I will put it out there straight away, I am not a Superman fan. For me, he lacks personality and the previous films have been prrretty terrible. Despite being a massive fan of the super hero genre, this hero never did it for me. UNTIL NOW.
Zack Snyder being at the helm caught my attention, I love 300 and The Watchmen is one of my favourites, I even liked Sucker Punch – so knew that he would pull something out the bag with this. The hype surrounding Man of Steel has been crazy, and it’s understandable considering the source material – naturally its a must see on most peoples list. No one needs telling who Superman is or his story, but the plot for Man of Steel cleverly leaves room for Kal-El’s background, how he grew up as Clark and we get a really good look at his home planet as well as giving the plot a great excuse for some epic battles and major destruction. Upon Krypton’s demise, General Zod and his fellow rebel fighters are banished from the planet, taking them out of harms way when the planet explodes, leaving them and Kal-El as the only Kryptonians in the Universe. Zod is hell bent on retrieving Kal-El and terror forming Earth to inhabit for himself, BUT Kal-El is the only thing standing in the way… FIGHT!
The start of Man of Steel on Krypton was very cool, very sci-fi and pretty gritty. I wasn’t a fan of the weird floating computer but it served a purpose, the design of the planet and its gadgets, even its fashion was all very well thought out considering it doesn’t feature heavily in relation to the 2 and a half hour film (too long!). I could have spent longer on Krypton and watched Russell Crowe kick some more butt. But it swiftly moves the story along to Clark living on Earth with an old looking Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. For me Clark’s childhood and flash backs dragged a little until he turns into the fully fledged version. One of the best parts of his back story is when he saves some men from a burning oil rig, when he lunges through the door on fire – it looked fantastic.
Oh my Henry, what a guy. An actual Adonis if I ever did see one. A perfect Superman really, beautiful to look at, not much going on behind the eyes. Having said that, I really enjoyed his performance. It was sincere (for the most part) and he fits the Superman persona well. Having heard an interview with him on BBC Radio 1 this morning it sounds like he took the role VERY seriously too. So 10/10 for effort! My only problem was his connection with Amy Adams playing Lois Lane… well lack of connection I should say – can’t fault them for trying but there was ZERO spark there.
As a rule I like Amy Adams but from the off I couldn’t see her as Lois, probably because I can’t get Terri Hatcher out of my head but I think she would have made a much better April O’Neil for sure! She still gives a great performance in Man of Steel though, something just didn’t work for me. Crowe on the other hand is growing on me, after his pretty fantastic performance in Les Mis, and now smashing it as Jor-El I might have to let bygones be bygones and accept him in Hollywood finally. It was nice to see Kal-El’s mum getting some of the action too, loving Ayelet Zurer as Lana.
Probably my favourite supporting character was Faora-Ul, Zod’s second in command, played by Antje Traue. She was fierce and powerful and kicked Superman’s ass all up and down the city. I half expected her and Zod to have some kind of weird romantic link but they steered well clear of that thankfully. In fact, the battle between her, the big fella and Superman is something worth watching this film for ALONE. It reminded me a little of the street fight in Thor, only much more epic and the destruction is just mind blowing. What I loved was the way the characters move – SO fast and SO strong, when they hit the deck they hit it hard as if they are actually made of solid steel.
After that awesome fight, there is more to come when Zod and Superman square up for the finale. Half of Metropolis is destroyed by these two and it is VERY fun to watch. Michael Shannon plays a very sinister villain and pulls some pretty evil expressions, loved the one liners he comes out with during the fight “Where did you train, on a FARM!” Classic. I am going to have to go and see The Iceman while it’s out at the cinema now I am aware of Shannon’s awesomeness.
The plot has some ups and downs, where the downs make the 2 and a half hours seem very long indeed. There was also a disconnect I found between Clark being Clark, and then suddenly donning the suit and becoming Superman. Considering the lengthy amount of time given, they could have used less child Clark, more Kal-El discovering himself. Other than that though, all the performances are fantastic, the visuals are STUNNING and Cavill even manages to make flying with your arms stretched out look hot. The darker, more modern feel of the plot and the human characters being much more accessible, plus the new suit and the physicality of the fight scenes really brought Superman into 2013 effortlessly.
I was pretty blown away by the fight scenes in particular, as well the general aesthetics (drooling over Cavill of course), so I would definitely recommend this. An IMax viewing would be pretty spectacular I think – plus you have the extra comfy seats for the crazy long running time when you include adverts and trailers. Well done Snyder you’ve turned me round on the Superman front, bravo sir!
PS. Don’t be fool like me and stay until the very end of the credits hoping for another snip-it. There is nothing there!!