Man of Steel

Welcome to a new series of articles we’re running here at WhatCulture, prior to a new section of the site that will be opening up soon – one which will focus entirely on the subject of screenwriting.

Previously, I’ve explored the screenwriting mechanics working behind The Dark Knight RisesPrometheusDjango Unchained and Iron Man 3. I’ve also offered out a few handy tips for beginners who might just be getting into screenwriting, recommended screenplays that I believe every aspiring writer should get acquainted with. Today, I’ll be looking at Zack Snyder’s latest Superman reboot, Man Of Steel…

A Christopher Nolan-aligned Superman movie is a product guaranteed to generate hype, so it’s perhaps of no surprise to learn that Zack Snyder’s latest hasn’t quite seemed to live up to those built-in expectations. As with all movies of this type, though, a critical panning won’t have any effect on the movie’s box office numbers: Superman is too iconic – and the release of this movie has been too anticipated – for that to change anything. The most important question, of course, is based around Man of Steel‘s tagline: did it manage to make us believe a man could fly?

I can’t say that this writer was made to believe, at least. Despite several great (though long-winded) action sequences, and a couple of moments that seemed destined for a far better movie, Man Of Steel came to emphasise pretty much all of the negative traits that we might attribute to both producer Nolan and director Snyder (not to forget screenwriter writer David S. Goyer). There were interesting aspects, of course, though ultimately Man Of Steel emerged as a bizarre, near-hollow mess of a movie – and one that ultimately fails on a few fundamental screenwriting levels.

That’s to say, a combination of convoluted, ugly Nolan-esque plotting techniques, coupled with Zack Snyder’s reliance and obsession with all things CGI, made Man Of Steel an incredibly hard movie to love. Sure, you might admire parts of this blockbuster machine (Michael Shannon’s depiction of Zod, for example, or moments of Hans Zimmer’s bombastic score), though ultimately Man Of Steel proved to be about as impenetrable as Superman himself. Let’s take a look at what screenwriting lessons we can pull from its successes and failures…

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This article was first posted on June 17, 2013