Man of Steel opens, as any Superman origin story would, on Krypton with Superman's father Jor-El spending at least 18 minutes on Krypton setting up the world and Jor-El's character. Russell Crowe was excellent as Jor-El, even if he basically played his character from Gladiator again. What I did find unexpected about the film was the quality and amount of action, because it was freaking awesome! After more than 30 years we finally get a serious battle with Superman and it was incredible! Even though it occasionally lacks in story, Man of Steel more than makes up for it in epic battle scenes. Also it made Superman's flying actually believable for the first time.
I love comic book movies and I am a fan of the characters and source material. While Superman is not my favorite character by any means, he would rank around the top 10 in terms of best superheroes and I have to say that Henry Cavill did an excellent job in the role, even if it took him most of the film to actually own the role. At the end he did capture what makes Superman great. Christopher Reeve better captured the character of Superman and will always be the definitive Superman, however Cavill was right for the Superman the film was going for. General Zod, played by Michael Shannon had some major hype going into the film and while Zod was good, his character was nothing special. He was underwhelming and never reached his true potential. Zod evil plan was terribly unoriginal; however it worked well enough to give us some awesome battles and Superman moments.
Amy Adams as Lois Lane was underused overall and was just there, although she did have her moments, few as they were.
Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent was ill served in the film to a degree, some of his scenes were great, others not so much. He had one really terrible moment, that makes wonder if a monkey wrote that part of the script.
Man of Steel was relatively accurate to the source material, yet brought something new that worked very well. Compared to other comic book films, Man of Steel would certainly rank among the top 15 of the genre. Compared to the original Superman films, Man of Steel is far superior, only those with who love the old Superman films because of nostalgia would probably disagree. Some of the aspects of Man of Steel where a little too similar to the original films, even going with plot points that the original films had done, opposed to the comics.
The movie is not dark as it is mostly humorless, even more so than Nolan’s Batman. Tonally it was more humorless yet fun and tries to go into a darker place but actually gets there.
The biggest issue that most critics complain about is that there is too much action and while one action scene did feel lacking, the action is exactly the reason you should go see it.
Despite how much of the film was great, some aspects were not executed as well. For example, the romance was kind of weak and barely explored, however that is rarely a major issue for me to complain about. With the exception of Superman, there are no other characters that you can become attached to; most of the others are flat and forgettable. Something else problematic is that a few characters are put in peril but are thinly developed and audience does not care about them at all. Since I am a comic book fan I knew who the characters were and they did not need an introduction, most audiences however, will not even remember their names.
In some ways, Man of Steel reminded me of Thor, The Avengers, and Gattaca, almost a little too much, particularly Thor. If you have seen the Gattaca, you will notice the similarities in one minor aspect of the film.
For those who are already sure they want to see Man of Steel in theaters, definitely go see it, the movie will be as good as you want to be, because I was 100% entertained by the movie, it was a lot of fun. On the other hand, if you are unsure whether or not to see it in theaters, just wait for it to come out DVD unless seeing the action on the big screen is important to you.
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Genre: Action, Comic Book, Sci-Fi,
Release Date: June 14, 2013
Running Time: 143 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13
The Good: Seriously awesome action scenes, Visually stunning, Cavill is a great Superman, Likeable hero, Made Superman relevant again, Excellent set and costume design, Hans Zimmer score, Superb special effects, Superman finally kicks butt, Krypton was awesome,
The Bad: Meaningless characters in peril, One kind of stupid moment,
Please check back tomorrow for the second half of this review where I will breakdown the film into multiple categories and analyze it and go into more detail about the set design and action. Have you seen the film? Do you plan to go see it?
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