My neck is in agony and as numerous daytime commercials have taught me ‘where there’s blame, there’s a claim’.
The reason for this tenseness in my shoulders and nagging pain in my neck is not down to a poorly placed ladder, nor is it the product of a wet floor that was not properly signposted, no no. The reason being for my affliction is the repetitive shaking of my head that I have done since sitting in front of the opening credits of Man Of Steel and then witnessing yet another death of Superman, once again at the hands of a film director.
It’s painful viewing for any self-professed fanboy to watch as someone takes your favourite hero and puts them in a piece of work that you feel is horribly wrong. I can imagine it was the same feeling for die-hard Bat fans as they took their seats in the cinema and then continued to systematically spit out popcorn in disgust as 1997’s Batman & Robin focused heavily on the Dark Knight’s leather clad buttocks for 125 minutes.
But we Superman fans have served our time, putting up with the shoddy reboot (Superman Returns was a big dull mess but some of us still stand by Brandon Routh) and even the lazy sequels to the original franchise. This was our chance to have our Nolan moment, to build something as interesting as those first two films that made the Big Blue Boy Scout so great in the first place.
However this latest movie left a huge lump of kryptonite once again dangling from Superman’s neck and who else is there to blame but Zack Synder? A claim backed up by a list of ways that Man Of Steel royally screwed the super pooch.
(Warning: It’s going to get heavy on the spoilers.)
1. No Clark Kent
No, that was not Clark Kent you were introduced to, bearded and brooding on a fishing boat, nor was it he who climbed shirtless onto a flaming oil rig looking like a cross between Lou Ferrigno and post-meltdown Charlie Sheen.
The truth is lots of people now have a problem with the duality of Superman and the fact that he is meant to hide his identity just by donning some spectacles is an issue that any director is going to have to deal with. But for some of us there lies the beauty of Soops, in the change of persona from a proud hero to a shy unassuming klutz who fails to get anybody’s attention.
Snyder decides to just dodge this whole problem completely by having the Clark persona never fully develop past a few glimpses of an angst-ridden child. Instead you’re given a hulking jock who seems just to be Superman without his suit on. By the end of the film, when he does turn up in the Kent specs, it’s just laughable that nobody is meant to recognise him.
2. No Metropolis
For a man that seems to love the human race, he tends to space the majority of the film in places where none of them seem to be. Metropolis is key to any telling of Superman and is far down on the list of locations for where this film is set, preferring to be in rural fields, alien planets or spaceships. At no point do you get the feeling of Metropolis as a fully rounded city like you do Gotham in the Dark Knight Trilogy and the film suffers for that.
3. Zod’s Suit
The intense acting of Michael Shannon becomes secondary to the huge clunky suit that he has to move about in for a good two hours as well as the unnecessary breathing apparatus which becomes an irritating plot point very quickly.
The sleek black suit that he eventually sheds down to, which resembles Superman’s own, would have been far more suitable for getting a sense of the character instead of the CGI laboured armour that he mopes about in like a constipated Iron Man.
4. Less Easter Eggs than a Jehova’s Witness in Spring
Yes, I spotted the Lexcorp logo and my response is a shrugged ‘is that it?’ Is that really what is considered a nod to the fanboys now? A logo which should just be a standard part of the imagery of a Superman film as much as the Daily Planet logo is.
I do not believe for a second that a director who can make a credit sequence as drenched in imagery and references as The Watchmen could then settle for such a lazy nod to the comic books and films.
5. Kryptonian Dragons
Last but certainly not least.
The only benefit of the dragons is that you can pinpoint the scene in which the whole thing becomes a farce and you can stop hoping for something special. Big swooping dragons that save the day like it’s Lord Of The Rings or Shrek. Silly me, asking for more references to the comic books.
The list could go on and on, what with the unnecessary amount of military tough guys, the clunky dialogue and the huge sprawling computer generated fight scenes. The film may have been made with the intention to build something different with the Superman franchise, but best intentions don’t change the shaking head that I’m now left with thinking about what has happened to the original hallmark of a great comic book film.
Instead, Man Of Steel means that we will have to wait another five years with our fingers crossed, hoping for somebody to tell the story right. If you need me, I’ll be weeping in my Fortress of Solitude.