Wednesday, June 12, 2013




It took only about three decades, but we finally have a new Superman movie that is worthy of the lead character's "Super."  Man of Steel directed by Zack Snyder is an action packed film with a nice touch of several heart warming moments.  As a reboot, this is an origin story, whose tale is very similar to past origin stories.  But the detail given to it is much more in depth then that of prior Superman films.

The story starts off at Krypton where we see Superman's father, head scientist Jor-El played nicely by Russell Crowe warning his planet's leaders of imminent doom due to their over mining of their planet's core.  We're then introduced to General Zod played by Michael Shannon who stages a coup over the government's unwillingness to act to save the planet and leading them in a downward spiral.  Here we get to see quite a bit of Krypton, it's architecture, technology, weaponry and even animals that's never been shown before.  Their tale of how each child is artificially bred into a role in society in Krypton was a new concept to me.  And that Kal-El, aka Superman is the first child in centuries not born this way.  He is the hope of their planet as Jor-El imparts something upon his son which General Zod is seeking out.  As Kal-El is launched into space, one of his parents does not survives.  And General Zod's coup is squashed.  He and his followers is banished to the Phantom Zone via a black hole and is trapped there until their time is served.  Meanwhile, on Krypton, Jor-El's prophecies come to past, as we see the planet breaking apart until it explodes.

Throughout this part I kept thinking to myself, how is it that they are able to send the prisoners on a spaceship to another place, while they couldn't all get on a spaceship to escape themselves?  So ironically, the prisoners they wanted to be rid of is safe from the planet's destruction while the bureaucracy becomes a speck of debris where Krypton once stood.  Also explained later, the Kryptonians were a space exploring race, though curtailed when their planets resources became scarce.  But it's hard to imagine that they wouldn't have a few old ships lying around with just enough fuel to escape.  After all, there were outposts that had relied on their home planet.

The story continues on Earth where we see a young adult Clark Kent played by lead Henry Cavill travelling from place to place helping others whenever possible.  He attempts to do so clandestinely to the advice of his adoptive father.  Between journeys we see flashbacks to his youth of  when his powers manifests and his struggles with them and feeling alienated because of his difference.  Kevin Costner does an adequate job as adoptive father Jonathan Kent, though his advice for the young Clark Kent is baffling.  Like saying maybe Clark should have let a school bus of kids die instead of risk revealing himself to his classmates.  Uncle Ben he is not.  His reasoning is that the world is not ready to handle a super powered alien living among them.

From here the pacing changes as we're introduced to Lois Lane played by Amy Adams.  I am so used to seeing her in musical comedies like The Enchanted and The Muppets, it's nice to see her in such a different role.  With a young daughter, yes, I get to see more of those type of movies instead of her other impressive works like The Master, The Fighter and Julie and Julia.  As good as Amy Adams and Henry Cavill is in their roles, I can't help but feel they could be better though.  The times of which the two shared screen time was few, though when they were together their chemistry seemed to be great.  Of the different characters in the film, I find myself enjoying Russell Crowe's role the most, followed by Michael Shannon.  Perry White the Editor of the Daily Planet is traditionally portrayed as a Caucasian is played by Laurence Fishburne.  He does a great job as well, making me forgive them for messing with an iconic character.  Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury was another instance where it was done right, whereas the late great Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin in Daredevil was not.  It was also good to see Christopher Meloni as Colonel Hardy.  I loved his work on the HBO series OZ.




As with any Zack Snyder film, you have to talk about the CGI which was plentiful.  The fight scenes were amazing using a mainly zoomed out view instead of a closeup is great.  It reminds me of the old Dragonball Z video games on the Super Famicom (Japanese SNES).  As it can't be helped with this type of action film, the CGI is unmistakably noticeable at times making you think you're watching a cut video from a Superman video game than a full feature motion picture.  But as I said, the action is amazing, so that can be forgiven.  Another complaint others have is the lens flare, which is very noticeable and distracting in certain scenes.  Why they couldn't clean it up or keep it down is beyond me.

Overall, I would recommend this film.  The ending of Superman versus General Zod was a bit of surprising direction for me.  I also like their take of "Kryptonite."  Noticeably absent was Lex Luthor though you do see his company's logo Lexcorp on a few gas trucks that were destroyed in one of the battle scenes.  So perhaps we will get to see him in the next film as the antagonist.  My daughter enjoyed it as well, but I could tell she was very scared at certain parts of the film due to anticipation of or sudden loud action rather than any particular villain or monster being scary.  The film is definitely darker than say some of the recent Marvel films.  But there are some light humor and touching scenes sprinkled through out.  One of my favorite scenes is of Jonathan and Martha Kent watching a young Clark Kent wearing a red cape playing with his dog.  I would've paid good money to see a Superboy film as well!  

Have you seen the film and did you enjoy it?

Man of Steel is Rated R and is out June 14, 2013.  The run time is 2 hours and 23 minutes.

Rating: 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars



Trailer:

Cast:

  • Henry Cavill as Clark Kent / Superman / Kal-El
  • Amy Adams as Lois Lane
  • Michael Shannon as General Zod
  • Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Jonathan and Martha Kent
  • Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
  • Russell Crowe as Jor-El
  • Antje Traue as Faora
  • Ayelet Zurer as Lara Lor-Van
  • Harry Lennix as General Swanwick
  • Christopher Meloni as Colonel Hardy
  • Richard Schiff as Dr. Emil Hamilton








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