Movie review: Man of Steel

manofsteel41520137*Spoiler-Free: but it will mention the stuff that has been shown in all trailers, teasers, all 200 TV Spots and what is known about Superman (Ahh, Clark Kent is Superman)*

This movie was a lot to take in – visually and mentally.

In general, the story of Kal-El (Henry Cavill) is difficult to explain in 143 minutes, but director Zack Snyder did a good job putting it all together. The film documented Kal-El’s birth, his departure from Krypton and his troubling childhood as he begins to develop his powers. Not only do we see his powers develop, but we feel his emotions behind it. We see a scared and confused little boy and his loving Earth-parents (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) trying to comfort him. It’s really heartfelt during those moments and we really see Clark growing up human. This plays an important part in being Superman – “a child of both worlds.”

The storyline did somewhat follow 1980s Superman II regarding Zod, but I felt this version gave the story more detail and excitement. Of course, working with Christopher Nolan, the villains felt real, Krypton felt real, and for a moment, Superman was real to us.

The only real problem I had with this film was that the story felt a bit fast paced. I felt I constantly had to change focus. I know they did this because they wanted to put it all in, but wow. I felt like my ADHD was kicking in and it wasn’t even an action scene. Everything just felt rushed – including the relationship between Superman and Lois Lane (Amy Adams). I’m all for romance, but that was pretty fast. You just felt like that from the moment they meet to the end – so fast that it feels awkward at moments. Snyder doesn’t usually directs romance, so I don’t blame him.

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But what Snyder does do well are his action sequences. The fighting scenes between Superman and General Zod (a fierce Michael Shannon), Faora (Antje Traue) and the unexplained grey-matter tentacle were epic. These scenes were visually stimulating without giving me a headache. It may be too much for the eyes if you were to watch this in 3D, so I do recommend 2D for those with sensitive eyes. But I do have to say, this had the best fighting sequence of the Superheroes movies I have seen (Batman movies, Marvel, Dark Horse etc).

The costumes in the film looked beautiful. The people of Krypton wore such exquisite costumes. Superman’s costume wasn’t the traditional costume we are used to seeing from our comics and old movies, but this version was so much better. I really hope the costume department gets recognition for this.

The cast selected for this movie were excellent. Russell Crowe was probably my favorite part in the film because his character (Jor-El) was someone you respected and cared about right away. He played the perfect father-figure. Another standout performance was by Michael Shannon. He makes a great villain. Shannon has such intensity, he’s able to be threatening without even having to say a word.

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I’ve seen Henry Cavill’s work before his role in Man of Steel. He’s a very solid actor. He has the looks (which was referenced in the film), the body, and the charm. But he wasn’t given a lot of strong dialogue. It mainly consisted on him doing heavy lifting, flying, saving people, fighting and the occasional boy scout comments. There were some moments of emotions he had to express and did well, but it was his younger counterparts that got to give a lot more of the emotional speeches.

The role of Martha Kent and Lois Lane does fall short. As the two leading ladies in Superman’s life, it seems throughout the movie, they were just sidekicks to their counterparts. I felt as if I did not know the strong-willed Lois Lane I knew in the original Superman and comics. Maybe more character development in the next Superman film?

The only strong woman character was Traue’s Faora (Zod’s sidekick). She was really a badass. I enjoyed her fighting scenes and her strong character – yeah, she was a villain, but she kicks ass.

Overall, this movie was entertaining and did the Superman franchise proud. This has been the best remake of a Superman film since 1978’s Superman (including the sequels). Yeah, it had a few holes in the movie, but I felt like it still did Superman, Zod and Jor-El justice.

Grade: B

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Laura Sirikul
Laura Sirikul 1849 posts

Trekkie. Jedi. Whovian. Sherlockian. Hobbit. Sanrio. Comics. I am Spartacus. Warrior Princess. Superhero. Nerd. Follow me @lsirikul