Man of Steel

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The season of summer blockbusters is well under way now and one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year was Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot. Produced by Syncopy, the Nolan company behind the Dark Knight trilogy it was planned that DC’s other big property would get the same treatment Batman did. But it was never going to be easy, Superman is a very different character and one that is much harder to get right since there are so many potential pitfalls. The biggest issue with him is he’s far too over-powered, it’s very hard to care for someone who’s so perfect. He’s also a lot less cool than Batman, he zips about the sky wisping women off their feet, saving the world, caring for his parents, being ridiculously handsome and wearing bright blue tights. On it’s release man of Steel has received one of the most mixed critical receptions in recent memory, leaving the question of whether Snyder did a good job very much up in the air.

I have to say that in retrospect he really did not. As Man of Steel begins we spend the first fifteen minutes or so with his parents as they try defend his home planet of Krypton from Michael Shannon’s General Zod. The opening battle is alright but it leaves you waiting for at least half an hour before any kind of ‘Superman’ antics begin to happen, we spend a lot of time up on Krypton and even more time watching young Clark not retaliate against bullies. It gets pretty frustrating and annoying having to spend so long on his origin story which literally everyone in the world already knows, but then that is the problem with a reboot. A few years ago they were all the rage, this is the first origin we’ve had to deal with in a while so we’ll let it go. But then things don’t get much better. As Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is introduced we flit back and forth through different events in Clark Kent’s life and it’s often not clear what period of time we’re in, not to mention the fact that we see the exact same situation of young Clark getting pushed around and having to try really hard not to hit back. We got the message the first time, he’s perfect, he won’t snap back. There’s not a single scene in the whole movie that isn’t completely over-dramatic. I think Henry Cavill’s eyes must have constantly had some kind of dew producing contraption hidden behind them so he never stops looking like he’s about to cry, in fact every character looks like they’re about to cry all the time. When we finally get through the under-written, hammy plot we are treated to some great action. Michael Shannon is probably the strongest performer of the film although in the end General Zod’s defeat is completely underwhelming. Zod and Superman being flung around Metropolis provide us with the film’s best moment but even that eventually drags on, I thought it had ended about three times before it actually, finally did and by the end of it all it feels like you’ve just been seeing the same thing over and over. Zod throws Superman, he skids along the concrete. Superman throws Zod he collapses a building and repeat.

I did find myself enjoying it for a short while during the final fight but overall this is Snyder all over, looks nice but is completely lacking in anything else. If a different director helms the sequel perhaps Superman may have more life in him but, in my opinion, Snyder is not the man for the job. Chances are if the second ones good Man of Steel will be easily looked over.

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

lego-batman2While still no one knows if there ever will be a Justice League movie, the LEGO game franchise have given us some kind of respite in LEGO Batman 2 which allows you to play as pretty much any DC super hero or villain and zoom round Gotham City fixing things and getting rid of the dangerous criminals. The game has full playable free-roam city with various collectables and mini-missions hidden about while the main story takes you through fifteen levels and ultimately take down The Joker and Lex Luthor.

The story play is as fresh as always in a LEGO game, taking many of the same features and styles of previous titles but still maintaining it’s own unique features. The idea of having the different suits that allow Batman and Robin to do certain things helps separate it from other games and when you begin to unlock more characters, especially Superman, they include specific things that couldn’t have been done without them. The missions are quite diverse, most of them have a few bits where you have to run around a location and figure out how you can get the right power to open the next door, then those bits are normally combined with a driving/flying/boating section in which you have to shoot a load of stuff down. It never gives you the chance to get bored and when you go back and play the missions again, because you have to to get all the collectibles, it’s not a chore but still retains it’s fun factor.

Once you unlock Superman and are allowed to fly round the City searching for gold bricks and boss fights the game gains a whole new feel which makes going back and forth finding bits and bobs actually pretty fun. Something that most games fail to do. LEGO Batman 2 is a great new addition to the franchise being perhaps the best of the titles I’ve played since the original LEGO Star Wars games. This is well worth a play.