I know I haven’t written a review in a long time and there are films I have enjoyed of recently that I should have written about before this, but actually this is one I felt I had something to say about while watching it.
Man of Steel is one of those films that has been hyped to death in recent months. It’s something that has looked good, exciting, interesting and looked like it would rise above the mediocre director and prove he could do good work. Unfortunately as I sat there wondering why none of this action was exciting me and why I just wasn’t finding any of it engaging I realised that I was just surrounded by noise and light on a screen. Explosions and fires and debris to the point where it failed to have any meaning.
None of my complaints are about the changes to the story or characters, I don’t care about any of that. And don’t get me wrong, I know this is a comic book film and a summer blockbuster, I didn’t go in expecting a masterpiece of cinema, just some entertaining storytelling and some action. The storytelling in this film is actually interesting but unfortunately confined to short-lived bursts of Clark’s childhood. Snippets of his adult life and a brief prologue that devolves in to big CGI action.
I’m not averse to CGI action, I loved Star Trek Into Darkness, I also loved Iron Man 3, along with last year’s Avengers Assemble and even quite liked this year’s Tom Cruise-fest Oblivion. But this was dull. It felt soulless and empty. The characters so void of characterisation that they were nothing but names being ticked off a Superman checklist.
Now I know that after Superman Returns people were clamouring for there to be more action. ‘Superman didn’t even throw a punch’ they said, and I guess it’s a fair complaint but in Man of Steel there was far too much action, action to the point of boredom. Halve the action and give the story some room to breathe, the characters room to actually be characters, maybe a little growth, inject a sense of humour and this might have been a really good film.
When we come to the end of the film there are huge swathes of the city destroyed, some place in the south Indian ocean, likewise, ruined. The Kent farmhouse smashed, a large part of Smallville, too. Debris from a satellite raining down and Superman resorting to killing his enemy to save the day. This is the victory we take away from the film? Really? It really just left me feeling hollow, much like the movie itself.