Welcome back to my Zack Snyder review series! Today, we’re taking a look at Man of Steel, which was released in 2013. This is the penultimate review in the series since the final on is for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (the first two were for 300 and Watchmen).
Man of Steel presents an interesting, but bleak take on Superman. In this film, Snyder shows his range by taking Superman in unexplored territory.
Once again, the visuals are phenomenal. The visuals are shown in a way that makes me really care about Superman and what he has to go through (the soundtrack does this as well). Also, the CGI isn’t distracting since it blends really well into the film.
The story is pretty much a dark reboot – Kal El gets sent on a ship from Krypton to Earth, crashes in Kansas, gets adopted, becomes Clark Kent, learns about his powers, learns about his planet and real parents, becomes Superman, and fights a bad guy from Krypton (General Zod). Snyder tells the story half the time from the viewpoint of Clark, and the other half from that of Lois Lane, which I find very interesting. It’s easy to draw comparisons between Man of Steel and Superman (1978), but this Superman is more grounded in reality and more torn apart by facing the reality that the world needs to believe in hope.
I will say that the acting is very well done. This movie features A-list actors doing a pretty nice job. Henry Cavill plays an awesome Superman who is capable of showing multiple facial features. Though he’s British, he pulls off a really good American accent. I just think he isn’t as great as Christopher Reeve, but maybe that’s because Christopher Reeve’s Superman was more lighthearted and I just like that – this movie wasn’t made to be as lighthearted as Superman (1978). Amy Adams plays a curious Lois Lane, who lives to tell the perfect newspaper story. Lawrence Fishburne is a great Perry White, who actually talks like a real Editor-in-Chief. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane wonderfully play the Kent parents. Russell Crowe did what he had to do to play Jor El (just like how Marlon Brando had to play a floating head). Finally, Michael Shannon is a pretty scary General Zod. Maybe Michael Shannon as an actor just scares me, but Shannon plays a solid enough villain. I don’t get his plan, but I liked his crazy line delivery.
The main problem a ton of people have with this movie is that it was too dark for a Superman film. Though it’s dark, it isn’t depressing. Because of Hans Zimmer’s beautiful soundtrack, half the movie gets a sense of hope (the movie itself, however, isn’t very hopeful) and I find it really annoying that people nitpick the end of Man of Steel just to hop on the hate train with. Yes, a ton of people died in Man of Steel. However, what would happen if two gods battled it out in one city? A ton of people would die. That’s why I don’t actually believe that Man of Steel is a terrible movie.
The main problem I have with the movie is the potential that it had to really start up this DC Extended Universe. Instead of giving hope to all, Superman just puts on the costume and goes after General Zod. The darkness of this movie resonates with The Dark Knight Trilogy, but that’s not what Superman is all about! While the fight scenes are fun to watch, the other scenes are filled with metric tons of sadness.
Another problem is that some of the scenes feel too forced. For example, Jonathan Kent’s death scene is just really forced and it could have been easily prevented. I guess he didn’t want everyone seeing Clark Kent save him from a tornado by moving really fast, but I still think the scene feels natural. However, the scene is elevated by Hans Zimmer’s score, which highlights the battle going inside Clark as he watches his non-biological father die. If you take away the score (just mute the volume because there isn’t much dialogue – there is a voiceover), the scene just feels really awkward.
Another scene that feels forced is the whole Kal El meets his real father thing. If I was an alien and my dead alien dad just appeared right before me, I would freak out. I would also question how he speaks English.
Overall, Man of Steel has nice concepts, but it just doesn’t feel right since Superman isn’t supposed to be that dark of a character. However, for what the movie was trying to achieve, it did a pretty nice job.
So what do you think about Man of Steel? Do you think it’s too dark or is it just right? Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments section! Thanks!
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Categories: Movie/TV Reviews