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To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Action Comics Superman, Warner Brothers released Man of Steel in 2013, the latest re-launch of everyone’s favorite and original superhero, British actor Henry Cavill getting the iconic Lycra suit this time around. With fellow Brit Andrew Garfield playing Spiderman and Welshman Christian Bale playing Batman a pattern is forming. I suspect they chose the anniversary to pull out all the publicity stops as the previous Superman version, played by Brandon Routh, was not great and nearly finished Bryan Singers comic book movie career, rescued by his excellent work on the far superior X-Man franchise. Superman simply wasn’t for him, or Routh, the boy from Iowa never to be seen again.
The budget was upped to $225 million this time around and did a healthy $668 million back, the second highest rebirth superhero profit and the highest Superman film gross ever. Not that it had much competition from the previous camp incarnations, a franchise crying out for real men and CGI. Hero Henry Cavell was a risk, as was director Zack Snyder, neither having done much of note before being entrusted with that $200 plus million budget. Both had worked on comic book movie Sucker Punch and some felt it was an audition by both for the Superman franchise. It proved successful.
We open with the spectacular demise of the planet Krypton, the valuable kryptonite that keeps the population going all but exhausted and so the planet unbalanced and about to implode. Their race has always drifted across the universe to keep going but have got lazy and stayed in one place. High ranking official Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) have foreseen the end and have made plans to try and save the bloodline, baring the first natural birth on the planet for 668 years, as taboo as it gets for their race. But rebellion rages in the dying days of the planet, headed by General Zod (Michael Shannon), the military commander of Krypton, who decides to usurp the leadership for bringing the planet to its knees. But he is denied at the last, cast off with his remaining conspirators into a black hole for his crimes. Just before the end of Krypton, baby superman is also fired into space, his course set for Earth where no one will know who he is and so be safe, and carrying a very special package.
Now all grown up the hunky drifter is starting to do heroic deeds to save humans. Through flashback we see his arrival on Earth and the slow reveal of those superpowers, the boy and the powers managed well by his adopted parents of Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane), who found him a in a field, and taught little Clark not to use his powers as the moment his true identity is revealed to the world or he may well be rejected by it.
As his 30th birthday arrives Clark still moves from menial job to job, staying low, until intrepid reporter Loius Lane (Amy Adams) tracks him down to his Kansas home. But now is the time to come out of the shadows as Earths hero, General Zod’s ship materializes just beyond the moon and making threats to the human race, looking for Superman to right what he calls wrongs.
I really liked this and exactly what a superhero movie should be, a bit for mum, a bit for dad and plenty for the kids. It looks incredible and the action early on in equal proportion to important narrative building. The story is always as important as the action in these movies. But the critics didn’t like it and it managed just 55% approval rating on rottentomatos to its website user’s superior 76% approval rating. I go with the later, the people that matter. Films should be made for the public, not middle aged white middle-class male critics. It is way better than 55%. As Mark Kermode put it – ‘Some films make you wish you were 12 again so you could appreciate them as they deserve’.
Admittedly the CGI action spirals out of control towards the end of the movie as Superman and General Zod’s crew have an insane fist fight amongst Manhattans skyscrapers and maybe one sugar rush too many for Snyder. I enjoyed the more rugged and roar Andrew Carvill’s performance as our hero and always felt the caped crusaders in the 1980s and 1990s were far too effeminate to take seriously. With film two in production it looks like this franchise will run some more. CGI, of course, has enabled the comic book genre to explode into huge profits for Hollywood as pretty much anything is possible on screen, producing extremely thrilling and visual movies. That means they have to work and this one has fixed most of the issues from Superman Returns.
As this one is set in Manhattan (it’s always Manhattan with Comic Book movies) it can’t help echo some of those 911images with dust clouds and tumbling skyscrapers galore. That anxiety is still there for Americans. The comic book scene really took off in the 1960s because of that Cold War paranoia and no coincide it has rebooted post September 11.
The man of steel is the new rendition of the superman series. It stars Henry Cavill as Superman/(big plot spoiler) Clark Kent and Louis Lane played by Amy Adams. I haven''''t seen the previous superman movies as they never really appealed to me as the covers just looked dull and cheesy. The film failed to reach critical acclaim gaining only 56% from rotten tomatoes, I understand why it gained that rating as for me, If I could I would give it 3.5 stars out of 5.
The film begins with Russell Crowe as Jor-el (Superman''''s Dad) on the run at the end of their planet from General Zod (played by Michael Shannon) as he attempted to kill everyone on the planet before it explodes. He takes the life core and gives it to his son hoping he will bring hope to their race. Zod is then sent into the depths of space when he is meant to starve and die... from then on it becomes predictable like any other superhero film but it''''s still worth watching
As stated before this is the first superman film I have ever seen so what was good about it was it helped me to understand how superman came to be which I wouldn''''t have learnt in ''''Superman Returns". The things that are explained are as follows (that I remember from watching the DVD just before christmas) why he was the letter ''''S'''' on his superhero outfit , why people want to kill him, and how krypton came to end. I won''''t spoil it, the facts are on wikipedia and you can look them up but for those who want to watch it and find them out in context I shant reveal to you.
The baby Kal-el lands on planet earth and is raised under the name Clark Kent by his adopted parents Martha and Jonathan Kent. Throughout his childhood he is bullied and mistreated and sometimes is forced to do things he can''''t control. Left with so many questions he turns to his uncle jonathan asking questions not even he knows.He grows close to Jonathan who sadly dies. Then Clark becomes a news reporter, stumbling on an old Kyrpton wreck , able to speak to a digitalised version of his real father. Discovering his powers he becomes stronger and stronger only when the predictable happens, Zod returns, demanding that Kal-El surrenders himself or Louis Lane gets it... I mean it''''s very predictable the whole film.
The DVD comes in a very pretty ruby red casing which kind of attracted me to buying it. The special features are decent including ''''Krypton decoded'''' where the actor who played Clark (Aged 13) gives the low-down on all krypton tech. weapons and spaceships in the man of steel. There are other special features but they''''re not that great, I like the fact the DVD comes with a UV copy which you need a flixter account and the code. I think UV is the way forward as you can buy the DVD (at cheaper cost than buying on itunes) and then start watching the DVD, download it onto your device and then move rooms, still watching the film. I paid £7 for it on ebay new at the time where it was £10 everywhere else so it wasn''''t bad value for money but I wouldn''''t pay £7 for it now, more like £5 which I believe i''''ve seen it as in ASDA or any other supermarket
I would recommend this to all superhero action lovers. I have a friend who is obsessed with superman and loved this film but still said it''''s not the best and I agree, lots of missed oppertunities. I would say that the acting is very cold and I think I could have done better. I reckon that the film industry in general is spending too much money on Special Effects and not enough time shaping characters and relationships which is a shame as I like Russel Crowe and Laurence Fishburne (Clarks Boss) but not enough thought was played in draining emotions from characters. Also come on, he''''s superman stop acting emotionless its not a good thing. 3.75/5
For 75 solid years This well loved superhero is still going strong... but was the movie as good as it could have been?
Well if like me you are a Marvel or DC fanatic you would know everything and anything about the superhero's...
In my opinion i think Zack Snyder's take on the new Man of steel was rather disappointing. It seems the new movies on superheros are turning a bit to the dark side to make it more interesting but seems to be failing in some aspects.
Where was the all time favorite theme tune?? Or the Phone booth change and The constant chase for Reporter Lois Lane??
The story of Man of steel is the re-take of Christopher Reeves movies "Superman, Superman II, Superman III and Superan IV. The film covers the origins of Clark Kent/Kal-El following the character in infancy as he flies through the universe and makes his way to Earth after escaping as a baby from his dying world Krypton.
Kal-El's Earth parents, Mr. & Mrs. Ken adopt and raise the baby as Clark after his shuttle crashes into their Barn. Hoping that one day they would understand how the Clark had crashed to earth. Kal-El after years of wondering why he was on earth, he finally discovers his true purpose when Earth is "visited" by General Zod the former military leader of Krypton and one of few survivors who seeks to destroy Earth and rebuild Krypton in it's place..
The fight scene between the two krypton's is probably the only high point during the Movie in which you see General Zod and Superman flying at each other, throwing stuff, and bashing into things and as always Superman saving the innocent lives of the humans on earth. The action during this fight scene is Genius! The art of it was well thought and very well acted.
This pretty much sums up the whole movie and so little words As usual Superman being the Super Hero Saves the day (just about) and everyone ( or those who survived) lives happily ever after...
The movie isn't as good as i could have been, When i went to the cinema I was expecting a movie that would leave me wanting more and yet i was set up for just a re make of what has happened before with just a touch of "darkness" put in. Luckily on a high point the Fight scene as i previously mentioned kept me watching it and somewhat helping it scrape a 3 star from me. Another high point being some strong actors/actress's in the movie. Without the likes of Russel Crowe, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon and Henry Cavill I think the movie would have just been a flop.
Henry Cavill = Superman/ Kal-El
Amy Adams = Lois Lane
Michael Shannon = General Zod
Russel Crowe = Jor-El
Kevin Costner = Jonathan Kent
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written By: Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer
Movie rating: PG 13
Running Time: 2hrs 23min
Genre: Action&Adventure, Science Fiction, fantasy
Cinema Release: 14/6/2013
DVD Release: 2/12/2013
Movie income : £291M
Superman films needed a revival. The great Christopher Reeve donned the pants outside the trousers and made an already iconic hero even more iconic, but when Brandon Routh became the superhuman from the planet Krypton it was a big flop. Merely retelling a story just wasn't going to cut it, and Kevin Spacey Lex Luthor was woefully out of sorts.
So, when Zack Snyder took the helm for this reboot and Brit Henry Cavill was cast to wear the tight fitting suit, things looked a bit interesting; as did they when a back story was in the offing. Much has been told about Kal-El and Jor-El and any other 'Els' stemming from the planet. In all honesty, something different was needed, and a back story was probably the best option. The probability of 3D being added to the mix, as well as the evil Zod coming back into the fray all added to positive indicators, and with Snyder at the helm, surely this was going to be a huge blockbuster.
Financially it was a great success, raking in three times as much money as it cost to make, and naturally the profits are still coming in as the funds from the DVD sales and merchandise keep coming. But in reality, I was rather disappointed by the film. The back story itself is pretty well delivered, with events on Krypton actually well covered, Russell Crowe redeeming the lack of singing prowess in Les Miserables by providing a rather convincing father to Superman before relinquishing the paternal reins to Kevin Costner on Earth. The events there were interesting, but once the action transferred to Earth it was back to the same old stuff, rehashing everything we've already seen. It the series of films weren't enough, then the TV series Smallville surely answered all questions. Yet the film felt it necessary to rehash a lot of this, and I got bored.
If I drifted off during some of these bits, then the action soon brought me back. Snyder's action sequences are arguably the stuff of legend. From 300 to Watchmen, his visuals have lent considerable power to stories, and this is no exception. In a world where Superman has virtually no equal, it is refreshing to get someone from his home planet who has equal levels of power, in the form of villain Zod. I did feel that the acting could have been much better, but the action elements were impressive. The special effects and set design teams should take a bow, and the scene where Superman flies directly upwards towards his target as fast as he can (won't spoil why) is breathtakingly shot, and one of the more memorable scenes I saw in film in 2013.
The entertainment factor is generally very high throughout the film. I was disappointed that Lois Lane, and the usual suspects at the Daily Planet, are all included to the extent that they are. It precludes a need to devote a certain amount of screen time to them, which inevitably detracts from the main plot arc of the reestablishment of the planet Krypton after the world it inhabits becomes terminal. This is set up early on in the film, with the opening sequences showing the advanced civilization that they are; and when we see Laurence Fishburne and Amy Adams as familiar characters running through New York dodging falling buildings, there's no real empathy because I was anxious to get back to other events - it seemed as if they were included because someone thought they probably should be.
I can hope (in vain I suppose) that pointless characters are not included in the sequel which is set to star Ben Affleck as Batman, although the inevitability of their inclusion and therefore the futility of what I'm hoping are all but done. The question is how Lois and Robin get on...
The latest live-action adaptation of Superman released on the 75th anniversary of that comic, managed to gross three times its budget upon release.. Zack Snyder directs the 143 minute epic, whichis a sloppy convoluted and complicated mess that still manages to entertain every step of the way. Henry Cavill stars as the title character as we see his origin story on Krypton has a baby and blasted off to small-town Kansas where he becomes the most powerful humanoid on the planet. While I'm not a fan of all American superheroes being played by English actors, Cavill does a great job in the title role, perfectly balancing that seriousness and sly likability.
Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Christopher Maloney, Richard Schiff, and Laurence Fishbourne, round out the gigantic supporting cast. Most of which turn in fine performances except for Amy Adams who felt out of place in most scenes and appears later is a convenient love interest just because the plot requires it. The action-packed cold open gives us explosive glimpses at Krypton, Superman's home world, as it's ravaged by disastrous earthquakes from within. And it's in these scenes that we get to see Michael Shannon's intense determination to save the planet and later, his motivation on becoming the villain, in a role he absolutely nails.
The PG rated film keeps itself emotionally grounded as it balances between flashbacks of a young Clark Kent dealing with childhood struggles, and Cavill, dealing with superhero powers in modern day society. While Costner warns his adopted space baby: "People are afraid of what they don't understand"; Crow is meanwhile encouraging his son to use his force for good and represent an ideal. It is this interplay between the two father figures that gives audiences a better understanding of the Superman character than ever before. So when the evil Michael Shannon arrives on Earth to capture Supermen dead or alive, or destroy Earth in the process, you appreciate the stakes that much more.
While I have nothing against Hans Zimmer's score, John Williams's is iconic theme is sorely missing from this picture. When the ignorant US military foolishly captures the title character, he coyly says in a powerful interrogation scene: "Let's put our cards on the table" to clearly indicate that he is cooperating, not by force but because he's just polite. And apparently that's why we all love the Man of Steel--he's the ideal embodiment of heroism. But is it necessary that every single fistfight he gets into has to destroy a building in the process?
The biggest issue I had with this movie is the fact that during the climax Superman and Zod destroy every building and structure in Metropolis. It is neglectful actions likely result in the death of hundreds of thousands of people. It is something that is never addressed in the film and not anything audiences can ignore. Although he could have eased up a bit on the annoying product placement, director Zack Snyder does a good job of intensifying these ridiculous fights with quick camera moves and loud sound effects. The slowly paced action film crescendos into a loud and visual orgy. The special effects here are incredible but the action sequences are so far removed from reality, they are devoid of tension or dramatic elements. They become nothing more than meaningless cartoon fights--you have two super mortals battling each other between a rock and a hard place, neither of them can defeat each other so what is the point? And when the flying spandex-wearing aliens aren't killing each other, the movie is far too serious for its own good. It could definitely use the Marvel treatment and just wrote a few jokes here and there.
I definitely enjoyed any sequence where the military was trying to cooperate with Superman. The dialogue there was really interesting and fun to watch unfold. But a secondary plot running parallel to the climax involving Daily Planet workers trying to outrun falling buildings, did absolutely nothing for me. I don't know who they were or why should care about them. I'd be totally fine watching them get crushed by concrete. Assembled like a delicate house of cards, this movie collapses under intense scrutiny. Dozens of plot holes and contrived conveniences ruin this movie if you actually look close enough. But if you just lay back and let the empty Hollywood fluff wash over you, this is a supremely entertaining and totally enjoyable movie for all fans a superhero films and action movies. A commendable and interesting reboot but this is easily the grittiest and most somber picture in the franchise.
I won't have issue watching it again but there was a lot of untapped potential here and I hope they go in a lighter direction for follow-up installments. Man of Steel: excessively violent, but emotionally compelling. There were parts of this movie I liked and parts I hated. At the end of the day though, I left the cinema with a smile on my face and that's all you can really ask for.
I have always found superman a bit lame as a super hero. In every film, cartoon, comic, story or book, its always roughly the same story. Superman flies in, takes a beating without flinching, someone takes out some kryptonite and suddenly he is cowering, he fights through the pain and wins. Every... Single... time...
Ok the original superman film was good, but since then can anyone really recommend any superman related stories that were any good? Truly unmissible? Smallville was basically just superman as a teenager with possibly the least threatening lex luthor ever, and the second, third and fourth original superman films were terrible. When they tried to reboot the film series with the "old" new superman, it was honestly one of the worst films I had ever seen.
So when I went to the cinema to watch this, honestly I was not expecting much, I thought superman would fly in, lots of CGI bullets, missiles etc would slam into him harmlessly, someone will grab a green bit of kryptonight, and so on...
How wrong I was...
This film is just epic.
Ok this film story has been told before (superman 2 i believe? Might need correcting on that), but basically this story starts early than any other superman film I have seen. It shows the destruction of krypton, its the first film that I can recall where you see why krypton falls apart (maybe it isn't entirely accurate, I have never really read the comics in great detail, but who cares, its still awesome), you see why Krypton banished the army generals, who in turn come back to plague superman on earth. You do also see the general struggle of superman growing up, it has to be said, but considering this film will probably have a sequel, I would rather they got it all out the way in this film, than come back to it. You also get a hint as to why superman has his powers (without meaning to ruin it, basically its to do with earth's atmosphere), and you understand what the "superman" logo means (again this might not be accurate).
SPOILER ALERT OVER
Couple this amazing plot with some genuinely amazing CGI, hard hitting action, good acting, and some seriously cool looking weapons, gadgets, spaceships and goodness only knows what next, superman is officially no longer a kids film, or some lame guy who can fly but can't work out which order to put his trousers and underwear on. He is now a fully fledged hero, I have to give this film 5/5, I am a massive fan of superhero films (my favourite films include Avengers, batman, iron man, the usual crop), and honestly I thought this would be lame... but my goodness it rocks!
When I first heard they were making a reboot of Superman, I was understandably worried. Superman Returns was...okay ...but not great with a sterling performance put in by Brandon Roth, unfortunately let down by a weak and wishy-washy storyline.
Then I heard Zach Snyder was doing it and suddenly I felt better about the whole thing!
Despite his films getting mixed and varying reviews, and Man Of Steel is no different in that regard, I like Zach Snyder. I loved the Dawn Of The Dead remake, adored Watchmen and thought Sucker Punch was highly under-rated by all - many just looking at the exploitation of the female characters as they were all dressed in male-fantasy attire and forgetting or ignoring how clever the story-line actually was in the way it manipulated the viewer.
Like I say, Man Of Steel has gotten very mixed reviews, but I liked it.
It starts, as all Superman movies should, with the destruction of Krypton. Jor-El fears for his son so puts him in a spaceship bound for Earth with all of Krypton's accumulated knowledge. General Zod, in the process of leading a rebel uprising against the Kryptonian government, swears to track down Kal-El and find him no matter what. Shortly after however, he is arrested and put in the Phantom Zone for crimes against Krypton.
The film then jumps to an adult Clark Kent who has become a drifter and wanders from town to town hiding his super-powers. Through flash-backs, which are very cleverly and effectively done I thought, we get to see his past and iconic scenes from his childhood. Clark's father is played, with great aplomb, by Kevin Costner and it is he that teaches Clark the importance of staying beneath the radar. For he exposes himself, Jonathon Kent believes that the people will treat him like some kind of freak.
When a strange construction is discovered in the Antarctic, Clark realises this could be the key to finding out exactly who he is other than the fact that he fell from space. Through the Fortress of Solitude, which all know is Superman's secret lair, Clark is able to come in contact with a holographic interactive version of his father who explains his past.
Meanwhile, General Zod comes to Earth finally, after escaping the Phantom Zone, and holds the Earth to ransom until its people give up Kal-El. Clark is forced to come out and takes on the mighty General Zod as Earth's protector.
Cue explosive and super-powered fight scenes galore!
A lot of criticism has been levied at this film, not all of it, to my mind, justified. People talk about how quickly Zod adjusts to Earth's environment compared to Clark but then Clark was a small child and much more vulnerable to the changes. To me, this then is a small anachronism.
Others comment on the lackluster performances. Again, I argue that everyone here is very well cast from Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, hell if they can make Nick Fury black- why not Perry, and Amy Adams as Lois. Russell Crowe is very Gladiator as Jor-El but that is my only thought on the matter. The rest of the cast work stupendously well I thought.
My concern - during the fight scenes there is little regard for human life. Superman is supposed to be Earth's savior but then smashes through buildings with little regard for civilian casualties. Granted he is caught up in the moment and is given little chance to think but Metropolis is treated to about five or six 9/11's in this film with little regard as to any consequences.
Others belittle the ending which I shall not give away. I again dispute this and think it is a very fitting final act that shows General Zod's ruthlessness for what it is.
This film is not perfect or totally unflawed by any means but it is the best Superman reboot to date.
I was overly disappointed with The Dark Knight Returns, though I enjoyed Batman Begins, and can only hope that any future sequels to Man Of Steel (Batman vs Superman looks set to be the next one) improve rather than ruin what looks to be D.C's most highly anticipated franchise yet.
Like I say, I like this and thought it brilliant in more ways than most people it seems but then it is up to you to make your own mind up. Personally I don't think it could've been done better but then that's just me!
Whilst I've never been much of a fan of superheroes, I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Superman. Not because I am actually Superman - although I do have dark hair, wear glasses and no-one has ever seen me and Superman in the same room - but because the first film Superman, the late Christopher Reeve, shared my birthday. I'm also quite a fan of Christopher Nolan's work, especially his hugely successful "Dark Knight" trilogy, so knowing he was attached to this project gave me hope for its success.
As origin stories goes, this starts right at the beginning, with Superman's birth. Krypton is on the brink of destruction, with mining having ravaged the core of the planet and left it on the brink of implosion. Knowing that the planet is doomed, Jor-El and his wife Lara have gone against the rules and had a baby born naturally. To save the planet and their race, Jor-El steals the Codex, which contains the imprint of their race, and defies General Zod to send their son and the Codex to another world. General Zod kills Jor-El and promises Lara that he will find the boy and reclaim the Codex.
Kal-El, as the child is called, finds a home on Earth, but the atmosphere affects him in strange ways and gives him extra strength. He struggles to hide this and sometimes his powers overwhelm him and at others he can't fight off the desire to help people, even though he is supposed to be keeping his extra strength under wraps. One day, his adopted father shows him something of where he came from and then, on hearing about a strange object hidden in the ice at the North Pole, he finally meets his real father, at least in hologram. He has been found out by journalist Lois Lane, who tries to publish what she has seen, but is refused by her publisher, so she sets out to find this man, interrupted along the way by General Zod, who has also managed to track him down to Earth.
A large part of the trouble I had with "Man of Steel" is that the pacing was so uneven. The opening sequences leading to the destruction of Krypton were useful for setting up the film, but didn't need to last nearly as long as they did. By contrast, we see so little of Kal-El, or Clark Kent as he is known at that point, on Earth that his transformation into Superman is so rushed as to be barely believable. The film gave us some interesting points, such as how he came to be so powerful and why it is so important that he keeps his powers hidden, but they touched upon them so briefly that the spark if interest these ideas ignited sputtered out before it could burst into flame. Given how many lesser ideas were given so much screen time, the lack of follow through on what I felt were the more interesting ideas was disappointing.
Ultimately, this is the fault of the story rather than the director, which seems to spend too much time focussing on Kal-El's origins and too little focussing on Clark Kent's. Indeed, for much of the film, Superman seems to be something of a background character, with General Zod and even Lois Lane appearing to be more significant characters. Even when Superman's moment does arrive, he seems to lack a certain strength of character, coming across as slightly indecisive and ineffectual, making it harder to believe that this is the person who will save the planet and, even less so that he would suddenly come up with the idea of how to do it. Clark Kent and Superman prove to be far too similar for it to be believable that one is a super hero.
I also found the general mood of the film to be a little too dark for my tastes. Perhaps I am influenced by growing up with the original "Superman" films, which were brighter in tone and colour. Whilst this dark feel worked perfectly for the Batman reboot trilogy, where Batman was dealing with the underworld aspects of Gotham City, it was less effective in a far more real world setting in modern day America. It's as if both writer David Goyer and direct Zack Snyder have looked at the success of previous works, The Dark Knight trilogy and "300" and "Watchmen" respectively, and tried to match that dark, sometimes almost monochromatic feel of those films. It worked there, but it simply didn't feel quite right for Superman.
The set pieces were also quite weak and largely repetitive, as well as being rather contrived. The fights between General Zod and Superman followed similar themes or bodies being thrown at large buildings and either passing straight through them in a shower of breaking glass or knocking them down completely. In another poor act of pacing, General Zod adapted to Earth far more quickly than Kal-El, with no reason given for why things should affect him so differently and making it seem like a plot device to speed things up after wasting too much time elsewhere. The method that General Zod intended to use to destroy Earth offered a fairly unusual effect, but never gave the feeling of any real threat, as we only saw it damage buildings and inanimate object, so the risk to the people was seemingly minimised, which takes some of the excitement away from the film.
That said, it did allow for some pretty impressive special effects and these were well done. Whilst flying objects and people and buildings being damaged and destroyed are nothing new, the sheer volume of special effects shots that this film would have demanded could result in errors purely by the law of averages, but there was nothing I spotted as sticking out by being particularly badly done. A little more disappointing were the costumes which, particularly for the Krypton sequences, seemed to offer little more than variations on body armour, which has been seen so many times before. The updated Superman outfit was nicely done, but there is little room for experimentation in such an iconic costume.
The acting performances also struck me as being a little patchy. Amy Adams was a decent choice to play Lois Lane as she has the perfect look for a woman who lives by her wits and intelligence and isn't so stunningly beautiful that it becomes a distraction from believing that. I thought Kevin Costner's understated performance as Jonathan Kent was impressive as well, evoking the father character he played in "Field of Dreams" and he was ably supported by Diane Lane as Martha Kent, the two making a decent partnership for the brief time the story allowed them to. I thought Michael Shannon had the right look for General Zod, being able to look menacing enough and having a decent voice for the role.
I was far less convinced by Henry Cavill as Superman. He didn't play the Clark Kent character too badly when he was simply trying to blend, but seemed out of his depth as Superman and when Clark Kent was trying to do something impressive. I wasn't convinced by the chemistry between him and Amy Adams and he didn't seem to take command of the role at any point. Russell Crowe as Jor-El seemed rather wooden, although the script didn't give him anything like the decent speeches he had in "Gladiator", which may have caused some of that. It was also sad to see Laurence Fishburne pushed so far into the background as Lois Lane's boss Perry White, not that his performance merited a more senior role, and to see the way his figure has expanded in recent years. Oh, Morpheus, how did it go so wrong?
"Man of Steel" was a disappointment in almost every way. As a Superhero film, it didn't work because the Superhero was portrayed so ineffectually. As a destruction of Earth film it didn't work because there was no feeling of peril. It didn't work as an action film because there was so little action and what there was become repetitive and ineffective and it didn't work as an origins film as Superman had effectively two separate origins and only one of them was explored in a way that was satisfactory. It was too dark, too contrived and there weren't any really quotable lines coming out of it. On top of all this it was also, quite simply, way too long and badly paced. To see how much can be achieved in a superhero film that runs for just short of 2 ½ hours, you just need to look at "Avengers Assemble", which had loads more action and was far funnier and more quotable. Maybe a film that good was always going to leave "Man of Steel" with a tough act to follow, but it failed to give the appearance of even trying to live up to that standard. Definitely one to wait to be shown on a TV channel you already pay for, whether that's Sky Movies or terrestrial.
*Film only review-there are some small spoilers so beware*
Man of Steel begins on Krypton, showing the birth of Kal-El (Henry Cavill) and how he ended up in Smallville, Kansas. He must adjust to life on Earth with super powers whilst appearing as a regular farm boy. His Krypton heritage causes problems for Earth as General Zod (Michael Shannon) comes looking for Kal-El.
Directed by Zack Snyder (Watchmen), written by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight).
Man of Steel is another attempt to reboot the Superman franchise after the Brandon Routh led Superman Returns failed to connect with viewers. Although I haven't read the comic books, I grew up watching Lois and Clark and then Smallville so I know the story and I kind of expect it to be told in a certain way. Of course everyone has a different view on it and wants to reinterpret the source material, but for me Man of Steel messed up.
The opening half hour of the movie is great, opening on Krypton was a good move and with the strong cast it has a big impact. Then the film gets lost, we get flashbacks to a young Clark Kent discovering his abilities as well as seeing a grown up Kent do bit jobs as he tries to stay anonymous. The problem with this section, which lasts about an hour, is that there is no plot. Things are happening on screen but there doesn't seem to be any reason behind it. Man of Steel lacks direction in the middle section, which is too long to be forgivable. When Zod reappears the writers pick up the story line that they started with, which is then repeated a couple of times just in case you had forgotten what the point in all this was.
I don't mind that there was no Lex Luthor (look out for a LexCorp tanker being thrown about), I like the Zod and Jor-El (Russell Crowe) storyline but for a long film it didn't half meander about. This movie is very much about Kal-El not Clark Kent, the flashbacks to childhood are all the Kent we see. For me, Superman is about both, not one nor the other. I didn't like the fact that Clark wasn't around. Another problem is how forced the relationship between Kal-El and Lois Lane (Amy Adams) was; we're supposed to buy into an intense relationship despite the small amount of time the two characters spend together.
Henry Cavill (Stardust) certainly looks the part but he is lacking the charisma to play such an iconic role. Much like Routh, Cavill struggles to embody Superman the way that Christopher Reeve did or indeed as well as their small screen counterparts did. The writers have tried to go for the emotional side of Superman, yet the lead can't carry it. The supporting cast is full of big names, all of whom make an impact despite relatively little screen time.
I love Amy Adams (Junebug) but she doesn't seem quite right as Lois Lane. She has the toughness and wit to carry it off but the spark wasn't there, that may be down to the forced relationship between Lois and Kal-El which doesn't give her a whole lot to work on. If the movie had a stronger structure, the supporting characters may gel better with the lead.
Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) was meant to play a bad guy; he has the look and the semi-robotic voice to portray such a strong character as Zod. He handles the role well, commanding your attention in his scenes. Shannon even takes the attention away from Russell Crowe (who once again has a questionable accent).
I would have liked to see Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) play a bigger part in the film, but without Clark Kent there was a limit to Perry White's possible screen time. There was so much talent in the film yet it all went a little Hulk-smash and lost its direction.
Superman's ability to fly was explored to its fullest; I got a little tired of seeing Zod and Kal-El flying into each other. Man of Steel does look amazing and as a lover of great cinematography I really did enjoy that aspect of the film but it also needed some form of story throughout the film. Most people give Man of Steel great reviews so maybe it is just me who didn't love it. See it and make up your own mind, at the very least you will see a beautiful film. Shame about the middle section.
Henry Cavill - Clark Kent / Kal-El
Amy Adams - Lois Lane
Michael Shannon - General Zod
Diane Lane - Martha Kent
Russell Crowe - Jor-El
Antje Traue - Faora-Ul
Kevin Costner - Jonathan Kent
Laurence Fishburne - Perry White
Also posted on ciao under the username shabbating
When the eugenic dystopia planet Krypton faces disaster and destruction through over exploitation of their natural resources, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) decide to save their infant son Kal-El by placing him in a rocket ship bound for a stable planet known as Earth where he lands in Kansas and is raised as a human by Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane). The Earth's sun imbues Kal-El's Kryptonian physiology with incredible powers and abilities but also triggers fear, confusion and alienation. The adult Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) keeps his powers a secret and drifts north, looking for clues about his identity. They may reside in an ancient alien spaceship the military is investigating in the Arctic but this also draws a determined and curious journalist named Lois Lane (Amy Adams). Krypton was in the midst of a military coup by General Zod (Michael Shannon) but when Zod and his loyal followers were banished to the Phantom Zone for their crimes the destruction of their planet released them. The ancient Kryptonian spaceship in the Arctic now attracts the attention of Zod and his army, who have been looking for the historic space colonies of their former world but finding only ruins. Zod believes that Kal-El has a genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race in his DNA and travels to Earth where he demands that humanity hand him over or face devastating consequences. Clark must now face up to his true destiny - that of Superman, protector of the human race...
Man of Steel has some problems but this is a bold retooling of the character away from the Donnerverse and had to be done sooner or later. Think of this as a necessary jumping off point for what will hopefully be a new cinematic DC universe with superior sequels and that long planned Justice League film. Those that are inclined to look will spy several DC easter eggs to anticipate future characters. The David Goyer script - which borrows here and there from the comics, most notably from John Byrne and Mark Waid - is a trifle clunky at times and also maybe takes itself a little bit too seriously. You can count the jokes in this film on one hand and it's a slight shame there weren't more because the audience laughed at all of them and seemed to enjoy the moments of levity. Goyer's "genetic codex" McGuffin is so McGuffin it should be on display at the McGuffin museum but I suppose it serves its purpose. Some of the ideas in the screenplay are interesting and welcome though. I liked the way they made Krypton (shades of the birthing pods from The Matrix) a planet of eugenics where people are created to fufil set roles, be it army generals, scientists etc. Because Kal-El is the rare result of a natural birth it further positions him as the ultimate outsider and also makes him special. This also supplies the motivation for Zod. He isn't a pure villain in a sense but merely carrying out his genetic programming - the survival of the Kryptonian race.
Krypton no longer has the ice glazed crystalline serenity of the Donner films and is now HR Giger meets Dune meets Chronicles of Riddick. The Kryptonians have creepy nanotech sculptural technology and a fondness for brown colour schemes. One obvious problem with any Superman film is that the origin story is more or less off limits because you can't compete with Richard Donner's Norman Rockwell rendition. Their way around this is to present scenes of Clark growing up as flashbacks. We see him terrified by the onset of his x-ray vision at school (this is an arresting scene) and get a number of moments with young Clark and Kevin Costner's Jonathan Kent. This shorthand device is something that comics use all the time but it's somewhat ungainly in the film and makes the pacing seem a little off at times. Costner's Pa Kent is trying to protect his adopted son and doesn't want him to reveal his powers until such day as the world might be ready. I'm not sure that Goyer or Costner ever quite work out what exactly they want Jonathan Kent to be but I think Costner gives Man of Steel some heart and has the single most moving line in the film. Diane Lane is fine as a slightly kooky Ma Kent although maybe a bit too young and attractive for the part. Even with a few fake liver spots she still looks like a former supermodel. This is by far the most serious Superman film to date and eschews the camp but despite the presence of Christopher Nolan as producer it never feels as self-important or bleak as the Dark Knight series.
Man of Steel is rather bonkers at times (Russell Crowe riding that giant dragon fly thing was a bit too much Avatar for me) but I liked the sense of scope - a science-fiction comic book spectacular - and willingness to try something new. It might have been less well received upon release but I think Man of Steel is going to have a much longer shelf life than Bryan Singer's fanboy reviled Superman Returns simply because it's a much bigger and stranger film with much more action and mayhem. You find yourself curious to see how further viewings will feel because there is so much to take in. The surfeit of action in the second half of Man of Steel is cited as one of its biggest weaknesses but I really didn't have a major problem with this myself and once it got going the film never felt draggy or overlong. If I had a gripe it would be that director Zack Snyder doesn't nail the flying sequences. He shoots in flight Superman as a small wobbling object up ahead - the idea presumably that Superman would be hard to capture in flight so this would feel more realistic. It doesn't really work. I did love though the shots of Superman hovering in the air as he descends (so amazingly comic book) and the fluttering CGI cape is a thing of wonder. There is a fantastic moment in the film where Superman is slammed into a bank vault by Zod's second in command Faora (Antje Traue) and the way this is composed and delivered by Snyder is perfection.
I loved the first fight between Superman and the Kryptonians in Smallville because it was like the Superman v Doomsday battle from the comics brought to life in live action. Super-powered beings crashing through petrol stations, diners and the bric a brac of small town America. An interesting idea here is having Lois Lane aware of Superman's identity early on having been compelled to investigate stories about a mysterious stranger who saves people in incredible feats of heroism and then vanishes. You can't accuse this Lois of being fooled by a pair of glasses. Many of the reviews I encountered lamented the lack of chemistry between Cavill and Adams but I would disagree with this and can see the actors working well together in sequels. British actor Henry Cavill has features so chiseled and handsome he looks like he should be in a comic himself and proves to be a commanding and impressive Superman once in costume. Brandon Routh wouldn't last five minutes with Cavill's Supes. It's a shame that he doesn't get an awful to do as Clark Kent here except frown and look worried because Cavill has a very charming smile and a likeable screen presence. I look forward to seeing more of his Clark in Daily Planet mode in the next film.
Michael Shannon (who is made up to look very Boris Karloff) is also effective as Zod and I liked the use of solid supporting actors like West Wing star Christopher Meloni and gravel voiced Diagnosis Murder veteran Harry Lennix. Dylan Sprayberry and Cooper Timberline are also well cast as the young Clark in the flashback scenes. Russell Crowe is a bit hammy as Jor-El but to be fair to the actor he does seem to be lumbered with an awful lot of exposition to deliver. The score by Hans Zimmer is somewhat one-note and could have done with a lighter touch at times. He has a great new "superhero" theme which worked superbly in the trailers but it only (save for the end credits) seemed to feature a few times in the actual film. You do unavoidably find yourself pining for John Williams now and again. On the whole I enjoyed Man of Steel and look forward to watching this on the small screen in the future. The pacing of the first half and too much exposition (example - we have "terraforming" explained to us by about three different characters) makes it clunky at times and I would have liked a more colourful visual aesthetic and more humour in places but I think this is certainly on a par with most of the Marvel films and at the very least serves as a solid base for what hopefully will be an enjoyable new series.
Superman has been one of those superheroes who has eluded me, although being maybe one of the most famous fictional characters, maybe due to my own ignorance or simply poor work by film and media creators, what I know very little about the guy, so I came into "Man of Steel" with a fresh mind as the only exposer I have had to Superman was from the TV series "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" which was broadcast on the BBC in the 2000's, and I fairly enjoyed it, although now I hear that the story wasn't true to any comics and they made a lot of it up.
The films have to elude me as I have not seen any Superman films prior to going the Man of Steel, so even though I hear that they are all terrible and don't do Superman any justice. So I come into the cinema with a fresh mind on this film.
This film (unlike many others I hear) starts off explaining the story of what happened on Krypton, Superman's home plant, the short version being due to excessive use of the planets natural resources, the planet on the verge of exploding and the planets official authorities have a conflict of interest on who is going to survive and by what means. General Zod takes the role of the Antagonist in the story as his interest's conflict with that of Kal-El (Superman), father who foresees the troubles and sends his son on a spaceship to Earth to the dismay of General Zod.
This part of the story was quite interesting, as I knew very little about Superman, I was under the impression that Kal-El was simply sent to earth due to the destruction of his planet and was the last of his kind, I didn't know the whole backstory of what occurred as it happens there is a rich backstory behind Superman's existence and his place on Earth.
The rest of the film varies between pre-teen, teenage and adult Clark as he grows up and finds his place on Earth and learns about his powers on Earth. Which unlike I thought aren't a naturally occurring this, but in fact a "side effect" of being Earth. Until he discovers a spaceship buried in ice and being investigated by the American government.
This was my favourite part of the film as it shows that "Superman" is in fact just a person lost on our planet trying to discover who he is. Man of Steel is more about Superman discovering who he is and his role on Earth.
The final part and what seemed like the longest, is when General Zod comes to Earth to find Kal-El and take over the Earth turning it into the new Krypton, which Kal-El doesn't approve off and stands with the human race, which causes a long battle gains General Zods forces.
This is although seems necessary in a Superhero film, seems the most long winded part of the film as Superman battles Zod's forces for what seems like an hour (maybe it was), with a lot of vehicles and buildings going down using very well done special effects, however an awful lot of it making the film seem repetitive, I am all for action scenes but what's wrong with taking a quick break with a side story?
Overall, the story was great, allowing you to really get to know Superman; however the last part of the film seemed really longwinded and tiring, I can't help but think that if they took out half of the fighting and the building massacres, it would have cost them a considerable amount less and it would have been a really good and throughout interesting film.
For a movie based on one of the most famous Superheroes, you'd think that some major actors would get involved. However the only large names involved would be Russell Crowe who played Jor-El (Superman's real father), and did a great job may I add. As well as Kevin Costner whose name seems to be very familiar even though I have seen but one of his other films and he plays Jonathon Kent (Superman's/Clark Kents adoptive father). All other acting roles are filled with experience big screen actors but no names of which I've taken note of before. The most notable actor here being Henry Cavill best known for his role in "The Tudors" and a very much British actor, who really gave himself justice in playing Superman, well casted and seems to belong in the part. There are also other equally well done roles by Amy Adams playing Lois Lane and Michael Shannon playing General Zod.
The film seems to have cast few actors which allows the attention to be primarily on Superman and the main storyline, which was all good and well until they spent the rest of the budget on Visual Effects, the core of which went to creating collapsing building.
I was quite shocked to see how many visual effects artists where listed in the credits for this film!
As I mentioned before, the visual effects was the priority within the budget and it was spent quite well. Although I wasn't able to watch it in 3D, I've heard good things from numerous sources and with it in mind, the 2D version showed lots of scenes which 3D would be effective, especially in the final bit of the film with the epic battle. If you're planning to see it in the cinema, I would highly recommend going for the 3D option, as it would make the film both interesting with the story and a visual experience in the final moments.
Overall it was a film which was meant to be seen in 3D. Although containing some great story elements which allows audience with no knowledge of the history of Superman (like myself) to enjoy it as well as dedicated fans to see a Superman film which isn't terrible and which sticks true to the comics.
I have finally seen the long awaited superman reboot Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder and produced by The Dark Knight trilogy's Christopher Nolan.
The movie opens with the dramatic sequence of the destruction of Krypton, a planet suffering from the exacerbation of natural resource exploitation. Stealing the ancient Krypton artifact called the Codex, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), in order to save his newborn son and the Krypton race, sends Kal-El to Earth. He is met by opposition from General Zod (Michael Shannon), who wishes to use the Codex to create a new Krypton and because of his treason, is banished into space just as Krypton is destroyed.
As a child, Clark Kent questions his identity and superhuman powers, bullied and feels like an outcast. Growing up, he uses his powers for good, but drawing too much attention to himself, is told by his Earth father Jonathan (Kevin Costner) to lay low as he does not believe the people of Earth are ready for his reveal yet. All grown up, Clark (Henry Cavill) goes on a quest to find out his past and his people, and meets journalist Lois Lane (Amy Adams), who he confides in.
General Zod finds Clark on Earth, wishing to retrieve the Codex and transform Earth into a new Krypton. Clark must decide which side he will be on and risks being an outcast if he was to reveal his identity.
The first thing to notice about the movie is the visual feast for the eyes. From the very beginning, scenes feel iconic and have a grandiose quality to them. I especially liked the zoom effects during intense action sequences which gave it a slick style, but felt it was slightly overused and instead made it very much more akin to a video game sequence.
Thematically, the movie was far more sci-fi than anticipated or suggested by the trailer. At times it reminded me of Prometheus, other times Star Trek and a particular scene involving a satellite very much made me think of Alfonso Cuaron's upcoming Gravity. This was advantageous for the beautiful imagery, but felt somewhat too 'out there' and lacked grounded-ness.
The father-son relationship aspect between Clark and Jonathon Kent was dealt with sufficiently with several emotional scenes, but contrastingly lacked with Jor-El. A deeper connection between the pair could have gave it more of a duality.
Having to deal with the origins part of Superman as well as bringing in a solid plot, the film was split pretty much equally into two halves. The pace of the movie was high speed at the beginning, and although lulled slightly during the origins part, was captivating. As soon as General Zod returned, the high octane sequences blurred into one and although climatic, lacked much plot or promise and I nearly fell asleep, only to be woken up by Lois' involvement with the ultimatum.
Although visually stunning, the action literally involved the two Kryptons flying and bashing into each other into buildings and causing more destruction than Zod had probably intended himself. The blurred explosive action just didn't do it for me- there was no pain, no drama, nothing. The closest the finale sequence got to having a heart was when an employee at the daily planet gets trapped by debris and sees death approach. No doubt this was the hand of Christopher Nolan.
When the fight scene is finally over and my attention restored, the ending was rather cheesy- and obviously so- and felt slightly off key compared to the rest of the movie. The closing scene was well done and left open for the surefire sequel, which will hopefully see a Lex Luthor or proper treatment of Lana Lang.
Russell Crowe- Jor-El
Henry Cavill- Clark Kent/ Kal-El
Amy Adams- Lois Lane
Michael Shannon- General Zod
Laurence Fishburne- Perry White
Also stars Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Christopher Meloni.
Relatively obscure Brit actor Henry Cavill was appropriately cast as Clark Kent and managed to portray a strong, regal persona, but I felt was upstaged by the young Clark Kent, played by Dylan Sprayberry. At times, Cavill inappropriately gave a smug but rather unimpressed look, which was slightly distracting. Nonetheless, he has the perfect look and build for the role and with practice will be sure to nail it.
Amy Adams was likeable but didn't manage to exude enough personality- only once did she really make an impression (at the beginning when she is introduced). Michael Shannon as General Zod shone as the aggressive, slightly demented and obsessed Krypton and definitely stood out.
Taking into account that this is a reboot and everything that is necessary for a reboot, 'Man of Steel' was a strong visually striking movie with many iconic scenes, appropriately handled for such an iconic character. Despite the bipolar split of the movie into origins and action/plot, both halves held their own and offered high octane, explosive and destructive action, that although blurred and painless, was exciting.
Undoubtedly a sequel will be fast tracked and hopefully now that the origins has been dealt with, the follow up will be pure adrenaline and iconic imagery with some dark themes and plot ultimatums as the strength of this movie lies in the themes of self discovery, father-soon relationships and the idea of hope. So long as Christopher Nolan is involved, what can go wrong?
After the disappointment of Superman Returns that gave very little of what audiences were really looking for, here comes another reboot that starts off a well-known superhero character story from scratch. And here is the kind of loud, bombastic action feature this definitive superhero really deserves.
Under the assured guidance of Zack Snyder ("300", "Watchmen" as well as the highly underrated "Sucker Punch" and "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole"), Man of Steel wastes no time in getting stuck in with spectacular action. Opening with the visually awe-inspiring planet Krypton that's about to self-destruct, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) dodges bombs and bullets, fights off coup-leading General Zod (Michael Shannon), to send off his baby son Kal-El to Earth away from all the chaos. Krypton is soon destroyed, and baby Superman safely crash-lands on our planet to be discovered and adopted by the Kents, Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha (Diane Lane).
Growing up as Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), he struggles to fit in with the rest of the world, difficulties he's often faced as a child, shown to the audience in several flashback sequences. He's faster, stronger, and just generally better than everyone else (x-ray vision, laser beams from his eyes etc), powers his adopted father fully accepts but is determined to keep hidden, as he wisely sees that the rest of the world isn't ready to embrace someone so different. Clark does eventually figure out his origins, his destiny, how he should be a hero blah blah blah (the rite of passage superhero talk remains the same), all of this explained to him by the memories of his real father who is now dead.
As can be expected for an origins story, there is a lot of set-up before the fun can really start. Having two important father figures is something Snyder plays around with; having two very strong actors, Costner in the flashbacks, Crowe in the present, give Clark the guidance he needs to become the saviour he's destined to be, and find his place in the world. There are particularly effective scenes involving both fathers, ones that contribute to successfully shaping an emotional arc within the story.
When telling the story of Clark, a lot is said and done around the character, but the man himself has frustratingly very little to say. Cavill is very good at reacting appropriately to the tons of lectures he's given by those who surround him, however he isn't given much to expand on. He has no trouble looking serious at every turn, and although there is an element of pain and loneliness in his expression stemming from being an outsider, not enough time is spent on Cavill to truly dig deep into the titular role. That said, he absolutely rocks the newly-designed, red-underwear-less (and therefore, much better) suit, and he fully embodies the physical stature of the Man of Steel.
Enter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and General Zod with his gang of powerful antagonists to really kick things off. Lois is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist investigatingthis mysterious and illusive superhero, and Zod lands on Earth to destroy it with his gigantic sci-fi spaceship. Both relatively important supporting players, but both thinly drawn. Adams is as likable as ever, and to her character's credit, she does play an important part in taking down the bad guy, but she lacks her own personality to stand for herself. There is definite spark between her and Superman, one that perhaps needs to be explored further in the future. Shannon has never had problems playing psychopathic maniacs before, and he comfortably pulls it off, and he's a villain of many intense words, full of big speeches and gestures, something that suits the actor well.
Most impressive however, is the film's firm grasp on the huge action sequences. Once they get going, there is no stopping them, and the scale at which everything is executed is a grand, magnificent one. Despite having Snyder behind the cameras, there are no extreme slow-motion captures, one of the director's previous trademarks. The final showdown isn't without some incredibly repetitive ideas (characters fly into each other, they rebound into buildings which subsequently get destroyed and knocked down, presumably killing thousands and thousands along with it - but this being a 12A feature, it kindly overlooks the collateral damage), and is perhaps reminiscent of Michael Bay's Transformers franchise, but the difference here is that it's incredibly easy to follow every step of the various fights. Snyder closely follows the spectacle and captures the many, many flights of Superman perfectly. He's not quite the invincible, omnipotent force - he has plenty of weaknesses and when up against the rebels from planet Krypton who have more experience when it comes to combat, Superman does often have his ass handed to him - most memorably by Faora-Ul (the ferocious Antje Traue playing the villain sidekick incredibly well).
Influenced by the success enjoyed by Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise, Snyder is very little interested in humour, and has turned this into a deathly serious entry, with hardly any light-hearted touch. Which is just as well, because the film doesn't have room for comedy. It's better to leave things the way they are, rather than trying to make awkward one-liners fit, especially when they have absolutely no bearing on the story whatsoever. Clark is on a very serious quest to uncover his identity, and anything inappropriate would have been a needless diversion.
All in all, he's back, and safe to say, for good. A sequel is under works, and we'll be glad to have him flying back to our screens. The producers have found a solid leading man who, given the appropriate room within the script, would be capable of a whole lot more. He and Lois still has plenty of stories to tell, as evidenced by the film's closing scenes, and with both Snyder and Cavill already showing interest, there's hope this could be the start of another excellent superhero franchise. Do we have too many superhero films on our screens lately? Perhaps: but there is no doubt a certain amount of fun to be had in films like this - and when done right, who can really complain?
With the comic book movie boom showing no signs of abating, it is time for the world's most iconic superhero to fly back onto the big screen. It has been seven years since the last son of Krypton graced cinemagoers with his presence, in the snore fest that was Superman Returns. This time around Warner Bros have decided to sever all ties with the Christopher Reeve flicks, we grew up with, giving us a fresh start via a reboot that retells the man of steel's origin. Eager to avoid another Green Lantern debacle, DC comics have brought in some big names to try and emulate the Hollywood success rivals Marvel are enjoying. Writer/producing duo David Goyer and Christopher Nolan are tasked with revitalizing Superman, much like they did for Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy. The question is, did they manage to pull it off or is the end result a stinker like a pair of dirty red undies?
When the movie begins you could be forgiven for thinking that the projectionist has mistakenly started to screen the latest Star Wars movie. The opening sequence is not set in Metropolis, but rather the planet Krypton - complete with alien creatures and technologically advanced starships. Due to a power crisis the citizens of Krypton have been forced to over-mine their world's core, which has condemned the planet to an irreversible global disaster that will wipe out all life. Angered by the politicians who have doomed Krypton, General Zod attempts to seize power. When his military coup is foiled he and his supporters are frozen in suspended animation and exiled off world on a prison ship. Amidst the turmoil scientific genius Jor-El uses the confusion to send his infant son to Earth, on a small pod, sparing him from Krypton's fate.
Fast forward several years and we see that the Kent family, who uncovered the crashed pod containing the infant, have adopted Jor-El's son and christened him Clark. All seems well until Zod and his small army appears on Earth after escaping their icy incarceration. Clearly the Kryptonians were not as smart as their flashy gizmos implied. Why didn't they use that cryogenic vessel to escape the destruction of their planet rather than waste it on housing a war criminal? Anyway, the arrival of Zod spells bad news for mankind as the general intends to terraform Earth into a new Krypton, even if it means wiping all of the globe's native life in the process. The only one who can stand against the invaders is Clark who has developed a plethora of superhuman powers thanks to Earth's lighter gravity and the sun's rays. The question is will he save his new home or abandon the humans who are fearful of spandex wearing aliens with a thing for capes.
Henry Cavill plays the lead role of Superman and it must be said that he certainly looks the part. His chiseled good looks, bulging biceps and six-pack make him the closest approximation to the comic book character we have ever seen in live action. Dialogue wise I think he could have been better, although I heard no complaints from the female members of the group I saw the movie with. They rated Cavill and the movie much higher than I did... surely the actor's physical blessings had no impact on their views. Superman's love interest Lois Lane is played by Amy Adams who some argue is the best rendition of the reporter to date (I however have a soft spot for Teri Hatcher, which is not influenced at all by her good looks... honest.) I thought Adams was adequate, but not to the standard set by animated versions of the character. I also found the chemistry between the leads to be lacking. I had to roll my eyes when the inevitable Hollywood kiss between the two happens. I saw no spark between the two aside from Supes saving her life on a constant basis. If that alone were a basis for love I would expect firefighters to get more action than porn stars.
From the supporting cast Michael Shannon plays Zod, who is a villain you can sympathize with, if not like. As someone bred to protect Krypton his motivation is there for all to see, even if his methods cannot be condoned. As a foil for Superman I couldn't take him too seriously as he seemed to get his butt kicked whenever he got into a scrap with someone. That's puzzling considering he was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier. Frankly I found his underling Faora (played by German actress Antje Traue) to be more menacing. Shannon delivers a competent performance, but fails to make the role his own. Years from now no one will associate him with the part unlike Terence Stamp's portrayal of the character. To this day people still quote his "kneel before Zod."
Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner play Superman's two father figures. Crowe gets my award for the best actor in the film as Jor-El. The film's thrilling opener shows that Crowe's action days are not behind him and unlike Marlon Brando, who played the part in the older movies, he cannot be accused of making a quick cameo for an easy paycheck. Even when Jor-El perishes, during Krypton's demise, he continues to appear onscreen giving sage like advise as a holographic projection modeled after Superman's dad. Costner was alright as Jonathan Kent, who appears during the flashbacks chronicling Clark's youth, although I couldn't relate to the character. He seemed to be an anti-uncle Ben. Unlike Spider-man's mentor, whose mantra is "with great power comes great responsibility" Jonathan discourages Clark from using his gifts to help people. He even condones letting children drown in a submerged bus as he worries that revealing Clark's powers to the public may be a mistake as mankind may not accept an outsider living amongst them.
I'm giving Man of Steel three and a half stars out of five. It's an entertaining superhero flick, but falls short of reaching the standard set by other entries in the genre. The movie isn't as well crafted as the Dark Knight and a severe lack of comedy means it is never as much fun as the Avengers. I would however recommend checking it out at the cinema to fully appreciate the grand action sequences that showcase director Zack Snyder's visual flair. It's jaw dropping seeing Superman tussle with invaders in mid-air and smash through buildings whilst grappling with evildoers. It almost makes you forget how much collateral damage Superman is causing. For someone who is concerned about preserving human life, Superman doesn't seem to bat an eyelid about wrecking populated areas with the gusto of a G8 protestor.
That's not to say that the action is perfect. At times the overuse of CG effects makes it feel like you are watching a video game. Some trimming during the editing process would have also helped. The movie runs for over two hours with the final fight dragging on forever. It's stunning at first, but after a while it falls into the Transformers trap of overstaying its welcome. If you are like me, after a while you become numb to the flashy explosions, which is a shame given the effort that must have gone into choreographing the battles. During the screening I was at a number of people decided to go for a loo break during the climatic finale - a clear sign that things should have wrapped up earlier.
Man of Steel however does a fine job of elevating the franchise from the doldrums it found itself after Superman Returns. They've built a good foundation from which they can launch sequels and possibly an eventual Justice League feature combining other heroes from the DC universe. I'm looking forward to see what the future has in store for Superman, which is high praise indeed given that I don't rate the character highly in my list of favorite costumed crime fighters.
After the recent influx of Superhero movies from Marvel the rules for the Superhero genre have once again changed. Many fans have wondered whether the more grounded approach of Christopher Nolan's Batman legacy could still hack it, and therefore wondered whether Zack Snyder's Man of Steel would be able to compete for this year's box office revenue. If you have had any similar reservations regarding Man of Steel then I would urge you to cast them aside now because I can tell you confidently that this film is; not just a resounding success, but the best on screen interpretation of the Superman mythos yet.
The true beauty of Man of Steel is that it doesn't try to hit all of the same notes as Superman the Movie did way back when. Rather; as all good reboots should, the film tells a fresh story that manages to hit the most important notes while still treading fresh ground for a new audience.
Man of Steel tells the tried and tested story of Jor El's efforts to send his new-born son away from the slowly disintegrating planet of Krypton. Jor El's efforts are slightly delayed when his former friend General Zodd leads a rebellion and murders a number of Kryptonians. However once Zodd is captured and sentenced to imprisonment in The Negative Zone (A black hole) Jor El is able to send his son to the distant Planet of Earth minutes before Krypton is destroyed. On Earth the child grows to gain fantastic powers from the Earth's yellow son, but manages to keep this a secret from almost everyone except roving reporter Lois Lane. This is until General Zodd arrives on earth and reveals the existence of an extra-terrestrial in our midst. His demands are clear; hand over the Kryptonian or the Earth dies!
To put it bluntly I loved this film! Zack Snyder's visual style has been put to good use in crafting a number of stunning shots. In fact, the first time Clarke dons the famous blue outfit and takes to flight will probably be my favourite piece of cinematography this year. Yet more than just looking pretty Man of Steel proves to be a work of substance. The pacing is deliberately slow and the characters fleshed out wonderfully so that Snyder's cinematography can be more impactful than his usual fare. I was more than pleased with this as it has resulted in a solid portrayal of key characters that are generally portrayed in a flat and lifeless way on screen.
I refer of course to that key character of Lois Lane who seems to have become less and less likeable as the films/TV shows have evolved. Here though Amy Adam's gives a strong willed but eminently empathetic performance that does justice to the character from the comics. Similarly Henry Cavill seemed to own the screen whether he was in costume or not, but somehow still seemed to find the time to throw in all of the quiet meekness that will define his eventual secret identity. On the opposite end of the spectrum came Michael Shannon; who dominated the screen with his portrayal of the fearsome General Zodd, and an extremely scary performance from Antje Traue as his lead Hench woman.
Truth be told I could spend many hours writing about this fantastic ensemble that includes everyone from Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, and Laurence Fishburn. However it's enough to state that everyone gives it their all for a wonderful team effort that makes this the best acted Superman movie yet.
This was important because this is not a film that could rest on its laurels. It features some superb fight scenes, but these don't come until later in the game. It's also very light on humor so that the film relies on its sense of drama to tell its tale, and the cast have pulled this off with aplomb.
It's definitely better than last year's Dark Knight Rises, although; truth be told, I still prefer the more light hearted approach that Disney has been taking. Nevertheless Man of Steel remains a fantastic film in its own right. Well-acted, well directed, and visually stunning, this is by far the best on screen portrayal of Superman that the world has ever seen!