If you haven’t seen the Man of Steel movie, do not read this. This review is intended for those who have seen the flick. I might write a spoiler-free review if I feel like it. But for now, this review is going to be spoiler-laden.
In anticipation of the Man of Steel movie release, I reviewed the first 2 Superman flicks and the 2006 Superman Returns movie. I just wanted to go into the movie and be able to give a really good comparative review. I am a Christopher Reeve Superman fan and believe him to be the best Superman ever but Henry Cavill as Superman, nails the role. I don’t know if I want to compare the two Supermen since their roles are very different. They may play the same hero but the circumstances of their lives are different. Henry Cavill’s Superman is much darker and more conflicted. Christopher Reeve’s Superman is lighter. It’s just that Christopher Reeve with his presence and classical acting training, just makes us believe in the possibility that a man can fly based on his ACTING alone. Henry Cavill has a pretty much easier time since he is aided by CGI effects. But I loved how he played Superman and Clark. This is perhaps the first movie where Superman has no Clark alter-ego and vice versa.
I also love the writer’s direction of making Superman emotionally-vulnerable. There may be no Kryptonite this time but Superman still has a weakness– his emotional pain of being bullied as a child because he was ‘different’. I guess, the theme here is about ALIENATION and how Superman has struggled all his life to find out who he is, where he comes from and what his purpose in life is. I like how the writer has created an emotionally vulnerable Superman who is not accepted by both the humans and the Kryptonian rebels. He really is struggling to find his place in the world. And I’m glad that at the end of the movie, they’ve somehow managed to make him choose his path in the world which was what his parents, Jor-El and Lara, wanted for him– the power to choose his own destiny.
Another thing that I loved about the movie is the beginning. In other Superman flicks, the audience never got a chance to really get to know Superman’s parents and his home planet. Finally, the filmmaker has allowed the audience a glimpse of Krypton. We see a Krpton unlike anything else we’ve seen– a world with a sort-of caste system and a fixed political system. The movie audience also get to know Jor-El better. I think it is great that the casting director chose Russell Crowe to play Superman’s father. In this movie, at least in the first few minutes, we see Crowe reprising his role as a gladiator or warrior. It is interesting to note that Crowe had influenced Cavill to go into acting. The two actors had met years ago, when Cavill was still a student. Crowe somehow inspired Cavill to become an actor. It’s such a great coincidence that Crowe now plays Cavill’s father in the movie.
I really like the casting choices which includes their choice for Lara, Superman’s mother. Although she only appeared briefly in the film, she gave the role some sense of justice because of her dignified acting. I love how they chose Kevin Costner as the father. I wished that his role as Jonathan Kent was more expounded but in the brief scenes that Costner was in, he was able to convey Costner’s values and his sense of responsibility for raising a special son. I love how Diane Lane played Martha Kent. Her acting gave the role more ‘meat’ and her character didn’t feel like it was written just because. She plays an integral part in the making of a noble Clark Kent. I love Michael Shannon as General Zod. He is not the typical bad guy. In a way, I can understand why he is doing bad things. He just wants to save Krpton and the Kryptonians. I understand why he would reject Kal-El since he sees Kal-El as someone who has become more ‘human’ than Kryptonian. He is one tough baddie and a worthy villain for someone like Superman. I kind of felt bad that they killed off his character.
All the characters are great in this movie except for Lois Lane. Amy Adams is a good actress but I don’t think she was a good choice for Lois Lane. I mean, to tell you frankly, there’s no chemistry between Clark and Lois in this film. There are actors that have on-screen chemistry and it kind of works but not these two. Perhaps in time, they can make the ‘spark’ happen during the sequel.
Although I LOVE the film to bits and now prefer it over the original Superman movie, what I don’t like about the flick is that it somehow derivative of the other movies I’ve seen over the years. Or perhaps I’ve been watching too many movies? Anyway, I feel that the movie is like a mish-mash of ideas from other flicks. First, the concept of creating Kryptonians through cloning. During the scene where Jor-el swam to the genesis chamber and stole the Codex, the babies floating in water somehow reminded me of The Matrix. In The Matrix, the humans were being seeded and created artificially. In Superman, the same thing happens. The Kryptonians are created artificially and we see babies floating in the artificial womb. It may also be coincidental that Lawrence Fishburne, who plays Morpheus in the Matrix flicks also plays Perry White. Perhaps, Fishburne had an input somehow?
In Krypton as Jor-El was escaping from the rebels, he was riding some kind of flying animal or dragon. The animal kind of reminds me of the creature that Jake Sully rode on in the movie Avatar. The winged creature looks the same. Perhaps they have the same creature designer?
In Metropolis, the buildings were being pounded to bits and falling apart much like in the third Transformers movie. They had similar shots and angles. The buildings were falling like dominoes and they really had the same camera angle. Perhaps Zach Snyder was influenced by Michael Bay?
The helmets and the ships used by the Kryptonians were very similar to the helmets and the ship in the movie Prometheus. General Zod’s army even wore similar-looking uniform/armour that the Engineers in Prometheus wore. And the computers in Krypton with their 3D metallic pixels looks like the 3D metallic pixellated map that the Prometheus crew used. The helmets/suits that Zod’s army used were similar to the helmets/suits that the Prometheus crew used. The look of the Kryptonian Elders somehow reminded me of the look of the evil dude in Hellraiser. Did they have the same costume designer? It’s worth checking out.
Another thing, the destruction of Krypton sort of reminds me of the destruction of Vulcan. Interestingly enough, in the movie, Star Trek, Spock’s mother dies with the dying planet. In Superman, Lara, Kal-El’s mother also dies in the dying planet.
Even though the film’s ‘look’ isn’t original at least the concept of Krypton, Superman’s past, the concept of General Zod– is all-original. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that they made this into a purely SCI-FI flick because duh, Superman is an alien. I’m a sci-fi fan and I am sure the sci-fi fanatics are just crazy about this movie! I also like their twist on Lois Lane figuring out Clark Kent as Superman before he ever came out as Superman. At least now, it is more believable that Lois is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter. Overall, I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the film. I doubt though that they could top this flick. Even Iron Man 3 can’t top this flick. It’s just so GREAT. However, they will have a harder time pushing the envelope in the sequel. I mean, how can they re-conceptualize Lex Luthor? How can they top the special effects? The CGI in this film is just crazy! I mean, we saw it on IMAX and it was just CRAZY! There are scenes however that are too fast that it takes a long time for my eyes and brain to process the information. Other than that… This movie is probably the BEST SUPERHERO FLICK EVER! It has action, sci-fi, romance, adventure, CGI effects, great acting, a great story! This Superman flick is light years apart from the previous Superman incarnations! I can’t wait to watch it again!
- Film: Movie Review: Man Of Steel (avclub.com)
- Movie Review: “Man of Steel,” script of rust (rogersmovienation.com)
- MAN OF STEEL: Review – Best Movie of The Summer (geektyrant.com)
- Why The World Still Needs Superman (biowars.com)
- Man of Steel: Reviews round-up – S is for Serious not Superman as Henry Cavill dons the tights (independent.co.uk)
- Man of Steel Review (Spoiler Alert!) (mswintersoldier.wordpress.com)
- MOVIE REVIEW: Man of Steel (fox59.com)
- Movie Review: Man of Steel (cwtampa.cbslocal.com)