Man of Steel (2013)
Directed by Zack Snyder
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…an overused cliché that shouldn’t be the first line to anyone’s “Man of Steel” review. Oh well. Zack Snyder’s new Superman reboot follows the already wide-open path made by some recent superhero movies, where big explosions are sometimes replaced by serious drama. The Dark Knight trilogy set the tone – dark, psychological, not devoid of action but not reliant on it. Snyder follows suit. It pays off big time.
Snyder saw it fit to track Superman (Henry Cavill) from his humble origins as a baby on the planet Krypton through his troubled school years in Kansas to his adulthood fighting for the safety of Metropolis. Russell Crowe shines as Jor-El, Superman’s biological father, only to be outcooled by Kevin Costner as his adoptive father. The Father of the Year award is going to be a toss-up this year. But not everything is Americana happiness for the Man of Steel. He wants to find his true extraterrestrial identity. And his purpose. With the help of journalist Lois Lane (Amy Adams), he does. But as he fights to discover his roots in Krypton, General Zod (Michael Shannon) searches for Superman on Earth. You see, Zod and Jor-El didn’t end their relationship on the best of terms, and Zod needs to kill Superman in order to extract his blood and recreate Krypton on Earth. He has a pretty unhealthy obsession with bringing his home planet back from the dead. Heavy sci-fi stuff.
Henry Cavill does good as…no, Henry Cavill does well. Superman does good. Anyway, audiences aren’t used to seeing fantastic superheroes in recent years. Christian Bale didn’t ruin the Dark Knight trilogy, but he couldn’t hold a hat to his villains. Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans are mediocre as Thor and Captain America. And in 2006 Brandon Routh made a laughing stock of Clark Kent in “Superman Returns.” But guys, we found a keeper. Cavill has the charm, he has the abs, he has the humor and the gravitas needed to pull off a superhero role. Bravo! Amy Adams wasn’t so memorable, but like the love interest in so many superhero movies, her role isn’t the most important (even when the superhero gender roles are reversed). If I’m going to glorify anybody for their role, it’s going to be one of the supporting men. If Kevin Costner is the coolest man on Earth (and I’d argue that he is), Russell Crowe is the coolest man on Krypton. Everyone’s favorite deadpan Christopher Meloni basically plays Elliot Stabler as an Army colonel. And by that I mean he’s awesome. And bask in the hypnotic villainy of Michael Shannon as General Zod. This man knows how to play a villain. His voice demands obedience, his demeanor shows no mercy, yet somehow he makes you adore him as you would a hero. He’s out-of-this-world good. They’re all awesome. “Man of Steel” drowns in the cool of its male leads. Somehow when it comes to this movie, my vocabulary dwindles down to “cool” and “awesome.” Guys, this is your movie, and I’m certain you’ll have the same typical masculine reaction.
“Explosive” doesn’t begin to describe the heat this movie packs. Awesome fight scenes – including Russell Crowe and Michael Shannon trading punches on Krypton and Superman throwing down with, well, everyone – look fantastic with the help of some nearly flawless CGI effects. “Man of Steel” is the crossroad between the exciting action of “The Avengers” and the noir-ish drama of “The Dark Knight.” It strikes a rare balance that any fan of superhero movies should be thankful for.
So stop wondering how the Man of Steel shaves or where his red underwear went and just and enjoy the Zod-damn movie. It’s one of the best of the year!
11 thoughts on “‘Man of Steel’ is pure gold”
Good review Logan. This one seems to be dividing audiences more than anything, which is good. It creates discussion, wonder, and ideas that I never even thought about upon the first viewing. However, it doesn’t mean that the flick’s any better than I originally thought and is still just mediocre.
Why do you say that? Granted, it’s not The Dark Knight, but what turned you off about it?
It just felt like two different movies, all thrown into one. I mean those last 20 minutes? Way too much carnage and havoc to get by and enjoy.
I guess I see your point; it was a pretty grand finale. But I think since they had the CGI, they felt they had to flaunt it. And since they didn’t offer too much fighting and destruction in the first 2 hours, they gave it up all at once. I thought it worked, like I said, as a mix between “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight.” The character is vulnerable, but there’s also a good deal of entertaining action. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it!
I love your reviews, and I definitely love this one.
Man of Steel was epic, and Henry Cavill is the perfect Superman.
Who couldn’t love him?
Thanks, Rachael! I thought it was pretty fantastic, and he did a great job.
This movie doesn’t deserve a 5/10 let alone an 8/10. It takes everything that is/was superman and just takes a dump on it. Honestly I can only imagine this movie being considered a “good” superman movie by someone who has never heard of superman outside of this movie. I will focus on Zod, Lois and the Kents since I don’t think RLM covers the sheer absurdity of how their characters were portrayed (I will link the RLM review for the sake of brevity since I agree almost completely with their take on the film).
Pa Kent in this movie can be summed up entirely by the phrase “You are special but don’t tell anyone now because it will confuse and upset people.” Every time he is on screen he is saying some version of that phrase. He isn’t shown as a man of warmth whose unshakable moral compass is passed on to clark and is given life through superman. This pa Kent comes off as superficial and boring compared to his comic self and even compared to the series “Smallville” where he is played very convincingly by John Schneider. And don’t get me started on his death scene. I was furious seeing such an incredibly important piece of WHY superman is superman misrepresented throughout the movie and then killed for a dog. When I saw this in theaters I heard some people audibly laugh/ sigh at the tornado scene and I agreed with them.
Zod’s character literally says every single reason for everything he does throughout the movie. Whoever wrote his character should preferably be punched then fired, but I would accept just fired. For example the scene in Smallville where Zod is exposed to Earth’s atmosphere. Zod is in pain and superman being the helpful sport that he is explains to a killer alien how to control his mind and become even stronger than he already was. WHY? Zod’s actor could have done an excellent job if the script wasn’t so ham fisted.
Lois is a key part of the superman legend. Unlike Mary Jane, Jane Foster or Rachel (from the Dark Knight) a superman story cannot function without a well played Lois. She and the Kents ground him in humanity and make him a character worth caring about instead of the moody alien found in the Man of Steel. She was poorly written and the actress had zero of the qualities that make Lois who she is. Amy Adams came off as mousy and confused, while at the same time stubborn. This doesn’t work and it doesn’t create sparks. The reckless, tough, in-your-face Lois who will do anything for the truth combined with the compassionate, levelheaded superman have had sparks flying for over 80 years. So basically Lois didn’t look, sound or act like Lois which would be ok if she and clark had any sparks whatsoever.
Russell Crowe was good though.
Here is a link to RLM’s take on the film which is less comparing the comic/Smallville to the movie and more comparing this movie to other movies.
Wow. I, unlike you, apparently, haven’t seen every Superman movie and I haven’t read every episode of the Superman comic. My review is based on what I think is the average movie-goer, someone who has some background knowledge on the man and the story without being a (self-proclaimed) Superman expert. I can imagine this piece of film isn’t the best representation of Superman as a decades-old character. But I think it’s a really good piece of film for someone that can enjoy the story without comparing it to a long history of Superman. I respect your opinions but I can’t comment on them.
This is why I left the link to RLM who review the film as a “average joe at the movies.” I was just giving my take as someone who does know the material.
I know what the critics has said. They complained about too much action, superman being too serious, lack of romance, etc. Since Zack Snyder directed this movie, I don’t think he cared about the critics. Don’t get me wrong, he DOES care about the fans’ opinion. Seems like he really wanted to really satisfy the fans. I see why critics complained about too much action. For me it’s just his way to satisfy the viewers. This is the kind of movie that is just really satisfying. When the movie ended, I got that ‘satisfying’ feeling instead of the ‘wanting more’ feeling. It’s like it was really enough.
Even Snyder’s best movies (before this) which were 300 & Watchmen didn’t have more ratings than 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. I think the fans should have anticipated the bad reviews. His style is actually what critics hate. The over the top action and CGI is actually his trademark. So, even from the beginning, I think this is actually the kind of movie the producers wanted. About the lack of romance, I really do think it’s saved for the sequel. The sequel will definitely explore more about the relationship between Clark and Lois. This film focused on 2 aspects: the origin (krypon,struggle finding his place) & the action (Zod and his army). Don’t expect humor or romance.
The visuals were spectacular! What’s best about this movie is its action scenes. The action were just relentless. I think the fans would not be disappointed at all. Yes, I know there is only a very few humor this movie but that actually doesn’t even matter. The battle between Superman & Zod will definitely ‘wow’ everyone but the critics. I mean who cares about the critics opinion? A superhero movie MUST NOT be judged by the critics opinion, what’s more important is the audience’s opinion about the movie and especially the fans’. I think the movie really delivered. Most people will definitely like this movie. I am really sure that many fanboys will consider this as the best comic book of all time. This is a MUST SEE for people who like action movie. The action were better than last year’s The Avengers.
The sequel really have a great potential. Considering the minimum amount of romance in this movie (since they just knew each other, and superman was also more focused on Zod), the next movie could explore more of that. One of the things missing from the movie was also the presence of Clark Kent at the daily planet. It’s one of the trade marks. But, I believe the sequel will show more scenes in the Daily Planet which is interesting to see.
As a conclusion, I think Man of Steel is so far the best action movie this year. This movie really is a Snyder movie. But it also has a quite lot of nolan-esque feel to it especially in the around first 45 minutes.
If this was compared to Iron man 3, if Iron man 3 was a 7, this movie is a 8.6.
More about the movie you can also find it here