Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Review of Man Of Steel (2013)

Written by David S. Goyer & Christopher Nolan
Directed by Zach Snyder

Superman: "Let's put our cards on the table. You want to control me and you can't, but that doesn't make me your enemy."

I took my time in watching this movie. Not because I didn't want to watch it but just because I had other things to do but having rented the movie last night on DVD and ignoring everything else that everyone told me and that I had read about this particular take on Superman, I approached it with an open mind. That was a wise decision on my part because this movie certainly has it's moments.

To focus on it's faults first, I have to admit the first quarter of this movie did feel like a slog to get through. While the scenes with Jor-El and Lara trying to protect their newborn son and succumb to the wrath of General Zod along with the destruction of Krypton was vital, it lagged a bit and some of the flashbacks with a younger version of Clark just didn't grab my attention, essential as they were supposed to be to the main plot.

Then there's Henry Cavill himself. He looks the part, has a great costume and there are certainly some memorable scenes he gets throughout the movie but for a character that got so many flashbacks to expand on his story, I just didn't feel that either Clark or Superman himself was as fleshed out as he should be. I don't know why that is.

The relationship between Superman and Lois Lane is another thing as well. Amy Adams is actually quite likeable as Lois and thankfully, a pretty assertive version of the character as well but the chemistry between her and Cavill, while nice doesn't exactly radiate off the screen and their interactions lack a certain oomph factor about them. Hopefully in the sequel, they will be much better developed and fleshed out because here, they are certain lacking a bit.

As for the destruction throughout the movie - Metropolis really did get a going over by both the US government/army types and General Zod and his men trying to recreate Krypton with terraforming the Earth. The battle sequences ranged from being impressive in some parts to being rather slapdash in other parts. It's certainly a mixed bag overall.

That being said, as critical as I am about the movie, namely the script and characterisation, one of my favourite parts of the movie happens to be the cast. On the parental front, both Russell Crowe and Ayelet Zurer are great as Clark's birth parents, Jor-El and Lara while Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are similarly brilliant as Jonathan and Martha Kent. There's also some great supporting performances from the likes of Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Christopher Meloni as Colonol Hardy as well for good measure.

However the standout performance for me (and arguably more so than Cavill or Adams) turned out to be Michael Shannon. As Zod, Shannon flipped between a maniacal tyrant and a man desperate to save his own planet. There are even times in this movie where I found myself siding with Zod more than I did with Superman and that certainly took some doing.

Overall, this is definitely not a bad take on the legend of Superman. It's not exactly going to overshadow Christopher Reeves version of the character and I wouldn't be quick to say it's better than either Brandon Routh's brief movie outing as well but it's definitely good in huge parts. It's just sadly half as spectacular or as epic as it tries to be though. It's a shame because the ingredients certainly seemed to be there. Hopefully the sequel will be a marked improvement.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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