Review/Thoughts on: Man of Steel

manofsteelMan of Steel

  • Starring: Henry Cavill (Immortals), Amy Adams (The Fighter), Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) and more.
  • Directed by: Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300)
  • Synopsis: “In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time. Clark Kent/Kal-El (Cavill) is a young twenty-something journalist who feels alienated by powers beyond anyone’s imagination. Transported to Earth years ago from Krypton, an advanced alien planet, Clark struggles with the ultimate question – Why am I here? Shaped by the values of his adoptive parents Martha (Lane) and Jonathan Kent (Costner), Clark soon discovers that having super abilities means making very difficult decisions. But when the world needs stability the most, it comes under attack. Will his abilities be used to maintain peace or ultimately used to divide and conquer? Clark must become the hero known as “Superman,” not only to shine as the world’s last beacon of hope but to protect the ones he loves.”
  • Rated: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction and some language
  • Must-Watch Trailer:
  • Review:

Finally! The wait for the promised Superman film is over. The “Last Son of Krypton” has finally descended to Earth and DC fans rejoice in knowing that they can now revel once again in another hero other than Batman (I mean, Green Lantern and Jonah Hex weren’t doing DC movies any favors. Come on!) Hit the jump to see my thoughts on the latest release from the pages of DC comics to the big screen: Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.

mos

Fans felt neither excited nor disappointed in the choice of Zack Snyder as the director given the daunting challenge of reintroducing the world to Superman. Snyder, known for his stunning visuals that could be considered a character of the film on their own, sat in the director’s chair for films such as SuckerPunch, 300 and Watchmen…all which seemingly then paved the way for Man of Steel. What fans DID get excited over was the involvement of Christopher Nolan who I refer to as the “Godfather of DC.” While many expected a “rerun” of sorts of the Dark Knight Trilogy, Nolan diffused rumors of Man of Steel being “The Dark Knight Revisited.”

…a part of me wishes Man of Steel would have been.Man of Steel

First off, let me tell you that I did still enjoy this long, bombastic, somewhat all over the place superhero film that is a nice tribute to the comicbook superhero known as Superman. The casting worked so well on so many levels. Henry Cavill looks great in the suit (Man, he sure bulked up for the role!), Michael Shannon was what I wanted from Zod, his sidekicks were equally just as ominous and threatening (more villains in movies need credible henchmen/sidekicks like Zod’s. Wow!), and Russell Crowe as Jor-el was perfect (although I couldn’t help but laugh as I found him highdiving into water once again and talking about stars and man…those of you that watched Les Misérables might see the fun similarities to his character Javert.)

It’s funny to think that both of Clark/Kal-el’s fathers were Robin Hood once upon a time…Crowe and Costner (Did you realize that?). Several castmembers played their roles well and their roles were given plenty of purpose. I very much loved Cavill as Superman. I also liked Amy Adams as the relentless, yet less than playfully romantic Lois Lane, but something from her seemed missing.amy-adams-lois-lane-man-of-steel1

In Man of Steel, Zack Snyder gives us a great look at Superman as has never been seen before. The suit looks great, his background is given a fresh facelift, the main characters are well-rounded (not so for the secondary characters, however) and the action is pretty on point, albeit a bit repetitive. The problem with superhero movies is that ultimately there isn’t any true danger to fear, only the thrill of the journey to the triumphant ending…so, that being the case, I expected the music to bring emotional highs where the story wouldn’t. But it does not.

Headphones of the future?
Headphones of the future?

Perhaps the most disappointing exclusion is that of an epic musical score. Mr. Hans Zimmer, I sadly say that for the first time you have let me down. Lacking a true theme for Superman, I kept waiting for my spirit to soar watching scenes of Superman take flight alongside an appropriate and powerful theme…but it never really came. Instead, Zimmer’s incessant score takes turns contributing to/distracting from the movie itself. While some may not consider the music as being a part of a film, I find it to be a BIG part of a movie and this one disappointed me.mos-zod-heat

Snyder’s film eloquently pays attention to some of the greatness of Krypton (so great to see the planet for longer than a few minutes) but loses some of the charm of Superman by not playing into his humanity as much as expected. Part of the appeal of Superman is the struggles he faced as the quirky Clark Kent. Snyder puts that to the side and gives us less “Clark Kent” and more “Superman.” The intermittent look back on Clark’s history is sadly lost among the exciting action.man of steel

Man of Steel resembles films such as Avatar, The Dark Knight Rises, Spider-Man, SuckerPunch and Transformers, but it still stands on its own feet and manages to impress despite all of my disappoints. Too much action (I can’t believe that’s a complaint, but there was a bit much), but Man of Steel is gorgeous (Snyder’s fingerprint), long in storytelling at 143 minutes (Nolan’s fingerprint) and pretty thorough when it wants to be (screenwriter David Goyer’s fingerprint).

Ultimately, Man of Steel will soar past the expectations of many fans after the disappointing Superman Returns that was overloaded with character development and too little action. Almost the complete reverse…I said “almost”… this refreshing reboot, loaded with tons of Easter Eggs (see HERE for a few spoiler-filled ones. I particular enjoyed #3, #9, and #17.) is powerful, but lacks an equivalent story, set of sequences and soundtrack to boot as all three are lost amid the distracting long fight scenes. Definitely worth a watch as it is the best representation of the Last Son of Krypton in a long long time. We just need Batman to show up and the Justice League can begin! 🙂

supesbatman
Hey Supes, does your “S” mean you hope we will make a movie together?

On a fun note: You will remember that the damage in that The Avengers caused in New York City prompted a news reporter montage calling out the heroes for all of the damage. Well, with all of the damage caused in both Metropolis and that one street in Smallville that resembled a similar street in Thor, I expect there to be a full-length special feature report edition of 20/20 from the Daily Planet as the total dollar amount of damage surely cost three to ten MILLION times more! haha 😀

My Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars for Man of Steel

(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 250 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)

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Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

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45 comments

  1. I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said. Thought the acting was fabulous but there was no heart. I ended up giving it 4/5 – mostly because of the very last minute which sets up the franchise perfectly.

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    • Hi Louise! Thanks for chiming in. The end was a nice touch…although, I would have to say it was a bit too late as the movie needed that throughout the film itself.

      I am glad to see that most movie bloggers are liking this more than the critics on Rotten Tomatoes and such like though

      Like

  2. As you said we agree so many aspects of this movie! I like how you break down who is responsible for what. It isn’t perfect but so much of it works. Zod’s sidekicks were just as evil as he, I concur that would be a welcome addition to some of the comic book pictures. Nice review T!

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  3. Agreed, the score was pretty non-descript 😦 I don’t think there was too much action though, the action was a big plus for this movie IMO. If there was too much of anything, there was too much suffocating seriousness. I hope the sequel lightens up a bit!! 😦

    Still a really decent movie though.

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  4. Hi T!! I gotta go back and re-read this again but yes, glad we agree many things, esp about the score. Too bad as I like listening to it on its own. I guess it’s to be expected that Williams’ score is never gonna be beaten.

    “I very much loved Cavill as Superman.” That makes me happy!!! Obviously I’m a bit biased here as I’ve already liked him before this role, but he really is awesome. His scenes as Clark and Superman are both so believable and affecting. I think my fave scene is still the one of him with Diane Lane when he comes home after being away for a long time. Talk about KILLER smile!!! 😀

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  5. I’m like Fogs, I think the self-importance was a bigger flaw than the action. But it seems like our community of bloggers is all mostly in agreement. We all liked it, but not to the point of loving it. You give it 3.5 stars; I don’t do halves, but I did waiver between three and four for my rating before finally deciding on the latter. That’s largely because I think it did a good job of building a foundation for the future.

    Nice point about the score. It wasn’t bad for the most part, but I don’t really remember much about it. Considering John Williams’ Superman theme is still one of the all-time iconic movie theme songs, the decision to do away with it in favor of a wholly new score — while arguably necessary — means Zimmer was obligated to at least come close to doing something as good. He didn’t.

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    • The foundation that it does lay is good. Solid point. Snyder loaded this one with so many easter eggs and possibilities for future films. Smart.

      I expected a better score given that Batman received a pretty strong theme (Molossus, etc from Hoffman after choosing to go away from Elfman’s classic theme).

      oh well. I guess there’s no touching Williams’.

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  6. Gotta say, Terrence, I’m a little sad you didn’t like Zimmer’s score for this – I’ve been listening to it since it came out the other day and it doesn’t disappoint. That said, this is a mostly positive review (although one wouldn’t call it “glowing”) where some minor flaws led to a less-than-perfect Superman film.

    It doesn’t open until the 27th here in Australia, and I am sooooo keen to see this. I’ve tempered my expectations a little, however, but I am prepared to be utterly blown away.

    And there’s no such thing as too much action. Sorry, there just isn’t… 😉

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    • unfortunately, the music just doesn’t scream “Superman.” It may be awesome to listen to solo, but it is lost when the film is playing. Instead of being memorable (Batman Begins, Superman, Jurassic Park), it ends up being forgettably, yet still contributory to an extent. Let me put it this way, when the sequel comes out and if NONE of the music from Man of Steel is played, you won’t miss it or feel something is off. (not good)

      I look forward to your thoughts once you do see it.

      Thanks for the comment and I’m glad to represent a more positive look on the film than others. I’ve seen it twice now and my opinion remains the same! 🙂

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  7. Awesome write-up! And YUP. I agree pretty much. I am down the middle. Found just as many things I liked and things I disliked. Almost sad because the potential is so great…hopefully they will get it right with the sequel and If anything it does give me hope for a Justice League, too! Please–please! 😀

    Later! 😀

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  8. Great write up man! You focused on a few things different than my own Review, found below, so I feel like commenting.
    http://www.blankpagebeatdown.com/movie-review-man-of-steel-2013/

    I agree with you. I wish MOS was more like Nolan’s Batman franchise. I don’t mean in terms of progression or story arc, I meant more in terms of complexity. I expected there to be so many things going on with MOS, however, there was maybe… 2 sub plots running? The story from set up to completion was pretty straight forward. I wished it was more … leyered.

    You’re right. I walked away from the movie with no memory of any long lasting theme ingrained in my memory. Which is a disappointment for a Superman movie.

    The reason why the focus was more on “Superman” than “Clark Kent”, is because a lot of the comics have given us a different perspective on this alter ego business. BIRTHRIGHT in particular, shows us a Superman whose alter ego is Clark Kent, and not the other way around. He pretends to be Clark Kent, while he IS Superman. I think the flashback sequences do an adequate job to show us his struggles as a child, especially coupled with the Costner scenes.

    Awesome review though man.
    Reddited:

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    • yes, this one was more of a Superman movie based on the ACTION COMICS as opposed to any other version. I liked it enough, but really wanted a bit more of reporter Clark Kent story and a few different subtle setups for future films. almost like the Joker card at the end of Batman Begins. ha.

      Thanks for the comment and even more so for the share. Appreciate it my friend.

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      • I was actually waiting for the Clark as reporter bits too. I was surprised that they went a totally different direction with it.

        I know what you mean. But I guess they went out of their way to not imitate Nolan’s Franchise too much. I did like the Lex Luthor easter eggs though. Maybe a bit more dialogue, even in passing, about the Luthors would have been similar to the Joker card for a MOS Sequel?

        No worries. You deserve it!

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  9. Omg! U hit it right on the nose…The Music! I was waiting to get that soaring feeling too, and ur right, the soundtrack failed in this movie, and it had every opportunity to make it better…smh. I enjoyed most of the things you pointed out in this movie, like General Zod’s comrad’s, however I still found myself being bored. As you stated in your review, the action scenes were long and very repetitive. How many times do you want to see a character get thrown through a building? Boring…On top of the fact that the movie was just way too long.

    I do agree the Cavill is the best representation of Superman, and although I was disappointed in this reboot, I am still interested to see his return 🙂

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    • it would have been fun to watch this movie sitting right next to you. I imagine our eyes would’ve rolled at the same stuff and our mouths would’ve been open with excitement at the same moments. haha.

      I hope they “reinvent” the theme for the sequel.

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  10. Good review. I think you and I are on the same page with this one. I would have preferred a more “Batman Begins” approach with a lesser villain to go against and therefore allowing more time to build character and emotion.

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  11. Yeah, there was a LOT of collateral damage, to be sure! I’m pretty much with you. Your views seem to be closest to mine so far, catching up on all the reviews. (I only saw it last night and have been avoiding everything about it for the last 2 weeks).

    Like

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