Wednesday, June 12, 2013




G.P. Manalo


Henry Cavill

Amy Adams

Michael Shannon

Kevin Costner

Russell Crowe

After much anticipation, Man of Steel is a rather ambitious comic book film as it re-introduces the Iconic superhero to the audience yet again in a possible “Batman” approach (at first).  It has been years since Superman wowed critics, fans or casual movie-goers in his cinematic form. It must be a challenge to bring back an Icon with a stature like Superman with a big-screen re-telling that could become relevant to a newer generation yet again; the conflicting fact about this is the fact that it is taking a huge leap of it following the footsteps of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Trilogy”. Fortunately enough, Man of Steel is the probably the best Superman movie since Superman II though that is not saying that much but there was still that driving force me in me that I could’ve got a little bit more from the movie.  

Man of SteelIs a reboot-retelling of the origin of the iconic superhero, Superman, the last son of krypton. As the planet Krypton slowly die, Jor-El and his wife Lara took their only child and sent him to earth who are meanwhile found by a human couple, the Kents. As he grows up discovering his powers it conflicts him in using those powers to help people who are not really ready for a savior like him. He wanders the world in different names and occupations when that one job leads him to a reunion with his real father and there he discovers his purpose as well and now he is forced to face a threat to mankind named, General Zod and his own Kryptonian army in a mission to destroy and re-create Krypton out of Earth.

I welcomed Zack Snyder to direct this movie in open arms, sure he made one bad movie but there is a possibility that he could do it again but I remain optimistic about the choice directing this film, I was happy to know that this was more of his “baby” than Nolan’s but there was still that great fear in me when I heard that phrase. As much as I want to say that he is a great visual director, I never thought that he was the kind of guy who would bring great performances (Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan, and Comedian were great but they’re 3/6 of the Watchmen who stood out in the film) in his movies. But I was happy to know that he did live up, he was able to deliver a rather satisfying and probably the best Superman movie we had since 1980.

Superman is not Batman, that’s for sure. I never really like the comparison due to the film’s previews showcasing the fact that this new take on Superman that is rather edgy, realistic and dark. Superman was never the edgy or emo type, even if his life was a tragic one like Batman’s, Superman sees positivity out of it and remains his moral fiber and the movie somewhat portrays both tones uniquely and I didn’t expect that it’d go well. I also don’t like the word “Realistic” around Superman, Superman is a god-like being who comes from another planet with powers like shooting laser beams from his eyes, Ice breath, super strength and flight, and invincibility not to mention his weakness is a rock with five different colors (and a red sun). I don’t think realistic is the right word, if we would go back to the tagline of “Superman: The Movie” it is told that you “Will BELIEVE a man can fly”. Believe is the definitive word for Superman; make me believe that his planet is more than just white crystals, make me believe that there was some sort of progression as his powers develop, make me believe that his weakness is a frickin’ rock, or maybe even that despite his perfections he can still be a vulnerable man. In this movie, I did believe that this man existed in that world; as a matter of fact they did tell a good and a fresh enough take in telling the story of this character.

Henry Cavill closely embodies Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El from his moral fiber to his country boy personality better than Brandon Routh but unfortunately it is in that level so far, we still have yet to see from him playing this character especially when I’m going to say that he is in the level of Christopher Reeves (or maybe yet, better than Christopher Reeves) though he does closely embody the Superman we know through his mannerisms and personality enough in this movie, like I said we have yet to see more from the actor especially how they did set-up this character for the sequel. They brought out an “interesting” take on Superman in this film. From the first half, Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman does seem to be that likable guy but when the second act comes to play it felt like he was a different character, he did some questionable things that purists or casual fans in general will be pissed off about (not in a slap-in-the-face Mandarin way, don’t worry). I do like the story they tell for him in this movie where the focal point of the narrative is him finding his purpose in this world, and I thought that was handled very well in the film and the way it is built up from the first half. 

Michael Shannon as General Zod is very under-used in this movie and Michael Shannon is actually one of my favorite actors; he wasn’t really the dastardly-cliched-campy villain that General Zod was in past incarnations (or super villains in general), here he is more portrayed as this lawful-evil who just wants order for his planet through his clouded ideas. As a “villain” I would compare him to 2009’s Star Trek, Nero; like Nero he did some monumental things here and there but there was never this emotional weight or impact on the character that much, you leave the theater wanting more from the character (especially when it is from a very talented actor), though for the material the actor was given he was still able to pull off a decent enough performance. But Antje Traue’s Faora was more of the villain you wanted Zod to be in this movie, she was doing all the dirty work and she gets more blood on her hands more than General Zod in this movie. Her performance was also great in this movie; hopefully I’ll see more films from the actress soon.

Amy Adams’s version of Lois Lane is an interesting one, she’s not the typical “damsel in distress” type in this movie, and she was more relevant and involved around the situations in this film and I’m glad that they actually made her a stronger female character in this film, though Amy Adams' performance is a mix between almost bland and decent at the same time (hope that makes sense at least). Lastly, the two fathers: Kevin Conroy’s Pa Kent and Russell Crowe’s Jor-El were easily the best things happen in the movie. Both of them pulled off an surprisingly exceptional performance in this movie and it is probably the best version of those characters in a live action incarnation by far as they bring so much emotional weight throughout the movie.

The movie surprisingly showed you more of Krypton in this movie for the first 20 minutes of the movie, I love how they showed Krypton as an actual functional world from showing you the culture, some back-story, and even the inhabitants of the planet, but when you do go to earth it immediately cuts to Kal-El being an adult and his early life acts as cliff notes in the movie as it is featured through a series of flashbacks. It was clever for the few flashbacks in this movie but then there were more and more flashbacks coming in and you end up wishing that most of those flashbacks could;ve been combined together in the first hour or so to build up Superman more as a character in the movie, the final cut was satisfying (at some degree) anyways. The storytelling is not as complex as I thought it would be, to the film's credit the movie is actually linear and simply told.

Zack Snyder is a great visual director and he has shown that in his past movies (he even makes owls fighting look cool in 3D). The first and second half was this emotional uprising of the character and then the third act of the movie was this huge and fast paced-adrenaline filled action set-pieces. this movie is action packed, In fact this is the most action-packed Superman film by far.  The fight scenes in this movie are insane and I was very happy to see Superman punch something in this movie. As much as I enjoyed the third act of the movie, I just wished the movie had room to breathe. The movie didn’t really stop for a break to build something up and when it did it is faster than a speeding bullet (see what I did there?). There was an unnecessary scene in the climax of the movie and I wished that scene could’ve been better if they were to keep that scene alone in the movie. The action scenes are incredible nonetheless especially that final fight between Zod and Superman where it is in a Transformers-esque scale (don't worry you can tell what's going on). 

Lastly, Hans Zimmer's score is brilliant as always. Is it in the level of the original score? not really, which is quite a challenge to build a theme as iconic as the original. it's like what my friend said about Zimmer's difficulty in making a score "It's like God told a man to build a mountain and he gives you pebbles to build one". The score somewhat has that prevailing-glorious feel to the score and most of the time the music would catch the emotional state of the scene. 

In the end, Man of Steel is definitely a great superhero popcorn action flick. It is the best Superman movie we have since Superman II; I highly recommend you see this immediately in the theaters. Though it may not be the Superman movie where it is a deep and emotionally driven Superman flick, it is enough to be so. But It is the most action-packed Superman film in this movie, it explores to many things where you think they won’t explore throughout this movie. It is an interesting version of Superman that does take center stage in this movie. There was also some stand out performances coming from Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner while the rest still do a great job in this film. I enjoyed this movie very much for what it is and I was very happy to see Superman again gracing our theaters in his glory once again, because the last time I saw him on theaters. He almost put me to sleep.




4/5 – FOR THE WIN!

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