There's considerable backlash after chewing so much gum. As the stomach ulcerates itself the rest of the body floods the core with what feels like a cinch and it all feels the same. Whether or not that comes from artisanal bread to make half a sandwich on the run or just the tone of sitting and watching the darkness is dubious.
Man of Steel is an emotionally detached film. All of its energy ends up in the punches, dragging your muscles, sinking those shoulders. On and on it goes and before you know it you're bulldozing through another stack of corpses to fill out the mass graves.
There are slight tweaks to the origin story and background to make it feel like it's not a complete retread, but barely. Mix in the sheen of grim, grime and cynicism and we have a Superman of bleak, hopeless times. Gone is the feeling of sitting there and having your breath slow down to catch the wonder of it all. The emotional apex of seeing another version of Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) die off is short, with potential. You don't get to savour it and then you're onto the next jump. Over the course of it all it feels depressing, or at least disconcerting. Diane Lane doesn't get much time to spend with her onscreen son onscreen, though Martha's teeth do match Clark's.
Choppy are these times of then and now and, distracting as it may be at first, it visually works to parallel the learning process. The back and forth between the past and present akin to stumbling through the aisles, jumping over sticking patches before you plonk down in that bucket seat and sail through to the end.
Russell Crowe's Jor-El shows off a swift and nimble figure as Krypton falls apart around him. But it's an annoying Clippy resurgence later on that cheats Kal-El of finding his own way through life against the absence of both father figures. You miss it when he doesn't really miss out. While Clark and Pa Kent finally come to trust each other, Jor-El's shadow can't say the same.
Amy Adams shows off an abridged version of the kind of journalistic chops that makes Lois Lane a hotshot at The Daily Planet. It is fleeting and for that you don't hold onto anything of a relationship between Clark and Lois. It must have all been off-panel.
Michael Shannon brings out a determined and pathological General Zod that is so easy to relate to in his extreme core values. A formidable threat worthy of empathy. Faora (Antje Traue) is equally driven and from these remnants of a civilisation already gone their clutching is reasonable, ardent.
Henry Cavill is both confident and unsure when he needs to be and brings out that part of Superman that grounds him with the rest of us. That fallibility of being human and wanting to know one's path in life. The costume change matches the vision it serves and accommodates the hirsute nature of this man, Cavill, proudly showing off that tuft of hair sticking out of the neckline.
The mood of Man of Steel matches the decor of Metropolis by its end. Resplendent in debris, gristling gritty with chunks of rubble strewn across the surveyor's bill.
For its wanton destruction the movie at least goes about building the world around it, applying plausible logic for it to hold up a few buildings and environmental affectations. Still, the problem of Clark Kent walking around anywhere after Superman shows his face is left aside. Whether or not he starts parting it that way will be something to see if he's not using hypnotic glasses.
Reviewed on Friday, 28 June 2013