A lot of people are hating on Man of Steel at the moment. I recently went and saw it (it came out later in Australia) and I do admit, it was remarkably flawed, but its got some great points. Despite mixed reviews, the film is doing pretty well at the box office. However, I went into the cinema expecting a complete flop. I believe its always better to go in expecting the worst, and then you tend to be pleasantly surprised.
The film was alright on its own, but taking note that this is a reboot of the Superman franchise, it really should have been much better. The lack of character development throughout was quite saddening, because the cast was almost perfect. Amy Adams, in the small amount of screentime that she got, made me fall in love with her version of Lois Lane. Of course, Henry Cavill was a charmer, fitting the role of Clark Kent/ Kal-El perfectly, and playing a version of Superman that, with a little more character development, could have proved a worthy successor to actors (Christopher Reeve, Tom Welling, etc.) that previously helmed the role. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane played the perfect earth parents to Clark, however deserved more screen time as personally I felt I didn’t get to see the same connection Clark has with the Kents as established in older Superman franchises.
Russell Crowe’s performance was the best by far. He redeemed himself from his (in my opinion) flop as an unemotional version of Javert in Les Miserables. The amount of screen-time he received was remarkably more than previous Jor-El’s (the angsty Marlon Brando standing out as the worst to take on the role, may he rest in peace) and it definitely helped in turning Superman’s usually unrelatable father into my favourite character in Man of Steel.
The standout worst actor in the film was Michael Shannon as the insipid General Zod. He failed to play what I believed would be a powerful and impressive villain from the trailers, instead portraying a rather lame and boring one. It may have been the writing, and it was most likely the lack of character development and virtually non-existent back story for the character, but I had expected a lot more from the oscar-nominated actor, and found myself disappointed.
So, lack of character development, especially for a film with a run time of approximately 2 and a half hours. Another negative point would have to be the disjointed storyline. It usually works for other superheroes, but this time I think a more linear storyline would have served to bring Man of Steel up a few notches. I know, Superman is always done in a linear storyline, but Zack Snyder failed to make the flashbacks work. What could have been a great rehash of a well-known superhero origin story turned into a confusing, choppy mess. Also, if the film had utilized a linear style, the pace of the film would have improved. Man of Steel often feels tiresome, as the movie feels overrun with action scenes. There is no build-up, no climactic point. In fact, the entire film feels like a climax, if that makes any sense.
However, the action scenes on their own are amazing. The visual effects and CGI in these scenes were phenomenal, and make the film worth watching, if just for the beauty of the VFX alone. You can keep track of who is fighting who, and the fight sequences are generally breathtaking, even if they can get a bit tiresome.
A cool thing about Man of Steel is the number of easter eggs throughout:
1. Wayne Enterprises logo on the satellite that Superman and Zod crash into as they fight in outer space.
2. Lana Lang (Shoutout to Smallville fans), Clark’s first girlfriend, is apparently the girl on the bus that sticks up for Clark.
3. Lex Luthor – LexCorp logos can be found in the middle of battles throughout the film. Theres one plastered on a truck in the middle of Superman and Zod’s battle, and hopefully its presence means…Sequel! With Luthor as the villain, rather than the generally boring General Zod. (oh, the puns.)
Heres another LexCorp logo, on a random building in the film:
Theres many more easter eggs, check them out here if you’re interested.
Finally, the music. Hans Zimmer has done it again with his emotional soundtrack, reminiscent of Inception with his utilization of deep horns that vibrate through your very bones as you watch Man of Steel. Check out his track “Flight” on my tumblr here if you want to be blown away. The music on its own is great to listen to, so if you can’t be bothered to see the movie, just listen to the soundtrack, you won’t be disappointed.
Overall, I would give Man of Steel a 7/10. It is still an entertaining film, and that’s generally what films aim to do. The majority of the actors do a great job with the small amount of character development screen-time they are given, and the fight scenes are unbelievable, even though they seem to continue relentlessly throughout. If you are thinking of seeing the movie in cinemas, I recommend seeing it in 2D to avoid killing your eyes. (And you’ll save a few extra dollars, too.) If there is a sequel, the introduction of Lex Luthor and a fall back into the fun of the Superman storyline could prove to give the rebooted franchise real promise. And some more character development definitely would be worth Zac Snyder’s time.
What did you think of Man of Steel? Share your thoughts in the comments below if you’ve seen it.