Superman returns in Zack Snyder’s first film of the new DCEU. “Man of Steel” finds a fresh and new origin for the all-American boy as the planet of Krypton is suddenly facing doom. After he is whisked away by his parents, Krypton’s last moments show that little baby Kal-El is the last known survivor of the doomed planet. After crash landing to Earth, Kal is adopted by the Kent’s only to realize that he is different. And after many years of discovering his powers, he realizes that he is an alien, unfitting for this world. That is until an army of survivors come to Earth and threaten to bring the planet on the brink of destruction.
Now I’m going to say right off the bat. I’m not a Superman fan. I never liked the old Christopher Reeve’s films and I hated Bryan Singers tribute film “Superman Returns.” So when I heard that they were doing “Superman” yet again, I wasn’t thrilled. However, I realized that Christopher Nolan would be producing the film and helped write it which changed my tune. Being a harsh critic of Superman over the years, I have concluded that “Man of Steel” is a complete reimagining of the character and for that I consider it to be a masterpiece. This version of Superman is very dark and very adult. What they did here is they made Superman feel more like an outcast rather than this God who believes in truth, justice and the American way. They made Superman relatable, just as they did with Nolan’s version of Batman. What if these characters could exist in today’s post 9/11 world? This is the answer from “The Dark Knight” trilogy and “Man of Steel.”
One of the best parts about this film is the entire prologue sequence on Krypton. This twenty minute sequence is breathtaking and beautiful, unlike anything that I have ever seen in a comic book film. They set up the characters perfectly. Russell Crowe as Superman’s father Jor-El was a brilliant casting choice as was the main villain General Zod (Michael Shannon). Another brilliant casting choice were Clark’s adopted parents played wonderfully by Diane Lane and Kevin Costner. Each of these actors brought such humanity to a very emotional story and I loved how Crowe and Costner were very different versions of Superman’s father. One believed in Superman being a God and a savior while the other wants him to hold back his powers because exposing himself too soon would cause a panic. The contrasts were done spectacularly and I loved those relationships. Amy Adams, who I really like was a take it or leave it character for me. I thought she did the best she could with the character but I found myself not caring too much about her. And Henry Cavill as Superman was another really amazing choice. I thought he did a great job and I can’t wait to see him grow in this new universe.
The action scenes, holy cow! The action in this movie is relentless and some of the fight sequences are some of the best sequences that I have ever seen in a comic book film to date. Superman literally punches people who end up flying halfway across the world which is awesome! Zack Snyder is a master of visual effects and the visuals in this movie are as beautiful as they are stunning. Let’s just say that we haven’t seen this kind of action in a Superman film ever! And with “Man of Steel,” it really delivered on the promise of making this a great superhero to root for. I think my favorite thing about the film is the emotional and epic score by Hans Zimmer. I loved the music and it felt heavy and weighed down a lot of the drama and story elements. The score, especially the scenes on Krypton are magnificently sounding and I love Superman’s new theme. It feels completely different from the John Williams score and I think it’s better.
As far as the most controversial scene in the film goes, I was all for it. The fact the Superman killed Zod was a ballsy move and in my personal opinion I think it was a great move. Superman didn’t have a choice here. It was either kill Zod, or let the Earth, and this poor family caught in Zod’s crosshairs be destroyed. And when Superman snaps ol’ Zoddy’s neck, he screams out in sheer horror, sadness and anger. He just killed the last remaining brethren of Krypton and that choice and consequence will carry over into “Batman v Superman.” People need to stop whining about that scene and get over it. It was a brilliant choice to make and it made Superman feel even more real, at least to me.
“Man of Steel” is an emotional action film that develops the journey and origin of Superman in a way that we have never seen before. The action is relentless and the visuals are a marvel to look at. This is only a small glimpse into the new DCEU and for the first of their expanded universe films I thought it was a hit right out of the gate. “Man of Steel” will divide critics and fans of the character, but I found it to be very human with an edgy take on the character that was not only brave but it felt fresh and new. For not being a Superman fan and a harsh critic of the old films, I am now fully invested in this new version of the character and I truly believe that this “Man of Steel” can fly.