Man of Steel review

By Max Maier | Jun 17, 2013

Superman is an American icon recognized the world over. Superman represents truth, justice and the American way. It all started back in WW2 era America. Our country was enduring very difficult times during an oppression. Then a comic book comes out called Action Comics, staring the "Superman" who saves the day and fights crime no matter what size. For decades now, Superman has brought inspiration to his readers and was the birth of the "super hero." An icon of this level absolutely has many variations of media to convey him. Millions of comics have been made, several tv shows and of course, movies.

The most infamous of these movies is Superman in 1978, starring Christopher Reeve as the super hero. Even today, this movie, and the sequel directly after it, are admired by comic fans and even just regular movie-goers. To non-comic readers, these 2 movies are the standard that Superman stands by. The 3 movies that would follow, the most recent just several years ago, did not do too much to generate a good vibe for Superman. Some said they were just downright bad. With Marvel recently putting out so many successful movies with The Avengers and the Iron Man franchise, all DC has right now is The Dark Knight franchise, which has ended. DC needs to get its movie ball rolling so that it can keep up. What better way than with its original creation. So there was a lot of pressure riding on this movie's success. How is it? Just downright super.

 

The movie starts on Superman's home planet, Krypton, where we witness the birth of Kal-el (Superman). His parents, Jor-el (Russel Crowe) and Lara-el, are dealing with the destruction of their planet. Jor-el sends Kal-el to Earth, after the planet's general, Zod tries to stop him. Kal-el lands on Earth and is raised by the Kents. And he must grow and learn to accept his responsibilities and destiny his father passed on to him. Zod comes to Earth looking for Kal-el because he is the key to bringing back Krypton, at the sacrifice of the Earth. Kal-el must become Superman and save the planet from Zod and his soldiers.

The story will not win any awards, but it is pretty good, and it is tight-knit. Fans of Superman know his story of coming to Earth and the Kents and Lois and so on. This information is not shaken up too much, and will probably just be re-treading for alot of viewers. However, some points of Superman's origins are redone, and in my opinion, most are for the better. One of these things is the handling of Lois knowing about Kal-el a.k.a. Clark Kent. Their chemistry is great to watch and is keeps Lois' intelligence in tact. Also, Kal-el's discovery of his powers is updated, with him being in pain and suffering, as opposed to just learning he has them, this concept applies to Zod as well later on in the movie. Also, we get alot more emphasis on Jor-el in this story, which is very welcome, considering how great they have made this character, in life and as just his mind talking to Kal-el. the story pans out as you would probably expect for a Superman movie, but it is not completely perdictable.

The cast in this movie is a mixed batch, but overall pretty good. Henry Cavill as Kal-el brought a lot worry over fans wondering if he could do it and be better than Christopher Reeve. Cavill is no Reeve, but is still really good. Reeves was perfect in his role of Superman, because of the atmosphere it created. The original Superman movie was like the comic book on screen, and was a more cartoony movie, therefore Reeve's Superman was spot on. Man of Steel is a more serious take on Superman's origin, and therefore needs a more serious approach, and for that, I think Cavill does great. Yes, if I had to pick, I would say that Reeve is the better Superman, but Cavill is no slouch. Reeve works well in his movie style, and Cavill works well in his movie style. If you swap them, it wouldn't work either way. So overall, Cavill is a pretty good Superman, and I am absolutely onboard with him being Superman again.

Amy Adams is a good Lois Lane. Once again, she is not as good as the original Lois, but Adams brings a surprisingly strong performance and her romance with Superman feels appropriate, if not a little sudden. If anything, that is this Lois' only flaw, her romance with Kal-el is good, but it felt a little rushed. John and Martha Kent are ok. Martha was nice, but John was a poor representation of the original character. The original John was all for Kal-el learning about his past and embracing his powers and that he would always go far to save everyone. He was always a great and supportive character to Superman. This John wanted Kal-el to hide his powers all the time and would rather people die than have his powers exposed. It could be said that he is just being protective, but it comes off badly. Yes you grow fond of this character, and Kevin Costner is a great actor, but this was not a strong character. The rest of the supporting cast is ok, none really standout aside from Zod's female soldier (special friend?).

The standout performances aside from Henry Cavill are Michael Shannon as General Zod and Russel Crowe as Jor-el. We are given much more depth in this movie about these characters, and their motivations and character development are fascinating. Shannon is great as the villanous, militaristic and driven Zod. I loved this character and by the end of the movie, he becomes one of the more deep and great villains in a comic book movie. Yes, he isn't as "cool" as the orginal movie Zod and there is no infamous "KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!", but Zod makes others kneel before him with his actions. Russel Crowe as Jor-el is great, Crowe always delivers a powerful performance. He makes Jor-el intellectual, dangerous and downright badass. This was a powerhouse performance, and his continued appearances throughout the movie were great. However, we were never given closer as to how often he would show up, and we got no real closure between him and Kal.

Now for the highlight of this movie, the action. Oh. My God. These effects are the best I've ever seen. Whether it's the destruction of a city (by the way, the death count and destruction costs must be astronomical), or Superman trading blows with an opponent, these effects are the best I've ever seen. The fight between Kal-el and Zod may be my favorite fight I've ever seen since the forest fight in Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (which is incredible as well, look that up). I seriously cannot say enough how amazing these action sequences are. I highly reccommend seeing this one in theatres, it is an awe on the big screen. This is my top pick for a hero v.s. villain brawl. The bar has been set. This is my favorite fight in an action movie I've ever seen.

Overall, I think Man of Steel is a great superhero and action movie. The story isn't the deepest and the it has minor flaws, but this is alot of fun and a very entertaining movie to watch. I highly reccommend this movie to anyone who likes comic books, action movies, sci-fi and Superman himself. DC has proven they have what it takes to make a great super hero movie, and they can branch out and give other DC super heroes great movies, and better movies for Green Lantern and Batman.

 

I give Man of Steel a heroic 4.5 out of 5.

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