Man Of Steel
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its not quite what you expect in the latest Superman outing from Director Zack Snyder. A reboot of sorts, the Man of Steel movie takes us back to where Superman began with the collapse of the planet Krypton and the arrival on planet Earth of a young baby called Kal-El.
Snyder has taken the original story created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, added the production and writing skills of Christopher Nolan fresh of his Batman stint and ramped up the guts and glory to a level George Reeves would have fainted at during his 1950s stint as the Man of Steel for our black and white TV screens. Man of Steel is a far shot from the movies made famous by Christopher Reeve and definitely anchored closer to real life in its drama and action sequences.
Henry Cavill is an inspired choice as Superman. The on-screen look carries well from the angst of a young man discovering his identity through to the confident if not defiant Superhero. An interesting back-story saw Henry Cavill amongst the acting extras on Russell Crowe’s 2000 release “Proof of Life”. Now Crowe picks up the relationship as Superman’s father Jor-El, a Kryptonian scientist who in the shadow of his dying planet, saves his son by sending him to earth. Russell Crowe does a superb job of embodying the role once played by Marlon Brando as he plays the virtual representation of the dead father.
Crash landing in a Kansas farm, Kal-El is raised as Clark by Jonathan and Martha Kent played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. The movie script is well constructed to walk the audience through Superman’s past creating a history of events that help bring even a comic noob up to speed in quick time. The thread is pulled by Amy Adams as Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Lois Lane. This helps set the path for romantic tension that is a hallmark of the Superman story. Lawrence Fishburne pushes out a double-chin to play Daily Planet Editor, Perry White, but we don’t see cub reporter, Jimmy Olsen on the scene.
With a damsel prepared for distress we now need a villain and the story draws on Superman’s 1980 outing where Christopher Reeve went up against the evil Krytonian General Zod. In our 2013 release, Michael Shannon plays Zod with menacing vengeance. The tech and Kryptonian troops all add up to a battle grande as Superman has a cage fighting match with the skyscrapers of Metropolis providing the cage walls to bounce off. The fight sequences are a little long and monotonous compared to the rest of the movie making you ask as an audience, “When will this be over”. If it wasn’t for the magic of Hollywood you might ask how so many buildings fall over without the toll of life being tens of thousands of people.
Man of Steel is a great Superhero movie with an excellent cast and amazing special effects. What it doesn’t have is a strong link to some of the traditions of the story. The costume created for this movie drops the red trunks but this is one of the smaller tangents the movie takes for age-old lovers of the original story. The question we all ask is whether Snyder has done enough to prep the character for a sequel and set a firm foundation for a Justice League movie. Only time will tell.
Rating: M Violence.