Man of Steel. Why Hollywood, why?

I was so geared up for this movie that I had almost written this review even before I saw the movie. The expectations had been soaring you see. Zack Snyder, director of Watchmen and 300, Christopher Nolan, writer and producer. What else could one really ask for? The trailers too added to the hype around the Man of Steel. I was convinced that this was going to be the movie of the year.

And, what happens when you expect too much? Of course, you come crashing down. Some critics have already laid siege into the Man of Steel (no pun intended). But, make no mistake, this is a pretty decent film, much better than what Hollywood passes for action movies these days, but something is missing. What you ask? At the risk of being disrespectful towards Snyder, the movie lacks a little bit of Christopher Nolan.

Snyder, to his credit has made some terrific films, Watchmen and 300 being at the helm of the list. The good aspect of his direction is that he gives a lot of attention to the smallest of details. The flaw? He makes very long movies, as a natural consequence. And it really does show here. The original cut of Man of Steel was three hours and twenty minutes long. The theatrical version stands at two hours twenty eight minutes. As a result, the movie suffers in the pacing, which feels very abrupt and disjointed. The action just starts out of nowhere. Why Hollywood? Why? Why the need to cut down? You can almost feel that Snyder and Nolan’s vision has been trimmed down to this.

The Man of Steel soars, but it never really starts flying.

Nolan’s influence does show in the first half with the non-linear style of direction. Kal-El/Clark Kent’s past too has been dealt with aplomb by the Man of Steel, unlike most of its predecessors. Despite the criticism of the score, Hans Zimmer’s music does draw you in, though he is guilty of overusing some of the tracks here and there. Acting, especially by Cavill is absolutely praiseworthy. He really does look the part. Others also do a good job, though Zod (Shannon) is slightly let down by the script. And, that’s where the problem is: the script. It looks more like David S. Goyer’s than Nolan’s. Motivations of Zod and some of his actions are not fully convincing. Yet, the movie makes an alright case with the story.

That brings us to action. The action is scintillating. Snyder, the man who revolutionized slow-mo action switches to ultra-fast action here, and it looks good for the most part. You can almost feel that it is real. It is befitting of how super-powered aliens would fight each other in the streets in reality. Though amidst all the action, the conundrum of Kal El’s mind is slightly lost.

All in all, a very good movie. But, could have been so much more. So much more. I for one, am waiting for a director’s cut, although Snyder has denied that they might release one. Go see it, if you are a DC/Superman fan. Others, flip a coin.

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