New To Blu: Man of Steel

The Man of Steel makes his way to blu ray this week....

What I really want to do is write one sentence and get this over with, but I can't do that. What I really want to do is just write: "Man of Steel was a thoroughly banal snooze fest that almost reached greatness at all too brief peaks throughout its insulting, ham-handed complete lack of disciplined story," then leave it at that and go to bed -- but I'm not going to do that. I think I'll write a couple more paragraphs explaining myself to the inevitable Nolan-is-infallible and Goyer-is-a-genius comments I'm sure to be at the blunt end of.

The film starts off promising. The special effects are the very best part of the show, presenting the world and technology of Krypton in many very cool and impressive ways. You will constantly be wowed with the enthralling attention to detail exhibited throughout. However, much of this extravagance and awe is shot directly in the foot when Nolan and Goyer's script persistently shoves its huge ugly head in the way of any sense of wonder and mystery by forcing its characters to become Pop-up-video bubbles for the audience whom the writers must certainly imagine is filled with complete morons who also don't come to a movie theater with eyeballs. In every other scene we are constantly interrupted by a chosen cast member who just has to inform us about what is going on as if we can't tell just by... um... LOOKING at the gigantic screen in front of us!

Most of the action was very good, I'm happy to report. Fast, powerful, and weighty come to mind. General Zod's crew are truly a badass delight to watch as they utterly annihilate just about anything they want to or come in contact with. Speaking of General Zod, I love Michael Shannon. He's one of the most underrated actors around. One of my favorites. And yet he manages to be completely out of place. He does not at all sound like a powerful alien leader. Not that I'm asking for an artificial space-detune to his voice, or some kind of hilariously bad Christian Bale Batman voice. Michael Shannon sounds like, well, Michael Shannon. Just some dude from Lexington, Kentucky in an alien suit. It was very difficult to feel at all like he was any kind of respectable threat. There was no menace in his performance. 

How was Henry Cavill? Well, he was huge. Like, Thor huge. And Zack Snyder told him to look as sad as possible in just about every frame of the film. It was rather annoying. For the most part, however, he was decent. Nothing beyond that, really. The remaining cast was a gray mushy paste of passable to pretty good with Russell Crowe, no doubt, and Kevin Costner, of all people, turning in the strongest performances. 

I'm not a fan of how they tried to elegantly skirt around the conventional origin story. Just do an origin story if you're going to do one. Don't give us the obligatory, "Hey, I'm looking at a bus that just happened to be here, now I'm going to remember that part in my life with the bus." These guys make more than I do with one page of this inane script than I make in an entire year of my life.

There were moments of greatness, truly. But they were there and gone as fast as Superman himself. And most of these moments, sadly, were all superficial ones. If all it takes for you to enjoy a film is some ass-kicking and awesome special effects, then you might enjoy Man of Steel quite a lot, so long as you also don't mind sitting through a lot of unwarranted melodrama and the occasionally thought-provoking Krypton story, that is until someone has to hit you over the head until they make sure you thoroughly get it before they move on to the next scene.

-Review by J.G. Barnes