Saturday, 15 June 2013

REVIEW - MAN OF STEEL


A dangerous move, anticipating the success of your film to such an extent that you make the entire thing as the first act of a franchise. It's all backstory. Even those conflicts which are resolved by Man of Steel's end are directly related to the origins of the character, as we know him, as Clark Kent. Perhaps not quite so dangerous, given the blatant money-making potential, and also the fact that the man we need to know here is not Clark Kent, but Kal-El. Underneath it all, he's Superman, and writer David S. Goyer's interests lie in exploring this character, not the person he pretends to be. So Man of Steel is a burdensome film, trudging through scene after scene of, essentially, scene-setting, with the opening Krypton-set sequence so well-developed it outdoes the rest of the film. It's somewhat enervating, having to wade through all of this to get to a place where we feel comfortable, but Zack Snyder fills the screen with enough distractions to sate us for the time being. You know you're getting a full-course dinner with Snyder, whether you like it or not. And technically, the visual effects team (which includes Joe Letteri) has done a breathtaking job, and Hans Zimmer's score is most rousing, if also most intrusive, and possibly still going as I write this. Action scenes near the end are handled with aplomb until Snyder gets carried away intercutting them, and thus lets the air out of the lot. Religious allusions are rather clumsy and fatuous, but not too irritating. There's one hilarious expository scene that is so bad, it's like a parody of such scenes in other action films. Henry Cavill is incredibly affable for someone so attractive (he's the sort who looks odd with clothes on, you know?), which is certainly a positive, as the super-sincere Superman has often previously been a bit too goody-goody to like (a quick snap to the neck reverses that feature here). Could do with a lot more humour, but its humanistic, and anti-militaristic streak wins me over.