Movie Review: Man Of Steel (Warner)

MOS-OneShtIt’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the Superman movie I’ve always wanted!

There was a time when I was able to find my place on the internet. It seems like it has been ages now since I was able to connect with the views of the masses and agree with all the trolls. These days it seems like when I like a movie, the collective Internet hates it or vice versa. While I was bad mouthing Iron Man 3, the internet was exploding with people saying that it was “better than the Avengers” and “the greatest Superhero movie of all time.” I thought maybe I was crazy and that I just didn’t get it. When I saw the Man of Steel and thought, “THIS is a superhero movie,” I hoped to find like minds online…to no avail. Seems I am mostly alone in my love for Zack Snyder’s summer blockbuster. SPOILERS and much Superman love abound in what follows. You have been warned.

When I first saw the trailer for Man of Steel I remember being terribly let down. I expected so much and it looked to be just another origin story with no real appeal to me as a long time comic book fan. Even for non-comic book readers, one would think the origin of Superman has been beat over our heads so much in the last seventy-five years that, MAYBE, we could just accept that all human beings know the origin. I was skeptical going in to the film for this very reason. My hesitance was quickly calmed when I first laid eyes on the jaw dropping, brave new Krypton that Snyder had created. The opening of the film felt more like a Sci-fi movie than a superhero flick. This was something that I never knew I wanted until I had it…right in front of my eyes. Snyder could have easily gone with the bright white, almost heavenly lights that have been way overused to represent Krypton but instead chose to transport the viewers to an Alien world on the verge of destruction. The visuals were stunning and the creative updates given to this part of the origin were fresh. Now how would we get from baby Kal-El rocketing into space to Superman? Flashbacks.

One of the highly criticized pieces of the film was the use of flashbacks to integrate the coming of age story with some well established action. What surprises me about this is that people seemed to love it when Batman Begins used flash backs to avoid flooding us with establishment. I believe this is the way that Superhero movies should do origins. Plane and simple. This way we dont have to indure an hour and a half of the same old set up many of us already know. Flashbacks are the way to go.

The movie sustains a level of action while giving the movie goers a rich story that is both familiar and new. The visuals are riveting and the characters compelling. Top this off with a stellar cast and what you end up with is a Superman movie the likes of which have never been seen. Michael Shannon’s Zod is both frightening and, to an extent, can be sympathized with, Amy Adams brings heart and boldness to the character of Lois Lane, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent is incredibly respectable, and Russel Crows Jar-El is heroic.

The villains are a threat too. Thankfully Snyder had the sense to leave Lex Luther out of this film (though there are subtle references) and give us someone that Superman can punch. The action and fight scenes are  all the better for it. Though they sometimes are a bit fast to keep up with.

Finally, what really got me was the passionate Superman. Never before have we had a Superman that is so alien and yet so human all at the same time. Henry Cavil’s performance was emotional and riveting. When he felt joy, I felt joy. When he felt greife, I felt greife. When he felt remorse, I was overwhelmed with it. Everyone loves Christoper Reeve but with him we only got happiness and smiles. Cavil brings a whole new level of feeling to the character while still honoring the actors that have come before.

**MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD**

****DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE YET TO SEE THE MOVIE****

In the climax of the final battle Superman has Zod by the head. Zod decides to make Superman suffer by killing innocents with his heat vision right in front of him. Superman is pushed to desperation in a gut wrenchingly emotional scene. I was nearly in tears as Kal-El begged Zod to “PLEASE…STOP!” knowing that the only way to stop him was to kill him. This is something that many Superman fans got bent out of shape about. “Superman doesn’t kill!” To which I would say that he has before. It is very clear that he is remorseful about having to kill the only other Kryptonian when he lets out a anguishing cry that should put a lump in anyone’s throat.

The movie has flaws in some areas. One being Lois knows everything about Superman very early on and there romance almost seems forced. Over all though, I honestly feel like this may be the first time that a Superman movie hasn’t made me cringe at some point. I will give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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