It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman going in really, really slo-motion.
After his mother and father (Russell Crowe and Ayelet Zurer) are killed and destroyed, along with everything else on his home planet of Krypton, Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) lands on a farm in the middle of Kansas, owned by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane). While he’s on Earth, he finds out who he really is, what his powers are, what he’s supposed to do with them, and what could be made of them. However, he those are just ideas and questions juggling around in his head, as he, nor anybody else that knows of his secret powers are quick to give the answers to any of them. So, in spite of the life-saving abilities he has as something that’s not from planet Earth, he decides to lay low with a bunch of seamen (not that type, pervs), that is, until General Zod (Michael Shannon comes back from his home planet to unleash his wrath and anger on Clark, along with the rest of the human-beings on planet Earth, some of which, especially fame-hungry journalist Lois Lane (Amy Adams), he cares about.
Superman, no matter what your stance is on the Marvel Universe, is the definitive superhero of our time. So definitive, that it’s almost way too hard to make a movie out of him, because you never know what you’re going to get right about his story, what you’re going to get wrong, what you missed completely, and what isn’t the right way to develop his story and all that he can do. He’s had plenty of movies, comic books, and even his own WB television series (top of the food-chain right there), but nothing has ever seem to really get him right in terms of the who, the what, the where, the when, the why, and all of the finer-details in between all of the sci-fi talk and hooplah.
Something tells me that Zack Snyder, Christopher Nolan, and David S. Goyer all knew this and had the bright idea that some justice needed to be done! However, they haven’t quite done it the justice that even the big man in spandex would approve himself, but he would at least give them the benefit of the doubt because they’re getting there and it’s only a matter of time until we are taken by the Clark, as much as we were with Peter and Bruce, not too long ago.
Give it some time and just let it happen. It will. If not now, then definitely, maybe later.
Where most of this “justice” comes from is in the first hour or so of this movie, that not only packs on all of the exposition and back-up info we need to, even if we already do, know about our man of the 2 hours and some-odd minutes, but gives us plenty more themes and ideas to tackle. We never think in our minds, but if somebody like Superman was to ever come into our lives; we would not have the brightest clue what to do with him, other than just push him to the side and be scared that he might just turn on you. That’s exactly the type of idea this movie touches on, and while we’re still in the period and time where our superheros are crying, more than they are actually kicking some baddie-butt, at least it can still be done in a well-deserved, original way that makes us gain more respect and gratitude for this character.
It all gets better too once Clark begins to see more of what’s on the in, rather than the out (even though he isn’t doing so bad with that aspect). The attention to detail of who this character is and why, all makes sense, seems logical, and doesn’t have you scratching your brain or throwing your hands up in the air because you felt like they couldn’t come up with anything smart, so just went with their gut-feeling and threw it all up. It works, it makes sense, and it keeps this story fresh, and full of new ideas; exactly what I expected when you got three minds like Nolan, Snyder, and Goyer on the job.
However, once things get hairy and the movie hits that hour-mark; things begin to change up a wee-bit, my friends, and not in the good way either. See, with the first hour of this movie, we really got a look and feel for Superman, who he was as a person, what he was feeling, why we should care for him, and root for him to do the right thing and stand up for Earth, even though we know that’s exactly what his brave-ass is going to do (what’s a superhero for anyway?). It’s dramatic in the way that it knows it’s a movie about a guy who flies around with a cape, but takes itself seriously enough to where you feel the story and all that it’s trying to get across, but it all goes away once the three minds I alluded to earlier, realized that they were still making a movie about “a guy that flies around with a cape”, and couldn’t have it be smart, enlightening, or a powerful experience in the least bit. It had to be loud, angry, violent, chaotic, special-effects-fueled, and most of all: a summer flick movie.
Yes, yes, yes! I know that I may be going against this flick bit too much by coming at it’s neck for being a summer flick, that is actually released in the summer, but I’m not rolling like that. What I’m angry at this flick for doing, is getting me all hyped-up, ready, and locked-up for an experience unlike any other superhero movie I’ve seen in some recent time, but what I got was something that started off with more than enough originality to soak us up, away from the sun, but got rid of them once the explosions and fighting came in. Which, trust me, isn’t a bad thing because I love the occasional beat-down as much as the next bad-ass motherfucker, but I have to say that this flick, with the way that it’s done and at the capacity it’s constantly at; it’s a damn shame. Everything was working so fine too, and then Warner Bros. had to (possibly) screw it all up.
Damn, major, Hollywood producers!
But the movie does deliver on it’s goods when it comes to being an action movie, with superhero’s doing superhero-like things, it just seems like a bit of a bummer after the incredible start we got. With that taken into the mind, Snyder still does a nice job at showing all types of carnage and destruction, without ever having it look too campy or using that dreaded slo-mo of his. The man also shows that he’s more than capable of being subtle with what he wants to say, and how he wants to get his words across, without literally spelling them out on the screen or having the character say it for him. Snyder seems like he’s changing and evolving more as a filmmaker and it has me anticipate more and more what’s next to come of him and his career. And I’m not just talking about the next Superman movie, I’m talking about whatever he decides to do next as a project. No matter what, sign me up and get me a Redbull!
An aspect of this movie that Snyder handles perfectly, is the impressive ensemble he’s been able to put together. Henry Cavill leads the day as Superman/Clark Kent and does a serviceable job as the man with the big red cape, but here’s the thing about him: he isn’t given much to do. When it comes to being a superhero, having those sort of traits, and making us feel like this guy could, and would go to bat for our race of humans, had he been pushed into doing so, but he isn’t given much else other than that. Cavill’s definitely a charming, handsome-looking dude, no doubt about that one, but something still felt like there should have been more given to this guy, in order for him to really work his ass off. Just like with Snyder’s direction, I hope to see it get better and better as the sequels come piling in.
Despite her being a tad too old to play young, hot-shot journalist of the Daily Planet, Lois Lane, Amy Adams is still great because she has that fiery-attitude of hers that meshes well with the character, as well as being an equal of sorts to Superman. She doesn’t fall head-over-heels for the dude right away, it takes some time and some development to really have them fall in love, and I have to say that it was pretty damn effective by what they were able to do with them both. Nothing spectacular, but better than what we’re used to getting with superhero/human romances. Laurence Fishburne plays Perry White, her boss, and is good, but really serves no purpose in this movie other than to be Perry White who’s there to give Lois a hard-ass time, run when the shit gets heavy, and remind us that he’ll probably play a bigger part in the sequels as well. I look forward to it, but as for now; I wait and I wonder. Just like I do with everyday-life.
A lot of people praised the hell out of the decision to cast Michael Shannon as General Zod and although I think it was a smart move since this guy can be completely bonkers when he wants to, I still feel like there’s a better performance from this dude, lying within all of the yelling and screaming. Zod definitely has a moral-dilemma here that’s supposed to make us wonder if what he’s planning on doing is the right, or the wrong thing, however, the movie only seems to touch that surface and go nowhere else with it. It’s just Zod being a dick, and although I like Shannon playing a dick, especially one that just so happens to be General Zod, it’s not like I haven’t seen this type of performance done before, done better, and done by Shannon himself.
Rounding out the rest of the cast is Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as the Kents, aka, the people who take Clark in as a wee, little boy, and both are fantastic. I thought Costner’s role was going to be shoe-horned in because he’s a big, but aging-star, but he did well with the role and provided plenty of emotion, depth, and understanding for the character of Clark Kent, that carries on mostly throughout the film. Lane is also great because she provides the same type of emotional-attachment to Clark, and never feels like she’s over-doing the earnestness. And lastly, we have Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Clark’s real daddy, and in a day and age where Crowe can’t seem to do anything right by anybody’s imagination, it’s nice to be reminded that not only can do the dude still act and have us bring some tears to our eyes, but also kick some ass when he needs to. Just stay away from the microphone, buddy, and all will be fine with your career and respect you oh so desire.
Consensus: Though it definitely starts off great, with just enough attention to exposition, character, story, and heart, Man of Steel eventually takes a detour into the loud, action-y, stupid, and brainless exercise that we’re used to getting with superhero movies, but feels like a bit of a disappointment now, knowing what could have been, and still might be, seeing what the sequels can do next.
7.5 / 10 = Rental!!
well said and delivered my friend, nice read indeed cheers!
Thank you very much! Cheers right back at ya!
Just the tiniest criticism of a great review – Superman is DC comics and not Marvel. Still, I loved your review!
Thank you! I always mess that up somehow.
lol, pretty much feel the exact opposite of you here, though we probably came to the same general consensus on our level of enjoyment of the movie nonetheless. 😛
Glad to know because you and I always seem to butt heads, yet, come together in the end. It’s a strange relationship you and I have, Chris. Haha
Thanks for visiting my blog. Agree with your review, I’ve expected much more from the movie but in the end its 2/3 action fight scenes but 1/3 of good exposition and story depth.
It got to be a bit too much after awhile, even though I liked what they did with the origin story of Superman.
Awesome review Dan! Surprised this movie isn’t better but glad it’s not awful either. Can’t wait to see it anyway. Also, your line about Lawrence Fishbourne and Perry WHITE was very funny.
Thanks! I’m surprised nobody else caught on to the irony of the role.
Nice review. I was hoping to maybe check this out over the weekend but I’ll probably wait for it until DVD.
Worth a shot on the big-screen if you’re really jonesing for it.
oopsie…going to see this tonight. I hope I don’t agree with you if you know what I mean?
I know exactly what you mean!
Great review! I will see it next week and looking forward to it. It seems slightly different from the other superman movies, but let’s see.
It is quite different, but that does not make it the least bit better, to say the least.
I agree- Zod was wasted. No “Son of Jor-El, knee before Zod” moments here. I think that whenever a franchise is rebooted directors and produces must walk a line between character development and action. Not enough character and fanboys get pissed. Not enough action, and it closes off a big chunk of the market. Thing is, with Superman there are enough fanboys to make big bank and still give a 2 hour movie that is as good as the first hour. Course that’s just my opinion…
That is an opinion I can’t disagree with. It’s the type of story people want to see done and wouldn’t have a problem with. However, I’m not a top-heavy Hollywood executive so what do I know?
I loved the film! I think I liked it as much as I liked The Avengers. 🙂
Damn! That’s some high praise!
I totally loved this review man, you totally gave the rating that I was thinking. I’m not sure about where I stand with the film at the moment having seen it a few hours ago. I thought it was good but nowhere never as epic or amazing as some critics were saying. I did like it for the epic action and CGI, but your thoughts on Michael Shannon are totally right, I’ve seen better from him in Boardwalk Empire and The Iceman and I thought he’d be the scene stealer but in the end he was good but not on an epic level.
The movie was good, no doubt about it, but it could have been so much better. Thanks!
Very excited to see this. Too bad Shannon didn’t do so hot. And your review is the total opposite of Nikhat from Being Norma Jeane in that you preferred the seriousness. Still, it says a lot that both of you still liked it overall. It seems there’s something for everybody in Man Of Steel.
Which makes me wonder why people expected the film to retain that Donner-esque sense of humor…. Why can’t Superman be serious? I mean, he’s got the power to split the Earth open with his pinky finger, i’d want him to be taking that seriously for my own sake!! 😉
My points exactly! The more seriousness and dramatic, the better! At least for me that is.
It sounds like you and I are pretty much in alignment on this – could have been better, Shannon and Cavill not given enough to work with, some good updates to the Superman story, etc. LIke I said in my review, it’s not a must-see, but it’s not an embarrasment, either.
It’s not something you have to go crazy and rush out to see, but it’s worth a watch nonetheless.
Thanks for the comment! Appears we feel the same way, maybe you’re a little more generous. I read somewhere that analyzed the rubble and 9/11 imagery as being exploitative in a way. It did feel that way. This stuff is just shoved down our throats and without really much purpose or regret after the fact. Thousands of people died, but Lois Lane kept her journalistic integrity at least!
Ahahah at least that was left for the story to work on! It was an okay movie, but I can’t say that I was too happy when it was all said and done.
Personally, I’m just glad they took it in a different direction to the Donner versions (and the Singer version, for that matter!). I haven’t seen it yet – it comes out on the 28th here in Australia, grrr – but I intend to enjoy the HELL out of this movie when I see it.
As always, a solid review, Dan. Yours was one of the reviews I was most keen to read on this film.
It’s interesting to me how the score for this on Rotten Tomatoes seems to be dropping thanks to the negativity of the “professional” critics, while the film blogging community seems to be wholeheartedly more positive about what Snyder has achieved. Honestly, I’m happy the real fans seem happy with it, flaws and all, because it means Snyder and Co are at least on the right track.
I’m just happy to see the character be done justice, even if the last-half of it made it a bit dumb, like the Donner versions. Still, I look forward to seeing what else they got locked, loaded, and ready for this franchise. Thanks brotha!
All your points are certainly true. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with the whole proceeding – not just from the indistinguishable hyper-kinetics of the abundance of action – but from the narrative itself, especially considering Nolan and Goyer’s participation. I rarely walk out of a movie so focused on such a particular thematic element, but it was so heavy-handed that I couldn’t end up writing a straight review on this. I was just floored with the degree to which these particular filmmakers doubled down so specifically on the fundamentalist Christian Americana aspect of the character, and I am really interested to see how it plays in the non-U.S. markets. (If you’re interested, it’s on my blog.)
No, I’m definitely interested. I’ve been hearing a lot of “talk” about what they do with the characters and the certain religious allegories they take with them. Not as bad as Singer’s version, but I’ve been seeing more and more of it.
Just like David S. Goyer did with Batman Begins, he gives Superman a thorough backstory in this movie that makes you forget all about that misfire Superman Returns. You’re right that they really get you in the first hour or so with a compelling tale that’s well-explained, but the movie devolves into a big summer action movie. It becomes extremely bloated and entirely too long, plus I found the camerawork and editing too frenetic for my taste. The action is monotonous as well, with people just throwing each other through buildings. I enjoyed Cavill as Superman and Adams as Lois Lane even though their chemistry isn’t the best and neither is given much to do. I like that Lois Lane is more of a partner to Superman than a damsel in distress. Everyone who played Superman’s parents did a phenomenal job (even Kevin Costner who I usually hate haha). I think our opinions are very similar. My grade for this film is a B. Solid review Dan.
Thanks man! It’s a good film, but had all of the makings of a great one, it just got too dumb by the end. Big, big bummer right then and there.
Nice review, can’t wait to see it!
Good review, Dan. I feel your pain, it’s hard to get past the promise of what could have been. Yet, if you take a step back and look at it just for what it actually was, it wasn’t all that bad (not that you’re hammering it or anything). It was still a good action movie… a little too dark for the character, but a good summer superhero flick.
It was a fine action movie, it’s change in the middle made it seem worse though. Had it been strictly action, all of the time, things would have been a little different. Thanks man!
Glad you enjoyed this. I did not enjoy this film. I don’t want to go ona rant, but in a nutshell I thought “Man of Steel” was a soulless product bought and paid for by the Hollywood machine. My review explains my thoughts in more detail.
I saw it and I see where you’re coming from. Didn’t whole-heartedly agree but I like the stance you take. Nice stuff man!
[…] Dan the Man Movie Reviews: 7.5/10 […]
Spot on! I agree with you–I was enjoying the beginning too (loved the urban legend building and wished they would have explored that more)–and then it does kind of de-evolve as it progresses. I titled my review–I want to love it more than I do AND I want to hate it more than I do…LOL! That is the truth.
The potential for the future is the best part of this–we can hope that they will fix the “issues” and get it even more right next time–and hey…maybe a Justice League?? Fingers crossed.
Later, Dan! 😀
Quite possibly, but if they’re going to go down the Justice League, they have to put some heart and soul into it. Not just make it because Marvel has their own “team-up” movie.
Completely agree with you- starts off well but def loses its way. I wasn’t sure of Russell Crowe at first (I’m sure his accent changes after the first few mins) but he was a good guardian/narrator type character.
Good work Dan!
It was nice to see Crowe working his acting-skills once again. Been awhile. Thanks!
Oh boy. The more reviews I read the more my enthusiasm starts to wane. I think I’ll get my Superman fix by watching “Smallville” Season 10. Good write up, Dan!
My expectation for this film really shot up with the third trailer. As a matter of fact I was warned by my better half this film had no where to go but down. Luckily Rene Rodriguez from The Miami Herald posted on his Facebook to “lower your expectations” after he watched the advanced screening. He did say it was bad, just lower your expectations. I have to thank him for that because I did, and I enjoyed the film for it. It’s not Nolan Batman good, but I put on par with “The Avengers”.
It’s an okay movie, but not terrific like I was expecting from countless reviews I read and just my own expectations. Oh well. I’ll live.
Everything wrong with Man of Steel in just 4 lines of dialogue from 2 scenes.
INT. KRYPTON HIGH COUNCIL
General Zod: We will build a New Krypton without the bloodlines that have failed us!
Jor-El: And who will judge the bloodlines? You, Zod?
INT. GENESIS CHAMBER-SHIP [containing artificial wombs to gestate unborn babies]
General Zod: Stop! Don’t destroy the ship! You’re destroying Krypton!
Kal-El: Krypton had its chance!
Move made Jor-El a far more noble hero than Superman. Worse, Superman ends up just like General Zod – i.e. someone who will perform the necessary evil in the name of the greater good.
Good point. Never quite thought about that until you brought it up. Well, that and the non-stop bits of carnage and destruction that Supes caused at the end.
Hmm…good review Dan. Can’t help but get the feeling I’ll be disappointed by this one. The positive reviews seem to be few and far between and no one seems to sing the film’s praises without highlighting at least one or two issues. With the writing/director/producing team behind this I expected more. Perhaps that’s the problem people are experiencing. The dreaded expectation bug!
I expected a lot more to, but I enjoyed it for the most part. Can’t argue with that a single bit.
Totally agree with your general consensus.
Great review, you and I are on the same page with this one.
I think Snyder & Company did a good job updating Superman, but they let the action get carried away at the end. My main issue with the film is it was trying to do too much in one film.
It seemed like two different movies that never quite came together to meet in the middle. It just played itself out after awhile. Thanks!
“getting me all hyped-up, ready, and locked-up for an experience unlike any other superhero movie I’ve seen”
You shouldn’t have let yourself get so pumped about this. No one ever seems to get the Superman movie right, so I had no reason to see this be any different. They are getting closer though, you’re right.
They are reaching a bit more for the skies with this one, and they do get a chance to touch his cape, but not his whole suit yet. Just yet.
[…] “Though it definitely starts off great, with just enough attention to exposition, character, story, and heart, Man of Steel eventually takes a detour into the loud, action-y, stupid, and brainless exercise that we’re used to getting with superhero movies” – Dan The Man’s Movie Reviews […]
Nice review Dan. I was disappointed by it but it did look fabulous visually.
It’s a beautiful flick, no doubt about it!
I don’t know Dan, about Superman being the defining super hero of our time. Maybe of our parents time or grandparents time.
For me this film started out well and went off the rails as soon as Zod arrives on Earth. Also why Zod again? Sort of reminds me of Star Trek Into Darkness deciding to revisit Wrath of Kahn. The film went down the drain with all the punching and explosions at the expense of actual plot.
Gets way too crazy by the end and as fun as it may have been in sorts, it becomes draining to watch and sit through.
Great review. 🙂 And pretty much exactly how I felt about the movie! It’s good to know a few people agree – I’ve mainly seen extremely positive reviews…
I enjoyed the scenes individually with the visuals and everything – just not how they put it all together.
I am ducking reviewing this one..not even sure if I am going to watch it after reading your review..thanx Dan..
Could have been so much better. It just didn’t flow for me and all those flashbacks were terrible. The movie just felt hollow. Good review.
I agree 100% that the movie started losing it after the first hour or so. I don’t like super-hero fights. Too destructive and boring. Zod was good, but you are right, they could have given Shannon more. Cavill: hubba hubba! And I LOVED Russel Crowe. And hey! He’s a good singer!
First of all thank you for visiting my blog.
I think you and I agree on the emotional part of the movie, on that first hour as you say it, but I think our points of view start to differ on the rest of the movie.
Still, fantastic review and I will be copying a few bits of your style for my next reviews hahahaha
Thanks so much for stopping by and giving me your feedback on my movie reviews – it’s nice to see another movie lover out there 🙂
Rental?! Really?! I saw it as a matinee and didn’t feel as if my money was wasted. But like I said in my review, I don’t remember the previous films much and didn’t grow up reading the comics so I enjoyed everything on a face value.
You have some in depth reviews, sir! Nice work!
Nice review. It seems like we conceptualized the moral dilemmas a little differently. I saw Superman as acting the best he could when dealing with a Pure Evil character like Zod. But, the rest was spot on, and even funny! Good work!
Oh, by the way, I’m sure you saw my review (http://www.christopherbowsman.blogspot.com/2013/06/man-of-steel-movie-review.html) but David S. Goyer did write Superman comics. Most of the exposition you praise is straight from there. 🙂
Great review! Just one comment though: Superman and Batman are DC Comics. Perhaps you meant to compare them to the Marvel comics, but your wording didn’t really sound that way.
I LOVE SUPERMAN and was pretty disappointed with the movie… but not enough to probably buy it on DVD when it comes out. 🙂
Did you notice how similar this was to Thor? http://www.writesleft.com/superman-vs-thor/
I liked Man of Steel but overall,I really didn’t think the filmmaking approach was kid friendly, and it was supposed to be a superhero movie, so therein lies my confusion… Great review! Had loads of fun reading it.
I know what the critics has said. They complained about too much action, superman being too serious, lack of romance, etc. Since Zack Snyder directed this movie, I don’t think he cared about the critics. Don’t get me wrong, he DOES care about the fans’ opinion. Seems like he really wanted to really satisfy the fans. I see why critics complained about too much action. For me it’s just his way to satisfy the viewers. This is the kind of movie that is just really satisfying. When the movie ended, I got that ‘satisfying’ feeling instead of the ‘wanting more’ feeling. It’s like it was really enough.
Even Snyder’s best movies (before this) which were 300 & Watchmen didn’t have more ratings than 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. I think the fans should have anticipated the bad reviews. His style is actually what critics hate. The over the top action and CGI is actually his trademark. So, even from the beginning, I think this is actually the kind of movie the producers wanted. About the lack of romance, I really do think it’s saved for the sequel. The sequel will definitely explore more about the relationship between Clark and Lois. This film focused on 2 aspects: the origin (krypon,struggle finding his place) & the action (Zod and his army). Don’t expect humor or romance.
The visuals were spectacular! What’s best about this movie is its action scenes. The action were just relentless. I think the fans would not be disappointed at all. Yes, I know there is only a very few humor this movie but that actually doesn’t even matter. The battle between Superman & Zod will definitely ‘wow’ everyone but the critics. I mean who cares about the critics opinion? A superhero movie MUST NOT be judged by the critics opinion, what’s more important is the audience’s opinion about the movie and especially the fans’. I think the movie really delivered. Most people will definitely like this movie. I am really sure that many fanboys will consider this as the best comic book of all time. This is a MUST SEE for people who like action movie. The action were better than last year’s The Avengers.
The sequel really have a great potential. Considering the minimum amount of romance in this movie (since they just knew each other, and superman was also more focused on Zod), the next movie could explore more of that. One of the things missing from the movie was also the presence of Clark Kent at the daily planet. It’s one of the trade marks. But, I believe the sequel will show more scenes in the Daily Planet which is interesting to see.
As a conclusion, I think Man of Steel is so far the best action movie this year. This movie really is a Snyder movie. But it also has a quite lot of nolan-esque feel to it especially in the around first 45 minutes.
If this was compared to Iron man 3, if Iron man 3 was a 7, this movie is a 8.6.
More about the movie you can also find it here