Man of Steel Review
My most anticipated movie of the year has finally arrived. Man of Steel. Even though Superman isn’t my favorite in DC’s lineup, it’s hard not to be excited about a new Superman movie after the disappointing Superman Returns was released about seven years ago. The trailers for Man of Steel have been awesome and I’m ready for Superman to fly back into my life. Despite mixed reviews from other critics, I’m happy to say that Man of Steel is a fantastic superhero movie with great performances by its cast and excellent action scenes and special effects. The screenplay might not flow all that well with a particularly choppy first half but the direction writer David S. Goyer took made a reboot somehow seem fresh. It hasn’t been a good first half of 2013 for movies so go treat yourself to something awesome.
Man of Steel retells Superman’s origin which was seen in 1978’s Superman film (although there are many differences).
With their home planet, Krypton, facing destruction due to its unstable core and their military leader, General Zod, taking over the council of leaders of the world, a scientist named Jor-El, aware of the destruction of the planet, places his infant son, Kal-El, into a spacecraft and sends him to Earth along with a genetic codex. General Zod is placed in the “Phantom Zone” (another dimension for prisoners) but when Krypton explodes (killing all of its inhabitants), Zod and his henchmen are set free. They learn of Kal-El’s location and head there to retrieve the genetic codex to recreate Krypton but with Zod as the leader.
Meanwhile, Kal-El crash lands in Smallville, Kansas where he is adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent. Kal-El has superhuman abilities due to his Kryptonian anatomy. He hides his identity and superhuman abilities by disguising himself as Clark Kent but when Zod threatens to destroy the planet unless he surrenders, it’s time for Clark to become the “man of steel” and save the world.
I don’t like remakes or retellings. I’ve seen the story done right before (1978’s Superman is one of my favorite movies of all time) and want to see something new. What writer David S. Goyer does is slightly tweak the mythology thus creating a whole new story thus making the film feel like “something new.” I’m speechless that this was the direction the film went and I loved almost every second of it. It’s the same story but told in a new way that hasn’t been seen before (at least on film). In terms of personal preference, I still prefer the original more straightforward origin of 1978’s Superman, but this breath of fresh air was a warm welcome.
The screenplay doesn’t have a good flow to it though. The scenes in the first half of the film didn’t really align with one another which made the movie feel a little choppy. It’s not because of the great flashback scenes, it’s because Clark is in a location in one scene and then in a completely different setting in the next with no real explanation other than he’s constantly moving so nobody figures out he has superhuman abilities. The movie felt disjointed although I was still entertained mainly due to the solid performances by its cast.
Henry Cavill is a great Clark/Kal-El/Superman. What he nails is the human side of the character. Instead of Clark feeling like an almighty emotionless god, you feel he’s a person. He gets excited, angry, and upset just like every person on this Earth and Cavill absolutely nailed the role. Michael Shannon as Zod might go a little over the top at times but he plays a great psychotic villain and I hope to see him in other villain roles. Amy Adams, Diane Lane, and Laurence Fishburn are all well portrayed although it’s Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe who steal the show due to the emotion they brought to their roles even when they’re surrounded by lots of special effects.
Those visual effects by the way. Awesome. The movie doesn’t have too many action scenes but when Superman is throwing down, it’s entertaining largely in part to the incredible visuals in the movie. Zack Snyder and visual effects are like peanut butter and jelly, they blend together oh so nicely. From the creatures of Krypton to Metropolis falling apart, when Man of Steel goes above and beyond with its visuals, it’s hard not to be amazed.
It’s always a shame when a movie isn’t getting the praise it deserves with Man of Steel being the most recent example. Not only does the movie somehow break movie logic and make a retelling feel fresh but it has outstanding visuals and solid performances by the cast. Besides the choppy first half, Man of Steel is the Superman movie we deserve. Welcome back Superman, I missed you.
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