Review: Man of Steel (2013, Zach Snyder)

MAN-OF-STEEL_612x380RATING: 6/10

Director: Zach Snyder
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Lawrence Fishbourne
Screenplay: David S. Goyer & Christopher Nolan (Based on the comics by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster) 

“Man of Steel” wasn’t a terrible movie. Actually, if you are a big fan of the hero and you compare it to 2006’s atrocious “Superman Returns” then it’s definitely a thousands leaps forward. Though the movie is technically a smarter version of any Superman movie out there, it’s unfortunate for me to say that I think the filmmaker’s were to attached to making the picture’s entertainment value sky high rather then really making it a great movie. As far as super hero flicks go though, I’m not complaining. I got what I expected, more or less.

To rebrand the Superman franchise, they brought in Zach Snyder, who’s “Watchmen” (2009) is actually an underrated flick. With the mind of Christopher Nolan these two packaged “Man of Steel” pretty well. We’ve got the original story of Kal-El (AKA Superman if you weren’t paying attention, played by newcomer Henry Cavill), who is transported to Earth from the planet Krypton, when it was reaching its doomsday. 33 years later, Krypton rebels come for Clark Kent back on Earth hoping to restore their race, but ultimately murdering everyone in the world, so that they can claim the planet for themselves. In between everything is nosey reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) who’s iconic love for Superman shouldn’t be a surprise to those who love the franchise, and of course Clark’s relationship with his parents and fellow students back in Kansas.

Admittedly, “Man of Steel” is fantastic when it comes to the technical side. Top notch visual effects brings Superman alive in the best way possible. Sadly, without these special effects, the movie falls through to just being a big disappointment. The special effects extravaganza is the film’s entire saving grace. And of course, it was entertaining, but just because of that. Han Zimmer’s score is truly amazing. This man can write for any genre and get it right. Choosing Zimmer to create such a cinematic score, and not just ominous tones found in other darker superhero movies, was one of the inspired choices Snyder made for his interpretation of the comic book hero.

Henry Cavill, is undoubtedly the best looking Superman that’s appeared on the silver screen. But that’s unfortunately his downfall. Throughout the movie, they made Clark more brooding and self-loathing then they possibly could. The sad thing is that Henry Cavill seemed like he was more concerned about his face and looking handsome, rather then having a good line reading. His scrunched up eye brows and forehead could be a great tool for acting, but he made it seem like Superman was a super model instead of a super hero. Michael Shannon was misacted. That’s all I’m going to say about that. 

The person who surprised me most was most definitely Amy Adams. Adams has proven herself a talented actress many times, but when I heard about her casting as Lois Lane I honestly flipped. But she actually stole the show more  then large cast of supporting players. She was exciting, ambitious, wrapped by love and flirty. And that’s a good thing for this character. Her Lois was a bit more serious in the workforce then those in the past, but that’s what investigative journalists are. She brings out a new form of woman in a DC Comics film. If you think about it, even Nolan’s Maggie Gyllenhaal in the “The Dark Knight” (2008) was rather useless. It was good to see Lois Lane come to life in Amy Adams. And of course, made useful. Russell Crowe was perfectly casted, and I say this with high esteem cause its hard to fill the boots of THE Marlon Brando. I forgive you for “Les Miserables” (2012) now, Russell. Keep up the good work. 

One thing I wasn’t a big fan of, were the uses of flashbacks. At first, these snippets or young Clark Kent’s life seemed relevant. But eventually, they became irrelevant. I mean come on, after an hour of brooding and reminiscing, WE GET THE POINT. Also, the different aged Clark Kent’s portrayed in the flashback did not connect and created discontinuity in terms of character arcs. The film also lacked a three act structure, that’s actually quite necessary for super hero movies. This was a major problem and caused the film to be rather dragging at parts. 

Overall, I’m glad that I saw “Man of Steel”. It’s definitely a film that you need to see for 2013. But don’t bring high expectations when you walk through that door because you will surely be disappointed. Just sit back and relax the visual extravaganza that it is, because that’s really all there is to it. They did lay grounds to a nice franchise that will work though. I’m excited for a sequel for one reason: they have all the elements to being great, they just need to focus on a more elaborate, structured storyline and better character development. 

 

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