Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Man of Steel Movie Review

So this weekend I--along with thousands of others--went and saw Christopher Nolan's most recent superhero film, Man of Steel

It. Was. Awesome!

Did I really expect less from my buddies Chris and Zack (Zachary Snyder, the man who gave us 300 and Watchmen)? No, but I was still impressed! 

This was an ingenious re-imagining of a beloved legend. For this one, film makers had a much bigger challenge, in my opinion, than with other remakes like Batman or Star Trek. The original Star Trek series hasn't been re-made since the '60s, and most Batman re-makes were scorned as being lame or just having a very small budget. Creative geniuses like Nolan or J.J. Abrams with almost unlimited resources behind them would have no trouble blowing people out of the water with their adaptations.

Superman is different, though. It's gone to both the big and small screens successfully numerous times. While some versions have been better received than others, most adaptations have cult followings that are anything but shy about their opinions. (2006's Superman Returns was demonized by fans and critics alike for being too traditional and boring.)

But, no worries! This film definitely delivers! It was more epic than any other version I've seen--and I've seen most of them. During the first fifteen minutes of the film, we see something that--as far as I'm aware--has never been done before: the destruction of Krypton. It's epic and awe-inspiring, full of cool effects and tragic moments. I had chills during that entire sequence, and got teary-eyed when Jor-El and Laura kiss their newborn and send him across the stars.

By the way, Russell Crowe? Awesome as Jor-El. He's one of the few actors who has the presence, wisdom, authority and--yup, I'm gonna say it--voice to do this part. I thought he was magnificent!

Then we see Clark as a grown man. His difficult childhood experiences growing up while trying to protect his secret are seen in flashback. They include plenty of genuinely tender moments with his father, played by Kevin Costner, who I've always been a fan of. Wish we saw more of him these days. Both he and Diane Lane were great as Clark's long-suffering guardians.

There were only two major changes I saw in the mythology of the story. I won't give spoilers except to say that they had to do with 1) the manor of Jonathan Kent's death and 2) the Lois-and-Clark relationship. I know these changes--because they were pretty major--have bothered some fans, but I didn't mind. The film was good enough that I didn't think the changes detracted from the story; it was just a new direction to take things in. You can't fault the film makers for putting their own spin on things.

That said, my one complaint was the change in the way Pa Kent died. Again, I won't spoil, but I found it to be unrealistic and somewhat not in keeping with Clark's character. I understood why they did it the way they did--in order to bring out a point about Clark in the film--but there's a reason that in the mythology Jonathan always succumbed to health problems: it was the one thing Clark couldn't protect against. He was unfailingly loyal to his parents and their own bodies were the only things (repeat only) he wouldn't have defended them against, and then only because he couldn't. I'll just leave it at that. Though I wasn't satisfied with this one angle, it didn't detract from the film's awesomeness in the slightest. Just a minor flaw in an otherwise great film.

There were plenty of nods to other versions of the legend, including a water silo that read "Smallville" and looked suspiciously like the title logo for the CW series, as well as Cal-El's flying form--with both hands in fists and held straight out in front of him--with was first immortalized in the 1952 TV series, The Adventures of Superman.

I also noticed that near the end, during a Cal-El vs. Zod fight, a semi truck gets chucked (remember these are Krytonians we're talking about) and on the side of the tanker is a logo which reads "LexCorp." Incidentally, Lex Luthor doesn't figure in this film, but seeing that logo made me smile. Film makers looking ahead to future installments perhaps? One can only hope.

Overall, the film was stellar, exactly what we've all come to expect from Nolan. There was enough heart to pack an emotional punch without being over the top, and enough CGI to satisfy the action junkies and get the adrenaline pumping. While Amy Adams wouldn't have been my first choice for Lois, I thought she did a good job. And--sorry guys, but it's got to be said--Henry Cavill = eye candy, eye candy, and more eye candy. I went and saw the film with my older sister. Neither of us is married and when we got out of the movie, her date for that night cancelled on her. She sighed and said (and I paraphrase) "Oh well. No man will ever measure up now anyway."

I chuckled, but didn't disagree. 

If you haven't seen Man of Steel yet, go see it. It's just too much fun to miss!

Did anyone else see Man of Steel this weekend? What did you think of it?


  1. I didn't mind the changes. The new Superman is based more on The New 52 DC series than the old ones. Thought it was great!

  2. I am not a big superhero film fan but I'll see this one just because of Henry Cavill : ) I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Yes!! You've made me so excited for it. I actually liked the 2006 one ok - I wasn't too sure why everyone was being so hard on it, but I don't know superman comics so they could change and twist the story all up and I would never really know. I like what you said about his dad and health. It makes sense, but I can also see how that would be something you can look past. I'm excited to see Amy Adams. Thanks so much for sharing! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

  4. The Kent death was very different from every other interpretation, but fascinating! A great review Liesel.