Man Of Steel (2013)

Superman, bearing his traditional red and blue costume, is shown flying towards the viewer, with the city Metropolis below. The film's title, production credits, rating and release date is written underneath.Up, Up and Away

A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.

Sometimes, the shadows of previous takes on a character can loom too largely over a film. Last year's The Amazing Spiderman had this problem, as many critics complained about how it went over the same ground of the origin story that Sam Raimi's film went over, despite the general consensus being that it was a better origin film than the dated film from 2002.

Now, attentions are turned towards Man Of Steel, which was met with a mixed critical reception, where the general moaning was the belief that the film was too gloomy and serious, as people relied too fondly on their memories of Richard Donner's film. This is despite the general public wanting a serious take on Superman, after Bryan Singer's love-letter to the Donner films was met with backlash from the general public.

But I have not seen any of the other live-action Superman films, so cannot comment on whether Richard Donner directed the definitive Superman film, or whether a lighter touch is better for a Superman film. What I can say is that this serious take on Kryptons surviving son is absolutely astounding.

The entire cast have been perfectly chosen for their roles. Most notably, Henry Cavill, who does a perfect job in embodying the earnest Kryptonian without coming across as a big blue boy-scout or a overtly messianic figure. He may not have been a big name star, more famous for missing out on roles for Bond and Superman Returns, but he is nothing short of perfect for the role.

Amy Adams plays Lois Lane as more than just a generically feisty reporter, instead managing to come off as being both brave and smart in a believable manner. Russell Crowe's Jor-El takes on more of a physical role than you'd initially expect, while Kevin Costner's Jonathan Kent is the source of the best talking scenes of the film, delivering words of wisdom to Clark that help to define who he'll become, managing to never feel like he's sermonizing.

Michael Shannon delivers an intense performance as General Zod, coming off as a man who knows he's done terrible things that would define him as a monster, but justifies them as essential because of his mission to make sure his species does not go extinct.


Zack Snyder may not be the most popular director there is, but he does an astounding job directing the film. From the opening moments that delve into the mythology of Krypton and the culture and creatures of the world, to the scenes that intercut between Clark Kent's years as a child who's discovering his powers, and as a man who's going around the world, helping others and getting revenge on easily hate-able rednecks, this is definitely the best directorial job Snyder has done. The action is especially worth mentioning, with the Superman, Zod and the Kryptonian Army doing damage to Smallville and Metropolis that will have the (surviving) citizens wondering how they can continue on their lives after a feat of destruction of 9/11 proportions.

While it takes a serious tone, that doesn't mean it's void of fun moments. Clark learning to fly and the origin of Superman's name are two examples that immediately come to mind. But this would all be for nothing, leaving the film as an empty experience, if we didn't have our emotion invested within the film and the characters, and the emotional investment is proven many times over, with the hardest hitting moments coming from both of Clarks father figures.

Superman is a well known figure, but not as possible as Batman or Spiderman, due to the view that he's nothing more than a big blue boyscout who's too powerful. Hopefully, with its impressive showing at the box office, this serious take will go a long way to proving that misconception wrong in the same way that Batman Begins proved Batman isn't a campy, day-glo mess.

The best thing you can do is give this film a chance and devise your own opinion, as opposed to swaying solely towards the critical opinion. Who knows? It may have you clamoring for the inevitable sequel to come faster than a speeding bullet (sorry).


Robert said…
Great review. I was personally a little let down by the film, but mostly from a script perspective. The constant flashbacks annoyed the shit out of me. I'm still pretty excited to see where this new franchise goes, however.