Movie Review: Man of Steel

654 1024x686 Movie Review: Man of Steel

Going into this particular film, I was very worried about it, mostly due to its critical reception. Currently standing on 57% on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics, particularly some of the harsher ones said some very nasty things about MoS and I was genuinely worried about it. The whole DC Cinematic Universe rests on its shoulders and if with the audience and at the box office, it would probably kill any non Batman DC movie for god knows how long. Well after seeing the film and giving myself some time to think about it, I gotta say the critics were dead wrong on this one. But, I can also see where they’re coming from, this is a vastly different interpretative of not just Superman’s origin, but also of the character and the universe he inhabits and its probably one of the least mainstream CBMs of recent years, but in my opinion all of these things are what make it great.

The story is a more realistic take on Superman as he inhabits a world where people would likely freak the hell out if they found out he existed and would likely turn against him, so he has to go to some pretty extreme lengths to keep his secret during his life, but with the arrival of Zod and his men on Earth, he is forced to take a leap of faith and finally reveal himself to the world as Superman in order to save it.

While the story might have felt like a rehash of Superman 2, it deals with some very interesting themes and ideas. I have always felt that if a person like Superman showed up, people would not trust him and he would have to prove himself over a long period of time to get that trust, and that’s exactly what happens here, the film tackles this idea in a great yet not overly on the nose kind of way too great effect. Another big theme is choice, in this version, everyone on Krypton is genetically engineered since birth to fulfill  a certain role in society, no one truly has free will. Clark is the exception to this, his parents always felt this type of society was a disgrace and robbed Kryptonians of something precious, and so Clark was the birth naturally born human in centuries if not longer.

During his childhood, teen years and early adulthood, Clark is constantly told by his foster parents that his powers are a gift and based on the decisions he makes and the kind of man he becomes, it will alter life on Earth forever. This gives Clark a large burden to bear and it ultimately helps shape him into a beacon of hope for all of mankind. This is what I really loved about the film, despite all the death, destruction and generally horrible things going on, its message is unbelievably optimistic and its a great kind of message that perfectly fits the character of Superman.

The we have the cast and good god is it just all around great (with one exception). Henry Cavill IS Superman as far as I’m concerned, just the way he moves and talks in and out of the costume shows that he truly gets the character and there was one scene near the end where I was sold on his performance. Amy Adams is without a doubt the best live action Lois Lane, like Cavill, she just perfectly nails down how the character moves and talks and she has a presence of her own in some of the scenes she featured in, you kind of even see the movie through her eyes. Kevin Costner was an absolutely fantastic Jonathan Kent and his scenes with Clark during his early life were easily some of the best in the whole film. Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Diane Lane as Martha Kent all showed that they get how these characters act, move and they just sold me on their performances instantly.

Antje Traue as Foara just blew me away, first she has this glare that rivals even Batman’s infamous Batglare and every time she used it you just knew shit was about to go down, and while she only has a few lines of dialogue, she makes every one of them count and I want her back as a future villain. Michael Shannon as General Zod was during most of the movie just pretty good for me, but then he has this one scene near the end and you can just feel all of his pain just through his facial expressions, his eyes and the way he delivers his lines and that was the point he became fantastic for me.

The actions scenes were just incredibly well done. If you want to see Superman kick some ass, this movie has it in spades. All of the powers look legit and how you  would expect them too, the fighting choreography itself could have been a bit one note but they managed to have some pretty badass in there to spice it up. The bast parts though were when they were fighting at like super speed and you just see them throw like dozens of punches and kicks in like a second. At the end when you just see them tear through the whole city, just throw each other through like 20 buildings, throw cars around and just heat vision the crap out of each other, I just thought to myself that this is probably the closest thing we have to a DBZ movie in terms of action.

What I absolutely loved during the battle for Metropolis was that you could actually see people die, this wasn’t like in Avengers where cars were the only casualties of the battle. You actually see people die and not only did it make the invasion feel more realistic, it added to the tension because once you see all of these people die on screen it just makes Superman’s final battle with Zod that more important and dramatic. I also liked that Superman knew he could not save everyone, the city is being destroyed left and right and even with his powers he knows he cannot save everyone so he HAS to focus on taking out Zod before even more people die and I really liked this.

The film also has a very interesting flow, most CBMs these days have a clear 3 act structure and you can obviously tell when one ends and the next one begins. Here it all flows perfectly, there were a lot of points where I was wondering are we still  in the beginning? Is this the middle act? Are we getting close to the ending? Sure some people will feel that its awkward and I can see that, but here it gave me a sense that anything can happen and the movie can end right now or god knows when, creating a sense of surprise for me.

Despite all the positives things about the film, there are some flaws to it. Ayelet Zurer as Lara-El was the only performance I didn’t really care for, her dialogue delivery was very wooden and awkward and she just didn’t work for me. There were like 3 or 4 obvious yet minor plot holes that kinda stuck out for me and admittedly there were a couple of cheesy scenes.

Man of Steel is a fantastic film, its the Superman I have been waiting to see since I was introduced to the character and its probably my definitive version of the character, ignore the critics and check this one out because a sequel needs to happen, there is so much more potential here for a sequel to build off of and with the origin part out of the way, I really think MoS 2 could be something on the level of the Dark Knight.



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