Home > Movie and Anime Reviews > Movie review Man of Steel (2013)

Movie review Man of Steel (2013)

Movie review Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel is a great story about a super man

Man of Steel movie poster

Steel strength and super man

Superman was in danger of falling into a bad stretch like the Batman franchise was in before Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale settled in. Do we get a great actor and a terrible story? Or do we get a great narrative with the wrong voice behind it? What if you get both parts right, but fail on the reboot’s twist? What’s that twist? It’s the extra element a director or screenwriter adds in or on to make the story, lore and legend their own. You know, it’s Spiderman having organic web secretions instead of a homemade gadget. It’s Robin being a police officer before becoming Batman’s youthful ward, it’s Loki being the frost- oh you get the idea.

In Superman Returns (2006) we had the great casting of Brandon Routh saddled with the weirdness of Superman having a babies momma. We had the untruth of Cyclops [is he gonna lose his girl in every damn movie?] raising a kid that’s not his and that’s simply not Truth, Justice and the American Way. Well it might be the current American way, but we didn’t need to see our hero behave like us.

Superman is an icon of values. And therein lies the spirit of Man of Steel. He is sent to earth to serve as an example of what we could aspire to be. And it’s not just his strength or abilities that we are drawn to, it’s his humble demeanor that covers his god-like powers. As an overall symbol, he is the largeness beyond us that still cares about the smallness within us.

Superman Poster Man of Steel

This is a Symbol of Hope

The S on his chest

Henry Cavill plays a true immortal and brings Superman to life as a heroic and physical specimen. We have Russell Crowe doing a great job as Jor-El, Kevin Costner as the father kent and a few other notables handing in solid performances. I was hoping for more of a Margot Kidder-styled love interest, but Amy Adams does a serviceable job as Lois lane. But I must say this is one of those movies where the trailer fails as a prelude and promise of what’s to come.

Early on we were given a trailer showing the child Clark playing along the laundry line and the Man of Steel streaking upward into the heavens. Cool, but that doesn’t tell us if the movie is any good. From watching the movie (almost) twice, I can only wonder why you wouldn’t reveal more- much more. There are so many epic moments, fights, battles, scrapes and scraps, there was no reason to tease.

What we do get is a reboot and retelling of Superman II (1980) where Kryptonian General Zod and his soldiers attempt to take over the earth. It’s a bit of a jump in the Superman story, but that does leave room for Lex Luthor to arrive in a sequel. Michael Shannon does a wonderful job embodying Zod and plays him as the perfect balance between misguided and maniacal. This is in step with Kent who is a timid titan trapped between two worlds: The Krypton that no longer exists and our earth, which he is alien to. And ALIEN is the angle of this move. We are given a true sense as to what the Kryton world represented. It feels like a true origin far point and hints to a much larger universe. We see true alien technology and Superman is reduced to a misplaced child from the stars. And that loneliness and quest for self-identity fuels Clark’s youthful wanderings. The question is asked, is the world ready for Superman? The better question is- is the Man of Steel ready for the world?

Action Comics

The fight choreography is some of the best and most imaginative I’ve ever seen. It’s the attention to detail that really catches the eye as the small gestures, centered on Superman’s abilities, showcase his godlike-nature. It is a true clash of titans and the action resembles the imagination of a child playing with action figures. Well done. It says the soundtrack credit goes to Hans Zimmer. You will recognize the two ominous tones from John Woo’s The Killer or A Better Tomorrow. I’ll have to do more research into how those compositions are related.

In summary Superman is a solid entry into the super hero flow and stands tall among all Superman renditions. Writers, David S Goyer and Christopher Nolan [also directing] have taken a few liberties and tinkered (and removed) some of the common plot devices from the TV serials. I accept these changes and am curious to see how they figure to play out in future movies. We also have good pacing as it’s not another slow start like endure the origin part, while we wait for the coming out party. Meaningful flashbacks serve to add weight to many of the key moments and overall the movie feels like the perfect length. Sometimes it seems like Batman doesn’t know when to end.

We’ve seen Lois and Clark, Smallville and now Man of Steel. When you create a movie this grand that does such justice to its franchise, it should have really been titled Superman: Man of Steel. Up, up and away.

  1. June 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Reblogged this on Rapper's Delite.

  2. June 17, 2013 at 8:27 am

    There’s plenty to like in Snyder’s hectic, rowdy film. But by the time we reach the bludgeoning excesses of the last half-hour it’s hard to shake the sense that this was an opportunity at least partially missed.

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