Man of Steel (2013)

Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Christopher Meloni, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Costner, Antje Traue

Man of Steel (poster)There is a ‘war’ raging between Earth’s mightiest heroes as they represent the companies that own them. Universally known characters like Iron Man, Batman and Superman have been the subject of tons of movies with some of the latest titles being The Avengers or Iron Man 3. While Marvel Studios is gaining new territory in Hollywood with every new comic-based production, one might pose the question of where DC Comics fits in all of this. Ever since Nolan brought an end to his The Dark Knight trilogy, we have heard not much about DC Comics… until now. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is a refreshing and modern reboot to the legendary tale of one of Earth’s oldest guardians.

The movie starts of by retelling the complete history of Superman: from his birth as Kal-El in Krypton to the familiar scene in which he applies for a job at the Daily Planet as the clumsy Clark Kent. For people who haven’t heard or have simply forgotten Kent’s classic story to some extent, the movie offers an arguably clear solution by using frequently flashbacks. This nifty technique has been integrated into the main plot without any problems. The transition between scenes may look weird at times, but all it takes is for you to get used to it. I’m really happy how the writers consciously chose for including every tiny detail about Superman in the story. By doing so, the audience is faced with a young Clark who is struggling with getting his extreme powers and senses under control. These short parts down to memory lane reminded me originally of Smallville‘s first few seasons.

However, there is nothing pleasing or satisfying about the first half hour of the movie if we were only to consider the dialogue. It’s a good thing that Man of Steel featured some exciting scenes of Krypton which looked pretty much like Avatar‘s Pandora. This was an enjoyable compensation for the disappointing and trite lines Zod and Jor-El got to say in the beginning.

Even though the role of Superman has been interpreted various times already, Henry Cavill’s rendition of the symbolic hero does not disappoint. He doesn’t fall short on the sexy looks and he even has some similarities to Christopher Reeve. With Cavill’s looks and modesty in his portrayal, he is the brilliant Superman with whom the audience most certainly will rejoice. On the contrary, Amy Adams as Lois Lane is a lot less convincing, because her relationship with Cavill’s Superman has been worked out way flawed and confusing. There isn’t a real development between them and that’s a real shame: the two clearly have chemistry, but they need a bigger spark to light it up.

Man of Steel

As with any other Superman movie, this one stays true to the classic chauvinistic ideals the character has grown into over the years. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not necessarily a defect, but it doesn’t make Superman much of an international figure either. He is a local from Kansas and stays one whilst I’d have preferred him to be an American symbol and eventually grown into Earth’s protector.

I grew up in Kansas, you can’t get more American than that. — Clark Kent / Kal-El

Furthermore, the movie is an all-round exaggeration of violent scenes including the destruction of roads, buildings and cars. The havoc and collateral damage of falling buildings seems to create a vivid picture of 9/11 by all means. It’s unfortunate that special effects have been overused throughout the movie, but they do serve their purpose very well of portraying a real threat. For instance Michael Shannon’s portrayal of Zod is terrifying in all of his scenes. I like how the character can closely be associated to the source material.

I wouldn’t recommend you to watch Man of Steel in 3D, but you should watch the IMAX version as it will overwhelm you for sure. Overall, Man of Steel is a refreshing addition to a fantastic collection of Superman movies. Definitely worth a sequel which will probably be better than this one.

B+

6 responses to “Man of Steel (2013)

  1. Great review here. I completely agree about what comes after this: the sequel should/will be an improvement — even though I had very little to complain about in this first installment. I too thought the Lois/Clark relationship was a little weak for how great everything else surrounding them was, but maybe their relationship will benefit from further exploration in a sequel. If you want, feel free to check out what I had to say….i feel like we wrote fairly similar reviews:

    http://digitalshortbread.com/2013/06/16/man-of-steel/

    • Thanks Tom! Just read your review and you’re absolutely right. I too believe (and hope) that the sequel will explore the Clark/Lois relationship even further. I didn’t mention it in my review, but I was really disappointed with how Jonathan Kent died. The movie focused too much on Clark, as you mentioned ‘Superman walks alone’, not a bad thing at all but I’d rather seen him fight Zod to protect the people near him as well (like Martha or Lois).

      • yeah that moment with Mr. Kent getting killed off was one of two really questionable moves made by Snyder. The other part was Zod’s fate. I’m sort of willing to overlook these moments still, since the story was just so compelling and so much fun to watch unfold.

        • That’s right. Poor Zod, isn’t he a kind of immortal villain? I’m guessing Lex will be up for Man of Steel 2 then…LOL.

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