It’s been almost a year since I’ve written any posts and wouldn’t you know it, it wouldn’t be the Avengers that tempted me back or Iron Man 3 but Superman. That’s for one very good reason, my generation has never seen a modern rebooted big screen adaption of Superman (Superman Returns was too similar to the Reeves movies of yesteryear.. it did nothing to further the franchise except convince exec’s to start over)
Finally, we got the MJ, the Gretzky of Superhero’s on the silver screen in a rebooted, action packed adventure entitled “Man of Steel”.
The film had everything Superman needed including an added depth of realism, isolation, emotion and imperfection.
Let’s start with my only issue with the movie. The mass amounts of destruction. I couldn’t help but have flashes of 9/11 in my mind watching the buildings crumble around Manhattan in the fashion they did.. it was a haunting image yet again.. a bold decision made by the screenwriters. It was an interesting visual to give to audiences.. I wonder if the subliminal message was to tell Marvel “Look our enemies can actually destroy the city while attacking it and our #1 hero can stop them on his own”?
The movie brings us a new adaption of the planet Krypton, which utilizes its various alien terrains and life forms to expand the D.C Universe in undoubtedly the first movie strung together in the D.C Cinematic Universe (more on this later).
The movie also gave us a Maximus like take on Jor-El (Superman’s father, including a memorable line akin to Star Wars). To me, Russell Crowe, hadn’t been this good in a movie since Gladiator. He was Jor-El from top to bottom and he struck the same sentimental, morale grounded vibes that he did in the 2001 best actor/picture film. Watching him guide Lois Lane through enemy fire with such assurance, gave us viewers a sense of hope and optimism just as the gravity of the story was creeping doubt into our minds. His words of encouragement and wisdom to his son Kal-El, came across perfectly. I felt the hairs on my skin stand up as Superman gazed out to the World below know knowing what he has to do “The only way to know how strong (you can become), is to keep testing your limits / You can save them all.” Says Jor-El silencing Superman’s inner doubts brought on by an existence of difference and isolation.
Amy Adams, take on Lois Lane was a welcomed and much needed breathe of fresh air. No longer, simply a damsel in distress Lois gets involved from the beginning. Adams, who often casts alongside legendary actors such as Meryl Streep, has fine acting chops and has come along way from her successful (real) theatrical debut in Catch Me If You Can. I also appreciated Nolan and company not dumbing the audience down (SPOILER ALERT) by having Lois not recognize Superman as Clark. In fact, she never has to ponder such an absurdity. What’s also interesting, is that beside Lois, a few soldiers and a kid from his school days no one ever gets a clear, long view of Superman which to me makes complete sense, the guy movies at super sonic speed and is often too far away or too high up catch a glimpse of.
The Kents played by the immaculate and still got it Diane Lane and Mr. Costner played excellent anchors to bring the story to a needed slower and personal pace. They did a great job of showing just how difficult Clarks childhood was. I appreciated the lack of sugar-coating or off-the-cuff type humour during his younger years you so often see. I appreciated that because it brought more gravity and seriousness to being different, which is a struggle that not only Superman had/has to deal with on a daily basis. The fact is he was/is so different to everyone and it was very challenging for the Clarks to keep that hidden. Its clear a life of secrecy has taken its toll on the simple Kents and Clark himself. More than half way through the movie and through his life up until the scene unfolding before you Clark still doesn’t know if he can trust the Human race. It’s a stark change to the happy go lucky Superman we’ve all been accustomed to. Superman doesn’t just want to save the day?? Its a question that has never really been asked before.
General Zod, was also well portrayed by Michael Shannon, an actor I’m honestly not too familiar with. Again, the creators gave us a complex villain who had a convincing cause for doing what he was albeit to a slight extreme.
Finally, Superman played by Henry Cavill was exactly the kind of personification that will lead Superman into a multi-billion dollar franchise. Henry was runner up to Brandon Routh for the 2006 role and even finished 2nd to Daniel Craig for Bond, but it looks like in his case everything does happen for a reason. Perfect timing, has allowed him to grant the world a complex and exciting take on a legendary hero. Cavill, a self-professed nerd of comics and WOW, has a very real connection to Clark Kent and its in his sincere portrayal of the character that greatness can be achieved.
Near the end of the film, Superman goes crashing through a satellite hovering high above the planet. Although, this may not warrant special mention the company logo on the satellite will have a significant bearing on the direction of all D.C heroes. The logo… “Wayne Enterprises”.
I can’t wait to see Cavill’s Superman and Bale’s Batman on screen together in what will truly be a defining moment in cinematic history.
Man of Steel has performed more than well enough at the box-office (already surpassing the domestic box office tally of “Superman Returns”) to green-light a sequel that will eventually build its way into a Justice League franchise.