Man of Steel Reviews
Dal lato tecnico vediamo la meravigliosa regia di Snyder che regala momenti indimenticabili come il primo volo di Clark, la distruzione della macchina terraformante ma soprattutto per la prima volta viene rappresentato sul grande schermo il pianeta Krypton nel suo splendore e nella sua distruzione, il tutto accompagnato da una fotografia che riprende quella dei film sci-fi e da coreografie delle scene d'azione uniche nel loro genere.
Dal lato contenutistico abbiamo finalmente l'umanizzazione di Superman, un alieno che cerca di trovare il suo ruolo nel mondo e che abbandona la figura campy del boy-scout per una molto pi¨ matura e adatta ai giorni nostri dove la diversitÓ Ŕ un tema assai discusso, soprattutto in un'era posteriore all'11 settembre e ai numerosi attentati terroristici simbolicamente rappresentati dalla battaglia finale.
I realize that with superman fighting Zod started to take place with Batman versus Superman
*Possible spoilers ahead*
To say Man of Steel was the most anticipated film of 2013 and one of the most anticipated superhero films ever would be a truly monumental understatement. After the colossal success and even All-Time greatness that was Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, all eyes were glued to DC when the first similarly-styled trailer was released for the first and greatest superhero of All-Time: Superman. Arguably the most recognizable character in ALL of fiction across the world, Superman has had as great a history at the movies as he did in the comics with the first superhero movie in Donner's 1978 masterpiece Superman The Movie and sequel Superman II, as well as the underrated Superman Returns, which was artistic and beautiful, yet somewhat tedious and action-lacking leaving some fans unsatisfied. Well, the new Superman movie will sure rock those critics' world.
Let's start with the pros, so many to count and many that are shockingly overlooked or downplayed by the general public. First of all, the movie is STUNNING to look at. Zack Snyder has always had a gift in cinematography and pure visual splendor, but Man of Steel takes the cake. Although I wish the colors were slightly brighter (will talk about later), there is no denying that the film is a work of art visually. Scenes like Superman's First Flight Scene (the new greatest Superman scene of ALL-TIME in my opinion) almost made me cry as a Superman fan with how incredibly and carefully crafted they are.
This breathtaking visual splendor extends to the other greatest pro of MoS: the action sequences. Not only are the fight scenes stunning to behold, they are as grand scale as humanly possible in a film, with stakes as high as one can even imagine, and with a power unseen before in any superhero film. For example, the Superman vs. Faora/Namek fight in a small Kansas town has the Kryptonians trading blow for blow and even throwing things like 18-wheelers and taking down fighter jets without even blinking. But nothing compares to the Superman v. Zod final 1v1 Metropolis fight. They literally take down entire buildings themselves without even batting an eyelash, which besides the casualties (will definitely discuss later) shows Superman's power and status as the greatest and most powerful superhero ever exactly as I want it to be shown as fan.
Next, the acting. Man of Steel features phenomenal acting performances all-around by a stellar cast. Russell Crowe steals the show as Jor-El and a God figure bring Superman as Jesus to Earth, Henry Cavill brings a brooding beauty to the role of Superman never before seen but radically different and even likable while also displaying the troubles Superman would face in a xenophobic modern society, and Michael Shannon gives the performance of his career as General Zod.
General Zod is an incredible choice of villain as well. I'll admit, I did not like the decision to not have Lex Luthor as the main villain at first because he is the most iconic villain of Superman and one of the most of all superheroes. However, I am happy they went with Zod as it goes so well with explaining Superman's origins as well as the internal dilemma that must take a serious toll on him: Which place is home, Earth or Krypton, and who do I belong with? Michael Shannon gives a terrifying, but compelling and even dare I saw sympathizable performance as Zod just trying to fulfill his duty and preserve his race, and he matches well with Superman as his sort of opposite (as the best villains are) as well as one of the few beings who can match Superman's godly power on the battlefield.
The soundtrack and tone of the film are also absolutely brilliant. Hans Zimmer is probably the best scorer in cinema, having shown it in The Dark Knight trilogy and adding to it here with a hopeful ballad that reinvents and pays ultimate homage to Superman the way Zack tries to with his vision. The tone of the film is also refreshingly sophisticated and Dark Knight-esque, the prevailing feeling from the trailer that carries through to the final product. While the tone could've been a little lighter (although it does have some very good humour and light moments, they're sparse), I am much more content having superhero films that push the envelope artistically and try to stand for something serious and different instead of basic, formulaic happy-go-lucky childish movie tones like Marvel is sometimes guilty of.
Finally, the suit. I can not say enough how much I love the way this Superman looks. No colored undies on the outside, no latex or other strange materials, the suit is without question, the most beautiful superhero suit I have EVER seen. I wish the blue was a tiny bit brighter and he had the curl, but these are small things in what is otherwise an absolutely stunning sight of a suit to behold and one that looks even better in action.
There are so many pros in Man of Steel (far more than cons in my opinion), but also some big flaws that cannot go unnoticed. First of all, the colors. A big complaint for many people about the film, and rightfully so, is the the colors are strangely washed out and seem purposefully dulled in saturation. This creates a darker mood visually and is unenjoyable to many understandably expecting a hopeful, brighter film as Superman is one of the most hopeful and triumphant heroes. This is a legitimate concern, and while blown somewhat out of proportion as the film and cinematography is still visually stunning, it is perplexing and obvious it was darkened and that is frustrating, as it could have been PERFECT and even more visually stunning without this decision.
These darkened visuals also match the darkened tone, another major complaint by many and, again, rightfully so to an extent. Superman is not a dark hero like Batman by any means imaginable, so having his movie have a similar tone to The Dark Knight is a ballsy move, and one that while it is refreshingly different, is also somewhat a misread of the character. Things like the flashbacks to when Clark was a kid are extremely dark (and unnecessarily frequent) centering on subjects people aren't crazy to watch in a superhero film like children drowning on a schoolbus. There is humor and light moments in the film, but they are relatively scarce especially for a film about the Man of Steel, and that is something that could have and should've have been fixed looking back.
Finally, the destruction and casualties. This is without question the biggest flaw of the film and one I absolutely agree is undefendable. It is shocking how little Snyder seems to care about human life in the background, especially for a superhero movie where the whole point is to save people. In Superman vs. Zod's final 1v1 Metropolis fight, the destruction seems like it's straight out of a Michael Bay movie, with entire buildings coming down by the hundreds and explosions as far as the eyes can see. I get Snyder wanted to show how powerful Kryptonians are, but to have 30 mins+ of it is too generic blockbuster-y and frustratingly soils what is otherwise an immaculate Superman film before it and title fight scene. Related, it is thoroughly depressing and disheartening how many completely unnecessary casualties there are in the film. We are literally forced to watch entire buildings fall on and crush people. ENTIRE BUILDINGS. I don't think there is a person on the planet that would find that or even the idea of that enjoyable, and it happens by the hundreds as innocent people on the sidelines are killed for no reason, making Superman seem less heroic even though he's trying to save the world. Gosh, I wish someone would've watched this and said "Woah, this is a little f***ed up, we should change it or not focus on it in this scene" during editing. Just infuriating.
While there are a couple of major flaws and some smaller ones (don't like Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Krypton could've looked better with less CGI, Superman killing Zod a plot point that could've been avoid to limit backlash (although what was he supposed to do in that impossible situation)), the film does so many things right for the first and greatest superhero ever in Superman that I still thoroughly enjoyed it and walked out the theater in awe. While there are legitimate concerns and criticisms people have cited, Man of Steel is far superior to most superhero movies that just do the same basic formulaic thing over and over and deserves so much respect for bringing Superman into the 21st century and doing probably the most well-known origin story in all of fiction again while having it feel new and exciting. It is not perfect by any means, but Man of Steel is still a work of art that will be fully appreciated with time as one of the best superhero origin films.
Most Memorable Moment: 1. Superman's First Flight scene (greatest Superman scene of ALL-TIME), 2. Superman v. Faora & Namek Kansas town Fight, 3. Superman v. Zod final 1v1 Metropolis fight
Pros: Absolutely stunning cinematography and visuals, breathtaking action sequences, Superman is shown with extreme power, General Zod a compelling and even at times sympathizable villain, fantastic acting all around especially by Russell Crowe, Michael Shannon, and most of all, Henry Cavill, Cavill brings a brooding beauty to the oldest and greatest superhero of All-Time in Superman and does the character justice, unbelievable soundtrack by Zimmer that exudes an overarching sense of the hope Superman is famous for, good humor in shocking contrast to later darker DCEU entries, phenomenal cast with strong acting from even supporting actors and actresses, Superman's First Flight scene the greatest Superman scene of ALL-TIME (even more impressive considering the 85+ year history of the character and long TV and film history as well), fitting and respectfully done Jesus and God parallels with Kal and Jor-El, Love the Alien/extraterrestrial addition, Superman v. Faora & Namek Kansas town Fight stunning, Superman's suit the most beautifully-made superhero suit I have ever seen (wish it were a little brighter blue but still phenomenal), sophisticated tone that just may be too smart for the general public/critics, Superman v. Zod final Metropolis 1v1 fight absolutely jaw-dropping in scope and power,
Cons: Too much destruction and shockingly unnecessary casualties in the end fight, frustratingly washed out colors and darkened/dull saturation, tone is too dark overall for Superman who is the veritable symbol of hope (can see where critics are coming from even though way overreacting), Krypton could have looked better (too much CGI), flashbacks very dark and unnecessarily frequent, not a fan of Amy Adams' Lois Lane (great actress but doesn't fit the part imo, liked Kate Bosworth in Returns better), slightly overlong (could've been ~20 min shorter), Superman killing Zod a plot point that could've been avoided (although what else was he supposed to do in that impossible situation?)
Overall Rating: 8.7/10
GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) And boy are his arms tired. Let s review.
SCOTT: The movie begins with the planet Krypton facing imminent destruction as its core disintegrates. Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) plan to save their race of people by launching their infant son, Kal-El, into space with a genetic codex of Kryptonians. General Zod (Michael Shannon), however, has other plans and kills Jor-El for stealing the codex. As punishment, Zod is exiled. Meanwhile, Kal-El lands on earth and is adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane), who name him Clark (Henry Cavill). They witness Clark s superpowers and discourage him from using them them so that he will fit into human society.
GREG: Clark grows into a man and hides by staying on the run and taking odd jobs. Everywhere he goes, he saves someone using his super powers. And each time he exposes himself, he moves on. Clark finds an abandoned Kryptonian ship that he brings to life with a key that was found on his person when he first fell to Earth. An avatar of Jor-El explains to Clark that he is to be a protector of humankind and to use his powers for only good. Meanwhile, evil Zod has escaped from his prison and found his way to Earth...
SCOTT: Greg, I have mixed feelings about Man of Steel. On the positive side, there is more detailed backstory than we ve ever seen before in a Superman movie, and it is very good. We learn about the man of steel s home planet of Krypton and its political and planetary struggles. The movie features an excellent villain in General Zod and a sweet love interest in Lois Lane (Amy Adams). We also see Superman receiving superb mentoring from three sources: his biological father Jor-El, and his adopted parents Martha Kent and Jonathan Kent. Another aspect of the film that I liked was the old-school code of ethics that so many of the characters seemed to live by. Lois has the story of the century for the Daily Planet but pulls the story for ethical reasons. Superman s adopted father sacrifices his life to allow his son Clark to retain his secret identity. Even General Zod, in a ruthlessly warped way, has an honorable motive in trying to preserve the race of Kryptonians.
GREG: I thought this was a much more thorough and thoughtful origin story than we ve ever seen for Superman. He is portrayed as not just an alien, but alienated from the rest of humanity. Surely. this is a feeling most of us have felt. He has to hide his amazing gifts for fear of what it would mean if humans realized we are not alone in the universe. And he is given a choice to use his powers for good or for evil. It is his earthly father who guides him toward the path of goodness. And it is this father who sacrifices himself to protect Clark s secret. These are two emotional traumas that give this Superman more depth of character than any who came before him.
SCOTT: I agree, Greg, But I do have a few issues with Man of Steel that prevent me from giving it a higher rating. While there are incredible CGI effects illustrating Superman s speed and strength, these effects are used to bloated excess. It s as if the filmmakers were so madly in love with their computerized effects that they decided that more and MUCH more -- is always better. How many fight scenes do we need to see between Superman and General Zod? And we must ask ourselves: Does it really make sense for two indestructible beings to fight at all? Don t they each realize that repeatedly slamming each other through skyscrapers is not having the intended effect? The fighting grew tiresome. Another problem I had with the film was the absurd way that Superman s battle with General Zod was resolved. I won t give away the ending, but let s just say that if you look up the word anticlimactic in the dictionary, you ll see an image of this scene in the movie. The word illogical also comes to mind, as we re expected to forget the massive violence of their earlier fighting that both characters easily survived.
GREG: I would have to differ with you on the special effects, Scott. For a movie this long (2 hours and 23 minutes) I thought the special effects were used to good effect and in good proportion. The fight scenes were constantly underscored by Superman s restraint as a man who turned to violence only as a last resort. And as a man who had never killed anyone, at least as far as this movie showed us. Superman s greatest weakness was the strong desire to protect the people of Earth - not only as a group, but as individuals. My only complaint about Man Of Steel was Lois Lane. Amy Adams came off as very cute, perky, and a tough journalist. She was perfect in that respect. But this reboot has Lois Lane aware of Superman s secret identity. One of the hallmarks of Supermen gone by has been the sexual tension within the Clark-Lois-Superman love triangle. I m not sure I understand why that was dropped.
SCOTT: The decision to reveal Clark s identity to Lois is a curious one, for sure. I didn t mind it too much, but now that you mention it, this revelation does limit what this version of Superman does with the two characters in the future. Man of Steel is an ambitious film that works on several levels but fails on several as well. It succeeds in portraying Superman s origin story in heartfelt detail and with a superb cast that moves us. The movie fails by subjecting us to incessant fight-and-chase scenes and by ending the story in a ridiculous and baffling manner. I give Man of Steel 3 Reels out of 5. The hero s journey is commendable in that we have many of the classic elements that we look for in a good story, such as Kal-El s entry into a new and dangerous world and his encounter with effective father figures, mentors, and a love interest. But I m not convinced that Superman undergoes any significant transformation as a character. Clark Kent seems to be the same Clark Kent at the end that he was when he was a little boy. I give the movie 3 Heroes out of 5. Movie: Heroes:
GREG: I found Man of Steel to be an excellent reboot of the Superman franchise. It held true to the original story and fleshed out the hero s backstory. We met a Superman who was less than flawless, tormented and challenged. Compared to Christopher Reeve s Superman, Henry Cavill s story is less campy and much more adult. This is a darker Superman which I welcome. I appreciated this more than the almost giddy mood of last May s Star Trek Into Darkness. Still, I don t feel the need to rush back to the theater and get a second helping. I give Man of Steel 4 out of 5 Reels. The hero s journey is there. Clark starts out as an outcast, uncertain about his powers and all alone even in a crowd. With the guidance of his Earthly father and his Kryptonian father s image he finds his center and emerges whole and confident in his abilities and his place on the Earth. I give Clark Kent 4 out of 5 Heroes. Movie: Heroes: