Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Man of Steel

On a distant, dying planet, a desperate scientist places his only son into a rocket and sends it to Earth as insurrection and seismic shifts tear everything that was his world apart. Any resemblance (after these events) to real DC Comics characters, relevant or otherwise, is purely coincidental. Mercenary director Zack Snyder throws his blunt truncheon into the fray as Warner Bros. takes its first agonizing steps into a wider DC Cinematic Universe, its only motivation to do so because Marvel Entertainment has reached the point where they can make movies with talking raccoons and potentially make a billion dollars. British actor Henry Cavill stars as the beloved American icon, Sup - super... His name was Kal-El, we guess. Henry Cavill stars as Kal-El with HOPE on his chest and a paycheck in his pocket in Snyder and screenwriting atrocity David S. Goyer's cynical take on the legendary origins of Superman.

  • Warner Bros. Logo = -1pt 
  • DC Comics Logo = -2pts 
  • Syncopy Logo = +5pts. 
  • We begrudgingly admit that Krypton's Science Council looks very cool. = +10pts
  • Faora. Hu-Ul. +5pts
  • Zod: "These lawmakers... WITH THEIR ENDLESS DEBATES..." Shit, cool it, bro. They're, like, right over there. = -5pts
  • Russell Crowe fight scene. = +22pts 
  • Lara's hair looks like Medusa snakes which, ew. = -5pts
  • Zod's forces have ships. Jor-El has a space dragon. = -3pts. 
  • Snyder’s zoom-ins and outs making us want to puke. = -5pts 
  • Codex. Unnecessary McGuffin. = -20pts
  • Matrix babies? C'mon, Snyder. You're making a movie for Warner Bros. and you steal from one of the most popular action films they ever made? = -23pts
  • Jor-El on Earth: "A seemingly intelligent population." Um. Maybe YOU should have been in charge of finding a habitable planet, buddy = -5pts 
  • Jor-El: "Good-bye, my son. Our hopes and dreams travel with you." I... I need a minute. *sniff* NO I'M NOT. = +10pts  
  • Zod’s and Jor-El's battle armor is fairly bitchin', = +2pts. 
  • Jor-El beatdown. = +30pts. 
  • Lara takes murder fairly well. = -5pts. 
  • Zod: "I will find him, Lara. What, you don't believe me? 'Cuz I'll totally do it. Just try me. You think I can't? I WILL FIND HIM. Gaw." = -5pts. (For reprising his role as bitchy sorority sister.) 
  • Lara speaks the most tantalizing, yet ultimately disappointing line in the whole movie: "This is the end." = -8pts (If only.) 
  • Now, this technician has seen Krypton explode at least 100 times, and I'll say it: this is the scariest, and coolest, depiction of it yet. = +50pts. 
  • Clark Kent’s not earning a journalism degree on a shrimping boat. = -78pts
  • Can't singe Super-chest hair. = +8pts
  • Super-flashback: Superman Begins. = -42pts 
  • Zach Snyder putting a humpback whale in his movie is his way of saying, "Fuck you, world, I have 225 million dollars to spend." = -5pts
  • Chris Cornell singing in a Superman movie = -88pts
  • Clark: "Oh, there's a schoolbus, which reminds me of that one time..." = -5pts
  • Pete Ross uses the word "dicksplash." David S. Goyer, screenwriter, ladies and gentlemen = -10pts 
  • Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent = +100pts (Much better than Kevin Costner as wannabe Liam Neson)
  • Shaky-cam Father/Son moment = -10pts. 
  • Jonathan: "You ARE my son." You guys, I can't... = +100pts. 
  • Thank you, Canadian Army fellas, for that very handy line of exposition. = -5pts. 
  • Clark: "Ease up, bro." Okay, he didn't really say that. BUT HE WAS THINKING IT. = -5pts
  • So this bustling truck stop, filled with all sorts of people, just happens to not see Kent wrap a Big Rig around a telephone pole with his bare hands. = -10pts
  • Lois Lane, ginger. = -100pts. 
  • Just having Emil Hamilton in this flick merits +100pts, but c'mon, Goyer. Was it too much trouble for you to do a quick Google search to find out that he’s a professor? = -50pts
  • Col. Hardy: "Temperatures drop to minus 40 at night around here." = +0pts (We think an intrepid reporter like Miss Lane can handle a mild Chicago winter.) 
  • Man of Steel, brought to you by Nikon = -3pts. 
  • Laurence Fishburne as Perry White = +50pts... (Bravo.) 
  • Lois: "I'm a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter." Thanks for reminding us, Lane. = -20pts 
  • Enter: Space/Ghost Dad = +5pts 
  • Now, the 'S' symbol in this movie stands for 'hope', and it is the chosen mark of the House of El. This scoutship, carrying a suit adorned with such a symbol, was brought to Earth over 18,000 years ago (for some damned reason), and one of the ship's lifepods was open when Kal came across them. This is the only time where Snyder uses actually employs subtlety and plants a tantalizing seed into the film that makes me us want to discover more without beating us over our heads with it. DC released a Prologue comic in 2013 that featured the crew of this ship, chief among them one Kara Zor-El, or Supergirl, as she's commonly known. Who's to say she's not out there, frozen, waiting for her baby cousin to come rescue her? Wouldn't that make for a better sequel, ZACK SNYDER? = +200pts 
  • Learning to fly. = +50pts. 
  • Jor-El: "You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun, Kal. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders." Totally ripped from Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman, but hearing Russell Crowe say it gives us the kind of goosepimples we got when Marlon Brando said to Christopher Reeve, "They can be a great people, Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For these reasons, above all their capacity for good, I have sent them you. My only son." We need a minute here, folks = +100pts 
  • Flight sound effects are from The Adventures Oof Superman with George Reeves, a television show from 1952-1958. Nice touch = +100pts. 
  • Flying outside Earth's orbit, a nod to Richard Donner's magnificent Superman: The Movie. = +100pts. 
  • Man of Steel, brought to you by IHOP. = -3pts
  • Jonathan Kent, hero. = +50pts (*sniff*)
  • Sacrificing your father’s life in an effort to save the family dog. = -10pts (Kryptonians sure do have bizarre priorities. Although this may explain the wanton destruction and death that follows.) 
  • Man Of Steel, brought to you by Budweiser. = -5pts. 
  • Little Clark is reading Plato upside down. = -5pts. 
  • About the fifteenth time we've been reminded how Clark/Kal-El will change the world. We get it. = -10pts
  • Clark goes to church to ask about sacrificing himself for the good of the people, and Snyder frames Clark's dome around a stained glass window that features - yup - Jesus Christ. = -100pts
  • Faora. Damn. = +50pts
  • Having no discernible reason to have Lois aboard Zod's craft. = -10pts. 
  • Drowning in skulls. Pee-yew. = -10pts
  • Good thing that Goyer wrote Lois into Zod's ship, otherwise who would use the Super-memory card to upload Ghost Dad, and thus saving Kal and ensuring Crowe gets that beach home in the Bahamas.? = -50pts
  • Jor-El: "You can save her, Kal. You can save all of them." This movie needs 100% more Russell Crowe. = +50pts. 
  • Zod's helmet looks like the jockey from Prometheus. = -5pts
  • Martha Kent: "Go to Hell." Ick = -30pts
  • Man oOf Steel, brought to you by 7-11. = -5pts
  • Kal-El: "Get inside. It's not safe." Shit, iIt ain't safe in there, either = -10pts. 
  • Man of Steel, brought to you by Sears. = -5pts
  • Man of Steel, brought to you by U-Haul. = -5pts
  • 9/11 imagery. Because that's what you want in a Superman film. = -100pts. (Well, maybe in a Transformers movie...) 
  • Thank you, Dr. Hamilton, for the definition of "terraforming." = -5pts
  • Saying "Superman" three times, in a row, and the film not imploding. = -100pts
  • Terraforming, brought to you by Skrillex. = -50pts
  • Kal-El vs. Space-Oil Squid. = -50pts. (For stealing from Hellboy.) 
  • They snuck Christopher Reeve in there, superimposed over Cavill's face. Can't tell whether or not I should love this or hate this. = +0pts 
  • Does Faora have a thing for Col. Hardy? We’re not jealous, We’re just, er, asking. For a friend. = -200pts
  • Jenny: "He saved us." He saved four of you. Look at your city. = -32pts
  • Lois: "It's all downhill after the first kiss." Kal-El: "I'm pretty sure that only counts when you kiss a human." = -200pts
  • LexCorp truck tankers. Insert Jesse Eisenberg joke here. LexCorp cameo = +50pts Jesse Eisenberg = -100 pts Total Score = -50pts 
  • Zod: "There's only one way this ends, Kal. Either you die, or I do." In addition to revealing Zod’s inability to count to two, this line is probably why Goyer justifies his stupid-ass ending = -10pts 
  • Kal just took a facefull of satellite, courtesy of Wayne Enterprises. = +5pts
  • Superman does not kill. Ever. = -500pts
  • Captain Farris: "I just think he's kinda hot." Fuck this. = -50pts
  • Cue Hans Zimmer's magnificent score, the best part of this whole endeavor = +1000pts

Total Score: -29pts
Available on: Blu-Ray, DVD

Zack Snyder's film has the best of intentions, and makes an attempt to contemporize Superman for modern audiences, but doing so only dilutes the Man of Steel's magnificence. Putting 225 million dollars behind a script written by David S. Goyer is every inch the calamity it should be, and the tragedy is that Superman had to suffer for it. Henry Cavill's game - and the man fills out the suit nicely - but his Superman certainly does not inspire hope, and his brawler antics result in the greatest amount of murder one is likely to see in one single film. It will take a far more nuanced director than Zack Snyder to fill in the finer touches to capture the importance, the brilliance, and - most importantly - the relevance of Superman, and it appears we'll never have the pleasure. Not for the forseeable Bat-Future, at least.

Score Technician: Jarrod Jones, of DoomRocket.

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