Man of Steel ★★

There is a scene in Man of Steel that says it all.

In the middle of a showdown with the bad guys in downtown Metropolis with people everywhere, a flaming truck or some other huge thing is thrown towards Superman who is standing in front of a building. A building presumably filled with people.

Superman jumps out of the way.
He jumps out of the way.

The truck goes into the building destroying I don't how many floors killing I don't know how many people. I have to ask: why didn't Superman catch the truck and throw it over the buildings out of the city to land on some out of the way field to save some lives?

That scene didn't just destroy a building, it killed the Superman we have come to know. It is the crux of the film. The first half of the film shows us how Clark grew up and spent his human life avoiding saving people, and the last half (more than half, really) shows the now costumed Superman doing the same damned thing. He is the one the bad guys are after so why not fly to some desert somewhere and fight them there? And bloody hell, why jump out of the way?

The filmmakers decided to make a showy action piece that was over one hour of explosions and destruction with very little context and next to no suspense at all. Just one big noisy shoot-em up. "The Raid" starring this new character called Superman who only cares to save the characters played by actors familiar to us. Everyone else can fry. The action was so dense, so non-stop that there was no room left for story. When one 20 minute battle was over another began within minutes. Then another. Then the end. The filmmakers forgot that the threat of violence is what creates suspense. Once all the big guns are shooting, it's game over. All that is left is to hope the destruction goes by quickly so that you can get back to story.

The trend of late, perhaps limited to the comic universe, is the destruction of big cities. That's fine. Comic book heroes need bigger stakes. Wouldn't it be great, though, if some executive producer decided to pay more for screenwriting than CG? It would be so refreshing to watch a Superhero work had at preventing 60 minutes of buildings blowing up. Now that would be suspenseful. That would take ingenuity. That would require a smart Superhero. Of course, it would also require a really sharp producer, a creative one on a budget. Maybe Marvel could create that superhero.

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