Saturday, June 15, 2013

Superman 2013

The family went to watch the latest reincarnation of Superman in the silver screen -- Man of Steel.  The movie has been getting lots of good comments from friends so I had high expectations.

The Cast

At the lead role is Henry Cavill.  I last saw him at Cold Light of Day opposite Bruce Willis.  Let me go straight to the point -- I don't like cleft chins.  I know that is very shallow and does not really say anything about the acting skills of the person.  But I can't help it.  I find cleft chins very distracting.  I hated Timothy Dalton's rendition of James Bond 007 because of his chin also.  He looked like he really buffed up for the role though.  He did not look that big in Cold Light of Day or Immortal.

Amy Adams made a great Lois Lane.  Definitely not as annoying as Margot Kidder in the original Christopher Reeves series.  And they made her smart in this movie unlike Margot Kidder who couldn't tell Clark Kent and Superman are one-and-the-same given that their only difference was the eyeglasses.

I've never really heard of Michael Shannon before this movie, but he played a pretty impressive (and scary) General Zod.  He is a good choice too.

The Music

I like Hans Zimmer's electronica music, but... it just doesn't measure up to a John Williams score.  After the movie, you wouldn't remember what the Man of Steel soundtrack sounded like.  But even 20 to 30 years later, people still know the soundtrack of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and of course, the original Superman series.  John Williams' music takes up a life of its own.  I think the Man of Steel producers **should** have used the original theme somehow.  They could let Hans Zimmer update it a bit for the 21st century if they do not want it to sound too fanfare-ish.

The Villains

For a superhero who has been around decades (in real time, not comic book time), one would expect Superman has amassed a large pool of arch-enemies.  But surprisingly, there seems to be a shortage of them.  So far with the movie adaptations, its just either Lex Luthor or General Zod.  Zod is not really much of a recurring character in the comic book series unlike Luthor (can't figure out why Superman can't beat this normal mortal with all his superpowers).  Bring in Brainiac or some other inter-stellar baddie.

In contrast, Batman has a great pool of great enemies to choose from (I hated Jack Nicholson's rendition of Joker in the original Batman movie).  Spiderman also has a lot of great villains that has still not appeared in the movies.  Even second-tier superheros like The Flash has an entire Rogues Gallery.  But Superman seems to be stuck in the same category as Green Lantern who does not have much of a list of enemies other than Sinestro; or Thor who only seem to have Loki as his constant enemy.

The Plot

DC took some liberty in changing the original Superman mythos.  Lois Lane knows from the start that Clark Kent is Superman.  Kal-El goes soul-searching as he learned of his powers early in his life and seems to have completely skipped the Superboy/Smallville phase.  Jor-El becomes a scientist who apparently is capable of beating up their planet's top military guy (duh!).  Well, I guess Russell Crowe is still Gladiator.

A couple of scenes that did not make sense to me:

1. When Superman and Lois where in Zod's ship, Superman slipped her the black key (with the "S" emblem).  Lois later plugs the key into a slot which brings up the consciousness of Jor-El who guides her to escape from the ship.  I don't recall Lois ever pulling out the key.  So how come at the end when they were going to drop Kal-El's baby spaceship into the alien spaceship, the scientist onboard the plane had another black "S" key to plug in?  Where did he get that key from since the one from Kal-El was left at Zod's ship?

2. How did Clark Kent, with no previous journalism background whatsoever, become a reporter at the Daily Planet on Day 1 of his work alongside Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists like Lois Lane?


I rate the movie 4 stars out of 5.  I felt the Marvel Studios movies (Iron Man 3 and Spiderman) were more fun to watch.  Ethan rates the movie 3 stars out of 5 -- because Superman did not wear his red briefs outside as what he was looking forward to see.

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