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
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.
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.