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Special effects destroy Superman in 'Man of Steel'

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By Becca Owsley

It’s been 35 years since Christopher Reeve stepped out in blue spandex and into our hearts as the iconic Superman. DC Comics has had a hard time recreating that magic in modern renditions and tried once again in “Man of Steel.”

They tried and failed.

Everything that made Superman, well, Superman, is missing from this movie.

Filmmakers wanted to distinguish this attempt from previous tries so much that it is hardly recognizable.

There are many problems, starting with overuse of computer-generated special effects. The film has about 40 minutes of a weak story and the remainder of the two and a half hours is Superman and bad guys throwing each other into buildings.

“Man of Steel” proves how special effects can dumb down a movie instead of supporting the story, which is what special effects are supposed to do.

Some might be awed by the effects and not notice the weak storyline, but the cheesy 1978 version is much better and well-rounded, even if the special effects are not as crisp as today’s.

There are so many plot holes with Kent already being identified as Superman that a sequel, if it happens, will have problems needing the alter ego.

There also is an absence of the quick wit from previous renditions.
This film is almost void of humor with only a few funny moments.

What’s most missed is the iconic “Superman” score written by John Williams. This is another place where filmmakers tried to be unique, but I think it was a poor decision. It’s these moments that show how much music adds and how much a part of a character music can be. Imagine “Jaws” without the theme or “The Lone Ranger” without “William Tell Overture.” 

When Superman first steps out in his red cape and blue suit, you want to hear the music that comes with it. The scene without it is a major let down.

In an attempt to make a darker movie with more action, Zack Snyder (“300”) and Christopher Nolan (the “Dark Knight” trilogy) have made “Man of Steel” without Superman. In fact, he’s only referred to as Superman once. The rest of the time they call him “the alien.”

I can’t even begin to explain how filmmakers ruined Lois Lane. She’s not the spunky reporter from before. In fact, she barely does any reporting and instead is an action chick. I’m not even sure why the Daily Planet is even in the movie.

I have read many blogs calling for a film with a lot of fighting and no Lex Luthor, but the absence of an intelligent villain who could equal Superman’s strength with his wit was felt in this film.

While the filmmakers tried to distance themselves from previous versions, they might have created a Superman that’s hard to love.

In comic book movie battles, with the exception of the Batman franchise, Marvel does it much better than DC.

Britain’s Henry Cavill (“The Immortals”) donned the cape and suit well, but wasn’t given much of a story to work with.

The film also stars Amy Adams (“Trouble with the Curve”) as Lois Lane, Michael Shannon (“Boardwalk Empire”) as the evil General Zod, Russell Crowe (“Les Misérables”) as Superman’s Krypton father Jor-El and Diane Lane (“Secretariat”) and Kevin Costner (“The Hatfields and McCoys”) as his earthy parents, the Kents.

In “Man of Steel,” special effects defeat Superman. It is one of the biggest disappointments of the summer.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com. For movie reviews, visit her reporter page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Becca-Owsley/96924584861.

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