I have some fond memories of the 1978 'Superman'. I'll admit it's been a while since I've seen it but I remember it fondly. There was romance, action, a ridiculous plot, and a clumsy Clark Kent who happened to have a secret; he could transform (any shabby phone box will do...) into this meta-man superhero, the shining beacon of the good guy. Sure, the film was of it's time, and I'm sure shows it's age a little now, but crucially, it had charm.I couldn't help but approach 'Man of Steel' with the 1978 film in mind. And that may have been a mistake, since this is a very different beast.
'Man of Steel' is directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, and (yuch...) Sucker Punch), and kicks us off with overlong prologue-like story where we are force fed the history of a special effect laden Krypton, its destruction and baby Superman's departure to earth. Superman's father (Russell Crowe) does a few heroic turns and the despotic General Zod (Michael Shannon) growls and sneers a lot. When we finally get settled on earth, we watch Clark Kent (Henry Caville) grow until the day when suddenly everyone finds out who he really is. General Zod attacks and complete chaos ensues.
The mayhem caused is staggering. Buildings are demolished, cities crushed, people (who I'm sure must be in the buildings somewhere?!) seem to have no hope at all, while Superman and Zod bounce all over the place. It's noisy, dumb and extremely effects heavy. It's unfortunate, but I just can't imagine anyone looking back on this movie with anything resembling fondness. 'Man of Steel' may get your blood pumping as you see things hurtle through the air, but it lacks romance, and is without any of the wit which made the 1978 Superman (or even the more recent 'The Avengers') so charming.
By Nicholas Beer.
'Man of Steel' is showing at the Rich Mix cinema on Shoreditch High Street. Clickhere for details.