Review by Eric
Man of Steel is by far my the most anticipated movie this summer. I have been waiting for two years to see this film and I got to say I was happy with the results. This movie definitely has its flaws, but overall it tells a great story.
Every good story needs good characters and actors. This film has some of the greatest!
We have to start with the Man of Steel himself. Henry Cavill’s portrayal of the Last Son of Krypton is up there with Christopher Reeve. David Goyer and Christopher Nolan have written Kal-El/Clark darker than in past films, but Cavill is able to make Kal-El seem more human than Kryptonian. He has the powers, but his emotions and internal struggle makes Kal-El relatable to every one of us.
Besides Superman himself the best known character is Louis Lane. Amy Adams does an amazing job portraying the woman opposite Superman. In this version of the greatest superhero of all time, Louis Lane is even less of a “damsel in distress”. Her character has always been a hard hitting reporter, but now she is being embedded into the front lines of wars and will literally stop at nothing to get her story. Amy Adams is able to remain feminine and beautiful while fighting along side of Kal-El. She is stronger than previous Lanes.
General Zod played by Michael Shannon was powerful. Shannon is an amazing character actor and he executed Zod flawlessly. Shannon plays Zod in a way that made him relatable to us as well. In his mind he was doing what was best for his people. I was able to empathize with Zod. I wonder if the fate of the human race depended on me would I act in the same way as Zod.
The music was good. I do miss the iconic “bum bum bum bum bum, BUM BUM BUM” This film lacks an overall theme song which is disappointing, but the fact that all the music is original and you don’t hear any current pop songs is a great change of pace. All the music was composed by Hans Zimmer.
I really liked the way in which the story was written and told. It is a nonlinear story line. All of Clark’s childhood is told as flashbacks. I like this because you are able to get a lot of information in chunks and you only get the information you need when you need it. It can be boring and really long to show a character from birth to age thirty-three. This reminds me of how the Gospel of John is written. John writes in a circular way giving you stories of Jesus’ life in chunks that go together, not necessarily in a chronological way.
In Man of Steel we get a glimpse into the struggle of Clark adapting to his superhuman powers as a child. It forced me to wonder, though the Bible is silent on the issue, did the humanity of Jesus struggle with what it meant to be God. Did Jesus have a hard time fitting in with the human children in Nazareth? This also makes Clark more relatable to us. We have all struggled at one time or another, or on one level or another, with whom we are and why we are here. A key person in helping Clark figure this all out is his Earth father, Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner). This relationship is amazing. Kent does the best job he can and teaches Clark right from wrong and how to be a man. My favorite Jonathan Kent quote is, “You’re not just anyone. One day, you’re going to have to make a choice. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, it’s going to change the world.” There is a scene where Clark is a teenager and pulls the “your not my dad” card. Mr. Kent doesn’t even blink an eye. He still remains the same strong but gental man he has always been. In other portrayals of Superman we do not get to see this internal struggle and “human” side of him. We only see him as strong and confident, at least when he is Kal-El. I really enjoyed the fact that they used the name Kal-El a lot. The word “Superman” is only used twice by my count and using the Kryptonian name gives it a bit more realism in a way.
Since the story generally follows the original outline of the Superman mythology, Kal-El is still the “Christ-like” character in this film. It is obvious with quotes like Jor-El (Kal’s biological father) saying “You can save them… You can save all of them.” Kal-El is a savior because he is trying to physically save the planet. He is not saving us from our sin or ourselves, but from the threat of another mortal enemy. Jesus came to save us from our sin and reconcile us to God (John 3:16-17). Kal-El says, “My father believed that if the world found out who I really was, they’d reject me… out of fear. He was convinced that the world wasn’t ready. What do you think?” It made me think of Matthew 21:42 “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Jesus was rejected even though he came only to save. He is still rejected even today. It is mostly out of fear that he is rejected. The Pharisees and Sadducees were afraid of loosing their power and authority, the Romans were afraid of rioting and rebellion, today we fear what we don’t understand and want to trust in our logic and reason.
There are some small changes to character that some may find offensive. In one scene Clark is seen drinking a beer, this was not upsetting to me, but I understand why some may not like this. This is a change from the Reeve character who plainly states that he, “never drinks…” He is also not squeaky clean in this version when he is shown stealing clothes out of the back of a car. I really struggled with Kal-El acting this way. This is such a long way off from the traditional Superman, but in the end this helps to show his character growth. Like all of us Kal-El justifies his actions by what he needs in the moment. He was in hiding and surviving mode. All of us justify our sin at the time. We only did it because (fill in the blank). Once we see our sin for what it is we repent and are forgiven. There is also a huge scene towards the end where Superman does something he has never done before. I will not give it away, but know that my heart sank a little bit when it happened. It was a powerful moment when you could see the struggle he faced come to a head. I think this scene was extremely well done.
There has been a lot talk about the overuse of CGI in this film. I will have to agree, to a point. First I have to give praise to the amazing work done to bring the planet Krypton to life. For the first time we see Krypton as more than just a ball of ice. We get to see animals, buildings, spacecraft, and even a glimpse into their culture. I will admit that the fight scenes where way too long. The movie has a running time of 2 hours and 23 minutes which could have easily been 2 hours and they would have lost nothing! I love action and I love Superman, but a 20 min fight scene was exhausting! This in no way ruins the film; just know going into it that there is long drawn out fight scenes.
This is an overall good action movie, but one must remember that this is an origins story and will definitely have at least one sequel. If you pay close attention you will see signs that say “Lex Corps” so I would assume that we get to Lex Luthor in the next film. I am anxious and excited about the next installment of Man of Steel. The film is rated PG-13 and there is some cursing and crude language. I feel the film is fine for anyone over the age of 13, but would suggest that parents watch the film first before letting younger children see the film.
I rate this film 4/5