Monday, June 24, 2013

FreebirdSTF's "Man of Steel" Review

Saw "Man of Steel" at 3:10 PM on opening day and was not disappointed at all.  As a huge Superman fan I came away from the movie loving it more and more the longer I thought about it.  The action was incredible and epic and the filmmakers succeeded in "updating the character without breaking what makes him great."

I was fortunate enough to be a guest on The Geekville Podcast.

Here is a SPOILER FILLED look at "Man of Steel."  Do not read further if you intend to see the film spoiler-free.

Starting with what I liked:
  • Henry Cavill has a great Superman look.  The costume was excellent as well.  It was a huge upgrade over Brandon Routh and his Superman costume from "Superman Returns."
  • Visually, the film was stunning.  The level of destruction (which has been criticized) was incredible and believable.  
  • Michael Shannon was every bit as good as we thought he could be as General Zod.  Russel Crowe's Jor-El was solid as well.  Kevin Costner as Pa Kent was probably the best performance in the whole film.  While he didn't have much to do I though Laurence Fishburne as Perry White was a nice choice.  The whole supporting cast was excellent to be honest.  If you could get past his role as Detective Stabler you had to enjoy Christopher Meloni as a member of the USAF for example.
  • The take on Lois Lane as played by Amy Adams really worked for me.  Situating her as a "combat reporter" gave her a tough edge which the character needs.  Having her become aware of Clark before Superman even existed clears the hurdle of how a brilliant reporter doesn't know her co-worker is Superman.  The urban legend angle on her search for the mysterious hero with strange powers was an interesting twist as well.  They even gave us a Bigfoot shot which I got a kick out of.
Let's take a look at some of the complaints about the film with my perspective on each:
  • "Superman was too brooding."  Unlike "Superman Returns" the questioning and searching aspects of Clark's character made sense.  Why?  Well, it was all done before he became Superman and I think that is a critical distinction.  Based on the issues he dealt with as a child and these strange powers I have no trouble buying the fact that Clark might have some issues he needs to process.  An adult Clark, as Superman especially, should not still be wrestling with these problems though.  In the context of this film it seemed that once Clark fully understood his origin and came to grips with the idea of how he could use his power that the doubt was gone and he was able  to move forward as the hero we all know and love.
  • "He allowed too much destruction."  Based on the World Engine doing its thing I'm not sure how Superman could have stopped a lot of the destruction in the first place.  He kind of needed to be in Metropolis and I'm not sure that luring Zod away would have worked anyway.  Was there a ton of damage?  Yes.  Was Superman completely uncaring in the destruction of the city?  I don't believe so.  Was the level of destruction what you might expect between characters like Superman and General Zod?  Absolutely.
  • "Superman wouldn't kill Zod."  Is Superman a cold-blooded killer?  Absolutely not.  Did it make sense for him to kill Zod in the context of the story?  I believe it did.  The family being there obviously "upped the ante" to begin with.  Plus Zod was bent on killing Superman no matter the cost.  He laid it out completely when he said, "Either I will kill you or you will kill me."  The important thing was that Superman was clearly anguished with the decision he made.  Had that not been the case I may have been more critical of that scene.  In the context of the story it made perfect sense to me.
Obviously, I am biased but I loved the film.  Geekery can cut both ways making a fan more critical or more forgiving.  In my case I thought it was a fantastic film and the movie that that a character as great as Superman deserved.

I will be seeing it again this Sunday and I cannot wait.  


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