Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe
Directed by Zack Snyder
Don’t be fooled by the blue spandex and red cape, this Superman reboot is actually worth watching. With a little help from producer Christopher Nolan, Man of Steel feels like another Dark Knight movie but is far from it.
In this new Superman film, the audience gets a little more background on the planet Krypton, where Kal-El (aka Clark Kent) (Cavill) is from. The movie starts out with Jor-El (Crowe) warning the higher authority of Krypton that the planet is about to be destroyed, and that he can save their race by sending his natural born son to a safe place. Jor-El’s confrontation with General Zod (Shannon) is fatal, but he has at least saved his son from the same fate the planet will soon suffer.
Skipping ahead to his adulthood, Clark briefly flashbacks to character building events during his childhood, such as instances Clark’s powers reveal themselves. His human father warns him that the world isn’t ready for someone like Clark, until a menace from outside the planet threatens human existence. General Zod’s appearance picks up the pace for the film, but it’s not just Zod who takes the spotlight.
Faora-Ul (Antje Traue) was one of Zod’s soldiers trapped in a black hole as punishment for treason on Krypton. Faora is one of Zod’s only soldiers to go out and kick butt. Lois Lane (Adams) is another female role that isn’t primarily a damsel in distress. Lane isn’t a soldier, in combat she needs saving. Her attitude isn’t helpless, she goes back to the action rather than avoid it, but Lane is the one to help Clark defeat Zod.
At two and a half hours, this movie is either going to drag on for some viewers or the time will fly by as fast as Superman. It’s hard to accomplish Clark Kent’s background and get to the villain soon without rushing a few of the story lines. Snyder could have eased on the heavy-action packed scenes towards the end to focus more on Clark’s childhood discovering his powers, or the treason committed by Zod in the first place. During Superman and Zod’s up-in-the-air battle, they smash each other into city buildings and ruin the parts of Metropolis that hadn’t been damaged by Zod’s gravity machine.
It’s not quite a masterpiece, but Man of Steel is still a better reboot compared to DC’s previous try with Superman Returns in 2006. It’s the most realistic of Superman movies. It’s hard to ignore the Nolan influence integrated in this film, from Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack to the stunning cinematography. Using Zod as the main villain was the perfect set-up for a potential sequel, where Metropolis lies in ruins and Lex Luthor has a chance to rise as a major character while he helps rebuild the city.