It’s a bird, It’s a plane, no it’s another movie review from yours truly. As you can tell from the opening, my review is on the latest Superman movie, a project many of my friends have waited for since it’s trailer debuted about a year ago. Now if you are like me, you have grown up with various media of the caped hero from the comic books and cartoon series to the real life films and Smallville. With such a broad range of media though, one may wonder just how they can make another new story, especially when the last movie failed to meet many expectations. I’m Robbie K and I’m here to give you the scoop on the latest hero movie.
Man of Steel (MOS) starts off exactly as a Superman beginning should with a shot of Krypton that last more than five seconds. From the get go the beautiful computer graphic imaging has designed an exciting opening that not only introduces Kal-El (Henry Cavill), but gives us a glimpse of the world he was forced to leave. The opening left me feeling confident in the coming action, and set up the bad guy and story in an exciting manner that had me hooked. Now you might be thinking, the momentum from strong openings is often lost within seconds of a movie, and I would agree with that statement. MOS however, doesn’t, or at least minimizes the loss, by balancing Kal’s, now Clark’s, past with the present day. Instead of getting a 30-60 minute montage of him growing up, Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan chose to use flashbacks of his childhood, often integrating them at parts that either answered Lois Lane’s (Amy Adams) questions, or served as a portrayal of the struggle Clark had to face. I liked this approach, as it allowed for us to see Clark grow up without getting a slow extra hour added to an already 2 hour film. This approach also worked on another level by keeping Lois involved in the story. Let’s face it in most of the movies, TV shows, and comics she primarily is a damsel in distress who only serves to drive Superman’s emotions and be leverage as a hostage. In this movie, Lois’ reporting skills help chip away at the suppressed emotions/and story of the man of steel. After getting past the formalities she actually does other things that make her a much stronger character than in the past, which is always a plus for me. The rest of the story is then well driven, showing the evolution of a reluctant man changing into the icon of hope for Metropolis.
Despite the developed and driving story I’m sure there is something else people want to know about, the action. Well with the last Superman movie relying on stereotypical flying, holding up crashing buildings, and stationary combat it was hard to get excited about this film. This movie has revamped the fighting to finally push out of the slow 90’s style and gives it a modern style that I welcomed with open arms. Both hero and bad guy go toe to toe using their superb strength to deck it out in fast action that is surprisingly caught well on camera. Another positive factor to throw at you is that the contest isn’t an isolated event like some movies seem to abuse. Instead the battle has both parties interacting with the environment, using both living and non-living obstacles to force the combatants to adapt to the situation and use the situations to their advantage. Throw that in with the heroic music and sound effects and you get a number of sequences that get the blood pumping and the crowd cheering.
Perhaps the last topic I have room/time to mention are the characters of this film. As mentioned earlier Lois has a much deeper role in this movie other than a damsel in distress. This might be due to Amy Adams strong personality, but I liked the involvement she had, though maybe not the accustomed look. The approach they took with Clark in this movie was also a welcomed change for me, because he actually had qualities that made him a more believable character than another hero knock off. This realism made the character more relevant and made the situations more dire because he wasn’t a perfect being who severed all human emotions and attachments. Plus, it was nice to see the morally perfect, holier than that attitude dropped which although admirable has been overdone. Superman’s father Jor-El (Russell Crowe) was also a fun character to watch due to the balanced nature they took with him. At the beginning he seems a bit of a stiff who can kick butt in the pursuit of his noble goals. However, as the movie continues we get to see that attitude applied in other ways, from teaching lessons and showing love, to subtle comedy in the delivery of lines that breaks up some of the tension. The villains are not bad either, there moves are certainly impressive, but General Zod (Michael Shannon) was not as balanced as I would have liked to see. More so an egotistical general who screamed more than led, Zod was at least combat ready for this film and not a pansy as some other villains have proven to be. As for the other characters they are good, but I have to wrap things up.
Man of Steel was a large improvement over the other superhero movie I saw this summer. Action, excitement, relevant characters, and so much more was wrapped into a movie that was entertaining and fun to watch. Yes, there is a bit of a drag at parts, and some of the issues he deals with take a little bit longer than I care to see, but these are minor changes. So I say this in caps, SEE THIS MOVIE IN THEATERS.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 8.0