I don’t usually write film reviews, but given my slight obsession w Superman, I felt that seeing “Man of Steel” warrants a few words..
I was lucky enough to attend a screening of “Man of Steel” last night in Hollywood. Being obsessed w Superman since the age of 8, literally reading comics and flying around the house in a cape, this was a BIG night for me.
I was a little nervous for the film when I first heard it announced. “Superman Returns” was a little lackluster for me, and I didn’t want this franchise to fall short of being amazing. However, with Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”) at the helm, there was hope for a grittier and more realistic depiction of the MAN that is SuperMAN. I didn’t want pure idealism and over-the-top characters. I wanted real people with real struggles, one of them just happening to be… sent to earth after his planet explodes with (almost) his entire civilization and living as an outcast on earth desperately trying to find his true self and purpose while rescuing mankind from itself. Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight”) also had a big hand in bringing this comic book realism to life, as he did with Batman.
A few decades ago, maybe America needed one-dimentional “larger than life” characters to give us hope and something to strive for. Now, however, America likes to see her heroes struggle, to fall and get back up, to prove their strength with noble action and not just superpowers. This is what “Man of Steel” brings.
The acting is spot on. Russell Crowe totally sold it as Jor-El (Kal-El’s Father). I’ve liked Crowe since “Gladiator,” but never want to watch him sing again (after “Les Miserables.”) He doesn’t sing as Jor-El, thank God. Amy Adams plays Lois Lane with the perfect amount of toughness and compassion, similar to Diane Lane as Martha Kent (with a motherly twist). Kevin Costner is the perfect REAL American dad, struggling with protecting his child… while realizing he’s raising an all-powerful alien sent to his farm in a ship. Michael Shannon plays General Zod flawlessly, as a “man” doing whatever it takes to preserve his species. Lastly, Henry Cavill IS Superman (Clark Kent, Kal-El). His quest for self-identity is in every action he takes. He makes human mistakes, takes wrong turns, but ultimately operates with integrity, slight over-idealism, and “heart.”
My only qualm with his character is that the transition between “Clark” and “Superman” happened way too fast. You didn’t see the moment where he decided, “Ok, I’m no longer going to hide as a man, but sacrifice myself for the greater good.” The director kinda hoped the audience would accept it as he donned the cape, which he put on and took off a few times, confusing the “leap into being a hero” moment. It just kinda happened. I would have liked to see (1) more with Superman learning where he came from and (2) more screen time showing the romance between Lois Lane and Superman, showing his humanity.
The writing really captures Clark’s struggle as a “man” just trying to fit in. Growing up, he struggles with the dichotomy of being able to lift a Volvo without breaking a sweat, and not being allowed to fight back against the 110 pound middle school bully. Like any kid, he turns to his parents for help and guidance, parents that only have 10% of the answers he seeks. And as with any action superhero movie, there’s always the possibility of being “too much.” I think this film played to the ideas and styles of past Superman stories (on screen and in the comics), while creating something new. Kudos David S. Goyer.
Warner Bros. is already pushing a sequel into production! :)
My Vote: Thumbs Up!