Seven years after the polarizing release of Superman Returns, one of the comic book world’s most recognized heroes returns to the big screen in a convincing way with Man of Steel. Giving Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El the reboot are the combined forces of director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) and producer Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception). Played this time around by Henry Cavill (Immortals), the “big blue boy scout” is more that just that as he is given a whole different direction for a world that has significantly changed since the time of Christopher Reeve’s much hailed depiction. Man of Steel gives the audience the Superman movie they have been waiting for.
Following the familiar origin story of Superman’s father Jor-El (Russell Crowe) sending his only child to Earth before the planet Krypton’s destruction, Snyder and Nolan give it a different twist as we see the vastness and beauty of the planet before it’s destruction and during the attempted revolution of General Zod (Michael Shannon). While Zod and his cohorts are sent to the “Phantom Zone” for their crimes, Kal-El/Superman is raised by the Kents (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) as one of their own, and given the name Clark, on Earth. Years later Kal-El will learn he is not the only Krpytonian survivor as Zod and company have found their way to Earth and are determined to start a new Krpyton here on Earth (even at the expense of the human race). Now that the human race faces a grave threat, Kal-El must step up and defend the planet at all costs.
Following a partial non-linear narration; the movie’s story is engaging as we follow Superman through his life on Earth and see the struggles, trials, and tribulations that helped to shape Superman’s moral being . Man of Steel’s story also helps to set up what is to come in future sequels. While Lois Lane’s (Amy Adams) and Perry White (Clark Kent’s boss played by Lawrence Fishburne) roles are not as deep, they leave enough for you to know that their roles will be more utilized as well. There are also a couple of “easter eggs” to hint as some other possible events.
Michael Shannon’s depiction of General Zod as a megalomaniac whose only focus is his twisted view on the preservation of Krpyton is a great catalyst to Cavill’s depiction of a Superman who struggles to find his way and to defend his adopted home. The action itself is something to behold. Snyder knows what the audience wants and gives it to them turned up to 11. We see chaos and destruction that could only happen if virtually indestructible and powerful beings went toe to toe. We see streets destroyed, buildings collapse, many explosions, and much more. However, it not just done for the sake of a “popcorn movie” we see it as Superman’s last resort to save the day.
Past films have seemed to ask, “Does the world need a Superman?” This time it asks, “Would (or could) the modern even world accept a Superman?”
Man of Steel is rated PG-13 and is available in 2D, 3D, and IMAX-3D formats.
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