Thrillers, Horrors and Supermen

My upcoming thriller has been rewritten and is now with beta readers. The feedback so far is very good. Although I think I may have made a wild guess in one post, I don’t have a release date yet. After I get it back from the proof readers, it will need a few edits, as well as rewrites for anything they pick up, and then off to the proofreader. But I thought I’d update my…uh…legions of loyal fans?

I also thought I’d give my thoughts on two of the things that have been taking up my non-writing time: Man of Steel and The Last Of Us.

I intended to write a full review of Man of Steel, and even sat here for about an hour writing and putting in images and so on. I was going to write about the theme and about what Superman means to people, and why does he remain arguably the greatest of superheroes… But in the end I decided I didn’t actually know where I was going with the review and it was sounding too negative. So I’ll just say a little this time.

I enjoyed Man of Steel, but it did have a few flaws in my eyes. One of the most obvious things when I think back is the music. Though the music was very good, there was one track that was used over and over and over, pretty much any time something happened that involved Zod or Superman. Just when you thought it had finally finished…it would kick in again! It got quite irritating. I’m not one that argues that the proper Superman theme should have been in there. Though it is no less iconic, and no less Superman, than the cape or inability to dress himself properly, this was a complete reboot. That means distancing itself from the old films, and in doing so, not having the theme makes sense. I miss it, but it wouldn’t have made any sense really. It would have been almost like putting the na na na na na na na na, Batmaaaan into Keaton’s films.

The next biggest let down of the film was a lack of drama. There’s plenty of it in flashback scenes with Robin H…Pa Kent. But there’s none whatsoever in two of the most important moments of the film: the first time he shows off his powers, and the first time he puts on the suit. None. Whatsoever. Let’s take the show of power first. It’s not a spoiler to say that this is when he rips open the big metal door and is covered in flames. That’s the first time we see his power. So why is there no drama to it? Why is there no more made out of it than of the scenes of him hauling fish about? Again, this is a reboot. That means it should be treated as though the audience has never seen Superman before and doesn’t know what he’s capable of. But no. Just have him a rip a door out of its frame, and appear ablaze, and treat it as though he’d just wandered into the kitchen.

Worse still is that there was absolutely nothing to the first time we see him in the suit! Just as Bruce Wayne talks about being a symbol in Batman Begins, so is Superman a symbol. And without that gaudy suit, there’s no symbol. So when we first see him walk out of those doors, cape flapping in the wind, it should have been a big moment. But there was nothing. The door opened and he walked out. Like it was the tenth time we’d seen him in the suit. Not only that, but why was he so accepting of the suit? Why didn’t he want to know why he had to wear tights? Why he had to have a big snag-on-everything cape. How come he’s suddenly clean shaven? I also didn’t like what comes next. He doesn’t immediately take off and rocket into the sky like he appears to in the trailers. That comes a little later. What does happen could be considered a tiny spoiler, so I won’t say, but the minute or so between emerging in the suit and taking off into full flight would have been better suited, in my eyes, to the beardy, checkered shirted Clark Kent.

Then there was the ending. The resolution with Zod. I didn’t like it. It wasn’t very Superman. I can’t really talk about it without spoilers, but it wasn’t the best. Nolan was apparently adamant that it was wrong and should happen another way, but Goyer eventually persuaded him. But at least it was written in a way that it was unavoidable. It just…shouldn’t have been.

My last big problem with it was the tornado scene. I know what they were trying to do with it, and in theory it was a great, emotional, moving scene. In reality, it wasn’t pulled off very well at all. It should have also been the last flashback before that final one. The final flashback was very good and would have been a lot more moving if it had been the only one after the tornado scene.

But overall, it was good. Perhaps very good. It wasn’t amazing and brilliant, and was lacking something I can’t put my finger on. A fundamental Superman-ness. It was, however, much better than I’d been dreading it might be. I’m one of the few people who really liked Superman Returns, and was very disappointed to hear he wasn’t being allowed to continue on with the sequel he had planned. But this makes a suitable replacement. Cavill is a good Superman, although he could do with less jaw clenching and getting angry, and did a lot of work to make himself look like Superman. But really, it was Clark Kent’s film, not Superman’s. Hopefully the sequel will bring us more of a Superman feel.

I’m looking forward to the Justice League film, though there needs to be a few standalone films to introduce the other members first. DC needs to pull its thumb out and get on with that. Marvel has nine films coming in the next couple of years, DC has…one. The MoS sequel that’s not even confirmed.

Overall, I’d give Man of Steel an 8/10. Just. Maybe 7.5/10. But I’ll definitely be getting the bluray as soon as it’s out.

In the interests of not making a big long post, I’ll write about The Last of Us tomorrow. So for now, I’ll leave you with this:

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