Monday, June 17, 2013
Man of Steel (SPOILERS)
Onto the film itself. SPOILERS from here on out. I won't go into too much detail, but I will touch on one part of the film that seems to have affected dedicated Superman fans and split them from the movie.
Still here? Great! I enjoyed this film. There was clapping at the end of it in my theater, but I did not feel the same emotional satisfaction as I did when Batman Begins, or any of The Dark Knight trilogy ended. I like most things about this movie, but in particular I don't know that I can pick out anything that I don't like. It's strange. I love the cast. Henry Cavill is a good Superman. I definitely felt his loneliness and longing to belong. Amy Adams is a great choice for Lois Lane. She's more like the Teri Hatcher Lois, spunky, resourceful, except she doesn't get kidnapped nearly as much as Teri Hatcher's did. Michael Shannon was great as General Zod. He wasn't so much evil, as just narrow-minded and singular in purpose. It made sense.
Ma and Pa Kent (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner) were good choices for me. I saw some critics disliking Kevin Costner's performance, saying he came across as annoyed by Clark, but I didn't take it that way at all. Most times Pa Kent came off as concerned. He's more concerned for keeping his son's secrets hidden, for the good of his son than anything, but he still wants his son to make good decisions. Pa Kent here knew that in time, Clark would have to come out to the world, and he wanted this son to be ready, even if the world wasn't.
I think one of the great victories of the film is its sequence on Krypton. The film opens with Kal-El's birth on Krypton, and its subsequent destruction. But instead of just rehashing the same old crystal motif here again, we see a more fully fleshed out Krypton. We see Jor-El atop a Kryptonian dragonfly-beast, as he rides it from the council chamber to the launching pad. We see the Kryptonian military with General Zod, we see the ruling Council. Everything here is new. The costume designs are amazingly alien, and make sense in a world with such rich history that they are clinging too as their world dies. I like the idea that Krypton was once an immense empire, spanning galaxies and setting up colonies and exploring new worlds. It lends credence to the fact that Jor-El knows where to send Kal-El. He didn't just land here by accident, and Jor-El isn't just hoping his son survives somewhere. It makes Krypton a lot more plausible than the magic growing crystals of the Donner films and Smallville. I want to go back to the Krypton of this film. I'd like another extended flashback, or a prequel film, or animated series. It was a stunning opening to a film, and made you forget any incarnation of Superman that had come before.
ruined the movie for him based on the "Superman doesn't kill" argument. I'm kind of okay with this moment. Superman hasn't yet learned how to make these decisions. Every life or death situation for him up until now was some sort of natural disaster where he could save human lives and not get hurt. This was unprecedented. Superman is not perfect, and I hate the fans who think he has to be. I know Batman doesn't kill deliberately or use guns because he knows what killing and a gun did to him and his psyche, but Superman's made no such vow. I'm pretty sure Jor-El killed a few of Zod's soldiers in the opening, and Pa Kent essentially kills himself to keep Clark's secret. Superman's fathers have not taught him not to kill, so how else is he going to learn this lesson? I may be reading too much into it, but that is my take on it.
After this moment is where the movie falls flat for me. Immediately after this scene we get some humor thrown at us to lighten the moment, but it's exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. Even though I liked the fact that Superman had to kill Zod, I didn't like the handling of it. Another thing the film could have used is some more humor. Batman is funny in Nolan's films, he and Alfred trade barbs at each other from time to time, and I feel like Man of Steel could use some more moments like that. Don't get me wrong, there is some humor in the film, but not enough. Its clear why Jimmy Olsen serves a purpose, and could have served a purpose in this film as well if he was not included.
All in all Man of Steel is a great 2.3 hours in the multiplex. I would avoid 3D if possible, as a lot of it his handheld and so much is moving to fast to probably make the 3D worthwhile. See Cinemablend's 3D review for more detail on that. There are lots of things to like in this film, a few to love (like the casting and Hans Zimmer's score), and a few things to dislike.
4 out of 5 Stars