Man of Steel. Starring Henry Cavill, Diane Lane, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Christopher Meloni, Jadin Gould, Laurence Fishburne, and Dylan Sprayberry. Warner Bros. 2Hr 23 min. PG.
The latest superhero blockbuster to hit theatres, Man of Steel, is the origin story of Superman told in an accessible and action-packed manner. Directed by Zack Snyder, it has the graphic novel feel you would expect from him, as well as astounding special effects. The film is very action driven, and it packs a punch—perhaps too many punches, actually.
Man of Steel is very dark and poses challenging moral dilemmas to viewers, making it difficult to catch your breath between the intensely destructive battle scenes. This could have been alleviated through some humour or romance, but there isn’t much to be spoken of in this origin story.
The film opens with Kal-El’s (Cavill) very beginning—his birth into a dying world. As his home planet Krypton is reaching its end, Kal-El’s father, Jor-El, (Crowe) scrambles to save his son, and hence his race, by sending him to a distant planet: Earth. Crowe gives a good performance, and embodies the hopefulness and morality of the character.
Once on earth, our protagonist, now known as Clark Kent, adjusts to his all-American surroundings with a healthy dose of angst. The flashbacks to his youth are some of the most compelling parts of the film—as grown up Kent spends most of his time brooding and crashing into buildings.
This is because an enemy from his past shows up on earth, intent on its destruction. Kent faces moral issues, and must choose between clinging to his past or hoping for a better future. This leads to an abundance of dramatic speeches and battles, which are engaging at first but become extremely drawn out in the last 30 minutes or so. Towards the end you may find yourself thinking: “We get the point, Snyder! Superman’s strong. So is his enemy. Now please take this somewhere other than into a train or yet another building.”
Even though the film isn’t very character driven, it would have nice to see a bit more characterization and attention paid to the romance between Kent and the determined journalist Lois Lane (Adams). Adams did a good job in the role, and made for a strong female lead (minus the frequent damsel in distress moments).
The film really could have managed to cut out some battle minutes from its run time, and in the process could have focused more on the characters it featured. Nevertheless, it is an entertaining film and is worth seeing on the big screen if you’re looking for something to see. Man of Steel gets off the ground, but doesn’t reach any new heights.