I’m so conflicted about this movie. I have so many issues that I want to address, and so much that really bugged me, but I can’t deny that it was an enjoyable film – it certainly wasn’t bad, even though the amount of criticism I have for it really piles up.
I’ll start with the good stuff to remind myself why I did actually like it. Firstly, the visuals easily make this film. They are stunning. The fight sequences, imaginative locations and expertly done CGI honestly make it a captivating watch – very colourful, very exciting, at times very beautiful. The plot line too, is well done. I often struggle with these sort of films because I feel like they rely on people having a general background knowledge, but the plot was easy to follow, had a clear direction without being too predictable, and was interesting enough for even those of us who just don’t get superhero films.
Acting ability was mixed. Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/ Kal-El… also a bit of a John Travolta look alike… just me? Oh…) was good, but didn’t particularly stand out to me – at times he felt a little flat, but I feel like that was due to writing, which I will discuss later. He was very good at looking determined and serious.
Amy Adams (Lois Lane) was a little irritating, but I wasn’t sure if that was her or just my grumpiness regarding the clichéd character; regardless, she was convincing in her role and I was pleased that she didn’t seem overly sexualised, although she did fall into the age-old trope of appearing like a strong intelligent woman at the start of the film, then promptly spending the rest of it screaming and falling a lot. Easily the best actor was Russell Crow as Jor-El. He was quite captivating, and spoke with passion and sincerity, even adding an element of humour at times without reducing the character to comic relief. He deserved all the screen time he got and more, if I’m honest.
One thing I was very disappointed with was the characterisation of Zod. Michael Shannon is a good actor, so I’m not sure if this was a result of writing, the character or his ability, but I just really didn’t buy into it. “He’s meant to be a fanatic, not scary like the Joker,” my boyfriend reminded me, which I had to admit was true, but I just couldn’t take him seriously. He felt more like a minor nuisance than a real threat – I felt like the more dangerous character was Faora-Ul, played by the talented Antje Traue, who appeared strong and formidable as she stared at those vainly trying to shoot her. Traue certainly upstaged Shannon in this respect; Zod felt cartoonish, yet Faora was still his subordinate, which, yes, is canon, but felt frustrating when she was clearly so much stronger.
Look at her, you can just tell she’s the brains behind the whole operation but can’t break through that kryptonite ceiling.
I think this comes down to my biggest bug about the film; the terrible writing. It’s such a shame because there was so much that was good about the movie, and the actors were superb actors in themselves but they could only work with what they were given, and what they were given was a script full of terrible, cheesy lines that didn’t make sense. Examples:
“There’s only one way this ends, Kal, either I die or you do.” – Zod. That’s two ways, but don’t worry, I get that you’re very busy and you don’t have time for maths.
“Where did you train? On a FARM?!” – Zod. This made me burst out laughing because I started thinking of Zoolander and centres for ants. Sorry Zod, it’s just the way you said it… you know, like a petulant child.
“You know they say it all goes downhill after the first kiss, right?” – Lois Lane. No. Who says that? I have literally never heard that, it is the most ridiculous and weird thing to say after a kiss. Way to kill the mood, Lois.
And the worst one, the big line that left me fuming – the female army officer giggling like a little girl and explaining to her colleague, “I’m sorry, Sir, I just think he’s kinda HAWT!”
Are you seriously telling me that women are so ridiculous that after training to a senior and important position within the army, dealing with life threatening situations after the entire city has been trashed and the world has been threatened by aliens, that she would be reduced to a helpless, giggly twelve-year-old at the mere sight of Superman? Screw you, Synder, we don’t need to be told that Henry Cavill is hot, we can see that for ourselves. You don’t need to insult every woman, particularly those in the armed forces, by implying that we are utterly useless at the sight of an attractive man. Believe it or not, we care about other stuff than getting a husband. In fact, the film was pretty poor for it’s portrayal of women all round – it barely scrapes a pass on the Bechdel test, and with the exception of Faora, all the women need saving All. The. Time. Infuriating.
In conclusion, this was a good film let down horrifically by the script writers and Zak Snyder. 6/10