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Man of Steel


man of steel poster

To say the expectations for Man of Steel were high is an understatement, to say the least. Attaching Zack Snyder’s unique style to a screenplay that had Christopher Nolan’s name in the mix rightfully ignited the flames of Hollywood hype. Further adding fuel were the five—count ‘em, FIVE— full-length trailers that showcased the new suit and each of Superman’s powers.

Grade:

B+

Then the movie came out. Some people were satisfied—yours truly included—and many more were dissatisfied. The important takeaway from Man of Steel that I can’t stress enough is the potential for the future. Superman is a tough character to capture in ninety minutes since he is such a “perfect” being in his own right. The only struggle, seemingly, is his attempt to fit in with the rest of us. To combat this issue, Man of Steel reorganizes this struggle.

Instead of focusing on Clark Kent’s transformation into Superman over and over again when saving people, Man of Steel presents us with Kal-El’s (Henry Cavill) transformation and acclimation to Earth. After sequences on Krypton that set the scene, we are given Kal’s growth into the superior being, along with simple explanations that don’t seem too farfetched—his powers come from the Earth’s atmosphere mixed with the sun’s radiation.

Man of Steel

Additionally, traditionally moan-worthy pieces of the hero are stripped away—some literally. His classic red undies are gone and the “S” no longer means Super. Leave it to Christopher Nolan and David Goyer (the Batman movies) to actually simplify a character and do it in such a way that feels right and avoids the unnecessary frills.

A common and justifiable gripe is General Zod (Michael Shannon). Personally, I thought Shannon was an excellent villain, oozing evil at every turn while spitting lines left and right making those around him seem smaller. The fault lies in the motives behind the character’s actions. Zod is looking to restore Krytpon, but the purpose and method chosen are somewhat trivial. In any case, this complaint does not apply for me since I look at Man of Steel for its future potential.

Cavill is perfectly cast. Yes, he does not bring a lot of emotion to the character, but there isn’t much time for that when the chronology of the film keeps jumping haphazardly back and forth. He works well with Diane Lane as Martha Kent, and received loads of help from righteously paternal Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe. Speaking of which, I enjoyed Crowe as Jor-El, but I felt he was used too often posthumously, compounding my mind’s comparisons to Star Trek.

Man-of-Steel-2

The main spots of fault for me came in religious overtones and Amy Adams. We’ll start with Adams. I really like her and think she’s a wonderful actress. However, she does not exude moxie and bravado in the way Lois Lane should. I think she can in the sequel(s), but it’s lacking here.

As for the religious overtones, the “Superman is Jesus” allusion occurred too often for my liking, both blatant and subtle. The only moment worthy of a Cersei Lannister eye-roll is when Jor-El proclaims he sent his son to this planet to save them and Kal falls back in the Christ pose. This comes after many references back to Christianity, particularly one about evolution. Due to the length of the film (143 min), these moments are abandoned and forgotten quickly, so the annoyance can be forgiven.

Man of Steel is full of intense, exhilarating action sequences that really kept the movie flowing. The destruction—nay, obliteration— of Metropolis reaches absurdity fairly quickly, but who cares. Is Man of Steel perfect, or even really good? No. Did I find it highly entertaining? Yes, and that’s the goal. Much like The Amazing Spider-Man the future is bright for Superman, and I, for one, am excited.

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  1. Good review “The destruction—nay, obliteration” ahaha that it was 😀

    • Thanks! I actually wrote this last Sunday and had started with something about how the damage likely beat The Avengers. Then the news came out midweek that the damage in Man of Steel was (hypothetically) 4x as costly. I was just too lazy to reword it so took it out.

      • Actually if you look on my latest post there’s an info-graphic which sounds far worse than 4x as costly. E.g Avengers costing $160 Billion and Man of Steel $700 Billion to Metropolis but $2 Trillion world wide haha xD

      • Yep, that was the one I was looking at before. Insane.

        Side note: I think I’ve followed your site 3 times now and it never sticks. Hopefully this one will work 🙂

      • That would be nice 😀

    • movie snob
    • June 21st, 2013

    I was debating whether to see this movie — I think I will now — thanks.

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