RELEASED 2013 RUNTIME 143 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION ZACK SNYDER SCREENPLAY MICHAEL DOUGHERTY, DAN HARRIS STARRING HENRY CAVILL, AMY ADAMS, MICHAEL SHANNON, KEVIN COSTNER, DIANE LANE, LAURENCE FISHBURNE, ANTJE TRAUE, AYELET ZURER, CHRISTOPHER MELONI, RUSSELL CROWE MUSIC HANS ZIMMER
Man Of Steel is a reboot of the Superman franchise and the origin story of Kal-El aka Superman. It’s the first movie in the DC Cinematic Universe.
The planet Krypton is deteriorating and on the brink of exploding. Jor-El, the Kryptonian chief scientist, has a natural born son who he is trying to safe from certain death by sending him to planet earth. At the same time he sends with him the Kryptonian codex which holds the history and DNA of the Kryptonian race.
But General Zod, a mad gone military official, is also after the codex and needs it to violently restore the Kryptonian race on on another planet by whipping out its inhabitants, if necessary.
I really like this film. why? Because for the first time we have a Superman story grounded in reality. It deals with the question what would happen if a god like creature from a different planet landed on earth? How would humanity react? Would we welcome him? Would we be afraid of him?
Therefore, the movie actually feels more like a sci-fy than a superhero film. And that’s what I like the most about DC’s approach. They treat their comic book properties not like superhero stories, but genre movies that have superheroes in them. That’s no surprise, since the idea for this film came from Christopher Nolan, who also produced this film. He proved with the Dark Knight trilogy that you don’t have to rely on the superhero to make a good film. His movies were more crime thrillers than superhero films. Same with Man Of Steel, although it has obvious superhero traits, which result from the source material.
The film is directed by Zach Snyder, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like it. Zach Snyder is known for his very stylized approach to directing and even though you have a lot of use of CGI in the action scenes and backgrounds, the cinematography, which uses a lot of handheld camera techniques, makes it feel very real and grounded.
Henry Cavill playing Superman aka Kal-El aka Clarke Kent totally looks like the part. He has the physique and the face to convince us that he is the man from the comics. But how about his acting?
Hard to tell because he doesn’t really get a lot to say. Although I’m convinced Henry Cavill is a great actor, he gets no moment to really show off with it. This is a very dark toned movie with tons of action. So unfortunately, therefore, Henry Cavill’s role gets reduced to mostly physical activity, which is fine because the action looks great, but doesn’t leave room for much theatrical drama.
Michael Shannon as General Zod on the other hand kills it! He is by far my favorite part of the film. I totally buy him as a gone mad military general. But that’s not the best part about him. It’s his characters background and beliefs that really shine. He is a villain who wants to do good. You understand why he does what he does. I always say that the best villains are the ones who think they are doing the right thing.
Other good performances include Russel Crowe as Jor-El, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White. Each one of them gets a moment to shine.
Some negative things about the movie include the script. The pacing seems a little off at points, especially in the first hour of the movie. There are some awkward cuts and editing choices that made me cringe. The substance is there and every scene has a purpose, but the way they movie builds up to those scenes feels a little off.
Also the finale feels a little to drawn out. I am okay with how the finale plays out, but I have heard a lot of complaints about action fatigue. I do not feel that way, but understand why people feel that way. Maybe I just love to see Superman kick some serious ass, which we never really got to see in a movie before 🙂
But let me address another thing that people have a problem with, especially comic book fans.
(SPOILER) It’s the destruction that Superman causes. Well, first of all its not Superman, but Zod who causes it. Besides that I think that Kal-El is dragged into the conflict and has no idea how to fight it out. Remember, he has been Superman for a day when it happens. Also, this sets up a great sequel hopefully (Batman v Superman) which by the trailers already shows that the movie will address the destruction in Metropolis. It looks like it actually will be a major theme of the movie, bringing Superman to justice.
And about the killing of Zod thing… Unless you can present a better alternative what Superman should have done instead, stop complaining!
Overall, as a Superman fan I am super happy with the film. As a film critic I have to acknowledge the obvious pacing and editing problems the movie has. But even though it has these problems, it shouldn’t the ruin the film for the casual movie goer. So, I can wholeheartedly give it a thumbs up. It’s a good start for the DCU and makes me super excited for Batman v Superman.