You’d think I’d miss the traditional red shorts part of his costume, but nope, not at all. I did miss a few developmental scenes that might have helped with some emotional connection later in the film, but other than that, Man of Steel does a whole lot of good to re-energize the Superman DC universe.
Oh, expectation. Have you muddied the movie waters yet again? Don’t get me wrong, Zach Synder and David S. Goyer may be the best things to happen to comic book movies next to Joss Whedon, but with Man of Steel I can’ t help but feel like there are moments where parts of the script are missing. Besides that, though, Man of Steel is one badass Superman movie.
Man of Steel is basically a kind of origin story of Superman. I am reticent to call it a “reimagining”, but that seems to be the word now to describe a remake or whatever. They manage to combine the origin story with the General Zod story which is good because it keeps it kind of simple as far as Superman antagonists go. Kal El’s planet is destroyed right after he is sent to Earth as a baby. He grows up with his adopted parents, the Kents, and when he is old enough he must decide what his destiny will be on Earth: use his powers for good, or to dominate humanity.
Alright, let me just say that I do like this film. It’s better than average for sure. But I guess my expectations got the best of me. Zack Snyder’s track record is already pretty good. Even when his films aren’t perfect, they are valient efforts that at least attempt to raise the film-making bar. He is the anti-Michael Bay. And certainly Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer have proven their worth in this genre, so you expect some pretty solid material. But as good as Man of Steel is, I can’t help but feel there are some points lacking.
What I mean is, that there are some places in Man of Steel that seem like they glossed over too quickly. It’s as if they figured, hey, people already know most of this story so we’ll just breeze over certain parts because we don’t need to develop them too much. It feels like they just left out certain scenes. The problem with this, of course, is that later in the film there are moments that don’t have as much emotional impact because they failed to develop the relating character relationships. Or maybe they just don’t provide an appropriate sense of time passing to let the viewer know that there has been a sense of relationship development. It just left me feeling like they had jumped forward a few times in the film, and that resulted in me not caring as much as I should have later on.
Maybe I’m just nit-picking here. Maybe some people will be perfectly ok with how it feels and agree that we DO know this origin story so well that a little extra development isn’t needed. But I felt like the movie needs to stand on it’s own, without making assumptions about what we may or may not already know from previous tellings.
Other than that, Man of Steel provideds all that I think people are looking for in a Superman film. They stay fairly close to the mythos, with a few exceptions. The cast is great. Henry Cavill as Kal El does a fine job. He surely has the look, and though he doesn’t dig too deep here, he does make a good case for continuing the role for a new era of Superman. Now that they have established this reboot, the next film can offer more in-depth exploration. Amy Adams does a great job as Lois Lane. She seems to have the right amount of smart-ass spunk about her. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Johnathan and Martha Kent could not have been better cast. They also seem to have one of the better developed relationships in the film with Clark/Kal El. Even Russell Crowe as Jor El, Clark’s father, is quite solid here. And of course, the wonderful Michael Shannon plays General Zod with villainous delight. He has a dangerous intensity that is fitting here. Rounding out the outstanding cast is Laurence Fishburn as Perry White, Christopher Meloni, Richard Schiff, and Harry Lennix.
Snyder makes good use of technology to bring things to life that we haven’t seen before in a Superman film, or certainly things that comic book nerds want to see made as real as possible. You remember how giddy Joss Whedon made you feel when the Hulk tossed Loki around like a rag doll, right? Yeah, that kind of stuff. Here Synder gives us big, crazy superhero fist fights that are simply as epic as they should be where Superman is involved. They are really fun and cause lots of destruction. There’s some serious CG in use here, which is great, but it’s not the quality so much as the amount of it. Maybe there could have been a bit less? But whatever, not really any other way of creating the scenes they did without it.
All in all, Man of Steel is a really good film, but I feel missed being a great film by a few small problems. Of course I still recommend it, though. It’s a great big screen popcorn movie experience, and I saw it in glorious 2D. Four kittenhands for sure.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, wondering who will notice the Lexcorp reference in the film.