MAN OF STEEL [2013] movie review

October 19, 2013 · Print This Article

I had heard that MAN OF STEEL [2013] made the origin story of Superman somewhat like that of Jesus, I would say rather, that religious elements were added as it does seem that people would attribute divine qualities to a being with the powers of Superman.  This was balanced equally though by science in explaining the source of Superman’s strength and abilities.  These two things, along with powerful fight scenes, combined to make an effective, modern superhero movie.

Earlier this summer I rewatched the first two Christopher Reeve era Superman movies.  I had fond memories of them from my childhood.  I found the first movie did hold up well, but the second, which I remembered best because it had General Zod, did not hold up well at all and in fact was a poor movie.  When Superman was attempted to be launched again a few years ago, I thought that movie a failure.  Seeing the Legendary logo in the opening credits gave me some hope for MAN OF STEEL finally being able to continue the telling of Superman.  I believe they did that and I would be excited for the inevitable sequel, after all, General Zod did toss a gas tanker emblazoned with the Luthor Industries name (did you catch that?).

I am a fan of origin story movies, but MAN OF STEEL did not play out linearly, which I think was a great help to pacing and keeping viewer interest.  There was no slow build to Clark being able to have superpowers, discovering a new one and then another.  Like the first Christopher Reeve movie, STEEL opens with the fate of Krypton.  I then expected to see infant Kal-el being picked up in a crater by the Kents, but no the movie jumps to a fishing boat off the coast of Canada.  The first act bounces from adult to kid to adolescent Clark filling us in more creatively than I expected.  I was jarred by this at first actually, but now can appreciate it.

This is as expected the slowest part of the movie, almost too slow, but that is soon forgotten once General Zod unexpectedly appears giving commands to hand over Kal-el.  For the first time in CGI, I really felt the power of a superhero.  Things still kind of looked like a video game, but impacts and the weight of damage did feel tangible.  The way Superman fought with General Zod and the others looked super, far beyond human, which is how they should.

The Lois Lane character played by Amy Adams is not developed that much in STEEL, but at least she is likable and you can see Superman being attracted to her.  In the Reeve movies, I found zero attractive qualities in the Lois character from how she looked, to her smoking to her recklessness.

The third act is intense, intense fighting that actually tests the limits of Superman’s strength.  The viewer has to believe he can be hurt for the fight scenes to have any consequence, and I believed.  In the end he has to make decisions and cross a certain line.  This also added to the realism amongst all the CGI.

To my knowledge the next Superman movie will be a Batman (vs?) Superman vehicle.  If so, I have no idea how Batman could fight Superman in the world established in STEEL.  I have no idea how even Lex Luthor could, which means my interest level is already high enough to be looking forward to what happens next in a few years.


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