Man of Steel review
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a DC reboot.
Man of Steel may be DC’s last chance at creating a cinematic universe to rival Marvel’s. With so much riding on this film, it would be a shame if it ended up being a box office flop.
The story of Superman has been told so many times, in so many different mediums, but this isn’t just another retelling. Man of Steel doesn’t follow the structure set out in the comics, this is not a remake of what’s already been done it’s a reimagining. There are bits and pieces taken from other incarnations, including the brief inclusion of a character that was created in the hit show Smallville, but as a whole this is unlike any Superman you’ve seen before.
The opening of the film takes place on Krypton, which provides the audience with more than just a passing glance at where Clark comes from. This may be the first time that a film version has really given any details of the actual culture that lived on Krypton and it was so interesting, both visually and as part of the story, that it’s hard not to wish it didn’t blow up.
For the first time ever, the role of Superman is played by a non-America actor. English man Henry Cavill was well cast and makes for a very believable Superman. This film places Clark as more of an outsider than previous adaptations have. While this is an interesting take the human aspect of the character, the all American guy, is pretty much gone.
The thing that made Nolan’s Batman films so good was the amount of time he spent developing Bruce Wayne into an interesting character. Despite clearly trying to show the development of Clark as he becomes Superman, it just seems more like he was always Superman and just pretending to be Clark Kent.
Lois Lane is a tough no nonsense reporter who always gets the scoop. While the dynamic between Lois and Clark is different than other versions, Amy Adams turns out to be quite a good ballbuster and gets to avoid being turned into a damsel in distress. In fact, saving Lois’s life almost ends up being a big mistake for Superman as it spurs her into hunting him down for a story. Lois proves that she’s more than capable of taking care of herself and actually manages to get Clark out of a few jams.
Michael Shannon plays General Zod, who is the main antagonist of the film. His role consists mainly of being really angry and screaming loudly at the camera, but he does it well and as far as villains go Zod is definitely one of Superman’s more threatening adversaries. As a Kryptonian Zod has all of the same powers as Superman with none of the morality that apparently comes from living among humans. Zod and his army are able to push Superman to his limit in a way that other villains just can’t and they don’t even need Kryptonite to do it.
Despite having a relatively small role, Kevin Costner’s take on Jonathan Kent stood out the most. There was a bit of a worry when the trailer showed a scene that basically had Jonathan telling a young Clark that he should have let a bus full of teenagers drown, but when it’s put in context it all makes sense. Pa Kent is not a cold unfeeling man; he’s a father who is willing to do whatever it takes to protect his son from the world.
One of the main things that the film has going for it is the characters and how each of them has a motivation that makes sense. You probably won’t be routing for Zod, but by the end of the movie you’ll understand why he acts like he does. The same is true for the other characters and it’s a real treat to not be left thinking ‘hang on why did they do that’.
While it’s an enjoyable ride, with a lot of action, the casual viewer may be put off by the sheer amount of backstory. The entire first have of the story is pretty much made up of backstory. Sure it’s interesting and some of it is really important to the plot, but if you just want to see a Superhero movie and not leave with a degree in the DC universe then it will probably get a little trying. That being said, once you make it past that there is more than enough Superman action to keep you glued to the very edge of your seat until the end credits roll.
If you’re a fan of the comics and are put off by the very idea of changes to Superman’s origin then you may want to skip this one. A lot of alterations have been made, but this is an interesting take on what would happen if an alien landed on Earth and tried to pass as a human so it’s worth giving it a shot. Man of Steel is definitely not the Superman you know and love, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Are you a Superman fan? Would you like to see this Superman in a Justice League movie? Does it bother you that this Superman is going commando? Let me know what you think by voting and leaving a comment below.