Overview: The DC Comics baton is passed to Zach Snyder (of 300 fame and Sucker Punch notoriety), who offers a forgettable iteration of the beloved Superhero. Warner Bros; 2013; Rated PG-13; 143 Minutes.
Transcript of Zach Snyder’s Initial Studio Pitch (Probably):
Zach Snyder: Okay, guys, pay attention. Imagine you’re Superman. You’ve got two awesome dads! Real cool dads—Like Robin Hood cool, you feel me?! You grow up on a planet where you are a jillion times stronger than everyone else. Oh, and you can fly. And you have X-ray vision! Oh, oh. And you’re gorgeous. Women love you. You melt metal with your eyes and hearts with your jawline. I mean, people adore you. Check this: My Superman movie is about that struggle.
Studio Exec: Sorry, Mr. Snyder, did you say ‘Struggle’?
ZS: Yes, his sadness.
Studio Exec: What is he sad about again?
ZS: You know, like Nolan’s Batman. Just… existential. Yeah, that’s the ticket!
Studio Exec: Batman witnessed his parents’ death and Rachel—
ZS: I will knock down 80% of America’s buildings.
Studio Exec: Here’s a trillion dollars.
The Super: No one can deny Snyder’s proven track record for vivid and colorful screen arrangement and framing of action sequences. Even at his most boring or confusing moments, everything looks good.
The Average: Michael Shannon finally gets the opportunity to lend his trademark craziness to a comic book-inspired villain and the underrated Kevin Costner finally gets some more big release screen time. However the meandering script material just isn’t fruitful enough to allow either to find their oft-dazzling comfort zones.
The Plebian: Henry Cavill’s chest hair (laser-eye that shit off, Clark) and his inexplicably stone-faced and joyless turn as Superman. This movie labors under the precedent of dark realism established by the highly successful Batman trilogy (Nolan offered consultation to Snyder during filming). Snyder is a seasoned enough veteran to know that what is successful once is not a required standard. Seemingly, his awareness of comic book history should have been enough for Snyder to realize the need to preserve the fun here.
Grade: C –