KCTV5 Review of ‘Man of Steel’ & “This is the End’

by Eric Melin on June 14, 2013

in Reviews,Video Reviews

Here’s my TV review with clips of Man of Steel and This is the End with Alexis del Cid on KCTV5′s It’s Your Morning.

Check out Scene-Stealers Movie Podcast #95, where we discuss these films and more.

Also, here is my Scene-Stealers full-length print review of This is the End, and my capsule review of Man of Steel from Lawrence.com follows:

Director Zack Snyder re-imagines DC Comics’ Superman with producer Christopher Nolan with an emphasis on his tortured soul, but a script that can’t stay consistent. As commanding as he is as Jor-El from Krypton, there’s too much of Russell Crowe flying around on a giant lizard and barking platitudes before the movie kicks into gear.

And as effective as he is, Kevin Costner’s Pa Kent spends his entire portion of the movie giving advice that Clark Kent (a brooding Henry Cavill) will eventually ignore in one of the many super-sized fight scenes during the film’s last hour.

Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer obviously took the criticism that Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns received about not having enough action to heart, because almost every plot point in Man of Steel happens during an action scene. That, a complete lack of humor, and Hans Zimmer’s overbearing score, make Man of Steel a bludgeoning experience.

As long as they perform well at the box office, superhero movies are here to stay. But the stories they tell of these noble, misunderstood heroes are so strikingly similar that they can be draining. It’s a cumulative effect.

Iron Man 3 played with the template enough, had terrific chemistry, and a good amount of distracting humor. Man of Steel, however, is like The Dark Knight trilogy drained of all its moral complexity and vibrant storytelling. What’s left is an oppressive movie filled with a blaring seriousness, inconsistent production design, mundane conflict, heavy exposition and a huge amount of super-destructive action that leads to nothing.

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers and regular critic for KCTV5. He’s a member of the BFCA, VP of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also the current 2013 Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kirk visola June 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Your review was fair but I thought that the story was really well done. Everybody knows Supes. It’s told in a more realistic way. We don’t ever really know Clark as a kid, or the struggles that he went through in life. He was bullied, misunderstood, and scared. That’s very real. That’s emotional. He learned at an early age to sacrifice part of himself to become a better being. I loved the story line. I like the flashbacks and no linear story. I would give this movie a solid 7.5 out of ten. It wasn’t phenomenal but it was the most realistic and emotional Superman yet. But, the one part that still bugs is “How in the name of F¢∞K do they not know that he’s superman?”

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2 Eric Melin June 18, 2013 at 8:23 am

Kirk- Actually, I agree with you on the flashback structure. That was the best storytelling strategy in the film. But was the bullying enough to keep him from protecting human beings during the insane devastation of the last battle? I don’t know, man. I don’t think the series can continue on with the Supes that we are familiar with, especially after the 9/11-like toll it took on Metropolis. But you know they’re going to go right on trying to do that. This is pretty interesting—> Scientist and “disaster expert” Charles Watson and his Watson Technical Consulting outfit estimates that 129,000 people would be confirmed killed, nearly a million would be injured, and over a quarter of a million would still be missing. The impact “seemed to be similar to an air burst from a 20kt nuclear explosion in terms of shock effects, but without the radiation or thermal effects.”

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3 James Denton June 18, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I would say that this estimate should come with a caveat that says “This estimate based on everyone being willing to still go to work with an alien invasion and a world-threatening event taking place.”

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4 Brandon June 18, 2013 at 11:45 am

I completely agree. There was limitless potential in the flashback stories, of Clark and how he had to battle his potential versus what was expected of him. The flashbacks and his travels to find his origin were the most endearing part of the movie.

Regrettably, I had a very hard time believing that the insane destruction leveled both in Smallville and in Metropolis would have been something the Superman we know and love would have let happen. The catastrophic toll alone on his hometown and even more, on Metropolis was what I would expect in a some run of the mill Michael Bay movie.

The fact that Superman was responsible for half of the destruction in the movie that would have had a very human toll made me lose all sympathy for the character and then to try and circle back with the end between him and Zod seemed ridiculous given the human costs the two of them had already placed on the city. Couple that with the idiotic “He saved us” statement at the end, it was as if the script was written before the special effects team stepped in as in the end.

Add in the story eventually felt like what a 10 year old boy would write (the US government really has an Earth gravity/atmosphere modelling computer running at all times, Zod gets put on a life raft while the rest of Krytpon just waits to explode, the entire world watches Superman fight Zod and then he walks into the Daily Planet with some glasses on in front of the same people he rescues at the end and they don’t recognize him, Amy Adams simply tracks down Kent with the power of a montage?)

Lots of potential with the casting but you can smell that executives got their hands on the script in the last 3/4 of the movie. I’m not expecting much but I enjoyed Superman Returns far more than this one as at least the story was consistent. This one felt like someone in Hollywood wanted to remake Independence Day and Transformers but with Superman as the lead.

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5 Eric Melin June 19, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Brandon – This—> “it was as if the script was written before the special effects team stepped in as in the end” — is a VERY incisive comment. I think you may have hit it on the head. The script can call for an all-out war in Metropolis between Zod and Superman. but all the actual visual interpretation of that war may have been left up to someone besides Goyer. It’s very possible that Snyder’s fetish for violence (well on display in Watchmen, 300, and Sucker Punch) overrode the script as the effects shots were being designed….

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6 Josh Me June 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm

This movie took a big page from the Smallville television series play book. A brooding Clark Kent with an overprotective Jonathan Kent who implies that letting others die was preferable to exposing his secret. In the end Clark, of course, saves those in danger even if it costs him his privacy in the long run. The movie needed a mellowing point and some humor which could’ve been supplied with Lois Lane’s introduction and almost was, but the film was still clearly fearful of wiping the gloom off its face. It made a ton at the box office for its opening weekend, but will it still be making a lot next weekend? We’ll see, but I just don’t think this movie has a strong recidivism factor except for those who want to see a city destroyed over and over again.

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7 Eric Melin June 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Agreed, Josh. I think brooding is OK too. After all, it worked for Christian Bale and Andrew Garfield. But here I felt like Superman did very little in the way of displaying actual heroism.

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8 Erin June 18, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I’m right with you on your review, Eric. This is not Superman, but some brooding shell of him. I understand what they were trying, but somehow everyone in Hollywood seems to think that the darker the movie, the more substance it has. There was no substance in this–it reminded me more of a colorless version of “Transformers” (which probably means it’ll be a great money-making success and sequels will be made). Superman spent most of his time clenching his fist, clenching his jaw, or screaming towards the sky. Every scene was there to show his misery or the misery of others. But what was the worst of it (and as you pointed out in your response here) is the ridiculous damage done. During the entire Zod invasion, all I could think was, just how many people did Superman kill? Knocking Zod into buildings, into gas stations–sure, most of those deaths are on Zod and his super-troopers, but Superman gave no regard to anyone who might have been in a building or on the streets (I think he told someone to get inside once, like that would have done any good). It was only the very last scene, for about five seconds, where he cried out because one family was in danger. Out of thousands that got killed. At least in “The Avengers,” the group had a plan and tried to contain the chaos. This Superman isn’t Superman–it’s a fanboy’s AU fan fiction of him.

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9 Eric Melin June 19, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I read somewhere that producer Christopher Nolan asked Goyer to remove the climactic “kill” scene, but that Snyder backed him up and he relented. Too bad. I also agree that darker does not equal more substance. If there’s nothing underneath it, it only creates more pretensiousness, which is kind of Snyder’s trademark. (See 300 and Sucker Punch).

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10 Matt Cook June 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Bravo. Great review. I wish I hadn’t wasted my time with this film.

Nothing about it is credible, yet it tries so hard to be earnest.

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11 Eric Melin June 19, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Matt – You’re right. They spend all those valuable flashbacks trying to establish a moral base for Supes and then its all thrown out the window in favor of action porn.

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12 The Zug June 20, 2013 at 9:26 am

YES. I agree completely. The film is utterly soulless. And what a horrible thing for a Superman movie to be.

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13 Eric Melin June 21, 2013 at 6:46 am

Soulless. Interesting. Remember the scene where superman tells Lois the “S” stands for hope on his world? I’m glad that moment is in there at least, but the movie didn’t have much in the way of hope, did it?

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14 Alan Smithee June 21, 2013 at 3:03 am

Saw the movie. Don’t agree with reviewer. I liked it. Wouldn’t usually comment about triviality on a random website, but these visual and written reviews bugged me. Heavy handed and reeked of agenda. In my humble opinion, not helpful to moviegoers. Unimpressed enough to waste five minutes of my life to express my displeasure. This dude is wrong, see this movie on the big screen. Good luck going forward.

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15 Eric Melin June 21, 2013 at 6:44 am

Sorry Alan Smithee (very clever – why the anonymity?) that you thought I had an agenda, although I’m not sure what that would be. My job as a critics is to give my informed opinion description of the film as I see it — and through that, others can make their own decisions. The points I brought up are all valid for people going in expecting a Superman film.

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16 Alex June 21, 2013 at 11:28 am

Man of Steel, it´s much better movie than Iron Man 3.
Nowadays, any person can write a review. Sadly.

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17 bor June 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Just saw it and apart from all that’s been said here, I must say that I didn’t care what happened to this Superman, or to Lois or anyone. Boom-crash-bang till the end… just for extreme fanboys. Missed Donner. And Williams!

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18 Alan Smithee June 28, 2013 at 6:24 pm

The movie is an interpretation of the Jesus story. Crowe says his offspring will be a god for the People of Earth to aspire too. Messiah. The issue of free will and choice is set forth in the beginning. The gift Jor-El gives Kal-El is choice or free will. God gave humans free will or choice as a gift to us. Maybe the greatest gift of all besides life itself. Then we have the Holy Trinity symbolised. Crowe – Holy Spirit, Costner – Father, Cavill – Son. But in this version, then Son sacrifices the Father for the good of man. Tornado. Crowe even shows up on Earth as a “ghost”. When the boy sees Clarke miraculously save the bus, the Kents go to explain things in hopes the secret won’t be let out. No need, bible beaters who attribute the event to god and Jesus. Irony, and funny. When Supermen has to decide to either save humans or kryptonians, he is troubled. Wants to save us Earthlings, just doesn’t know if he can trust us. He consults a priest. Who tells him he has to have faith. Just like all Christians have to have faith in god for redemption, god has to have faith in us for our redemption.
Clarke mentions he is 33. The same age as Jesus when he died. The burden of being a messiah must be super sad and lonely. The burden of being common folk raising a messiah must be heavy. Real heavy. I got that. Its Superman, its special. Expected more from a Kansan. Run of the mill. I’m not looking for a thumbs up or down, I’m looking for some thought. I could go off more, but you get the point. Don’t own a bible or comic books either.

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19 Zak June 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Sadly , also looks like anyone can make a movie nowadays. My ten year old nephew can tell a better story than this.

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