Movie Review: Man of Steel

The Man of Steel is at times convoluted and overall generic, but its impressive visuals and a grounded Superman make it a serviceable enough introduction.

A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind. — (C) Warner Bros

This Superman reboot draws its main strength from the combination of Zack Snyder’s brute action and Nolan’s brooding style.

The movie kicks off with an epic prologue. Superman’s origin starts with an explosive coup d’état and his departure comes with a grand tragic end of his birthplace.

The second part of the prologue leads us to an adult Clarke Kent with flashbacks of his struggles growing up, while he tries to live a life off the grid. Nolan’s (and the Dark Knight’s) influence surfaces as Superman is given an inner struggle and proper destruction is unleashed. Unlike in Star Trek into Darkness with its glossed over terrorist attacks, you see an actual populace under threat.

Henry Cavill, with his impeccable American accent, is both charming and otherwordly in a dark Superman suit. While the movie makes leaps with character development, his identity crisis makes him more relatable. The movie doesn’t treat him like an indestructible force. He is portrayed as an outsider who is still figuring things out and just happens to be an alien with superpowers.

Many critics complain that the reboot lacks humor and warmth, but this is a Christopher Nolan produced movie. Any campiness is most likely to be purged, and its better that way. There are subtle light moments in the film.

The remaining elements pushes the movie into run-of-the-mill summer blockbuster territory.

Louis Lane isn’t a ditzy reporter anymore and becomes a Pulitzer price winning journalist, but she’s mainly used as a plot device. Russel Crowe was decent (I can’t compare his performance to Marlon Brando because I don’t really remember much. I wasn’t born yet when Superman: The Movie first came out).  The rest of the cast doesn’t really have much to work on, but Kevin Costner did well with what he was given.

The fight scenes are engaging but not inventive. For a moment there I thought I was watching a Tekken arcade game except its General Zod’s henchmen versus the US military.

The ultimate stand off between Superman and General Zod looked like a live action fight from Dragon Ball Z. Their fight didn’t have any emotional impact because it bears no consequence. Along with all of this, thrown in from time to time, is a lot back story details that made the science convoluted.

Flaws aside, this is a good origins story that fits our time. In this reboot we get a super-powered alien with a human core that you can connect with.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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