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Man of Steel (6/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 143 minutes.

Not for children.

This is a two hour twenty minute display of amazing special effects that is occasionally marred by the appearance of A-List actors like Amy Adams and Russell Crowe and Diane Lane and a pretty good story that detract from the mind-numbing CGI.

The unfortunately compelling story (written by David S. Goyer from a story by Goyer and Producer Christopher Nolan) is an interesting, novel take on Supermanís creation that was never envisioned by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster when they came up with the idea of Superman in 1933 while they were in high school and sold to DC Comics in 1938 for $130, precipitating a lifelong battle between Siegel and Shuster and their heirs on the one hand and DC Comics (eventually Time Warner) on the other about who owned the multi-billion dollar rights and copyright, that Siegel and Shuster apparently signed away. The latest decision in the case occurred in January, 2013. Itís shameful that the creators of this amazing tale have been so treated all because of a contract they signed in their youth in 1938 that they probably didnít even read. Maybe thatís what the strict reading of the law is, but as Dickens had Mr. Bumble say, the law is an ass (actually Dickens was purloining from George Chapmanís 1654 play Revenge for Honor.) But I digress as none of this has anything to do with this Superman.

Well-sculpted Henry Cavill makes an adequate Superman, and Amy Adams is a sexy Lois Lane. Russell Crowe admirably plays Supermanís real father. Diane Lane plays Supermanís foster mother and is made up to look her real age which dismally fails to hide her inherent beauty. Adding to the cast is Michael Shannon, fresh off his triumph in The Iceman, as General Zod the bad guy from Krypton.  Also appearing in smaller roles that are little more than cameos are Kevin Costner as Supermanís foster father, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, the editor of the Daily Planet, and Christopher Meloni as a cop.

As indicated above, intruding on director Zack Snyderís more than 100 minutes of special effects is the story, which is a pretty good one for a comic book. But the story doesnít really take one away from the almost interminable special effects. The constant brutal fights are nothing if not ridiculous since most of them are between Superman and Zod, both of whom are invulnerable, so whatís the point? Itís almost impossible for one to injure the other. But they go on and on and on. Because the movie had to come to an end, finally one succumbs, although itís factually inconsistent with the premise of the movie.

Having an A-list cast in a movie whose star is the CGI-special effects seems like a total waste. It reminds me of Susan Sarandonís line that whenever an actress appears topless she is always upstaged by her boobs. All the actors are upstaged by the unending (but spectacular) special effects. Letís face it; people who go to these films arenít going for the acting or the story. They want to see violence and special effects, which they get here in spades.

While this is entertaining and well done, Iím sick of movies like this. The story was actually good enough to stand on its own for a normal, 90 minute action film without all the fancy graphics.

June 10, 2013