Ok I saw the movie twice. Still conflicted. And yes I did possibly see it for the wrong reasons (goddam Henry Cavill is just too hot) but I did enjoy it. When I wasn’t madly frustrated.
The movie is better and worse than the previous ones (and by that I mean the first and second Superman, as the third and fourth while enjoyable are really not considered to be good enough to be taken seriously.
I rather enjoyed the artistic decisions made in the movie. Starting from the new Superman suit, to the manner in which Krypton was represented, the costumes and set design were rather unusual for a Superman movie (have not read many comics, can’t talk about them). And while one can argue that the design is not necessarily fresh in the overall modern movie context (while fresh at times it just resonates with movies like the latest Star Treks or Avatar, god I hate that movie, but it has an amazing artistic value), it is nonetheless original when it comes to the Superman series. I think it added a very important and beautiful nuance to what we have movie-wise so far of Superman’s true other-worldliness.
I also enjoyed the casting decisions. I am not going to comment on Cavill further than I already did, I am just going agree with this lady. But, hey, in fact I think he does a very good job, especially knowing what he was given to work with regarding script and storyline. Additionally, I love Amy Adams, she is a great actress and I think she is a great Lois Lane. Another question is, however, how adequate the character of Lois Lane was to begin with. But more on this later. Michael Shannon is really quite great and his performance is probably the strongest one in the whole movie. Russell Crowe as Jor-El obviously does not compare to Marlon Brando, but I do like the nuances he brings and together with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, I think they provide for a great potential in their roles. So, cast-wise considering this as a modern generation reboot with modern generation actors, I believe they were adequate choices and do a decent job, despite the bad character developments.
Finally, I liked the special effects and massive scale fights. Even though I believe they overdid them in length, as it seriously feels like this movie is 80 percent things getting smashed midair, I believe they were done magnificently. For example, Jor-El’s flight while on Krypton with zoom-ins and -outs which add a very dynamic and realistic feel to it to the incredible visuals and sound accompanying the world engine and the major fights. The fighting of Faora-Ul was incredibly interesting, as I believe it captured the difference of speed and force between her and the humans in the best way I have seen so far in a movie. Even though new, I think visually the movie managed to also maintain similarities to the classic, for instance very visible in Superman’s first flight which is done in a very retro yet realistic manner. Overall, keeping an incredibly conceptual and consistent visual journey, I think Zack Snyder maintained his title as a visual pioneer – visually the movie is almost perfect.
But this is where the positives end. The plot, characters, dialogue and story development are atrocious. I have not witnessed such poorly written, cliché, pointless, weak dialogue in a long long time, and I recently re-watched The Room. Man of Steel is empty, it is a beautiful, but empty shell. What is it they say about pretty packaging again..? With overall lack of character development and motivation in the presence of almost all the characters including and mostly Lois Lane the movie just seems like a very long trailer or an ad for special effects. Despite trying to give her a more active and intelligent overlook, Lois Lane’s character is so poorly included in the storyline that it might be actually better if she was not there to begin with. Yes, I am aware of what I am saying, and that’s the worst part – the zero attraction and chemistry between her and Cavill’s Superman was just another disappointing black hole of the movie. Even the one character that has an intended background and character to him, Clark Kent, suffered from inadequate screenwriting decisions being transformed into a cliché angry adolescent with daddy issues who inexplicably returns home all good after hitchhiking for a few years. Why? How did he get there? When? Where? The storyline is so bad that pretty much nothing in the movie that what you already see in the trailer makes any more sense.
Honestly… Jonathan Kent dies in a hurricane, to save a dog. Yes, that’s how bad it is.
So, what would be my conclusion… I would not mind if they make a sequel, a sequel with which they would have learnt from their mistakes. As a huge Superman fan I was both excited and really annoyed after watching this movie. It is an alright movie and a great visual experience with great cast, one which brings forth amazing value from a cinematographic point of view, but one which also very miserably fails at being much else.
Movie score: 6.5