Man Of Steel

Art & Culture

You may come across reviews suggesting this is a good, possibly even enjoyable film. Please ignore these. They are clearly written by someone with a close relationship to the film makers and the studio, or else by someone with severe emotional disorders. Or a slow witted 12 year old. This is a truly dreadful film.

How bad can it be, you ask? Well, given the choice between watching this again or one of the Transformers movies again, I would pause for a few seconds, then make a run for it. It is dull. Tee Dee Us. Pompous. Religious in the worst possible way. Noisy, interminable, full of crash bang wallop, confusing – and did I mention? DULL.

You all know the story. Born on another planet, sent to Earth by his father to save the world, brought up by parents who didn’t give birth to him; aged 33; the only man who can fight evil; surrounded by white light; reviled and rejected until he descends with his arms out to the side. Right, that’s Jesus. It’s also Kal-El aka Superman aka Henry Cavill. The similarities between the two not-quite-men are rubbed in nearly as overtly as the product placement of cameras and watches. This thematic overkill also gives the film its sub-Nietzcshean fascist undertones. Only a superior man can save us from our own inadequacies.

Yes, this story has been told twice in the last 35 years. There were far too many Christopher Reeve versions from 1978 onwards, followed by the Brandon Routh version a bare 7 years ago. So why more now? Truthfully, I have no idea, but at a guess – money. For want of a new hero, why not go back to a familiar one, under the pretext of retelling the story? This retelling consists of spending a lot more time and money on Krypton where Russell Crowe’s Jor-El takes on General Zod (Michael Shannon) amid a lot of special effects and goobledegook talk about time, space and the meaning of life. A bit of chronological back and forth gives the appearance of subtlety, along with the suggestion that like JC, Superdude is reluctant to take on the mantle of being the Special One. Why me? he groans.

Kevin Costner and Diane Lane play the human parents, while Amy Adams (still playing pert young women at the age of 40) is Lois Lane. Cavill, a mere 30 year old, is square jawed and muscle-bound, though not an obviously charismatic screen presence. But the main problem with the film, as with almost all superhero films these days is that it takes itself so bloody seriously. It’s a comic book for Christ’s sake. Why can’t someone smile, have fun, laugh a little? We’re not talking Tolstoy.

Not long ago, there was an Iron Man, now we have a Man of Steel (or Stalin as they say in Russian). What next? Aluminium Man? Plastic Man? Just to be clear, I was not alone in my disappointment. Both the people who came with me (of their own volition) emerged shaken and not stirred by the sheer awfulness of what they had witnessed, in the knowledge that that was 150 minutes of their life that they would never have back again. 

I’m not sure I’m doing full justice to how bad this film is, but if I can do anything, let me just urge you to give it a big fat miss (or Ms), and do something fun like paint your fingernails (men) or watch amateur darts (women).