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David Poland

By David Poland

Review: Man of Steel (spoilers)


I often write non-spoiler reviews of movies because I think the experience of the film is worth preserving for people who might read my comments. Not this time. (But all real spoilers are after the jump.)

If you want the short strokes, this is a movie with little stability. The effects are huge, but as usual, Zack Snyder wants to do everything in close-up and offers little or no context for the visuals. The exception is when a building is about to fall over from the middle (an effect you would have seen done better in Transformers 3 and a minor variation on Inception), so congratulations on that one bit of continuity. You also get to see “learning to fly” by John Carter, babies by The Matrix, speed-fighting by first-person shooters and the Matrix films, production design of Krypton by Dune‘s Anthony Masters, and dozens of other stolen images. And we’ll have to talk another time about the penis-shaped spacecraft and the sperm-y spaceship.

The core problem for many audiences, I believe, will not be lack of CG action. You can gag on it. It’s the lack of pleasure in the film. There are a dozen comic book-based films that have grossed over $250m domestically. They starred The Avengers, Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Men in Black. What did these movies have that others did not? They were very entertaining. Not just loaded with great effects and stuff that made fanboys happy. They offered movie movie pleasure to a wider audience than the ones who know what that side reference was to “Superman” #749 (for the record, I made that # up).

Is an alien creature seen early in the film a reference to a comic book or TV’s “Super Friends”? Don’t know. Don’t care.

I don’t want to drone on about the often terrible dialogue… or the disregard for any reality re: the world of journalism… or the torture of fine actors who were given little to do… or the laughable coincidences that we can’t seem to go 10 minutes without. That is all bad, but it is, to some degree, the premise with which the film was made. I believe (as a rule) in giving a film and its filmmakers their premise.

What I want to talk about is the ideas — or lack thereof — behind the film. And to do that, it’s all spoilers, all the time. So check out now if you don’t want to be thinking about what you are watching before you watch it.


I will push this over to an additional page now to make this easier for those of you who don’t want to be spoiled…

Man of Steel is a classic piece of ADHD cinema. Every idea is the most important idea in the world… until the filmmaker pushes the next idea—also the most important in the world—into your face without bothering to think much about the continuity of the core ideas.

And some people are completely fine with that.

For me, the most extreme example is the death of Jonathan Kent. (This is not the only big disconnect with this character, but let’s start here.) In the one kind of circumstance in which someone with superhuman strength and near-invincibility could survive without people investigating how he survived, a tornado, Both Father Kent and Son Kent decide to save the dog’s life and sacrifice the (ha ha) 46-year-old father’s life in order—in theory—to keep the secret of the son.


Now… the scene is well staged. Kevin Costner is quite good in his final moments on God’s green earth. And it is, or at least reads clearly as, sad. Saving the dog is classic movie movie iconography. The death of a parent is life-changing. Etc, etc, etc.

But this is utter bullshit.

Clark Kent didn’t need to show superspeed or fly or show any great physical heroics. Had he been pulled into the wind as his father was, his living body could have landed a mile away and plausibly been alive in the shelter of a car or something. But instead, he first follows his father’s instructions to go under the highway overpass with his mom and then just stands there, watching his father die.

What does this mean, besides having a dramatic scene in which Pa Kent dies? Well, it means a lot. It means that Pa Kent taught his son to be unheroic and to emotionally disconnect. Paranoid. Not to save human lives. To put himself and his secret above all else.

There is a stunning arrogance and selfishness at the core of this moment that poisons the film… and if it were just this one scene, maybe it would overcome, on the basis of blaming youth. But then again, Clark seems to be about high school age when this happens. People from my planet—Jewtopia—say you become a man when you are 13. But here, at 17 or 18, Clark is still a little boy, so fearful of his father’s paranoid idea of humanity that he—who has the power to change it, and in the design of the scene, has the power for a period BEFORE it would take a superhuman feat to save his parent—watches his own father die while he hides from a storm that cannot hurt him.

And how incredibly selfish is it of Pa Kent, who the movie tells us is heroic because he leaps to saving children and the dog, to choose death, which will weigh on his son and his wife for decades to come?

And this scene taps into the giant overarching problem with Man of Steel. it keeps repeating a core idea that Clark must wait for the right moment to show himself to humans and risk rejection and fear of an alien being in their midst… and then, it NEVER happens.

Seriously… this issue is discussed by PA Kent and Jor-El and Perry White and the military group (who must also have superhuman powers to be everywhere that anything significant takes place through the entire part of the film in which they exist) for a good hour-plus. How would humans react to the knowledge that we are not alone… that other civilizations in the universe exist and have greater technology than earth (aside from video, which can’t be accomplished on Krypton or when broadcasting to the world from a spaceship, even if you have the power to turn off all power except to the TVs… oy). What will happen?!?!

Nothing. Because the movie sidesteps the issue altogether.

The question the filmmakers decided would be more interesting, after wasting our time with sophomoric philosophy for over an hour, is, “What would happen if a malicious force attacked the planet and there was one guy on the planet that might be able to stop the villain, by surrender or a fight?”

Like everything else in the movie, it’s all in close-up. There is no world outside of the United States… unless it’s a stage for another action sequence or kind of a lazy reference to the South Indian Ocean. The Earth is under attack, but there is the US Military—represented by two actors—and a very specific swath of Kansas and Metropolis. Even in Metropolis, presumably with millions just on the isle of Metrohattan, humanity is defined by a half-dozen characters who work at the Daily Planet.

This may be the moment when many are saying to themselves, “Dave… it’s not like you can have 3 million characters. Why are you being so tough on an action movie?”

And I say, “Blame the film, not the messenger.” This is a film that screams at the audience about its moral authority. But really, Man of Steel is like a teenager who knows enough to start a political argument, but not enough to actually have the argument. Before the last 45 minutes of ALL-CG… NOTHING BUT CG!, the pretentiousness of this film is epic.

But by the end, there is no real discussion at all about what this issue means to the people of Earth, other than being grateful that one alien force was able to stop the one that was actively trying to annihilate them. That’s not acceptance. That’s, “Thanks for not letting us all die… We can talk about all that philosophical bullshit you were spewing for the first hour of the movie after we get a shower to get all this cheaply-9/11-referencing soot off of us and an estimate on the rebuilding of midtown Metropolis, half the damage of which was created by your choice to fight in midtown—likely killing thousands of humans in the process—rather than luring him to Long Metropolis Island or something where there are fewer people and smaller buildings.”

And here is where that all comes down for me…

On Krypton, Jor-El argues with Zod about the future of the race. “Who will decide which bloodlines go on…. you?” Sneer.

But let’s be clear. Zod may be wrong. He may go way too far in trying to do his duty (which we later learn he was bred to do, which should have made him a sympathetic character, not a over-the-top villain). But Jor-El has decided that only one bloodline can be trusted. His own. In fact, he is so enamored of his son and his inevitable perfection, that he fuses all future potential Kryptonian DNA into little Kal-El’s body.


If Jor-EL believes that Krypton’s breeding program is inherently wrong because it takes away individual choice, why send it into the universe with Kal-El at all, much less fused into Kal’s own DNA? Why not just destroy the “codex?”

Let’s take it to the next step. If Zod never comes to earth and Kal-El comes of age and the ghost-in-the-machine Jor-El shows him how to extract some Kryptonian DNA from his cells and to create more Kryptonian life… would those be his idea of good Kryptonians? Would they be pre-programmed as suggested? Is this a sequel that I don’t want to see?

But back to my main point…

Jor-El and Zod are not all that different, except one is presumed to be heroic and the other insane. More importantly, Zod was born to be a “mindless” soldier and Jor-El was born to be a “thinking” scientist. This, to me, is a far more interesting poli-philosophical issue than anything that is actually in the film. As with so many ideas, it was dealt out there and then discarded.

The first speech by Zod smells of Tea Party politics. “All you people do is talk while The People suffer” and then references impure bloodlines as though he was a religious fanatic. But then it’s Jor-El who willfully breaks the law of his planet because he knows what is “right.” Then Pa Kent is downright paranoid about outside folks. (Ma Kent seems a little stoned all the time).

Why throw these threads out there if you don’t have a frickin’ point?

Christopher Nolan had some politics in the Dark Knight films, particularly the last one. But in spite of some holes, he stood by  his ideas. Batman/Bruce Wayne truly evolved in his perceptions within each film and as the movies progressed. No such luck here. This origin movie leaves us with a Superman as self-involved as his mentors (including Zod).

It’s such a cheap choice to have him smash a drone to the ground. Ha-ha. Liberal audiences hate and fear drones. Great. Meanwhile, he did destroy a $12 million piece of equipment (or however much they say) for no real reason. And who pays for that? U.S. taxpayers. Ha-ha. And his closing words are not heroic. (paraphrased) “I will help you, but only if you do things my way.”

Long f-ing way form “Truth, justice, and the American way.” America may be a long way from that too. But Selfishman is no hero to me, whether he has superpowers or not. My way or the highway is the lesson he brings to his heroism… same as all the great fascists of history. Same as the U.S. invading countries which are not actually threatening us or world peace. We’re going to count on the guy who chose not to save his dad from death at the risk of someone asking him how he did it? Not me.

There is a lot more to whine about, from the immaculate birth by Russell Crowe and a 40+-year-old first time mom to the on-again/off-again powers of Kal-El depending on on-craft atmospheres (I know I always lose my powers when I don’t get an aisle seat), to Lois Lane being reduced to a screaming girl as the capsule that Jor-El failed to protect plummets to earth, to the meaningless inclusion of the U.S. military and the failure of the film to acknowledge its powerlessness, and on and on.

This film felt like none of the players trusted the core ideas… which is the exact opposite of what Nolan brought to the Dark Knight series. No idea was good enough to stand on its own… they had to do it 3 or 4 different ways. And that is also a Zack Snyder thing.

And what is the big close of the film? Superman finally finds the power to break Zod’s neck.

Brav-fucking-o. He murders the bad guy. He cries a little, but yeah… he has learned to murder with his bare hands to defend his turf. What a happy response to his inner turmoil.

But yes… this is a big, dumb, CG movie in so many ways. I don’t like the effects movie much. I’ve seen it all before, albeit not in this quantity and relentless density. But I can forgive people who just want to go with that and simply disregard, the endless convulsed political and sociological posturing of the screenplay. Enjoy!

Ironically, I think there is a box office cap on this kind of movie. As noted before, entertainment value for a broad audience is what gets tickets sold after opening weekend. And New Yorkers coming together to help Spider-man get the bad guy and the girl is, whether you like it or not, a lot more likely to sell tickets in weekend 3 and 4 and 7. Superman/Clark smiles maybe 3 times in this film. Is that what people want?

Meanwhile, the new Superman is not very smart, has been led to the trough of selfish stupidity by his fathers, and just wants things to be his way. He cares about Lois, but only because he has a crush on her (or whatever happens between the end and the coda). He is a manchild who thinks he is smarter than he is. He is a bore, really. But he is a pretentious bore. Maybe he’ll do talk radio in the sequel. Maybe he’ll get blamed for not saving a U.S. Ambassador because he didn’t get there fast enough after Congress pulled protection because, after all, Superman works with us. Maybe he’ll run for Senate and then we’ll find out what really went on in that church his father built and attended.

There are plenty of nits to pick, but I am ready to move on about now.

I would bet heavily that The Wolverine is going to be a lot more modest than MoS (never without sound… the Hans Zimmer score re-defines wall-to-wall, which says a lot about the film), but with a much clearer vision of who the character is. Pretty sure that Pacific Rim will be twenty times more fun and not very political (del Toro being one of contemporary cinema’s great humanists).

I’m not going to guess at box office because who knows what opening weekend (which has nothing to do with the actual content of the movie, but the best two minutes you can pull out to sell with) will bring. But I suspect its final gross will not fare very well versus opening.

You know, the big finale in Avengers, technically skilled as it is, kinda sucks. Lots of aliens in masks blowing NY up. Yawn. But we really cared about those characters, so it was fun anyway. I can’t say that about Man of Steel, no matter how great some of the actors are or how pretty Henry Cavill is.

Final note… Cavill is pumped up like a Thanksgiving Day balloon in the Macy’s parade. Why? Great shape? Sure. Abs? Fine. But he is freakishly blown-up here. Why would Superman need to be that chesty and shouldery? How would he become that way? He can throw trains… not because of his muscle mass. And that is Man of Steel all over. All surface and no heart, no brains, no guts.

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194 Responses to “Review: Man of Steel (spoilers)”

  1. The Pope says:

    I found it too long. While it was not monotonous, it was mono-tone. We had to wait until nearly the last line of the film to get a laugh. The fights at the end were interminable. However, it had big emotional moments which will appeal BIG time to young males. The best bit? The last time we saw Kevin Costner.

  2. Nick says:

    plot aside, this movie’s editing is maybe the most confusing ever. multiple scenes left me asking myself how did superman get in this physical location? or why is superman doing this? one scene has superman in civilian clothes, then it cuts to zod, then it cuts back and supes is in his costume. and why was his costume in the crashed ship? is there a 4 hr version out there that makes more sense? and costner’s death was like a parody death from a zucker bros comedy.

  3. Danny says:

    This is not a review, this is just an opinion of an immature angry BIASED fella who’s got too much time in his hands.

    p.s nick, you’re an idiot.

  4. Paul Doro says:

    Nice contribution Danny. If that’s all you’ve got, maybe you can find another place to attack anyone who dares to dislike the movie.

  5. Danny says:

    sorry if I was rude but it’s not about whether you like the movie or not I just think this is extremely biased

  6. Paul Doro says:

    How is it biased? What are you basing that on? It’s not like the movie is garnering universal praise everywhere else but here.

  7. jepressman says:

    Oh dear Mr. Poland doesn’t like MOS, what a surprise! Yes I agree this isn’t a movie review . Actually it is a hit job on a good film. If anyone wants to read a more balanced take on MOS , then do read Corliss/Time,or Drew McWeeney’s review at Hitfix. Foundas is a fan of WWZ , big huzzahs for that one but not for MOS. HMMM.There are plenty of positive takes on MOS, THE OPINION, is divided, which to me means this is a good one, we shall see.

  8. David Poland says:

    Danny… whoever you are… on what basis is this biased?

    I raved TDKR when few did. I pushed WB’s Gatsby because I believed in it. I have no relationship with Zack Snyder to worry about. I adore Amy Adams and Mike Shannon, was at Costner’s wedding, and am good with Russell Crowe.

    So what is the bias?

  9. js partisan says:

    Again, Dave loves “This is the End.” He has a thing for the Apatow clan, so different strokes, but the Avengers finale played into a entire different movie. Sure it sucked. Sure it didn’t.

  10. Jose says:

    How much did Marvel pay you?

  11. David Poland says:

    So, “”Man Of Steel” is the Superman movie I’ve waited my whole life to see.” is “how it’s done” and I am biased because this is not the Superman movie I’ve waited for my whole life?


    And I love the idea that anyone would claim Marvel paid me. Maybe you should take a look at my reviews of their films?

    If my opinion was for sale, I surely would have been the 1st review of World War Z.

    And welcome back, IO… have you even seen This Is The End, which Apatow is not credited on in any way? It’s 16% above MoS on RT right now… but as you always claim, it’s all about me.

  12. Nick says:

    You raved TDKR, when few others did? I think it’s in the high 80s over at RT…. seems like you were in the majority there.

  13. Nick says:

    Name dropping isn’t cool either. I spotted for the Rock at my gym once… and you don’t hear me bragging about it.

    Oh, btw, did I tell you I clinged and clanged with the Rock… beats the hell out of a Costner wedding any day of the week!

  14. David Poland says:

    Sorry Nick… was too busy defending myself from the silly claim that I am biased against this film to think about the name dropping.

    MoS is at 65% on RT and dropping. A majority may be coming my way.

    Also, as far as TDKR, positive is one thing, a rave is another. I was hardly alone. But I do feel it was the best of the three films and that is pretty rare, I have found.

  15. Ged says:

    The scene with Kevin Costner in the tornado shows that he is by nature a selfless person. He is just being a dad protecting his son during the tornado, and at that point, he feels that it is not time yet for Clark to reveal himself to the world since Clark himself at that time is totally uncertain of who he is. He was still a teen that time (1997 is the year of Pa Kent’s death; subtract that from 33 years old, and you would discover that Clark was not even an adult during the tornado scene)

    When Clark was in grade school,Pa Kent told his son that he should keep his identity secret and even suggest that maybe he should not have saved the lives of the kids in the bus, but he said so in a very reluctant manner because his selflessness shines in moments when he simply did not have any other choice but to put his life at risk, like saving a dog during a tornado. Kevin is not selfish.

  16. Ged says:

    Personally, I like the movie because I look at what is not being said by the characters. Their body language and facial expressions speak more, like the panic attacks and the confusion of young Clark when his powers started developing, or the dilemma of Superman in dealing with his own people,aka Kryptonians, that he was even devastated killing off Zod simply because he had no choice.

    Anyway, everyone is entitled to their opinions, including you, David. And I respect that.

  17. Yancy says:

    I now feel justified in skipping the movie this weekend. Between this very sane-sounding review and John Ary on AICN beaming with pride about how the movie “takes itself very seriously”, I’m getting the feeling I would enjoy this one much more on blu-ray, where I can watch ten minutes at a time, etc. Have fanboys EVER proven they have any box office clout? 35 guys who think comic books don’t get enough respect don’t make a crossover success.

  18. Why critics hate movies, just enjoy…Is this a review for Avengers Movie?

  19. Pietro says:

    Nailed it. Terrible film making. Worst big budget superhero movie I’ve seen since Green Lantern. After this, Sucker Punch and the creepy owl movie I am convinced Snyder is incapable of directing anything of substance without having his hand held.

  20. berg says:

    Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is the best animated owl film ever made what are you talking about? and who wants to watch a film on blu-ray 10 minutes at a time …. are you people on cheese? … yes the Costner death was a weak moment in an otherwise enjoyable film

  21. Nick says:

    I’m just puzzled at the criticisms the film is facing. to be honest, I think it’s Superhero fatigue. The complaints issued against this, could easily be placed on the Avengers. I was one of the few, who strongly disliked the Avengers. The last third, was a mindless FX real, and the character interactions came off way to witty for their own good. Not to mention, the countless plot holes, and the laughable dialogue throughout most of the movie. Captain America barking orders in the climax…. I’ve never rolled my eyes that much during a film.
    Again, I think a lot of the response is due to Superhero fatigue… 5 SH movies a year is too much. I think 2 is too much. Hollywood needs to take a step back and reduce the output before it implodes. I mean, i can’t be the only one who feels this way

  22. Pietro says:

    “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is the best animated owl film ever made”

    Please notify Warner Bros because that deserves to go on the Blu-ray cover

  23. Nick says:

    Question David, did you find the same complaints about the Avengers climax, and nearly everything was ripped off from other films? I mean, the climax of Avengers was a mix of Transformers 3 (Portal opening up, and controlled by one center beacon that must be destroyed) and Episode 1 (an army, controlled and powered by one ship, that must be destroyed in order to stop the threat).

    People tend to be focusing on this collateral damage aspect…. what Superhero movie doesn’t have this aspect? How many cars did Batman destroy in Dark Knight? Avengers, those buildings were being smashed to hell.

  24. Paul Doro says:

    I haven’t seen MOS yet Nick but I totally agree regarding superhero fatigue. I felt that way during Iron Man 3, and I feel that way every time I see a trailer or TV spot for MOS. The same explosions, the same mass destruction, the same villains with dastardly plans of world domination, I just find it really hard to get excited by the prospect of sitting through another 130 or 140 minute superhero blockbuster.

  25. Danny says:

    If you let Rotten Tomatoes to make decision for you, you are a moron. Let them decide for you when you eat or sleep too if you trust them.
    They only rate movie high base on how much “they get paid”

  26. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, David was a caterer at Costner’s wedding. (I keed! I keed!)

  27. Yancy says:

    I only want to watch a movie ten minutes at a time on blu-ray if I fear seeing it in a theater would be a death sentence. Raimi’s OZ (which I ended up liking) is a perfect example of a movie I would not subject myself to unless I had a pause button handy.

  28. Chisox says:

    Zack Snyder, Michael Bay and Tarsem Singh went to college together. That is all.

  29. jepressman says:

    When film reviewers start complaining about obvious, shared features of certain genres, then you know it is something else they don’t like but won’t talk about. For example the complaints about the movie being loud, too many explosions etc;etc;. Or how about too many close-ups, now that’s a favorite. Or does this person know how to tell a story? Look,Superman has been around a long time,he is iconic in American pop culture.Superman was the super hero with all the neighborhood kids because he was civil, heroic and out of this world. It seems that Snyder got this right and the cast did as well.

  30. Paul Doro says:

    It seems they got it right? Above you claim that Poland’s review is a hit job on a good film, and recommend the more “balanced” reviews at Time and Hitfix. So have you seen the movie or not? And if not, how do you know they got it right?

  31. Danny says:

    well i’ve seen the movie and what you’re complaining about it petty. Too much cgi?! well sorry they couldn’t find real gods to shoot the mid-air fight scenes and sorry they couldn’t find real alien ships or a real alien planet

  32. js partisan says:

    David, why are you so petulant? I doubt a majority is coming your way on Supes, but why should I sit through a sausage fest with “This is The End?” It’s bad enough that women are hardly represented at all this time of year, but “This is the End” is just another example of how dudes can get anything they want in that town. Sorry, but I have no desire to see that movie in a theatre, will wait for cable, and will spend my weekend enjoying Supes and “Before Midnight.”

    And Nick, if you can’t buy the central conceit of any film, that’s your fucking problem. It’s not the film’s.

  33. Alan B says:

    “I often write non-spoiler reviews of movies because I think the experience of the film is worth preserving for people who might read my comments. Not this time.”

    So you have values, but you are willing to throw away those values and disrespect the reader when you don’t like a film. Sheesh. Values only mean something when you are willing to stand by them. Like the film or don’t, I don’t give a shit, but you’ve effectively thrown out your credibility with an adolescent tantrum. This isn’t a review. This is barely writing. You just throw in a spoiler and say THIS IS SOOOOOOOOOO STUPIDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD.

  34. David Poland says:

    Nick – I think the end of Avengers is cheesy and some of the weakest stuff in the film… but the film doesn’t take itself seriously, so I have no big beef with it at all.

    It is the endless claims to deeper thinking in MoS that make its shallow thinking so painful. It’s not fun.

  35. David Poland says:

    And for the record, my problem with Iron Man 3 was 90% that they had a great thing going and copped out completely in a 3rd act that had none of the personality and off-beat nature of most of the rest of the film.

  36. David Poland says:

    jepressman… I assume you are not talking about me, as I specifically noted that those were not the biggest problems with this film by any means.

  37. David Poland says:

    Danny… if you really read all that I wrote and saw “too much cgi” (which by the way… I NEVER wrote and never think), you have severe myopia.

  38. David Poland says:

    Alan B… seriously? That’s what you have to throw at me? A spoiler review (which most of the raves were) that is clearly marked and in which I clearly explain why I am interested in discussing spoilers and not the basic overall thing?


  39. David Poland says:

    Hey IO… I don’t care about the opinion of someone who hasn’t seen the film… in your case, This Is The End. You don’t know what it is because you haven’t seen it. Grow up.

  40. Matt says:

    Dear Fanboys who haven’t seen the film:
    Have you ever stopped to think the film might NOT be the masterpiece you were hoping for? The film currently has a 62% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 55 on Metacritic. He’s clearly not alone here. Grow up.

  41. LYT says:

    It seems like a lot of your issues are that this isn’t yet the Superman you’re familiar with. And he isn’t – this is an origin story. He has yet to become the Superman you know, but I’d bet that is in the cards.

    I do agree that Pa Kent preferring people die to his son helping out is a big character change that is not properly justified by the script.

  42. Alan B says:

    Seriously? You’re only response is writing seriously? Seriously? *sighs* Your response to the material is as childish as your subsequent comments. There is a HUGE DIFFERENCE between posting spoilers in order to fully understand the text (i.e. maturely responding to the filmmakers choices) and posting fanboy shit i.e. the character did this AND IT IS SO STUPID lol. Mate, you make Jeff Wells see self-aware, and the fact that your best criticism of other critics is that they MUST BE STUPID (“Man of Steel is pretentious enough and different enough to be mistaken for a good movie by some critics.”) It’s easy to throw paranoid, moronic insults when you don’t have anything interesting to contribute to the discussion, and the difference between us is that my insults aren’t moronic. SERIOUSLY!

  43. berg says:

    The film currently has a 62% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 55 on Metacritic.

    … any body that would say that is a dick and a moron …

  44. Matt says:

    berg: Or simply proving you and your minions are attacking one of many with this opinion? Once again, grow up.

  45. Matt says:


  46. js partisan says:

    David, that’s it? Really? It’s a movie with hardly any female characters, one character that is in the film for five minutes, and I am supposed to sit through the Apatow Players again without any solid female characters? You can ignore that all you want but outside of Leslie Mann, every film that comes from Apatow or people associated with him not named BRIDESMAIDS, is just a horrible sausage fest with poorly written female characters. If you like that sort of thing, then go right ahead and enjoy it. I am finished with those guys, and hope they slink away into the darkness for a good long while.

    Oh yeah, do you think IO is supposed to hurt or something? Nice of you to still think that it’s 2006, when you are responding to me. Also, people, never come to David for anything having to do with comic book movies. It’s just not his bag like the Summer movie season in general.

  47. Manik says:

    Don’t you get it?

    The problem isn’t with Superman. The problem is with humans (especially humans like you)! THIS EXACT KIND OF ATTITUDE YOU’VE PORTRAYED HERE IN YOUR REVIEW HERE! You need to give a Superman something to protect. You need to give him some decency, some nobility, some good worth protecting, worth watching over for. And yet you take every opportunity to drop politics and party-lines into a review which is supposed to be about a real world Superman. And this is as real that it gets! DO YOU LOVE THE WORLD AROUND YOU? DO YOU? IF YOU DON’T, HOW DO YOU EXPECT SUPERMAN TO? He’s been bullied as a kid all this life. He’s been bullied as an adult. He had to watch his own father DIE because his father was convinced the world wasn’t ready for him. This isn’t the 20th-Century rose-tinted Americana world where Superman was born a slave to protect the American Dream as if this was Gospel, this is a 21st-Century where Superman is skeptical, is doubtful and is unsure of humans and its only natural.

    Don’t you get it? Superman ISN’T YOUR SERVANT! YOUR ON-COMMAND LAPDOG SUPERHERO YOU CALL ON TO PROTECT YOU ANYTIME YOU’VE MESSED UP! First you need to make yourselves worthy of being protected.

    “They will race behind you. They will stumble, they will fall. But in the end, they will learn to follow you.”

    Time for you to learn, you idiot. LEARN. Superman isn’t the hero that the World deserves. Its the hero that the World NEEDS.

  48. I Luv Well Written Screenplays says:

    1. Clark could have easily saved his father within this particular situation without anyone noticing. In the comics, Pa Kent dies from a heart attack (See: Action Comics #870 ). This is a brilliantly written story point. Why? The heart attack signified that even though Clark had amazing gifts, he couldn’t save everyone. He is not a god. Some things are not within his power.

    2. Instead of Superman luring Zod and his minions to let’s say the Arctic or outer space – Superman battles Zod within Metropolis. It’s not until Zod threatens a family with his “heat vision” (after a 45 minute fight) that Superman makes the decision to snap Zod’s neck and putting an end to the destruction. This is despite the fact that because Superman chose to fight in Metropolis – Civilians were already hurt and even killed. This is bad writing. Superman isn’t a killer (I don’t acknowledge the Pocket Universe). This is what is endearing about this character. He’s a symbol of what mankind is supposed to strive towards. And despite the apologists for the film – some claiming it is a “teachable” moment. He’s upset for what seems is five minutes and it’s over. Bruce Wayne grieved for over eight years in “The Dark Knight Rises.” I, personally, off the top of my head, could have scripted at least ten different viable scenarios.

  49. I Luv Well Written Screenplays says:


    The problem is with the script. You say…

    “He’s been bullied as an adult. He had to watch his own father DIE because his father was convinced the world wasn’t ready for him.”

    We know Kal-El can run near the speed of light. He’s borderline invincible. In the comic books we know that Superman kept up with The Flash in a race (Flash v2, #220). Kal-El could have easily saved his father without having been noticed. This is lazy writing on the behalf of Goyer.

  50. anghus says:

    The problem with this whole discussion, and the inherent flaw in modern criticism is that Dave has to defend his position. Most of the attacks aren’t about Daves points of contention, but attacks on his character. It becomes about trying to attack the critic rather than the position. And it makes these conversations ignorant and excruciating.

  51. anghus says:

    Should have said “Dave has to defend himself more than his position”

  52. MarkVH says:

    Thanks for the review, David, though I really don’t see why you continue to feed the trolls. You’re clearly not going to sway any opinions. Me, I always think it’s highly entertaining when some whiny kid who’s never posted here before comes in to tear you a new one and all they can come up with is “you’re biased.” But engaging it will only take you down the rabbit hole. Not worth it.

    I’m kind of glad to hear this sucks, since there’s a bunch of smaller movies out there I haven’t caught yet that seem much more worth my time this weekend (Frances Ha, Before Midnight, Stories We Tell) and even some bigger ones (I still haven’t even seen Trek 2).

    And FTR, The Dark Knight Rises was shit. Just sayin’.

  53. Paul Wozniak says:

    Having just seen “Man of Steel” last night (and having not read many reviews) your review virtually sums up my exact reaction to the film; a hollow, showy spectacle built on righteous philosophical talking points. I’m still not sure who is the responsible party for this massive insult on viewer’s time and intelligence. Is Zac Snyder really the hack many think he is? Or is Snyder just really spineless, giving studio executives creative control over a project that has his name on it?

    Despite some fine acting in brief moments from Henry Cavill and Amy Adams (I think they demonstrate real screen chemistry) Snyder might as well have cast reality show stars for the rest of the roles since all he seems to have them do is film them staring up, over the camera and edit their slack jawed reactions to toppling buildings and seemingly endless urban destruction.

    A very fine, supported, logical argument above indeed. Keep fighting the good fight.

  54. MarkVH says:

    Also, McWeeny’s rave on this isn’t going to do him any favors in the credibility department.

  55. Paul Doro says:

    Yeah it’s hard not to be a little skeptical of an A+. Is he a lifelong Superman fanatic or something?

    Also, I was surprised to see that Superman Returns is at 75% at RT. I remember that being much maligned. Obviously critics were pretty pleased, in general, so I guess it was more than fans of the comic were unhappy. I like it, but I’ve never read a comic in my life.

  56. CG says:

    MOS is down to 61% at RT as of a few minutes ago. It’s like 538 the week before the election last year, only backwards.

  57. I Luv Well Written Screenplays says:

    On an amazing day this film is a B-. On an average day, a C+. The film lacks charm and heart. It also has major major problems with the script. If they do a sequel, they should hire someone like John Logan (Skyfall, Gladiator, and Hugo) to flesh it out. A superhero film should have great drama and the action sequences should compliment it – not drive it.

  58. Jonesy says:

    There is a lot of hate and arrogance in this review… and these are so LOUD they practically fly off the screen/page and slap the reader on the face.
    The mockery tone of the review, all over it, raises far more questions than answers…
    Anyway… to the points;
    If one goes strictly by LOGIC…
    “Superman Returns” SUCKED as a Superman movie. BIG TIME.
    Since MAN OF STEEL is completely the OPPOSITE of ‘Returns’ in every single department– It already means that it is a MUCH MUCH BETTER, if not the BEST Superman movie to date (since ‘Returns’ was only TECHNICALLY superior to the Donner/Reeve Superman movies).
    When you realize and consider this logic… you understand that this reviewer here, for whatever reasons he has, is simply spewing hatred and arrogance towards the movie… and that the movie is, contrary to all he’s written here, a wonderful experience.

  59. MarkVH says:

    God, I could listen to this stuff all day.

  60. Danny says:

    “ALL-CG… NOTHING BUT CG!, the pretentiousness of this film is epic”
    … really david poland? myopia? dont get defensive with people we’re just trying to tell you that all you did here is point out everything you hated in the movie and you didnt really give it a decent review

    why are people still referring to rotten tomatoes? it lost its credibility a very long time ago everyone knows that

  61. MarkVH says:

    Yes David, everyone knows that. DUUUUUHHH.

  62. CG says:


  63. hcat says:

    Often hate it when I succumb and read spoiler reviews but…..Christ how do they have Superman kill.

    For all the fanboys out there defending the movie and attacking the review how is this alright with you? Years ago there was a grand wailing towards the heavens and gnashing of teeth over the simple revision of Greedo shooting first but everyone is just fine with Superman snapping the villians neck in the finale? How is this not a total departure from the essence of the charecter?

    It was bad enough putting a gun in cap’s hands a few years ago (and I do remember being told that they have done that in the comics for years now, but the revision changes a lot of the basic nature of the charecter) but Supes killing for whatever reason in unacceptable.

  64. CG says:

    Hcat, DC’s superhero comics have for about a decade now been increasingly violent and gruesome — lots of mutilation, body horror, dismemberment, etc. The fanboys of today are largely the folks who stuck around for this sort of rot, rather than realizing it was about time to find something else to read. So we’ve got a generation of comics bros who just want everything to be extreme and badass and want Superman to kill a guy to be extreme and badass. It’s quite sad and pathetic.

  65. hcat says:

    And Jonesy, not exactly sure you know what the word logic means, Returns sucking is an opinion, there were many that enjoyed it though thought it flawed, and I can’t imagine anyone not putting it smack dab in the middle as far as quality in the superman canon.

    Wouldn’t Superman IV be closer to a complete opposite from Superman Returns in every department? Small budget compared to large, no origin story, jokey compared to serious? Does that also make it an incredible film?

    CG- Thats terrible, I am in no way prudish, have no problem with there being violent comics out there, you want a vertigo or epic line have at it, but tampering with the core of what the heros do and the level of violence they inflict seems like a corruption of all the great things that comics are supposed to deliver.

    I never understand how people complain about movies not staying true to the comics when the comics never seem to stay true to themselves.

  66. hcat says:

    ‘Superman ISN’T YOUR SERVANT! YOUR ON-COMMAND LAPDOG SUPERHERO YOU CALL ON TO PROTECT YOU ANYTIME YOU’VE MESSED UP! First you need to make yourselves worthy of being protected.’

    If that is what Manik takes from the film they sure fucked up the Superman as Jesus substitute vibe I have heard brought up reapeatedly.

  67. CG says:

    We have 59% at RT!

  68. Paul Doro says:

    So Superman is Jesus in MOS but he also kills the villain? And how does mankind prove itself worthy to him?

  69. CG says:

    By not going to his movie, maybe?

  70. Geoff says:

    I haven’t seen the film yet and have just grazed the spoilers – nothing really surprising to me. But wow, can we let go of a couple of overdone criticisms for these types of movies already??

    First, it is NOT earth-shattering that Superman would kill a villain….didn’t he pretty much do the same thing brutally with the first Zod in Superman II?? And Superman II was on the cable the other day…not a great movie by any means, but there seems to be this new reverence for the honor of the character in those films and sorry, Reeve’s Superman ends up strangling to death his bizarro self. And I LOVED Superman II, but were there a lot of high-and-mighty critics out there then getting all haughty that Superman had to be so petty that in the end of the movie, he had to go and beat up that truck-driver in the diner just for revenge? Hey I loved the moment as a kid, but let’s not pretend this is a new thing with Superman apparently killing or hurting people maliciously.

    And the whole collateral damage complaint…I’m not gonna lie, it’s getting just TOO damn easy to kill thousands of innocents in any of these types of movies now with the effects that make it possible. I actually found myself put off with the climax of Star Trek Into Darkness, even though I liked the movie overall….SPOILER ALERT: JJ Abrams seems to completely gloss over the fact that thousands of civilians in San Fran were likely killed when Khan crashed his ship downtown….and the only focus seems to be on reviving Kirk.

    But this was also the case in ‘Avengers, Transformers, even Dark Knight Rises which I really liked – did Batman REALLY need all of those cops out there in force just to distract while he tried to take down Bane??

    Singling out MOS for this is just silly…it’s become the norm and sadly, we’re all becoming more de-sensitized to it even 12 years after 9/11. Over the past 17 years, every big budget filmmaker has been trying to out-do Roland Emmerich…

  71. MarkVH says:

    Eeeeeeeeh, now that the majority of critics have checked in it seems like the groupthink has taken hold. Any new folks (with a few exceptions) will likely start piling on just to see who can write the best pan. I think we can expect that score to go considerably lower when all is said and done, regardless of the quality of the film.

    That said, the lesson here looks to be the same as always – marketing can do a bang-up job of selling the film, but in the end it’s the film itself that needs to do the heavy lifting. A lot of people (myself included) seem to have been suckered into hoping that Snyder would deliver something approaching greatness, forgetting the cardinal rule that great filmmakers sometimes make bad films, but bad filmmakers very rarely make great ones (or even good ones).

  72. Paul Doro says:

    How can one tell when groupthink has taken hold? Are critics sitting around, waiting to write their review and eventually doing so only after analyzing other reviews, and then writing a negative one just for laughs and not because they actually dislike the movie?

  73. hcat says:

    Geoff, I disagree that he brutally killed Zod in II, he squeezed his hand and tossed him off into the snow, it is perfectably reasonable to assume all three of them were alive when the credits rolled. He strangled his bizarro self, who was some apparition or something (what the hell was going on in those lester movies?), and the beating of the bully in II was played for slapstick laughs. He has in the films taken out the token bully (didn’t the drunken smallville hick get tossed through a resturant or something at the end of III?). But a comic commupence for a loudmouthed charecter (which was always delivered in Clark mode) is certainly different than Superman snapping the neck of a villian.

  74. CG says:

    There are also cuts of Superman II that show Zod et al. being led away in handcuffs by federal agents. The bully at the diner does, in fact, make me uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as I’d have been if Superman snapped his neck.

  75. Bulldog68 says:

    I think the point is being missed. Yes, Clark could have easily saved his father. The fact that he didn’t is the more difficult choice. Every superhero, from Spiderman to Batman has the damage psyche of a loved one dying because they did not have the power to save them. Here we have a hero with the power to save and doesn’t. I’ve seen the former done a zillion times. To me this choice is very interesting.

    Additionally, the choice was not Clark’s to make. His father gave him an order, and he obeyed it. It’s actually true to the relationship that the two characters had, otherwise Clark Kent would have been exposed a whole lot earlier. He did what his dad told him to do. Plain and simple. Even if his dad was wrong.

  76. LYT says:

    In fairness to the bully at the diner scene, the dialogue of the other characters makes it clear that this has been a routine for the guy, so Clark’s actually stopping a regular pattern of bullying and intimidation.

  77. Paul Doro says:

    Yeah I mean someone has to die right? Par for the course for a movie like this.

  78. Geoff says:

    Yeah I get that the bully getting beaten up at the diner is played for laughs and I STILL dig that scene, especially with Average White Band blasting in the background but….

    He’s basically going out of his way to be petty towards a human being while he is back at full strength and beating him up in the process.

    And Zod has lost his powers….Superman is basically breaking his hand and then throws him down an ice shaft…and he’s not killing him?? Come on.

    And now that I think about since I’m in full nit-pick mode, it DOES bother me a bit that he can whisper his plan to Lex Luther within earshot of Zod and his crew….wouldn’t they have super-hearing too?? Silly I know, but sounds no less silly than a lot of the criticisms being thrown at Man of Steel.

  79. Sideshow Bill says:

    I don’t know if Dave is right or wrong. But I suspected this is exactly how he was going to feel about this movie as well as “McZ.” And he wrote a massive review to cover his every complaint, so that’s something. He put effort into it.

    What I want to know is if it’s better than SUCKER PUNCH. I’m a fan of McZ….aside from SP, which I flat out fucking hate.

  80. anghus says:

    I wonder if the glowing review is a byproduct of guilt. Theres still some scars over the Abrams Superman scrip review and gushing might be a subconscious way to repair some bridges.

    Id love to hear Drew reflect on that incident with some historical perspective. Regrets? Would he do anything differently? But i think hell just call me a piece of shit for even bringing it up, even though its a fascinating piece of history. After reading that script and seeing thr mid air kung fu stuff in Man of Steel, it feels like there might be some connections between the Ty Zor and Zod.

    As for Superman Returns, i remember being disappointed and massively underwhelmed. The positive reviews seemed downright apologetic. So many problems with that movie. Weak script. Terrible story. Some incredibly bad and baffling choices.

    People ask why Superman is so hard to adapt? Is it because people take the character too seriously? Burton gave us a brooding Batman in a fun universe where weird stuff happened. Schumacher made Batman plain goofy. Nolan returned him to a darker, more grounded space which works for the character.

    Donner made a fun Superman. A romantic, comic book style Superman. Singer tried to bring him brooding and bring Donners Superman to a more grounded space and it didnt work.

    Snyder seems to have delivered an epic but melodramatic Superman.

    Is the problem with Superman on film that they always saddle him with a messiah complex and drain all the potential fun out of the character. Being Superman always feels like a burden. Marvel films, for all their faults, deliver fun characters. Making these movies dead serious feels like a calculated move. They tried making Green Lantern Tony Stark-esque but it didnt work so now we get gritty superheroes with no sense of levity.

  81. Pietro says:

    The killing Zod part didn’t bother me much. Clark letting his father die, stealing a guy’s clothes, downing a drone, acting arrogant to any form of authority, letting everyone know his real identity, and destroying the truck stop guy’s big wheeler out of anger are much worse.

  82. Mike says:

    anghus, I think you’re right on the levity angle with Superman. I haven’t seen this one, though I plan to, but I wonder if the model they should have used was not Nolan’s Batman, but Raimi’s Spiderman. The first and second one had a lightness to it that made for fun films. Certainly more fun than the emo version they’re doing now.

  83. Sideshow Bill says:

    I’m in no way a McWeeny fan. But maybe he just really really liked the movie he saw? Even if he still had an agenda he won’t admit it. It is possible, however, that the movie just delivered for him.

  84. Manik says:

    This film might have been able to deliver its message much better had it been edited linearly, instead of flashbacks. Basically we all knew this but we forgot.

    I can’t stand to fly.
    I’m not that naive.
    I’m just out to find.
    The better part of me.
    I’m more than a bird, I’m more than a plane.
    I’m more than some pretty face beside a train.
    And it’s not easy to be me.
    I wish that I could cry.
    Fall upon my knees.
    Find a way to lie.
    ‘Bout a home I’ll never see.
    It may sound absurd but don’t be naive.
    Even heroes have the right to bleed.
    I may be disturbed but won’t you concede.
    Even heroes have the right to dream?
    And its not easy to be me.

    That was ACTUALLY how Superman was feeling in this film, this was what this film was actually TRYING to tell to us, that Superman’s weaknesses weren’t physical, but emotional. He wasn’t God’s son sent here with a clearly defined objective and an open-line of communication with God from day one, he wasn’t Christ, but just an alien sent here to survive his own planet’s doom, and hope that one day he will be able to make his own choice, based on his own free will, to either stand proud alongside the humans, or not.

    Based on that this, this film is logical within itself – in the sense that if you put in the variables that you have in the beginning, you get what you get in the end. Its quite harsh but its realistic. This isn’t 80s Superman anymore, this is tough love, non rose-tinted, real-world Superman. Superman can’t be an ideal to strive towards unless he is ideal himself. He can’t be the icon we know he becomes until he believes in himself that he can be that icon, that hope for all mankind, whether mankind deserves it or not.

    However, it is true that with great physical powers and emotional tolerance, you don’t automatically get wisdom. Wisdom needs to be imparted, it needs to be learnt (and taught to us). In the 80s Superman spent years in the Fortress of Solitude, studying about the science of the universe, philosophy, psychology, the collective wisdom of his entire Kryptonian race. Here it was different, by the time he found Jor-El, he had already been working so many jobs, fleeing them as soon as he did something heroic.

    Up up and away away from me.
    Well it’s all right.
    You can all sleep sound tonight.
    I’m not crazy, or anything.
    I’m not that naive.
    Mean weren’t meant to ride.
    With clouds between their knees.
    Only a man in a silly red sheet.
    Looking for special things, inside of me.

    And yes indeed, he was looking for special things inside of him. The intangible, non-physical, special thing. Why was he different? What was so special about him? Clark Kent was stuck in the midst of mankind, in the good and bad of it, and he was searching for answers, for his true purpose in life. Where do you find that purpose? How do you find it, in a real world such as this?

    There were two things Jonathan Kent knew, one of them he told Clark, but the other he didn’t.

    a) The world wasn’t ready for Superman yet.
    b) Clark himself wasn’t ready to be Superman yet.

    Although how do you even prepare yourself to become Superman? How much training does one need to become a God? 30 years? 100 years? 500 years?

    Men weren’t meant to ride.
    With clouds between their knees.
    I’m only a man in a silly red sheet.
    Looking for special things inside of me.
    I’m only a man looking for a dream.
    And its not easy, it’s not easy to be me.

    Jor-El knew this. Jonathan Kent knew it. Why didn’t you join me father, why didn’t you flee? Kal-El asks Jor-El. Because I couldn’t, I was part of the failures of Krypton, I was part of what went wrong. But I have put the entire future of the people of Krypton in your cells, you are that seed that may rebuild, regrow our people, but I want it to be your choice. I want you to see the humans first, and make it your choice if you want to become the bridge between two worlds, or not.

    Why shouldn’t I use my powers to save you father, Clark asks Jonathan. Because I forbade you to use your powers to retaliate against those bullies in school, and I forbid you now to use them to save me, because the World isn’t ready for you yet, and you my son, are not ready for this world yet. I believe you were sent here for a reason more important than me Clark, and you must find that reason first.

    “The will race behind you son. They will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you, they will follow you. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.”

    Well, sad but true.

  85. anghus says:

    Mike, I agree. The main problem to me with Superman is that his powers are always treated like a curse. Superman has to give up his powers to be with Lois. Superman is cursed by the constant cries for help. Superman can’t reveal himself to the world because they will fear him.

    Maybe stop making the idea of Superman a burden and audiences would enjoy them more. The idea that flying, super strength, invulnerability is an albatross around your neck is antithetical to the very nature of what makes lids gravitate towards Superman.

    I picture little kids playing with Superman action figures. They’re not saying “wow, being super powered is hard”. They’re whooshing through the air and punching the bad guys.

    Faster than a speeding bullet
    More powerful than a locomotive
    Able to ponder the burden of being a savior in epic fashion

    its a bird… Its an emotionally troubled guy with abandonment issues… ITS SUPERMAN

  86. Mike says:

    Maybe the problem is they keep trying to make the SuperMAN movie. Maybe the WB got it right making the SuperBOY story. In Metropolis, he has to save the world and all that. In Smallville, he can just have adventures. Dunno.

  87. jepressman says:

    This thread is ALL about MoS and not an indie/art house film , because Superman is a fictional comic book hero people remember fondly. This anti-Snyder stuff we’ve seen at other times,as in Hooper hate, Cameron hate,Spielberg hate, and others too numerous to mention. If this film were not Snyder’s would there be a critics negative pile-on? No I think that unfortunately many critics don’t like Snyder’s politics and they are teaching him a lesson.The 300 film was viewed as conservative, there was a pile-on there as well.Many critics don’t like Scientologists, Christians, Republicans,or conservatives. This Superman will stand or fall because an international audience likes the film or not.Good grief this is a film based on a revered comic book character.

  88. YancySkancy says:

    Manik: I quoted that horrible Five for Fighting song in one of the MOS trailer threads, I believe. My biggest fear for the film was that it would be that song come to life. Sounds like that’s the case.

  89. CG says:

    58% at RT!

  90. Manik says:

    “The critics of this film will race behind you son. They will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, they will follow, you’ll help them accomplish wonders, and they will realize how much you mean to them.”

  91. hcat says:

    “This was …real-world Superman”

    This sounds like the problem, there is no real world Superman, its a fable, a kid’s adventure tale. Trying to make a realistic depiction of an alien that lands and has great powers is swimming against the tide. If you want to watch a drama, watch a fucking drama, putting false gravitas into a kiddie film makes a feathered fish.

    “He wasn’t God’s son sent here with a clearly defined objective and an open-line of communication with God from day one”

    Someone hasn’t watched all their Scorcese.

    And if you read David’s review his problem is not that they went down the ‘how will people react’ route, but that they completely dropped it halfway through.

  92. Manik says:


    Oh kids will love this film anyways. Adults going in expecting to watch a kids film or a nostalgic old-time Superman won’t. It is what it is. If there was a real-world Superman, this would be it.

    “He wasn’t God’s son sent here with a clearly defined objective and an open-line of communication with God from day one”, in other words, he isn’t Jesus Christ, stop comparing him to one. Its time to move on.

  93. Paul Doro says:

    Is Snyder an outspoken Christian or Republican? And only some critics are out to get him since 58% of reviews are positive? Is that reflected in their reviews?

  94. hcat says:

    Manik, the dig is that that wasn’t Jesus either.

  95. CG says:


  96. Drew McWeeny says:

    I wrote about regrets regarding the Abrams “Superman” thing back in 2008, Anghus.

    But don’t let that get in the way of your narrative about what a horrible person I am.

  97. Joe Leydon says:

    But what I want to know is: What in the holy hell is Jor-El doing riding around on back of some freakin’ giant bat on steroids?

  98. David Poland says:

    Luke… don’t care on e iota if this is the Superman I have seen before. Prefer it not be. But doing a long origin movie does not excuse massive leaps in logic and context.

  99. David Poland says:

    Manik – I would argue that in his film, Superman is bullied by his two dads more than anyone else. They get in his head an make him paranoid.

    I’m fine with an angry Superman… but that’s not what is in this movie.

  100. David Poland says:

    Bulldog… so Pa Kent has intentionally taught his son to behave like a trained animal? Is that what a good father does to his child? Is there anything noble there? Because the movie sure argues that this is a powerful moment of meaning.

  101. David Poland says:

    “destroying the truck stop guy’s big wheeler out of anger”

    Yeah… I forgot to mention this. Played for a laugh, this beat pretty well defines the entire film. Waaaaay overdone to make the point.

    Was he going to put the truck in a tree, allowing the truck to be recovered at some cost before someone said, “Seen that before?” I don’t know. But spearing the truck with 5 tress (or more?) was really the act of an angry pre-teen who pins down bugs for torture sessions.

  102. David Poland says:

    One big story problem that I didn’t mention, Manik. If I’m not wrong, Mrs Jor-El picks earth while Jor-El is in the meeting where Zod attacks the elders.

    Humans have not been researched. There is no time to do so.

    So the film’s jumps between the hope of sending Kal out to a suitable planet with a yellow sun and then the presumptions of a very detailed plan and philosophy behind the choice don’t really make any sense.

  103. David Poland says:

    jepressman – I don;t know Snyder’s politics after seeing his films. They aren’t clear. There is no statement But he likes to tell the audience how smart and serious he is about the issues. That is not in evidence.

  104. David Poland says:

    For the record, I do not think that critics are beyond a mob mentality at times. I don’t think it is a great conspiracy. But as I have noted before, when the “let’s filter out all the negativity and only allow the positives to come out and speak,” it does piss the rest of the critical world off. So there can be a backlah or extra harshness, even amongst pros.

    I will note here (as I did on Twitter) that my “Man of Steel is an epic piece…. of shit” was overstating it. There are redeeming values in the film that many fanboys obviously have hooked into. I don’t hate all the acting. I don’t hate all the CG. This is not inert unwatchable crap.

    But if you think about what it is saying and repeating endless, in words and deeds, it is a real mess of a film. And I did the long review so I could be specific about that and not just piss on the film. I can do petty (and have and have on this film a couple times on Twitter), but this deserved a full explanation. And if you disagree, so be it. I am not my brother’s movie love keeper.

  105. anghus says:

    Drew, I don’t think you’re a terrible person. I think you’re a guy who swung his dick around a lot when he first started writing and in the process got it stuck in a few light sockets. There are two Superman movies that got famously killed. I’d call you the “Mark David Chapman” of Abrams Superman, but that would imply that you murdered something that deserved to live.

    You made some terribly entertaining choices in your time at AICN. You made a conscious choice to put a bullet in the head of a major motion picture. I think that’s fascinating. Doesn’t make you a good person or a bad person, just an interesting one.

  106. Paul Doro says:

    I’m sure groupthink does exist. I wonder though about how it’s accurately identified. I think it can be a lazy, knee-jerk argument, akin to “you just didn’t get it.” So if the negative (or positive) reviews start piling up, just blame groupthink. Well, OK, but how do you know for sure that groupthink is to blame? New wide releases have 100-200 reviews. How many people actually read a majority of 100 or 200 reviews? Is it really that easy to determine when groupthink is factoring into a certain film’s critical reception? Is it just a gut feeling?

  107. Yancy says:

    I think the new working defintion of “fanboy” is: Someone who will viciously defend a movie they haven’t seen yet.

    Incidentally, anyone notice a fanboy bias over at RT? Why oh why is their “consensus” still a positive one? They’re at 58% and dropping, and yet they tried to cap it with a “RT approved” badge based on about six reviews.

    What is the point of defending something you haven’t seen? Once you see it, if you don’t like it, you won’t care anymore that grown-ups like Poland were dismissive.

    McWeeny’s A+ (and Jon Ary’s bullshit aw-shucks act) were the things that took my immediate interest away. Anyone who claims with great relief that Hollywood has finally scrubbed Superman of any levity has their priorities seriously fucked.

    I get it: You guys are in love with comic books (as I was until A) I discovered Kurosawa and B) comics got “dark”), you don’t like the idea that most pre-millenial comic book movies approached the material with a tongue-in-cheek tone, and you feel a false sense of validation based on the out-of-whack attention Hollywood gives the fanboy base.

  108. Yancy says:

    And groupthink DEFINITELY exists and plagues this shadow-culture currently. Just look at the lock-step on George Lucas these days – one is regarded as INSANE if they don’t feel that the prequels were “awful” – even though they made a lot of people happy and got generally good reviews (in the pre groupthink RT era)… That’s the worst thing about nerds and fanboys – counter-intuitiviely, they’re the LEAST imaginitive people on the planet. And they encourage each other towards mob negativity. Because of their no-grey-areas nerd mentality, they’ve now rendered the SW prequels just about the most underrated movies of the modern era, as far as popcorn goes. By refusing to admit to values in a film beyond post-Tarantino scripting and acting verisimillitude, they only underline their own “how to enjoy a movie” mentality. Fucking scourge, I tell you.

  109. Paul Doro says:

    I totally agree with your fanboy definition Yancy. I also wondered about the MOS consensus. It was posted awfully early and after a pretty small number of reviews.

    But nerd/fanboy groupthink is different from critic groupthink right?

  110. Latex Zebra says:

    At the end of the day (it is night) I want to see a Superhero movie that is bombastic, has mega action sequences and a bit of story.
    I’m not expecting The Godfather so I doubt I’ll be dissapointed when I finally see it at Imax at the end of the month..
    I think the real problem today is that people rely on critics and websites like RT to make the decision on how good the film is.
    To some it will be shit, others amazing. Sure we like to argue about it but lets not get any ulcers here.

  111. Bulldog68 says:

    You have a son Dave, and I have three daughters. When you tell them to do something and they do it, do you consider that animal training or simply that they listen to you?

    For the record, I think there could have been a better way to construct the scene, but think about it for a second, is there any way that a boy with his powers could have been concealed for so long without his abject obedience?

    The only people he trusts are his parents. The only friend he has are his parents. He has no one else. He is someone from another universe whose whole universe is comprised of two people. Yeah….he obeys. It’s the wrong call on Pa Kent’s part, but Clark obeys.

  112. Nick says:

    I find it funny that people tend to use RT as the end all, be all for how good a film is. I was going through MoS reviews, and just looking at the grades. Why is a “B” considered to be rotten? Why is a 3/5?
    RT considers a film to be rotten if it’s less then 60%. Well, then why wouldn’t a review that is essentially a 60/100 considered to be fresh? The system itself, seems to flawed,…. at best

  113. leahnz says:

    i still love zs’s ‘dawn of the dead’, gore-licious and some nice TENSE action (MOS has all the sustained tension of 4 squares of used toilet paper swirling down the shitter)

    like Roy Batty says, questions: why is Nolan’s name suddenly so conspicuously absent from this convo and the ‘problems’ with this joyless wonder of an adaptation? i didn’t hate it at all (i kinda dig when DP gets his hate-on for movie though, always entertaining, and he makes some really excellent points in his caustic review), but while i don’t really relish horn-tooting i’ve been saying for months how Nolan’s dark, heavy-handed convoluted sensibility was going to fuck up superman and i don’t think anybody spoke up to agree with me, and low and behold, how i hate being right. nolan wrote the story and produced MOS, his fingerprints choking the life out of poor supes are on this as much as snyder’s. superman is not batman for fuck’s sake, where’s the joy.

    well one question anyway, that’s all I have time for now. i agree that the scenes/chemistry between Cavill and Adams are far and away the best thing about the movie, which was otherwise a bit of a dirge which devolved into trannies 3, an utterly uninspired effort.

  114. Paul Doro says:

    Nick I noticed that in some instances a 3/5 is a positive review on RT and then sometimes it’s negative. Not sure how that works. I for one do not make moviegoing decisions based on RT scores. I doubt that many do. I use it to read reviews since so many are in one place.

  115. anghus says:

    Paul, yes. There are different groups within groupthink.

    yancy, there was critical groupthink with the Phantom Menace. People were writing critical reviews but then scoring B minus. Everyone seemed almost afraid of being the one to condemn a cultural institution. Then Clones came out and everyone piled on after playing it safe on Menace. And then for some reason, Sith gets praise for being “the best” of the prequels. The sad reality is all three had the same problems. All three were no better than C movies. Groupthink charted the course. When everybody thought Star Wars was back and no one wanted to spoil the party. Then the backlash hit. Everybody made jokes about the kid, jar jar, the veiled racism. Now its cool to bag on star wars. Groupthink is totally involved.

  116. David Poland says:

    Bulldog… when my 3 year old wanders near a busy street and I scream, “STOP!,” I want him to stop like a trained dog.

    When he is 17 years old and he has to make a choice about life and death, even at some cost to him – obviously, he will not be impervious to a tornado – the kid I will be most proud of having raised will be the one who can make that call for himself, even if I am doing something stupid. I want the kid who will make me go under the bridge with Ma and not just watch as I put my life in true mortal danger to get the dog out of the car.

  117. Martin S says:

    The problem is the story construction. They were covering too much ground, in not enough space.

    Dave has some valid points, but that review is a jumbled a mess. The core problem seems to be…

    And I say, “Blame the film, not the messenger.” This is a film that screams at the audience about its moral authority.

    …and that is the common trait shared by Snyder and Nolan. Their movies are not morally ambiguous. They’re debatable, but they have characters that make judgements.

    The Spartans of 300 were portrayed as he-men, while Xerxes and company were freaks. That created a shitstorm with people who felt their societal viewpoint was being insulted, and the blame went between Snyder and Miller.

    For example…

    But let’s be clear. Zod may be wrong. He may go way too far in trying to do his duty (which we later learn he was bred to do, which should have made him a sympathetic character, not a over-the-top villain)

    That’s your moral compass, but this is no different than Snyder’s Xerxes or The Comedian. No matter what bad things may have happened to them in life, they are who they are at that point. There is no sympathy for the devil, whom Zod is standing in for.

    Long f-ing way from “Truth, justice, and the American way.” America may be a long way from that too. But Selfishman is no hero to me, whether he has superpowers or not. My way or the highway is the lesson he brings to his heroism… same as all the great fascists of history. Same as the U.S. invading countries which are not actually threatening us or world peace. We’re going to count on the guy who chose not to save his dad from death at the risk of someone asking him how he did it? Not me.

    Again, this is morals being offended and not a critique of what was in the film.

    A clearer question would be, are Snyder/Nolan/Goyer pushing the Nietzsche Superman/Overman relationship intentionally or not? Because you can run a thread through the a number of scenes to show this.

    I’ve read the majority of the unfavorable reviews, and they share the same complaints; too heavy, jumbled and the ending onslaught leaves a lot of questions. I instantly felt it was bizarre to not have Superman saving hundreds of people in Metropolis and Smallville, but I don’t why they made that decision. I question it, but I’m not personally offended.

  118. papaDIMAS says:

    Just hope the box office ka-ching could offer a yes go productions of JUSTICE LEAGUE movie & MAN OF STEEL sequel. So fanboys and movie goers could watch the film BEFORE we read the critics and tomatometer scale.

  119. Bulldog68 says:

    That’s the son I would want too Dave. I totally agree with you. But that’s not what Pa Kent raised. He raised a boy who was afraid to use his powers. He raised a boy who basically was afraid of the world. He raised a boy who was afraid to make his own decisions.

    As Clark grew to become Superman, even in the older versions, it always seems like he was experiencing everything for the first time, and that`s due to his sheltered upbringing.

  120. Water bucket says:

    I know the movie will not be great but I have to see henry cavill’s furry chest on a big screen! He’s simply too good looking.

  121. CG says:


  122. leahnz says:

    water bucket, i predict you won’t be disappointed in that regard, Cavill is a fine-looking lad

    “As Clark grew to become Superman, even in the older versions, it always seems like he was experiencing everything for the first time, and that`s due to his sheltered upbringing.”

    jts bulldog i agree with this, and that’s one of the things that makes Supes special and what is ultimately so disappointing about this grim incarnation for me, one big part of the Supes ethos that makes him special is his uncomplicated earnest joy in his ability to do these incredible acts that being a being from another planet enables him to do, he has such forthright gusto and pure goodness and belief, why even bother to make a superman for a new era and completely ignore what makes his character fundamentally unique, why turn him into a reluctant, psychologically tortured ‘hero’ AKA BATMAN (unless maybe they were doing the nietzche supes thing martin S mentions, which is just silly imho; ftr i wasn’t offended by this tortured, bullied supes, just bored mainly)

  123. Manik says:

    Alright. I’ve got to concede. I give up defending this film now.

    Although I know why this film is the way it is. Personally, as a fan I’d give it 90%, as a filmmaker I’d give it a 70% (not 80% or 90%), but I would definitely not give it 56% its a bit too extreme, in my opinion.

  124. Joe Leydon says:

    Something from my review: Near the end, there’s a flashback to Clark Kent’s halcyon days back on the farm in Smallville: Young Clark runs around the backyard with a sheet tied to his neck as a cape and strikes heroic poses. At first, you can’t help thinking: “Aw, that’s cute – he’s pretending to be Superman.” Then you can’t help noticing: “Wait a minute – at this point, Superman doesn’t exist yet. What the hell…?”

  125. Ray Pride says:

    Joe, the timeline would suggest he’d just seen SUPERMAN II at the Smallville Orpheum.

  126. Micheal (Michelle) says:

    You know ..everyone’s opinion is just opinion. We are suppose to have freedom of speech. There is no reason to be hateful and ugly towards each other. Some hated it some liked it…oh well–

    My OPINION though..this is disappointing. I am a true ‘ Superman’ fan. At 38 years of age I have seen and read anything ‘Superman’. I even have my name in kryptonian tattooed across my back- so yep..i am truely a 100% die hard fan. I used to think nothing could be dumber than ‘Lois & Clark’ TV series…I was wrong. This not only didn’t follow the original comic line, but it showed nothing that could be remotely possibly make a true fan happy. Now I know there are a few of you dorks who are gonna be smart @$$es and say “Well they changed Star Trek.” Not really..the time line was changed. The characters were not. Kirk is still a smart butt who swaggers, Spok still talks and thinks logically (and sometimes you still wanna beat the Vulcan out ta him), Bones still fusses n complains…Johnathan Kent is NOTHING his character depics in the comics-Clark Jent/Kal-El/Superman isn’t either…they even changed the look of the “S” up (at least they got the meaning ‘hope’ right). So, for those of you who really aren’t “Superman”..and I mean TRUE “Superman” fans, if you like the movie, more power to you…You go ahead and enjoy it. Your right your opinion…as for me..I AM a true ORIGINAL fan and for me…this movie sucked everything including swamp water..

  127. Pete B. says:

    Wow… saw the film and completely loved it. I was wiping away tears at the end. That’s in complete contrast to Returns which left a palpable bad taste in my mouth.

    Not sure where all Dave’s vitrol comes from as most of his points (morality, arrogance) I totally missed. Did we see the same movie?

  128. leahnz says:

    wow having your name as a kryptonian tat is pretty hard core.

    joe, that’s pretty funny (pity clark becomes a bit of a dour, arrogant little bitch of a superman, clearly he didn’t know this while he was imitating himself and exhibiting a modicum of wonder and joy)

    it think the constant referral to the rotten tomatoes score is a bit silly, basically the movie is getting mixed reviews – i’d give it a C for average using the school teacher scale

  129. Joe Leydon says:

    Ray: That’s pretty damn funny.

  130. Danny says:

    TRUE mature superman fan understand that the comic world is not real, and although we enjoy the cheesy-ness of it, its about time we grown up and get a movie that reflects exactly how an alien would be received on earth in real life in a plausible manner. Ive been reading superman comics for a long time and even when i was a kid ive always wanted a movie that wasnt as completely as cheesy as the comics even though i love them and all. its a new better era of cinema thats bringing our beloved heroes like we want to see them and we gotta adapt.

  131. Manik says:

    Although I can assure you. Man of Steel 2 will be AWESOME! they’ve got this out of the way now. Very bold of them, in my opinion. If you can have 4 Twilight movies that have all scored below 30% on Rotten Tomatoes and you had 4 movies, I’m sure Man of Steel will have made enough box office to justify a second one! Surely!

  132. David Poland says:

    Danny – I agree. Probably would have loved that movie.

  133. Chris Bowen says:


    I wonder if we saw the same movie. Your definitions of the situations are poorly written and make the audience believe they are setup differently than they are.. Perhaps you should stick to not writing spoilers because you did a terrible job with this one.

    ” In the one kind of circumstance in which someone with superhuman strength and near-invincibility could survive without people investigating how he survived, a tornado”

    How so, how does clark cover 100+ yards in a blink of an eye without the 20+ adults seeing him?

    “But here, at 17 or 18, Clark is still a little boy, so fearful of his father’s paranoid idea of humanity that he—who has the power to change it”

    When something is beaten into your head over and over for 17 years it is very hard to shake it, just ask any person who grew up in a religious family and then converted to something else

    “And this scene taps into the giant overarching problem with Man of Steel. it keeps repeating a core idea that Clark must wait for the right moment to show himself to humans and risk rejection and fear of an alien being in their midst… and then, it NEVER happens”

    I am not sure I follow? what never happens? he never revels himself, or that he never revels himself as clark kent. The theme you speak of is talking about the former, yet he did revel himself and he was betrayed and attacked, proving “pa” kent correct.

    “aside from video, which can’t be accomplished on Krypton or when broadcasting to the world from a spaceship, even if you have the power to turn off all power except to the TVs… oy). What will happen?!?!”

    Interfering with electrical power is much simpler than breaking the code used to broadcast video.. I get your point on this one, but you chose a bad example.

    ” military group (who must also have superhuman powers to be everywhere that anything significant takes place through the entire part of the film in which they exist” the movie does not not play out in the 3 hours of screen time, there is plenty of time for the military to get around.

    “half the damage of which was created by your choice to fight in midtown”

    Clark did not chose the location of the fight, zod and his people did. It is not like he had a choice in location, that is where they dropped the ship, and they were not likely to send everyone off chasing him if he ran.

    “But Jor-El has decided that only one bloodline can be trusted. His own. In fact, he is so enamored of his son and his inevitable perfection, that he fuses all future potential Kryptonian DNA into little Kal-El’s body.”

    This is again off base. He choses clark not because of his bloodline, but because of his lack of pure bloodline. They mention this several times. It is about his ability to chose his actions, for good or ill, and to be what he wants. There is also the fact that other then a few ships there is not a lot of other crafts getting off the planet, in fact that may have been the only one.

    “If Jor-EL believes that Krypton’s breeding program is inherently wrong because it takes away individual choice, why send it into the universe with Kal-El at all, much less fused into Kal’s own DNA? Why not just destroy the “codex?””

    Because it has the last remaining DNA for the race other than clark.

    “Let’s take it to the next step. If Zod never comes to earth and Kal-El comes of age and the ghost-in-the-machine Jor-El shows him how to extract some Kryptonian DNA from his cells and to create more Kryptonian life… would those be his idea of good Kryptonians?”

    That was not Jor-Els intent

    “Great. Meanwhile, he did destroy a $12 million piece of equipment (or however much they say) for no real reason”

    You mean no real reason other than they were actually trying to follow him with it?

    “And what is the big close of the film? Superman finally finds the power to break Zod’s neck. Brav-fucking-o. He murders the bad guy. He cries a little, but yeah… he has learned to murder with his bare hands to defend his turf. What a happy response to his inner turmoil.”

    He did not find the power, nor did he learn to kill, he always had that ability, however he was taught to value life and Zod was the last of his people left to him. He did not WANT to kill him, but had to.

    “Ha-ha. And his closing words are not heroic. (paraphrased) “I will help you, but only if you do things my way.”

    He says “only on my terms” which makes perfect sense and a long way from what you “paraphrased”. HE is not going to do it on other peoples terms he may be sent to some country to kill people, no he wants to be free to help people without being a pawn

    As for the clothes switch, it was a dream sequence which clark was forced into and he did a clothing swap himself, assumingly to show he still had some control.

  134. AK-47 says:

    People who claim they are 100% diehard fans and then complain that the story line doesn’t follow the comics are a joke, they must be idiots, seriously. What kind of moronic fake fans are they??? Every true comic book fan no matter what company it is (Marvel,DC,Etc) knows that multiple stories and origins are given for almost every popular character. There’s way too many different stories for each hero to say “I’m a true fan of so and so” and not realize that the character they “love” is written over and over differently with different histories. You sound stupid so cut that shit out you idiot.

  135. Manik says:

    Anyone here thinks that Superman cried when he broke Zod’s neck NOT because he killed Zod, but in the process of twisting his neck the heat-vision beam that was coming out of Zod’s eyes was also twisted and ended up chopping off the three humans (who were stuck at the wall) that he was trying to save. Hence Superman cried after looking at those chopped bodies at the wall. (Perhaps due to the PG-13 rating issues that could not include that scene?) Personally I think that is why Superman cried.

  136. I Luv Well Written Screenplays says:

    After Skyfall and Road to Perdition, I would pay to see a Sam Mendes Superman.

  137. Mike says:

    Danny, what you’re looking for is Alan Moore’s Miracleman. A comic that will never be filmed for a lot of reasons.

  138. Bulldog68 says:

    Well in Skyfall, Bond was almost Superman anyway. Surviving bullets, drowning, superhuman stunts for a man past his prime. Fits.

  139. Hallick says:

    “But spearing the truck with 5 tress (or more?) was really the act of an angry pre-teen who pins down bugs for torture sessions.”

    Not really. But it was an act that was a MILLION times more public and exposure garnering than bitch slapping a twerp with .000001% of your real strength in the bar would have been. All he really had to do was pick the guy up by the collar and walk him out calmly while being harmlessly swatted with whatever the guy could reach on the way out. THAT would have been funnier and more enjoyable than “Oh well, I’m just gonna take off my apron and walk out of here like the world’s biggest weirdo and then demolish a semi in a way that people in Nova Scotia would have heard but nobody in this Honky Tonk will notice until the sight gag works”.

  140. Micheal (Michelle) says:

    Ak-47…before you start calling “true fans” idiots, moronic fakes, and cussing them people out, put your real name on here chicken shit… now we know who to really complain ass.
    How dare you? If we don’t like it we have the right to voice that opinion just as much as the next one raves how much they did. I did not attack anyone who said they liked it- just stated I did not and MY OPINION dare you attack me. Then don’t have the dick n balls to put your name on here so anyone knows who you really are…
    Real comic fans know story lines are/have been rewritten and changed, but they in some way strayed to different things-but they have all come along with they same concept. (Although I don’t know where ‘Return’ came from..a weird twist there) …the origional comics were cheesy yes..the newer ones bette r…the point is some people were expecting something different they didn’t get it…so what?! That doesn’t give anyone the right to tear them down.
    Being a fan doesn’t make me live in a reality of “its real” either I just want to see a concept that I’ve read and been raised in. If the tweak it fine…add to it, even better – but at least leave me with something I was looking for too.
    Oh- lol- Manik….there were 5 twilight movies…just sayin’.

  141. hcat says:

    ‘Danny, what you’re looking for is Alan Moore’s Miracleman. A comic that will never be filmed for a lot of reasons.’

    Exactly, if you would like to make a serious superhero movie about the burdens of a superhuman, create a knockoff and do an interpretation of a superman like figure. But given we get a Superman movie only so often they should stick to the wonder.

    The Superman movie from my childhood climaxes with Supes reversing the spin of the planet to turn back time and save the women he loves. This one ends with him snapping someones neck. Someone tell me which is more epic. Which is more mature.

  142. hcat says:

    And for a somewhat superflurious question, do they at least put Costner on horseback? Nothing more cinematic than a guy on a horse and Costner looks more natural on one than anyone else in film today. It seems like a waste to cast the guy as farmer and not throw him on a palimino for at least a scene or two.

    That would be like hiring Cruise for something and not having him run. Or hiring Clint and only have him smile.

  143. Aaron says:

    I think that, like the last try at Supes, this will be a maybe break even film. For whatever reason, there seems to be a cap on what a Superman movie can do. So they brood up (down?) the newest cleft chin and hope for Batman numbers…?

  144. Joe Leydon says:

    Hcat: Alas, no Costner on horseback.

  145. hcat says:

    Fucking Snyder, for someone who prides themselves on making iconic visual moments he let an oppurtunity slip by. I’ll have to get my fix streaming Untouchables over Netflix.

  146. joe says:

    I liked the movie very much. It’s easy to keep up with flashbacks if your used to watching shows like Lost. The movie is a good starting point for a sequel.

  147. Soxfan111111 says:

    Favorite monologue bit: “There’s only one way this can end. Either you die, or I do.”

  148. Joe Leydon says:

    Hcat: Last year, I interviewed Kevin Costner for Cowboys & Indians magazine. During the Q&A, we had this exchange:

    C&I: You’ll be back on the big screen next year in Man of Steel, the latest Superman movie. Is it true that you’ll be playing the title character’s adoptive dad?

    Costner: [Laughs] Yeah, I guess I always thought that maybe I’d play Superman. I just didn’t want to lift the weights to get into shape. So I had to blow past that age and end up being his father. But I like this director, Zack Snyder, so much. And it’s not a big role. But it’s part of the mythology.

  149. hcat says:

    I’m sure that whoever had the rights in 89 and 90 would have put him on the top of the list (though I think Cannon was pitching it to Ahnuld at the time).

    This and Hatfields might be the kick Costner needs, time has washed away the terrible choices he made in the past, and if Redford (his direct predecessor in Hollywood lineage-Golden Boy division) can be the talk of Cannes, Costner can certainly come back the same way.

    A bit strange to me that they seem to have made this as NOT YOUR DAD’S SUPERMAN and then packed with dadbait like Costner and Crowe. If they had Willis as Lex Luthor it would have been the only thing talked about in Little League Bleachers all summer.

  150. Joe Leydon says:

    I wish more people had seen Costner in Mr. Brooks — he was uncomfortably convincing as a psycho killer. And while his was a relatively minor supporting role, I thought he was very fine in Company Men.

  151. hcat says:

    I steered clear of Brooks out of hesitation of seeing anything with Demi Moore, Dane Cook or released by MGM. One of those might be ok but putting three strikes like that together….will keep it in mind though.

  152. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, if you’re one of those people who detest Dane Cook… let’s just say you may enjoy this movie.

  153. Paul Doro says:

    I detest Cook and didn’t like him at all in Mr. Brooks. Didn’t think much of the movie either. However, love Costner. Lately Open Range has been on (I think) Encore all the time and my wife and I watch it every chance we get. Never tire of it. Great movie. He was also really good in Hatfields & McCoys, even though the miniseries overall was only so-so (suffered pretty much every moment Costner and/or Bill Paxton and Powers Boothe aren’t onscreen). Anyway, I’m really glad he’s back.

  154. hcat says:

    I did think Cook was perfectly decent in Dan in Real Life, though I think I am the only person who does not detest that movie.

  155. Joe Leydon says:

    Hcat: Funny you mention him in that movie:

    Paul: Love Open Range. One of the best shoot-outs in any western, ever.

  156. Paul Doro says:

    Yeah Open Range is sublime. Costner and Duvall, what a pairing. They are so, so good together. I’d love to see them together again in something.

  157. hcat says:

    Three movies that should be mandatory for cable companies to play on Fathers day are Open Range, Master and Commander and Last of the Mohicans.

    Love how Open Range doesn’t make the shootout the end but instead makes if Annette Bening will still accept him now knowing his capacity for violence be the payoff.

  158. Paul Doro says:

    Also, A Perfect World is one of my all-time favorite movies, and possibly my favorite Costner performance. An underrated masterpiece.

  159. Joe Leydon says:

    As I recall, there actually was a lot of talk about a possible Oscar nomination for Costner when Perfect World came out.

    And yes: I admired the way Costner keep the story going — and kept us interested in how it was going — after the shootout in Open Range.

    But what I really want is Costner and Susan Sarandon to get together in another movie.

  160. js partisan says:

    I was very happy to discover that they put “A Perfect World,” on the blu-ray boxset for Clint Eastwood. It really is an under appreciated little gem of a movie.

    That aside, I do not agree with Dave’s sentiment, but this movie is nothing more than a better cast Green Lantern movie. It’s a solid double but barely.

  161. Eric says:

    TIN CUP 2, Hollywood make it happen.

  162. js partisan says:

    Eric, seriously, there is apparently a script and it involved the either the Masters or The Open.

  163. Joe Leydon says:

    I would also like to see Return to Silverado, but both Kevin Kline and Kevin Costner have indicated to me during interviews in recent years that, no, that ain’t gonna happen.

  164. Paul Doro says:

    He definitely should have been nominated Joe. Maybe underseen is more accurate than underrated. The people who have seen it do seem to really like it.

  165. leahnz says:

    i love how supes zipped around the earth to make it turn ‘backwards’ and reverse time in Donner’s movie when i was a kid, it seemed weirdly plausible (and lois ‘drowning’ in the dirt was so horrible and distressing, i remember being in utter disbelief that lois had died, how could that be – because even Superman with all his righteousness and powers couldn’t raise the dead…or could he? too cool, the power of love (re hcat’s comment)

  166. Roy Batty says:

    (while averting my eyes that won’t see STEEL for over a week due to vacation)

    Where’s the post of David discussing this BS “MAN OF STEEL does $21M opening day” story? Basically, Wal-Mart gave Warner Bros $12M for marketing, whatever.

    In fact, it had what should be frightening for Warner Bros. dismal $9M opening. Factor in 3D and IMAX surcharges and that becomes a downright terrifying number for the suits in Burbank.

  167. anghus says:

    Im still betting Man of Steel outgrosses Iron Man 3 domestically and becomes the second billion dollar movie of 2013. Though some of the ultra violent/lack of a feel good element could seriously cut the legs. I was originally betting on 500 million domestic. A long shot, sure. But a bet i was willing to make. Now that im hearing its ultra violent, deadly serious, and theres no warm and fuzzies in the film, i’d probably hedge my bet and say 450. But i said 500 domestic and stick with 500 domestic.

    As much critical ambivalence as there is for the movie, the word of mouth seems overwhelmingly positive. Whoever made the Transformers comparison is on the right track. They went ‘iconic eye candy’ with Man of Steel, and like Transformers its a very safe, uninspired bet that will probably be lucrative enough to announce the sequel going into production in 2014.

  168. Bulldog68 says:

    I’m thinking that World War Z next week, which in my mind is beginning to regain some traction, Lone Ranger, which should steal some families, but is in a battle of it’s own with Despicable Me, and then Pacific Rim, should cut into MoS’s trajectory a bit and slow it’s momentum. Enough to stop it from $450m, and maybe enough to leave Iron Man 3 with the summer and maybe yearly crown.

    I do think it will be a close race domestically however, and MoS may actually be able to claim the international crown as I think it could go higher that $800m. International audiences will eat this up. It’s Matrix meets Transformers meets the superhero genre. And crowd pleasing.

  169. Bulldog68 says:

    She who must not be named says her “sources” are estimating $134m through Sunday. Even if she’s wrong by $10m either way….not bad. Not bad at all.

  170. Bulldog68 says:

    Biggest June openings are Toy Story 3 at $110m and Trannies 2 at $108m, and they legged it out to over $400m.

  171. js partisan says:

    If “Man of Steel” were released a weekend or two earlier. It may have beat IM3. Now? I would be surprised if it holds onto number 1 next week. The word of mouth is not going to be uniform on this flick. The cast are great but the movie is shit. It’s just poorly constructed, not well thought out, shit. Outside of the WOM, it’s going up against a ZOMBIE movie. I point to the “Walking Dead,” I point to Brad Pitt, and the “Man of Steel” is going to have a hard time with that movie.

  172. YancySkancy says:

    Costner also stole the show and garnered a little Oscar buzz in 2005’s THE UPSIDE OF ANGER.

  173. leahnz says:

    yay yancySK, glad you mentioned ‘the upside of anger’, one of costner’s most endearing, effective perfs, I love denny – and ‘upside’ is one of his finest movies full stop (i have a friend who says i like denny because denny and I are alike – not sure how to take that); ‘a perfect world’ is costner’s zenith imho – probably always will be for me – and then of course i’m always embarrassed to bring up ‘3000 miles to graceland’ and how much i dig costner’s psycho murphy when it comes to his ‘against type’ stuff

  174. Nick says:

    So I read this review BEFORE I saw the movie (shame on me) and was already anticipating a bad movie.

    However, every time I got to one of the scenes this review talks about negatively, he was way off basis. The scene about the tornado… couldn’t be more opposite. I literally whispered under my breath, “Ok this is not what the guy said said at all.” I even ran this by my girl friend who said, “Yeah, I don’t know how he came to that conclusion either.” His take on it seems almost shallow.

    The ending line even is quoted wrong and in completely the wrong context. I almost let this review ruin this movie for me and after seeing it, this is easily one my favorite movie I have ever seen and that’s embarrassing to say considering its a super hero movie.

    It has just the right amount of dark. Everyone says he’s brooding…? These other super hero movies consist of annoying one liners that take away from the fact that some villain is trying to destroy the world lol. That’s like someone breaking into your house and if you don’t make terrible Stallone lines, your brooding.

    This movie kept as close to the story line as possible while making changes only for realism.

    An example of this without giving anything to crazy away is that his identify isn’t exactly a secret that a pair of glasses can hide. Everyone says that it’s a terrible disguise and that everyone would know that right away. Well this movie does the very best it can to address that glaring problem while keeping to comic book cannon.

    I know realism is a bad word to use for a superman movie however, it has the same feel as Dark Knight in that, theoretically, these things could happen. I however, felt Dark Knight was more unbelievable than this movie, setting aside he’s an alien and his powers and I really liked Dark Knight.

    Don’t let this review ruin the movie for you like I almost did. Every movie has it’s flaws and so does this one but this is my favorite of all the super hero films I have ever seen and I think I have seen them all.

  175. js partisan says:

    The film works in spots but overall, it fails like Batman quitting for eight years. It’s nowhere near the sum of it’s parts and knowing these same jokers are coming back behind the camera, does not give me any reassurance that the sequel (or the DC CINEMATIC UNIVERSE for that matter) are in good hands.

  176. anghus says:

    i just got out of Man of Steel in a theater that was completely empty. Thank you God for 11:30am screenings.

    Prognosis: Average

  177. Brady says:

    It’s always interesting to watch people who’ve lived a certain comic book for who knows how many years, be rendered apoplectic when the film adaptation is off in their imaginations. As someone who has never read a comic book, I’m curious, if most these movies stuck utterly to the source material in whatever way that means, would it too often be a lesser filmed entertainment as a result? Perhaps excite the true fans more, but leave larger audiences wanting something different?
    I’m on the side that I prefers a Christopher Nolan approach to these movies, because those stories get inside me more. And I always wonder, just what percentage of the audience going to these movies have ever even read the source material? I was raised on video games and movies, as was pretty much my entire circle of friends, but we love going to watch these movies, because they embody fantasy and myth, and obviously always carry the giant budgets to flavor the summer pallet even more. But within all the bickering, I don’t often see conversations about comic book movies as proper story-telling devices as much as if they got the suit right or whatever. And again, if they do tend to go away from what a true fan wants, if I were a fan, I guess that would kind of suck, but for every 100 people in the theater, I’d imagine a couple actually read the comic.
    My problem with this movie is I just don’t care for the movie. I’d probably liken it to the latest Star Trek, which I gave more of pass to since I love Trek and have it in my blood. I want to hate the latest Trek movies as a rabid fan of the universe, but I do have to sit back and enjoy what it does do right. Better than no Trek at all. Kind of sucks to look at that way.

  178. christian says:

    Casey Kasem said it best:

  179. leahnz says:

    Joe: good lord that’s a bitchin’ review, pretty much sums up that glorious monstrosity of glitz and gore – and your description of costner as murphy is priceless, spot on, you’re awesome as always

  180. brack says:

    David’s alternative is that Clark saves Jonathan by overcoming the power of a tornado and throwing his father to safety and then gets whisked a mile away without a scratch on him. Okay fine, but then you’d have to ask the question “What was the point of this scene?” It’s one thing to criticize a scene, but your reasoning has to be a little smarter than this, because the fact is Clark’s secret is better contained by doing nothing than him making a miracle happen by saving his dad and tornado surfing.

  181. Triple Option says:

    I think the tornado scene shows how true to his word Pa Kent was in willing to die than have his son’s secret exposed, since he felt that once that info’s out, it would be the end for his son. This another biblical parallel. When Mary tells Jesus that the wedding host was out of wine, Jesus responds by saying “Woman, it’s not yet my time” but then Jesus performs his first miracle in turning water into wine and thus, as he knew, starts the countdown clock on his own life. Albeit, 3 years later, Jesus knew what that publicly displayed event would mean. Which, making Clark 33, the same age that Jesus was at his crucifixion I thought was a bit gag inducing.

    I didn’t hear well and didn’t realize Costner was going back for a dog until I saw him open the car door. The emotion and dramatic affect of the scene worked for me. I did have a slight problem with him doing so in that it’s not just he and his son, he’s got a wife who’ll need him as well.

    I think David’s point was that if Supes had rushed out to save his father he probably could have gotten away with it because the one place where completely inexplicable incidents of survival happen, ALL THE TIME, are in tornadoes. I didn’t even think of that! People in cars getting thrown 1/2 mile away and surviving, tornadoes wiping out trailers on two sides but leaving a center one untouched, people trapped behind water heaters but that saves them from other flying debris… Supes could’ve easily gone to save his father and jumped to safety and then said “oh wow, it’s a miracle, we landed in a ditch 300 yards away.” Fake an injury. Be unclear of what happened. Who wouldn’t believe that?

    It probably could’ve been another him vs secret but how hard would that scenario be to come up with and have it play out so poetically on film? I’ll give him it’s a bit faulty but nothing to remove me from the movie.

  182. christian says:

    “Son, maybe let the busload of children die…but ALWAYS SAVE THE DOG.”

  183. brack says:

    I think Jonathan and Martha had a long talk years ago about the fact that they would both do anything, not only to keep Clark’s secret, but to be there for him no matter what. I’m sure Martha’s heart was broken, but she also knew deep down a scenario might happen like this.

    Had Clark not have saved those kids on the bus, I’d understand David’s stand point.

  184. Big Jobs says:

    I’ll come back when this stops being the ugliest website on the planet.

  185. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Finally got some free time so went and caught MoS Imax 3D. Now there’s a movie with issues.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s enjoyable – but I’d probably compare it to Iron Man 3, as another movie with some great bits, some brave takes on lore, but ultimately a bit of a muddle. It does get a little tedious watching Superman grit his teeth to overcome yet another feat of strength, but it moves along at a fair pace so I didn’t find it boring like others have mentioned.

    For me though, the main thing that caused problems was the sheer amount of Handwavium present in the movie. Kryptonians are established as a spacefaring race – why did the other colonies die out? No-one knows, they just did. Why weren’t there any other spacefaring ships available for other escapees? No-one knows, there just aren’t. Heck, at one point even Clark asks that question – and Jor-El’s holographic ghost dodges with “Well, your mother wanted to follow you but we couldn’t”.

    Why did Krypton’s collapse bring back General Zod’s forces? Were there no other banished people? How did Zod watch the destruction of the Phantom Zone projector from his bridge, if presumably this was how they came back? How did they retrofit it into an interstellar drive if it was destroyed by the planet’s collapse?

    Why isn’t Zod’s first act on knowing that the Genesis chamber is destroyed to surrender so that another Genesis chamber can be built? He isn’t a scientist, but clearly he’s no slouch with technology if he can retrofit a busted Phantom Zone Projector into an interstellar drive. Why isn’t there a beat of hesitation when Superman announces his plan of creating a Black Hole over Metropolis? Is there anyone who doesn’t know Clark is Superman given the number of alien ships and police cars that visited his Kansas farm (let alone Lois keeping on referring to him as “Clark” in front of everyone)?

    And if someone can give me an explanation for how the superpowers work that is consistent with what is depicted, let me know. First it’s stated that it’s Clark’s cells soaking up the yellow sunlight, but then the instant he’s exposed to Kryptonian air he loses his strength. How did Zod’s forces get their superstrength if they’ve been in suits in an artificially lit spaceship breathing Kryptonian air? And why is it then established later through Zod that it’s the air that gives flight/xray/heatvision and strength is independent?

    I feel like those Redlettermedia guys, I didn’t have a bad time but it sure is a flawed movie.

  186. Mr. A says:

    To the folk taking a pop at the reviewer and others: GROW THE HELL UP AND STOP ACTING LIKE SELF ENTITLED PUNKS!!

    I swear this groupthink mentality’s laughable as it is disturbing and it gets worse ever year. You’re only confirming the fact that you lot are the lowest common denominator who truly enjoy making asses out of themselves online. Instead of a polite “I respectfully disagree” and move on, you shout down anyone who doesn’t have the same views as you like rabid dogs who’re in need of euthanasia.

    So what if 95 odd film critics and some viewers voice their bemusement regarding Man Of Steel. They’re no more entitled to their opinion than you are regardless of how much money it made opening weekend and being at the No. 1 spot. IT’S NOT THAT FRIGGING SERIOUS!!!

    You make those Kardashian stans (Super Fans, FYI) look like saints…and to be blunt, it really doesn’t say much.

  187. Pete B. says:

    “Instead of a polite “I respectfully disagree” and move on, you shout down anyone who doesn’t have the same views as you like rabid dogs who’re in need of euthanasia.”

    Mr. Pot please meet Mr. Kettle.

    This coming from the gentleman who gave us:
    “Batman never quits!” and “BLUE CATS!”

  188. Jermsguy says:

    I liked it, but it had a ton of issues, and the biggest for me was Pa Kent sacrificing himself to save a dog.

    But with all the special inbreeding and genetic playing around on Krypton, they’d turned themselves into Idiocracy. They went to other planets but just “gave up” on trying to terraform? The planet’s going to explode in two weeks but we’re going to “sentence” these coup-attempters to 300 cycles in the Phantom Zone? Why not have everyone go there? Your planet’s about to explode!

  189. Magneto says:

    “ADHD cinema”? Really? What an insult to those who are defined by this form of neurodiversity. Obviously, you in the majority still think it’s OK to speak of those who are different with disdain and derision, despite decades of discourse on human diversity of all types. People just never learn.

    I will never read this site again.

  190. Faymos says:

    Terrible, terrible film. It’s boring, pretentious, heartless, nonsensical, lowbrow, manic, frantic, embarrassing, and utterly unnecessary.

    Everything is a misfire: every casting decision, the directing, editing, cinematography, effects. And, foremost, the script—despite a concept with potential.

    I rented this brain cells-decimating turkey from the library, for free, thank goodness.

    I don’t understand why Mr. Poland felt the need to interject his sarcastic, childishly-simplistic, contextless, often Fairy Godmother Utopian political quips, but, still, his MOS review was indeed a review (regardless of what some others said). And he made excellent, spot-on points. What, one has to love a film to discuss and analyze it?! That seems to be the implication of a few of the (LCD) commenters.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon