We've all seen Man Of Steel now, right? So I don't have to worry about spoilers? Good, in that case: IT BE STOOPID.
Generally, there has been a very mixed reaction to Man Of Steel
, with as many wrong people claiming it to be the best thing ever as there are correct people claiming that it sucked Krypto The Superdog's doggy lipstick. Just to help readdress the balance then, here's a recount of dumb things that dumb Superman and his dumb friends did in the film.
As Superman leaves the people of Metropolis to fend for themselves while he flies halfway around the world to destroy a different World Engine, it suddenly grows Doc Ock-like tentacles that start attacking him. Sure, sure - alien technology can do anything you want it to, right Zack Snyder?
But, really, how does this even work? Is the machine alive? The tentacles can apparently grow to any length and basically act like they have a consciousness, so what exactly are these World Engines? Robots? Living metal alien things? What do they do when they're not terraforming other planets? WHY DOES NONE OF THIS MAKE SENSE? But yes, yes, I know – aliens. You’re right, it’s all clear to me now.
It’s fair to say that the level of destruction experienced by the city of Metropolis reaches pretty epic proportions, but this is troubling for a number of reasons - not least because Snyder uses it as an opportunity to imitate footage captured at the time of 9/11.
No, the main problem is with the staggering death toll that this must have racked up, but is never actually mentioned - which must easily sit in the hundreds of thousands. Granted, in some cases there's not a lot Superman can do to prevent the rising kill-count, but he doesn't show a second's thought that some people might be in danger unless it's Lois herself dropping out of the sky. Genocide would be an uncomfortable fit in ANY Superman movie considering what the character is supposed to stand for, but things get seriously questionable when our moral guardian actually contributes
to the destruction by throwing and punching Zod through every skyscraper in sight. What an utter krypto-douche.
Zod and his men were sentenced to the Phantom Zone for 300 cycles of something-or-rather (which, as Zod says, is pretty much a lifetime, so why didn't they just say that), but luckily their punishment is short-lived. In fact, it seems to have lasted just a couple of weeks. But then they are left unable to find Kal-El and without the means to travel anywhere to get to him.
So how did they arrive at Earth? Luckily, Zod himself provides a handy explanation for Supes, which consists of something like "Luckily we managed to retrofit the Phantom Zone to our hyperdrive". Oh right. Wait, you did the what now?
Perry White proves that he has no journalistic instinct whatsoever by killing Lois Lane’s story about a kindly alien stranger. Don’t get me wrong – it's understandable that he doesn’t want to run a story in his newspaper about the laughable notion of aliens, but it HAS been researched by his best reporter Lois Lane, so you’d think he'd realise there was some merit to the story. Maybe, he could suggest some editorial changes and ask for a rewrite instead of saying a clear "No. Never. Nuh-uh".
Of course, he also hints at the same argument that Jonathan Kent had been teaching a young Clarke for his whole life: the general public just aren’t ready yet. But then, shortly after, Superman and Zod and a whole bunch of other Kryptonians make themselves known to the people of Earth anyway, so really Perry has just denied The Daily Planet the greatest scoop in the history of journalism. Wait until the paper's investors hear about this.
Already the leading contender for our inevitable 'Worst lines of 2013' feature at the end of the year due to the fact that writer David Goyer is apparently shit at maths.
The final showdown between Superman and Zod is a fast-paced battle that sees the pair using their superspeed and flight to zip across the screen at every angle, throwing each other into distant skyscrapers, dragging each other through buildings and, at one point, flying up in the air and into space. And yet they always return to pretty much the exact same spot in Metropolis. Why?
Not only does this make no logistical sense, you'd think that Superman might take any opportunity to drag his fight with Zod away to somewhere more remote so as not to endanger the lives of the people of Metropolis, not to mention Lois Lane. Y’know, that woman that he just fell in one love with a couple of hours earlier.
There were some huge dialogue farts throughout Man Of Steel, but one of the best came from a near telepathic exchange between Superman, General Swanwick and military professor-type Dr Emil Hamilton when discussing how to defeat Zod. It went something like this:
Superman: "We need to use the ship to crash into the World Engine"
Dr Hamilton: "Of course, that will cause a singularity..."
General Swanwick: "... which will create a black hole!"
CONVERSATIONS DON’T WORK LIKE THIS.
And there we have what will probably end up as #2 on our 'Worst Lines of 2013' feature, as spoken by a panicked military officer. She may as well have said "Argh! It’s on all of the internets!”
There was a lot to be said about the Christ imagery in Superman Returns but by god is this so much worse. From Jonathan Kent’s frequent speeches about Clark Kent "being sent here for a reason" and "leading the way", to his floating crucifix pose as he left Zod's spaceship, Man Of Steel has one hell of a Messiah complex. And no, I don’t think Supes specifically mentioning that he is 33 is a coincidence either.
Far from just being a little bit preachy, though, this Christ-like comparison causes several problems. The main one being that Superman is apparently going to "show us the way and guide us towards hope" and he ultimately does this by… snapping Zod’s neck? Whether or not you care that this seems out of place for the Superman character we all know, it certainly doesn’t bode well for any hero who spends the entire film learning about how he should be leading by example.
Russell Crowe has a pet dragon on Krypton. Russell Crowe. Pet Dragon. Who thought this was a good idea?