If you have the time and money, you really should go see 'Man of Steel' and 'This is the End' this weekend. However, if you only have room for one movie...you should go see 'This is the End.'
Now, we know what some of you are thinking: "You're saying we should skip the expensive, much-hyped Superman movie in favor of the little apocalypse comedy starring a bunch of comics playing themselves?" Well, yes. That is indeed what we are saying.
'Man of Steel' is a very good movie that you really should go see eventually, but Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's 'This is the End' is best movie of the summer so far and the funniest movie of the year. For real. Rogen, Goldberg, James Franco, Craig Robinson, Jay Baruchel and Jonah Hill have created a comedy that feels like an instant classic, a movie so fun and funny and original that it makes a being as strong as Superman look small in comparison.
At the risk of kicking a fanboy hornet nest, here are the reasons you should see 'This is the End' instead of 'Man of Steel' this weekend.
It's the Most Original Film of the Summer
What has the summer of 2013 offered us so far? Sequels. Reboots. Sequels to reboots. Sequels to reboots loosely based on an episode of a TV series. Although 'This is the End' plays in a similar sandbox as other apocalyptic movies, its "shouldn't-work-but-it-does" combination of self-referential stoner comedy and horror is unlike anything we've seen before. Forget about this summer -- 'This is the End' is the most refreshingly unique comedy in years. Sure, 'Man of Steel' has its fair share of great moments, but we've seen superheroes punch each other before. We can say, without hesitation, what 'This is the End' has is unlike any major studio comedy we've ever seen. It'll have you gasping in between the laughs, daring you to turn to your buddies and say "Did I just see that?!"
Its Monsters Are More Interesting Than Anything in 'Man of Steel'
Yes, Michael Shannon is a national treasure and yes, his General Zod is 'Man of Steel' is a very effective villain. However, there is no adversary or sci-fi creature in 'Man of Steel' that's as scary or as fun to watch as the creatures that populate 'This is the End.' Sure, the early scenes on the planet Krypton in 'Man of Steel' feature some nifty dragonfly creatures, but can they compare to monsters that feel like they were torn straight from an Iron Maiden album cover or a stoner's Dungeons and Dragons handbook? Nah. 'Man of Steel' may have the bigger and more impressive effects budget, but the human-devouring monstrosities in 'This is the End' made us want to see Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg make a straight-foward horror movie. They're that good.
Let's be perfectly fair here. 'Man of Steel' is huge. It's an absurdly massive movie. It does things on a scale that makes 'The Avengers' look rinky dink. But you know what? So does 'This is the End,' in its own little way. Although much of the first half of the film takes place inside James Franco's absurd home, the movie slowly begins widening its scope, giving us a picture of a biblical apocalypse that is as compelling and grand as anything we've seen this summer. Granted, half of the impact of this involves the film's genre (comedies never feel this epic), but we'll take "surprisingly epic" over "expectedly epic" any day.
'Man of Steel' Doesn't Feature Multiple Jokes About Demon Penises
Unless you spend much of 'Man of Steel' closely examining Henry Cavill's package (and we wouldn't blame you), there is precisely no super-penis in the Superman film. Therefore, fans of supernatural dick jokes only have one real option this weekend. However, if the thought of multiple instances of full-frontal monster-from-Hell action unsettles your thin, macho veneer, you should definitely go see the movie where muscular men in tight jumpsuits grapple with each other for two and a half hours.
It Has Three Hilarious 'Spider-Man 3' Jokes
'Man of Steel' is grim to the point of joylessness. 'This is the End' finds finds time amidst hundreds of gags for an amazing 'Flyboys' joke. Granted, comparing the laughs in a superhero epic to the laughs in a comedy starring some of the funniest men alive is patently unfair, but the sheer lack of humor in 'Man of Steel' is puzzling. Consider this: 'The Dark Knight' has funnier jokes than 'Man of Steel.' It's one dour experience. So if you want to feel joy this weekend, go see the movie that uses a cardboard standee of James Franco in 'Spider-Man 3' as a punchline. Because do you know what's better than Superman punching Michael Shannon into buildings? Gags about 'Spider-Man 3.' And jokes about 'Moneyball.' And a reference or two to 'The Green Hornet.'
'Man of Steel' Doesn't Have the Best Cameo of the Year
The trailers for 'This is the End' have already given audiences a taste of the film's many, many amazing cameos, but trust us when we say that you haven't seen anything yet. Sure, people like Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Jason Siegel, Mindy Kaling, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Emma Watson all pop up in the first half hour, but the best bits are yet to come. As impressive as the cast of 'Man of Steel' is (and it's very, very impressive), it doesn't have an actor reveal that'll leave you gasping in horror and laughing so hard that your stomach hurts like 'This is the End' has. Superman may have a thing for tearing down entire city blocks with a single punch, but 'This is the End' has a thing for tearing down your favorite celebrities in the most amazing way possible.
Look, any film with Danny McBride has an immediate edge on any film without Danny McBride, so it is another area where 'This is the End' has the upper hand over 'Man of Steel.' More importantly, 'This is the End' knows exactly how to best make use of McBride's unique brand of douchebag comedy, introducing him late and using him conservatively for maximum impact. Few films have understood that McBride is probably one of the funniest men alive when used in the proper capacity and 'This is the End' just how much (and how little) of the 'Eastbound and Down' star to utilize. It may be the funniest performance of the year.
You Actually Care About the Characters
If you'll allow us to put on our "serious film criticism" hats for a moment, we'd like to talk about how a bunch of movie stars playing themselves are somehow more relatable and likable than one of the most famous fictional characters of all time. 'Man of Steel' goes to great pains to make you empathize with its invincible protagonist (and it occasionally works), but our hearts lie with the pampered, emotionally unstable movie stars at the center of 'This is the End.' For a silly, self-referential comedy, 'This is the End' has a surprisingly big heart and the central relationship between Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel feels more real than any other studio film released this year. Like many of the best comedies of the past decade. 'This is the End' lures you in with laughs before sucker-punching you with some real emotional honesty. Rogen and Baruchel may not be able to fire lasers out of their eyes, but they can get us on their side and rooting for their relationship to survive and flourish...unlike the relationship between a certain superhero and a certain Daily Planet reporter.
None of the Cast Will Make You Feel Inadequate
Hey, guys. Look at Henry Cavill. Just look at him. We've even included a picture below. Look at his arms, capable of lifting automobiles over his head. Look at his chest, covered with a fine layer of perfectly sculpted "sexy lumberjack" hair. Look at his chiseled jawline, his fat-free abs and his piercing eyes, which can see straight into your soul. When Mr. Cavill isn't shirtless in 'Man of Steel,' he's wearing form-fitting clothing that shows off ever inch of his perfect body. In other words, seeing 'Man of Steel' will make you feel like less of a man and it'll make your significant other frown at your lovehandles even more than usual when you crawl into bed after the screening. Protect your self-esteem and your relationship. See the movie starring pudgy guys with man-boobs.
It's the Funniest Movie of the Year
Look, this summer is full of big budget movies where super powerful beings throw each other into buildings. What it's severely lacking is terrific comedies. Remember how you and everyone wised up and skipped 'The Hangover Part III' a few weeks ago because your money is precious and you want to laugh? Well, spend that money on a ticket to 'This is the End' because you're not going to any better in 2013 (and if you can, then this will be an amazing year for comedies). Like last year's '21 Jump Street,' 'This is the End' feels like the rare comedy that's primed to sneak its way onto multiple end-of-the-year lists and become your favorite movie to put on in the background at home a couple dozen times a year. But you've got to see it with an audience...and you've got to see it now, before all of the biggest surprises get spoiled. You can't really spoil 'Man of Steel' ("Superman punches stuff"), but we promise that 'This is the End' is totally spoilable. Make it your priority.