Monday, June 15, 2015


Considering the huge success of Batman, Spiderman, and Ironman franchises as of late, it seemed only a matter of time before Superman made his long awaited return to the big screen. Thanks to producer Christopher Nolan and director Zack Snyder, that hope has now become a reality. Man of Steel opened with as much hype as I have seen attributed to a movie in quite some time. But did it live up to th...e hype? Ah, that is the question.

 We all love a good super hero origin story and that's exactly what this movie is. It starts out on the planet Krypton with the birth of Kal-El. His parents Jor-El and Faura-Ur, played by Russell Crowe and Antje Traue respectively, broke the law and had the first natural birth on Krypton in centuries. Jor-El, the leading scientist in all of Krypton, had built a space ship that could fly their newborn son out of Krypton before the imminent demise of the planet was brought on by General Zod (Michael Shannon). The infant lands in a Kansas field where he is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, and the rest is history.

I think what I liked most about this movie was that it avoided the corn that had impaired previous Superman franchises. It didn't show you a dehumanized version of boy scout Clark Kent. Instead, Snyder showed us a very nomadic and gritty beginning to Clark's adult life. Drifting from place to place taking random jobs and using different names, we see a down to earth and, dare I say, realistic approach to Superman that I personally loved. He, like all of us, had to find himself; had to learn who Clark Kent was. This is a little bit of an extreme case on account of he could fly and shoot fire from his eyes but at it's core this is a principle we can all relate to.

 Now eventually, General Zod, the guy who destroyed Kal-El's home planet of Krypton, comes to Earth looking for him. Zod, as I mentioned earlier, is played by Michael Shannon. I don't want to say Shannon was bad in the movie, I'll just say he didn't really stand out. He seemed like he would have been a really good TV show villain. That's just not enough for me in an epic movie like this.

On the other hand, I'm about halfway convinced that Henry Cavill is actually Superman. He was excellent! I'm talking about Oscar nomination caliber. I really didn't know who he was coming into this movie, but I will surely know who he is next time. Excellent casting and a STELLAR performance.

 The only real big problem I had with the movie was the excessive use of special effects. I was afraid that would happen under the direction of Zack Snyder (he did do Sucker Punch after all), who I have heard referred to many times as a visual director. What Snyder needs to learn is that there is a difference between being visual, and relying too heavily on the cheap thrills of CG special effects. In Man of Steel, Snyder does the later. In fact, he almost allows the firework show to completely devour the film at one point. With about thirty minutes left, I actually found myself nodding off a little and checking my watch every few minutes. The movie could have been fifteen or twenty minutes shorter, with a few less buildings being demolished. However, thanks to a very nice ending, they were able to put things back on track and win my interest back quickly.

The only other thing I could say is, I really didn't get Amy Adams cast as Lois Lane. I like Amy, this just seemed like a bad role for her to me. I can't say she was bad, just a little too soft spoken for what I wanted Lois to be. A little bit like Michael Shannon, she was sufficient, but not enough of a factor in my opinion.

So, the movie was very good. I would definitely recommend it to anybody, especially fans of the genre. I also think old school Superman fans are going to love this movie. As for me, I'll say it was the second best movie I've seen so far this year (The Great Gatsby was phenomenal), but did it live up to the hype? Tough call.   The Movie Man gives it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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