While he doesn't bring much new to the role, Brandon Routh
does a solid job as both Superman and Clark Kent. In a film that wants to pay tribute to the Christopher Reeve
era, Routh is a great choice. It's kind of weird he's now playing a different DC character on TV, right?
might actually be Superman. This guy is ripped, handsome, charming, powerful, and anything else you might want in a superhero. I'll be interested to see whether we get to see a classically dorky Clark Kent in BvS, but as for this film, Cavill knocks it out of the stratosphere.
as Lex Luthor is dream come true casting. Spacey gives a familiar John Doe, Frank Underwood, smug bad guy performance but also isn't afraid to occasionally take the character off the rails. Unfortunately, Luthor is just not an interesting villain in this film. Between his real estate plan, his thugs doing all of his dirty work, and the tee-hee Lex and Kitty on an island ending, the villain here feels like more of a joke than a threat.
As General Zod, Michael Shannon
does his usual thing of almost taking a character too far. If this film was less hammy, I'd say his performance was too much, but Shannon is exactly the Zod MAN OF STEEL
needs. As for the character, Zod feels sufficiently dangerous- a constant threat both to Superman and the planet Earth. It's also nice to have a villain who feels justified and righteous in his reasoning in a way that almost makes us understand where he's coming from.
Superman returns to Earth after five years away just in time for Lex Luthor to unleash a master plan to shove some crystals together thereby creating a giant land mass. Billions will die in the process, but it's okay because real estate is super exciting.
General Zod comes to Earth to seek out Kal-El, bringing with him a tentacled dubstep world engine that will turn Earth into Krypton unless the polarity of the phantom drive is singularized and you know what I have no idea what this movie is about nobody wins this category.
It's impressive how well Bryan Singer
captures the feel of Richard Donner
films. Unfortunately, he spends so much time focused on that and that alone that the film suffers as a result. For one, it's a 2006 movie trying to pay homage to movies from the late 1970's which themselves feature a heavy 1940's/1950's influence. The result is a film that feels a little goofy at times and takes some getting used to. Moreover, most people's primary problem with SUPERMAN RETURNS
is how boring they find it. For a movie that might have been pretty solid at two hours or so, SUPERMAN RETURNS
clocks in at a chubby, unwarranted 2:34.
There is a beautiful hour or so in the middle of this film- no doubt heavily influenced by Christopher Nolan
's involvement. The downside is that the somber, real moments make the rest of the movie look ridiculous by comparison. The pacing and tone are incredibly disjointed, and Zack Snyder
eventually does the Zack Snyder
thing where he tries to see how much eye candy he can shove into every scene. For a film that spends so much time trying to be gritty and grounded, it opens with a twenty minute long scene on Krytpon that feels more like THOR
than any Superman movie we've ever seen. Oh, and let's not forget the moment Zod throws a satellite at Superman after they wrassle their way into space.
"How many F's in catastrophic?" This is a question the Pulitzer Prize winning Lois Lane asks in a movie Bryan Singer
claims he made primarily for women. Because SUPERMAN RETURNS
is trying to be several things at once, the writing feels equally disjointed, ranging from "gee willikers" moments all the way up to parallels of Superman as a tortured Christ figure. I really like a lot of what this film was trying to do; it just never quite got there.
MAN OF STEEL
also has plenty of issues. The technobabble scene where Superman and the scientists discuss how to stop the world engine actually gave me a visceral reaction the first time I saw it and took me out of the rest of the movie as a result. That said, many of the down to earth, philosophical moments are quite strong and are among the few things that keep MAN OF STEEL
from feeling like just another comic book movie.
Here's where I have to give SUPERMAN RETURNS
a point. Incorporating unused footage of Marlon Brando
, adopting John Williams' theme, and keeping the playful and iconic tone of a classic superhero story all make this movie stand out as something special, even if only to fans of the early films.
I'm sure the more comic booky of you will tell me how MAN OF STEEL
is incredibly faithful to a specific Superman series or whatever, but the bloated CGI-laden action, the convoluted plot, and the dark tone just make this feel like some other comic book movie that Superman stumbled into.
Okay, we all knew how this one was going to end, but I have neither the hate for SUPERMAN RETURNS
nor the love for MAN OF STEEL
that a lot of movie fans seem to have, so I wanted to see what a side by side comparison looked like. I'm sure you Snyder fans out there will tell me how MAN OF STEEL
should have won even harder than it did, but there's just too much pomp and inconsistency for me to let it have a run away victory. Are you excited to check out BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
this weekend, or are you more excited for the other
angsty billionaire vs. superhuman dogooder film, which shall henceforth be known as IRON MAN V CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!
If you have a suggestion for a future Face-Off, let us know below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.