Man of Steel
PG-13, 2hrs 23min, June 14 2013, Action/Adventure
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: David Goyer, Christopher Nolan, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (Superman Creators)
Cast: Henry Cavill (Clark Kent), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Michael Shannon (General Zod), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Russell Crowe (Jor-El).
Man of Steel: Synopsis
During the destruction of Krypton; Superman as a baby is sent from his home planet to Earth. Along with the genetic information of his entire planet. General Zodd (Michael Shannon) spends 30 years tracking down Superman where the inevitable earth shaking showdown occurs.
Man of Steel: My Opinion
Superman is one of my favorite heroes from comic books, and movies growing up. Second only to Iron Man. I once heard the difference between Superman, and many other super heroes is this: their secret identities. Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark those are there their true identities, and they hide those from the world (with the exception of Iron Man of course); they BECOME Spiderman, Batman, Iron Man through tragedy, experimentation, etc. The difference is that Clark Kent is NOT Superman’s secret identity; he doesn’t BECOME Superman. Obviously there is point in the story-line where he does become Superman, but he is really shedding the false identity of Clark Kent he has been hiding under for years. A good quote from the movie is from Kevin Costner playing Clark Kent’s adoptive father Jonathan Kent. “You just have to decide what kind of a man you want to grow up to be, Clark; because whoever that man is, good character or bad, he’s… He’s gonna change the world.” This is a theme they play off of throughout the movie; basically that the world could not handle how all-powerful Superman is. Jonathan Kent believes it so much that in one scene he lets himself get taken by a tornado, and stops Superman when he tries to save him thereby revealing his TRUE identity to the world.
Now that all being said Superman Returns from 2006 starring Brando Routh was absolute garbage. The acting left a sour taste, and overall the plot was, eh. Kevin Spacey is always a great actor so at least he played Lex Luthor pretty well, but it made the other actors seem even worse by comparison. Superman IV (which Superman Returns is supposed to follow) was made almost 30 years prior. I believe they thought that just based on the staggering difference in effects capabilities they could throw in a couple cool scenes, and they didn’t actually have to make a watchable movie. Maybe they figured if the scenes were cool enough fan-boys would flock. One problem is of course they didn’t make a watchable movie, and the other is that the fan base of Superman is WWWAAAYY less than things like Spiderman and the X-men. Otherwise how would they be able to sell the little-girl version of Peter Parker, and stray every which way from the comics. And of course they did the same things with X-men (which along with Superman Returns was directed by Bryan Singer). Both had a much bigger fan base, and therefore much greater room for error.
Onto the Man of Steel. Directing… Great! Zack Snyder was an excellent choice already having directed some cool movies based off of graphic novels (300, Watchmen). So to have him, Christopher Nolan (director of The Dark Knight Trilogy), and David Groyer (one of the main writers on The Dark Knight Trilogy) revamping the Superman Series is spectacular (if they didn’t Bryan Singer might have been allowed to make more terrible Superman movies in the interim). The choice for actors in Man of Steel was also phenomenal the whole cast was known if not by name then by face. Maybe the least known was Superman himself.
Henry Cavill (Superman/Clark Kent) has only had supporting roles in any decent movie he was in. He had a big role in The Tudors (which I can’t comment on as I haven’t seen it), and also in The Immortals where he had the role of the protagonist Theseus. Overall it was a strange and artsy movie, but Henry Cavill did a decent job and you can probably see from The Immortals why they thought of him for Superman. On another note Mickey Rourke played King Hyperion the antagonist in The Immortals and even in his most serious roles Rourke is a riot. He wears a different modern-art-esque mask in every scene and just says ridiculous things the whole movie. Its worth a watch just for his acting LOL.
General Zod is played by Michael Shannon who has generally gotten supporting roles in most of the big movies he’s in. He plays a great General Zod, and displays righteous indignation (check out it out here) throughout the movie as if he believes without a doubt that the Kryptonian race is superior in every way. The fact that Superman seeks to stop him is nothing short of sacrilege. His character is still somewhat likable because he really isn’t portrayed as the “normal” evil. He knows on a personal basis that some of his actions are immoral but believes them all to be for the greater good. Whether it was the writing or the acting Michael Shannon makes you feel for his character
The rest of Man of Steel’s supporting actors were great as well. Most were well chosen for their part, and all added something to the movie. Another great example of the supporting actors Russel Crowe plays Superman’s father Jor-El, and seems to relish in the role. They kill him off in the beginning during the destruction of Krypton, but of course if you got Russel Crowe for a role you’re going to make use of him. They do so by downloading his consciousness into a Kryptonian portable hard-drive, and giving him full range of the character as opposed to just flashbacks and recordings on a crystal screen.
Overall I give this movie 8 out of 10. Though I am skeptical of the next installation in this series Batman Vs Superman (starring Ben Affleck as Batman) I still look forward to it. There is some outrage to Affleck playing Batman, and while he may not be the best choice to play Batman; he isn’t a bad choice for Bruce Wayne. Of Course most of his scenes as Batman will involve stunt doubles any way.