Man of Steel Suffers from Miscasting & Poor Script

Man of Steel is suitably dark but overall disappointing with some miscasting and a poor script. Ellen Daniels takes a look at the film for Top 10 Films.

man of steel film

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Superhero movies are a bit like London buses, you wait a few years then suddenly six come along in the space of 12 months. I’ve never been a huge fan of Superman but hearing that Christopher Nolan was co-producing gave me some hope that this might be a good ol’ dark, anti-heroesque movie. It turns out it is quite dark, however, my ranking for the film is really more for effort. Man of Steel is trying to be Batman Begins but is let down by the casting and script.

It starts off well enough on Krypton, explaining the context and why little Kal-El must be sent to earth, and for the first half an hour I can forgive Henry Cavill’s slightly wooden, strong but silent characterisation of Clark Kent. Then he finds out that he’s an alien, and starts to harness his powers, and even then, still strong and silent. THEN, General Zod attacks Earth, and yes, still strong and silent.

“…”Hearing that Christopher Nolan was co-producing gave me some hope that this might be a good ol’ dark, anti-heroesque movie. It turns out it is quite dark, however, my ranking for the film is really more for effort. Man of Steel is trying to be Batman Begins but is let down by the casting and script…”

I was expecting Cavill to give Clark Kent some depth and character, and whilst we see the “man of steel” develop somewhat, he doesn’t seem to make his decisions with any sort of conviction. From childhood he’s conflicted, which you obviously would be if you were a super strong kid who would probably be the savior of the world. This continues into Zod’s invasion, where he pretty much tells Clark that he has to hand himself over or else the human race will be wiped out. I’ll leave it at that for the sake of spoilers, but I didn’t feel like his decision was this deep, life-changing choice. Maybe it’s because unlike a couple of other superheroes, he was born like that, not a “self-made” superhero, making his decision seem small in the grand scheme of things.

I don’t like to make huge sweeping negative statements, but Amy Adams as Lois Lane was so miscast. She was boring, and just seemed out of place in the film. The dialogue between her and Cavill was dreary, they didn’t bounce off each other and it felt like she was just in a lot of scenes for the sake of it.

man of steel review

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There were some positives in Man of Steel – the special effects are impressive and Superman hasn’t got red tights and/or underwear. He looks the part of the dark hero at least, and his superpowers were explained scientifically, so when he was flying around you know that it’s because he can manipulate gravity, as opposed to “he’s flying because he stuck his arm in the air”. We jump back and forth from the present to flashbacks, which works and young Clark is actually quite impressive; he was more convincing than adult Clark at times.

Overall, Man of Steel has so much potential, and it is almost there, but there are too many lines that make me cringe, for example, one moment sees an army captain remark how Superman is “really hot”. I’d say with the bright lights and lack of depth and riveting dialogue, this movie would suit a kid. In all fairness Cavill is hot, but I don’t want this brought to my attention in the movie.

Let’s just hope the wait for a sequel is worth it.

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Written by Ellen Daniels

man-of-steel-poster-final_smallDirected by: Zack Snyder
Written by: David S. Goyer
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Russell Crowe
Released: 2013 / Genre: Action-Adventure / Country: USA / IMDB
Buy from Amazon.co.uk: DVD | Blu-ray
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Discover More on Top 10 Films: Top 10 Moments in Superman (1978) | Top 10 Superhero Films | Top 10 Comic Book Film Villains | Top 10 Superpowers

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  1. Avatar
    Rodney Reply

    I guess this is why people who aren’t fans of superman don’t like the film. They don’t like superman to start with.

  2. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    …but Man of Steel is presumably tapping into a new generation of superhero fans – the ones brought into the genre by Spider-Man and X-Men etc, many of whom won’t have seen the earlier Superman movies. In which case, not liking Superman based on Singer’s Superman Returns is not so surprising.

    I’m worried, as a Superman fan, that Man of Steel won’t live up to my own expectations. I’ll soon find out when I see it myself.

  3. Avatar
    Ellen Reply

    Hi Rodney,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Whilst not a Superman fan, I went into the movie hoping to like it. I wasn’t a Batman fan until Nolan came along, so I was hoping to be blown away by Man of Steel. I agree with Dan that it should be tapping into the newer generation of superhero fans- but I think there’s really so many nowadays that being visually spectacular isn’t enough for a film to compete.

    That’s just my opinion anyway, I’ve read lots of mixed reviews (although it seems to be holding up well at the box office).

    Ellen

  4. Avatar
    Evan Crean Reply

    I’ve never been too big into Superman, but I thought this film was decent. I love the opening act on Krypton and how the movie takes a sci-fi angle to the character. The origin story is a lot like Batman Begins in that it uses a different tactic for approaching the character, which I didn’t have a problem with. I enjoyed Cavill’s cool, understated performance as Superman and thought there were some fun supporting players like Christopher Meloni and Laurence Fishburne. I would agree with some that Adams doesn’t have great chemistry with Cavill and that her character is underwritten. That being said, I like that she wasn’t just a damsel in distress, she was more of a partner for the hero. I had a distaste for Snyder’s frenetic editing and camerawork. I also thought the movie devolved into a typical action film, where the action became monotonous. People were just slamming each other through buildings and creating a lot of collateral damage.

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    Pete Turner (@ilovethatfilm) Reply

    I agree there should have been more of young Clark. The kids were really good and the flashbacks were some of the best bits!

  6. Avatar
    ruth Reply

    I think people who don’t like this character are predisposed to be more critical of the film. Glad that you at least enjoyed parts of it. I don’t find Henry Cavill wooden, I mean like you said he’s the strong and silent type, more reflective than the typical happy-go-lucky Supes we’ve seen in previous films but it’s a more realistic portrayal.

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    Dan O. Reply

    Good review Ellen. There seems to be a lot of wonderment about whether or not this flick really is as good or as bad as they say, and I’m just happy to be in the middle of it all. Didn’t love it, nor did I hate it. Just a fine superhero movie that I look forward to seeing more of.

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