Monday 17 June 2013

There is a danger of every time I sit in a room with people writing something like this or this.

Is being disappointed by the relentless nature of people to be obnoxious a sign of my everlasting hope that one day people will stop being arseholes? Or that I’m a fucking idiot who never tires of moaning about things that are never going to change?

The latter suggestion is inaccurate of course. Things have changed and are changing and will carry on changing: they are getting worse. In the cinema tonight even the nice, quiet people are fucking selfish pricks – waving about brightly lit mobile phones the size of cereal packets around distracting me. A couple on a date commenting on EVERYTHING throughout – kind of like a live DVD commentary for people who want to hear what unfunny pricks say about everything in a film.

And THEN there are the people who have always been annoying: the loud people thinking people want to hear their occasional shit jokes and people crunching their way through snacks throughout. I’m sure tonight someone had a blender doing smoothies.

Finally factor in whoever brought a toddler – that I refuse to be annoyed by but still missed things because they were being loud (yes I was annoyed by it – I can’t even stand by my own refusal).

Was Man of Steel worth it? Well it isn’t terrible. The previous cinema outing of Superman, Superman Returns, was a bit fucking dull. This wasn’t a bit fucking dull. But it wasn’t so amazing – serves me right for getting my hopes up and defending Zack Snyder’s Watchmen so much. Speaking of Watchmen, Snyder auditioned with a super man in Dr Manhattan in his previous work. Here, Superman (though he is only really called Kal-El and Clark Kent) is very much Jesus Christ – sent by his father to save Earth, keeps hovering in a crucifix pose, seen in front of a stained glass window WITH JESUS on it, he’s 33 and he’s being sacrificed by the planet so we can live on….OK,we get it.

However it is not the Jesus metaphor being hammered home with heavy imagery – like so many nails were hammered into his limbs to keep him attached to a cross – but the technological wizardry behind the films special effects that threaten to ruin the film. When the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeves Superman boasted it would make us believe a man could fly with its special effect wizardry. Well, we’ve come a long way since then: film special effectss have convinced us that dinosaurs could return, that cities have been destroyed and that Andy Serkis does have a place in acting.

Man of Steel does, of course, boast amazing special effects. But like all big mone action blackbuster films they threaten to overpower the characters, actors, directors and stories because they just have to be bigger and better than the last blockbuster. But, seriously, how many more superhero-monster fights smashing up New York can we put on screen before people get bored?

The biggest fault with the film was that it failed to capitalise on all the excellent groundwork the opening 30 minutes put in. Russell Crowe as Jor-El was excellent and pushed the opening on; there was also some heart in the flashbacks, explaining why Clark Kent was hiding away his super strengths and roaming around America with a beard, stopping to occasionally thing of Kevin Costner saying something to a younger version of himself.

All that was quite good and all the actors were fine. But then it just became every other action film of the last 20 years – reminding me at different stages of The Avengers, Independence Day, the Spider-Man trilogy, the trailer for Pacific Rim and –  all too fleetingly – the Superman franchise.

I am probably in the minority when it comes to NOT wanting to see computer animated figures destroy real-but-computerised cities for 25 minutes at the end of a film (I do like them to be slowly destroyed throughout a film in short bursts by aliens/godzillas). But that is  how I feel and why this film left me somewhat nonplussed. I love the original Superman films but it was a lot to do with the levity of tone and much of that stemmed from the Clark/Superman dichotomy (“he’s a bumbling oaf – don’t trust him with that vase”/”he’s can fly faster than a speeding bullet -which he is also impervious to should it be shot at him!” etc).

There is definitely going to be enough money made to mean there will be another outing for this iteration of the cast (by the way did I even say Cavill does a stand up job with what he has to work with as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman? Well he does) and maybe that’s when they can maybe take the foot of the special effects pedal – probably isn’t one of those – and make a great Superman film.

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