In 1939 the world of comic book heroes didn’t exist.
It wasn’t until two young men, Jerry Siegel and Canadian Joe Shuster created Superman and with him the rest of the comic book industry.
Soon after National Press (later DC Comics) created a line of characters such as Batman and Wonder Woman that would shape a generation of readers and influence another wave of characters throughout the years.
In 2013, the first superhero was once again given an adaptation with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.
The build up for this movie was huge after the success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. However, this time round he takes a side role as he lets a fresh writer and director take over for the last son of Krypton.
The movie feels larger in its scope. The opening images of Krypton show a world that looks far better than anything done in the past Green Lantern film. Krypton looks old and desolate and we get the feel for just how far the once mighty race of superbeings has fallen.
Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer) sent off their only son to escape from the destruction of their home world.
The film moves quickly from there as few parts of Kal-El’s (Henry Cavill) back-story are shown, such as his adapted father (Kevin Costner) asking him to hide his powers from the outside world so he can try and live a normal life.
For most of the films first hour, Superman lives a life similar to the Littlest Hobo, travelling from town to town looking for work but never staying long due to his aptitude of using his powers to help people.
It isn’t until he ends up meeting Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and discovers a ship from Krypton’s past that he starts to understand his place on earth and it’s citizens.
As the story progresses General Zod (Michael Shannon) soon comes to find the remnants of Krypton that’s hiding somewhere on earth.
Superman must team his earth’s military to fight Zod and his small group of Kryptonian soldiers before they destroy earth.
The movie features some solid performances from both its main cast and supporting actors, such as Laurence Fishburne as Daily Planet editor Parry White.
Despite their good performances the supporting cast featured a great deal as most of the movie focuses on Clark, Lois and Zod.
The one actor that ends up standing out in the movie is Russell Crowe. While he isn’t featured much outside of the movies opening, he commands the viewer’s attention when he is on the screen just like Jor-El should.
The movies director Zack Synder proved with his adaptation of the Watchman that he could do a solid job of adapting a comic book and he does it again with Superman.
Scenes are fast and the fight scenes are special effect showcases with each one of Superman’s and Zod’s punches feeling powerful.
However, these scenes are contrast to Nolen’s efforts in the Batman films. Most of those movies used CGI to enhance practical effects. Man of Steel mostly features CGI.
While I understand it’s difficult to shoot one actor flying at high speed into another, some of the fighting could have been reworked so they could have been shot practically.
The sound is solid…loud at times but solid.
Returning from his work in the Dark Knight trilogy is Hans Zimmer. The score is at times soft and downplayed adding depth to opening moments of the film.
However, later in the film his bombastic score will hit your eardrums hard, albeit a great deal less than Inception.
Where the film suffers is from its clear-cut and cliché writing.
David S Goyer writes an entertaining first half of the story but ends up leaving out a great deal of Clark learning to use his powers. The movie then nearly falls apart completely around the third act of this 2 and a half hour plus film.
Zod’s end game ends up being the same plot device that we’ve scene in comic book movies over the years and it really seems out of place for a movie about Supermen punching each other.
Another crushing blow comes from the lack of connection to any DC Comic movies, past of present. While the Internet was speculating that this would be the beginning to something larger, much like what Marvel did with their Avenger films, Man of Steel is a stand alone story that doesn’t even feature a post credits scene.
While DC Comics and Warner Brothers had hit pay dirt with their past Batman films, it appears this time that the brass ring that the movie was reaching for was really made of kryptonite.
Despite this, Man of Steel is still a very solid movie that should be watched. Just don’t go in looking for another Dark Knight.
Man of Steel was directed by Zack Synder and produced by Christopher Nolen, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder. Its story was drafted by Christpoher Nolen and David S. Goyer based upon characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster . The films screenplay was written by David S. Goyer. The movie was made by Legendary Pictures, Syncopy and DC Entertainment with distribution was handled by Warner Bros. Pictures.