It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a successful Superman movie! Aside from arguing the merits of the movie itself Man of Steel has broken June movie records. What does that mean? It means that the sequel has already been green lit and a Justice League movie is that much closer to becoming a reality. But you don’t want to hear about all of that. You came here to read about Man of Steel.
I’m going to be honest, I went into Man of Steel with almost zero expectations, after the semi disappointment that was Superman Returns and the debacle that was Green Lantern (Which I don’t blame on Ryan Reynolds, but that is subject that is best discussed in another article.) I was more than a little soured on the whole prospect of DC Films. I don’t count Chris Nolan’s Batman movies as a part of the DC movie universe because that Batman couldn’t exist with Superheroes like Green Lantern and Superman, so I’m not going to count those films.
Man of Steel is the first DC Comics film in my opinion that has successfully brought a character like Superman into the pop culture consciousness. Now don’t get me wrong we all know Superman, but most people think of the character as out of date or with morals that are too lofty to be relatable. In Man of Steel, I think we see for the first time a Superman that still holds on to those choices and morals but is fully realized. An extraordinary being dealing with his own need to be human, it deals with the need to be a part of the human condition but not being able to be understood by humanity. In my opinion each of the Superman movies has been a reflection of the national mentality at the time of creation. So while the main criticism for Man of Steel seems to be it is too “dark” or “realistic” I would argue that the word being looked for is modern. It is a retelling of the Superman mythos that while paying homage to past films and comic history does not follow it religiously, which I think is a good thing.
Part of the reason I was able to buy into this movie so well is due to Henry Cavill’s great performance as the Man of Steel himself. He was at times stoic, playful, sarcastic, and played the quiet strength of Superman well. Here is an important thing to note though, this is a Superman movie, not a Clark Kent movie. Just like Iron Man 3 was more accurately Tony Stark 3 or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 2, Man of Steel chose to focus on Clark/Kal’El as Superman. While there were many great moments with Diane Lane and Cavill, the true strength of the character in this film was focused on Superman. I am hoping in the sequel which we all know is coming that we will see Cavill get to play Clark Kent a little more often since his turn in shows like the Tudors have shown his ability to play both comedy and drama.
But let’s get to my favorite part Amy Adams as Lois Lane. I’m going to fanboy for a moment here, I was so excited when she was announced. Amy Adams is one of my favorite actresses and I think she played Lois to a “t”, not the Lois that we have gotten recently in even the pre-New 52 comics but a Lois Lane that holds her own, she suits up, she kicks ass, and she is a great investigative journalist. These are all the things that she should be and is. I can’t wait to see more of her character in the sequel.
And last but not least here are the caveats, the problems, the shortfalls, and missteps that I felt existed in the movie. While I understand the narrative choices of the flashbacks I felt like some of them were misplaced or entirely unnecessary within the confines of the “Superman” story the movie was trying to tell. Laurence Fishburne felt underused as Perry White, and character development in general fell short. Also, while I enjoyed Michael Shannon as Zod, I missed Terence Stamp, The “Kneel before Zod” line was so iconic I couldn’t help but miss it a little bit.
Overall I loved the movie, it helped that I went in thinking two things “Expect nothing” and thanks to my fellow staff writer Tushar, “Infinite Worlds in the DC universe”. This movie exceeded my expectations, helped me fall in love with Superman again, and gave me hope for a fully realized DC movie universe.
What did you think? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook, or Twitter.
UPDATE: It was recently pointed out to me that I mistakenly identified the Actress Diane Lane as Diane Keaton, probably because my mind was somewhere up in the clouds while writing this article.