Having no Supercredentials to speak of, I subjected myself to this spectacle in company with my 16 year old nephew Purple, a hawkish Superfan who had keenly anticipated the reboot despite the fact that "Superman's a bitch who doesn't really kill people" and Snyder's gorey proclivities had him shaking his head from the start. So we'll submit our comments side by side. Purple's remarks are in well, purple. Yes that is really his name. No, I'm not going to pretend for the sake of pearl-clutchers everywhere that teenage boys don't curse in the absence of their parents. Whatever. I'm a terrible influence, I know.
It's too plot holey. It's just not like, right. I dunno (indeterminate noise) yep. Jumped all over the place like ding ding ding ding. So, fanboy- was it a recognizably Superman story? Yeah. But no not really. The suit was wrong. It stole heaps of old movie stuff and was just like a montage. No kryptonite, no Lex Luthor. Man! Green Lantern all over again. Not enough backstory. At all.
I concur. The Supernarrative is bollocks, even and probably especially while conforming to a bare-bones version of the original intergalactic framework. Purp seemed annoyed by the non-linear development of the Superyouth and I did wonder at this choice myself, before deciding that this is probably what I would do too, given both a monodimensional jaw-clencher and an extremely boring rural setting to work with. I had a problem with Zod's flimsy cut and pasted motivation but Purple was willing to let it slide. The lovely R and I could have lived without the smoke-and-a-pancake fillosofickal oneliners; I mean, if you're going with the original conservative jerkfest dichotomy, just do it- don't slap half-understood social Darwinist hashtags on that shit. Interestingly, Purple seemed particularly offended by the product placement (Nikon et al) that we chuckled over amongst ourselves, since the DC universe is "only loosely based on reality", apparently.
C A S T I N G:
Nup. Henry's too babyfaced, not blockheaded enough. His hair and voice were wrong. Not Supermanny enough. General Zod- wrong. (something grunted about General Zod being too big). Lois Lane... yeah, sorta. Not bad. Thought his (SM's) parents were... his (earth) dad was ok, but the mum was too fake... she didn't look like someone from there, like a country lady. Russel Crowe... okay, did a good job, but he (the Krypton dad) doesn't have a beard, man. Everyone else seemed okay.
Does Henry Cavill fly as Superman? This was always a hard sell for me and I can see why a certain segment of the faniverse didn't appreciate him because Cavill is the charmless, dead-eyed shell of the dork that is Clark Kent; to call him wooden is to defame ligneous matter everywhere. Even his much-vaunted physicality, that overbuilt, six-month-programme gorilla frame rubbed me the wrong way from the start, smacking of vanity rather than the traditional noblesse. Amy Adams as Lois Lane was typically competent but Snyder's women always piss me off. Tits seem to consign them to the side of a Greek vase, where they stand suspended out of shot, popping up to administer comfort to the hero when required by his bitch-slapped ego. That Superman is given up by his birth mother, sagely advised by another (though how she knew anything about marshalling superpowers when the most complex thing she seems to have done is a load of fucking washing is beyond moi) and given indentity by his lover is an ancient triumverate of formative interactions in the life cycle of the mythic masculine hero. (The Female has always stood on the sidelines of that shit, and while it may be 'traditional', Snyder didn't hesitate to boot other aspects of the prevailing mythos off the field. Take from that what you will. Okay, rant over). Michael Shannon as Zod just throws his big googly face around like a fist and chews his lines like cheap steak. Oh well. I wasn't entirely convinced by his performance in Take Shelter, though R and I felt like the only ones on the planet who didn't love it. Kevin Costner looked like he was sniffing someone else's fart the whole time; Diane Lane I agree was miscast. Russell phoned it in as a stagey and hidebound Jur-El.
E F F E C T S:
Thought they were good. But Krypton was wrong. Why was it wrong, Purple? It just was. The sea was wrong. Not fancy enough. I liked the blowing up shit, but the spaceships were too animated. What about the superflying? Flying effects... alright. I had a problem with the cape myself. At mach 5 they should have been digging it out of his arsecrack with some sort of pneumatic instrument and I didn't appreciate the gentle ruffling that we were treated to instead. What about the suit in general? (Groans, clearly in anguish.) Wrong colour, crap texture (something murmured about it being too hexagony.) Just wrong. The suit didn't really bother me but yeah, I thought it was needlessly moderne. What about the Fortress of Solitude? (Bristles visibly) There wasn't a Fortress of Solitude! If that ship was supposed to be his FoS it was bullshit. It just wasn't a FoS. Pourquoi? Because it was wrong! Wrong wrong wrong. It was supposed to be Kryptonian crystal that grew out of the ground. Pretty much... you know, it's just wrong.
Ah, the wrongness of it all. Personally I'll admit to mid-level admiration for Snyder's command of a challenging and complex aesthetic. At his best he can nimbly wrangle a shitload of visual details (300, and Watchmen- come on, the images were fine, admit it.) But Superman has always seemed so monolithic and inflexibly retro to me and I didn't think it was particularly promising material for such a notoriously flashy dude, who after the dogged frame-by-frame transcription of 300 seems increasingly bent on uncoupling his delivery from the original (beloved) vision. Ooooh, perilous. Snyder was always going to have a large and probably insoluble problem revamping such a dated, vanilla protagonist.
I found the flying scenes and the rest of the kinetic action in general to be sluggish and uninspired, an unforgivable lapse in something so utterly dependent on this imagery. For all their sonic booming and splintered glass, they bored me. And the Art Nouveau Starwars/Riddick/Avatar pastiche (why appropriate such shitty material?) that were the Krypton scenes reminded me once again how much big dollar sci-fi circles the drain these days. Sigh.
O V E R A L L:
P U R P L E ' S V E R D I C T: If you like Superman, don't watch it. If you're educated in any comic universe this will piss you off. I like the Christopher Reeve Superman. And would rather have Adam West than Ben Affleck as Batman, god.
M Y V E R D I C T: I thought it shallow, overly-frenetic, joyless and ectothermic. Silly. And passionless. God.