Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Man Of Steel (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Back in the present, Clark goes to church for advice because I guess Jor-El's off filming Noah or something and is too busy to talk. He tells the priest that he's the one Zod wants but doesn't know what to do about it. The priest asks what his feelings tell him, Clark replying Zod can't be trusted but he's not sure the people of Earth can either. Clark goes to leave, the priest telling him sometimes you have to take a leap of faith first and that trust will come later. Most of this scene has Clark's face framed against a giant image of Jesus because this movie sucks. Subtlety, thy name sure as Hell isn't Zack Snyder.

Clark meets with the military, telling them he'll surrender if they free Lois. He is handcuffed and taken into custody in one of the movie's more famous scenes that aren't unintentionally comical. He meets with Lois in an interrogation room, their conversation interrupted by Fake Dr. Hamilton who wants to yammer on about stuff. Through their dialogue, we learn Clark is 33. You know who else was 33? Jesus! I wonder if this film's trying to tell us something...

We cut to the desert, where Clark and Lois are standing facing each other in SUCH a bad looking flat shot. At this point we're supposed to believe they have feelings for each other based off him blasting her with his heat vision and leaving her in the freezing snow, sharing a flashback with her, and uh... that's about it actually.

Zod's ship approaches, his sub-commander Faora-Ul exiting. She tells Jason that Zod wants Lois to come with as well. This upsets Hardy because that wasn't part of the deal, but Lois says she'll go because she REALLY needs to be in every scene now for some reason.  On the ship, Clark secretly hands Lois the key. Faora tells Lois she won't be able to breathe on the ship as it has Krypton's atmosphere, so she gives her a funky space helmet. They meet Zod, Clark getting very sick and throwing up blood, Zod explaining this is because his body isn't used to Krypton's atmosphere.

ANOTHER flashback- err, wait. No, Clark is now in some kind of weird vision inside his head where Zod is talking to him. They're at the Kent Farm as Zod takes over on flashback duties and shows Clark how they got to Earth.  When Krypton exploded, its debris took out the space gates that were sealing the Phantom Zone and they were freed. This is a very nice scene as we see our villains actually have emotion over the destruction of Krypton, Faora even crying over it.

The rebels were able to “retrofit a phantom projector into a hyper drive”, the same thing Jor-El did to Clark's ship apparently, which gave them the ability to travel the galaxy. They searched all the colonies but everyone was dead because... I have no idea really. This really isn't one of those “make sense” kind of stories. They did find a World Engine, which was the device we saw in Jor-El's history lesson that let them shape planets to make them inhabitable.

When Clark activated the scout ship, it set off a beacon Zod was able to trace to Earth. Zod tells Clark about the codex, which contains the genetic template of every being yet to be born. This will let them activate the Fetus Farms so the Kryptonian race can live again. In this trippy scene, a World Engine suddenly appears in the background and destroys the farm.  Zod says humanity will be cleared away so Krypton can be reborn on Earth. Clark now finds himself standing in a field of skulls, telling Zod he won't be a part of this as he starts sinking into the skulls. Superman drowning in skulls, Snyder REALLY gets what this character is all about!

He wakes up from whatever the hell that was to find himself in restraints, Zod thinking it's now safe enough to tell him that he killed Jor-El. Across the ship Faora throws Lois into a holding cell. They're keeping Lois alive at this point WHY exactly? Oh, it's so Lois can put her key into a console with a key shaped hole that JUST HAPPENS to be in her prison cell. Good thing the rebels didn't search her!  This makes Jor-El appear, who uploads himself to the ship's mainframe. He modifies the ship's atmosphere to Earth conditions, which enables Clark to escape his bonds. He tells Lois he can send the rebels back to the Phantom Zone but he'll need her help.

After telling her the plan off screen, he guides her to an escape pod. Lois kills two guards along the way with a gun she finds, going as far to score a head shot on one. This is SO NOT a Superman movie anymore, I think we're watching the latest Roland Emmerich movie at this point.   Clark sees Lois' escape pod begin to burn up during its re-entry to Earth, which makes Jor-El look like a complete idiot for putting her in one. Striking his best Jesus Christ Pose, Clark goes to save her.

He saves her in time, and they JUST HAPPEN to land in Smallville. She apologises because the rebels read her mind to find out information about him, but he says it's fine because they did the same to him. So... WHAT WAS THE POINT OF ZOD TAKING LOIS THEN?!?   If it was just so she'd get lucky enough to get thrown into a room where she'd be able to use a key Clark gave her and meet Jor-El who'd tell her exactly how to stop Zod, that was a REALLY. STUPID. PLAN.

They're about to kiss when Clark's super hearing picks up something and he races away. Lois flags down a conveniently nearby cop car for a ride.  At the Kent Farm, Zod demands to know where Clark's space ship is. Martha tells him to go to hell, but then looks at the barn in a guilty fashion. You can tell this film is gearing up for its climax, everyone is getting stupid. Well, stupider.

Faora searches the ship but finds no codex. Zod screams at Martha “Where is it?!” in that classic Zack Snyder acting method we've come to know and love with all our hearts. Not our ears though. Clark appears, tackling Zod halfway across the town. They fly through and demolish numerous buildings and probably kill hundreds in the process, Clark hammering Zod in the face for threatening his mother. This damages Zod's breather helmet, his senses completely overwhelmed like Clark's were when he was a child. A gunship blasts Clark, the rebels sprinting Zod back into the ship and escaping.

And now we get the part of the movie that LITERALLY put me to sleep: the mind numbing action. Faora and a giant rebel walk towards Clark, and a GIGANTIC fight scene breaks out. This scene goes on forever and amounts to the three punching each other through buildings over and over and over and over and over and over again. It is noteworthy Clark actually saves two people during this fight scene, almost tricking us into thinking this is a Superman film.

Hardy and the military get involved, firing on everyone. 7-11, IHOP, U-Haul, and Sears also join the fight, and I will admit there is a really cool scene where 7-11 uses a telephone pole to knock Sears into the sky like an Alex Rodriguez home run.  After about three hours of this BEYOND EXCESSIVE fight the Kryptonians leave. That was completely and utterly pointless since none of them can get hurt, it was just destruction porn. The soldiers advance on Sears, where Clark was last punched. He emerges from the rubble, Hardy declaring he's not their enemy despite the fact he pretty much single-handedly destroyed Smallville and probably killed hundreds.

Clark returns to the farm to check on his mother, who is unscathed. Lois magically appears, saying she knows how to stop Zod. Hmm, why wouldn't Jor-El have also told Clark his plan in case something happened to Lois? Like maybe if she died in her escape pod? Back on Zod's ship, an extremely creepy rebel reveals he has found the codex: it's in Clark's cells. Zod asks if Clark needs to be alive to extract the codex, but of course he doesn't. Zod orders the release of the World Engine, which is set up on the other side of the world and begins to fire a giant beam of energy into the water.

Zod's ship hovers over Metropolis, firing massive beams below that are creating giant gravity shock waves.  The military analyzes what's going on, Hamilton using a bunch of techno babble that Jason helpfully translates into that they're turning Earth into Krypton. Hamilton reveals this will kill all of humanity due to the atmosphere change.  Clark and Lois arrive, with Clark's ship in tow.  We learn Jor-El's plan is to make the phantom drive in his ship collide with the one in Zod's ship, which will create a singularity blah blah blah. Jason summarizes it'll be like a black hole.  You know, these last two scenes remind me of something I'd like to share with you...

Leela: What are we supposed to do?
Fry: Well, usually on the show someone would come up with a complicated plan then explain it with a simple analogy.
Leela: Hmm. If we can re-route engine power through the primary weapons and reconfigure them to Melllvar's frequency, that should overload his electro-quantum structure.
Bender: Like putting too much air in a balloon!
Fry: Of course! It's simple!

Clark flies away to deal with the World Engine while Hardy will fly a bomber to deal with Zod's ship. For some head smashing against the wall reason, Lois goes with Hardy.  We see Zod master his new sun-given powers in like three seconds. Huh, guess Clark just really sucks since it took him years. Zod goes to the scout ship, taking it over and deleting Jor-El.  Clark approaches the World Engine, which suddenly sprouts gigantic CGI tentacles that attack him. Uhh, what? I don't... this isn't... are World Engine's sentient? I thought it was just a giant machine that terraforms planets. My head hurts.

We devolve into another massive action sequence, with Clark battling the tentacles while Zod's ship destroys its way through Metropolis while killing hundreds upon hundreds of people. But no one really cares about them, so this is given no weight whatsoever. Instead we focus on Morpheus trying to rescue his secretary who is trapped under rubble, but since we haven't got to know either at all we really don't care.  Way to go Snyder!  Lois tries to arm Clark's ship by placing the key into it but something's wrong as it's not working.  She shouts out “It's supposed to go in all the way!”

"Heh heh heh, bro that's what she-"

Don't. Just... don't.

Meanwhile the tentacles get bored or tired and leave. I can relate. Clark takes out the World Engine, which also cuts the power to Zod's ship before it can create the next shock wave that was set to kill Morpheus and crew. Phew, I was really worried about him and his nameless co-workers because the film spent all of three minutes trying to make us care about them.

Zod enters the picture, piloting the scout ship. He shoots down military planes, about to take out the bomber when Clark appears and saves them. Zod screams if he destroys the ship (remember, it has the Fetus Farm on it) he'll be destroying Krypton. Clark screams back that Krypton had its chance and turns his heat vision on full blast. Because Superman, who has always been written longing for him home world, would totally do that. He couldn't have just thrown Zod out or something and safely set the ship down, because Zod would absolutely ensure the ship doesn't get damaged.

Hamilton realizes Clark's ship is crooked (huh?) so he straightens it and the key goes in a bit further. Faora smashes her way into the bomber, the impact sending Lois flying and leaving her dangling from the edge of the aircraft. It also sucks a soldier out into the sky, giving a Wilheim Scream as he does. Where the hell's that drink?!  Faora luckily ignores Hamilton as she kills her way to the cockpit. He is able to push the key all the way in and activate the ship.  Good thing Lois tagged along on this mission so she could do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  Hardy crashes the bomber into Zod's ship before Faora can stop him, the sudden increase in speed sending Lois flying out of the bomber and into the air.

The collision creates the black hole, which begins sucking everything into it. Except Lois, who is falling down towards the ground. What, does she secretly weigh a hundred billion pounds or something? We see cars and giant blocks of rubble flying up into the black hole, but she just falls? I know Jodi was a bit overweight, but this is ridiculous. Clark takes this moment to come back into the movie and save her. I'm amazed he's able to lift her!

But now Superman is getting sucked into the black hole, despite carrying the interplanetary load that is Lois. Through sheer force he's able to break free, landing next to Morpheus and crew. Clark and Lois finally kiss. Yay? No actually that is worth celebrating, as the power of their kiss apparently caused the black hole to vanish because it's NEVER mentioned again.  Ah, but there's still Zod to deal with. He's a bit upset as his birth purpose was to protect Krypton, and all of his actions were for the greater good of his people. Now see, this is something they really should have been spelled out earlier in better detail. I know it was lightly hinted at, but this scene does so much for his one-note character and would have helped out if they'd had it not long after his introduction.

Zod attacks Clark, vowing to kill every human on Earth one by one. This starts our third insanely over the top fight, where they do WAY more damage to Metropolis than Zod's shock waves.  I can't even imagine how many people must have died during this, because you see them crashing through buildings right and left and raining tons of debris down below.  The battle rages into outer space, where Zod throws a Wayne Enterprises satellite at Clark. Ooh, Batman's gone be PISSED!

They somehow end up back in Metropolis, ending up in a building full of people. Clark locks up Zod in a headlock, but he begins using his newly developed heat vision to try to kill a nearby family. Clark screams at him to stop but Zod screams back “never!” so Clark... BREAKS HIS FREAKING NECK to stop him.  DAYYYYYYYYYYYYYMN! Clark falls to his knees as he looks at Zod's corpse as I reflect that is likely NOT what Zod had in mind when he coined “Kneel before Zod!”

And there we have it. The scene that I imagine set off more arguments than a Democrats vs. Republicans message board. What did I think? I had no problem with this whatsoever. Why? This was NOT Superman. And I don't mean in the “this is not a Superman movie, this is more like Independence Day” aspect (which is apt), I mean Clark is not Superman yet. This is his origin story, and killing Zod is how he'll BECOME Superman. The horror of what he was reduced to is the memory that'll haunt him and guide him to become the greatest hero ever, someone we can all look up to as a being who has the power of a god but doesn't abuse it and will ALWAYS FIND A BETTER WAY. Always. I actually loved this scene.

Lois, who magically appeared at the tail end of the fight, consoles Clark.  I really hope they explain how she has teleportation powers in the sequel, because it's downright jarring here.  We skip ahead to much later, where Clark meets with Jason. Clark throws a satellite in front of him, saying the government's attempts to find out more about him won't work. Jason asks if he's “effing stupid” and I roll my eyes so hard one falls out of its socket. If you're not going to say actual word then please write something different.

Jason asks how can they trust him? Clark replies he grew up in Kansas, he's as American as it gets. Ha! Actual personality and humour, what the hell is going on here? Clark tells Jason he'll have to convince Washington he's here to help, and Jason asks that even if he does why does Clark think they'll listen.

Clark replies that he guesses he'll have to trust Jason and flies off, and I wonder why these last few minutes have been infinitely better than the entire movie.  Oh right, warmth and humanity.  Funny how they forgot that the first two and a half hours.  Our movie finally, finally ends with Clark getting a job at the Daily Planet, wearing his trademark glasses. He is “introduced” to Lois Lane who welcomes him to the planet, the two sharing a smile.

Cue the credits.

Of all the movies I've seen from 2013 so far, this was the worst. And I do mean THE WORST. I haven't seen After Earth or Movie 43, but those didn't have the talent and resources involved that this movie did so they don't even qualify.  Virtually everything in this movie is wrong. And I'm not talking in relation to Superman's established history, but just as a movie. It's WAY too long, the story is needlessly convoluted and overly complicated, all the characters are flat and boring, too many flashbacks that that derail the pace and tell us the exact same thing repeatedly, and the action scenes... oh goodness, the action scenes.

Don't get me wrong, they look amazing. There's this one scene where Clark and Zod run at each other down the side of a skyscraper that is phenomenal, but as the saying goes too much of a good thing is a bad thing. The fighting is just endless, and by the time you realize this you're completely desensitized and then bored. Not to mention every scene keeps trying to outdo the previous one, and it just overloads your brain to the point you forget what you just saw a second ago.

This all rests on Snyder, who time after time again just proves he can't pull off any kind of weighty movie. Yes the script was far from Goyer's best, but a director more skilled at character based storytelling could have surely got something better out of it.  So if all you want to see is huge mindless action that would make Michael Bay jealous or want to check out the numerous Smallville cameos, I give this my highest possible recommendation. If you want anything else, avoid at all costs.