I saw Superman – Man of Steel at the weekend and it felt as if I was in the cinema for most of it. And, that wasn’t because people were munching popcorn or taking phone calls and having a full on conversation with the caller as is what normally happens. No, everyone was really well behaved.
It was because it was just so long. Now, I don’t mind a film being long if you get into it, and it has content, and a great story and depth etc. But when it’s just a CGI fest it gets a bit, well boring.
I read an article a few weeks ago about screenplay writers and directors trying to eke out films and make them longer. It seems to be a trend. I dismissed it as nonsense, even though films such as Hobbit and such that were listed as being about an hour longer than they needed to be.
Now, I agree. I like the way the film started, going back to basics, showing the past etc, and how he came about, to be Superman. They didn’t just rehash the Lois lane bit. Don’t worry, that was done later. In I suppose it has to be, it’s part of it.
There was a distinct lack of humour, I think Superman is something that lends itself a little to humour, but there was none. The cast were excellent, and it was very well acted. It’s just it didn’t grab me, hold me and compel me to watch it and beg for more.
Like I say the beginning was good. Russell Crowe looking and sounding very much like he did in Gladiator, but still he would be remembered for that because he was brilliant in it. The unknown actors were good too, and the stage was set, or so I thought. The CGI in the beginning was welcome too, called for if you will, setting and spilling into huge landscapes with glare, and lights and wonder.
The back story paced itself well through the film. It’s then, towards the end, that it was no longer super for me, more stupor.I can’t help thinking they had a film that ended better, an hour earlier, and they were just about to can it and someone said:- ‘Hold on, we need it to last another hour, all good films last at least two and a half hours now’. And so they went back to the CGI guys, told them to work on it a bit longer, and add some more fight scenes.
I’m all for life slowing down, I’m all for a great, long epic movie, see The Great Escape as an example. A good long film builds, has depth and weight and feel to it. It holds you and captivates, it can entertain or provoke thought. You may even be so drawn in you forget the time.
With Man of Steel I was looking at my watch, but only sometime after half way.
Now, the best film I’ve seen for a while was Oblivion. I have no idea of the duration, but it was great. And like him or loathe him, Tom Cruise was rather damn good in it.
Mark Scotchford © 24/06/2013