12/06/13 00:17 Filed in: Movie Review
I just walked out of a 7 pm showing of “Man of Steel” and I have to say I was impressed. You really can’t trust critics or Rotten Tomatoes all the time to give movies a fair evaluation. Maybe Zack Snyder is still trying to live down “Sucker Punch,” or maybe due to its previous problematic filmic adaptations, “Superman” is viewed with a skeptical eye from the start. But the fact is, this was an exceptionally well made film with some great performances, including the notably restrained Henry Cavill.
The story is based roughly on the 2006 DC Comics General Zod arc. Zod is a warrior Kryptonion whose sole purpose is to protect their race. Surprisingly, Zod and Jor-El, Superman’s father, played with incredible charisma by Russell Crowe, see eye to on the problematic aspects of Kyrpton’s oppressive government. They just don’t agree on how to fix it. Zod wants to destroy the current regime and start from scratch. For that he needs genetic code for the race, which Jor-El has cleverly hidden with his son, who he sends to earth right before Krypton is destroyed in a jaw dropping opening sequence.
Once on earth, we start with Superman as an adult and his backstory is told via flashbacks, which gets us to the action faster. Some of it is standard Superman-saves-the-day sort action, but it is very well shot and choreographed by Snyder. And the story about Superman’s relationship with his earth father (another excellent casting choice in Kevin Costner), who does not believe society is ready for him to reveal his true identity, reaches a fantastic and awe inspiring denouement. Within 30 minutes of watching this film I knew it was well worth the price of admission. The movie could have used some trimming, yes, but there are so many things that are right with this movie, this complaint is trivial by comparison. So let’s mention some of the rights.
1. Superman is actually believable as an alien-in-human-guise with other worldly strengths. It’s through a combination of Cavill’s physical build, amazing special effects and excellent direction that this feat is achieved, but I haven’t been this convinced of the physical capabilities of a super hero in a long while.
2. Casting is superb. From Cavill’s notable and well utilized reserve to Michael Shannon as Zod to Fishburne as the hot head chief of the Daily Planet, just about every role is spot on. Amy Adams looks great, as usual, and is appealing, but hers is the only role that seemed fungible.
3. Music - Hans Zimmer is a great composer and he soars on this soundtrack. You will be going to iTunes later to look up some of these tracks.
More than anything, I just felt “Man of Steel” was a very good movie going experience. Don’t listen to the critics on this one. The audience applauded at the end - that should tell you something. (The movie is already headed toward a $100 million box office opening weekend.)