Film review: Superman
Leaving the cinema, a little boy stopped me to ask what I’d just seen. ‘Superman,’ I told him. ‘I want to see that, but Mum said it’s too violent.’
To the kid’s mother, I say good on you. And wouldn’t you think the 24/7 news cycle would be enough to satisfy our primitive lust for killing and conflict? It’s apparently not the case, for punters happily flock to watch entire cities being pulverised. In this, the protracted and exhausting fighting, shooting and CGI-created explosions are outdone only by stressful and stupefying dreariness.
A needlessly long prologue, marred by jittery, hand-held camera and passages of dialogue so banal that they make Russell Crowe look like a talking totem pole, tells us more than we really need to know about the last days of Krypton. It is established that General Zod (Michael Shannon) is the vengeful villain and that the baby Kal-El, ie Superman, has been launched into space by his parents (Crowe and Ayelet Zurerer) as the dying planet’s last free-born survivor.
Fate has him land on the Kansas farm of doughty ol’ Kevin Costner (he could hardly lob in China or Africa, could he) and grow up to be the gorgeous Henry Cavill, with pecs to die for. Numerous time jumps take us to episodes in young Clark Kent’s adolescence – saving a busload of school children was my favourite – before we get to what the ‘story’ is all about. Zod and his meanies come to Earth to find our hero and the codex that holds the secret to their continued existence. By this time, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) has discovered Clark and is reporting his activities to her boss, Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) – the mystery of Superman’s identity is never an issue – as hell is unleashed on the eyes and ears of the audience.
Along with a touch of the messianic and a mandatory reference to 9/11, everything bar Maxwell Smart’s cone of silence is thrown into the mix. Sadly, there is no Jimmy Olsen. Awful.