Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review 171: "Man of Steel"

"He was convinced the world wasn't ready. What do you think?"
Superman Reboots
      I've always liked Superman. I know a lot of people that really don't like him though. So, there is a lot riding on the movie. It has to be everything Superman fans want to be and be everything non-Superman fans want it to be. It has to be Dark Knight good and Avengers good and make the same amount of money. So, can it be all that. Well... Directed by Zach Snyder (300) and written by David S. Goyer (Jumper), the film follows Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) as he learns to accept his extraordinary alien powers and become Superman. Guided by his earth parents (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) and Kryptonian father Jor-El (Russell Crowe), he teams with Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) in order to stop the villainous General Zod (Michael Shannon) from destroying the Earth. You know, the classics.

Don't drink and fly, kids.
Collateral Damage: The Movie
      To get the elephant out of the room, yes, Man of Steel is a good movie. I'm just still not sure just how good. I did like a lot in this movie. Cavill proves to be a great Superman, having a lot of charisma and definitely looking the part. He's a lot of fun to watch onscreen and I'd expect to see more of him soon. Costner and Crowe are used well as slightly-different versions of the original father characters. Crowe is just plain great as usual, though I really wish there was more of Costner in this film. Shannon steals the show though. He really lets loose as Zod and he's just a ton of fun to watch. Unfortunately, Adams and Lane don't fair so well. Both characters just seem to be here just because they're supposed to be and neither really have much to do.
      Snyder's direction, too, is excellent. Man of Steel does take a lot of visual cues from other films, but it makes one of the nicest looking films in a while, so it's hard to really complain. The film just looks great and the soundtrack, by Hans Zimmer, is one of the best in years. It all helps to make some of the best actions scenes ever in a superhero film. Anime-style super brawls that cause more carnage than you could believe. Entireties of Smallville and Metropolis are destroyed and it just looks spectacular. It only it were a bit more fun...
A Batman's Superman
      Look, I get that a lot of people really like Christopher Nolan. And his presence is definitely felt here. And that's not really a good thing. Nolan's explain-it-all, realistic style works (To so extent) with Batman. It doesn't quite work with Superman. The result is not at all bad, just not as good as it could have been. Hell, I could even place what was bothering me about this film until a day later. It didn't make me laugh. Superman: The Movie, which is still the best Superman, was very funny as well as exciting. Here, the film is just kinda dry. The film, while good, could have been any superhero film. It doesn't really have the Superman feel to it. As a result, the whole thing just isn't really all that memorable. Plus, the new bits of the now "more human" story do work, but need that humor to lighten it up. At times it feels like a bad episode of Smallville, for moody teenagers looking for a "cool" superhero movie. Combined that with the badly edited out deleted scenes and some seriously dumb moment, and the story just kinda fall flat. I mean, this film contains what has to be one of the stupidest major character deaths of all time. It takes place on a highway, in case you were wondering.
Can he be Iron Man when RDJ leaves?
The Verdict
      The result is a good movie, but not a great one. But, still, the film is a must-see. The story might be weak, with some truly dumb moments rounding it out, along with a sorely lacking sense of humor, but it can't be denied that the cast, especially Cavil and Shannon, are great and the direction is stellar. The action is incredible and it alone makes the film worth watching. So, yes, it is a good movie, not great, a good start to a hopefully more fun series and I already can't wait for the sequel. So long as Warner Brothers stops trying to make Superman Batman. Man of Steel gets 5 stars out of 6.

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