Sunday, June 16, 2013

Man of Steel – review

Man of Steel is the latest reboot of the Superman franchise, which intends on being the flagship film to launch a series of DC universe films. The movie has great acting.  The effects are fantastic and overwhelming.  Finally, this film is different in all the right ways that a Superman film needed to be. 

Man of Steel opens with the destruction of planet Krypton. Jor-El, played by Russell Crowe and his wife Lara, played by Ayelet Zurer, send their newborn son Kal-El to Earth along with a codex of Krypton race.  General Zod, played by Michael Shannon, attempts to get Krypton back during a violent coup but ends up getting caught and sent into the Phantom Zone.  On Earth Kal-El is raised as Clark Kent and is taught many great human virtues.  His parents Martha, played by Diane Lane, and Jonathan, played by Kevin Costner, want to protect him but also believe he was sent to Earth for something greater.

In his search for who he his he helps many people including Lois Lane, played by Amy Adams, an adventurous young reporter who comes to see the good in this alien super hero.   When General Zod and his followers escape the Phantom Zone they come to Earth and seek him out as well as the codex Jor-El gave him.  Will it spell doom for planet Earth?

The acting is really good in this movie.  Michael Shannon’s General Zod is a great villain with a believable motivation.  All of the actors portraying the parents of Clark Kent/Kal-El knocked it out of the park. The best scenes included these characters and they really capture the feelings of isolation and hardship Superman must have gone through in his youth.  It makes for some very emotional drama.  Amy Adams is cute as a button and yet her portrayal of Lois Lane is one of the best and most likable I’ve seen on-screen.  She is smart and willing to take chances and is clearly able to stand on her own two feet, which was good to see.  It was a really decent change.

The effects are really well done.  The planet Krypton looks great and bizarre with creatures that are dreamlike and technology that is so wild that it can only be described as alien.  The design works well since the suit looks to have been upgraded and seems much more modern.  I liked that they changed the dynamic between Superman and Lois as well.  The past stories wasted a lot of time with stale comic relief of Clark Kent being a doofus and this one seemed to skip that goofy stuff and get to the meat of the story. 

The small problem I had with this film was that it is a bit too long.  Some of the fight scenes could have been trimmed for time and one scene in particular involving Superman and a big Kryptonian lug and Zod’s second in command, Faora, could have been cut entirely.  It really did not add anything important to the story. That aside, it’s a damn good movie and entertaining.

I recommend this movie to anyone looking to see a fun summer blockbuster. It’s action packed. Man of Steel shows it’s true colors when he acts like a man.  It becomes a much deeper movie and is really fun to watch.  It’s an original take to the story that takes out the corny humor that the other movies attempted to keep and gives Superman a sense of realism without seeming too dark like Nolan’s Batman films did.  It’s a good adaptation that I’d like to see more of and hopefully we will.

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