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Review: Man of Steel
June 14, 2013
Man of Steel charts the origins of Superman, from his birth on Krypton as Kal-El to life as Clark Kent and the first time he dons the cape. The films triumphs where previous incarnations have failed to capture the strength and wonder of Superman, but it fails to show the human nature of Clark Kent. If anything it is arguable there’s too much Superman, but after seven years since Superman Returns this is probably a blessing.
Director Zack Snyder is a god when it comes to action scenes and in no film is that more applicable than here; the weight of every punch and kick is felt in astonishing detail, though I personally miss the use of Snyder’s trademark slow-motion, as Superman and villains alike are tossed through buildings and petrol stations. Kryptonite does not exist in this film, which it is all the better for. The fights between Henry Cavill’s Superman and Michael Shannon’s General Zod are straight from a child’s imagination and are so satisfying to watch in that respect, but a little more time could have been spent in regards to the emotional core of the film. Man of Steel centres around Clark Kent trying to find the meaning in his existence as an alien on our planet, which we see through multiple flashbacks to his childhood, performed remarkably well by child actors and Henry Cavill as he reaches closer and closer to his destiny. Had there been a healthy dose of action mixed with flashbacks this may have been a great film, but all the emotional elements are pushed to the front while the action takes on most of the second half of the film.
The movie starts with Superman’s parents Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer) on Krypton giving birth to Kal-El – the first natural birth on Krypton in centuries. The origin story of Kal-El being sent to Earth has new life breathed into it and brings the personal feud between Zod and Superman closer than it was in the original Superman II. Shannon does an amazing job as the villain, who can capture so much viciousness and hate whilst also projecting some sympathy for his goal to save Krypton even at the cost of the human race.
Cavill is Superman. He fits the role and tights perfectly as shown when he tries his hardest to help out in any situation he can, but it is most iconic when he first steps out into the snow – cape and all. What is a shame is that we only ever see Cavill as Clark Kent the farm boy and not the reporter until very end, which I have to say is a shame but not regrettable as a sequel has already been confirmed, promising more Clark and Superman. Of course Superman would be nothing without the leading lady Lois Lane, who is played by Amy Adams. Lois is more active in her role as an investigative reporter than we’ve seen before, researching and sleuthing her way around the world on the trail of Clark Kent.
Man of Steel is a message of hope, not just for mankind but also for Clark Kent as he finds where he belongs, what he loves and wants to protect most. Though the film does suffer from pacing issues it’s a film fans have been waiting for since they first saw the ‘S’, with lots of action, touching moments and nods to other DC characters (Batman and Lex Luthor). Man of Steel ultimately reaches higher than anyone has dared before and sets up an amazing world that Superman can exist in, though it isn’t perfect it shows that if we wait that little bit longer we can have our “day in the sun”.
Man of Steel is released in cinemas today.