Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Man of Steel

Man of Steel - 143min - PG13

I am doing this on my iPad as I am on holiday in London so bear with me if this looks odd. Memo to me: pack laptop for out of town trips. My first impression with this movie is how well they did an origin story without having us go through a long rehash of how Superman became Superman. The fresh start was needed after the last love letter of a movie - Superman Returns - that tried to recapture the magic of what the original move had while trying to update the character for a modern audience. This move gets a green light from me but it does have a few missed opportunities that I think they could have capitalized on.

This version of the story has Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) going from one job to another helping people as an anonymous drifter. He is trying to figure out who he is in our world. We see his childhood in flashback and most of the history we already know. This gives the director (Zack Snyder) the ability to only show us the pivotal moments in Clak's life without us having to trudge through all of his childhood. The way he mixed the timelines gives us what we need to continue to the good bits of the story.

Kevin Costner plays Jonathan Kent perfectly. He brings an honest concern for his adoptive son that I don't think was captured in previous versions. His fear of how the world will react to finding out his son is from a different planet is genuine and you can see how his lessons of character and responsibility shaped Clark's life. Ma Kent (Diane Lane) was wonderful and helped bring the emotional connection to the screen. She was not a frail motherly woman. She was a more modern country strong woman and seemed younger or maybe I am getting older and she just seems younger. She brought a life to the character that was more than set dressing of the mother figure.

Lois Lane (Amy Adams) seems more on the ball than previous actresses that have had the role. Her strength was seen in this movie as she was actually fighting opposed to just being a damsel in distress. That was a refreshing twist. Her journalistic curiosity brought her to a story and the scope of it brought the danger. She has captured the embedded journalist spirit that understands the danger but still pushes to get to the story. I never liked the "I am going to break the law to get a good story and oops I get caught" aspect of her character in previous versions.

The choice to cast Laurence Fishburn as Perry White was excellent. I remember people on the Internet up in arms as to why are we crossing race here in the comic book he is white. It made absolutely no difference and having a strong actor play a supporting cast member brought new depth to this character. His performance made me want to see more from his character. This team again elevating Perry from set dressing to interesting character.

The pacing was excellent, the action was extreme and the carnage was on a massive scale. The aftermath of gods playing in a sandbox reminded me of pictures of Hiroshima after the blast. It will take years for Metropolis to rebuild. I must be getting old because I was horrified by the extreme loss of life. The death toll after the fight has to be in the millions. But they only showed glimpses of death, this is still only a small consolation when you see bodies being tossed in the air and brought down with a huge wave of gravity crushing everything in its path.

I think this is a great kick off to a Justice League movie. I know that project is up in the air but I think that if they keep Christopher Nolan and his team doing the same quality storytelling it would be a great world to set that film in. It's darker and more visceral than the polished settings in the past. But they need to just do a Justice League movie and then go back to individual films later. But what do I know? I am just a fan boy blogger.

Spoiler warning !!!! Only sons and daughters of Krypton beyond this point!!!!

I think the first missed opportunity was not using Clark's mind or his experience on the farm shine through in the fight with General Zod (Michael Shannon) we see Clark reading a book when he was picked on by the jocks, so he is smart or at least it was implied that he was. Let’s see how brains win over brawn even if he has superpowers it should be the way he uses it to overcome that mattered.

The second place was not using Zod's death to shape Superman more, something in the scenes that explained that because he had to kill Zod with his bare hands he was no longer going to use lethal force. A conversation with his mom or with Lois. Something. Anything to give more meaning to his taking a life.

My wife pointed out that this, like most other movies gets the basic reality of the planet wrong. It’s not daylight on both sides of the world at once. You can't have a daylight shot of Metropolis and of its polar opposite on the other side of the globe.

What superhero should this team take on next?


Jonathan "WydeOpen" McMillan said...

I stll haven't seen this but I appreciate your review. I know how much you were despising the reboot with the origin story incorporated.
I've been hearing mixed reviews from critics I don't really know but now I at least have a an opinion that I value because I know it's not just the ravings or rantings of a fanboy.

Fat Samurai said...

You are right i was fuming when they said it was going to be a reboot of an Orgin story. I am glad to say that once I watched it I was plesently suprised at the result.

Remeber this article http://fatsamuraimoviesimho.blogspot.com/2011/09/in-beginning.html