NOPE – When Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife deliver their newborn super baby, they immediately must make plans to send the tike away from their doomed Planet Krypton. They size up Planet Earth as having a “seemingly intelligent population.”
You’d never know it watching this most recent stab at the Superman story.
Man of Steel was directed by the talented visionary Zack Snyder (300, Sucker Punch), but the screenplay and story credits are credited to half a dozen different folks (Christopher Nolan among them!), and the resulting script is not good – at all.
The film opens promisingly with the birth of the super baby, Kal-El. Apparently the planet’s first natural birth in centuries! Like so many other sci-fi worlds, babies are harvested on Krypton. Like edamame. Or banana squash. Or computer hackers.
Crowe and Ayelet Zurer convincingly play the proud parents; but the Planet Krypton’s got big problems – and no sooner are they swaddling their little nugget than Crowe’s Jor-El is smack dab in the middle of a coup det tat’ led by the ambitious General Zod (played by the perpetually scowling Michael Shannon).
General Zod wants to preserve what’s left of sorry old Krypton, but Jor-El has different designs on the future of his people, so he sneaks off and snatches the coveted Codex, a charcoal looking lump that contains the genetic code of their homogenous race. He then implants it into his newborn’s dome and sends the little dude spiraling toward the corn fields of Kansas, USA.
Little Kal gets bullied on a school bus.
Big Kal gets bullied at a truck stop.
Little Kal gets bullied by a knucklehead football player.
All adding up to Kevin Costner (Kal’s foster dad) shaking his head woefully and praising his alien son for learning to turn the other cheek.
And then, standing on principle, he lets himself get whisked away by a tornado rather than let his super son save him. Good ol’ dad – what a guy.
I actually admired the film’s overt parallels between Kal and Jesus Christ. Heavy handed in the midst of the rest of the goofy story, but very well-intended. There are also some obvious comparisons to America’s present war on terror against radical Islam. One of General Zod’s sidekicks actually says to an earthling at one point “The fact that you have a sense of morality and we do not gives us an advantage.” Then she adds “Evolution always wins.”
That is by far the smartest Man of Steel gets.
The rest of the time we are left staring at the cardboard J. Crew cutout named Henry Cavill (Kal-El), an actor so distractingly handsome he neglected to attend charm school, let alone any acting classes. This guy’s a stiff.
I still can’t decide what was harder, watching the gorgeous Diane Lane looking really old (horrible makeup) and tired on the big screen, or waiting to see if Amy Adams (Lois Lane) could get any spark out of the impenetrable block of wood, Cavill. She could not.
This guy should be on The Bachelor.
This guy should be standing poolside on South Beach with a collection of room keys.
This guy should be plastered across a Guess billboard on Sunset, right next to the House of Blues and just beyond the Pink Dot liquor store.
This guy should be selling shoes on the Champs Elysees while moonlighting as a male “escort.”
But Superman? This guy? Not on my watch.
Oh, too late – I already watched. For nearly two and one half hours!
So, how about the story? Well, earthlings, I hate to bring the bleak news, but apparently when General Zod and his goons come knocking in hopes of destroying the human race, we are going to fend them off with one General, one Colonel, one newspaper reporter, and a handful of generic helicopters. That’s the best we shall muster. And while the body count will be huge as the whooping goes down and skyscrapers shatter and buildings crumble, look for Superman to be making out with Lois Lane amidst the carnage. Cuz that’s how he rolls.
I wish I would have rolled out after Russell Crowe jettisoned his super spawn.
With concrete rubble and twisted metal ruins surrounding them, bodies by the thousand surely buried, she even has the nerve to exclaim “You saved us!”
I laughed out loud at that bit of foolishness.
Unfortunately, I was the only one in the “seemingly intelligent” theatre laughing.