Saturday, June 22, 2013
by: Stephen Operach
I am going to come out and say this up front, I really liked Man of Steel. Even though I got beaten up a bit on our round-table discussion about the movie and I couldn't really put up a fight with everyone just trashing the film (except Roy), I thought I would put down in writing why I think this. I understand that this movie is split right down the middle, but here are the reasons why I think it works.
First off you either like Zack Snyder or you don't, and if you don't you will go into this movie already with preconceived notions about the film. It is only human nature. I think this is by far and away his best work to date, I have either thought it his previous movies were either OK, liked, or in the case of Sucker Punch just awful. This movie however he puts his all into, it is right up there on the screen. I like how he told young Clark's major points in his adolescent life in flashback and weaved it into the story.
I love more time on Krypton, the feel of a dying planet with its own terrain, ecosystem, and wildlife was something we never saw on film. It is a believable world. Russel Crowe is Jor-El and a scientist that has been trying to tell the head of the world that the planet is dying. They do not listen to him so he and his wife have the first natural births on Krypton in ages. The way they are breed and birthed are predetermined by the Codex and are incubated in these underwater vine like chambers. After the birth he gives the counsel On last chance before stealing the Codex, has he leaves General Zod attempts a coupe killing the high counsel members and asking Jor-El to join him. He declines and tells Zod that he has birhed a free willed son. A chase ensues, Jor-El get the Codex, Kal-El is launched, and Zod kills Jor-El before he is arrested. He is traped in the Phantom Zone and sentenced.
Now it has been said that the way the speak is odd and unnatural, but I submit that these are an ALIEN race with its own way of speaking. It is this detail that I enjoyed.
Young Clark finds his powers, his father does not want him to expose himself yet because he believes Clark and the world is not ready. This is a father trying to protect his son the only way he knows how. Clark goes off to find who he is. This is where he meets a modernized Lois Lane played by Amy Adams. They find a ship, Clark finds out about his father and race. Zod comes looking for Clark after the beacon on the ship is triggered. He wants the Codex Jor-El took that he believes is on the ship.
Superman appears to the government to turn himself in so Zod will not attack Earth. Lois is asked to go with him. Clark is normal in Zod's ship and powerless, but Lois uses Jor-El help in escaping in a great scene. I want to say here that I love this Lois, she is a strong, smart, and adventurous woman. She is not played so dumb that she can't fiqure out who Superman is. I liked this touch makes her believable.
Zod comes to earth and finds Clark's ship with no Codex and threatens his mother. Superman and Zod's first fight. I loved these fight scenes they are what a Superman fight should be. All those years he was not able to fight back being unleashed on Zod was great to watch. He retreats because hwe is not accustomed to the air. Yes he does come back quickly, however these were all soldiers quick to adapt to any situation. This is what they were breed for.
Lets skip ahead to the fight in Metropolis. it is brutal. It has been said that there were people in the buildings which some might be but I have some points here. One is that you see the people evacuating right when the ship comes over head, and these people are smart enough to turn to the right and left instead of forward too escape falling buildings. My other point is that when you see them fighting the buildings are empty. no one in them at all. It has also been brought up why did superman just go save these people. Well he could save 50 people, while Zod is killing 500 at a time, better to just defeat Zod.
Lets now talk about the choice he made about killing Zod. Lets put aside the notion that the family could not move away from the heat vision. Zod himself said that he would not stop unless he is dead. Superman kills him, and yes he has killed in the comic before, with pain and suffering on his face. You can feel his heart breaking. How can Superman swear never to kill if he does not experience the pain and guilt the first time he does? He can not.
As you can tell, I really enjoyed this movie with it flaws and all. The core of the story however, the changes they made worked for me. I stand behind this movie, I think it is the best super hero movie this year to date. It will be in my top 10 this year for sure. I make no apologies for this movie. I am very excited to see where it goes from here, but I do agree it needs some lightening up a bit.
Plot: *** 1/2
Direction: *** 1/2
Technical: The look of the movie is a darker tone, but the effects are well executed and looks like a comic book.
X-Factors: With the writing only mediocre all the actors do their best with the material. The Stand outs are of course Cavill, Shannon, and Crowe. Plus its a superman movie with no land deals and action.
Verdict: *** 1/2
Will This Movie end up in my collection? YUP.