I’m unsure what to think of this. On the one hand I liked it. I liked seeing the earlier years of Clark Kent’s life, the problems he faced as his powers developed, the scenes in which he travels by himself trying to discover the man he is (which resembles parts of Batman Begins) I liked the initial thought writer David Goyer had when it came to reintroducing this character, by having a realistic approach, showing how the world would react to this Alien from another world.
Unfortunately Zack Snyder f**ks this up too much in many ways and again it’s style over substance, no matter how much more reserved he is this time…
The turning point from good film into bad film comes when both Lois and Clark explore a crashed Alien spacecraft. Superman talks to his real Dad, Russel Crowe and the ship which is totally unrelated to how Clark/Kal-El got to Earth conveniently has a Suit that Clark puts on and goes out into the World to save it and become it’s hero just. like. that. All the exposition about finding the right moment, about the choice he has to make about discovering who he really is suddenly shifts to him conveniently getting this super suit and jumping around in it and then Zod and his minions come along and Superman has to save the world from them. All that build up and then they suddenly skip over things like Superman actually dealing with real life situations, saving people, stopping criminals. His introduction comes about because Zod appears, his need to save the world is because Zod appears. There’s no real choice in it. Of course he’s not going to join Zod. Zod’s a f’in fascist. The key element from becoming man to hero is skipped over entirely and replaced with super fights and sh*t blowing up.
Speaking of sh*t. How many people were killed and how many buildings were destroyed in this movie? I’m growing increasingly uncomfortable with how movies end after such horribly devastating events with an upbeat tone. Take some examples, ‘Transformers 3’ and recently ‘Star Trek Into Darkness‘. These movies depict massive city wide destruction which probably kills thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people. The movies brush over this massive destruction with an upbeat ending even though, lets face it, the Bad guy has a big victory.
We see the same here in this movie and I wonder how much destruction needs to be shown? We had a Super fight show down in Smallville, then Metropolis city is torn up. By the end Superman and Zod get into their last fight and smash up and destroy more buildings, but by that stage the destruction has already been done. There’s nothing new to see at this point. Why not save that City wide destruction for this fight, keep it as the main action piece. But after seeing so much senseless destruction it just seems to pale in comparison to everything else that has happened.
Superman killing Zod. I’m not totally annoyed by this like some are, although again after Superman failed to save so many people from dying earlier in the movie a few extra people don’t seem to be much of a difference at that stage. For me I see it as a turning point for the character. That and dropping that drone plane out of the sky. This is obviously someone who could be really dangerous even with his best intentions. So I can understand Batman coming along in the next movie to beat his ass up. But after watching ‘Man of Steel’ I’m a little less excited about it and I believe Zack Synder will mess up this whole franchise that’s supposed to lead to the justice League. I’m glad it won’t be in the same continuity as Nolan’s Batman as Nolan’s films were like real movies compared to this “blink and you’ll miss half of the action stuff”.
Henry Cavill is a good Superman. Physically he looks great. As the character he also does a good job as Superman is kinda reserved in many ways. Cavill tried to add a bit more of a personality to Supes.
The Music. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA! Seriously! Even Gaeta and Helo are in this. Not to mention the handheld style cinematography with quick closeups ala BSG. The overall theme is good but ultimately unmemorable.
At the end of the day I think the mistake was making this a realistic Superman movie. The character is about goodness and warmth with a little magic sprinkled on top. Why the realism didn’t work is partly down to Synder and his handling of the material because while we see a real man in Clark Kent the rest comes off totally unreal and you can see that from the moment Russel Crowe jumps on a flying Dragon or sumin. With all the violence and chaos in this I would say it’s not a kids film. Even Batman didn’t kill people in ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’. For me the best Superman movie will always be the original 1978 ‘Superman’ and if I were to compare ‘Man of Steel’ to the more recent ‘Superman Returns’ I think I would go with ‘Superman Returns‘ since the film at least had it’s heart in the right place.
Favorite Quote: “Embodied within that hope is the fundamental belief the potential of every person to be a force for good. That’s what you can bring them.” – Jor-El