Friday, June 14

REVIEW: Man of Steel

Directed by Zack Snyder
2013 Action Fantasy
2 hours 23 minutes
From Warner Bros. and
Legendary Pictures

Henry Cavill
Amy Adams
Michael Shannon
Laurence Fishburne
Antje Traue
Christopher Meloni
Diane Lane
Kevin Costner
Russell Crowe

Y'know, I'll side with you no matter what your opinion.  If you've seen it already and didn't like it, I get that.  If you were taken in by it, I get that, too.  Furthermore, if you haven't seen it and wonder why in bloody hell we need another Superman movie, I'm with ya, Brother.  And if you think it's way too long since we last flew with Mr. S and that the newest bumper-crop of kiddies needs to see something fresh and techno-current, well count me in.

I hate to appear wishy-washy, but I just could relate to about any opinion.  Some may have the film on their radar because of its title star, Henry Cavill.  If so, I am really on your team.  Frankly, that is the only reason I was first in attendance today.  I needed a Henry fix and I guess I needed it bad.  After seeing him and some of the cast on Katie yesterday, I knew the film would be on today's agenda. 

I have been whacked on the dude since he played in 2002s The Count of Monte Cristo and have followed his career through Tristan and Isolde (2006), The Immortals (2011), The Cold Light of Day (2012) and saw most of television's The Tudors.  My only complaint of the Channel Islands-born actor is that he doesn't work more.  Much more.  Maybe this monster movie will do the trick for him.  You do go down in history if you've played Superman... let's be clear.  Henry Cavill... remember that name and see something he's been in if you haven't already.  Oh, I have digressed a bit, it seems.  Hmmmm.

One thing about the film that impressed me is it is unquestionably a behemoth of a film... and it shows.  While it is certainly a collaborative effort to bring something like this into your local cineplex, credit certainly needs to be bestowed upon the director, Zack Snyder.  Like a number of franchises, this outing is a bit darker than what we've seen before.  Humor and silliness (if you will) is down and drama and seriousness is up.  They're playing this for real.  No winking allowed.  This is only Snyder's eighth film (Watchmen, 300 and Dawn of the Dead were on his watch) but the impressive way he brought a project like this all together should not go unmentioned.

Director Zack Snyder

Maybe a word or two here about what it's all about.  I wish I knew.  Oh I'm joking... sort of.  You know, really, in these huge blockbuster type of films, the plot gets a little lost, doesn't it?  Really?  There's always a section here, a section there, a line, a character, a motivation that makes you go... WTF?!?!  I never expect a lot of coherency.  Is it bad writing when Clark says to his earth mother for the first time that he knows where he's really from and she makes no inquiries or do we just want to hurry and get back to the special effects?

We start with the birth of Superbaby and his parents' determination to get him off their planet, Krypton, before their planet comes to an end.  He is sent to earth in some sort of speedy little capsule and has with him some gizmo (for comic book fans... sorry that I have to resort to such a tacky less-than-descriptive noun but I may have nodded off, I can't be sure) that could one day repopulate a new planet.  Of course, without bad guys, we might as well all stay home, and the Krypton thugs have been frozen throughout the civilization crash and burn.  But now they are unfrozen and on their way to earth to find the now-grown man and the, uh, gizmo. 

For those of you who haven't already grabbed your purses (or whatever you grab) and headed for the door, don't worry, I am not saying any more.  My lips are sealed.  Oh just one thing... the ending is just really too much.  Too much violence, too much silliness, too much stretching credibility (someone smacks S across the face earlier in the film and he gets a bloody facial wound but he can go head-first through a brick building without a scratch... oh I know, I know, I need to settle down and cut some slack) and definitely too long.

Cavill is certainly likeable in the role and talk about eye candy, but in the end, it seemed a performance more based on posing than acting.  But then, c'mon, it's Superman.  Did Montgomery Clift ever play him?  Laurence Olivier?  John Gielgud?  In the end, one must be handsome, have a nice codpiece and be able to fly.

Amy Adams brings that darker vision that director Snyder had into prominence and was a delightful Lois Lane.  This actress is so real up there on that big screen.  I buy everything she does.  Diane Lane is one of our national treasures, I humbly offer.  I could watch her stare.  What an expressive face.  She'd sure be a good mom to fly home to and hug.

Michael Shannon was fabulous as the baddest of the bad asses.  And he is one bad-ass actor.  I love his work.  He reminds me of some of my favorite character actors of the 40s and 50s.  Like I said about Cavill making this film, I hope it does something for Shannon's career as well.  He deserves every good thing that comes his way.

Of the other males in the film. Laurence Fishburne came off the best as Daily Planet editor Perry White.  Both Costner and Crowe were dull.  Crowe must be taking any costarring role in blockbusters that he can get these days.... his leading man days clearly behind him.  When did Costner stop knowing how to have fun? 

So hey, if this is your thing, go.  I am sure you'll like it.  In most ways, it is certainly well-crafted but in the end, for me, it smacks of been there-done that and other than a more brooding look, nothing particularly new has been offered.

Well, um, not counting Henry Cavill.

MGMs Sopranos I

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