Friday, June 14

Man of Steel -- First Impressions

I'm going to hold off a while before putting up a full blog-post with my "final" assessment of this movie, give myself more time to think about it -- and most likely see it again along the way.  Right now I'm just too close to it.  As I told a friend earlier today on Facebook, I've been looking forward to this movie finally appearing for so long, I'm not sure I can be anything approaching objective toward it.

I can put forth what are pretty much my immediate reactions to it, however, given only a few hours all told to consider it.  I saw it, of course, with pretty much the earliest "general release" viewers in the US, as part of the "Walmart" promotion last night at 7 pm.  

I must admit that the movie didn't exactly blow me away, at least in the short term.  Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed it immensely, and so did my wife, who is not a comic book/super-hero fan -- at all -- and I intend to come back later with a full write-up of all the things I liked.  Among them will doubtless be the most fully developed treatment of a "realistic" yet very alien Krypton itself, as well as Jor-El and Lara, that I think has ever been seen in live action.  And, contrary to what some of the critics are saying, I think the story very much does have "heart," mainly in the portrayal of Clark's relationship with his earthly father and mother, Jonathan and Martha Kent.  And most definitely one of the strengths of this movie compared to any other Superman portrayal in the past is a real sense of the horrific devastation that would be caused by such super-beings engaged in an all-out, knock-down drag-out battle.  It's almost overwhelming.  If I would put forth an immediate criticism of the movie, it's that the full-on, relentless fighting that is basically the back half of the movie is downright mind-numbing.  That's kind of what I mean that it didn't "blow me away."  I was more stunned than anything else by the end of the two-hours-plus.  

It will take me a while to process it and put it all into perspective.  But I don't believe that my immediate judgment that Man of Steel is the best Superman movie ever offered will change.  That's not to denigrate the Christopher Reeve films, especially the first, Superman the Movie, but I just don't think that film has aged well at all.  And even at the time I had trouble with the structure of the story and the radically different feel between the epic first third and the latter two-thirds, which degenerated into downright camp.  And let's not even mention the misbegotten Superman Returns of a few years back -- which I tried to like, tried to argue that I liked -- but which was far too much of a retread of Superman the Movie without any of its charm.  I'm glad to see that the freefall in the Rotten Tomatoes rating that's being given to Man of Steel appears to have been arrested and even reversed somewhat.  I was shocked last night after seeing it to check in, for the first time since Wednesday, and see that what was the day before an over-70% "fresh" rating had dropped to the mid-fifties, and the vitriol which some of the "critics" were heaping upon it.  As of a little while ago, it stood at 59%.  But I would remind any and all that those same critics who are aggregated on Rotten Tomatoes gave Superman Returns 75%.  ... 75%?!  ... We must have a fundamentally different view of what makes a good movie, much less a good Superman movie.

Anyway, I could ramble on and on, but I want to sit back, let my thoughts percolate for a while, then I'll be back with more on this film.

Cheers! ... and Thanks for reading!

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