I have yet to read a single review of this film and, frankly, I don’t really want to. As a reviewer of comic books and comic book related merchandise, I have a vested interest in seeing all of these comic book movies succeed: the more people care about comics, the more movies will be made with all of my favorite characters. But how wilst thou suck? Let me count some ways…
1. There’s no going back from The Avengers.
When the world financed a star-studded explosion of epic superhero proportions, something happened that we did not quite count on. We made DC Comics desperate.
Armed with The Dark Knight and the historic successes of Batman and the first two Supermans, DC was competing hard for the comics film crown. But with the Iron Man franchise, the X-Men franchise, Spiderman‘s constant marketability, and the fact that even Thor makes people happy now, DC is in shambles. They need to replicate the success of The Avengers somehow. Man Of Steel (and, in essence, Christopher Nolan) has had publicity pumped into it. It needs to work and it likely will financially. DC will continue to utilize Nolan in hopes that he can breathe some life into a comics franchise dropping drastically at the box office. Gritty realism is DC’s only card and it has nothing on the sheer romp that The Avengers rode into success. Which brings us to…
2. Gritty Realism is just plain stupid.
Gritty realism on the whole isn’t totally dumb. But with a character like Superman, who is literally invulnerable and fantastical and an alien, there isn’t a way to find any sort of realism emotionally or otherwise.
Imagining the real world implications of Superman is laughable. Yet here we are, looking at a carbon copy of a Nolan film, this time from the director who botched The Watchmen in an attempt at realism. Marvel is fun. DC is not. We’re talking Dark Knight Rises levels of no fun. If Superman smiles once, I’ll be shocked.
3. “Let’s try taking every aspect of Batman success and just doing it again!”
Angst beard? Angst beard. Two male celebrity mentors? Check. Teaser trailer of nature in blue? Check. Narrate that with growly whispers? Yesss. Shot of playing as a kid in convenient foreshadowing device to being a superhero? Without a doubt. Nickname of the character that implies the character without explicitly stating the movie is about him? Subtle. Superhero as symbol that anyone can aspire to? Deep. Superman. Batman. It’s the same movie. Seriously. Just watch Begins again, like it enough, and call it a night.
4. Truth, Justice, and the Nokia Way.
I would be ripping off Cracked (more than I already do) to mock the product placement for the Army, the exclusive Nokia app, and other products. I would be also conveniently forgetting how willing Marvel is to whore out their own product. And that’s the real issue here: the superhero blockbuster. Superheroes have begun irrevocably tied to Hollywood and pop culture. Dark Knight Rises proved that going big means sacrificing any semblance of subtlety and storytelling and MOS already has the makings of all brawn with no brain. Perhaps I will be blown away by subtlety and fun this weekend but I find it much more likely that I waste another two and a half hours on a movie that is too long while inspiring nothing but an envy of the effects directors have at their disposal and a question as to why they can’t use those to tell a decent story. I’ll see it this weekend with as open a mind as I can muster.
But above all remember that Dark Knight Rises has an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes so no one knows anything.