Man Of Steel: Remastered

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(Updated: May 10, 2016)
Overall rating
 
8.1
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
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9.0
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10.0
Narrative
 
7.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Man of Steel Trailer #3 is my favorite movie trailer of all time, but Man of Steel the film was in many ways a disappointment. The pacing was laborious, the storytelling muddled and unevenly executed, and the action scenes exhausting. While this is not the definitive edit of Man of Steel for me (As far as I'm aware, that edit doesn't exist yet), it's a really strong alternative way of viewing the film, especially if you had no love for the original. The strongest points of this edit are pacing and economy of storytelling: The Krypton sequence is fast and furious, replacing the exhausting ordeal that was the original. The focus on Lois Lane toward the beginning of the film and the re-purposing and reordering of the flashback sequences was a revelation. The action is trimmed down to a more manageable length. Overall the film feels much more confidently told and was able to grab and hold my attention, unlike the original. Also, one of the most maligned scenes from the original film, Pa Kent's death by tornado, is thankfully nowhere to be found.

However, there were also aspects of this edit that did not work for me. The new color grading is mostly great but sometimes looks a little bright and oversaturated, like it's trying to overcompensate for the darker colors of the original. The original film had beautiful high-contrast cinematography which sometimes gets a little washed out in this color grade. kk650's recolored version of the original MOS tones down the grungy green grade while still playing to the strengths of the original photography.

The John Williams score is cool as an alternate take on the film, but in my opinion it does not really fit as well as the Zimmer score. I am probably in the minority here, but I prefer Zimmer's score to Williams, which was great in the original Superman but it's trumpeting brass and triumphant fanfares sound out of place here, whilst Zimmer's booming percussion and minimalist piano did not. The opening credits sequence also plays way too long for a modern film.

Lastly, I feel that some of Agent9's edits serve to bury some of the themes of the original Man of Steel rather than trying to salvage them. Particularly Clark's anxiety over humanity fearing and rejecting him is still here but is weakened by the removal of the Church scene, and the Williams score does more to hurt in this area, making scenes sound triumphant that should be more pensive. I also think a flaw in the original film that ought to have been addressed by the editor is that Superman dons the suit and takes flight before he's committed to revealing himself to the world. It could have been a truly earned moment but it feels like the film blows its load too early. I know it might be a bit strange to have Superman travel back to the arctic after he's returned to Smallville, but I think this could have been accomplished by splitting the the scene between Clark and Jor-El in two. The suit reveal could have been saved for later.

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Overall rating
 
8.6
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10.0
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10.0
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8.0
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9.0
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8.0
Man of Steel is a complicated beast...there are parts of it I absolutely love, but at an overdrawn length, a confounding ending, and way too much decompression at the start, it can be a chore to try and sit through if you're not a first-time viewer. I tried watching it again with my parents and I switched it off half-way through Jor-El's adventure on Krypton. Nobody cares what antics Jor-El gets up to (and If you did, it's probably because you watched the superior animated pilot of the DCAU Superman), just get to Kal's launch as quickly as possible. This is ultimately what happens in this edit.

The visuals are brighter and more appealing, the narrative is more cohesive and still gives you a broad sense of scope while minimising greatly the time taken to "overdo" everything. Scenes that grossed me out or infuriated me were cut or greatly reduced, the mix of other films into the edit is seemless, and the ending shot is one that should have been in the filmmaker's minds the entire time. There can be no other way to end a Superman film.

I'd have preferred it if there was a way of editing around Clark dealing with Zod at the climax, in fact I'm still keen to find an edit that does this and challenge anyone with an ambitious streak to find a way, but here it remains. Ah well.

The score, by which I'm now all too familiar with, stands out supremely, although I did find certain spots here and there where it clumsily fades out or jumps into another piece of the score during the mix. This is not a deal-breaker by any means, it just causes the flow of scenes to suffer an audible abruptness. Could be smoothed over with a few more efforts.

Overall, this edit is a treat. Gives us the best bits of the movie while giving it the spirit and satisfactory sounds of a vintage era in the Superman medium. Hopefully Agent9 turns his attention to Dawn of Justice later (the Elfman soundtrack for Batfleck maybe?)

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Overall rating
 
7.6
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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8.0
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6.0
OK, this is a long one...

As I've said in another review, Man of Steel is not a good movie. By this I mean, it's a great example of poor filmmaking. It suffers from poor directing, poor editing, poor blocking, occasional cartoony effects, odd costume and set design choices (e.g., the giant black condoms that send the baddies to the Phantom Zone; the Nike sneakers swish in the middle of the "S" symbol) and a meandering plot (for which I blame the editing -- the script may've been far more clear). (OK, fanboys, relax, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the original, but that doesn't in any way change the facts of the problem tech aspects of the original.)

So, let's talk about the edit:
The editor's cut a great deal of fat from the start of the movie, where we meet Jor-El and the world of Krypton. The editor gives the opening far better pacing than the original MoS. He removed the most, er condomy, shots from the capture-of-the-bad-guys scene and deleted Jor-El's silly action-hero moments. However, the big error here is that everything from the death of Jor-El to the explosion of Krypton can be cut -- that's about 10 more minutes fat. Everything in that 10 mins -- about how Zod and his minions survived -- is explained by Zod himself later in the film. As such, it's repetitive and makes the opening, treated as a teaser, a bit weaker than it could've been.

Back to the original MoS: Filmmaking 101: Flashbacks should directly reflect what is happening on screen in the NOW. In MoS, none of the flashbacks connect to present day, and while I've not seen the MoS script, I would bet this problem came out of editing. The Fan Editor has resolved this issue with great skill and aplomb by peppering flashbacks throughout the film and *always* making certain they clearly connect to what's happening "today."

In the original MoS, numerous scenes simply made no sense, this includes the death of Jon Kent (which, again, likely made sense on paper, but due to Snyder's blocking, makes it clear that Clark could've saved dad and the dog before those final moments when Clark would've revealed himself to a town that ended up knowing about his powers anyway). Here, the death of Pa Kent, it is implied, just happened w/the passage of time. A brilliant solution.

That natural death of Pa Kent actually makes more sense since his choosing to die by tornado added nothing to the growth of Clark or to the plot in the original.

However, cutting has its downside. In the original, Lois is attacked when she boards a Kryptonian ship stuck deep in some ice. This same defense mechanism is seen later by the terraforming machine fighting Superman. With the former defense scene cut, the latter one comes out of nowhere during the climax.

Similarly, the original movie has several scenes highlighting Clark's lack of a moral compass, all of those scenes -- save for Pa Kent's advice to "maybe" let some kids die in order for young Clark to keep his secret -- set up Clark's decision to kill Zod. With all of those scenes gone, it no longer makes sense to have Superman kill Zod. This was a sore point for classic Superman fans (of which I am one), yet I felt the original MoS set this up clearly (albeit clumsily). This edit does not set it up at all, and Clark's regret for having committed murder just doesn't sell it.

Fact is, the editor changed the coloring, making it less somber, changed the score, making it more upbeat and exhilarating, and changed the film's entire tone. To then keep the grisly murder of Zod just didn't make sense.

On this same point, while the fan editor removed a great deal of the wanton destruction (e.g., it's one thing for Zod to throw Superman into a building, but when the hero is doing it, it's clearly just a gratuitous choice by the filmmakers), he could -- and should -- have removed far more of it to fit the new tone and style he created in the first hour.

The editor's removal of the destruction of Metropolis thus mitigated the movie's ultra-violent tone. As such, much of the climax no longer works -- yet he kept it in tact. I would recommend the fan editor do 1 of 2 things here: 1. Either end the film with the evil Kryptonians being sent back to the Phantom Zone, thus implying that Zod went with them. Or 2. Re-edit it so that the fight with Zod occurs WHILE the payload that opens the PZ is being distributed. That way, with some clever editing -- and perhaps 1 or 2 new effects -- one of Superman's punches can depict Zod being punched into the PZ entrance when said payload does its job.

Re: the Score: Zimmer's score was virtually the only good thing about MoS, although his score most assuredly lacked a crescendo -- an absolute necessity in a superhero film (Elfman's Spider-Man theme had the same issue). The new opening credits sequence, with the John Williams score, is quite wonderful, and the big Superman scenes throughout the film pack a much bigger punch with Williams' score. The problem in using the old Superman score is that on Krypton and throughout the film, we get the same cues over and over again. The editor did his best to switch it up, but there just wasn't enough to draw from. It does get frustrating, but one cannot deny that it most definitely gives the film a more exciting tone and feel (along with the color correcting and improved pacing). I'd suggest he dig through the John Williams library and see if he can find some cues from his other film scores which have a similar tone and style to his Superman work (much like the villain marches is S:TM and Star Wars are similar, I'm sure there are other lesser-known Williams scores that also bear a resemblance to his Superman style). It would be much better than re-using a cue for the 5th or 6th time.

Overall, this was a very well-done edit. It absolutely improved upon the original, clearing up story, plot, and character problems. The new look works nicely, and it now looks like a film made by pros, rather than a big-budget film made by film students. The editing is definitely leaps and bounds above the jerky original.

I hope to see a version 2.0 of this cut to fix the problems mentioned above. But I highly recommend checking this out if you did not enjoy the original.

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Overall rating
 
7.6
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10.0
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10.0
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8.0
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6.0
Well, an AMAZING achievement with some stand-out points - but ends up a little flat and dare I say a bit... boring.
This is mainly to do with Williams' score. Apart from the iconic theme, the rest of the music is rather bland. It doesn't match the frenetic action on screen - this is the problem of taking a 30-year-old action theme and matching to today's action. It's just way too slow.
It also felt like a lot of music was just on repeat throughout a scene, particularly the action sequences.
Also, because replacing the score necessitated rebuilding the soundscape, in many places the soundscape is just a tad too empty.
The edit ended up being very action lite as a result of the shuffling of the scenes. Now I kinda liked it (and it was very reminiscent of Superman 1), but it made me understand why they didn't go this route in MOS.

Regards editing: I thought the church scene (or something else showing his internal conflict) was necessary before he just appears in front of the tanks. The jump from Lois arrested to "Where is Lois" is way too abrupt. The church scene isn't brilliant, but it's not as bad as everyone makes it out to be either.

Now the positive:
The editing is first class here! Edits are technically brilliant. Flawless. Story-wise they work too.
The cut-down Krypton opening is brilliant.
New credits are great, if a little long. (By the way, Kevin Spacey was listed in your credits, but wasn't in the film)
The colour grading is flawless.
The THEME - oh hearing the Superman theme was PERFECT!
Audio-work is AMAZING. What a huge undertaking!

Summary:
Because of the 70's action muzak and 70's style framing (Act 1 seems to drag on forever) I found myself a bit bored on occasion .
The rescoring, in total, detracted more than it added. I feel annoyed at not scoring it 100% because of the huge undertaking - I think it deserves 18/10 for audio editing because of it. But it wasn't perfect and led to some scenes feeling a bit empty, which was weird.
Perhaps a hybrid of Superman theme with Zimmer's score?
Be that as it may, I recommend this edit to everyone: for some it replace their copy of MOS, for others, like me, it is simply a master-class in fanediting. Applause A9.

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Do you recommend this edit?
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Overall rating
 
8.5
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
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8.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
7.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
Audio/Video Quality: 8
Given how much effort Agent9 put into regrading this thing (With glorious success!), I thought it was a shame that it looks quite compressed. The filesize is too small for full 1080p HD encode IMO. This would have looked better at 720p perhaps, or up the filesize to exploit the full HD resolution.

Visual Editing: 8
The new credits look eye-meltingly fantastic. The regrading looks stunning. The editing is mostly flawless. Only a couple of moments stood out: The cut to Jorrel's face at the end of the mural talk (Was there a grading error here?) and the cut from the pod --> to the crashed spaceship. I think I already mentioned this in the ITW thread but cutting from one spaceship crash-landing at night, to a spaceship which has crashed in the day, naturally leads a viewer to think they are the same spaceship. It takes about 5 minutes before this confusion is cleared up.

Audio Editing: 10
Bloody genius! Don't get me wrong, I love Zimmer's score and his triumphant new theme but ooooh the feels having John William's score instead!

Narrative: 7
The narrative is stripped down and stramlined with mostly good effect but I really was not keen on the first act (Thankfully after that is over, it's near perfection for the rest of the runtime). For a fanedit to truly succeed it has to work as a movie in it's own right and I don't think this does. I'd be very surprised if somebody who had never seen MOS before could follow the first act (Sure it made sense to me because I've watched all the bits that were missing). Clark and Lois' relationship was sketchy in the original, here it's just gone. He never saves her life on the spaceship, so that bond is missing for a start. The look Cavill gives her in that moment made him Supes for me, so very sad that was jettisoned. Cavill gets 1 minute of screentime where he doesn't speak, 5 minutes of Russell Crowe explaining the plot to him and then he's suddenly Superman... hurray!...? I think? Who is this guy again? What does he stand for? He's just Superman, with no character building or introduction to get us behind him. As I say, after that opening portion the removals are really effective, so do stick with this edit because it pays off in the end.

Enjoyment: 9
I had my problems with the narrative as I've stated but the wonderful new score and impressive regrading more than make up for that. This doesn't replace the original for me but it is a cut that every Superman fan should have on the shelf next to MOS. It's a totally different exciting experience. Very much recommend!

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