At the end of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, we agreed that 2013’s Superman is a real sight for sore eyes. But I fell out of love with the caped crusader many years and caricatures ago… as handsome and smoldering hot as the leading man in Henry Cavill could be, I wasn’t invested in the outcome of Clark Kent’s fate as much as I’d intended originally. Maybe these things are no different from passionate affairs that burn and fizzle out all in the thick of a night — one realizes what a massive waste of time it’d been only after waking up the next morning with gathering clarity.
The magic stardust that co-writers Christopher Nolan (also the film’s producer) and David S. Goyer sprinkled around The Dark Knight has disappeared. At a running time of 144 minutes with less than 20 lines of dialogue given to its key protagonist, this film might as well be titled “Friends of the Man of Steel”. When supporting characters are constantly forcing the narrative with long, loud and generic speeches; perhaps there is a grave problem with the focus and design of this story.
Man of Steel is also an unimaginative reboot of the Superman franchise. The first act is devoted entirely to a lengthy do-over that begins with dad Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and mom Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer), deliberating their newborn’s fate on planet Krypton. Here, cinematographer Amir Mokri (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) is limited to the same weary CGI effects and steel-silver-black palettes seen in techy Hollywood films. Ditto for composer Hans Zimmer’s deafening crash-bang cues each time something very bad is about to happen on screen. Even the awestruck respect I had for Michael Shannon’s acting chops as a corrupt NYPD officer in Premium Rush, gradually faded away as General Zod’s gormless, permanent frown kept spacing off and staring into the depths of some epic unknown — it must have been just as tiring for him.
Why did I fork out money to watch a run-of-the mill movie I’d seen several times before? Why would anyone make the same mistake repeatedly and still believe things would finally change the next time round? Perhaps wild idealizations that accompany the search for what was once perfection are responsible for my predicament the morning after.
There is little left to remind me of Christopher Nolan’s sophistication that once assured quality in mainstream films. Flashes of grit (however crude) so keenly felt in 2004’s Dawn of the Dead are missing as well. After the awful Sucker Punch, tiresome Dark Knight Rises and now, Man of Steel… the mature, sensible side of me hopes to never sit through another Nolan-Snyder collaboration again. You have to be 12 to enjoy watching this.
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