Though it was released back in June,I finally got around to finishing my review of Man of Steel,what with it already on its way to DVD and grossing USD$600 million in box office receipts,still better late than never.
Without further ado,here is my Man of Steel review.
Credited to fanpop.com
After countless incarnations of the red caped superhero, we yet again have another Superman flick merely seven years after the last one was released. Superman Returns (2006) anyone? While that flick wasn’t necessarily bad, I must confess I watched it in theaters when it was released, lured to it by the image of an attractive Brandon Routh on said movie poster. Then again, Superman spawning a child and Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane is just a wee bit frightening to comprehend.
I wouldn’t go on a limb and call myself a die-hard Superman fan. Sure, I’ve watched several adaptations of the guy whether it was a movie or TV series. No, I have never read a single Superman comic book. As a child of the 90s, born in the late 80s, I’ve never watched the previous George Reeves incarnation. Surprisingly, I don’t recall watching the late, great Christopher Reeve’s portrayal either, maybe an occasional glance. Of course I am highly familiar with the 90s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV series and later Smallville that ran for ten seasons.Just call me a regular Superman fan.
The truth is; even if you aren’t a Superman fan, you’d be most familiar with him. Superman is a pop culture icon, managing to embed himself into our psyche ever since he burst out in the 1930s. He’s just a figure of cultural relevancy, managing to integrate himself into anything and everything by constantly reinventing himself according to the times. That could also be due to the many forms of Superman, through the multiple actors portraying him and the medium he’s been presented to us. There’s also the well documented Superman curse and it’s easy to see why he’s everybody’s favorite superhero. He was the first and will forever hold a dear place in our hearts.
Anyhow, back to the Man of Steel. When I first heard that Brit actor Henry Cavill had been cast as said Man of Steel himself, I was a little doubtful. The only thing I remembered Henry Cavill in was Showtimes’ The Tudors. That guy who played the friend to Jonathan Rhys Myer’s King Henry VIII. A few still images from the movie showing Henry as Superman didn’t help.People complained that Superman looked angry and menacing. And gasp, Superman arrested. Well geez people, maybe it was the camera angle, the set-up, gosh, just watch the movie!
The movie starts with its setting on Krypton, which as everybody knows is Superman’s birth place. Here, we can see the decaying state of Krypton and an introduction to three main characters namely Jor-El, his wife Lara Lor-Van, and General Zod. Oh yes, there was Faora too so that makes it four but only three main players. Oh, and a bunch of council members but never mind them, they’re kinda irrelevant. Anyhow, when I first saw Russell Crowe playing Jor-El, I was kinda surprised. I had no idea he was even in the movie, to me his casting was kinda low key. I even expected Crowe to just make a random cameo in the movie as Superman’s dad and then adios Jor-El when Krypton goes boom, as we all know it would. But it was heartbreaking to see him die in the movie, I expected Lara to die after, but you’ll just have to see the movie to see how her fate turns out. General Zod and company get banished into outer space and little Kal-El is of course shipped off to Earth.
We are then shown the grown Kal-El, or Clark Kent as he is known in the form of the extremely buff and built Henry Cavill. But this isn’t the same bespectacled Clark Kent that we’re used to in previous incarnations of Superman working at the Daily Planet but a hard-hitting, rough and rugged odd job laborer Clark Kent. Like seriously, in the twenty minutes that we’re introduced to Kent, he’s taught a lesson to a harassing bar bully and rescuing men on a burning oil rig shirtless.Director Zack Snyder manages to exploit Cavill’s looks very early on in the movie.This version of Superman is a little different than previous Supermans in the fact that Clark Kent doesn’t yet understand the limits of his powers until later. There are no scenes of Martha and Jonathan Kent joyously finding their new child from the ship and the child Clark Kent lifting cars to retrieve his ball. Because those scenes are scenes that we are used too and there is a need to upgrade this new reboot of Superman. Instead, what we get are flashbacks of Clark’s childhood which help us understand his journey to becoming who he is and the man he has become. I was wary of the casting of Diane Lane as Martha Kent. Like, ain’t Martha Kent a grandma and not a MILF? While not the best performance from Lane, we’ve seen her better; she did a solid job in her limited role. It turns out that Lane was aware of her limited screen time but accepted the role as her character was a crucial support to the film. Kudos however goes to Kevin Costner in his brief turn as Jonathan Kent, he made an impact in his role as Clark’s Earth dad who raises his son to conceal his powers until the world is truly ready to accept a man with super powers like him.
Credited to nokia.com
Henry Cavill plays his role well as the brooding Kal-El/Clark Kent, a man who doesn’t understand why he is so different than others and is forced to control and hide his feelings from the world. There is no one to empathize with Clark’s condition though his Earth parents do try. Credit goes to Michael Shannon who plays the villainous General Zod avenging on his incarceration by the rulers of Krypton and a desire to seek out Kal-El and restore Krypton to its former glory. The cast members who truly stole the show were Michael Shannon as General Zod, Russell Crowe as the resurrected as a download Jor-El, and as previously mentioned Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent. Ah, but what about Amy Adams as Lois Lane? I was also wary of the casting of Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Let’s face it, Amy Adams as Lois Lane is just a little far-fetched. She is also a well-known REDHEAD. As everyone knows,Amy Adams is a damn good actress and of course aces her role. But isn’t Lois Lane an eternal brunette? Before you start protesting with your pitchforks, this is of course a reboot. Director Zack Snyder explained that as Lois Lane is a very busy reporter, she just has no time to think about something as trivial as her hair color. Adams’ version of Lois Lane is modern, independent, feisty, precisely the portrayal of a modern-day journalist is. It is a refreshing take on Lois Lane. Unfortunately, there is a downside. For all the tales of the ultimate love story epitomized by Lois Lane and Clark Kent, Cavill and Adams absolutely lack chemistry. It’s hard to believe that these two are going to form one of the best love partnerships of all time, the love story here just seems a bit rushed. However, understandably this film does serve as an origins story to Superman barring any future sequels. The focus in this film is not the love story which we get in a hint of something, watch the film.
Credited to filmonic.com
A complaint about this film is the over-excessive use of CGI effects which are incredible in the battle scenes between Superman and General Zod, but just leave the story-telling part of the movie incredibly lacking. Yeah, we get it Snyder, you just love blowing up buildings and the world ala Transformers but still? A movie’s got to have a story and this is where Man of Steel falters. Not to say that the movie wasn’t great, it wasn’t, it was a good superhero flick. It however could’ve been a lot better if the filmmakers had given a lot of thought to the storytelling aspect and character development instead of caring about how much destruction they were able to inflict on the world. Hopefully, these areas would be addressed in the announced sequel with Snyder and writer David S. Goyer already on board.
All in all, a good Superman reboot film and a great introduction to the Superman franchise for this generation.