Why Man of Steel is Awesome

“It's been a long time since we had a Superman that did the icon justice, but Man of Steel does just that”

With yesterdays release of Man of Steel on Blu-ray and DVD, I thought now would be a good time to revisit the Snyder reboot of one of the most iconic superheroes in the world. When the reboot was first announced, I don't recall actually thinking anything of it; after all, Superman Returns seemed to finally confirm what we all thought – Hollywood were never going to get Superman right again. Despite my faith in the superhero film genre being bolstered by Nolan's Batman, Marvels slew of top notch titles and the X-Men prequel, appropriately titled First Class, I had this gut reaction that the Boy Scout would fall flat again.

Then I heard Nolan was attached as Producer, and there was a glimmer of hope; Then Snyder was attached as Director, and I could feel my anticipation rising; Cavill being cast as Superman was a choice that sat well with me, having enjoyed his previous works (though I had some, now clearly unfounded, concerns about whether he could pull off the physique) and when the trailers finally came out, my hopes soared. Still, there was always that tiny little nagging doubt in the recesses of my mind.

 

“It's okay, we're totally safe while he's in handcuffs! 

Thankfully, Man of Steel proved those doubts wrong, delivering an epic re-imagining of the Man of Tomorrow's (he has a lot of nicknames, doesn't he?) origins. The opening sequences on Krypton really set the tone for the film, with a definite sci-fi vibe and a penchant for the epic. Russell Crowe is great as Supes' father, Jor-El, somehow being the leading scientist on the planet as well as being the deadliest fighter, and Michael Shannon is violent and twisted as General Zod. We see Jor-El and Lara successfully jettison their son, Kal-El, to Earth, though it costs Jors' life, before Zod is arrested and sentenced, with his crew, to the “Phantom Zone” - something not really explained in the film, so I don't know if those not familiar with the source material will really get it. Still, the details aren't necessary, I suppose, and it's on with the show.

Clarks childhood is 'skipped', and we are introduced to a wandering ghost of a Superman, drifting from job to job, helping and saving people along the way, but taking great pains not to reveal his abilities. Every so often we get a flashback from his childhood, which serves to explain his character and influences in a concise way. I liked that they went for this method, as doing it all linearly would likely have caused the films pacing to really suffer. We're also treated to an absolutely spot on performance by Kevin Costner as Clarks human father, Jonathan Kent.

“I will find him! I will find him, Lara! I will fi-” “OKAY WE GET IT ALREADY”

When the arrival of Zod on Earth (signified by a chillingly fantastic global transmission) causes the existence of Superman to be revealed to all, you can really feel the shackles come off with the script, and all out epic scale action takes over. I've heard criticisms for the obscene amounts of collateral damage caused by the battle between Superman and the forces of Zod, but to be quite frank, I couldn't care less; this is Superman in the kind of battle only he can handle, and Snyder & Co really nail it. You can feel and literally see every impact of flesh on flesh as the combatants strikes cause almost mini sonic booms.

The film isn't perfect; there are times you feel the story would have benefited from taking it a little slower here, or a little faster there, but these are minimal, and don't detract from the film at large. Amy Adams isn't nearly as bad as many have made out in the Lois Lane role, but she's not exactly great either – solid enough, but pales next to most of the rest of the cast. Changing Supes crippling weakness from Kryptonite to “Kryptonian atmosphere” is something that still doesn't fully sit right with me – it worked within the story, sure, but seriously, how do you take away Kryptonite? Though, arguably, it hasn't ruled out the possibility of Kryptonite or something similar in the future.

“Jor-El has hands down the coolest armour in the history of armour”

Overall, the film is a fantastic rendition of a very difficult superhero, and there's a plethora of great performances, great characters, fantastic special effects and outstanding action. If you haven't watched it yet, grab it on Blu-Ray or DVD now, then sit back, and enjoy the ride.

This has been Blacksmith for The Awesome Update.

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