It’s a bird! It’s a plane! …. IT’S NOT A TERRIBLE SUPERMAN MOVIE!!!
Where to start…how about this… in big bold red and blue letters … SPOILERS!
Don’ go crying to Ma Kent when I drop some big time spoiler stuff in this review, you’ve been warned. So where do I start? How about the easiest part of any film, the cast. Zach Snyder might in my opinion have an iffy style when it comes to films, but he has had really great cast’s working behind him for the most part. Henry Cavill was basically an unknown which goes right in style of previous film Super…men? Both Chris Reeve and Brandon Routh were unknowns before dawning the red underoos; something that Mr. Cavill didn’t have to do this time around.
His father figures are played by two renowned actors in Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner, both men play their roles superb. Crowe gives life to Jor-El that pretty much puts Brando’s portrayal to shame I believe. Crowe plays this not as a comic book film, but a serious Ridley Scott sci-fi drama. Costner has the hard task of playing the always inspiring, but never fully living to see his son’s true potential, Jonathan Kent. I felt that Crowe did a better job out the two, but Costner had some important scenes with varying aged Clarks to help the audience figure out why Clark is where he is now in his present day life, its all thanks to his father.
Martha Kent played by Diane Lane is vastly under used. She has two important scenes and she basically is thrown around and gets to show she is a badass older lady. Michael Shannon who plays General Zod just chews the scenery like a man possessed. His portrayal kind of reminded me of Jack Nicholson’s as the Joker in the 1989 Batman film, not because of his humor, but both Shannon and Nicholson both knew what type of film they were in and was having a blast portraying their roles. Zod comes off great.
Amy Adams and Henry Cavill play Lois Lane and Kal-El/Superman/Clark Kent. Adams I was on bored with since day one, because I think she has the spunk and attitude of Lois and her acting choices of late have been phenomenal. Cavill is a jacked up beast of a man with his shirt off. He doesn’t step out of the giant shadow of Reeve’s Superman, but he nicely stands one step below in my mind.
All of that on the cast…damn this is going to be long. I better have enough pictures to angle this review out.
Lets go with what I enjoyed and liked about the film.
Numero uno…Superman FUCKIN’ KICKED SOME ASS. I’m not saying the film, but the person. We have had to deal with lame, tame, and green rock weakened Supermen for god knows how long. The one complaint of any Superman film is that we want to see him use his powers offensively and PUNCH PEOPLE. Well the Kryptonian army that Zod brings along helps solve both those things. Snyder knows how to do some big time CGI action and Man of Steel delivers in that, in spades.
I liked the characters. I didn’t feel anyone was wrongly cast, I didn’t think there was bad chemistry, I found the entire cast to be pretty spot on and would be very open to seeing them return in a sequel.
No Lex Luthor. Man of Steel, Superman III, and Superman vs. The Mole Men are the ONLY live action films of the Man of Tomorrow to not have his bald headed arch enemy to appear and I thank the lord. Lex brings something important to the Superman mythos, but we’ve seen it done over and over again. Superman has a wide range of villains he could battle, not always does it have to be the mad man of Metropolis.
The handling of Superman’s identity. This film does something new, they don’t give a shit. I like it, it’s refreshing. They play this movie out as some alien guy has comes to earth, he is God like amongst us mortals, he saves us, we love him and that’s it. Some ask about his real name, but its not a big deal of the film and when he finally “transforms” into Clark Kent at the end, its played not so much as a super secret identity, but just as a different side of Superman. This film isn’t about Clark Kent and Superman…this film is about Kal-El journey of finding him and eventually becoming Clark Kent at the end of the film. I like that deviation from the norm.
Now lets move on to my complains (here is where that big bold SPOILER caution comes in handy)
The ending. I’ll get it out in the open, the ending of the film is Superman and Zod in a one on one showdown that finished up in a train station, Zod claims he will have to be killed, because he will never stop his rampage. Fair enough. Makes for a good conflict. As Zod attempts to fire blast a helpless family, Superman has him in a head lock and decideds he has no choice but to snap his neck and kill Zod.
…so am I saying that I don’t like it because Superman shouldn’t kill? Not exactly, Zod gave him no ultimatum. He wasn’t going to jail, the Phantom Zone is long gone by now, there was no other option, fair. But Superman acts like this is such a hard decision, even though for the past half hour…HALF HOUR, Superman vs. Zod and his army have literally murdered at least somewhere over 10,000 innocent people in Kansas. Their fight destroyed building, blew up tankers, sent planes crashing down. Lives were lost and it was like it was no big deal. Superman never once tried to catch debris from falling, or stop any of the buildings from towering over, HALF of the reason the city is destroyed is cause Superman beat the shit out of Zod’s army by throwing them INTO the buildings.
Also the film is too long. At nearly 2 hours and 45 minutes, this epic film goes on and on…and on…and on. If I look at my watch once, its once to many in my opinion. By the time we get to the action pack finale, I just want the film to end. There are dozens of parts, some flashbacks, that could easily of been cut for time.
Man of Steel is not a perfect comic book film and is not a transcending film of its genre like The Dark Knight or The Avengers were, but it falls in that middle ground of being a very GOOD first film that can easily learn from its mistakes and come out with an even GREATER sequel. Zach Snyder shouldn’t worry about setting up the DC universe for Justice League with his follow up to MoS, but just worry on making the best sequel to this film, because I think he found something that works in a modern day telling of the Superman mythos and is going to hit a cord with old and new Superman fans with this film.
I give it an SEVEN out of a TEN, on the scale of film merit and overall quality.
But I also give it a SUPERMAN PUNCH out of TEN, on the scale of how much complete chaos and destruction the Last Son of Kyrpton caused. He fucked shit up. For reals.