So, Man of Steel is finally in theaters. Brought to us by Zack Snyder, the guy who brought you sleek, slo-mo adaptations of the comics 300 and Watchmen. Written by David Goyer, who also scripted the Christopher Nolan Batman films. And hey, Nolan himself produced and consulted on this film. Which means we all knew this Superman flick was going to be grittier, emotional, and serious. Richard Pryor characters are nowhere to be found.
This movie is Kal-El’s origin story. And it’s presented in such a powerful way. When he is born, his planet is on the verge of implosion. Jor-El, his forward thinking father (amazingly played by one of my all time favorites, Russell Crowe) sends him off to Earth, in hopes he’ll be a beacon of hope for its residents, and further the race of Krypton. That’s quite a lot to deal with once he grows up (adopted by the good ol’ Kents) as Clark Kent of Smallville, Kansas. Oh, and of course there are some baddie Kryptonians who didn’t approve of Jor-El’s plan of launching Krypton’s last natural born son to some lesser rock. General Zod & his hot assistant aren’t having it. They want him. Oh yeah, and the genetic codes of every Kryptonian that Jor-El injected into Kal before he shot him into space.
Basically this film’s themes are “hey, you’re like a God to these Earthlings. Use your powers for good, once they’re finally ready to deal with your existence” vs “hey, my planet just got toasted and I’m going to do whatever is needed to start it anew. With my hot assistant”.
It’s awesome. The cast is great. Did I mention Russell Crowe rules? Yeah. Henry Cavill is, dare I say it, the best Superman so far. He is perfect. I can’t stand Kevin Costner most of the time, but he nailed Jonathan Kent. Michael Shannon as Zod – excellent villainy with just the right amount of hamming. While I did get confused and thought Hannibal Lecter was going to appear with notes on a gruesome murder, having Laurence Fishburne there as Lois Lane’s boss was a nice touch. Speaking of Lois, Amy Adams was wonderful.
Special shout out to Hans Zimmer, for the score. I’ve become a soundtrack nerd over the years, and he’s one of my favorites. Pounding, forceful notes that make the hairs on your neck stand up.
The only negative thoughts I have on this movie concerned the fight scenes. They could have been five or ten minutes shorter. All of them. Only so much throwing, punching, smashing into buildings/trains/IHOPs/helicopters, please. I know they had to make the action stuff super epic and explodey. It’s Superman, for Pete’s sake. But to me, it could have been edited down a bit.
Well, there you have it. A Superman movie review from a dork who really loves Batman. Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster created this iconic comic book character, and to see him in what the kids call the “Nolan-verse” is pretty cool.
Before I run off, I have a suggestion for you, once you’re done seeing this film: Head on down to your local comic book shop. I highly recommend Local Heroes in Norfolk (Go here: http://www.localheroescomics.com). Buy some Superman comics. If you’re not sure where to start, ask the nice person behind the counter (I loved Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? by Alan Moore). So many summer blockbusters are comic book related these days, and guess what? The source material is beautiful art that’s really fun! However, if you don’t feel like looking at pictures while reading (which makes me think you’re weird, but no worries), check out The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer (go here: http://bradmeltzer.com/book/the-book-of-lies/). It’s like a Superman-DaVinci Code mashup.