Man Of Steel And Now You See Me

So we didn’t go to the circus (well technically we did, but we left after five minutes; I feel that doesn’t really count as going, does it?).

I know, I know, I was all excited about it yesterday morning. We got up early and eagerly set off to Brainerd, ready and full of excitement, but it all ended in disappointment.

First of all, they didn’t even have a tent. In our eyes, if you don’t have a big top, then you aren’t a proper circus. They were in the building that normally houses the animals at the Crow Wing County Fair. Just no.

Secondly, there were no corn dogs. Vanna had her heart set on getting a corn dog, but there was not a single one in sight. Shocking. Sure, they had candy floss, but we are not six years old. We need more than that, people!

Thirdly, they didn’t take cards (okay, this was probably our bad but there was nothing on the flyer saying to bring cash) so we had no way to pay. A good thing really, because at this point we were thinking it wasn’t worth the effort. So we left, and didn’t come back.

This left us with a dilemma; what should we do instead? The weather was fairly poor, so the arboretum/park was out of the question, and we wouldn’t be visiting Meg and her family until later. We can’t just go home…the whole point of going to Brainerd in the first place was to see some entertainment; returning home would just be admitting defeat.

So we went to see Man Of Steel. The second time we’ve been to the cinema in the past two days, as Vanna and I went to see Now You See Me on Friday night (I didn’t mention it because I didn’t have time yesterday morning; we had a disappointing circus to get to!).

Now, I won’t say too much about these films because giving away spoilers to movies that have been out for years is one thing; revealing important plot points to ones that have only been out for a couple of weeks is just heinous. I will, however, share my thoughts on a few particular points because they’ll bug me if I don’t, and well, I’m bored.

I’ll start with Man Of Steel, as it is alphabetically first and I, uh, love the alphabet?

Anyway, most of you are probably familiar with MOS, but if you aren’t, it is the reboot of the Superman franchise. Apparently we’ve not had enough superhero films in the past few years, so here is Superman to fill that empty spot in our film pangs (like food pangs…but with films).

All in all, it is a fairly good film. The back story is interesting, the actors do a good job (special shout out for Kevin Costner as Superman’s Earth dad), and the effects are very snazzy. If you like action and you like superheros (in particular Superman; you’ll be disappointed if you expected someone else), MOS is probably going to work for you. It doesn’t do a lot wrong, and it does not surprise me that it has been very popular and successful so far (I believe it broke box office records for June…or something).

For me, it just didn’t…click. Mostly because it was over two hours long, and more significantly, a vast chunk of that time is fight scenes.

Hold up, I hear you say. What is wrong with that? It’s a superhero film! You want action and fights! You don’t want it to get bogged down in conversations and all that crap (Iron Man 2 springs to mind for some of you). Well, let me explain (without spoilers).

Essentially, most of the fight scenes in MOS consist of the following sequence, which gets very boring, very quickly.

1) Superman rushes towards his opponent.

2) Superman super punches them (or carries them).

3) Person flies backwards for miles, destroying lots of building and stuff in the process.

4) Person gets up unharmed, charges forward and does the same to Superman

5) Repeat stages 1 – 4 for two hours.

Superman and his enemies are evenly matched. That can be a good thing, but not when they are both invincible. They just battle it out without any sign of weakening. There was very little variety to the fight, and watching two invincible enemies duel it out isn’t fun. It’s like playing a shooting game where you can’t die. If there is no risk, no fear…then it’s boring. Sure, there was a lot riding on the fights but it just seemed to be never-ending, and not in a good way. I can only watch buildings get destroyed for so long before I lose the will to live.

Alert: Spider-man fanboy is about to begin his argument.

Even if I look beyond this, the fights were still very tedious. There was just the same two moves over and over again; super punch, and super charge. There wasn’t even a choreographed fight scene like you get in most other films. The emphasis was on the visual effects, and the rest of it was left to a child who’d just been playing with two action figures (I did the same stuff when I was younger) to decide. It was only at the end did it actually seem to mean something, but by then it was too late. We’d already sat through the film.

This is where I think Spider-man (even the new, cocky Spider-man) wins out. When he fights, you know there is something riding on it. Not only are the fights interesting and different, there is some emotional connection to it (seeing the hero bleed or suffer is an important aspect too). No matter how hard it tried, Superman rarely found that same connection (the love interest didn’t even beat Kevin Costner), despite all the odds. There was just super punch, super charge, lots of destruction. For me, that isn’t enough. I need more than that, Superman. Take some hints from the Spidey franchise. They know how to have a fight.

But, uh, yeah, other than that…good film! 6.5/10 (more varied fight scenes would have made it an 8 for me; strange that it was so repetitive, given that the director is the same fellow who made Suckerpunch).

What else do I have? Oh yes, Now You See Me.

Much better film, in my opinion. We enjoyed this one a lot. I (well, we; Vanna first raised them to me) had only two quarrels with it:

First, not enough screen time for the four horseman. This had to be done for the film (it wouldn’t have worked if you’d followed them around everywhere), but I did get sick of them not being onscreen. I wanted to see the magicians play off each other more; the best parts to the movies (except for the tricks) was the repartee between them. All four (Woody Harrelson probably being the best once again) were fantastic, and it was a shame that they were only present for so much of the film. Not that there was anything wrong with the other actors (Morgan Freeman…enough said), but I enjoyed them the most.

Secondly, the ending. They tried to be too clever, and dragged out what could have been a very interesting finale. Instead it felt like it was being spoon fed to us…it was anticlimactic. I know I talked the other day about not wanting there to be any mystery, but we really could have worked this one out. It was a very good film until the last ten minutes. I suggest you leave when it gets to the end of the jailor scene. It just gets smug and self-satisfied after that.

I’ll still score it a praising 7.5/10 though. Great cast, and some very impressive stunts/tricks. Unfortunately the ending left us a bit disappointed but hey ho, I’m sure everyone will love it (especially if you aren’t picky like we are)!

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6 thoughts on “Man Of Steel And Now You See Me”

  1. Wow. 7.5/10 ??? Really? I kinda felt that we were let down by Christopher Nolan’s adaptation to superman. I really enjoyed Batman begins with both the creation of batman and how he finished it off, i was hoping that MOS would have held a slightly similar plot or feel to it.
    Instead were given flashbacks to his youth and were left piecing together everything that’s happened in his life to make him who he is!
    And then all of a sudden the ‘aliens’ are here.. Seriously.. wait for superman 2 to bring that one home.
    To be honest, I think i’ll wait for the trilogy box set to come out and hope it’s got a ‘play in chronological order’ special feature, before I commit any more time into it.

    On the plus side however i didn’t have to pay for the popcorn.

    1. That’s a good point. I suppose I was being generous, but I guess I went in with fairly low expectations…it is easier to enjoy yourself that way!

      I don’t think I’ll be seeing the sequel at the cinema however.

      1. Ha, don’t worry about it. I appreciate the comments no matter what they are about (well, within reason of course!). Especially when they give a different perspective to something I’ve talked about (like Superman).

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