Storyline was interesting and action sequences were high-powered. Great casting
At times the story didn't flow smoothly and took a while to see action as Superman
Rating ( 8.25 )
- Total score
Man of Steel is the latest entry in the Superman movie franchise and is a complete reboot after the not so well received Superman Returns. So it’s an understatement to say alot was riding on the success of this movie and so Zack Snyder of 300 fame was tapped to direct it and Christopher Nolan, who had incredible success with the Dark Knight trilogy, served as the producer. From that alone one could assume that the studio wanted to make sure the action wasn’t lacking while also going for a darker tone to make Superman more than just an indestructible boy scout. This was evident from the opening sequences with the movie starting on Krypton right before it’s destruction. It starts off with Superman’s, or rather Kal El’s birth, with his mother in intense labor and his father the only one there with her. A natural birth in the midst of the destruction of a planet when one hasn’t occurred in 100 years yet to these 2 parents it represents hope. Superman’s parents, Jor-El and Lara have a plan to save their son, their hope for the future of Kryptonians, by sending him to an inhabitable planet with similar lifeforms. They don’t keep this plan to themselves as Jor-El tells the ruling council of Krypton that they failed its people by making the planet unstable due to their activities at the core. And before he can finish convincing them of his plan to save their race he’s interrupted by General Zod who has a more violent way of showing the ruling council they failed the inhabitants of Krypton. Of course this leads to conflict and Jor-El and Lara send their son safely away from the planet along with the codex necessary to preserve the Kryptonian race. So begins the story of the Man of Steel. A stranger in a strange land born on a planet during its violent destruction and carrying not only the hope and love of his parents but the future of an entire race.
After the opening scenes on Krypton I was even more hyped than I was coming into the movie and that was alot. The history of Krypton and the attitudes of the Kryptonians might be surprising to some who are only familiar with Superman being sent off the planet by loving parents before its destruction. Not only did I enjoy seeing this on the big screen (and with great acting) but I thought it was perfect to show how alien Superman’s history was and therefore give a context to how different he was from everyone growing up while justifying those differences even as an adult. Kansas is nothing like Krypton. And that’s one of the themes of this movie: Superman is alone but not as alone as he would think. We all know that he was raised by loving parents but in this movie they’re a little more conflicted about him helping people. The fear is if he was to reveal he’s not human and people saw what he was capable of they wouldn’t be able to handle it. It would change everything including the answer of whether or not aliens existed and what that meant for humans. His earth father, Jonathan Kent, did however believe that one day he would be able to find the answers needed to determine the best course of action and there would be a time he would be able to reveal himself.
I think flashbacks can be an excellent story telling tool when used properly and this movie does all of its storytelling of Superman’s childhood through flashbacks. It works for the most part because the intention was to explain why Superman still wasn’t fully informed of who he was as an adult but I felt some of the flashbacks were redundant. I fully understood how they were trying to relate the story of Superman to the real world similar to what was done in the Dark Knight trilogy. This wasn’t a world where aliens existed nor were there superheros running around in costumes or wearing capes saving people. (There were religious references in this movie with the most obvious reference being in the beginning in the way Superman’s parents said his name but I won’t elaborate on that here.)
Although I understood the darker elements in the story I felt there could have been more shown as to why he became attached to Earth besides his Kryptonian parents wanting him to represent hope. There was Lois Lane and their connection, even if lacking some of the usual chemistry due to the script, and her relating to Superman’s predicament. That was a necessary touch seeing as how she was the only one he was shown interacting with on a deeper level outside of his parents. (She was actually a useful character in more ways than one.)
Fortunately the movie picks up in action and instead of using flashbacks to explore the difficulty of Superman reconciling what he learned on earth and his Kryptonian heritage, Zod and his group of Kryptonians are used to further this storyline. I’m not going to give away the story nor will I reveal any spoilers but obviously Superman and Zod see things differently and this leads to some incredible action sequences too. Actually, A LOT of action sequences. And the destruction is massive. I’m glad there was no kryptonite in this movie and also there were villains that could fight toe to toe with Superman because one of the difficult things is capturing Superman’s speed and strength in comparison to others. Some of the action was highly stylized but to me it worked in showing the difference between the kryptonians on Earth and the humans trying to fight them. And since the kryptonians are so powerful on Earth the level of destruction was representative of that. And it was good seeing Superman being able to unleash when fighting.
The action was enjoyable to me even though I am aware it might seem long to others and in that case it might have been better served being spread out more. Because I did feel that the story started to drag prior to the Kryptonians arriving. And some of the words exchanged between Superman and Zod helped define both of them and made the stark contrast between their motivations very believable. That was a huge part of my satisfaction with the way the Man of Steel ended.
Man of Steel was a worthy reboot of a franchise that definitely needed a hit to justify future movies about the Son of Krypton. The storytelling through flashbacks worked for the most part even with Jonathan Kent’s portrayal came off sometimes as more harmful than helpful in Clark Kent’s development. Henry Cavill did an excellent job portraying Superman and Zod was very believable as the psychopath he needed to be in order to show the sharp contrast with Superman. If you’re looking for an enjoyable summer movie filled with action I recommend Man of Steel.