I want everyone to know that I really do love movies! I wouldn’t write a uselessly unprofitable and opinionated gray blog about them if I didn’t. I hope every film I see will leave me speechless by the end. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s the wrong kind of speechless. Strangely, almost every new film I’ve seen in the last couple weeks has been shockingly terrible. I’m not talking about tiny quibbles here, I’m talking amateur effort and an outrageously failed craft. In addition, someone I know mentioned to me that Cinema-Rant almost always praises movies instead of ripping on them. I guess that’s fair criticism, I have given a lot of “Great” final scores and glowing recommendations in a row. So without further ado, it’s time to introduce you to my recent… Unlike other movie marathons, this one is entirely coincidental. Every one of these films is one that I, and others with me, just happened to sequentially watch and subsequently loathe. There is no theme, genre, cast, crew, or franchise to connect them. The only thing they have in common is how despicably disappointing they were. Ah, the Millennium trilogy! Universally loved? Well, not as long as I’m around. I liked the first film, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (or Men Who Hate Women, which is the original Swedish title), and was certainly interested in seeing the remaining two episodes. The Girl Who Played With Fire has a great main character, a first-rate poster, and all the great setup of the original. So then why is it so terrible?
I’m sure these books work well as what they originally were…books! As films, however, the sequels leave much to be desired. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo left us with a ‘will-they won’t-they’ question mark after treating us to a tense and complex character-driven whodunnit. This film is just a whole bunch of nothing. Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist almost never meet throughout all of it. The acting, outside of the main stars, is horrendous. An uninteresting, un-involving, badly acted, terribly shot, rottenly directed waste of time…and I bothered to watch it on BluRay.
So to help ease the pain of that horrible experience, I and my fellow film watchers popped in the next high definition hopeful.
The quotes on the cover of Warrior compared it to Rocky. “That’s unfair” you’re saying, “Rocky is a classic”. Yes, but they say Warrior is just as good. According to some reviewers it’s “Superb…raw and relentless…mesmerising”. Well, that was their reaction to it. Mine…?
Honestly, it was almost vomit-worthy. This film wants to be deep, real, and gritty, but it fails on all counts. The setup is about as staged as any film I’ve ever seen.
“Two brothers from a broken home both compete in a cage fighting tournament.”
BORING! It’s clear from the beginning that they’re going to fight each other in the final round. Ergo, you already know the outcome of every fight leading up to that. The whole time watching it I was hoping for the plot to twist into some bizarre and interesting place, but alas it remained on course to Predictaville. Sure, the actors did an admirable job of bringing these paper-flat characters to life and making the dialogue believable, but a turgid script that clearly thinks it’s a masterpiece makes for one hell of a failure on screen. It would be less hurtful to engage in the tournament myself than watch this piss again.
At this point I was over home-media. So much to be gutted about, false praise and broken promises. It was time for me to go out and see something big, bright, and epic. I needed something that would deliver what it promised, but was also part of something with a decent track record. I needed an interesting episode of a proven franchise with credible names at the helm. I chose to go see…
I’m speaking to you as a fan of Superman Returns from 2006, so now you know where I’m coming from. I thought Brian Singer’s Superman sequel was a beautiful addition to the series. I didn’t really see a need to go all Batman Begins with it, but I guess that’s what we do with everything nowadays. Christopher Nolan producing it was a good sign, and I’m not someone who completely hates the director; Zack Snyder. Fine, if we have to explore Superman’s origins yet again, we will. Roll it!
Alright, we’re a minute in and I’m already worried. The dialogue is like something out of Thor, but terrible. The style is begging to be taken seriously but flunking right out of the gate. All I want at this point is to leave Krypton and get to earth ASAP!
Oh no, Michael Shannon…what are you doing? What’s with all the emoting? This is so not the role for you. You’re not scary, you’re silly! Please no more, no more! Oh, yes…thank goodness, we’re on earth.
Oh jesus, it’s worse! Superman’s backstory is no different than anything we’ve seen before, but the filmmakers are acting like it should all be a surprise to me. Oh crap, it’s told in the worst kind of flashback form. Oh hell, the effects are awful. Almost none of the actors are committed. The story is ridiculous. The plot is so stupidly convenient. Terrible extras! Corny lines! Useless additional characters I don’t care about! Shaky, blurry green screen effects that give me a headache! Soap opera blocking…
Thank heavens it’s over! That was by far the biggest let down of them all. It turns out that making Superman into a Dark Knight-esque noir story simply doesn’t work. The fact is, Superman is inherently silly. It’s not that you can’t explore his backstory or internal struggles at all…but there’s a wrong and a right way to do it. Man of Steel, for starters, is nothing but exposition. We are shown Superman’s backstory in typical modern-cinema gritty flashback fashion, and then…it’s explained to us by the characters. What? No thanks, I’ve already seen it. In fact it’s worse than that, I already know who Superman is and where he came from. It’s one of the most famous comic book histories, so why do I have to listen to an hour of Russell Crowe telling me about it?
In fact if you miss Man of Steel at your local cinema, you can easily pick up the CD, it’s all in there.
Not only is the dialogue cheesy, flat, and useless, but the plot is ultimately offensive. Thousands of people die! No, scratch that, millions of people die! You know that little thing that happened at the beginning of the millennium, what date was it exactly? Oh yeah, September 11th 2001! Well, I present you with June 10th, 2013; the day Superman had a quarrel with General Zod and slayed a quarter of the worlds population. Superman is supposed to save people, not let a genocide happen while he’s beating up an alien and then say “could’ve been worse”. Then at the end they have the audacity to let Laurence Fishburne deliver the line “he saved us!”. Did he not read the whole script? Did Zack Snyder simply lie to this man on set? Entire cities are levelled, planes crashed, and satellites thrown out of orbit. I sure hope Superman can turn back time like in the first movie.
There is no romantic buildup between Louis Lane and Superman, so when the inevitable kiss happens (don’t you dare try to tell me that was a spoiler) it came off almost as forced as sexual assault. Then there is a “cute and romantic exchange” which is so badly written and unbelievably awkwardly delivered that it made me push my eyeballs slightly into my skull, even if just to remind me that something more painful could happen to them.
Finally, we’re left with the only satisfactory shot of the movie. I won’t give it entirely away, but it’s the clothesline shot you’ve seen it in the trailer. It is a nice little flashback moment that works on account of its simplicity. I really liked it, and if I could cut this movie down from two and a half hours to fifteen seconds, those are the fifteen seconds I would choose. It’s just a shame that I had to sit through so much self-important blockbuster nonsense to get to it.
There is an attempt here to create an identifiable flawed hero character out of something that has previously been played for laughs and corny romance. I will give it a few points for that. Yet, I find its clear desire to cash in from the now-standard Christopher Nolan style to be cynical and cheap. Cheap, if you ask me, is not an aesthetic you want to associate with a 225 million dollar expenditure.
– Rant Over!