FILM REVIEW - Man Of Steel
I remember when I first created this page, I was so excited to write my reviews and in particular some of the movie ones. I had made a slow start on the MCU but decided that I would finish them before starting the DCEU. The only problem now is that Marvel is continuing to produce films and the DCEU is now dead. So in ode of what could have been, I thought I’d watch the film that kicked it all off!
‘Man Of Steel’ starts on the fictional planet of Krypton, where a scientist named Jor-El has discovered that the core of the planet is unstable and an alternative power source has to be found before it’s too late. At the same time, he and his wife Lara have welcomed a son, Kal-El into the world. Jor-El isn’t the only one warning the Kryptonian leaders, and it becomes apparent that General Zod of the military is keen to organize a coup but is stopped in his tracks. In his final action, Jor-El sends his son in a spaceship across the stars so that he may survive elsewhere. We cut to Earth and Kal-El, who was found by a human couple, has taken on the name Clark Kent. We are shown flashbacks of his younger life and the challenge he faces to hide his powers. His adoptive father, Jonathan Kent, believes that this is best for Clark. However, despite that decision, it’s clear that Clark wants to help people and always ends up in situations where he’s almost discovered. When he sets off to find out where he’s from, he crosses paths with intrepid reporter Lois Lane. Lois has stumbled upon a story of a spaceship buried in the ice in Canada. Clark enters the ship and via a memento left by his father, activates the living consciousness of Jor-El who teaches him that he could be so much more than he is. However, activation of this spaceship sends a signal into space which is picked up by Zod and his loyalists who escaped the black hole jail in which they were imprisoned. Zod comes to Earth and demands that Kal/Clark be handed over to him. Clark who has spent his entire life hiding decides he needs to step up and meets Zod. He soon discovers that Zod means to use a terraforming device to convert Earth into Krypton so that it may start again. Clark now has a choice to make. Does he help Zod to restore the place from which he came? Or is his home on Earth now more important?
When the film was announced, it was discovered that they were looking for someone fairly new to the film scene and Henry Cavill was just that at the time. With a Reeve-esqe look and a glint in his eye, Cavill stepped up to play the Man of Steel big time. He had auditioned previously for Superman but lost out to Brandon Routh. That may have been for the best because ‘Man of Steel’ gave him a chance to play the character in a way that no one had seen before. Added to that was the experience of Amy Adams as Lois Lane who by that point had done a couple of serious films. Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent and Diane Lane as Martha Kent all made for some very good parents. The acting chops there meant that Cavill could easily fit into this origin story. Michael Shannon played the villain, General Zod. Zod has always been one of my favourite Superman villains, and Shannon bought a certain gravitas to the role and was a little more terrifying than Terrance Stamp’s version in the 1980s. Ultimately, the film was excellently cast and strong performances by newcomers as well as acting veterans made it a well-rounded production.
I’ve now seen this film a few times, but today was the first time that I was paying in-depth attention to the film. In my opinion, this was not only a well-done superhero film, but it was also a great film in general. This Superman is a lot more relatable and the entire conundrum that Clark has between choosing which father to listen to is something that we probably all feel at some point in our lives. Having Zod as the first villain meant that we have to see an untrained Superman go toe-to-toe with a being who is his equal in power and superior in skill. This meant that some of the fight scenes were over-the-top and destructive, but again, more likely to be realistic. For me, it’s the character development, from the first moment he realizes that he has powers, to the first time he wears the suit and flies to that final battle in the debris of the city that makes this version of Superman the best one I’ve seen.
The director Zack Snyder is known to have a certain over-the-top style, especially when you look at films like “Watchmen”, “Sucker Punch” and “300”. That being said, I think this film is one of his more subtle but still extravagantly produced films. Some of the scenes are beautifully shot and the CGI is also second to none. That first 10 minutes on Krypton looked like the highest quality of sci-fi and that is something that I definitely would have liked to see in a sequel. We can’t mention a film like this without the soundtrack and it was done by the master composer, Hans Zimmer. The tracks were amazing and if you’re looking for good music to drive to, ‘Look to the Stars’ and ‘Flight’ are my picks from this film. Overall, watching this film made me happy and sad. Sad because it’s all over for this version of the character, but I’m glad I got to be a fan on this crazy rollercoaster. More DCEU reviews coming for you guys!