An Amateur Analysis of "Man of Steel"

SIDEBAR: I wrote a (very) short story over at my dear friend Nicole's blog on Friday. Seriously, we're talking a third the length of this post. Check it out here!

man of steel laura mcclellan

Once upon a time, I wrote an amateur analysis of "Brave." I had high expectations for that movie, admittedly, but it let me down in more ways than one. So I shared my thoughts here [Summary: Approx. 500% more bears than anticipated; very little character development]. Reactions were mixed--but it was fun to hear what everyone thought. So I thought I'd go there again.

On Saturday, I finally saw Man of Steel with my husband. Monsters University or Despicable Me 2 would have both come before this movie in my queue, but since it came out first, it was only fair to see this one first. (We are woefully behind because of the whole moving thing.)

I didn't have enormous expectations because I'm not necessarily a die-hard Superman fan, but most superhero movies are at least worth seeing, so I had a general expectation that it would be enjoyable.

It wasn't The Worst Move I've Ever Seen, but I definitely thought it was lacking.

Keep in mind that I like good stories and don't go see movies for special effects or action, but overall I left feeling like it was very surface level in terms of story and character development, and I wasn't invested in it hardly at all.

Here were my main issues with it: [NOTE: calling them "issues" makes it seem like I care deeply about the making of this movie or the legacy of the Superman franchise, but in reality I just have a lot of opinions about things that don't matter.]


1. I didn't care about Superman. In order for me to enjoy a movie, I need to be invested in it. I need to know at least enough to know why that person is the way he is, what gets under his skin, how he interacts with people, etc. Clark, to me, didn't make relationships or interact with people. He had like six lines in the first hour and a half of the movie. He just stood around looking solemn and broody. Don't get me wrong, he was pretty and all, and there's nothing wrong with broody, but this role is not requiring much acting from Henry Cavill at this point. The most emotion I saw him display was when he was yelling at his dad in the truck when he was a teenager.

I'm just saying, I at least need a PERSONALITY. Even if I don't have a ton of background information, show me what you are like. EMOTE. Make me want to hang out with you. Or punch you. Just don't float somewhere in between. And I don't like perfect super heroes. Give me some flaws. Give me some mistakes. Give me some regret. I just need more human elements.

Point 1 Thor for having all of these things, and still being pretty.

2. Superman looked better with a beard. I was sorely disappointed that he didn't stay scruffy. I thought it was an exponential improvement from the stereotypical Superman appearance and would have been a welcome refresh to the whole Superman look. But I'm partial to facial hair. Wouldn't you have liked him better if he kept the beard? Is it a requirement to be clean-cut and slick back your hair if you wear a cape? I'm asking.

My new mission in life is to create the first scruffy super hero. He will wear a v-neck.

3. It could have ended like three times. I mean honestly. When Zod was STILL alive after all the others got sucked into a black hole and they fought for like another three hours? Just...we get it, okay? Enough.

4. More setup, less fighting please. I know this is a total girl move, but overall this movie lacked background. I need to know how Clark just HAPPENED upon the ship. I need to know how they just flip a switch to change the air from "human compatible" to "Krypton-person (Kryptonite??) compatible." I need to know how Giselle from Enchanted who is a JOURNALIST in this film, by the way, came up with a way to create a black hole to suck the bad guys into. I need to know how they arrived at that conclusion. Too many things in this movie seemed coincidental.

Also, things that could have been fleshed out more got totally bullet-pointed, and I was left wondering what the heck just happened. Like all of a sudden Russell Crowe reappears and Clark now has a full costume and a cape and apparently had time to shave and he can fly now and WHAT. I don't understand how he could I know he jumped and could soar because of less gravity and all, but how does that translate to FLYING and HOVERING? I NEED MORE INFORMATION.

And thanks for telling me Zod's predisposed job at the very end. Could've used that information 45 minutes ago. I would have cared more.

5. STOP RUINING BUILDINGS THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE IN THERE! Yo. Clark. The rest of the bad guys have been sucked into a black hole and Metropolis has stopped caving in on itself. Let's take the fight outside, okay? How about let's NOT flail around amid skyscrapers and send several more crashing down. Also by the way this movie could've ended 10 minutes ago.

Basically I've concluded that Dr. Who has ruined everything else for me by creating such a complex and beloved character that I can't even deal with Superman's blah-ness anymore. [But really, was him fighting Zod not just a worse version of The Doctor's face-off with The Master? Someone help me out here.]

In conclusion, Superman should've had a beard, and I need someone to make up a backstory or two for me.

Have you seen Man of Steel? What did you think? (Males, feel free to argue that fighting > story development. I won't be offended.)