Tag Archive: michael shannon


Man of Steel Review

In 2006, Warner Bros. and DC decided to reboot Superman (at the same time as tying it in to the original films) with the help of Bryan Singer and Brandon Routh. Despite doing well both critically and commercially (the ninth highest grossing film of that year worldwide) any plans of a sequel were put to rest as the studios bowed down to fans’ criticism of the film. The studios have thrown caution to the wind this time with a sequel already reportedly being worked on and Man of Steel setting the groundwork for Justice League.

“Where do I come from?”

Henry Cavill is Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman, sent to Earth during the destruction of his home planet of Krypton and raised on Earth by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane). When what is left of the alien race return to Earth to find Clark and rebuild their own species from scratch, he is forced to choose between his heritage and his new home.

In something that has been given relatively little thought or sight on screen in recent years, Zack Snyder (the director being entrusted with the hopes and dreams of Justice League on his shoulders) plunges the audience right into Krypton’s destruction. The movie opens with some incredible special effects and a great sense of action as Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) come to blows over the future of their planet. Man of Steel sets the bar high for its action sequences with Jor-El and Zod engaging in the first real teaser of the super powered fights that we are anticipating seeing the red and blue of Superman engage in.

“What if a child aspired to something greater?”

On Earth the excitement continues to grow as we follow Clark around in a number of jobs, from fisherman to barman, in which we learn more about the character and his selflessness; he quickly races off to save a crew from a burning oil rig. His adult life is interrupted with trips back to his childhood: Clark saving his class from drowning on a school bus, being bullied for being different, coming to terms with his abilities. You get the impression that you might actually care about this alien. Then Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is introduced and all the groundwork laid so far beings to unravel.

Unfortunately, you can’t really have a Superman movie without featuring Lois Lane in some capacity. And while she may have served a purpose previously as bringing out another human layer to Clark’s character, in Man of Steel she is little more than an annoyance and one of the most pointless characters ever. There was no need for her to be taken aboard the Krypton spaceship, it didn’t seem like Zod had any needs for her to be on board other than so she could learn how to stop them from destroying Clark and Earth.

“Welcome to the Planet”

The character development that started so promisingly disappears when Clark meets Lois. Just two or three meetings later and Lois now knows everything about Clark and the two of them have decided that they are in love. It just feels so underwhelming and undeveloped that you being to question whether some scenes have been cut from the final edit. It’s as if Snyder and David S. Goyer (screenwriter) have decided that because everyone knows Lois and Clark are meant to be together, that’s a good enough reason in itself for it to happen without any seeds being set for a relationship. And the kiss at the end? Cliche and forced. The relationship could have been allowed time to grow and be explored if pointless scenes asking us to care about 2-bit characters who have had 5 minute screen time weren’t shoe horned in.

Despite all this, Man of Steel does offer some moments of relief. The fight scenes are incredible; one on one fights scaling over miles of ground. The enormous difference between humans and Kryptons is there for all to see. Superman’s flight, his heat vision, x-ray vision (underused) and heightened senses are all portrayed wonderfully and the special effects live up to the films early promise.

“I will find him!”

There are good performances all round, Kevin Costner makes a true return to form, providing a really great performance with limited screen time. Cavill, Crowe and Shannon all perform as well as the script allows as well. One of the main criticisms levelled at Man of Steel is the inevitable loss of human life that seems to not affect Superman and this cannot be ignored.

We’re supposed to believe that Superman, of all superheroes, this moral beacon of justice and hope, is okay with charging through petrol stations, diving through skyscrapers and pummeling his way around a small town is doing this and giving no thought to the innocent people inside all these buildings that are going to die because of his actions? I don’t buy that. And when SPOILER Superman does kill someone, he has a few seconds to regret it before being rushed off screen so the end credits can take his place.

“What do you think?”

Overall, Man of Steel does provide entertainment, that much is certain. The special effects and big budget moments are really worth seeing. But it adds nothing new to Superman that hasn’t been seen before, leaving the unanswerable question: what was the point? Cavill has the potential to be the best Superman ever, but he needs a good script and brilliant story in the sequel to attain this.

My Rating: 6/10.

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Deciding what films to see this month is going to be one tough task. With big blockbusters being released as well as lower budget story heavy features. There’s something for everyone to go and see in June.
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The Stone Roses: Made of Stone – 5th June

Shane Meadows’ documentary about the Manchester rock band is a must see for any fan!
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After Earth – 7th June

I remain unconvinced by this but Will Smith guarantees box office success whether the film is good or not.
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The Iceman – 7th June

The first of two Michael Shannon films released this month; praise has already been high for his performance here as Richard Kuklinski.
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Man of Steel – 14th June

And Michael Shannon plays the villain in Warner Bros. latest attempt to reboot arguably the most boring superhero ever created. Guaranteed box office smash and looks to be the Superman film people have been crying out for.
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Much Ado About Nothing – 14th June

If like me, you are a fan of Marvel and Shakespeare (I appreciate that isn’t a cross section many people anticipate) then Joss Whedon’s take on the famous Shakespeare play is a must see. With Clark Gregg and Nathan Fillion this is the modern sci-fi fan’s biggest wet dream.
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World War Z – 21st June

All the hype so far has been about the poor CGI and uninteresting posters. It’ll be interesting to see if Brad Pitt still has box office appeal – I’m not so sure.
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Despicable Me 2 – 28th June

If you’ve been to the cinema a lot lately you’re probably sick of seeing the teasers for this film, but you have to admit, it does look pretty good. And everyone loves those little minions!
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This is the End – 28th June

James Franco. Seth Rogen. Emma Watson. Jonah Hill. That guy from Pineapple Express and Hot Tub Time Machine. The funny one from Parks and Recreation. Milky Way. I want to see this.

‘The Iceman’ Trailer

UK Release Date: 7th June 2013.

Stars: Ariel Vroman (director), Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer, James Franco, Stephen Dorff

Plot: The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession.

Fortunately, this isn’t an X-Men spin off in the same vein as Wolverine but about the useless Bobby Drake; it’s very different and much better than that. In a summer that’s going to be packed full of blockbusters like Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious 6, Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness and Pacific Rim, The Iceman is going to be a film that sneaks under the radar.

The Iceman is a thriller that has been well received at film festivals and features a pretty good cast. Other than the fact that Chris Evans looks like the creepiest ice-cream man ever to walk the planet, everything looks great!

Despite being a contract killer, you are clearly going to care about Richard Kuklinski; just from the trailer you can tell this is going to be a great character. I can’t wait to see this one.

UK Release Date: 14th June 2013.

Stars: Zack Snyder (director), Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane.

Plot: A child sent to Earth from a dying planet is adopted by a couple in rural Kansas. Posing as a journalist, he uses his extraordinary powers to protect his new home from an insidious evil.

With The Dark Knight Rises now out in cinemas and Christopher Nolan’s brilliant The Dark Knight trilogy coming to a close, Warner Bros. are keen to promote their newest superhero project, Man of Steel. This will be a reboot of the Superman story with another Brit, Henry Cavill, in the lead role of one of arguably the most iconic, yet most boring, superhero of them all, however, with Christopher Nolan in place as co-writer and producer, the signs should be good for Superman.

The teaser is pretty boring to be honest and compared to reports of what the comic con trailer consisted of, this one sounds a lot worse. Here we just get lots of miserable shots of an adult Clark Kent trying to find himself on a road, or on a fishing boat, or at the docks, and these shots are intersected with shots of a child wearing a cape who we presume to be a young Clark Kent. The final shot we get is a full costumed Superman flying through the sky, but this shot is a bit distant and really does nothing to peak interest in the character.

The comic con trailer included shots of Russell Crowe in costume, of Krypton, of Superman in handcuffs with the police and scenes all over the city of Superman or Clark Kent fighting people or saving people. No doubt as the release date draws nearer, especially next year, the general public will get to see this too. Until then, we’re stuck with this boring 90 second effort.

UK Release Date: 14th September 2012.

Plot: In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city.

Stars: David Koepp (director), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Jamie Chung.

As anyone who reads my blog will know, I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt; he is a fantastic actor and usually he picks great roles (Inception, 50/50, 500 Days of Summer etc.) but this trailer does nothing to enhance his reputation.

The plot sounds interesting and it should make a good action thriller which is what Premium Rush is being marketed as but the trailer doesn’t contain too much action and does not look that thrilling. Most of the trailer seems to be taken up by Joseph Gordon-Levitt being hit by cars and he must be pretty strong to survive that many crashes.

Premium Rush only really came to my attention this morning and when I looked at the cast I was looking forward to viewing the trailer but I feel let down. It left me feeling rather bored with it and did nothing to increase my anticipation for the film and only managed to decrease my interest.

Hopefully this is just a bad trailer and the actual film will be all right but I wouldn’t bank on it too much.