Man of Steel Review
The origin story of Superman has been told many times throughout the years from television to the big screen. No one wanted to touch a Superman movie after the failure of the last Superman picture Superman: The Quest for Peace, because it became very difficult to come up with a story that would be worthy of this iconic superhero. Not to mention it would be twice as hard to cast someone that would fill the red boots like Christopher Reeves. Finally in 2006, Bryan Singer had the courage to revitalize the franchise with Superman Returns. Even though it got mixed reviews, I thought that Bryan Singer’s version did a good job honoring the essence of the original movie starring Christopher Reeves.
Now in 2013, Christopher Nolan tried to put his spin on the famous iconic superhero in Man of Steel, with Zack Snyder directing it. They both definitely took the story that we all know and love, and created a universe that is much darker and more grounded in reality. Zack used some artistic freedom when it came to the design of the sets, the clothing and the overall feel of the film. The vision of the doomed planet of Krypton and its inhabitants definitely looks like it came out of the Chronicles of Riddick and the Matrix. The structures and clothing are hauntingly elegant with a metallic tone to their design. Everything was carefully designed to portray the level of hierarchy within the Kryptonian government. Their version of the doomed planet is much more entertaining and more complex than the original version by Richard Donner
Henry Cavill, who plays the ‘man of steel’, is no novice when it comes to action films. He starred in the action film, Immortal, in which he plays Theseus: a half-god, half mortal soldier. Plus he starred in the television hit cable show, Spartacus, on the STARZ channel. This time he uses his vast knowledge to pour all his emotional and physical strength to make the main character shine. He gives the iconic superhero humanistic flaws, that it’s a struggle everyday to hold back his secret. Henry shows a more personal side of the ‘man of steel’ where he finds it difficult to discover his own identity, where he belongs in this world and how they would react to him if he is revealed. Henry fits into the role perfectly. His action scenes between him and General Zod are very intense and ultra-violent….very cool. He can definitely take the hits and give them out as well.. He is not the Superman that we knew back in the day, but he still holds the values of what we admire about the old boy scout.
Michael Shannon plays the maniacal military madman (say that three times fast!!) with terrific ease and genius. His appearance makes him scary and intimidating. His demeanor and attitude oozes intense determination to ultimate victory for his agenda. Michael Shannon gives General Zod a sense of loyalty and duty to his people, but is masked by sheer madness. He portrays the character with different level of emotions that make up a very complicated man. Another actor who I feel needs attention is the second in command Kryptonian soldier, Faoria. She is played by the beautiful and talented Antje Traue. She played her role with icy smoothness. Antje plays Faoria with the same attitude and determination like her fellow actor, Michael Shannon. She is creative, ruthless and enjoyable to watch as she battles Superman.
Other supporting actors like Amy Adams who plays Lois Lane, Lawrence Fishbourne as Perry White, and Kevin Kostner and Diane Lane who plays Jonathan and Martha Kent, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, and Ayelet Zurer as Lara Lor-Van, definitely gave us spectacular performances in making this film a great summer action blockbuster. Each one of them put their own style to their roles to help create characters that you and I can relate and connect to. Christopher Meloni, who plays Colonel Hardy, is also a wonderful addition to the cast. His character represents the military response and the attitude if there was a first contact situation.
Making the movie was a gamble from the beginning. Fans are very critical when it comes to their superheroes and how they should be portrayed on the big screen. The fact that Christopher Nolan put his name on the film definitely gave this movie credibility after the success of the Dark Knight trilogy. Zack Snyder did a fantastic job delivering a story for the modern audience. The action scenes were mind blowing and the special effects were cutting edge technology that created a realistic view of a world visited by beings from another planet. There is no doubt we will be seeing more of the man in blue and red, and I can’t wait.