Saturday, 22 June 2013

Man of Steel Film Review

I have finally seen the long awaited superman reboot Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder and produced by The Dark Knight trilogy's Christopher Nolan.

The movie opens with the dramatic sequence of the destruction of Krypton, a planet suffering from the exacerbation of natural resource exploitation. Stealing the ancient Krypton artifact called the Codex, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), in order to save his newborn son and the Krypton race, sends Kal-El to Earth. He is met by opposition from General Zod (Michael Shannon), who wishes to use the Codex to create a new Krypton and because of his treason, is banished into space just as Krypton is destroyed.

As a child, Clark Kent questions his identity and superhuman powers, bullied and feels like an outcast. Growing up, he uses his powers for good, but drawing too much attention to himself, is told by his Earth father Jonathan (Kevin Costner) to lay low as he does not believe the people of Earth are ready for his reveal yet. All grown up, Clark (Henry Cavill) goes on a quest to find out his past and his people, and meets journalist Lois Lane (Amy Adams), who he confides in.

General Zod finds Clark on Earth, wishing to retrieve the Codex and transform Earth into a new Krypton. Clark must decide which side he will be on and risks being an outcast if he was to reveal his identity.

The first thing to notice about the movie is the visual feast for the eyes. From the very beginning, scenes feel iconic and have a grandiose quality to them. I especially liked the zoom effects during intense action sequences which gave it a slick style, but felt it was slightly overused and instead made it very much more akin to a video game sequence.

Thematically, the movie was far more sci-fi than anticipated or suggested by the trailer. At times it reminded me of Prometheus, other times Star Trek and a particular scene involving a satellite very much made me think of Alfonso Cuaron's upcoming Gravity. This was advantageous for the beautiful imagery, but felt somewhat too 'out there' and lacked grounded-ness.

The father-son relationship aspect between Clark and Jonathon Kent was dealt with sufficiently with several emotional scenes, but contrastingly lacked with Jor-El. A deeper connection between the pair could have gave it more of a duality.

Having to deal with the origins part of Superman as well as bringing in a solid plot, the film was split pretty much equally into two halves. The pace of the movie was high speed at the beginning, and although lulled slightly during the origins part, was captivating. As soon as General Zod returned, the high octane sequences blurred into one and although climatic, lacked much plot or promise and I nearly fell asleep, only to be woken up by Lois' involvement with the ultimatum.

Although visually stunning, the action literally involved the two Kryptons flying and bashing into each other into buildings and causing more destruction than Zod had probably intended himself. The blurred explosive action just didn't do it for me- there was no pain, no drama, nothing. The closest the finale sequence got to having a heart was when an employee at the daily planet gets trapped by debris and sees death approach. No doubt this was the hand of Christopher Nolan.

When the fight scene is finally over and my attention restored, the ending was rather cheesy- and obviously so- and felt slightly off key compared to the rest of the movie. The closing scene was well done and left open for the surefire sequel, which will hopefully see a Lex Luthor or proper treatment of Lana Lang.

Russell Crowe- Jor-El

Henry Cavill- Clark Kent/ Kal-El
Amy Adams- Lois Lane
Michael Shannon- General Zod
Laurence Fishburne- Perry White

Also stars Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Christopher Meloni.

Relatively obscure Brit actor Henry Cavill was appropriately cast as Clark Kent and managed to portray a strong, regal persona, but I felt was upstaged by the young Clark Kent, played by Dylan Sprayberry. At times, Cavill inappropriately gave a smug but rather unimpressed look, which was slightly distracting. Nonetheless, he has the perfect look and build for the role and with practice will be sure to nail it. 

Amy Adams was likeable but didn't manage to exude enough personality- only once did she really make an impression (at the beginning when she is introduced). Michael Shannon as General Zod shone as the aggressive, slightly demented and obsessed Krypton and definitely stood out.

Taking into account that this is a reboot and everything that is necessary for a reboot, 'Man of Steel' was a strong visually striking movie with many iconic scenes, appropriately handled for such an iconic character. Despite the bipolar split of the movie into origins and action/plot, both halves held their own and offered high octane, explosive and destructive action, that although blurred and painless, was exciting.

Undoubtedly a sequel will be fast tracked and hopefully now that the origins has been dealt with, the follow up will be pure adrenaline and iconic imagery with some dark themes and plot ultimatums as the strength of this movie lies in the themes of self discovery, father-soon relationships and the idea of hope. So long as Christopher Nolan is involved, what can go wrong?


  1. Good review Hiu. Wish it was a lot better like the trailers and previews promised, but I guess you can’t win every battle.

  2. I've seen all the superman movies, this one for me has a more in depth analysis of an alien living among us. With a very detailed background. I think if you really think about how an alien would live here and aliens attacking Earth with super powers then I realized that everything in the movie has reason. And very well thought of. Remind you guys its not just a superman movie, it's the Man of Steel. Just my thoughts.


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