In the beginning there was Batman (sorry) and a new comic book hero was carved in the shape of Christopher Nolan. With Dark Knight Nolan created a legacy – a film that, for me, is the best comic book adaptation of all time.
The trilogy was largely heralded by critics and many saw it as the turning point for DC. With Marvel going from strength to strength off of the back of the Iron Man release and the genius build up to the Avengers series many were concerned for poor old DC; but this was to be their moment, their time to take centre stage!
Then Superman – Man of Steel happened. I will start right off the bat by saying that Superman is far from a bad film. From a quick run through we can see that it ticks a lot of boxes:
- CGI – Impressive, no question that was a success (if we ignore the flames).
- Storyline – I thought this was an overall triumph. The narrative use of the flashback was the right option and there were enough nuances to keep Superman fans appeased.
- Cast – Bar, arguably, Amy Adams as Lois Lane I was happy with the cast. Henry Cavill was bulky enough for Superman and Michael Shannon as Zod was a masterstroke.
- Score – Hans Zimmer. That is all.
The two major bad points to Superman are, arguably, the biggest attributes to a successful film, certainly in the eyes of the critics: Direction and Script.
Whilst the storyline was solid enough I felt the script was weak and even embarrassing in places, which is surprising given Goyer’s success with the Batman series. For me it wasn’t humourous or dark enough when it needed to be.
Sticking Zak Snyder at the helm was a risk. Whilst 300 was incredible, his others (Watchmen, Sucker Punch mainly) were hardly ground breaking. To put him in charge of one of the biggest opportunities DC have had in recent years, because of the success of Batman, was poor judgement.
What they got was a CGI heavy, clunky film that was almost absurd in places. Superman should be OTT, don’t get me wrong, but Snyder went overboard with some of the fight scenes. They fight everywhere! Streets, office blocks, hell even a satellite; it became a bit silly after a while.
And I’m never one to say a film should be shorter… But Man of Steel could’ve been half an hour shorter.
Can Justice League Save the Day?
Man of Steel was meant to set up nicely for the Justice League film in a few years’ time (rumours are 2015) but Henry Caville is right to say that it’s a way off – it is. Man of Steel 2 is already on the cards and whilst it hasn’t been the runaway success that everyone expected, $400m is not to be sniffed at. Man of Steel 2 will need to be an improvement on its predecessor to appease critics and fans.
The hope will be that the “build up” via Superman, Wonder Woman et al will be as successful as Marvels. For me they’ll need to get a better script and Christopher Nolan as the director for the next Superman instalment.