7. The Supporting Cast
Some proper heavyweights were rolled out to fill the supporting roles in Man Of Steel. Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner and Laurence Fishburne are there to help add gravitas to the movie and give Man Of Steel that special event aura. Famously Marlon Brando was paid $3.7 Million dollars for his short role as Jor-El in the 1978 Superman, but it was a price worth paying as it made people pay attention to Superman; it must be good if Marlon Brando is in it. That was the same thinking they hoped to induce when you saw Russell Crowe on the poster. Unfortunately, a combination of a weak script and hammy acting, the support cast failed to do what Brando managed in just 15 minutes in Superman 78. It was cool to see Kevin Costner back in a major movie. The multi Razzie award nominee might have made a few duds in his time, but its been a while and his role as Jonathan Kent in Man Of Steel was a nice reminder to everybody that he is still around. The problem was that no matter what Costner did with the lines he was given, he couldnt help coming across like the cardboard good guy dad from a daytime soap. When he was getting emotional and hugging Clark and reinforcing to him that I AM our father, or taking offense at being told by an adolescent Clark you arent my real dad, you cant tell me what to do and then to only die in a freak tornado storm 2 minutes later; not only did everything he was saying stink of cheese, the lines also had all the lazy conveniences of a killer tornado that appears out of nowhere. It made moments like when he is waving bye to Clark before being whisked off his feet by the freak storm, unintentionally funny. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White didnt do much better when it came to the script. When he wasnt being the editor of The Daily Planet, he was the cliche, nice guy boss who turns the other cheek, even when one of his reporters is discovered to have disobeyed his orders and gone behind his back. And if you ever happen to get stuck under a mountain of rubble that would require a massive bulldozer to move, he will give it a go and try shifting it with any nearby street signs he can get his hands on; even if it means he might pointlessly kill himself in the process, but he's a nice guy!. I think the idea was to show that he is loyal and representative of the good in humanity. But he just translated as a bit of an idiot and was totally unconvincing as a newspaper editor. More Morpheus after a nice cup of Horlicks. Amy Adams plays an ok Lois Lane and has better lines to play with than most of the other cast. Her problem is that her character is forced into places she has no reason to be in. Reasons are invented to make sure she stays at the center of the action and always in danger. Alien spaceship, archeological dig or an army bomber carrying a massive explosive device, Lois is right there and issuing orders. All that does is make Lois quite irritating, very quickly.
And finally we come to the superstar casting of Russell Crowe as Jor-El. We all know the story of how he saved his son from perishing in the mass extinction on Krypton, but he had much more to do than that in Man Of Steel. He was fist fighting, arguing, shouting, riding on the back of bird-aliens like an extra in Avatar and trying to remain the elder statesman throughout. This being Crowe, the assumption is that he is only acting when he is doing some sort of strange British accent, and he doesnt disappoint in Man Of Steel. Trying to figure out what accent Crowe was attempting to do was an amusing game to play, I dont think he knew and neither did I. The only thing I can be sure of is that he decided to show the audience that he is powerful character by putting on a POWERFUL voice. Combined with the funny but POWERFUL voice and looking like a well-groomed Bee-Gee, Crowe was way off and dare I say it, slightly phoning in his performance. He pranced around like he was having fun but it was Russell Crowe acting in the style of Russell Crowe. Brando might not have been bothered to learn the script when he played Jor-El but he didnt look as bored as Crowe did in this and every other film he has been in lately. On a side note, if Crowe was paid the same amount in today's money that Brando got for playing Jor-El, Crowe would have pocketed $12.8 Million dollars. At that price I think it would have been only fair to demand a decent British accent.