Fister News!

‘Man of Steel’ (2013) Movie Review

man-of-steel-poster

Directed by Zack Snyder

Written by David S. Goyer

Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, and Russell Crowe

A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.

SPOILERS

This is getting very opinionated reviews, and I should warn you up front that I’m playing the Kryptonian devil’s advocate. Gone are the cheeky Chris Reeves one-liners about Lois’ panties. Gone are the disjointed Brandon Roush plot killers, gone is…Superman’s unwavering sense of global accountability? In its place, Goyer and Snyder deliver a gritty,  brooding, New 52-ish spin on our favorite iconic caped crusader. Skipping a hashed out, hard to improve on, Smallville origin story, Man of Steel, instead, tells us the story of Clark’s life in a series of flashbacks. Diane Lane and Kevin Costner portray Clark’s loving Earth parents who only want what’s best for their unexpected alien son. They know he’s going to be an outcast, a weirdo; something to be feared out of a lack of understanding. Johnathan even mentions the huge burden Clark must live with until he’s free to announce himself and his power to the world. We see young Clark doing what his inherent will won’t let him turn a blind eye to, regardless of the public disclosure of his hidden power. He’s saving the kids on the school bus from drowning, he’s rescuing oil rig workers later in his adulthood; he can’t avoid his life’s calling, and that makes for a cool angle for a new Superman movie.

Russell Crowe makes an awesome Jor-El, even delivering the character’s monologue from Grant Morrison’s beloved All-Star Superman comic. As we watch the impending end of Kal-El’s parents and home planet, I was touched by the pain and reluctant hope his parents had to endure. It didn’t take long for the film to show me just how new and cool Krypton’s alien technology could be. It’s a narrow line filmmakers have to tread when it comes to satisfying hardcore comic fans along with summer multiplex goers, and Man of Steel seems like it’s doing both. Krypton is dying, duh, and after depleting its natural resources, it’s doomed. General Zod, a man born specifically to command the planet’s armed forces, attempts a military coup, only to end up killing Jor-El and finding himself banished to a terribly foreboding Phantom Zone. He, of course, vows to find the escaping infant no matter where he travels. The destruction of his home planet aids in his escape, allowing the recently banished to eventually find the 30-year-old native Kryptonian. I admit that I didn’t care for Zod as the bad guy when the news broke, but Michael Shannon was fantastic as the hardline patriot. Man, this is shaping up to a long ass review already.

general zod man of steel-1

Henry Cavill was born to play Superman. His musclebound physique and square jaw were light years away from Reeves or Roush. No disrespect to Reeves, I love love love  Superman 1 & 2. The British-born Cavill looks and sounds like the man of steel should. He embodies the gentle demeanor we all expect, and makes for a great hero when it comes time to embrace all of his ridiculous power. I had goosebumps when heat vision was used as a weapon for the first time. In some regards, this was the Superman film that geeks have waited their entire life for. The hyper-fast fighting style was bad ass, showing us just what brawls should be like when these characters drop their planetary gauntlets. The last hour of the film felt like an insurance agent’s nightmare come to life.

In Superman’s vow to save lives, I have to wonder how many people perished from toppling buildings, cars used as weapons, explosions, and missile like impacts from both Zod and Superman being pummeled through offices and homes. If anything needed to be scaled back, it was the amount of sheer carnage in the end. Most fans sat hypnotized as streets and building crumbled under fists and fire – Metropolis took some damage and then some.

man-of-steel-clark-on-fire

Now, the thing most people are crying foul over is how Supes deals with his new enemy. It becomes very clear that Zod can and does justify his carnage and murder for his cause. He’s very open and insistent about it. Superman realized that in order to save lives (if anyone lived through the Metropolis beat down), he must do the unthinkable and kill Zod – and kill he does. Super muscles flex and a bone-rending crack spills from the theater surround sound. I heard people gasping, uttering soft several hushed responses like “No way,,,” from the crowd. Way. Much like the DC Injustice story in which an ultimately pissed off Superman punches The Joker’s heart out of his body, Clark must act so, and break his own law of never killing. Hey, this is some interplanetary mad man, he deserved to die, and Superman was 100% justified in his actions. To me, he serves his character even better by doing what he has to do to save lives. I never had the feeling of anger that some folks openly expressed about this wholesome red and blue-draped goody good. Zod was insane, ready to trash the planet, and no cage would hold him, death was the only option. Get over it.

Sydner’s visual style of storytelling worked perfectly for me. The look and feel of Clark’s codex and other Kryptonian designs were simply amazing. I loved what they did with this old character and that will hopefully translate to a solid JLA film. With Batman already in a great place, Superman is certainly a boon to the new DC universe unfolding on the big screen. Don’t cock this up, Warner Brothers. All in all, I would rate this 4.5 out 5. I loved it and I plan on seeing it again soon. Bravo, DC, bravo.

About Fister Roboto (2239 Articles)
Just ring it up with the dong tea...

8 Comments on ‘Man of Steel’ (2013) Movie Review

  1. Good review Fister, just trying to think if your review is as eccentric about the film as mine haha it isn’t 😀

    I do like that you understand that the zod death scene wasn’t blasphemy but a great scene to examine, it was the only way he could save a families life. Damn good film, so much explosive force 😀

    • Nice. I’m sure there’s a lot of strong feelings out there. I love the dark dramatic stuff, and all those images of young Clark with the cape on, the wind blowing through the clothesline – I eat that stuff up. I was getting annoyed with the videogame zoom in camera work towards the end!

      I think most fans have to realize things have shifted in 2013, and a iconic character like that needs some cracks in the mold from time to time. I can’t wait to see among my coworkers loved/hated it,

      • There’s going to be some divided views on this one but I just loved it. Just say its this or another Superman Returns haha it shuts them up so quick 😀

  2. You have expressed my thoughts better than I ever could. I was one of those people who actually said “No” in a low voice when he snapped Zod’s neck. His immediate anguish of having to make the impossible decision was also so very well done. In my mind, this one event (in Snyder’s movie universe) is what causes Superman to make the vow to never kill again. He realized he ultimately failed and in doing so, maybe more people on Earth will fear him…who knows.

    After I got home, I started to think of other, alternate ways he could have dispatched Zod without killing him. It could have been done with a little more forethought…even using one of those Phantom Zone Goo Pods that the council used on them at the beginning (but only after Supes puts a major beat down on Zod a la the Justice League Unlimited episode ‘Destroyer’ where he finally cuts loose on Darkseid).

    I do agree that there were way too many buildings collapsing, even outdoing The Avengers of last year. On the flip side, there were so many fantastic moments with Costner and Lane with younger Clark. The scene at the pick up truck after young Clark save the bus full of kids still gives me chills when Pa Kent says “maybe”…you realize that there are tough moral choices when you are a being of such superior power. How do you decide on who lives and who dies? The tornado scene really hit me then and now as i sit here and type this. Hans Zimmer’s score, while not the iconic William’s theme, works in this day and age.

    As a lifelong Superman fan, is it a 100% perfect movie…no (but what is perfect?). But for me, knowing I plan on seeing it at least 3 more times, that says it all. 4.5/5 stars in my book!

  3. I agree with everything you have to say, yes excellent review!!! I love the way they gave us more background information about Krypton, because it made the whole General Zod thing make more sense than it did in Superman 2. I saw the movie in IMAX 3D for the sneak premiere Thursday night (well technically Friday morning) at 12:01. The effects were explosive and the character while not human, has human flaws, and in my opinion it makes him as you said a much more gritty real world Superman. As far as the scene where he kills Zod, I think they got it right. He had to kill him, and he knew he had to kill him, so he did, but in doing so something died in him too (more humanization). I love what they have done with this movie, and like you, feel that Henry Cavill was born for this role. I look forward to seeing him continue to reinvent this franchise for Superman fans everywhere!

  4. You are very welcome!!! It was so awesome I think I am going to go see it again at least twice :)!!!

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. It’s a Bird! No, it’s a Plane! No, it’s a Man in Tights!: a Review of “Man of Steel” | Pixcelation Entertainment
  2. The New Superman! | The Weird, The Wonderful and The Awful

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: