Monday, July 1, 2013

They Blew Up One Too Many Things

I watch the new Superman - Man of Steel yesterday.

Superman - in the only public domain version, found HERE

Not completely successful.

It felt like two movies hammered together: a moody character-motivation origin story smashed into an explosive summer-blockbuster crash-fest.  Of those two, the thoughtful moody one was the better... but neither half really won me over.

There were some things I liked, but many more I'm unconvinced by.  For one thing, the film took huge liberties with the classic origin story of the comic books, made a HUGE shift in the Lois Lane / Clark Kent relationship, and an even huger change in Superman's relationship to Krypton.  I'm sure the purists are screaming.  I'm inclined to agree with them: a radical re-working of a myth (and Superman IS mythic) is fine, but only if it works.  I don't think this does.

But all that at least showed thought and willingness to experiment.

What was utterly banal and unthinking was the let's-smash-one-MORE-building boredom of the last half of the film.  Come on!  Smashing stuff is not, in itself, interesting.  This is Superman not the Hulk - smashing is not supposed to be the point.  It was repetitive, too long, and frankly boring.  As we were leaving I overheard a ten year old boy say, "It was kinda annoying."  He was right.  And when a film like this loses the ten year old boy vote, it's in trouble.

The only "smashing" that had any interest or importance was when Clark Kent's farmhouse was damaged.  That mattered.  But even then, his Mom, picking through the wreckage voiced my thought: "It's only stuff."

All that wrecking of Metropolis?  It's only stuff.

When, when, when will blockbuster makers learn that It's The Story That Matters?  The new ease of creating special effects has allowed - pushed even - filmmakers into too many, too facile smashups.  We need to ration these guys: "You can only break ten (10) things - so make 'em count!"

Instead of this flick, go watch the old Christopher Reeve Superman - for the real-deal mythology - or the latest Avengers - for beautifully choreographed smashings and the Hulk.  (Spoiler: Hulk versus Loki illustrates breaking things that matter... in this case, Loki.  Hilarious!)

(BTW - on the film's production design...  Cool - but I kinda think the alien artifact designers stared too long at June bugs.)

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