Here's my short "Pro/Con" review of the new "Superman" movie, "Man of Steel", which Jeannine and I saw today:
-- Special effects are well done.
-- The explanation for the "S" on Superman's costume is slightly clever.
-- The movie is too long and too loud.
-- It has about one percent of the charm of the first Christopher Reeve "Superman" movie. A lot of that is due to the lack of chemistry among most of the major characters, and the general humorlessness of the script. Kevin Costner gives it his all as Jonathan Kent, Superman's adoptive father, but he isn't provided much to work with, script-wise. (There is one moment near the end of the movie, when in a flashback there is a nicely-lit closeup of Costner, and it struck me that if an "old Superman" movie were to be made in the next few years, he would be well cast in the lead role.)
-- Amy Adams is horribly miscast as Lois Lane. I like Adams as an actress, but she just cannot pull off the worldly, tough-as-nails reporter thing that Margot Kidder did so effortlessly in that aforementioned first Christopher Reeves "Superman" movie.
-- The storyline is gibberish. This is supposed to be a "realistic" treatment of the Superman mythos, and it fails miserably on almost every count. To pick one supremely ridiculous moment: After people have seen young Clark Kent demonstrate bizarre abilities like extraordinary strength (as in the scene where a whole bus full of his school mates are saved from certain drowning when Clark lifts their bus -- which has plunged into a river -- out of the water, and in other scenes which we don't see but which are referred to in dialogue), Pa Kent -- who is about to be killed in a tornado -- waves Clark off, telling him with the gesture that Clark can't take the risk of revealing his special abilities… even though he already has. So Clark lets his beloved father die when he could have easily saved him, and probably in a way which would be no more outre than any of his other exploits up to that point in his life. It's a hugely stupidly contrived moment.
-- Here's another head-scratching bit: There is something on Krypton called "The Codex", which supposedly contains all of the information for the DNA of every Kryptonian yet to be born, and before he sends his newborn son off in the little spaceship which will save him from sharing the destruction of Krypton, Jor-El somehow transfers this information into the genetic structure of baby Kal-El's body. So… in this highly advanced, star-faring super-technological society which is Krypton, we are supposed to believe that THEY DIDN'T MAKE MORE COPIES OF THIS CODEX THING??? Its data can be somehow stored inside the body of a baby without taking up any significant space therein, but it can't be copied onto the Kryptonian equivalent of a thumbdrive or DVD?
-- This supposedly "realistic" treatment of the "Superman" mythos couldn't come up with a satisfactory way to explain why at some points Superman can do anything and at others he is too weak to do what needs to be done… relying instead on the audience being expected to believe that all Superman needs to do to overcome occasional weakness is to grit his teeth and put on a pained expression, and somehow he will find the requisite strength.
-- We're expected to believe that the people of Krypton have the ability to construct and operate starships which can fly all over the galaxy… but they still can't find enough natural resources to save their planet? And they can't save anyone when Krypton is in its death throes except for baby Kal-El and the mooks on the "Phantom Zone" prison ship? What -- were all their space-capable vehicles in the shop or something?
-- Superman's red and blue suit looks NOTHING like any other Kryptonian garb we see in the movie, with the exception of the shield-shaped emblems on various chest pieces. And it's just suddenly THERE -- no explanation, no rationale… nothing you might reasonably expect from this much-vaunted "realistic" version of "Superman".
I don't think I'll be going back to see this one again. -- PL