Saturday, November 26, 2011

Superman Movie Review: Steel

I was dreading watching Steel. To be complete in my Superman movie reviews, however, Bryan lent me his copy (which you can only get through the Warner Brothers Archives Collection, by the way). According to every account I heard, this movie is complete trash. Simply horrible. Unwatchable! Which is why I was surprised when it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. 

First, the cast is decent. Annbeth Gish, Judd Nelson, Richard Roundtree, and Charles Napier... not exactly A list but recognizable faces. Shaq is a bit wooden in his acting but not horrible. 

The story is actually a pretty decent one. John Henry Irons designs weapons for the military but when a test goes wrong and his friend is paralyzed, he quits. His military weapons end up in the hands of street thugs and he creates a steel suit of armor to go take on the bad guys. What's wrong with that? It's actually executed fairly well with a nice supporting cast that help round out the movie.

Effects wise, the film is okay. Nothing great but nothing that stands out as spectacularly cheesy as well.

The action was fairly realistic throughout the film. Since Steel doesn't actually have any super powers, he relies on technology to fight crime. He's actually more like Iron Man than Superman. I thought it was a TAD bit unbelievable that he was able to make super weapons in a junkyard. I also wondered why the bad guys didn't just shoot him in the exposed part of his face. I liked the sequence where the cops chased him, thinking that he was actually a criminal. The worst part of the film is when Steel must get rid of a grenade by throwing it through a basket-ball-rim-sized hole in the wall. Really?  

The character's storyline very closely mirrored his origin story from the comics, minus the actual character of Superman. Perhaps DC didn't want the stink from this movie to be connected directly with Superman. Steel's character was missing the Superman "S" from his chest (in the comics, he eventually ditched the "S" anyway) but they did prominently show Shaq's Superman "S" and "Man of Steel" tattoo ("Man of Steel" was Steel's original full name). Nothing (except perhaps the Superman tattoo and a brief reference to Superman in dialogue) connects this directly to the Christopher Reeve Superhero movie but nothing directly contradicts anything from the Superman and Supergirl films either. I'm guessing it is out of continuity but fans can make up their own minds.

Perhaps some fans may have been upset by Steel's use of his hammer as a gun which, I believe, is not in the comics continuity. That didn't bother me too much. Overall, while this movie isn't GREAT it isn't TERRIBLE either. Certainly not the worst superhero film I've ever seen! 

1LR rating: 8 out of 20 - It's a Miss!

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