I haven't done a "worst of" list since 2011, but there have been some particularly bad movies this year that I had to get off my chest. Keep in mind, these are only movies I've actually seen so until I view Lone Ranger, Scary Movie 5, Grown Ups 2, and Last Vegas, this is what I've got.....
1. Man of Steel - I would consider myself a casual Superman fan. At my age the original Superman: The Movie and Superman II were childhood classics. But at 13-years-old, even I knew Superman III stunk, enough that I couldn't even bother going to see Superman IV: The Quest For Peace in the theatre. When Superman Returns hit the screens in 2006, I thought it got more right than wrong and was a worthy successor to the film series. And though some fans thought Brandon Routh was horrible, I liked him as both Superman and Clark Kent.
When another Superman reboot/reimagined/retool was being bantered about so quickly after the last one, I immediately began to question what they were really going for that would be so much better. The leaked pics and trailers leading up to the release didn't help things, so I didn't bother seeing it on the big-screen, which is good as it took me several sittings just to get through it. The film's prologue again begins on Krypton, albeit a very different version than we've seen before with floating hand-held-mirrors and the flying dog from the Neverending Story. Since we all know where this is going, this part seemed a little long and excessive when we're really just anxious to see Henry Cavill in his tights (and out of them). The middle part of the film is told in non-linear fashion, which I'm okay with, but really felt like we were just seeing trailers for other, better Superman films.
Now I can't tell if Clark Kent was drawn to the crashed spaceship or if he just has really good luck, as the film gives us no indication one way or another. But hitting the extremely good luck/coincidence is perky Lois Lane, who is on the scene and has no trouble with the fatally severe temperatures at night she was warned about. I know it's hard to make this reporter character work in a 2013 setting. In a scene a day or two later, Perry White is telling her he won't let her publish her story, when in the real world, she would've immediately tweeted about it. I am really not a fan of Michael Shannon, I think he is overrated and I still question what the hell he was trying to do in Premium Rush. Here, he continues to overact and go bug-eyed with his oh-so-evil plotting.
Making even more of an impression than the actors were the product placements. Sears, Ihop, 7-Eleven, and many more companies all make blaring appearances throughout the film. I know, I know, the first two Superman films had quite a bit of product placement too, but this is just jarring during crucial scenes when you are immediately brought out of the film and realize this should probably be free with all the inside-commercials we are seeing.
As for Cavill, I'll give him a pass. He's pretty to look at and he did the best he could with the material. The role is pretty heavy-handed to begin with, but the writers and director do everything short of actually renaming him Jesus Christ to get their point across. (I wouldn't put it past them from the idea showing up in an early draft.)
I'm not familiar with the all the variations of Superman, but I was pretty surprised at the amount of mayhem and death our hero let happen, or in many cases, brought about himself. Both Smallville and Metropolis have a crazy amount of destruction that would make ID4 blush. Buildings explode, skyscrapers topple, office towers ripped through. I would estimate thousands of people perished in these battles without a blink of an eye from Superman. Which made him rushing to save just one woman even more baffling and selfish. He must finally got a bit of guilt at the end where he must save a poor traditional nuclear family from the evil eye-lasers from Zod. The family cowers from the oncoming deathray, when to most it would seem obvious you should be able to flatten yourself out and skedaddle out of there. But no, this awkward moment is saved for the character turning point where he must snap the neck of our villain (rather than just turning his head in a different direction so the family can escape?). I don't know, in a lesser film I would say they just ran out of money and time and in true George Lucas fashion, said "good enough."
But the biggest sin of all for a superhero film is that it is flat out boring. Nothing in this film really go the audience going or rooting for any character in particular. The closest redeemer would be Kevin Costner as Pa Kent, but his throwaway death here obliterates the assumed and intended message of sacrifice, but instead shows we should live in fear and give into it. Exactly the message we need in 2013. Tirade over, fade out.