Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel"

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Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel"

Post by Deviss on Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:30 pm

Here's my review of "Man of Steel". Hope you guys enjoy it.

Deviss wrote:My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they'd reject me. He was convinced the world wasn't ready. What do you think?

  • Story: Three and a half Stars
  • Acting: Four Stars
  • Directing: Three and a half Stars
  • Visuals: Four and a half Stars
  • Overall: Four Stars

One thing that I feel like I should state from the get-go is this: I have never been much of a Superman fan. I knew of the character growing up, but unlike Batman, Thor, and Iron Man, I paid little to any attention to the man in the red cape and trunks who could virtually do anything. Why was that so? It wasn't because I became fed up with the character due to his excessive abilities, or that a certain version or interpretation of him turned me off to the character, it was because I honestly had no connection with the character, and therefore no vested interest in him. Ironic given the fact that the both of us had father issues, particularly during our younger years... Even moreso given the fact that Bruce Wayne did... Anyway, I hope my point is made.

---

As young boy, Clark Kent (Cooper Timberline & Dylan Sprayberry) discovers that he has extraordinary abilities and is not of this world. As the young boy grows, he realizes from the continued advice from his surrogate parents Martha and Jonathan Kent (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner respectively) that despite the overwhelming desire to reveal his abilities to those who torment him, it is for his own good, as well as those around him, that he does not. Once Clark (Henry Cavill) grows into manhood, he travels across the world hoping to learn more of whom he is. Clark's search eventually leads him to the revelation that his true name is Kal-El, he is from Krypton, and that he was sent to Earth as a baby to preserve Krypton's legacy after its destruction. But Clark wasn't the only survivor of Krypton's destruction; disgraced military general Zod and a group of Kryptonian's loyal to him escaped their punishment and have followed Clark to Earth in the hopes of rebuilding Krypton. Forced to put aside his personal doubts, Clark must quickly learn who he truly is is he is to save all of what he has grown to love.

I'll be honest with you; this review was something I almost didn't want to do. As was the case with Joss Whedon's "The Avengers" back when it was released, nearly everyone and their mother was doing a review for "Man of Steel" in the days after its own release. It was a decision that I wrestled with for the past twenty-four hours. On one hand I felt like I would be following the crowd in putting up my own review, but on the other it felt more and more like an egregious decision to not review this movie.

One, that I might add, I've grown to anticipate more and more in the days leading up to its release, which was a surprise to me (being the "non-fan" that I was). Eventually, obviously, the hand that pushed for the review to be made won out, aided considerably by the helpful words of two fellow reviewers Ejk1 and Bawnian-Dexeus. I hope this review is enjoyable and or satisfactory to the both of you especially.

As I debated whether or not I would review "Man of Steel" I realized something that the man of steel himself and I have in common, to a degree. Now, the same could be said for anyone, any boy who has had an absentee father in their lives, I could even make this connection between my self and Bruce Wayne, but for myself, when I was younger, and even now, I had to make the decision of who I was and who I wanted to be. Of course, the circ*mstances differ wildly between my own life and that of Clark Kent's (obviously), and I didn't have the set of abilities that Clark did (but boy would I have loved 'em), but I was faced with that choice regardless. Fortunately, I was blessed with father figures, surrogate fathers that helped me along during my formative years. It's fitting that I type this on Father's Day of all days. It helps put things even more into perspective for me.

I suppose I should talk about the actual movie, shouldn't I? One thing that I'm the most confused about, are the claims that the action scenes in this movie should have been trimmed down. I can partly see where they are coming from, but also as they played out before me, I was completely into them. Not once did I get the feeling of, "This should be shorter" or "They really didn't need THAT in there". I do agree that the editing was not the best, especially with the order of the flashbacks. Case in point: A flashback is presented that shows us a monumental moment in Clark's life and impacts him so strongly that it defines his actions from that point on. The very next flashback is set before the events of the flashback before it, completely undercutting what we just saw. I'll be honest, when I saw that scene unfold before my eyes; it was all I could do to not shed the tears that had quickly welled up behind them.

It's with that level of emotion that I question the order of those flashbacks, as well their transition back into the present day. Another friend and reviewer Nelson claimed that the flashbacks were episodic in nature. After taking some time, thinking about each one and the scenes that bookended them, I can certainly see how he would make such a claim. For the most part, I didn't have an issue with them; they served their purpose and I understood the exposition that they each carried. I just wish they were handled better. That being said, I loved the opening and all it showed us of Krypton. Russell Crowe was great as Jor-El, Clark's biological father, conveying all that he needed to in the short time he was on screen. Ayelet Zurer, who played Clark's biological mother Lara Lor-Van, was enjoyable enough during her time. She was believable enough for me to feel some sympathy for her untimely death.

Both Kevin Costner and Diane Lane were pitch perfect in their respective performances as Clark's adoptive parents. I don't know too much about the comic book characters, so I cannot make any sort of comparison between the two, but I enjoyed the time that one or both of them was on screen. It goes without saying that the character of Jonathan Kent looms large throughout the movie's run time, as does Crowe's Jor-El, but in a different capacity. Both men delivered great performances as father figures, and both characters were what they should have been: Wise, caring men who wanted the best for Clark.

I'm not too familiar with Michael Shannon or his previous work, but as the driven, albeit somewhat crazed, Kryptonian general Zod, he was wonderful. The idea of babies being genetically engineered to carry out a specific task for the duration of their lives was an interesting concept and i lent much more credence to what drove Zod and what ultimately let to his downfall. As is the case with the Kent's, I'm not very familiar with Zod's comic book interpretations, but I was familiar with the speculation that the character of Zod was too big of a heavy-hitter to bring into the first movie. Me being the inexperienced Superman noob that I am, I had no such quandaries. But as enjoyable as he was, it was Antje Traue's performance as Zod's second-in-command Faora Hu-Ul that I loved more than anything.

Every moment she was on screen, I couldn't take my eyes from her. Even though her character was one that was as intense as she was, someone who enjoyed the violence the inflicted upon others, Antje was a beautiful badass during each scene. It was said in another review (I think it was yours Bawnian) that Antje was everything that Wonder Woman should be when, or should I say "if", that character makes it to the screen. Now unlike the Kent's or General Zod, I am somewhat familiar with the character of Faora. Only insofar that I know there have been several different versions of the character, and many speculated that the Faora we would see would be the scientist who helps Zod develop some sort of virus or some such. Others speculated that the Faora we would see would be the beautiful Kryptonian woman with an intense unexplained hatred for all men. Obviously, even though it wasn't a specific plot point of "Man of Steel", we got the latter of the two characters. One other thing I noticed was that Antje's Faora was well skilled in hand-to-hand combat, something the speculated character also possessed. Long story short, I loved Antje every scene she was in.

Unfortunately, with the character of Lois Lane it's back to form for me. The character of Lois was much like the others in this movie; I knew of her, but never cared much for her one way or the other. And to makes things worse, I hadn't seen any actress do a good enough job to get me interested in the character. That is, until Amy Adams came along. Adams is an actress that I haven't seen in much, but that didn't color how I saw her in this movie. One of the things I liked so much about her character was that she wasn't the stereotypical "damsel in distress". From what I've seen, that's all her character was in past iterations, so it was very refreshing to see that not be the case here. Instead, Adams' Lois is very much the opposite. She's a go-getter who is willing to do things that other people aren't. It's only when she's confronted with the knowledge that her actions would have serious consequences for her, and later everyone around her, that she gets serious.

But enough about the side characters! It is time for me to address Henry Cavill as the king daddy himself, Superman. Even though I held no love for the character growing up, I knew enough about the actors that portrayed him. From what I have read, many considered Christoper Reeve to be THE Superman; something I feel is a hindrance, a disservice even, to those peoples' viewing of Cavill's performance. As for "the other Superman" aka Brandon Routh, I never saw "Superman Returns" and after hearing what I have heard and reading what I have read, and more importantly after seeing Cavill in all of his emotional glory, I have NO intention of ever going back as watching that movie.

Okay, okay, I'm getting sidetracked. Back to Cavill. I had the benefit of walking into "Man of Steel" with the prior knowledge and memories of Cavill's time as Charles Brandon, the first Duke of Suffolk, on the Showtime series The Tudors. Having seen him in little else, I was glad that he'd gotten the role of Clark Kent/Superman, but I was pensive at first on how he would do ultimately. Fortunately for myself, I never had any serious doubts as to Cavill's acting ability. If I had had doubts before seeing this movie, I wouldn't have even the tiniest shred of doubt now. Henry Cavill was outstanding as the man of steel. He brought the perfect amount of emotion to the character, be it pensiveness, anger, happiness, or sorrow. There is one scene in particular that had me sold on him and that is towards the end of the movie, during the climax of the film. Cavill's portrayal of the aftereffects of what had just happened was probably the single most human moment I've ever seen in film. It's already known that we'll see a sequel to "Man of Steel" so I eagerly look forward to what Cavill will bring to the table a second time around.

There is one other thing I want to talk about (big credit if you've made it this far) and that is the soundtrack to this movie.

The first time I heard one of Hans Zimmer's soundtracks, it was to the 2003 hit "Pirates of the Caribbean". From that moment on, he has come to be one of my most favorite composers and music producers. After doing some research, I've learned that Hans has done work on some of the films I saw during my younger years that I'd had no idea about. His work on the "Man of Steel" soundtrack has quickly put itself on the same level of the soundtracks for each of the Pirates movies, Inception and especially the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy. As is my usual design, I listened to the incredible soundtrack as I typed this lengthy review. As I went, each track brought back the emotions I felt when the scene that accompanied them played out on the big screen. I was fortunate enough to acquire the deluxe edition of the soundtrack and have listened to it at least six times now. A small matter of relief was learning that the music used in the fourth "Man of Steel" trailer was indeed a part of the overall soundtrack. I especially loved that bit, so I think I've listened to THAT section at least twice as much.

In the end, while I recognize the issues many others had with "Man of Steel", I myself cannot see them the way others do. As I said earlier, I am an inexperienced Superman noob, but maybe that was a beneficial factor to my level of enjoyment of this movie. I think it was.

So to answer the question posed in the overall quote, I think the world was ready but there was a little something lost in the translation from script to screen.

This was a review by tMG, thank you for the read and I hope you don't mind the giant craters I left on my way.

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