Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Man of Steel Review

Superman has been long overdue for a cinematic tale to show how amazing of a character he truly is, director Zack Snyder has finally given the world exactly that. This isn't your fathers superman and that is a great thing! Welcome to the 21st Century Superman.

When I first heard that visionary director Christopher Nolan was overseeing the production of a new Superman, I almost fainted. This was a huge fanboy dream, to have the Batman director working on Superman. The Man of Steel has been in grave need to be rebooted into something that has stable ground with the current world, so we can relate to it better. The Christopher Reeve movies are great in their own way and will always be dear to me, but as a fanboy, we needed a grittier man in (no) tights.

Man of Steel starts off with a bang I wasn't expecting but gleefully accepted. We were able to see Krypton in all it's glory and finally get to know Jor-El better than a few scenes in the fortress of solitude. Many fans will appreciate that because all they ever known was a select few Marlon Brando scenes. Hell, Russell Crowe is in the film almost a total hour! That is awesome. The early scenes help us see the world where Kal-El came from and what happened to the home world. It sets the tone of film nicely and was good to see.

The film didn't stop there with the surprises in storytelling and story itself. We see Kal-El doing his thing in the Alaskan area and than it gets weird. Good weird though, for most part that is. The origins of Clark Kent are basically done it flashbacks to important times that help us see what shapes his moral compass. Yes this film is not chronological, but riddled with flashbacks. It might be disruptive to some, but it was a brisk storytelling idea that helped us learn more about him than an hour of young clark growing up. (which we have seen time and time again.) This film is filled with surprises.

This film is about a young Clark Kent/ Kal-El growing into being Superman. The plot revolves around Clark finding out about his past, becoming something more, and trying to fit in. This film is very much a sci-fi film because it isn't just about Superman being here and us all accepting it. It is about an alien dealing with what he is in on earth. We see how the humans would react to him. This part we hardly ever get to see in a Superman mytho. It gives us a great "what if" scenario in the real world. This plot point was greatly accepted by me and you connect well with the film. There is a lot of plot points that aren't seen very often and especially in a Superman movie.

If Lois Lane is in a Superman film, we usually get a Superman movie turned into a Lois and Clark movie. We don't need that anymore. We had the 90s tv series to go through all that. Man of Steel takes a step away from the old love tale to be a minor thing that is just there. It works perfectly with the story they are telling. So if you are wanting a lot of Lois love going on, I'm sorry bud. Don't think Lois won't be seen in it, she is for sure here. By the end of the film you will see what direction the relationship will be going in later films. Amy Adams did a great job with her character. In fact, the cast was spot on everywhere! 

Superman is greatly known for his morals donned on him by his fathers both real and adopted, Pa Kent and Jor-El. These characters are quite possibly just as hard to cast as Superman himself. They nailed them dead on! The casting of Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner as Jor-El and Jonathan Kent, were hands down the best casting choices in recent movie history. Their performances were standouts and you just wanted to see more of them throughout. The scenes they were in were deeply important to us for understanding Clark as a person. We saw how he was molded morally by these men. To really feel the impact of that you must have a great actor portraying them. They greatly succeeded. 

Now, for the villains, we finally get to see the return of General Zod and his crew to the big screen. Their appearance in Superman II holstered a great cast of Terrance Stamp as Zod. So naturally thats what we compare any future ones too. Michael Shannon as Zod took a bold and dark take that gives a great commanding evil vibe. We see sides of Zod that we never have seen before in the scenes between him and Jor-El and learn why he is the way he is. Creepy and more layers than ever before can take a character long ways. Honestly, his sidekick Faora was a surprise because she has never had more than a few moments to show her evilness. She was greatly cast and scary as Zods right hand woman. 

The entire supporting cast was fantastic with only a few characters I wish we got fleshed out more. For instance, Laurence Fishburne's Perry White was an odd choice but worked great. Just wished we could have seen more of his comical side. Christopher Meloni was given a role he was born to play. Military. What else could you ask for from him? He did great and was given a few great lines. 

Director Zack Snyder is very talented with detail in all his films. Sometimes, so much he misses on story. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Watchmen and 300, but he has failed at Sucker Punch so bad I almost lost hope. Sorry for doubting you Zack! You gave great detail to Superman along with a briskly paced film that gives a different storytelling take on the character that works for most. We get to skip the moments we've seen more than enough before. Also, the idea to not use Superman's John William's theme was a big heartbreaker at first, but the new Hans Zimmer take gives it's on magical moments that just add depth to the scenes.

Man of Steel has proven itself to be a great take on Superman that many have wanted but many also are apprehensive towards a non "golden age" take on the character. The big climatic scene will push fans into a heated argument for the near future. I say it was a necessary take on Man of Steel to bring him into 2013 and give us a good idea where the DC connected film universe will be going down the road. As for origin films go, Man of Steel succeeds in many of the categories. It never slows down but is edgy enough to change some big set in stone factors and works for most people. The non-linear storytelling was a fresh approach to a comic book movie. The character development is pretty good though out on everyone except Clark kent getting his little quirky remarks to people. Maybe in future we will get more of that.

All said, Man of Steel was an accomplishment in that fact DC can make a hit other than Batman and with the world setting up a bigger shared universe, it is getting good for us. The origins of Superman have been told in this and will hopefully show repercussions in future films on his moral compass. We are heading in the right direction DC. Thank you! 


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