Man Of Steel: Superman Humbly Saves The Universe. Again...

Starring Henry Cavill as Superman, Kevin Costner (Earth Dad) and Russell Crowe (Krypton Dad).
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Starring Henry Cavill as Superman, Kevin Costner (Earth Dad) and Russell Crowe (Krypton Dad).

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Up there! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a $175 million dollar Hollywood make-work project! Basically, Man of Steel is an extra-fafferized, brutally long 143 minute episode of that old Superman TV show, Smallville.

Clark Kent’s Earth Dad, a bloated looking Kevin Costner, tells his son: “Clark, you have to decide what kind of man you’ll grow up to be.” Hm… let’s see, Daddy-O… how about a flat-headed, muscle-bound dude in newly groovified wrestling tights that have taken on muted Batman-like hues and appear to be made of various Space Age materials, such as Gortex, Kevlar and Carbon Fibre? Does that sign your dotted line, Daddikins?

Meanwhile, Diane Lane as Clark’s Earth Mom almost chokes on her hackneyed lines but still manages to lend a touch of much needed class to the computer-generated proceedings. However, Russell Crowe flushes some of his credibility down the crapper by channelling a kind of sensitive Gladiator during his cameo as Superman’s Kryptonian Dad. Then again, Marlon Brando did the same thing in the 1978 Christopher Reeve re-make so it must be okay.

Co-dependent hardcore green-screen addicts, director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan, seem to have wanted a gloomy, morally complex, super heavy duty kinda Superman. But they settled for this cornball’o’rama instead. Brit Henry Cavill dutifully plays it with a grim campiness and Amy Adams as a sexy-but-serious Lois Lane does her bit while obviously thinking about where she’ll buy her new mansion.

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Trouble is, I’m having a little problem with that old bugaboo, suspension-of-disbelief. Like, why doesn’t Superman just come out of the closet already? A grown man who walks around in that get-up? Like, really, honey. Let us celebrate your uniqueness with you.

And how about a little modernization? Rather than being an investigative reporter (I thought those things were long extinct), shouldn’t Clark be an unpaid blogger living in his mother’s basement and still writing endless rants about the Tupac-Biggie conspiracy while eating cold vegan pizza?

But no, this latest Superman bent over to the implacable will of marketing creeps and focus group jackoffs and was made for those who like their movies bland, predictable and full of overblown special effects. All the usual boxes are ticked. The Man of Steel zooms through the skies like a caped drone, rescues a busload of drowning kids, uncovers nefarious plots, gets the girl, and generally goes around yet again humbly saving the universe. Thanks, Supe!

Author Basil Papademos hates movies made by people who hate movies.