I Fell Asleep During Man of Steel

Superman

There’s no doubt you’ve heard a lot about the new Superman movie, Man of Steel.  You’ve probably read Scott’s and Anthony’s thoughts on the movie, here on Comic Book Daily.

Well… I don’t have too many thoughts on the movie, because quite honestly… I fell asleep during it.

But from the parts that I was conscious and coherent during, it didn’t impress me much.

Man of Steel presented us with a new origin for Superman.  And I didn’t like it much.  Sure the parts that showed Clark using his powers in his youth were good (I’m a Smallville fan so I’m used to seeing Clark save people pre-tights & flight), but the rest of the movie was lacking for me.

I am a huge Superman movie fan.  I still consider Richard Donner’s original Superman to be one of the greatest Superhero movies of all time.  I also consider Richard Lester’s Superman II a perfect example on how Clark and Superman should be shown on screen.

Superman II

Sadly Man of Steel doesn’t live up to these two iconic movies.

I have no idea where Man of Steel went wrong.  Was it the story?  Was it the director?  Was it Christopher Nolan’s influence?

It could be a combination of those three.

DC handing the reigns of their super hero movies over to Christopher Nolan is a bad idea.  Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were two very amazing Batman movies.  Batman is a dark and gritty character, and Christopher Nolan’s style works very well with the Caped Crusader.  But dark and gritty doesn’t work for Superman.  He is supposed to be the “light” of the DC Universe.  Not a dark, conflicted character.

I lost faith in Christopher Nolan after The Dark Knight Rises, and my faith wasn’t restored after Man of Steel.

2006 was the first attempt on restarting the Superman movie franchise.  A lot of people don’t like Superman Returns.  I still think it was a very decent Superman movie.  It wasn’t a reboot or a remake.  It was a sequel to the original movies, but just updated to the current time.

superman-returns-nw04

It tried to carry on the feel and tone of the original movies.  Brandon Routh was a good Superman, but he was a better Clark Kent.  That is the real secret to a good Superman movie.  Clark.

While Superman is virtually a god, Clark is the human side of the character.  He is the person we can connect with.

The other thing I like about Superman Returns is the use of John Williams Superman March.  The Superman theme song is still my favourite movie theme of all time.  I really missed it being in Man of Steel (or… was it? I was asleep).

Who knows what will happen with the DC Cinematic Universe?  The ultimate plan is a Justice League movie with everything tied together.  But the Batman, Superman and Green Lantern movies were made with no connection together.  So I don’t see a Justice League movie happening anytime soon.  DC and Warner Brothers should have taken their cue from Disney and Marvel and made the new movie with something bigger in mind like The Avengers.

The only thing I can see happening with the DC Cinematic Universe is another reboot.  And hopefully they will make something that is more accessible to the general public, and make a movie that isn’t dark and gritty, so kids and families are able to see the movie together.

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Ed Campbell
Ed Campbell is a collector of comics and action figures, primarily G.I. Joe. He is also a Cosplayer with Thor and Captain America as just a few of the characters in his arsenal. When not fulfilling his Comic Book Daily duties, he's "working for a living", volunteering his time for his local Fall Fair, and spending as much time with his family as possible. Use the links below to get in contact with him.
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14 Comments

  1. what really bothered me about the movie is at the end. Clark now works for the daily planet, but how in the world is the daily planet a safe place to be? half the city was destroyed. A building just toppled beside the planet. Metroplis should be deemed a no go zone for years to come to clean up the mess that fight left.

  2. My 14 year old son went to the movie with some school mates. He thought the movie was great. I thought about this a bit, did he enjoy it because he did not have any preconceptions of Superman? He’s familiar with the character in a pop culture sense but has never read Superman comics.

    Did DC feel catering to Superman comic book fans to be too limiting to the future prospects for the Superman films?

    Maybe 100,000 people read Superman comics monthly, DC is going after millions of new fans for the franchise.

  3. I didn’t care for the movie because it doesn’t seem to know exactly what it is that Superman stands for – something that the company that owns Superman SHOULD know, but I think it’s a perfectly fine blow ’em up, knock ’em down film in the same sense of presentation as Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, which are very popular with teenage boys. My issue is not that it went after that audience, which will be interested in a Superman movie even if it’s Superman frying eggs with his eyes for 2 hours… it’s that it should have been better than what it was, and it could have presented a less confused, morally ambiguous Superman.

    Some better writing and a firmer hand at the upper levels would have curtailed this from happening.

    It’s also why the Marvel movies are much more satisfying – they make changes when necessary, but don’t try to remake the essential character that got them to that point. In Marvel movies the heroes behave as we expect they do, and we’re entertained by great casting, while with the DC movies we are constantly shaking our heads and saying “that’s dumb, Superman/Green Lantern/Batman” wouldn’t do that”, and while the casting may work, the actors aren’t allowed to do much to make the character their own – they are action figures bent to the whim of sombre, auteur directors who don’t get the characters they are presenting.

  4. Well said Mr. Boyd.

    I almost dread more DC movies to come out. DC hasn’t hit it out of the park since The Dark Knight. Sure the movies made money, but they haven’t been good.

    Looking at the last 10 years of DC movies, I would put THE LOSERS as one of my top picks. I would love a sequel to come out, because if you’ve read the comics, you know the story isn’t done yet.

    Unfortunately it didn’t do well, so we won’t see another one. But we will get reboot, after reboot of movies that don’t need to be remade. Don’t reboot something that isn’t broken.

  5. According to Box Office Mojo, Supes has the highest ranking for a June opener. Middle aged men who find change difficult may not agree with the studios direction but as a business, they are aiming for the sweet spot:

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/weekends/month/?mo=06&p=.htm

    Superman has been a problematic character for a long time. We all know that DC has tried to revamp the character several times with little success. Writers have a tough enough time coming up with fresh stories for a character with such a long history. The fact that Supes is an all powerful boy scout is even tougher because boy scouts are boring. Just ask the ladies…

    The single biggest problem in comics is that the industry has no succession plan, so if this movie can reach the masses, kids in particular (not old guys like us) and set up the basis for newer, fresher stories, it’s a good thing for the longevity of our hobby. After all, is this not the basis for the 52 reboot?

    Man of Steel has plenty of problems but I’d argue it also has plenty to rave about. I have no problems with a negative or positive review as long as it can be supported. Opinions as well are valid but in order to have one… YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY SEE THE MOVIE.

  6. I agree with Kevin, the movie didn’t really know what it wanted to be or who superman really is. Well, who superman is, to the film, is Jesus. I got really, really tired of Superman being Jesus.

    My other complaint was that the movie didn’t feel like a cohesive story, but rather 18 or so mini stories weaved together. Wasn’t a big fan, but it’s wasn’t bad.

  7. I don’t really understand what SHOULD have happened to make everyone enjoy this movie. I haven’t seen it myself yet, so my opinion is missing the luxury of first-hand experience. But I just don’t know what you-all would’ve done differently? If left up to the fans of comics/Superman, Man Of Steel would just be a remake of everything that’s already happened and that would be stupid.

    If you ever watched a movie or read a book about Superman, that’s great. But it happened… and now it’s finished. It happened THEN and that is all.

    The character has survived over 75 years because it was able to adapt to the world around it – and we (as fans) need to allow space for the character to become something else now so that it may live on for another 70+ years.

    Superman is cheese on toast. Prior to 52, he was tired and old and boring and rubbish. So, what… we must keep it all the same because that’s what the fans want? Nope, we must allow the character to grow and evolve and invite new people to experience a story-moment that may or may not be remembered.

    All the stuff in this film IS what superman would do because… he just did it.

    Like it or don’t like it, but don’t miss an opportunity to open your mind to the idea of possibility.

    Every story is a ‘what if…’

  8. Hey, it was a good idea, good acting, good writing, good ideas.

    But somehow I just found it all…. boring

  9. You should really see it, as Charlie hammered on about… then decide. If I were making a Superman film I would barely acknowledge the origin story… how many times do we need to retell/change/reinvision blah blah blah the origin story. All Star Superman still has the best summary of everything you need to know about Superman in a single page. But….

    … and that’s not the story these film-makers chose to make. Instead it’s a movie about aliens fighting over the future of their dead planet on Earth, and on that level it’s an okay film, although the fights tend to go on and on and get really boring with lots of running and falling buildings. How many times do they need to punch each other? Well, as many times as Zack Snyder wants them to, and that’s a lot. It ends like the multiple Michael Bay Transformers films with lots of property damage and stuff going on.

    The thing is, one of those aliens is Superman. He barely behaves like any Superman we’ve seen, is crippled by fears put in him by his stepdad, and he engages in endless punching fights that pretty much destroy everything around where the fights is in are taking place. I found it to be pretty joyless and depressing, sort of like the Nolan Batman films — but Batman can be dark and depressing (which is why I enjoyed them), but Superman not so much, he should be about hope as he literally wears the symbol on his chest.

    There’s only the barest hint of what COULD be at the very end of the film at the Daily Planet, and so I have some ‘hope’ that they could turn in a more enjoyable Superman movie now that we have Krypton and it’s Phantom Zone criminals appropriately in the past.

  10. Ed, I didn’t fall asleep. I did yawn 4 times though. The movie was flat out boring. We can critique it all we want. How was it different than a Michael Bay movie or Jerry Brucheimer? Huge destruction and blowing crap up. No real story. Zod, and teh others already were very well constructed by Richard Donner…and frankly, Terrance Stamp will never be bested. What they should have done was introduced a completely different villain (why always Lex Luthor, or Zod?) Superman has Mogul, Parasite, and so many huge villians and the directors keep picking the same ones. Boring. They need a director who understands Superman and the characters. Next time, they need to fix Lois (ala the spitfire attitude of Terry Hatcher), Fix Perry, was there a Jimmy? Where was the comic relief? I guess none, because of Nolan. So many elements just ignored. That’s why it was boring. And that’s why you slept, and I yawned. I guess I’m so passionate about this subject because I reallt thought they got it right this time. I believed a man could fly, but I didn’t really believe in the flying man.

  11. Hey Laura,

    You’re obviously allowed to find things boring and I like your thoughts on it being a collection of short stories… maybe ideal for consuming in 20 minute chunks on DVD?

    My comment is more a reaction to the fans of comics whom went into this movie with crossed arms and a misplaced feeling of ownership over previous iterations of the character. “It’s not like the original movie so it’s rubbish”, “he kills someone so, it’s rubbish” “he told us how old he is…”

    I just think each new piece of story should be treated as such, a new piece of story.

    If people want to watch the old movie, then they should watch the old movie.

  12. I don’t need to have seen the movie to feel the way I feel about the reaction here. I’m not offering an opinion on the movie because I don’t have one yet.

    We’re dealing with fiction here, art, storytelling. A character needs a few things to really stand out as 3 dimensional:
    They have to want something
    There has to be a daunting obstacle in their way
    They must have a weakness
    There has to be a primary antagonist whom points out that weakness and it should jeopardise what they want
    There has to be a great loss or great victory in connection to what they want
    They must change fundamentally during the course of the story to something new from where they started

    In the old movies and certainly most of the comics I’ve ever read, Supes is firmly 2 dimensional. This is something DC needed to address in this new film. Did they get it right? I don’t know. It sounds to me as though they definitely tried something new though and that’s only good.

    I just don’t see how they could’ve made what you need?! They can’t simply follow the Marvel movies tonally and they already made Superman Returns… they must be different and competitive and open to bringing in new fans.

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