War of the Worlds:Krypton vs. Earth!
This movie suffers from what most of today’s movies suffer from: they don’t get the basics right. They work so hard on the special FX until the things that matter go lacking. So let me sum up what’s wrong with the perspective of the movie:
People don’t see Superman as an alien that looks like a man.
People see Superman as a great man that happens to be an alien.
And the movie flips those statements.
With that basic sense twisted, the fallout is inevitable. Any and all other criticisms can be chalked up to poor storytelling or editing, but once the root is off, the tree can’t bear healthy fruit. This is a take on Superman, a take…but it doesn’t take the parts of him that people like to see the most, save for his powers.
Three Act Play of Course
So……..the sections of the movie are basically the same as Superman:The Movie.
Krypton ==> Smallville ==> Metropolis. Except there’s a lot more Smallville flashbacks thrown in once Superman becomes an adult. It does not introduce any new material, but it does give us twists on the old material rooted in very sound logic; major kudos for that. That is one of the things I enjoyed the most about this movie. But, the editing made the presentation non-linear, so we are literally jerked back & forth from past to present at every turn.
1) Clark is naturally born, which goes against generations of tradition and law on Krypton. All other Kryptonians are genetically encoded & grown in semi-Matrix like plantish pods. This is done so they can be custom designed for whatever purpose they are to fulfill on the planet. This makes him unique by giving him free will. Excellent touch there. We also find Jor-El is again the most brilliant scientist alive, and is again arguing with the Suits about how tapping into the planet’s core to drain its resources has doomed them. So, it’s not the sun going nova this time, but internal planetary upheaval. Jor-El also, we discover later, steals the Codex skull. This has the effect of planting all the future generations of Kryptonians inside of Clark’s DNA. Gnarly. Also, no Kryptonite, as the planet is no longer destroyed by the sun causing irradiation of its fragments.
2) Zod is not vying for world domination out of a sense of ego, as Terrence Stamp’s Zod was…but rather a sense of duty. He sees how the bureaucrats have stripped the planet & doomed it. He again invites Jor-El to join him in his insurrection, because Zod doesn’t see it as such. Zod & Co. are banished to the Phantom Zone, again sparing them getting caught in the blast, and ironically being freed by it. Again, all of this was great. And really well done. It makes Jor-El sending Kal to Earth have an even greater sense of purpose, as both he and Zod are trying to preserve the race, but in two drastically different ways. Kudos also to Lara’s anguish at having to separate from her newborn son.
1) Krypton again seems to be Star Trekked as a global monolithic culture. All Kryptonians are similar. And they’re all Caucasian and Israeli for the most part.
2) Really weak sense of it being an alien world. It looks, and feels, more like 22nd century tech mixed with Game of Thrones. Especially the laughable dragon Jor-El uses to escape, instead of a ship. The colors, the animals, the elements(like water), everything was just too Planet M. Avatar misses it on this point too. The ice crystals & tin foil robes of the Donner movie gave us much more mental separation. It’s little things like that that really count on a subconscious level.
3) The short sighted way in which the Kryptonians seemed to set up their outposts & colonies across the galaxy. And how, given the fact that they were out in the universe for tens of thousands of years, no one under a yellow sun seemed to gain any notoriety.
4) Zod stabs Jor-El. Dumb. But not Lara. Even dumber.