Man of Steel Review
Honestly, I really don’t know what to say about Man of Steel. As some of you might have noticed from previous posts, the trailers didn’t exactly endear me to the movie. I’ve never been a big Superman fan to begin with, however I did love the recent Nolan take on Batman so I was willing to give it a go.
As it is, the film is serviceable in a lot of ways. One of the big things that struck me was Kyprton. Here was a Krypton I wanted to see. Not the cold, long dead scenes we glimpsed in other films. The world of this Kypton is technologically brilliant, with incredible alien beasts. Zack Snyder very much borrows from Avatar and even Star Wars for his depiction of this dying world. Russell Crowe and the scenery-chewing Michael Shannon as former friends Jor-El and General Zod are riveting. Frankly, I wanted to see more of this world, and less of Clark Kent.
But alas, while Snyder changed a lot of the Superman story, one thing he didn’t change was the notion that Krypton is about to be destroyed and Jor-El’s son is sent to Earth. So it is that we are introduced to Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent as he makes his way through life, changing identities, always trying to search for the truth of who he really is. Course he doesn’t search too long (in terms of the film) as he and Lois Lane quickly discover a ship from Kypton that crashed on Earth thousands of years ago. It’s here that he finally connects with his dead father, and also gets a cape.
I would say throughout the film Snyder casts against type. Cavill really isn’t who I would picture as Superman, for all that he has the dark hair and build to pull it off. There’s something just a little more edgy about him. Amy Adams as Lois Lane also portrays quite a different Lois to the one we’re all used to. She’s dogged but not so comic book-y. Oh yeah, and she knows who Clark Kent really is. I love that. I’ve always hated the whole Clark Kent alter ego. It’s just glasses people! To have Lois know from the beginning is an interesting departure.
There’s not a lot to hate in this movie and yet… I didn’t love it. For one thing, there was a little too much messianic references. For another, there’s too many points in the film where it slows down as we get glimpses of Clark’s past and his father, Jonathan Kent. Somehow, other films, like Batman Begins, are able to show our hero’s childhood trauma, and yet still be brief and light on its feet.
Conversely, there are points, like the last hour of the film, where it’s just too much. Too much destruction to the point where it makes you numb. Perhaps I’m actually getting older, but nowadays it bothers me to see crazy destruction on screen without any repercussions. Half of downtown Metropolis is destroyed by the end of the film and yet we don’t get much of a notion of how many people died in this fight between Superman and Zod. Seriously, I get that Superman is the good guy, but if I was the U.S. Government, I’d have some serious reservations about Superman, given the destruction his people are capable of.
Ultimately though, it wasn’t any one of these things that put me off Man of Steel but the overall feeling that I still can’t connect with Superman. Truthfully, how can you? He’s an alien from another planet with godlike abilities. He doesn’t have the wit of Tony Stark, or the relatable problems of Peter Parker. He’s something else entirely, and, to be honest, Man of Steel just didn’t do enough for me to feel any differently about Superman.