Quick Hit: A tale of two halves, leading up to a blockbuster worthy fight between two juggernauts, that oddly leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.
This review may be a bit longer than normal. Fair warning, as I am already a rather wordy fellow. As stated previously, I love Superman. He is a true good hero, who serves as a metaphor for immigration in the U.S. The original Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two young Jewish men. They were writing to symbolize the desires of being able to seize their own lives, to break into the comics industry, and to inspire those going through their own problems.
With a background like that, what isn’t to love?
Man of Steel is a pretty good movie, despite having some elements that I didn’t necessarily love. I am admittedly pretty harsh when it comes to my favorite comic characters (and literary ones at that) because they are so beloved in my heart. I’m admitting bias with this one. It is in that way I can give Man of Steel an A- rating (that minus is all my problems with the film all wrapped up into one tiny dash).
some of the best characters you will see in any of the Superman films, tv shows, or comics. However, despite all that, the person that really stands out in this film is Michael Shannon as Zod.
Zod is a tough character. You have to play him as crazy, but intelligent enough that you think other people would follow him and fight for him. He has to be charismatic, but he also has to exude many other qualities. In a sense, he is an extremely complex character who has decent motivations (save his race of people, do anything to ensure their survival) that get twisted in his brain to evil (destroying entire races and planets to do the latter). Shannon nails him with a power that is instantly watchable. I still shiver a bit with his “I WILL FIND HIM!”
This movie… feels like it is two movies. The first half of the film, from Clark saving the people on the rig to him getting his suit for the first time, has a lighter tone. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the first shots of him in the suit. This is going to show how much of a sap I am for Supes, but I cried the first time I saw the cape flapping behind him, with the snowy, windy background. The narration of Jor-El is exactly
mean it should, Zod is a bad guy, but come on… whoaaaa levels of darkness). This culminates in a final, terrific battle with first Zod’s minions, like Faora, and then Zod himself.
It is obvious in these scenes that Zack Snyder directed this movie. The speed brought to the fights is incredible. You feel how fast Superman actually is in a way that you never have on screen before (though I thought the show Smallville did a pretty good job on the small screen). The punches look like they hurt. A lot. And that leads into a major bummer for me on the film: the overall destruction of the film.
This was huge and decisive with many fans and critics. I mean, they destroy most of Metropolis and some outlying areas of Smallville, Kansas. Superman, in a pure form, does not kill innocents. In fact, numerous times he has allowed himself to be hurt of captured to save them. I don’t think anyone can be naïve enough to say that thousands of unseen people didn’t die in this film in those final battles. It’s a shame, because it would have just been as easy to place them out in the ocean for the majority of the battle, and move them closer for the finale. But alas, I didn’t write the thing.
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This leads me to my final detraction on the film. Superman doesn’t kill. Neither does Batman. Most of the heroes that do find themselves in the anti-hero category (Deadpool, Punisher, Spawn). But it is a distinction that is real and is critical. I understand the reason for Zod’s death. He wouldn’t stop until he was killed. But if you were going kill him, just do it in the beginning and stop the loss of life sooner. Superman has killed in the comics, but he was just distraught after… here the movie ends with him cracking jokes. Hm.
Overall, I loved this movie. I own it, I watch it occasionally, and think the physical portrayal of Superman is one of the best ever translated to screen. I’m giving it an A-, despite my fan boy misgivings.
For more information on Man of Steel, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"