With Man of Steel, Christopher Nolan and David Goyer have definitely proved themselves as the troubled DC film universe’s possible saviors. The film takes what I feel is one of the hardest to relate to characters in the DC stable and makes him not only relatable, but very accessible to normal people as well. They do this by making Superman not just an outcast, but by giving DC’s golden boy some legit issues as well.
Man of Steel is an origin story that doesn’t particularly feel like an origin story. Most of the first act takes place on Krypton and introduces the Kryptonians as a highly evolved race on the brink of extinction. Their planet is about to explode due to them mining its unstable core for energy. It’s during the council meeting where all this is being laid out that General Zod stages his unsuccessful coup.
This act results in the death of Jor-El, the launching of his son into the universe and the banishment of Zod and his men into the Phantom Zone.
Probably one of the most important things explained during this is Kal-El was Krypton’s first natural birth in over a millennia. Krypton normally relied on a predetermined genetically engineered class like system, which has taken all the choice and destiny out of their society. By launching his child into space Jor-El hoped not only to save his race, but re-introduce choice and destiny as well, which are the two driving themes of Man of Steel.
The film does the smart thing by then skipping thirty years into the future using General Zod’s invasion as the impetus to not only bring Kal-El out of hiding to confront his destiny, but give the people of earth no other choice but to accept him as their champion as well. Man of Steel definitely has Zach Snyder relying on all of his strengths to deliver a Superman for a new generation.
There are just so many things done right in this film in my opinion the casting is rock solid, I loved Michael Shannon’s Zod and Russell Crowe’s Jor-El. Henry Cavill was an amazing Superman and I really dug Amy Adams as Lois Lane as well. I really liked not only how they re-imagined Lois in the film, but also how they paired her with Superman. It’s very different, but it also just feels right.
As for the plot, direction and story, the film runs two plus hours and moves a breakneck pace to introduce the characters and get the plot moving, and unlike Batman Begins it doesn’t get lost in its own exposition. There isn’t anything in the film that doesn’t seem absolutely necessary; Snyder really did a great job showing us what he can do as a director and keeping things going.
Finally, I have to mention the fights in Man of Steel, these were absolutely mind blowing, and it reminded me of what I always imagined a Dragon Ball Z live action film to look like. Seriously, watching Superman fight Zod, and his minions made me feel like I as 10 years old. Guns don’t work on these folks, so its left to city leveling bare knuckle brawling to take care of business and it is a thing to behold.
Do I forgive Zach Snyder for Sucker Punch? No I don’t. But I think he has successfully cracked a really hard property that will no doubt help DC finally get their Justice League film off the ground. I loved Man of Steel and I am not a Superman fan. That says it the best.
Although, I am definitely curious as to how they are going to be able to follow this one up.
Man of Steel gets a 4.25 out of 5 Stars