15 jun. 2013

My Review: Man of Steel (7/10)

¨You just have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be, Clark. Whoever that man is, he´s going to change the world.¨

There is no doubt in my mind that Man of Steel is a far more superior movie than its predecessor: Superman Returns. The franchise has gotten a positive reboot with director Zack Snyder at the helm and Christopher Nolan as one of the producers. I know this isn’t a perfect film, I thought it had several flaws, but compared to Superman Returns this is a masterpiece. What surprises me is that even though most critics acknowledge the fact that this is a superior film, in Rotten Tomatoes this film was only recommended by 57% of critics, compared to the 75% that recommended Superman Returns. For those of us who have seen both movies we know that is a tremendous flaw and most critics would agree that they gave too much anticipated love to Superman Returns which was a really mediocre movie. I can understand why they disliked this film because I think the film suffers from an action overdose. There is just way too much action in this film and it grows repetitive and tiresome. Snyder goes overboard with the action sequences and there is just way too much destruction that goes unaccounted for. I mean the entire city of Metropolis gets completely destroyed in this film and there are far too many 9/11 references here. That is the major issue I had with this film. Other than that I thought the movie had a great cast. Henry Cavill made for an exciting and near perfect Superman, Amy Adams nailed her role as Lois Lane, and Michael Shannon was a convincing villain as General Zod. Besides the cast, I also thought the flashback scenes involving the young Clark Kent were the strongest moments of the film. It was those quiet moments that I enjoyed more than all the loud action scenes in which Clark Kent was struggling to find his new identity. Those scenes worked really well for me and I thought Kevin Costner and Diane Lane were wonderful playing his Earth parents. I wasn’t a big fan of the opening sequence in Krypton, but thought Russell Crowe also was convincing as Jor-El.

The film opens in Krypton where we see Jor-El (Russell Crowe) help his wife give birth to his son, Kal-El, the first natural birth in the planet in a long time. The planet is at the verge of being extinct and Jor-El finds hope in his son, although General Zod (Michael Shannon) has different plans for his people. Despite Zod´s efforts to stop Jor-El, he manages to send his son to Earth where he can survive. At Earth he is adopted by Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha (Diane Lane) who find him in their field in Kansas. The film centers on Clark (Henry Cavill) as he struggles to find meaning and purpose for his life. With the help of his parents he begins to deal with his powers, but is reminded that he should use these abilities as little as possible because the world isn’t prepared for someone like him. The scenes involving Clark´s childhood and his upbringing with his parents is told through a series of flashbacks as we see a much more mature Clark searching for the meaning of his existence in one place after another. He finally finds some answers when an ancient craft from Krypton is located on Earth and that is when he also runs into journalist, Louis Lane (Amy Adams) who discovers Clark isn’t a regular human being. His secret life is shattered when General Zod makes a theatrical entrance in his spaceship along with his crew and asks mankind to surrender the alien. Of course Zod has other intentions for the planet and doesn’t really settle for Kal-El. This is where the battle and destruction on Earth begins, and Clark Kent ironically remains the only hope for mankind.

Man of Steel delivers and fans of blockbuster action films will love this film. I thought the action sequences suffered from too much overload and repetitiveness. The scenes are extremely exaggerated and they grew tiresome after a while. I loved most of the film, but the last 45 minutes took a toll on me and made me enjoy this film less and less. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like this and of course I would rather sit through this than watch Superman Returns again (a film that critics seem to have enjoyed more). The problem is that after so many great superhero films, Man of Steel does fall short to other films like The Dark Knight or even Iron Man. It is probably at the same level as Thor, but I wouldn’t say this is a great superhero film because it is inferior to the bar that the Batman franchise set. I even think Iron Man 3 was a better movie than this, but Man of Steel did have its moments and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people really like this blockbuster film considering the excellent cast and the wonderful performance from Henry Cavill as the new Superman.


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