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[Movie Review] Man of Steel

Man of Steel directed by Zack Snyder is a step in the right direction even if fistcuffs in the third act take you completely out of the movie and ask: So after all this destruction to the planet why haven’t you arrested Superman?

It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. In that time we’ve had: Iron Man 1-3, Hulk, Thor, Avengers, Green Lantern, (Green) Arrow on TV, a failed Wonder Woman TV show, two Batman movies and a lot of XXX parodies.
While Marvel has ruled the live action roost, DC has focused on the animation route instead and for the most part has been putting out DVDs and TV shows for several years.
I’ve never understood Warner Brother’s lack of synergy between their television and movie divisions. Ten years worth of Smallville, one year worth of disastrous Birds of Prey with the only thing to show for it was a awesome casting of Dina Meyer as Barbara Gordon and a failed Aquaman pilot.
I’m glad Chris Nolan had a hand in this movie even if Dark Knight Rises was horribly written, edited and directed. This could have been worse, it could have included a giant mechanical spider and polar bears.
This reboot of Superman has several things going for it: casting, design and direction. The writing at times is pitch perfect at times while others like stringing along the flashbacks or with the inevitable ka-powies and fisticuffs.
The movie adds several new layers to the mythos with the addition of more time on Krypton before it goes boom. Russell Crowe practically steals the show when his character of Jor-El is alive or dead. The origin story is retold with a few additions including General Zodd’s attempted coup to take over Krypton. Zodd played by Michael Shannon is one of the better casting choices even if his character goes two dimensional at the end.
The introduction of several macguffins into the story does not help. Just like Batman Begin’s plot to level Gotham even I got lost with what was where and why isn’t Zodd doing this instead?
Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark was perfect. The suit is fine without the underpants.
Amy Adams as Lois Lane was not. Like Superman Returns casting Kate Bosworth. She seems out of place. If Antje Traue had been cast as Lois instead of Zodd’s right hand, Faora-Ul, I’d believe she was spunky reporter.
Antje was good casting and her continuing showdown with Christopher Meloni’s Colonel Nathan Hardy was nicely done.
Diane Lane and Kevin Costner are perfect. I can understand why they went with Pa Kent’s exit the way that they did but I think one more re-write would have saved the scene from being so: why the frak didn’t you save him? And, let’s face it John Ford’s exit was ten times better.
When Zodd arrives on Earth several things happen: the macguffin rears it’s ugly head and the ka-powies start. The fact the other Kryptonians have problems with the radiation from the yellow sun and several times are brought to their knees because of it is perfect. It happens to them and it happens to Kal when he breaths their atmosphere for the first time. The X-Ray and Heat Vision are there and it hurts which is great.
I say great because when you write about someone who can fly, has x-ray/heat vision/super hearing, strength and invulnerable there’s not much you can do to this guy until he’s re-introduced to his homeworld’s atmosphere and living conditions. How this effects the yellow sun’s rays I have no idea which is a slight problem.
The final showdown in Metropolis is sensory overload. Too much destruction. Too much ka-powie and no fall out. I mean not fall out at all. As in, I just saved all of you at the expense of lord knows how many people just died and yep I’m gonna get away with it.
The UAV looking for him was a nice touch. The army hottie with a name tag of Ferris saying he was hot went over like a lead ballon with the crowd I saw it with.
There’s no mention of Green Lantern or Batman even though it’s a Wayne Corp Satellite that bite the dust. At least supposedly it’s a Wayne Corp Satellite I could barely tell from the overload of the third act. The problem is there should be some mention of STAR Labs and/or Dr. Amanda Waller. Someone/thing to link the movies ala Agent Coulson. Sure, it’s following Marvel’s Phase One/Two/Three but at least they’re putting down a train track to follow and using Agents of SHIELD as a bridge between Avengers 1 and 2.
I can understand why Warner Bros ditched the iconic John William’s Superman score just as they did with Elfman’s Batman score. Sometimes you just need to try something different so using Hans Zimmer was a good choice. Even if the IMAX theater we saw it in had the volume up to a 12.
Overall, it’s a good Superman movie which just needed one more re-write with certain scenes and cut the wanton destruction of Metropolis. With Batman bowed out, Green Lantern a distant forgotten memory, DC can enjoy Man of Steel in the theaters, Arrow on TV and prep for the sequel.
Let’s not even talk about JLA. I don’t think Marvel has anything to worry about for a while.

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