Personally, I feel the movie failed because they introduced the possibility that Superman had fathered a child during his absence. The movie then just fell apart for me – and apparently for everyone else – because a reboot of the franchise was soon announced.
First off, “Man of Steel” is weird. That’s the best way to describe it. Here you have a character that has basically been around since your grandparents were mere children themselves and the films since our parents were in their early to mid-20s.
So, there’s a lot of gunpowder in that cannon, which can easily explode in your face if you’re not careful.
And it seemed as though the filmmakers knew this, so they lured Christopher Nolan, best known as the guy who resurrected Batman in the latest trilogy, to steer the project in the right direction.
The movie begins on Krypton – but not a Krypton we recognize. It’s a fully-realized alien civilization, complete with strange technology and beasts. The Kryptonians, just like humans are doing now, have depleted their natural resources, and the planet’s going to blow in a few weeks.
And all Kryptonians are genetically created to be whatever the “hive” needs, be it scientists, workers or even generals. Jor-El, Superman’s (aka Kal-El’s) true father, saw the calamity coming for years and decided the only way to save his race is to have a baby the old-fashioned way and shoot him out into space, hoping he’d survive and land on another planet – the closest living beings on any planet being on Earth.
Zod, the general of Krypton’s army, is a warmonger and decides he’s going to take over control of Krypton and save the race because, well, that’s what he was bred to do.
Jor-El finally sends his son out into space in a really emotional send-off that would make any father tear up. And there Kal-El finds Earth.
Watching Superman’s origin once again on the big screen was actually quite refreshing. Everyone by now should know where he came from and how he grew to be Superman. Even “Superman Returns” touched on it. But here it’s changed a bit. It’s re-configured to fit this new iteration of Superman.
He’s a stranger in a strange land. He grows up feeling like he doesn’t belong. And he struggles with the fact that he may not belong here or with these people. He gets picked on and made fun of but holds everything back, knowing that he could destroy his entire classroom if he wanted.
So, as Clark Kent (Superman) gets older, he’s isolated and alone and just wanders around the world looking for answers as to why he’s so different.
And it’s weird because that’s Superman. He’s the all-American hero we grew up with, but here he’s damaged and insecure.
It’s hard to talk too much about the movie without giving a lot away because the film is basically a brand new discovery of a character we all thought we knew. It truly is a start-from-scratch reboot.
Superman is an alien. And his coming out of the shadows would cause chaos and possibly wars and riots and who knows what else. In the eyes of world powers, he’s a walking weapon. And personally, I’m glad he’s on our side.
General Zod eventually tracks down Superman and unleashes hell on the humans. The body count in this movie is staggering, though off camera.
Superman eventually decides he feels more human than Kryptonian, and the two of them duke it out. And I mean DUKE IT OUT. The fights are amazing and creative and in some parts jaw dropping. We’ve never seen Superman like this.
It all must be seen to believed.
Henry Cavill, who put on the tights for the lead role as Supes, does seem distant and not heroic at first. But that’s the point the filmmakers were trying to convey, which reveals itself the further the story goes.
He’s good looking enough and muscular enough to be a believable man of steel.
Now, Michael Shannon is an Oscar nominated, muti-award-winning actor and in no way takes his character as General Zod lightly, even though it’s a “superhero” movie.
Zod is a bad, bad guy, but it’s not his fault. He’s just doing his genetically engineered job, which means wiping out the human race. He feels he and Superman should be happy that they found each other and, together, recreate their home planet, starting from the beginning.
Much to his dismay, Superman sees things differently.
Amy Adams as Lois Lane is basically there to fill plot holes and listen to Superman’s feeling about humans. She’s a great actress; it’s just hard to see her as a hard-hitting reporter.
The music took some time getting used to, also because, since the late-70s films, we’ve always heard the iconic John Williams score that accompanied every Superman film.
But Hans Zimmer does a great job keeping the movie planted in reality and only going respectively overboard when it needs to go there.
While his themes don’t feel as iconic as the previous score on any of the films, it’s good.
And then there’s director Zack Snyder. He’s the man behind such Hollywood hits and misses as “300,” “Watchmen” and “Sucker Punch.”
He seems to be the go-to guy for huge projects that no studio wants to screw up. He accepts any and all challenges every time without hesitation – well, almost every time. He passed on “Star Wars: Episode VII.”
His use of slow motion during fight scenes and then ramping up the speed right after has earned him his fair share of detractors, but that Snyder is absent here.
The film is shot handheld, so you feel like you’re in the film most of the time. It’s an inventive way to shoot a superhero film, especially one of this caliber. It shows a certain maturity on the director’s part and was welcomed warmly.
Overall, “Man of Steel” is good. It’s not great, but then again, it has always seemed hard to make a great Superman film.
He’s too iconic a hero who’s lasted for 75 years now. But “Man of Steel” is probably one of the closest versions of a great Superman film we may ever get.
He does some shocking things in the film that must be seen to be believed, but overall, our American hero is intact and ready for action.
...Even though he’s no longer wearing red underwear outside his tights.
“Man of Steel” is playing in 2D and 3D at Rio 6 Cinemas, 806 E. Houston St. in Beeville.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.