Let’s be clear upfront, I’ve never been a big fan of Superman in films or comics. He was always a little too “Aw, gosh golly gee!” for my tastes. Yes, when I was a young boy I did like SUPERMAN and it’s sequel but lost interest quickly afterwards. So I was at least curious to see MAN OF STEEL knowing that Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder were behind it. I thought it would be at least different. And it is. I’ve seen it now 3 times and I like it quite a bit.
I understand that this might upset a number of my faithful followers, but I don’t see why everyone seems to have a bug up their ass about this movie. First off, the opening sequence in Krypton is AMAZA-CRAZY AWESOME!!! I loved the design of the world and the intensity of the character conflicts and action. I viewed the movie as an epic sci-fi film more so than as a Superman movie and maybe that is why it worked for me. I was not hampered by all the “rules” or mythology of the character because frankly, I didn’t care. As long as there was internal logic to the story then I could enjoy it.
I found Henry Cavill engaging as Kal-El (aka Superman) and Amy Adams made a fine Lois Lane. It was great having two heavies like Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner as his father figures (Jor-El and Jonathan Kent respectively) and Diane Lane as his surrogate mother Martha Kent adding some much needed warmth to the icy cold film.
Michael Shannon is fierce and dangerous as General Zod who plans on turning the Earth into the new Krypton even if it means the death of billions. I found him believable in his hatred and a true threat to be reckoned with.
I would be remised not to mention the level of violence and destruction in the film. It’s excessive to say the least, especially the final battle between Superman and Zod smack dab in the middle of downtown Metropolis. But these are two Gods fighting and it didn’t bother me as much as others. It felt warranted but it does present an odd mixed message as Superman is here to protect the Earth and he (presumably) causes just as much death and destruction as Zod.
SPOILERS: Another key moment that has many Superman fans quite upset is that he kills Zod. Evidently Superman doesn’t kill as a general rule of thumb. I rather like this moment because it’s clear to me that Superman doesn’t want to kill him but he has no choice. I would like to believe in an origin story way, that maybe THIS is the reason why he doesn’t kill from that point on. Zod’s death will always weigh heavily on his mind and look for other solutions. If this is true, then they’ve done a fine job of making that work. END OF SPOILERS
Much darker than the previous Superman interpretations, MAN OF STEEL is not a perfect film and not exactly suitable for younger fans, but it is still quite well made and entertaining and gives me hope for a vision of Superman that I can enjoy.