Man of Steel Review | The Franchise is Back on its Feet


Generally I agree with the critics, who have in this case, given this movie a C or two stars, but I am really not sure what movie they were watching or what they expected. Man of Steel is far from perfect, but the hard work is there, and it shows as the movie succeeds as a entertaining piece of work, getting the superman franchise back on its feet.

I’ve never been a superman fan; to be fair I’ve never read the comic books as a kid and high level, I didn’t get the proposition. He’s simply a alien, and yet his archnemesis is a rich human (Lex)? Given he’s kinda invincible except for kyrptonite, all you can do is (a) hurt the people he cares about (Ma, pa, and Lois and people in general) and/or (b) get some kryptonite…7 years ago, Bryan Singer who just loves Superman and Superman II gave us Superman Returns and like Batman and Robin, the franchise knew for sure it needed a break and some serious thinking…Enter Nolan’s team and Zack Synder’s, and we finally have a Superman movie, that is far from perfect, but is a pretty good reboot of a franchise. The movie takes on my biggest beef usually with Superman; he’s a alien. Snyder/Goyer and team completely work and build off that yes he is a alien and do something cool with it.

Krypton is about to die, but the world’s chief scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) has built a rocket for his son Kal-El to travel) to Earth.  The infant Kal-El is imbued with the planet’s codex, which contains all of Krypton’s knowledge, in particular the ability to craft the species’ eugenics.  General Zod (Michael Shannon) attempts a coup and tries to get the codex, but is apprehended and sent into the phantom zone along with his co-conspirators.  Krypton explodes, Kal-El reaches Earth safely, is found and raised as “Clark Kent” by Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane), but with the twist that Pa Kent truly wants Clark to hide his powers for fear the world will reject him, at least for now.  The adult Kal-El (Henry Cavill), eventually discovers his true origin, and then has to fight to protect the Earth when Zod discovers that the Last Son of Krypton—and therefore the codex—are on our planet.


The overarching narrative loosely follows the origin story we all know, but with many welcome twists.  Clark’s journey is viewed through the prism of his two fathers rather than him going through the standard story beats of discovery, fortress of solitude, join Daily Planet as a cover, and then save the day as Superman.  We’ve seen that so many times before.  In this new adaptation, the beats are there, but are rearranged and maybe given alittle more depth.  Most importantly, we see two different belief systems that get to the same end-game.  Jor-El believes that Kal-El should embrace his powers, and become a force of good for Earth to guide our planet to a better tomorrow.  Jonathan believes Clark needs to keep his powers a secret in order to stay safe or else humanity will reject him, but that eventually they will be ready and embrace him. At this point of course, Zod returns and all hell breaks loose.


Not getting into too much details many things about the movie work well. Krypton/the first 15 minutes are really great; from the visuals, to the setup, to Hans Zimmer’s music that as usual in these types of movies, engulf, rather than support the scenes, and its great. The cast throughout the movie is hilariously strong; from Crowe, to Lane, Costner, to Shannon. It’s sad that Morpheous does nothing more than run down city streets like a tidal wave is coming, but his character (Perry White) doesn’t do much anyway…so you either get a decent name or just don’t show this character…Adams does a good job as the new Lois Lane; they show us that she’s a great journalist, rather than just telling us; and while I’m never really convinced of her relationship with Superman, I don’t know how else to show it that hasn’t been done 1000 times before.


The fight sequences are pretty damn cool; doing things that people have tried, but done in a way we’ve never seen before on a matter of levels. Snyder has taken an understanding of Superman’s physical abilities and attempted to test them in a way that’s pretty entertaining. But they could have also edited and elevated the movie’s action sequences a bit more; I didn’t need a 10 minute special effects dazzle with liquid metal tentacles that ends with him just flying through 
something to make it blow up. 

The movie is far from perfect. It’s alittle too long, and we could have done without a couple of the action sequences, but like Batman Begins, the franchise is off to a very good start.  The ending of the movie (literally the last three minutes) mirrors Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises ending; a lot happens and then its over. While the idea that he’s hiding behind a pair of glasses and a dresshirt as a journalist is ridiculous in this day and age, I was already on board and enjoying myself and so the movie succeeds for me.

Review: B