Posts Tagged ‘Superman Returns’

They got Superman wrong. Again.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

I’ve tried and tried to write a review of the steaming turd known as Man of Steel. I can’t do it, a written explanation of what’s wrong with it read aloud would take longer than the movie.

Because I love the Superman mythos too much and am too close to the subject matter, I’ve decided instead to highlight two scenes, one which sinks the movie and one which could have (almost) saved it, and by saved I mean doubled whatever its final box office gross will be.

Clark, inexplicably miserable after saving the lives of two dozen men on a burning oil platform is shown walking around a family’s house. He has pants but needs a shirt, so he ‘borrows’ one folded on the tailgate of a car. I waited patiently for the next moment when Clark would see some sort of yardwork or project that the homeowners had left halfway completed and finished it at superspeed as payment, but it didn’t happen. Due to the dreary, depressed tone of the movie I knew there would also be no later scene of Clark shipping the laundered clothing back, maybe with a little thank-you cash. No, in Man of Steal, Clark is a common thief. A quarter of a million dollars spent creating a movie, including meticulous Easter eggs to delight the nerds, and nobody involved remembered that while humans steal, Clark Kent/Superman DOES NOT steal. Ever. It’s as egregious an error as having Batman grab a machine gun and kill a criminal.

So what might have saved Man of Steel? 

A recent, far better movie called Chronicle, about three teens who develop telekinetic powers, has a scene where they use their powers to fly around. They whoop and holler through the sky and have a great time, like real people would. When Clark dons the suit the first time, it’s starting a job. He practices speeding around, joylessly. There’s maybe a split second when he cracks a smile, but that’s it. We’ve seen better flying, done more creatively, in dozens of other movies. 

A scene missing from MoS more than any other is Clark admiring earth from space. Superman Returns had one, but it failed because it depicted Superman as messiah, towering over the earth.

Superman should simply have floated there, awestruck. He can’t do it all, but he’s here to do what he can, earth is his home. Because he was raised with the best values humanity can offer, he is humbled by the very planet he could easily rule with a steel fist. Even the suit is optional for such a scene, it would have been far more striking to have Clark floating there in normal clothing, perhaps with a backpack slung over one shoulder. (That would have been a far more impressive movie poster too).

A floating-above-earth scene probably wouldn’t have redeemed this clumsy disaster movie, but it would have provided a reason for Clark to save earth from Zod and partially justify the endless and callous destruction to come.

So there you have it, the scene that ruined this movie’s depiction of Superman and the nonexistent scene that would have almost redeemed it.

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Smallville Season 9 episode mini-reviews Part Uno

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Source material can be found here PLUS watching the show.

Already wrote about the first two eps so we’re starting with the third one…

Rabid – It’s a zombie movie, only with no gore!  I always hate rip-offs of other shit, be they of effects, plots or both.  Which means I am unhappy most of the time.

Echo – I understand how difficult it is to write balanced stories with nearly-indestructable characters, but I’ll always resent the pain-in-the-ass Jor-El Easy Button.  The Jor-El of Smallville can strip Clark of his regular powers at will; in this ep we learn he can also bestow new ones (only to remove them again at a critical moment).  Clark’s imperfect humanity is what makes him a hero, so having a mind-reading ability cheated him (and us) out of having to work up the courage to ask out Lois without knowing the outcome. The Toyman (Christopher Gauthier) is played by a guy who can really act (always good to have a few of those around) and the same, as always, goes for Hartley’s Green Arrow.  Oliver’s rock-bottom suicide attempt transcended dramatic expectations, and weren’t you pleasantly freaked out by the robot?  One more thing:  that poor dude in the bomb mask at the beginning was an innocent kidnap victim. It was probably bad editing, but it seemed like Clark let that guy die in the explosion.  WTF?

Roulette – I can’t watch anyone “buried alive” or even trapped in a coffin above ground so I had trouble breathing and had to TIVO through that shit.  If it wasn’t Oliver as the victim of this lame The Game rip-off it would be unwatchable.  No, I take that back, this was a pretty damned good ep overall.

Crossfire – Don’t really remember this one, except the threat of a potential Oliverarrow sidekick worried me.  Even though it ripped-off the effects of Superman Returns, the ending kicked ass, and the “pimp” who got served looked like a fat-faced clone of Justin Timberlake.  Oh yeah, and Clark kissed Lois.

Kandor – This is the one where this season shit the cot, for me anyway.  It was cool to start the show on Krypton, but it got me thinking (uh oh).  Kryptonians were supposed to be this very “advanced” alien race, but there they were, fighting in trenches like it was WW1.  And what exactly were they fighting about?  Seems there should have been some kind of super-suit that duplicated the yellow sun, so that at least Krypton’s armies or police force would be Superbeings, thus shortening, ah, wars and conflicts and such.

The story of the blood wasn’t explained very well, and to this moment I don’t really care enough to explore it.  THE Moment of Logic Fail:  all the Kandorians on earth are CLONES.  That means the real people (Zod, Jor-El, etc.) are LONG DEAD and these clones should be free to chart their own destinies.  If they were so dangerous, Clark should have (painlessly) killed them all, it would’ve been like tearing up copies of an obsolete original document, OR he could’ve just killed Baby Zod as he seemed to be the only troublemaker (obviously there would be no stories at all if Clark did what he was supposed to do in a timely manner).

The greatest WTF moment of the season also occurs during this episode.  As Jor-El faces criminal charges we get to see the Kryptonian “Council of Faces” and they added an old broad to the mix (ah, diversity!).  I really think that was the whole point of the scene, showing off the broad, but the WTF occurs when the Faces sentence Jor-El…..to DEATH.  ??????  According to the first two Superman movies the Kryptonians had no death penalty; they were stupid liberals, launching Zod and Friends into space in the Phantom Zone mirror-thingy where the odds of them being freed were infinitesmal yet dangerous enough not to do it (“forever” is a time long enough for even God to screw up, witness Earth).  And apparently the Kryps couldn’t program the Phantom Zone to avoid galaxies with yellow suns.  For the record, actor Callum Blue as Baby Zod is entertaining, and did well all season considering what he had to work with.

Idol – Wonder Twins?  All right, all right, but they kept the bullshit to a minimum, so really it was like watching any episode with additional super-powered beings.  And Allison Scagliotti as Jayna was cute as a bug’s ear.  Every actress on Smallville should be named Allison in real life.

This ends Part Uno of Smallville Season 9 episode mini-reviews.  When Part Deux is up, this sentence will become a link to it.

Smallville: Review of Season 9 Premiere and Episode 2

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Smallville_Dark_Clark

Since last we spake of all things Smallville, the season premiere of Season 9 has come and gone: “Baby” Zod introduced, Tess the not-quite-hot Lex replacement reintroduced, Chloe weepy, Lois flummoxed, Green Oliver shirtless. And, of course, Kal-Neo with the black trenchcoat. To my surprise, early on in the plot there was a brief argument with Jor-El (The Useless) about flight, which the writers are setting up to be something of a reverse-impotence problem: whenever Clark thinks of Lois he can’t get it up, or rather, he’s never gotten it up. There’s even a throwaway scene where Clark leaps from the Statue of Liberty and plummets (the outcome is never shown so we can assume he went straight into the ground).

Most of the show was TIVO chow, that is, filler and needless exposition, but that’s true of most shows. The Kryptnonian Ninja-Girl who looked like a rip-off of a Mortal Kombat character made little sense. In the “sky train” she and Lois trade blows but later on KNG is seen using heat-vision. Well, does she have The Powers or not?

KNG introduces an extra minute or so of hot barn combat that comes free-of-charge with every Season Premiere. It was pleasing to see Clark FINALLY kicking some ass/holding his own after ninja-girl uses blue K to temporarily strip his powers. Before exiting stage left KNG warns Clark that he betrays everyone ‘one year from now’. Even Marty McFly had the good sense to write a goddamned letter explaining WTF is going on; just seems like common sense for any time traveler to have a ready explanation DVD or other media for when she meets herself, knowing she might be killed or knocked out on arrival.

Ah yes, I almost forgot, the most magical MacGuffin of all, the Power Ring which can alter entire plotlines in a single bound, and which in future eps will no doubt be used to bring Jimmy Olsen back and possibly even Lex.

The scenes with “Baby Zod” were all right, Callum is trying his best. The best thing about Zod and Friends are those Kryptonian army dog tags they wear, which I hope the WB has the good sense to make and sell to many nerds such as me.

“Special Guest” Brian Austin Green I’ve saved for last because his character runs right into the second episode, where he, as John Corbin, mysteriously becomes Metallo. It’s a mostly useless, predictable transformation, using the absurd and totally fake-looking CG hit-by-a-speeding-bus effect. Corbin awakens not knowing how or who or why he suddenly has a kryptonite heart (in case he seems too sympathetic, writer laziness also has the kryptonite affecting his brain to make him ‘eviler’).

Actually, 9-0-2-1-Metall-0 makes a surprisingly strong case against Clark and his meddling. Turns out Clark saved a busload of prisoners from crashing…except one escaped and raped and killed Corbin’s sister. To Corbin (and me) Clark is ultimately responsible for this negative outcome. It may not be right, it may not be fair, but godlike powers = godlike blame. Now we all know Superman doesn’t kill, but given the choice between saving a runaway bus loaded with rapists and killers blessedly heading for a tall rocky cliff of taxpayer savings or rescuing a kitten from a tree 100 miles away in the other direction…

Smallville Season 9 is off to a better-than-average start, but before anyone gets a big head over at the CW, let it be known when I mention the very name Smallville, almost universally the response is, “Wow, is that still on?

The witty primer to this Season 9 ep review can be found here.


Smallville Season 9: “And then there’s Zod…”

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

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SMALLVILLE is back!

I, like so many other nerds will be there Friday night (or TIVO will) for the premiere of Season 9 . The first ep of a new season is usually the most exciting because of the deceptively well-edited recap of the last season (ugh), spending a tad more on the effects and well, there’s just a lot of promise and potential…at least for the first half of episode one.

I don’t know what to make of the Season 9 promo. Clark in an all-black Matrix Reloaded Neo getup…minus flight. So many people would sacrifice 20 or even 30 years off their lifespan to be able to fly, yet for some reason Clark has no interest in it. Even if he hated to fly, shouldn’t he realize flight would enable him to save more people faster?

I know their hands are chained by all kinds of legal and story continuity/canon reasons, but Smallville’s producers/writers have shown time and again, they’re not overly interested in the logic or story shards they CAN work with, not even comic book logic. Season 8 sucked, there’s no way around it…the only interesting moment I can remember is Lois possessed by Faora, Wife of Zod. Season 7 was even more atrocious than 8, and would’ve been redeemable only by having Lana thrown into the sun, any sun, red or yellow. Lex Luthor’s character arc was ultimately a bust. Doomsday should’ve been a one or two episode character, not a dragged out, go-nowhere, season-long fugazi.

Brian Austin Green as Metallo? Well, Green’s been working with robots the past few years, but Metallo is Metallo…ultimately just another one of 50 or so characters that have thrown Clark across schools, labs, forests, caves, icicles or fields. Every time Clark meets new villains, he seems completely clueless how to fight them; like he has no prior experience. Which after 8 years has gotten very, very old.

And then there’s Zod.

I Was A Teenaged Zod. Oh look, finally, a roomful of kneelers to actually listen to Zod command them!

I’m going to take a guess about the origin of this new younger Zod, who is supposed to be not yet as evil and powerful. Instead of being born evil, this Zod will be a cynical military officer who was somehow betrayed by Krypton’s government in a none-too-subtle liberal allegory of the Iraq War (or Afghanistan). Hey, my guess is as good as any.

Actor Callum Blue* seems interesting enough and even has a “Zod-like” voice, but who knows? Sam Witwer was a superior actor last season and his character went nowhere.

Word is that a Season 10 of Smallville is official. Instead of committing to it, now would be a damned good time to end Smallville and begin “Metropolis”, a fan-inspired idea for a show about “grown-up” Superman. Put Welling in the suit already! No blame to Routh, but Superman Returns was a bad, illogical movie. Let Metropolis rock for a few years on the tube, then do a Superman reboot for the big screen.

For all your Smallville needs (minus my bullshit) be sure to visit KryptonSite.

* The name “Callum” means “dove”. Irony!

 

Read the follow-up review to this post here!

A step behind

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Another thing Superman Returns had against it, besides an awful story, is the number of movie characters who have convincingly flown in the past few years (thanks to green screens and computers):

Neo from The Matrix
Harry Potter and Friends
Batman (glides)
Spider-Man (close enough)
Hulk (leaps)
Storm, Magneto (sort of) and the Gay Hawk Guy from X-Men
Flames Guy from Fantastic Four
and from their own franchise:

Smallville’s Clark Kent (at times) Zod/Lex Luthor, Martian Man Hunter, Bizarro and Supergirl.

Now a new version of KITT for a new made-for-tv movie has been revealed. Sure, it looks cool, but didn’t most of us just see a whole FLEET of cool vehicles that become convincing-as-hell CGI robots in Transformers?

Half of Hollywood is a step behind.