A Thought About Action Sequences
I’m absolutely not the first person to voice this opinion, but I think it’s worth repeating anyway.
I’m tired of people saying things like “XYZ Summer Blockbuster had a terrible script, and it wasn’t really that well directed, but the action was incredible!” I’m tired of this for 2 reasons.
One, if a movie has a terrible script, part of the terribleness is undoubtedly that the characters are acting in ways that don’t make any sense in terms of the events of the movie or in terms of the way that actual living, breathing human beings act in general. This means that we, the audience, will have a difficult time relating to these characters, understanding them, or caring about them as we’re watching the events of the story unfold. This is a problem, because on top of not understanding why we give a shit about any of these people and what they’re doing onscreen, we also aren’t going to give much of a shit about the action because we ultimately don’t care what’s happening to these characters, regardless if the special effects look pretty or not.
Two, if the movie itself isn’t really executed that well—let’s say in this case that the director doesn’t have the best ear for tonal consistency and isn’t very good at demonstrating a sense of geography during action scenes (or maybe even has a poor sense of geography in the typical, map-reading, more-obvious meaning of the word)—we probably don’t even know what’s happening in the action scenes half the time because we aren’t really sure where the characters are supposed to be at any given moment or how they got there in the first place. There’s no through-line, no sense of storytelling within the action scenes, just a lot of moment-to-moment slam-bam-crash filler bullshit, and that, my friends, is not good action. And it’s most definitely not “incredible action.”
By the way, I saw Man of Steel last night.