You’ll take it for granted that a man can fly

SPOILERS AHEAD!

I saw Man of Steel this weekend. There’s a great piece of writing advice that you should start the story as late as possible. So where does this movie begin? Superman’s birth.MOS

Superman doesn’t need his origin retold. At the most, it could’ve been recapped in an opening credits sequence, and then we get on with an established, experienced Superman who’s already great at what he does…and then he faces his greatest challenge yet.

Also, if you’ve seen it, compare Superman’s first public appearance here with his first public appearance in the original Christopher Reeve movie, and you’ll get a sense of how they missed the mark this time around.

“You’ll believe a man can fly” seems to have been replaced with “You’ll take it for granted that a man can fly.” I kept wondering where the fun was.

The film lacks any sense of fun, whimsy, charm, or grandeur, which are four essential ingredients when making a Superman anything

SPOILERS are next. You’re warned.

Man of Steel has a grittier sense of realism than other incarnations, but does that sound like the Superman you’d want to take your ten-year-old to? A Superman who has to kill his enemy?

In a real-life, yes, a soldier or police officer might have to kill a murderer to save innocent lives, but in the fictional world of Superman, there should always be another way, or the villain should take his own life, willingly or inadvertently.

The movie isn’t inappropriate for children, though some images or events might scare the younger ones. It’s just, again, not fun. Whereas the Christopher Reeve movies delight and enchant folks of all ages, this one takes itself seriously. Superman is important! He’s kind of like Jesus! (Yes, they get into pretentious territory,)

And that kiss between Superman and Lois Lane came out of nowhere. I could see the growing respect, but I did not get any sense of romantic chemistry.

I actually didn’t mind Lois knowing his secret that early. It makes sense for the character. Tweaks like that can keep things fresh.

But we didn’t need to know everything about Krypton. We didn’t need to see Superman kill the bad guy. And we shouldn’t have had to wait until the final scene to see Clark Kent join the Daily Planet.

It’s not a terrible movie. I liked the cast and score (though nothing can match John Williams’ Superman music). There were some nice moments here and there that showed potential.

A sequel might be good, since this movie ended at about the point where it should have began.