REVIEW: MAN OF STEEL
SYNOPSIS: 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.
Breath-taking. That is the only word that most can use to describe Warner Brother's new epic superhero film, Man of Steel. Many of us are familiar with the story of young Kal-El, the Kryptonian baby sent to Earth by his parents before the destruction of his home planet, whether it be from the old classic films, comic books, or simply general knowledge. This movie knows that the audience recognizes the story, and does not mess with the time tested origin, but does well to tweak the tale of Superman for a more modern crowd. This is a reboot, meaning it is not a sequel to previous Superman movies, but instead a reimagining of the story, and it is one hell of a reboot I'll tell you that.
The movie begins by providing the audience with a background story on the Planet Krypton through the eyes of Jor-El, Superman's father. For those of you who remember Jor-El from the 70's Superman film, you will be pleasantly surprised by Russell Crowe's badass performance as the Kryptonian scientist/rightful kin to the Man of Steel. While we are talking about badass performances, Henry Cavill does a fantastic job of reprising the role that so many other men have done well to play. To be honest, I was afraid that this young actor from "Immortals" would not live up to my lofty expectations, but he filled the red boots just as well as any of his predecessors, if not better. Cavill is able to bring raw power and presence to the role when he dons his cape, while still giving off a sense of human weakness and emotion when playing the Kansas boy Clark Kent.
But get one thing straight, this is not your classic Superman film, and the director does well to show that to you. The theme that director Zack Snyder was attempting to portray to the audience was one of Superman as an alien. Unlike old stories where the flying boy scout is saving cats from trees or helping old ladies cross the street. Instead, Man of Steel sees Clark moving from town to town, hiding his identity and covering his tracks, and the world coming to terms with having an alien among them. Further extrapolating this predicament is the appearance of General Zod, a Kryptonian warlord played by Michael Shannon. Shannon does a great job of portraying Zod's utter brutality and disregard for human life, and showing that he is not a villain without a motive. Speaking of disregard for human life, boy oh boy is there a lot of it. This was my only trepidation when watching the film, the fact that Superman very willingly destroyed buildings and endangered human lives seemed too out of character to me. To be fair, this was an origin story with Clark only just coming to terms with his powers and moral compass, so maybe the blatant destruction can be overlooked for now.
This being said, the action was phenomenal. The director outdid himself crafting the fight scenes between opponents with near God-like powers; a simple scuffle would be too easy. These bombastic clashes are something to be remembered. The visual effects while on Krypton were absolutely stunning, making the audience turn their heads with open mouths at just how beautiful a sci-fi world the movie crafted. The musical composition by Hans Zimmer made every scene from a dramatic fight to a solemn moment powerful, using just the right score to highlight each scene and take it the extra mile.
All in all, this was a fantastic, modern Superman movie. Man of Steel does well to introduce Clark Kent to a contemporary audience, without becoming a boring origin movie. Coming from a self proclaimed comic book nerd, I believe DC entertainment has made a smart move in counteracting Marvel's monopoly on the Superhero movie business (The Avengers), and may just give them a run for their money.
By J. James
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