I don’t hate CLUELESS, but I don’t love it either. I saw it for the first time a few months ago and was pretty entertained by it, but I can’t remember why. Dr Turkleton was in it. He’s cool.

    Actually WILLOW should be another movie in my poll. I just don’t get the love for it and even enjoyed HOWARD THE DUCK more!

    ZOO is the horse fucking documentary, right? I don’t think it was ever released over here and I don’t want to import it.

    GI JOE 2: Haven’t seen it. Waiting for its home video release.

    Now for my REAL Top 10: I don’t have one! Which is weird, because I love to make useless lists of things, but for any reason I just can’t decide which movie I like more. It might be because I like my favourites for different reasons. FIGHT CLUB is brillant! GALAXY QUEST, GHOSTBUSTERS, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, THE ‘BURBS and OPERATION PETTICOAT are movies, that I have to watch whenever they are on TV and I still keep laughing my ass off every single time. Carpenter’s THE THING still creeps me out. I don’t know man, CHILDREN OF MEN, LIVING IN OBLIVION, COMMANDO, Alex de la Iglesia’s whole filmography. I would actually say I like more movies than I hate. Also I don’t HATE many movies. Actually the names in my poll are the most hated ones I got (Plus the three that I name in the description.). It happens a lot that I don’t like a movie, but then I usually just shrug it off.

  112. grimgrinningchris

    July 12th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Speaking of Bio-Dome, I actually spent all day yesterday hanging out with Pauly Shore. He was doing stand up at my club last night. I’m sure that in his heyday he was a total pill, possibly even unbearable to be around… But in 2013, he is a genuinely nice, fun and funny guy.

  113. Oh man, me and my idiot friends loved the Weez when we were 12. I’ve still lines from one of his standup tapes stuck in my head more than 20 years later.

  114. I continue to find every facet of asimov’s rhetoric and methodology astoundingly frustrating and self-defeating. Why participate in discussion if you’ve already made up your mind?

  115. On the topic of citywide destruction, I do hope Vern intends to review PACIFIC RIM. I just watched it today and I really enjoyed it both for what it is and what it ISN’T. This movie sells itself as something that it actually is. It’s about giant robots fighting monsters. There’s some personal stories regarding the pilots, but it’s all in the context of this conflict. There’s no Baysian or Emmericksian chaff with unwelcome attempts at humour(okay, there’s two comic relief characters, but I actually liked them, as OTT as they were), civilians you don’t care about or the protagonists’ love/family life. It’s a very neat, focused package that does what it sets out to really well. I’ve come up with the term “Procedural Blockbuster” for it.

  116. Stu – I have to agree with you. Its made with the one thing that Michael Bay and Zack Snyder just don’t have with their subject materials: Del Toro is actually INTRIGUED by the concept of a world where giant robots fight monsters regularly. This is terrific science fiction, a realized culture built around this apocalyptic struggle and I really liked the technology behind these Jaegers and the drfiting and all that. Yes the concept of giant humanoid fighting bots is ridiculous, but hey what if they did exist? I liked the thought put behind these machines and how they operate.

    I enjoyed the fights especially. Instead of boring punch punch smash smash like in the TRANSFORMERS series and even MOS’ boring climax, there is some joy and ingenuity put behind the scripting for these fights. Sure I will complain about how the fights are inconsistent why 2 bots can’t beat one monsters but one bot can, or why a certain helpful weapon wasn’t deployed earlier when it might’ve been rather fucking useful and save time and public property. But none the less, good pacing overall. I even liked that moment when the Jaeger dodges that acid attack, and gives off the subtke body language of “WTF??!?” which is especially funnier in retrospect considering we know the robot isn’t a sentient being.

    For all the critical bitchings about the characters in PR, which to be fair it is blockbuster auto-pilot as a story, it didn’t demand me to LOVE the characters or LOVE the story, or make me SAD when a monster gets his neck broken. I mean if you’re gonna pull that shit, earn all of it. Don’t expect welfare emotions form me just because you fell short of your goals. Plus unlike Bay’s movies, I suppose credit must be given to Del Toro that his humanity isn’t obnoxious ormean-spirited.

  117. The Original... Paul

    July 13th, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Wait, is Pacific Rim going to be this year’s case of “film that looks like the worst film ever made from the trailer, but is actually fun”? (See: Chronicle, Dredd.) The only possible hope I had for this one was Guillermo Del Toro’s name on the credits.

  118. How can anybody look at the trailer for PACIFIC RIM and think “worst film ever”?

  119. Everyone hates on Transformers, but I really thought the 3rd one had some really good action pieces that made a lot of sense and were exciting. I credit it to the 3D that forced Bay to keep the camera still for more than a few seconds, but still.

  120. Dikembe Mutombo

    July 13th, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I didn’t see transformers 3 (fool me thrice etc) but I watched one of the action scenes on youtube and it did seem easier to follow than usual Bay stuff. But I mean the thing with Bay is that even when his shit isn’t incomprehensible, his action has that problem of just being this drawn-out carnage montage that it’s impossible to care about. I always zone out during the action in his movies.

  121. The Original... Paul

    July 13th, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    CJ – if it reminds you uncomfortably of Michael Bay’s “Transformers”, easily. That was more the visuals though… in terms of tone, the vibe I was getting from the trailers was the kind of “joyless jingoism” that “Olympus Has Fallen” satirised so perfectly, by which I mean that everybody is very solemn and dedicated and the nearest anybody gets to “having fun” is reeling off an obnoxious one-liner.

    Anyway, I’m hearing some great reviews of it now – people are saying it’s a return to “show not tell” storytelling with some fantastic action set-pieces. I could definitely be up for that.

  122. I dunno about “joyless jingoism”, since it’s characters are very internationally diverse. We got Idris Elba as a British guy running the operation, the lead’s American, but has a Japanese partner, and the other Jaeger teams are Australian, Chinese and Russian(sadly the latter two don’t get as much chance to shine as I’d hope, but they do make an impression of being distinct without really saying much), so if it’s jingoistic, it’s pro-humankind jingoism. There’s definitely some fun and personality to it. There’s a few neat visual gags during the fights, and a satisfying moment during the middle of the Hong Kong battle where characters use some common sense to hilarious effect. It’s got a great score too, that reminds me of the first IRON MAN in the action scenes and obviously mimics Godzilla when the Kaiju appear and includes a really heroic “Isn’t this badass?” main theme:
    Also the most fun-ridiculous character names ever:
    Raleigh and Yancy Becket
    Stacker Pentecost
    Hercules Hansen
    Hannibal Chau

  123. Btw, Joe from REDBELT plays Hercules Hansen. Now that I think about it, it’s a missed opportunity we didn’t get his Jaeger using Jiu Jitsu on a Kaiju.

  124. grimgrinningchris

    July 14th, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I just remembered something. The two main things that I recall Jon Peters demanding be in Kevin Smith’s SUPERMAN script were:
    1) giant spider
    2) floating robot sidekick

    BOTH of those things wound up in MOS. Now the spider had already shown up in mechanized steam punk form in his WILD WILD WEST, but it also showed up in robot form in MOS (already mentioned by others here). But I’d totally forgotten about the robot sidekick. Now if memory serves, the sidekick was meant to be wisecracking comic relief (I think he’d wanted the guy that played Hooper X in CHASING AMY to voice the thing) and might not have been intended as a sidekick for Superman, but for Braniac instead…
    But either way, MOS definitely had robotic floaty friends- granted they were used for communication and to deliver info and were not “comic relief” or “sentient” characters…but the parallel is still there.

    On watching MOS I figured the giant spider-like robot thingie must have just been a quick dig at Peters and his silly ideas. But what about the floaty robot thingies?
    Could be COMPLETELY unrelated since the execution is so much different than the original concept…but then the similarity is still enough to make me question it.
    Did Nolan/Goyer/Snyder pilfer unused elements from previous drafts? Were these BOTH just slightly hidden middle fingers to Peters, added in for that sole purpose or did his Executive Producer credit still allow him enough say-so to get them added in himself? Or are both removed enough from their original proposed incarnations that I’m seeing something that isn’t there?

  125. Peters also wanted a Polar Bear, and the movie did feature one, albeit not fighting Superman like he intended.

    Also, if you watch the animated movie SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY, Superman fights a mechanical spider at one point, and an onlooker voiced by Kevin Smith sarcastically says “Oh yeah, we really needed to see him do that.”

  126. Don’t forget the polar bear. Peters supposedly insisted on Superman fighting some polar bears to keep the action up. I wondered if the polar bear here was a nod to that.

  127. sorry – reading comments in the wordpress adminstrator thing and didn’t see that Stu beat me to the important polar bear information.

  128. I thought all the robot tentacles were Kryptonian Hentai. Did nobody else pick up on that?

  129. Actually grimgrinningchris the two main Peters directives were “no flying” and “no red and blue suit”. That other stuff came later as his solution to Warner’s merchandizing demands. Of course he and Burton also envisioned a weaker Superman with gadgets.

  130. grimgrinningchris

    July 14th, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Oh yes…the red and blue suit was “faggy”, said the former celebrity hairdresser.
    Okay, that was out of line. Some of my best friends are hairdressers. No, really.

    I also recall at a release party or premiere for SUPERMAN RETURNS, Peterx outright saying “I was wrong. I didn’t understand the character. Bryan Singer was right and he DOES understand the character.”

    And pointing that out is not a sarcastic dig at RETURNS. It’s actually my favorite of all the Superman movies.

  131. Franchise Fred – I…did

  132. Someone I know noticed all the Superman comic books in my home and decided to give me a free ticket for this as a kind gesture before it left the big screen. So now that I’ve finally seen it without getting into multiple paragraphs I have to say it’s a 6.5/10 if I had to rate it on a 10 point scale.

    Like Superman Returns it was pretty imbalanced. For example this movie had the dumbest and most selfish Jonathan Kent I’ve ever seen. It was as bad a characterization as Lois and Supes himself in SR were. Everything that movie did wrong this one did right and vice versa for the most part. We still haven’t gotten the definitive Superman movie but we seem to be getting closer. At least Hollywood is finally realizing that the potential is there.

  133. OK, he just posted a rebuttal where now even I am starting to get embarrassed for FCH

  134. Sheeeit, apologies CJ, somehow I missed your reply. I don’t have much to respond to it cos its mostly very saddening, but appreciate you taking the time.

  135. No problem. Also in case anybody cares, the two movies that won were INCEPTION and RED DAWN. (I also counted votes and suggestions from Twitter, message boards and real life, so the poll isn’t showing every vote.)

  136. Broddie’s reaction to MAN OF STEEL pleases me. He’s a Superman fan, he watched a Superman movie that is alright, and he judged the Superman movie to be alright. The system works. Ish.

    Meanwhile Film Crit Hulk continues to babble himself into oblivion, and his fans apparently continue to receive his gibberish as so much semen on the eye lash wisdom in their brain.

    FCH is not the Sofia Coppola of internet bullshit film criticism, but he’s as odious & cluelessly wrongheaded.

  137. WTF is a Film Crit hulk?

    Sometimes I feel like I’m Sam the Eagle.

    You’re all weirdos!

  138. What do you guys think about the sequel being WORLD’S FINEST? on the one hand I think someone with Snyder’s sensibilities could finally give us the James Bond of superheroes many of us always wanted to see Batman as on the big screen. None of that versimilitude “grounded in reality” tosh. On the other hand I’ve seen Bats & Supes on the big screen so much in my life that I kinda wish the announcement was that Flash movie I’ve been waiting over 20 years for instead.

  139. Mouth – Film Crit Hulk is one of the reasons why I barely look in BAD’s direction anymore. His schtick got old fast.

  140. The schtick is straight, and I find value in some of his writings; it’s his foundational wrongness that grates. Dude thinks JOHN CARTER should’ve fully revealed the protagonist’s tragic backstory early in the film so that we could understand why he’s a brooding loner and not be surprised by the late-movie reveal.

    FCH is too dumb to put the pieces together himself
    (Hmm, a guy who lives alone after The Civil War, was a great soldier but now refuses to go along with the other soldier’s commands, drinks and fights and finds himself in jail, not giving a fuck but also heroic & clearly disturbed… I wonder what happened to him? My little brain can’t figure it out, can’t put the pieces together without being immediately spoonfed the pertinent info — oh if only that brilliant scriptdoctor wiz FCH had gotten a crack at a rewrite, I wouldn’t be so emotionally lost!!! — so I’ll blame it on the filmmaker trying to “trick” the audience into thinking he’s smarter than us.),
    and he’s too wrapped up in his faux-academia interpretations to give credit to JOHN CARTER for it’s being essentially a lighthearted adventure film aimed at a child (of all ages) audience
    (the kind of film that, uh, probably shouldn’t start with an innocent family being slaughtered),
    so he disparages the narrative choice to withhold that information
    (though it was clearly hinted at, if you’re not too dense to connect the fuckin dots and use your imagination a little)
    even though the withholding sets up the reveal that constitutes the BEST SCENE IN THE FUCKIN’ MOVIE, the best shit that Andrew Stanton has ever shot & edited together.

    FCH uses JOHN CARTER’s poor box office results as [dishonestly retroactive] justification & proof that his storytelling breakdown/autopsy is correct, and if only the filmatists would listen to his solutions & analyses we’d have better blockbusters. If only FCH had been there to remove or “fix” the best part of JOHN CARTER, more tickets would have been sold and it would’ve ranked even higher in Mouth’s Best of 2012 list. Yeah, sure pal.

    Anyway, that’s all covered in one of the articles he self-incestuously links to in one or both of his blobs of text about MAN OF STEEL. It’s a shitty premise to use in one’s advanced complaints & analyses of other blockbusters; poisoned root, stunted stem, ugly flower, no fruit.

    I feel bad doing this removed-party bitching behind a dude’s back, sullying Vern’s dojo, like I don’t have the sand to talkback on the source offensive material, but oh well. I’m a bad person. Other comment threads scare me.

    I also have to object to any website with the name “Badass Digest” that has a Comic-con World of Warcraft article on its homepage.

  141. “What do you guys think about the sequel being WORLD’S FINEST? on the one hand I think someone with Snyder’s sensibilities could finally give us the James Bond of superheroes many of us always wanted to see Batman as on the big screen.”

    I don’t honestly care. Meh. I’ll of course go see it, but the joy of Batman/Superman teaming up is the contrasts between them. Yes Superman can do this and that, but Batman has the brains. One was born a God, the other spent his whole life becoming prime Homo Sapien specimen. Will Snyder be intrigued by all that or more by the punch punch smash smash? I love rhetorical questions. (The fact that he referenced THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS I think pretty much means we’re getting Batman in robot suit fighting Supes. Which on paper I’m all for, but considering this guy made the budget-busting epic finale fight in MOS boring…meh.)

    Hey I hope that team proves me wrong. But this does bring up a question: What plot device (i.e. villain) will bring them both together?

    “On the other hand I’ve seen Bats & Supes on the big screen so much in my life that I kinda wish the announcement was that Flash movie I’ve been waiting over 20 years for instead.”

    Wasn’t that reported for 2016 though? I can’t wait to see the modernized, gritty Captain Boomerang in the flesh. This summer, evil will go down under! (On a serious note though, which Flash will we get?)

    Of course I will still argue that DC’s best flank move against Marvel is the one that reportedly they’re not taking: Wonder Woman.

  142. “The fact that he referenced THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS I think pretty much means we’re getting Batman in robot suit fighting Supes.”
    I think people are reading way too much into that. They were talking to a nerd audience. They used the recognizable quote as a tease to the reveal. That’s all I think it is. Of course we’ll get Superman and Batman fighting at first, due to typical superheroic misunderstandings, but it won’t be TDKR. And Snyder already did “Guys who are opposite in personality but still have a great deal of respect for each other” with Rorschach and Nite Owl in WATCHMEN, so I think he could handle Batman and Superman’s chemistry. There’s a ton of material on that to draw from. The obvious thing from MAN OF STEEL to take away is Superman’s concern that humankind still fears him, which can be played off of Batman WANTING to be feared, and while they work together, Batman keeps playing Bad Cop against Superman’s wishes.
    Luthor makes the most sense as a villain, since he can be taking a direct interest in Superman with a smear campaign/weapon developments for the Government, while at the same time his business practices could create some issue in Gotham than Batman is investigating. Batman villains that could work well with that would be Scarecrow,maybe have the scheme be they cook up a version of the fear gas that works on Superman, making him hallucinate Batman as Zod or something, and have him nearly kill him in a major set piece where Batman has to do everything he can just to survive while Superman tears up their surroundings(footage of which is used for Luthor’s smear campaign). Superman snaps out of it in time after seeing Batman half dead and his mask ripped. Takes him to the Batcave to get healed, meets Alfred, gets Batman’s back story, grudging “We’re not so different you and I” moment, handshake, they save the day, final scene where they’re talking on a rooftop, but Batman disappears when Superman isn’t looking. Split screen of both guys smiling as they head in different directions, credits. Goyer could write the PLOT at least to this thing in his sleep.

  143. Also we’ll probably get Barry Allen Flash, my ideal actor being Neil Patrick Harris. He looks like him enough, and he did a great job voicing him in THE NEW FRONTIER

  144. Stu – fair enough.

    I like the NPH suggestion.

  145. Bear in mind I am not a comic book guy, and that I’m looking at this from a filmic perspective. I think this is a bad idea. Not in general, but right now. It’s basically telling me that WB doesn’t have much faith in a Superman-on-his-own franchise or that their desire to get something to compete with THE AVENGERS trumps this. Add in that Bale is not coming back to do [REDACTED], and that we’ll go into this getting used to the idea of a new guy playing him.

  146. Is a new [REDACTED] really that big of a deal? The star is the character, that alone will put butts in seats.

    Personally I’m more interested in the MOS sequel where we get Supergirl, but alas that must wait.

  147. Whoever gets the role, I hope his voice is more toned down compared to Bale’s. I didn’t mind it personally, but by God, I’m sick to death of all the so-called internet “comedians” using it as a crutch whenever they want to do a Batman parody.

  148. Also of note from Comic-Con:
    Arrow Season 2 Sizzle Reel
    Hope I got the html right…

  149. Superman and Batman is good news for Franchise Fred. It’s a monumental movie, if a bit hasty after only one superman. I just assume they’ll throw all sorts of money at Bale and that would get my my fourth Dark Knight movie. But yeah, if he passes it won’t be that big a deal to have a new [Redacted]. Still kinda wish Wolfgang peteresen had done Worlds Finest.

    I was at the Comic Strip Con this weekend. I wonder, did the 40 years of this Con prepare us to meet Con in the new STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS?

  150. I’m surprised how many people think Bale will come back. I’ve seen Mr. Beaks and Drew McWeeny also saying they’ll “throw a bunch of money at him.” But don’t you think the money has already been thrown and deflected? I’m pretty sure they would’ve figured that out *before* announcing that they were doing a Superman-Batman movie with a new Batman that hadn’t been cast yet.

  151. Mr Vern, i believe the same, WB itself said they were going to reboot the Batman series, so it’s all goingto be new, new actor to play Batman, new director, new writers, the whole thing. I have heard that Nolan remains as executive producer, but i take that with a grain of salt.

  152. Mr Vern, i get extremely irritated with this misguided notion that i am condescending. Condescending means a deliberate intention, and that is never what i do. this is genuine puzzlement form my part, as i fail to understand why people sometimes need second watches to see things i always see in the first time i watch a film. I would say nothing of the subject if it was an isolated event, however i do notice it constantly, it’s nearly ubiquous. i’m genuonely puzzled by this phenomenum and i see this happending so often spdcially among american cinema goers. it’s not just here, but in sites like AICN and IMDB.
    Maybe this is a cultural thing and what you consider condescending in american culture is not seen so in others. sometime is forget you guys in america can see things differently then in here. a common problem with foreigners talking with other foreigners, i guess. I once talked to a british guy and i could eventually tell he was feeling disconforted by the way i was adressing him in a way that a fellow portuguese would think nothing of it and would take it as the norm. Swedish girls get the often unjust fame of beinffg easy girls because for the swedish people their personal space notion is much closer then to british or americans so people from those countirs miatake them as promiscuous. And i be an american would think portugueses are more confrontational then they truly are just because of our tendency for directness and passionate speech style.

  153. RRA, you know me better then that. C’mon!

  154. Justified theme song

    July 24th, 2013 at 12:09 am

    “I hate being called condescending, but I am genuinely puzzled by how much smarter I am than everybody else.”

    But disregarding all that, Asimov, I sincerely love reading your screeds (and have ever since I’ve been reading this website). Keep fighting the good fight.

  155. Justified theme song, they are usually called rants and treated as ravings, more concerned about the tone when the words.
    Kidding aside, i’m genuine in my puzlement. and i don’t think i’m smarter then anybody else, which is the whole point, the very reason of my puzzlement. I’ve been too much a victim of others’s condescendences to know what’s it is to be on the receiving end and i makes want to have no truk with that. I often wonder if cultural differences might result in the misunderstandings. For example, from my countrymen’s perspectives, we see the spanish, british and french as strangely and irritatingly smug and snobish on the whole. You see what i mean?

  156. You know what, I’ll recant folks on one thing after seeing this again at the local dollar theater. The action scenes aren’t terrible as I’ve been bitching about. In fact they’re fine. 2nd time around I even learned the appreciate the finale fight, even if that neck breaking still didn’t work for me. I’ll take that whining back.

    Too bad that after 2nd viewing, I’m still disconnected from the story. I’m indifferent overall to the movie. For a movie that clearly wants me to invest emotionally in the narrative and characters….doesn’t work. (Though now I guess I do appreciate that Pete Ross reach out, as part of that sprinkles of humanity I liked aside from that Meloni scene.) Not to mention this time around, I really felt it drags in the 1st half.

    Yes, I do think THE WOLVERINE paces* better, until that cartoonish finale. Sure it has different storytelling goals and ambitions than MOS, but in the end of the day, seems like I was more engaged by TW. I suppose “you put me here!” was more devastating, an earned powerful moment than a mere neck snap.

    *=Sorry Majestyk, but PACIFIC RIM paces better too. So where is my firing squad meeting at?

  157. I by “paces better” you mean “moves faster,” then sure. But since when is pace the end all be all? PACIFIC RIM gallops at a clip, but I think that’s at the sacrifice of grandeur, anticipation, and impact. The moments don’t breathe, and that makes the movie monotonous. All peaks and no valleys makes a plateau. A flatline. For all its sound and fury, MAN OF STEEL knows how to luxuriate in a moment, to rise and fall. A rollercoaster instead of a runaway train.

  158. Also 2 questions:

    (1) Why did the Kryptonians invite Lois Lane up to the ship?

    (2) Why couldn’t Zod just colonize on any other habitable planet? I’m sure if he asked very nicely, Clark would’ve given it to him. Why colonize on Earth specifically? Was he still holding a grudge over not being able to blow up Kal El’s baby rocket?

  159. “I by “paces better” you mean “moves faster,” then sure. But since when is pace the end all be all?…MAN OF STEEL knows how to luxuriate in a moment, to rise and fall. A rollercoaster instead of a runaway train.”

    If you mean “luxuriate” as in being kinda boring, then ya you’re right. Again Mr. M as I pointed out before, PR/TW and MOS are two different movies with different filmatic ambitions so perhaps comparing them directly is not that fair. But regardless, TW and PR didn’t drag. (Of course your comments I could apply to [redacted] RISES last year, which was nicely paced. I wasn’t bored with that in the 3 times I’ve seen that so far. And that was what 20+ something more minutes longer than MOS?) I will stick by my point that I was still more emotionally invested in TW, which was not that ambitious of an actioneer. But there you go.

    If MOS was more concerned about story than a “runaway train” actioneer, then well would you agree that good stories are never boring? Yet MOS at times….

  160. PACIFIC RIM gallops at a clip? There’s like an hour underground before they start doing the thing the movie’s supposed to be about!

  161. Fred: Good point. It did get pretty dull for a while there. I think I was more referring to the pace of the action set-pieces and the speed at which exposition and revelations were doled out. MOS took its time unveiling its wonders, while PR just kept ladling them out one after another.

    RRA: Well, that’s a matter of opinion. I was more bored by the silly pseudo-science and canned drama of PR’s needlessly catty cast of cyphers than I was by MOS’s patient myth-building. They were both long movies, but only one felt like it had played all its cards after the one-hour mark.

  162. So, did anyone else hear the rumor that WB may have approached Scott Adkins for the Batman role in the next Superman film? Also, that would be some pretty badass casting.

  163. Yeah that’s never going to happen. He would make a great Richard Dragon or Iron Fist though.

  164. http://www.metro.us/newyork/entertainment/2013/08/11/bryan-cranston-considers-playing-lex-luthor/

    “Give me a call,” he says with a grin. And to hear Cranston tell it, he’s already given some thought as to getting into Luthor’s psyche. “I like Lex Luthor. I think he’s misunderstood. He’s a loveable, sweet man,” Cranston says.

  165. Michael Jai White is gonna be playing the villain(later turned quasi-hero in THE SUICIDE SQUAD) Bronze Tiger in the second season of ARROW though.

  166. Any guy who’s been bald before is gonna be rumored to play Lex Luthor. Vin Diesel, The Rock, Steve Austin, Ben Kingsley, Montell Williams, the guy from Smashing Pumpkins…

  167. Probably a good idea to have someone with baldness experience or we might have another Timothy-Olyphant-in-HITMAN situation on our hands. Actually, the other day I saw a movie called HITMAN RELOADED with a bald, gun-toting, suit-wearing Luke Goss on the cover and figured it was a DTV sequel to HITMAN. Turns out it was an unrelated 2012 DTV film (INTERVIEW WITH A HITMAN) with a misleading title. Sneaky.

  168. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ben-affleck-is-batman-man-612907

    I like the url. “Ben Affleck is [REDACTED], man”.

  169. onthewall2983 – I would call that a Freudian slip, like THR couldn’t believe the news. Which is actually kinda funny.

    Imagine if Affleck knocks it out of the park as [REDACTED]? Yeah make those haters choke it!

  170. With respect to our foreign friends I’m kind of glad to see an American fellow comic book nerd as Batman. I just wish he was also directing.

  171. Oh, man. I don’t think I’ll be able to cope with the incoming tsunami of DAREDEVIL jokes.

  172. Funny that he was one of the guys high on the list when Aronofsky was still working on Year One long before Nolan came into the picture back in the day. I think people really underestimating this guy’s talent as an actor. For every Armageddon and Daredevil he has a Chasing Amy and Hollywoodland. As a lifelong Batman fan I actually am relieved cause it could’ve been much worse.

    Doesn’t hurt that he has the Bat jaw something every actor outside of Clooney even lacked. I think he’ll end up being the closest to comic book Batman in the end. I could buy him as the James Bond Batman from the 70’s, 80’s and Morrison’s run. The man is a comic book fan so you know the research will be there and I wouldn’t doubt that if needed he’ll do some ghost directing and script doctoring too. He’s in very good graces politically over at WB. As blasphemous as this may seem he’s like the new Eastwood (actor/director always in great favor with WB).

  173. The Eastwood comparison actually makes sense.

    “The man is a comic book fan so you know the research will be there and I wouldn’t doubt that if needed he’ll do some ghost directing and script doctoring too.”

    Was that what Marvel thought they had in Ed Norton when they casted him as Hulk?

    I mean that’s all good perks and all, as long as Affleck and Snyder/Nolan/WB are on the same page. But remember, Affleck is not directing this. He may have suggestions, but in the end this is a Snyder/Goyer/Nolan production. Affleck is just acting here, but surely he’ll have some decent suggestions. But hey if something doesn’t go his way, he can always pull out his Oscars and wave it in front of Nolan and Snyder’s faces. I bet that would piss off Nolan especially.

    Hope the movie is good. I still hate BATMAN/SUPERMAN as a title. Dammit I want WORLD’S FINEST!

  174. RRA – First of all Nolan is nowhere near as hands on for this as you think. He wasn’t for MOS either that’s Snyder and Goyer’s baby. Ed Norton is a poser in comparison. I never heard Ed Norton speak about his love for comic books before TIH. I’ve heard Affleck speak about it since I first found out about him back in the late 90’s. So call me crazy but I have a bit more faith in him picking up quirks and nuances from the comic books that could help his role performance stand out. Doesn’t hurt that the FATMAN ON BATMAN podcast guy is a close friend of his either. That would be a good frame of reference. I hate DAREDEVIL with a passion. It’s a movie that really dropped the ball IMO. But that was due to an incompetent writer/director not cause of Affleck. He did the best he could in that turd same with Colin Farrell.

  175. With that said I kind of hope Matt Damon is cast as The Joker so that most of the internet commits suicide.

  176. “First of all Nolan is nowhere near as hands on for this as you think.”

    Broddie – All I said was Nolan is involved, which he is. I never said he was the boss. Go re-read my stuff in the previous post above if you don’t believe me. Knee, meet jerk.

    Also I kinda remember as a kid when Sylvester Stallone said he was a fan of the Judge Dredd comics during the time of JUDGE DREDD. I’m not saying anything or hinting at anything beyond a fact.

    Also I agree with you on DAREDEVIL. People who blame Affleck for DD are silly. Then again that writer/director (who clearly wasn’t up to bat on that picture) was also a “fan” too. Again not saying anything, just facts ma’am. I could care less if you’re a fan or never read one single funny book. Just give me a goddamn good movie or something decent. That’s all I ask.

    I still wish Affleck was directing this instead of Snyder. I aint budging from that position. Mouth, put down the gun.

  177. No but you’re putting a guy who wasn’t even on the set for MOS on the same level as Snyder and WB who will be a lot more hands on. He doesn’t have as much power on this project as you imply with such sentences as “in the end this is a Snyder/Goyer/Nolan production”, “I bet that would piss off Nolan especially.” is all I’m pointing out. INTERSTELLAR is all Nolan is focused on going forward. A Nolan production credit on this = the Tim Burton production credit on BATMAN FOREVER. More of a formality.

  178. The being the fan of a media subculture thing is not an obligation but it does work as a perk when you have a genuine talent that understands the source material with a bit more insight than most. Hacks could be fans too sure but so were guys like Joss Whedon (who you all adore) as well as Robert Rodriguez it kinda works both ways.

  179. What I don’t like about this primarily is that this attention to this bit of casting is going to take all the focus away from Superman, whether the movie does or not. Which could spell disaster in terms of word-of-mouth for the movie in the end.

  180. On the flip side it’s such a provocative casting choice that if Snyder and Goyer manage to pull this movie off will just increase word of mouth cause the curiosity factor is going to get people to go watch it in droves on opening weekend for sure.

  181. Broddie – would you rather have me say a “Nolan” production? That would’ve been silly. Would you prefer I say “Snyder/Goyer production, and Nolan too”? To say Nolan isn’t involved (whether seriously or very limited) would also be silly. Notice I mentioned Snyder and Goyer before I said Nolan. You didn’t notice that, did you?

    “A Nolan production credit on this = the Tim Burton production credit on BATMAN FOREVER. More of a formality.”

    I wouldn’t go that far because remember that was severence pay for Burton getting more or less fired from Batman 3. Its more like Steven Spielberg/executive producer on MEN IN BLACK or MASK OF ZORRO or whatever. He’s not directing or producing, just maybe show up for a meeting once a blue moon while he’s busy with more pressing shit. Would you agree or not?

    “The being the fan of a media subculture thing is not an obligation but it does work as a perk when you have a genuine talent that understands the source material with a bit more insight than most. Hacks could be fans too sure but so were guys like Joss Whedon (who you all adore) as well as Robert Rodriguez it kinda works both ways.”

    To a degree I would agree, but it’s not a deal breaker.

    I mean notice that the best Star Trek movies were made by guys who weren’t really Star Trek fans: Nicholas Meyer and J.J. Abrams.

  182. Maybe, but to me this kind of reeks of WB and DC desperately wanting to compete with the AVENGERS sequel with something at least similar to it. If they’d done something like this after two more Superman movies I’d be all for it, and it would grad my attention at least.

  183. ^In response to Broddie, btw. Damn this is going around like wildfire online.

  184. RRA – “would you rather have me say a “Nolan” production? That would’ve been silly. Would you prefer I say “Snyder/Goyer production, and Nolan too”? To say Nolan isn’t involved (whether seriously or very limited) would also be silly. Notice I mentioned Snyder and Goyer before I said Nolan. You didn’t notice that, did you?”

    I’m not going to go around in circles. My point is that Snyder and Goyer & WB execs are much much more hands on with this series than Nolan is. Remember Nolan was just the “godfather” of MOS. Even Cavill said he never saw him on set.

    “I wouldn’t go that far because remember that was severence pay for Burton getting more or less fired from Batman 3. Its more like Steven Spielberg/executive producer on MEN IN BLACK or MASK OF ZORRO or whatever. He’s not directing or producing, just maybe show up for a meeting once a blue moon while he’s busy with more pressing shit. Would you agree or not?”

    Yes I would agree with that.

    “I mean notice that the best Star Trek movies were made by guys who weren’t really Star Trek fans: Nicholas Meyer and J.J. Abrams.”

    Outside of Meyer thems is just fighting words. Last time I checked JJ Abrams didn’t direct THE VOYAGE HOME, THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY or FIRST CONTACT.

  185. Yes I know Meyer also directred THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY I just threw that in there for extra emphasis lol.

  186. onthewall2983 – “Maybe, but to me this kind of reeks of WB and DC desperately wanting to compete with the AVENGERS sequel with something at least similar to it. If they’d done something like this after two more Superman movies I’d be all for it, and it would grad my attention at least.”

    No matter what WB did it was always going to look this way to people by this point. They’re finally trying to get their DC properties under one house. DC has no control over that whatsoever. It’s all on WB the studio that basically leased their movie rights to different competing production companies (IE: Legendary Pictures having Superman & Batman, DeLine Pictures having Green Lantern, Silver Pictures having Joel Silver, Kennedy Miller having Justice League etc.) which is why they never were able to beat Marvel Studios to the punch. I’ll reserve judgement till I actually see this thing. It’s my two favorite fictional characters ever so it certainly is intriguing to me either way.

  187. lmao I type so fast sometimes I can’t even catch myself due to no proof reading. I mean Silver Pictures or Joel Silver had Wonder Woman.

  188. “On the flip side it’s such a provocative casting choice that if Snyder and Goyer manage to pull this movie off will just increase word of mouth cause the curiosity factor is going to get people to go watch it in droves on opening weekend for sure.”

    Broddie – Yeah because a movie with both Superman and Batman in the flesh, kicking ass together won’t do that Right? Whatever my opinions of MOS or this project, BATMAN/SUPERMAN is going to make a shitload of money, a billion bucks. Asses are going to be in those seats. And yes this hypocrite will be one of them. Sue me. Whether Affleck is right for the part or not, he’s not boasting the box-office. Its not like trying to secure intriguing known names to an obscure property like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY where Vin Diesel playing a tree or Glenn Close playing a space cop might make people get interested.

    I’m just not sure Affleck is that much of a “provocative casting choice”* as you’re arguing. Robert Redford (of all fucking people) doing a Marvel movie surprised people for a reason. Totally out of left field. Meanwhile Affleck was previously a superhero in a movie before, played a guy who played Superman in HOLLYWOODLAND (great performance, btw), was offered JUSTICE LEAGUE to direct but turned it down…do you see where I’m going with this? Not to mention that these days, the bigger star is Affleck the director, not Affleck the star. As a “star,” he’s kinda a has-been in contrast to the heights of his stardom over a decade ago.

    Again I’m not trying to bash Affleck here. I hope he pulls it off because I love Batman, probably my favorite superhero as a kid and now. Just with the argument framework you’re using, I disagree.

    *=Or other examples: remember when Christian Bale was hired, people loved that decision? Or a few years earlier when Jerry Bruckheimer hired “box-office poison” Johnny Depp for his pirate movie? Those are the sort exactly what I think you’re talking about. Right?

  189. Also Twitter got broken by this news. Give WB and Affleck credit, that’s something Rocket raccoon and Scarlet Witch didn’t do earlier today.

    #Batfleck is trending right now (awesome), as is George Clooney and Val Kilmer cited together with the Affleck/Batman news. Oh boo. Come on Internet, that’s mean. Even I wouldn’t go that far.

    This though made me laugh.


  190. RRA – Yeah because the internet isn’t blowing up with this news on all angles right now and not just the geeks?

    I have people who don’t even watch or follow superhero movies (TDKT included) messaging me about this. It IS left field casting because nobody saw it coming. That’s what coming out of left field is. Especially since the guy has said in many high profile interviews that he would never play a superhero role again for 10 years after DAREDEVIL.

    This will get curious people who had no interest in seeing Superman and Batman on the screen before cause they’re not even fans curious in the same way Mr. Mom got non comic book fans curious. I have a cousin who likes Affleck cause of Argo and The Town and she’ll be seeing this despite not caring for Batman. She’s glad Ben is going to work on a bigger movie as a fan of his. The way I see it if it fails they have a good laugh and if it succeeds they feel that it measured up and spread the good word.

    Just because it has the Superman and Batman name doesn’t mean shit. SUPERMAN RETURNS and BATMAN & ROBIN had those names and word of mouth destroyed them both at the box office. Obviously the first weekend will have everybody curious but what happens after then? Affleck is as much a factor as Cavill is in helping that word of mouth spread in a good way with their performances.

  191. RRA – How can you compare this to Bale? everybody on the geek sites wanted Bale as Batman since 1999. 4 years before he was even cast. Same thing with Cavill as Superman.

    People were doubting that PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN movie because it was based on a theme park attraction and they remembered that THE COUNTRY BEARS was no great shakes. Did you just recently start browsing movie sites or something? or is the last decade and change of movie geek internet whining and fanboy dream casting completely erased from your memory banks?

    I’ve loved Batman media for the past 26 years of my life. Batman comics are why I learned how to read when I was only 4 years old. The live action TV show was one of the earliest serialized TV shows I got hooked on and the filmation cartoon complimented my saturday mornings. That doesn’t really mean anything in the end except that as I said before as a Batman fan I’m actually relieved cause it could’ve been much worse. I didn’t even like MOS all that much at all. But I’ll wait this out before jumping to any conclusions. One thing that could be proven it certainly is a controversial choice which is why it is provocative. The irony is if he was announced as the new Reed Richards or even Hank Pym all these geeks jumping to conclusions would be doing cartwheels. They’re just so jaded by WB at this point that WB can’t win. Jeff Robinov really fucked that studios good will over.

  192. “I have people who don’t even watch or follow superhero movies (TDKT included) messaging me about this. ”

    Because it’s Batman? Everybody knows who Batman is. His last 2 movies made a billion each. He’s been Warner Bros.’ most valuable property since what the 80s? Same reason everybody pays attention whenever a new James Bond is casted. It’s news.

    ” That’s what coming out of left field is. Especially since the guy has said in many high profile interviews that he would never play a superhero role again for 10 years after DAREDEVIL. ”

    Latino Review reported Affleck/Batman 6 months ago, claiming that was the role WB wanted him to play in the JUSTICE LEAGUE film when he was offered to direct. Not left field as much as we forgot about it. (I know I did.)

    “This will get curious people who had no interest in seeing Superman and Batman on the screen before cause they’re not even fans curious in the same way Mr. Mom got non comic book fans curious. ”

    If you mean curious as in early media/fanboy shitting on the pick, then yeah you’re right. Except remember WB rushed out a trailer to show off Keaton in the costume kicking ass so they would shut up. Not to mention it wasn’t like Keaton was associated with the part previously prior to his hiring. Now if Affleck was directing, then I think would intrigue more folks honestly.

    “I have a cousin who likes Affleck cause of Argo and The Town and she’ll be seeing this despite not caring for Batman. She’s glad Ben is going to work on a bigger movie as a fan of his. The way I see it if it fails they have a good laugh and if it succeeds they feel that it measured up and spread the good word.”

    That’s a good point. You have me there.

    “Just because it has the Superman and Batman name doesn’t mean shit. SUPERMAN RETURNS and BATMAN & ROBIN had those names and word of mouth destroyed them both at the box office. Obviously the first weekend will have everybody curious but what happens after then? Affleck is as much a factor as Cavill is in helping that word of mouth spread in a good way with their performances.”

    I don’t know, being a good movie which brews good WOM? Mind you I didn’t like MOS, but it got a “A-” from Cinemascore (who polls audience feedback) which means it had at least decent WOM and people went to see it. You now have an established fanbase, the sequel should make a billion global. Unless it’s a piece of shit like say BATMAN & ROBIN. (Remember, B&R and SR both were received like a turd in a punch bowl. The stench tends to scare people away after opening weekend.)

  193. RRA – The majority of the people talking about this especially on twitter/facebook aren’t even aware about the old JUSTICE LEAGUE rumor because they don’t follow movie news at all. Especially on the level that some of us on here do. So to them this is as left field as it gets. I never forgot the rumor myself though I never put much stock behind it either due to it being from the constantly unreliable latino review.

  194. this has got the internet goin’ NUTS

  195. they should have made Jack Nicholson Batman, just to fuck with everybody

  196. broddie – I will agree with you the nerds are being fucking jaded with WB to the point that it’s kinda unfair. Yes we’re getting a goddamn Rocket Raccoon movie before a Wonder Woman film. I think I shared that tweet/meme around these parts before. Yeah and we also got a CONDORMAN film before we got a a non-campy Batman movie. That means what exactly? Squat.

    As for Bale/POTC, 2 points:

    (1) Yeah that’s my point, the nerds were absolutely down for Bale as Bats. I’m not seeing that tonight so far. Of course they weren’t either with Mr. Mom as you pointed out earlier.

    Remember when the Vin Diesel/Groot news came out? Yeah most folks thought odd he would be voicing a talking tree, but most nerds online I read (either automatically or after giving it some thought) liked the news if only because of IRON GIANT. Like slap to the forehead “well of course! Why didn’t I think of that?!?” That’s good well-received outside the box thinking.

    (2) Yes I remember people dismissing POTC because of the theme park shit. I also remember when Johnny Depp got hired, and I remember people being intrigued by that. What is an indie, serious actor like Depp doing in a big budget action blockbuster?!? I still remember my old English teacher going to see POTC simply because of Depp (the dude was a big ED WOOD fan). Maybe my memory banks are faulty, but I seem to remember most folks being more baffled by Depp’s involvement than really shitting on it.

  197. GOD: “You atheists bitch and moan that I’m a fictional character, but cast Ben Affleck as Batman and it’s ‘Sacrilege!’ this and ‘Blasphemy!’ that….”

  198. I confess. I saw POTC cause of Depp.

    Oh and Griff for a greater mindfuck they should cast Bale as Affleck’s Joker in any eventual Batman solo spin off.

  199. Broddie – I do find it weird people online arguing Affleck won’t work for Batman because “I can’t picturing him kicking ass.” The same complaint could be (hell it was used) against Keaton back in the day.

    BTW did anybody see that LR report about Detroit being used as Gotham City in B/S? Thats’ perfect casting.

    I do hope Robocop makes a cameo so he can tell Batman to get the hell out of his town.

  200. Detroit as Gotham is ingenius. Can’t believe nobody thought of THAT before. Still it’s from LR.

    Anyway this news was interesting but the best Batman anything this week was Batman & Nightwing #23. For the first time since the New 52 I feel like I finally read something featuring the Dick Grayson I grew up with outside of a Grant Morrison comic book. Oh an Alfred’s moment at the end? it would make a grown man cry. Check that out if you don’t mind reading funny books.

  201. Broddie – Speaking of Alfred….any casting thoughts?

  202. it’s a little too easy, but… Patrick stewart as alfred.

  203. I always wanted to see John Cleese as Alfred. Then I realized the previous 2 movie Alfreds were both in their 70’s already. I loved Gough and was cool with Caine too but I rather see an Alfred now that is more than just an older nurturing father figure. I want to see a more hardened and badass Alfred who is more in touch with his past roots as a soldier. Similar to the Sam Elliot looking Alfred from the recent BATMAN: EARTH ONE graphic novel.

    It provides a cool juxtaposition (caring butler/pure badass) that mainstream audiences never really knew about Alfred by highlighting it even more explicitly. So I would like to see someone who is in their 60’s but you could also buy as being still in good enough shape to whoop a 20 year old’s ass like it was nothing. Someone who you can clearly look at and say “yep that guy definitely had a past as an ass kicker” like current day Pierce Brosnan or 1990’s Sean Connery.

  204. Brit Marling for Supergirl

  205. Matt Damon as Luthor. Seriously.

  206. Right now my main beef with this casting is all the HIGH-LARIOUS jokes I’m hearing all over the place. Did you know Ben Affleck is from Boston? Imagine a Batman from Boston! Ha ha, I just did and boy is it funny! “I’m the gawd damn Batman, ya queeah!” Oh, that’s good! To Facebook!

    He might be good. He might be bad. Either way, it’s a boring choice.

    I’m sick of this conversation already. How long until the movie comes out? Two, three years? Ug. Why did I ever like Batman in the first place? He’s brought me nothing but pain.

  207. Mr. Majestyk – Yeah that factoid guarantees that I’ll avoid looking at further news about this movie on any geek sites till it’s release. I realized that when I read this on a message board this morning and it just made me cringe:

    ‘”You aint no Supah-man, more like a chowdah head!” will be quoted by children across the globe!’

    seriously what compells any sane human being to come up with this type of shit? do they really think they’re breaking some type of mold here?

  208. It’s the kind of thing that turns the entire population of the internet into morning zoo crew radio DJs. It’s the lowest-hanging of fruit and no one can resist taking a bite. Not even a friend of mine who actually IS a morning zoo crew radio DJ. In New England, no less. This is his time to shine. The rest of us need to show some fahkin’ restraint.

  209. Broddie: would Ray Winstone be too young for your vision of Alfred?

  210. I vote for Terrence Stamp, just to stick it to Superman.

    “Your most dangerous enemy? Yeah, he’s my butler.”

  211. onthewall2983 – Yeah can’t really buy him as a surrogate dad for Affleck’s Wayne. Actually funny that Majestyk brought up Terrence Stamp. Stamp in THE LIMEY is the perfect archetype for the type of Alfred I want to see in the new movies. A guy you could credibly buy as someone that was a bad ass during their youth because of his presence and demeanor as well as the hardened look in his eyes.

  212. Mean to type *A guy in his 60’s int he 4th sentence.

  213. Guys, I’m impressed nobody has fancasted Hopkins for Alfred yet even though its so lazy casting I kinda expected it. Now that’s striving for excellence. Good work gang.

  214. I have an idea, skip fucking Alfred nagging Bats about his parents and force feeding him soup all the time, skip old man Kent teaching Supe to be the most boring superhero ever and just get on with the action! I don’t want to see one second of Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne’s personal life. I want to see Superman and Batman kicking ass! Nothing more, nothing less.

  215. I’m actually with pegsman on this. Lose the supporting cast, focus on the two heroes. There’ll be time for Alfred and the gang when Bats inevitably gets his own solo adventure.

  216. Mr. Majestyk – as long as I get a good Batgirl, I’ll agree to that.

    Man will Batman be pissed at Superman for wrecking his satellite?

  217. If they do Batgirl (which they won’t and shouldn’t, at least not in a Superman movie), I want Cassandra Cain. For those who weren’t massive nerds in the early oughts, she’s a young Asian orphan who was raised by her adoptive father to be the ultimate hand-to-hand fighter. To that end, he forbade her to learn to speak or understand the spoken word so that body language would be her mother tongue. (She fought the Joker once and got her ass kicked because his body language is gibberish.) She was my favorite character for a while because her (mostly) mute nature lent itself to purely visual storytelling. Her character was eventually horrifically misused by some editorial shakeup or another and I have no idea what became of her. But it would be awesome if they got JeeJa Yanin to play her, just in case they wanted to make my crush utterly unbearable.

    But to reiterate: Don’t do that, DC. Just focus on Bats and Supes and don’t try to get fancy.

  218. Affleck seems like such a weird choice for Batman, but I can see it working if they dump his angsty menopausal gloom from Nolan’s series and make him a little more well-adjusted. I remember the old Batman: The Animated Series version of the character with Kevin Conroy had Bruce as a nice, likable guy who effectively managed his wealth *and* gigged as Batman on the side. If they stick closer to that interpretation, Affleck might work nicely. If not, jeez, I don’t know. Playing gloomy doesn’t suit Affleck as well as playing a funny, likable working guy.

  219. Mr. M – I like your thinking, although I’m a Barbara Gordon partisan to the end. We need more smart, buttkicking girls in these sorts of films.

    Mr. S – I’m all for a new interpretation (as Bale’s was different from Keaton’s), but again the question that remains for me is can I buy him being in that suit and knowing he can’t do dick about Superman outside of Kryptonite yet still able to stand up to him and even possibly man up on him at times? Does he have the presence, the personality of a veteran badass to more or less a doe-eyed rookie like Superman?

    That’s the $5.50 question.

  220. The interpretation of the character that would work for Affleck is Smug Prick Batman. This is the version that comes out when he meets other superheroes, most of whom he feels are unqualified to wear the cape and got there through some twist of fate or quirk of biology instead of his decades of hard work and sacrifice. He’s unimpressed by their strategies, wary of their powers, and dismissive of their input. He will find a way to use them if he can but he’ll shut them down if they insist on operating under their own initiative. This Batman has been known to crack a smile when a particularly good plan comes together or one of his frenemies manages to temporarily get the upper hand. He’s all dour and doom on the surface, but he’s secretly enjoying himself.

    Truth be told, I wouldn’t mind if Batman was the deadpan comic relief of the film. Let Supes do the heavy lifting on the dramatics. He’s better suited for that anyway.

  221. Mr. M – I like your thinking. Damn with you and YOU’RE NEXT, I’m having a hell of a day. Thank you dude.

    (Also off-topic, but go see YOU’RE NEXT. Don’t be an asshole.)

  222. Is it good? The trailer looks like your typical joyless home invasion movie but I keep hearing it has a sense of humor. I just saw THE WORLD’s END (kind of the movie of the summer right there) but maybe I’ll hit up a matinee tomorrow.

  223. Oh YN has a good sense of humor. Its not camp or parody, just happened to be fucking funny during what otherwise is a good effective thriller.

    How was TWE? I hope to see that tomorrow. My local theatre isn’t showing it, yet those assholes have that new Harrison Ford movie which didn’t even open in the Top 10 last weekend.

  224. “but again the question that remains for me is can I buy him being in that suit and knowing he can’t do dick about Superman outside of Kryptonite yet still able to stand up to him and even possibly man up on him at times?”
    As for not being able to do dick. While yeah, he can’t win, there should be stuff he prepares to give him some sort of defensive chance. Like he brings along a bunch of fancy gadgets that nullify or use his powers against him, like say a high frequency sonic emitter that basically turns super hearing into an agonising deafening sound, a mode on his suit that stops it showing up on the X-Ray spectrum, high powered explosive charges he’s fine with throwing at him etc.

    As to the supporting cast thing. I think we still need Superman’s, because they set all that up in the first movie and it’d be a shame not to do anything with the Clark Kent secret identity, especially in a modern take on journalism, but I say to stop Batman from dominating the movie, they simply DON’T make him a perspective character. Everything we see of Batman and his world should only be what Clark sees. Like Batman appears to be some random vigilante going around beating the shit out of criminals for some reason and clearing out before Superman gets there, and we don’t even see him unmasked until the plot requires Superman to get there. That way Batman can keep his mystique and save some of the back story and supporting stuff for his own solo feature, and it can still all be about Superman.

  225. RRA: On first watch, TWE is the best of the trilogy. It’s the only movie I’ve seen this summer (and I’ve seen a metric fuck-ton of movies this summer) that seems like the people who made it really thought the whole thing through in terms of story, themes, visuals, and characters to ensure that every aspect supported a unified whole. (Ideally, this should be the bare minimum a movie should do, but in reality it rarely works out that way.) The action is the best Wright has ever done by a considerable margin, the jokes are hilarious, the performances are distinct and layered, and the ending is perfect and unexpected. I don’t want to oversell it but it’s kind of the whole package.

    I think it might even be the one to win Vern over, since its appeal is less beholden to references and smart-assery than the other two. I know he liked THIS IS THE END (and so did I) but this is clearly the summer’s superior armageddon man-child comedy.

  226. Mr. M – Its pleasant that besides a good summer for horror (CONJURING and YOU’RE NEXT), we had a good summer for comedy too. I’m sure AWE is awesome, THIS IS THE END should’ve been a self-indulgent mess but instead it actually worked, and I know locals will probably disagree with me but I actually quite enjoyed THE HEAT too (at the dollar theater) with the great chemistry between the leads.

  227. Majestyk: I agree with what you said about TWE, but I still don’t understand what Wright is trying to say with the epilogue. I don’t know how I’m supposed to take Gary King’s eventual fate. I feel like I should be cheering, but I actually found it kind of sad. Almost like the ending of A.I., in a way.

    It is interesting to compare it with THIS IS THE END, as they are superficially similar and both relatively successful at generating chuckles, but they are almost the complete opposite in the way they approach comedy. TitE is loose and improvisational but TWE is dense and tightly constructed. TitE generates laughs by taking almost nothing seriously but TWE amplifies it’s laughs with emotional resonance.

    I have my doubts that Vern will respond to this one, though. Most of the things I like about this (the clever setups/payoff, the great editing, the way the genre parody fits together thematically) are present in SHAUN and HOT FUZZ. One way I thought TWE was superior is that in the other two the action climax seemed weirdly disconnected from the rest of the movie. TWE seemed more seamlessly constructed.

  228. CH – I dunno dude, is it possible to accept that TWE ending as either way? Maybe both? This aint fucking LIFE OF PI where you’re not allowed that option. I mean yeah he’s happy but…its not a happy ending for him? Then again remember that small town’s biggest attraction other than the Golden Mile: the Roundabout. What a perfect metaphor for this film.

    I don’t know how Vern will respond to TWE. The near-universal acclaim might cause problems for him like it did for SHAUN, but who knows?

    All I know is my theatre fucking cheered when *SPOILER* that guy drops the elbow at the bathroom fight. Fuch yeah!

  229. RRA: I guess I felt like Wright wanted to pay tribute to a certain kind of “cool” post-apocalyptic aesthetic without thinking what it means for the character, but that’s probably selling him short. It seems like everything about this movie was thought through and it’s clear from the ending that he has a pretty complex view of humanity.

    I love your comment about the roundabout. Wright’s films are packed with that sort of detail. I’ve been wondering about the meaning behind all the different pub names.

    I saw this film in an almost empty theatre, but I wish I had been with a packed audience for that elbow drop, which was indeed awesome.

  230. Out of 4 local movie theaters* that service my region, only one played TWE so that might explain why it was fully packed at the screening I went to today. They ate this up, from that elbow drop to that one certain line by the villains at the end (you know which one) drew the biggest laugh.

    Sure Wright we going with the 80s post-apocalyptic look which for that character (and this film) seemed rather appropriate. The protagonist got what he wanted. Don’t we all want something, even if we don’t need it or its wrong for us? Gary is probably the best movie character of summer 2013. I liked him, even if I kinda despise him for obvious reasons. Yet I loved when he told the villains off at the end. The asshole of humanity sticking up for the rest of us, for better or worse. (I would argue for worse.)

    Hell of a movie to ride into Ant-Man with.

    *=3 of them had fucking PARANOIA. *shakes head*

  231. remember how in the 90’s people just thought superheroes were kind of stupid and ripe material for spoofing? there was that movie BLANKMAN, as well as the cartoons FREAKAZOID! and SPACE GHOST: COAST TO COAST

    interesting how the attitude has changed, it could have something to do with the fact that in the modern day, we could really use a Superman or two to help us out, it’s not so funny anymore

  232. Griff – well remember that Superman was created during the Depression. and Batman was basically the FDR superhero, a rich guy actually wanting to help everybody out.

  233. I think DC gets a lot of undue crap, but they really SHOULDN’T copy Marvel. Vern had a really great idea, to the extent that DC should release one really good movie every couple of years, with their full resources rather than spread themselves thin and release a bunch of fun, but ultimately forgettable movies every year.

    Essentially, Marvel is making snappy Shane Black and Edgar Wright movies, whereas DC should concentrate on making something more akin to a David Lean epic, or Game of Thrones the movie series since that’s the difference in their comics anyway.

    Also, they really need to adapt the arc where Hal Jordan goes insane and becomes a mass murderer, imagine Tom Cruise in this shot;

  234. The Original... Paul

    March 19th, 2014 at 3:54 am

    Wow… great to see some appreciation for “The World’s End”. I know I’ve said this before, but this is one of those movies where I’ve felt like “that one guy”, especially among my friends. None of them liked it, some of them hated it, and one of them pretty much said it was the worst movie he’d ever seen. I think it all comes down to Pegg’s character, who definitely oversteps the line from “annoying to the other characters” to “annoying to the audience” on occasions.

    Here’s the thing though – I’m a huge, huge fan of bodyshock horror. And in that genre, the protagonists kinda HAVE to be assholes, because if they aren’t, there’s less of a reason for the aliens to “be”. This is one of the reasons I think the original 1950s film, while it may be a classic film in terms of being absolutely a product of its time, holds up badly today – the two main characters are just too perfect. The female lead in particular just looks like exactly what she is – a movie star pretending to be a small-town girl. Compare them to, say, Donald Sutherland’s character in the 1970s version (which IMO is one of the best films I’ve ever seen, and I could go on for hours about why that is.) That opening shot, when the restaurant owner sees him through the fish-eye lens, and his face just falls… fantastic. There’s so much desperation in Brooke Adams’ face when she says she loves him near the end of the movie. It’s not so much that she loves him for him, but rather that this crabby grouch is the only thing she’s got left now and she can’t bear to let him go.

    So yeah, I’m really happy to see some love for “The World’s End”. I don’t think it’s close to “Hot Fuzz” in terms of how successful it is in what it’s trying to achieve, but I much prefer it to “Shaun of the Dead”. If only because Nick Frost’s characters in those two movies are so much at opposite ends of the likeability scale for me. (Frost is ridiculously awesome in “The World’s End”.)

  235. “It’s surprising you’re not more popular…”

    Hahahaha! What a hilariously passive-aggressive (and vauge) spam comment! And that link only leads to a suspended page! Awesome spam fail!

  236. The exploration of Superman as diaspora, his searching for an identity (and in the process ending up with two), the cautionary tale of Kryptons fate and the twist of irony when Western society almost get colonized themselves in the process. They are some of the things I got out of my first viewing of SUPERMAN: POST-COLONIAL EDITION A.K.A MAN OF STEEL.

    The end when he is forced to snap Zod´s neck is the greatest of sacrifice. He gives up his historu, his biological past to prove to human that he belongs to them. And in the next scene, it turns out the human assholes keep spying on him. I don´t blame Kal-El for being upset and trashes a billion dollar satellite. How much more does he have to prove?! He killed the sole survivor of Krypton!!

    Another thing I enjoyed how well they did General Zod and this movie seem to have more than meet the eye. In SUPERMAN 2 they kind of mocked the old super villain “taking over the world”- motive by going “Well, now that I´ve conquered the Earth, what the hell am I going to do next?” by having the three super villains sitting around in the Oval Office ,restless and bored out of their skulls from having achieved their goals. ( Maybe it´s time to get a hobby?) Here Zod´s motives seem more genuine. He genuinely believes what he does is for the greater good for the people, even if that means he has to abolish an entire culture for his own to survive. That is how he motivates omnicide and Shannon s performance,as outrageous as it seems, convey a deeper sense of character than I ever expected.

    MAN OF STEEL was better than I expected. Hopefully I managed to get more out of it on further viewings, because it genuinely seems like a more mature SUPERMAN than we´ve seen before.

  237. I agree, Shoot. Most people seem to think this movie is dumber than a pillowcase full of doorknobs but I find that it’s got a lot to chew on in addition to all the eye candy. I’m hoping its reputation will grow.

  238. I think what DC is doing is more clever than Marvels approach. They don´t saturate the market with their products. Although they have and incredibly smaller amount of marketable stable of heroes, I think the more complex approach to Batman and Superman makes them more enjoyable to watch for adults, whereas Marvels´ films seem to be stuck in their original juvenile teenager approach. They might at one time been more attractive than DC,but as their cinematic versions have proved, both MAN OF STEEL and Nolans batmans are more intereting films,since they try to transendence the genre and I have had more long lasting enjoyment outof both MAN OF STEEL,THE DARK KNIGHT RISING than I had with the incredibly redundnant THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN.

  239. I like both DC and Marvel’s movies, and I’ll admit I return to Nolan’s Batman’s and, lately, MAN OF STEEL more than most of Marvel’s, but I sometimes forget Marvel have their own Dark Horse’s, the BLADE trilogy and PUNISHER WAR ZONE.

    Granted, they lack the nuance’s of character that Nolan aims for, but I love Frank Castle’s no bullshit approach and No-Mercy Policy when it comes to payback and eliminating his enemies. He’s wired like The Terminator. All of his baggage was sufficiently explained in PUNISHER-THE TRAVOLTA YEARS, so in WAR ZONE he’s free to just be a six foot five killing machine. And he’s also an *excellent* acrobat, rotating 360 degrees upside down off a chandelier while spraying rounds of ammo. And that’s one up on Terminator.

  240. I didn’t really like any of the phase one Marvel Studios joints (save for IRON MAN) so I don’t even watch them anymore. Didn’t like MAN OF STEEL either. I’m kinda over most superhero movies anyway. 9 times outta 10 I prefer reading superhero comic books. With that said I do think DC Entertainment’s approach. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then read this excerpt from a recent Wall Street Journal DCE story. This is regarding the vision of DC CEO Diane Nelson.

    “Her approach is the opposite of Marvel, which maintains a continuing narrative and cast of characters across all of its projects. Samuel L. Jackson, for instance, has appeared as superspy Nick Fury in “Avengers,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and the TV show “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

    Ms. Nelson has instead encouraged Warner producers to develop diverse and even contradictory takes. The Batman in “Superman vs Batman,” to be played by Ben Affleck, will be different from the one in “Gotham” and in coming direct-to-DVD animated movies and videogames. A kid-friendly version of Batman even appeared in February’s hit “The Lego Movie.”

    “It isn’t about a single approach to everything,” said Ms. Nelson. “It’s the right character matched with the right talent in the right medium.”

    ^ I think that’s a lot more healthier from a creative standpoint then handicapping people and making them a slave to a singular vision regardless of what medium they’re working on (TV, video games or movies).

  241. *I do think DC Entertainment’s approach is interesting.

  242. Shoot – “Although they have and incredibly smaller amount of marketable stable of heroes”

    This is so funny to read considering one of DC’s biggest sources of revenue is through the licensing of their characters (not just Superman and Batman) and they also have the most recognizable superheros in pop culture.

  243. I think Stu’s point is that they have bigger guns in their arsenal than Marvel, but fewer of them. Once you get past the Big Three, plus Green Lantern and The Flash, who can really carry a movie? Green Arrow? (Not enough spectacle.) Martian Manhunter? (Too ugly.) Plastic Man? (Too silly.) Firestorm? (Too hard to explain.) Aquaman? (I would see the shit out of an Aquaman movie but he’s got a bit of a PR problem, and ENTOURAGE pretty much killed that idea before it even got off the ground.) Then there’s the problem that the vast majority of DC’s characters are offshoots of the big names, like Batman’s huge roster of allies, Superman’s ridiculous and redundant supporting cast, the dozens of Green Lanterns, and the Flash family. So many of the fan favorites are impossible to get to without a LOT of set-up, which, at Warner Bros.’ pace, is just never gonna happen. They have a hard enough time introducing a version of the most famous superhero of all time that the public enjoys, you think they’re ever gonna get around to Booster Gold? There’s nothing inherently better about Marvel’s roster or characters; they’re just easier to explain and more able to stand on their own.

  244. Mr. Majestyk – The only reason there isn’t a DC movie universe right now is because of movie executive/production company politics though. Not because the characters wouldn’t be able to stand on their own. I could go into details explaining what I mean by that if you’d like but it’d be a pretty long read. Heck funny that you mention Booster since he’s a had a TV show in the works for years now.

    The truth is since being relaunched in 2011 the DCU is now even more accessible for adaptation then ever before. Legacy characters no longer exist which I kinda hate but at least kills any confusion (Ie: Barry Allen IS The Flash, Bruce Wayne IS Batman etc.) right now there are only multiple Green Lanterns because it’s a galactic police force.

    “I would see the shit out of an Aquaman movie but he’s got a bit of a PR problem”

    This has been rectified as of late with the new 52 Aquaman series. It’s actually something that the comic itself addressed (I.E.: one scene where Aquaman is at a seafood diner and everybody is staring at him like “OMG he eats fish?”) and it’s been one of the best selling and best reviewed comic books around for 3 years now. Though I don’t think non comic book fans will realize this until the THRONE OF ATLANTIS animated movie comes out but you’ll see how that is going to have the internet going nuts.

  245. Yeah, but you’re talking about comic book readers, who don’t count. There aren’t enough of them and they’re never happy anyway, so fuck ’em. You ask the average person, Aquaman is a dork in an orange shirt who talks to fish. He’s the posterchild for lame superheroes. I have no idea what DC’s up to nowadays (I gave up on them pre-New 52 when they cancelled all the books I liked, and then I went cold turkey on the entire industry a year and a half ago for monetary/maintaining my sanity purposes) but they still can’t have more than eight characters that are A. distinctive enough and B. have enough name recognition to get greenlit. Marvel’s guys are all pretty different from each other, both in looks and abilities, while DC seems to have a lot of dudes in leotards that fly around and shoot laser beams out of their hands. TV seems like the place for these guys, because the medium gives people a chance to get to know characters they haven’t already heard of. In the movies these days, you already have to be somebody for anybody to give you a chance.

    The exception is GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, because you gotta have a black belt in nerdery to have heard of these guys, but Marvel is enough of a juggernaut by now that the brand is the star, not the property. DC will never build up the goodwill to justify making movies of their more outré titles at the rate they’re going. Shit, they don’t even have the nuts to make a movie out of their third biggest star. So yes, definitely, the executives are a big problem, but so are the characters themselves.

  246. broddie – In my mind most DCcharacters have always come across as incredibly goofy and silly,but you know more about these things as an active comic book reader than I do. There might have been newer stronger reboots of them than I am aware about.

    I was talking about movie-franchises before. Even though DC/Warner milks their two biggest heroes in other venues (Son of Batman, Gotham, Smallville etc.) you hardly see new theatriclly released versions every day.Unlike Marvel where it seemslike there is anew goddamn Marvelmovie released every week.It doesn´t exactly create excitement,mostly just “okey another Spider-man,I guess”. But when a new Batman or Superman comes around, shit gets real.

  247. Don’t get me wrong, back in my day I was way more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy. I liked all the history and the interconnectivity. Bad shit happened that affected everybody, not just a few guys. The universe felt more of a piece than Marvel. But I probably read 50 issues with Booster Gold in them and I have NO IDEA what his power is. He’s from the future, he’s got a robot sidekick, but what’s he do? If they can’t explain that to me in the medium he was created in, how are they selling that to a mainstream audience? He’s a niche character, not a star. That’s 95% of DC’s roster.

  248. Majestyk- did you just mistake me for Stu?

  249. Did I? Sorry, dude. All you “S” dudes look the same to me.

  250. Shoot – There is a fundamental difference between Marvel Studios and DC. Marvel Studios was started because Marvel got the movie rights to a lot of their b and c list properties back. So they were able to have all that under one roof and ran with it.

    10 years ago people would’ve thought a Thor or Captain America could be goofy and silly too. They come from some of the campiest comic books ever made but here we are today and boom you ALL have a general idea of who these characters are. They’re not longer niche.

    For years WB was ran by a guy called Jeff Robinov had no structure when it came to the DC element. His outlook was WB is the busiest movie studio which is why it’s the biggest and under his direction DC was not even an afterthought. He had a lot of other things to worry about so he leased the media rights for DC IP’s all across hollywood.

    It wasn’t until 2 years ago that WB got rid of the CEO that basically divided all of the DC IP’s across different production companies. Ranging from DeLine Pictures (Green Lantern) to Silver Pictures (Wonder Woman) and Legendary Pictures (Superman, Batman) as well as Kennedy/Miller (Justice League) amongst others. Of course you’d have no DC movie universe if all these competing companies are not working together under one umbrella.

    This is why DC Entertainment was formed. It’s why DC Comics is leaving NYC this summer and moving to Burbank California etc. They now have an exec who views DC IP’s as a priority and they finally have some structure. Now you have DC Entertainment in a position closer to Marvel Studios but they’re more governed by WB than Disney I would think.

    At the same time in turn they now have movies based on everything from the METAL MEN, SANDMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK to the regular JUSTICE LEAGUE in development and TV shows based on PREACHER, CONSTANTINE, iZOMBIE, BATMAN and THE FLASH on the way.

    Mr. Majestyk – There aren’t bad characters just bad creators. It’s a fundamental element that existed in the comic book medium and exists in the movie industry as well. A movie about a kid who manages to complete the wish fulfillment of actually becoming a superhero or one about a scientist that becomes a walking plant is no more silly than a super steroid patriot fighting nazis and aliens or a hulking green monster stomping around causing chaos. It’s all about how you approach it at the end of the day.

    TBH being that DC unanimously has the greater library of critically acclaimed genre and medium redefining creative material (IE: Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN, Alan Moore’s SWAMP THING, Grant Morrison’s DOOM PATROL, Garth Ennis’ PREACHER as well as ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and KINGDOM COME of course) they have a lot more potential at putting stories with stronger themes and a lot of variety on the screen whether on TV or the big screen.

    It’d be a lot closer if Marvel Studios had X-Men, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man under their umbrella but they don’t and the ironic thing is those are the heavy hitters for Marvel and yet Marvel Studios will never get to make a movie with any of them.

  251. I grew up a Batman and Superman fan but I actually think that Aquaman has become the superior character over the years. For one thing he doesn’t have any stupid no kill code. He’s got super strength, he could leap as well as the Hulk or Superman, he’s bulletproof, his skin and armor are strong enough to sustain the oceans depths. He’s a king and a soldier and he has to stand on his own two no matter the consequences.

    He also has a very stable relationship with a pretty awesome chick. No “will they? won’t they?” like Clark/Lois or Batman/Catwoman just straight up “yeah this is my chick I am so awesome she fell in love with me when she was sent to kill me”. He’s basically King Arthur but at the same time lonelier than Superman though because he doesn’t really fit in fully with all humans or atlantians but he’s a product of both their worlds.

    Aquaman became one of those characters defined by SUPERFRIENDS for whatever reason all over pop culture. I didn’t see JUSTICE LEAGUE THE ANIMATED SERIES but I think he got a decent portrayal there. Though I think it was more in line with the Namor-lite version which to me isn’t really Aquaman.

    The current comic book series gets what makes Aquaman work at his best. If a potential movie took pointers from there which it probably would it would be off to a great start. He’s supposed to be one of the most accessible, relate-able and normal DC superhero of them all. He controls over 70% of the planet after all. Only tricky thing is the budget will have to be insane to do the concept right. In order to convince John Q. Public once and for all that “Aquaman doesn’t talk to fish”. If used in the team up he’d have to be for the Justice League movie what the Hulk was for THE AVENGERS. Zack Snyder has his work cut out for him. Best of luck to him.

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