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Movie Review: Man Of Steel

Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 4 years and 7 months ago

5     0

More than a few Superman geeks have been hoping that MAN OF STEEL would do for their beloved boy in blue and red what BATMAN BEGINS did for The Dark Knight, making him more complex, darker and tortured.

Well, forget about it lady-nerds and gentle-geeks!

And thank God, because they’re NOT in the same league of their own form of justified existence!

Batman’s a human who hurts. He’s emotionally scarred. He’s a loner. He “cries” the pain out of himself by imposing his own form of justice by inflicting what he feels among others he considers wrong-doers who are way more mentally disturbed than he is. He’s about fear, shadows and darkened justice.

Superman is an inhuman form of perfection – an oddity from another world. He too has lost his parents, but he was found by new loving souls who took him in, raised him with humanistic values and morals, thus making Superman about honor, courage, self-sacrifice and believing in the betterment of mankind.

Batman’s a warning promise that’ll crash through when you least expect it. Superman exposes the art of hope no matter what the cause.

MAN OF STEEL is directed by comic-book fan Zack Snyder who treats Superman with the purist respect, but also rehashes a bit of old-school, with no angst and almost zero irony. Therefore, if you’re embarking on this piece expecting corny-ass gags like the ever-so-famous telephone-booth, start deleting that thought because it’s not in here – and for that I’m beyond grateful!

Yes, it gets off to a really slow start which immediately becomes a big ball of doubt. It touches everything we’ve seen before – Krypton origins. By now if one isn’t familiar with where Superman comes from, they’re either brain-dead, just joined this oppressive world, or simply stupid. This is where I feel those handling this franchise need to just stop and move on. Therefore, the obvious opening which lasts about an hour – accompanied by a bunch of flashbacks – doesn’t add much to this.

How awesome had it been if risk were taken. It would have been more exciting if they would have omitted all that Krypton bullshit and pick up with Superman as a grown man fending off his own form of contemporary complexities, vulnerabilities and villains.

The film finally gets to that point we all starved for when following him around as he wanders the country seeking his truth, working odd jobs and playing hero as he happens to be around whenever something seems to be going wrong. Coming off a bit like Wolverine, this appeal could have been its own film, but it does help in mapping where everything will follow.

But then everything comes to a stop when General Zod (played oh so menacing by Michael Shannon) arrives – suddenly “it’s on” doesn’t mean much when one of the best antagonists to date makes clear how the fate of the entire planet is on the line if actions don’t comply with his demands! And hell this man raises due to obvious reason!

Among the obvious, Michael Shannon is also a main reason why I was so interested in watching this film. Nailing pretty much anything he does, he’s an actor that’s become too much of the go-to-cool-cat for directors to cast off-the-wall villains and deranged characters. As much as I wanted to see more of Zod, I was quite pleased with what was presented, but something within me says a much quieter Zod would have been an even more frightening one. In this film he gives Zod a much deeper reason to fight for what he believes in than in the original series. Shannon’s Zod isn’t a lord of evil; he’s a man doing his own awful deed. (Pretty much my favorite performance in this film!)

Henry Cavill is a bit dull as Superman. Nothing near Christopher Reeve’s swag, but he certainly looks the part. Amy Adams gives Lois Lane a touching, maternal twist among the mystery man, and leads to thoughts on how it’ll turn out in terms of their romance as we move along with the obvious sequel. The rest in terms of Costner, Lane, Crowe, etc. all played out their roles pretty well too with objectives, love and connection to Clark Kent/Superman.

Speaking of sequel…it’s obvious there’s going to be one. With much that’s left unanswered and snaps of LEXCORP in more than one occasion, we can all count on my earlier mention of possibly doing away with all the origin stuff and moving forward. And as much crap as he gets, a lot of the credit for what’s to come goes to the director – who with Nolan’s obvious foot-prints in the film – Snyder seemed to have pieced it well.

Snyder hasn’t always been his own best judge of material, but he’s always had a passion for displaying vibrant fiction in unique ways. It fits and compliments him well with 300’s sprays of gore, the stark color-based contrasts of WATCHMEN, and his shock-cut, million dollar PSA on abused women with SUCKER PUNCH – which I’m in the minority of actually having enjoyed.

With MAN OF STEEL we see it in many of the film’s action scenes entailing Superman’s rescue of oil-rig workers, to his dynamic confrontation with Zod, and even with much more smaller scale touches during Kent’s childhood that entails an x-ray vision scene where classmates’ faces look like skeletons.

Followed with his form of vision, as mentioned, the film doesn’t steer too far from Nolan’s touch. As one of the writers (along with David Goyer), many can pick up where styles connect and take off from one another. Complementing Snyder’s lighter, adventurous segments versus Nolan’s darker, emotionally driven push, MAN OF STEEL covers many bases Singer’s ‘06’s SUPERMAN RETURNS missed in many ways. Yes, they’re different entities, but to an extent run parallel to each other’s objectives.

Overall, is it the best Superman man movie ever? No, there will never be a “perfect” Superman narrative. The film has its drops of which as a viewer with an open mind you’ll catch, but it lives up to a product where Warner Brothers can continue from in hopes with a better GREEN LANTERN the next time around, following into a possible JUSTICE LEAGUE film that’s been rewritten several times and falling flat.

Considering skeptics, it’s worth a watch! Clearly a superhero film that will most definitely highlight the year!


 Grade: B+



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