Thursday, 20 June 2013

Man of Steel - The scoop and digest

Is it a stock broker?  Is it a quantity surveyor?  Is it a church warden?  No, it’s Bicycle Repair Man, but how?

After Superman Returns, Director Zack ‘300’ Snyder was under ‘slight’ pressure to ensure that we didn’t experience a terrible sense of déjà vu due to Brian Singer’s 2006 sham. 

Thankfully, Brandon Routh has outgrown his cape and British thespian Henry ‘Immortals’ Cavill now soars through the sky.

This new vision fuses elements of the first two films and unsurprisingly, adds original story telling.

Plot details and/or spoilers will be covered by the Daily Planet.

Those hoping to avoid rising or kneeling before Zod include:

Henry Cavill – Kal-El/Clark Kent
Amy Adams – Lois Lane
Russell Crowe – Jor-El
Michael Shannon – General Zod
Laurence Fishburne – Perry White
Diane Lane – Martha Kent
Kevin Costner - Jonathan Kent
Antje Traue – Faora

Jor-El and wife Lara are more pleased than punch with the birth of their naturally conceived son Kal-El as it’s something of a rarity on Krypton.

The genesis chamber houses all sorts of oddities…

This is inhabited by flying monsters, computers and a pissed off military commander, General Zod.  To add salt to this sugar bowl, it’s heading for certain destruction due to its unstable core.

Spotting the danger of Zod, Jor-El fuses genetic cells in the tyke using the codex to preserve the Kryptonian race and prepares to launch him into space.

After a scrap, Joe-El is killed by a stabbing pain to the stomach for half inching the codex.

However, Zod is powerless to prevent the launch and after been sentenced by the counsel, he and his cronies look forward to a stint in the Phantom Zone.

They are basically turned into what look like frozen sarcophaguses and launched up, up and faraway.

Shortly after, Lara buys it as Krypton goes kaboom.

On Earth, an infant is found on a field by Martha and Jonathan Kent who name him Clark and become his adoptive parents.

During adulthood, we see what life is like for an ‘alien’ as his adolescent and testosterone fuelled teenage years are told via various scenes of flashback.

Also, we see slight frustration boiling within as he really wants to unleash rage and kick the asses of idiots who think it’s clever to bully.

Jonathan warns that revealing his powers may work against him and be rejected from society as people are afraid of what they don’t understand.  During violent weather conditions, a tornado takes Jonathan’s life and Martha is understandably more devastated.

It is not wise to wind up Clark as he can easily arrange your lorry to be skewered with wooden stakes, as some asshole trucker finds out…

Life’s obviously a bitch for a superhero and could he about to meet one?

In the Arctic, reporter Lois Lane has been sent to cover a story as the discovery of a large object buried in the ice has created understandable intrigue.

With Clark already inside, he listens to the waffle of Jor-El’s holographic subconscious.

In most circumstances, talking to a ghost may be considered madness but not when you’re the boy in blue.

Lois is attacked by the craft’s automated defences but rescued and healed by our man.

After tracing Clark back to Kansas, his story is enough to persuade her not to reveal his secret.

At some point, Jor-El says that in order to understand power, he must push himself to the limit and like Tobey Maguire in the original Spiderman movie, he has fun doing so and crashing into a mountain is a minor inconvenience.

“You are not alone,” warns General Zod as thanks to Krypton’s destruction, granted he and his troops unconditional parole from the Phantom Zone.

Zod speaks of a machine to replace our rock with a new Krypton and by using the codex, intends to repopulate this makeshift planet with fellow Kryptonians.

Whoah, Metropolis should be afraid, very afraid.

The deal is that unless Kal-El is surrendered within 24 hours, the world can expect to suffer.

So like a good little superhero, he hands his own ass over to the military.

Yer’ know that ‘S’ on his suit, it means hope on Krypton but the alien is eventually dubbed as ‘Superman’.

Why not call him Hopeman then?  Yeah, why not?

Anyway, he and Lois agree to go with Faora, Zod’s deputy and off they go in the General’s turtlely decent looking ship.

Faora gives Lois a ‘breather’ as the atmosphere way up in space is toxic to humans and even to Clark, as he’s adapted so well to Earth’s atmosphere.

Okay, he inevitably gets his mojo back and breaks free while guaranteeing Lois lands safely.

Along with a hulking third, Clark mixes it up with Faora while skidding and taking the pavement with them.

The baddies enjoy taking out military aircrafts and standard bullets merely bounce off their impenetrable armour.

Meanwhile, the Phantom Drive is deployed and a scientist type observes that Zod’s machine is able to bend space and is terraforming the city.

With the aid of Clark’s craft, the military successfully force Zod’s crew back to the Phantom Zone.

Surrounded by carnage, Clark and Lois’s lips meet but the end boss emerges before things get steamy.

They smash, fly, play ‘chase me’ until eventually, Zod spies a gaggle of civilians and the opportunity to score revenge for his failure via a laser stream.

Clark snaps his neck like a Kit Kat, thus ending any further threat.

Yes, this is more stupid than the offspring of a village idiot.

The military try and monitor where our man hangs his cape but although he’s here to help, it has to be on his terms.

Taking a job at the Daily Planet, a meek and mild bespectacled addition to the payroll is introduced.

Snyder’s film both succeeds as a visual spectacular and stalling rust bucket.

Action sequences are fairly exhilarating but hardly leave you breathless.

The fights are pretty effective, but unimaginative as it’s a biff, bash and block clichéd affair.

I personally think that the blue touch paper takes too long to be lit as Krypton’s demise and flashback drag rather than shine on.

Clark, Kal-El and his further adopted name Hopeman, struggles with human emotions so Cavill at least is an interesting alternative to those who have gone before.

Undoubtedly, the film’s most disappointing aspect is Michael Shannon who makes for a lazy and uninspiring Zod.

Terence Stamp oozed ruthlessness, charisma and sarcasm but his successor isn't fit to fly in the same airspace as his predecessor.

Faora replaces Ursa (Sarah Douglas) and while unofficial, I guess the other is supposed to be the physically imposing Non, (Jack O’Halloran).

Suffice to say, the original Kryptonian criminals kick ass and the reason why Superman II was such a great and entertaining sequel.

The Phantom Zone is only teased in the 1980 Richard Donner sequel and again, we don’t really see it here.  Strangely, it’s only ever truly seen in the 1984 spin off Supergirl starring Helen Slater as literally the flying bird.

Also, why does Zod and co have to be frozen?  Is this a weird take on Demolition Man?

Never mind about the effect of laser vision looking practically identical to Cyclops of X-Men fame, let’s get the embarrassing out of the way first before I holler the bizarre.

A ship buried in the ice for x amount of years?  Ha ha ha!

In the winter of 1982, something similar was found by Norwegians in Carptener’s horror classic The Thing.

During flashback, Jonathan informs a young Clark that he took the codex for examination and this material didn’t correspond to anything on the Periodic Table.

I’m sure it would astonish you more if I told you this was also the case with one of the alien’s weapons in Predator 2.

Even in Hollywood, I can’t believe for one second that the writers ripped this off as it’s just too ridiculous, rather like the prospect of Danny Glover defeating the Predator himself...

I also find it funny that early in the film; Superman has a scruffy beard but then magically has a shave at an unconfirmed moment.

We've had the largely awful Marvel’s Assemble (mainly because of Disney) and we'll just have to wait for Justice League to happen.

Despite all my bitching and moaning, the big screen is host to far worse but considering how great this should have been, you can’t help but feel deflated.

My final thought is when it comes to unleashing an unnecessary roar, Cavill needs to take lessons from Van Damme. 

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