Majestic yet unbalanced, ‘Man of Steel’ is loaded with artistic direction and enormous set pieces but veers far too often in to typical summer blockbuster territory.
Helmed by Zack Snyder, the visionary behind movies such as ‘300’, ‘Watchmen’ and ‘Sucker Punch’, this film was setup to be the boldest re-telling of Superman’s origin story. And at times it is, Snyder flourishes the iconic hero with a realistic yet majestic persona – fitting for the 21st century. However, his vision just seemed incomplete, as if someone was holding him back from making the Superman movie he wanted.
Henry Cavill as Superman was a perfect choice, and he delivers the uncanny dry humor Superman is known for – as well as bringing a conflicting depth to the character. This is a Superman that is learning to hide his powers from the world, a Superman that weighs the impact of every punch before he chooses to deliver it. And at times, a Superman who may choose not to save a life for the greater good. Amy Adams as Louis Lane fills the role with heart, and the support system this Superman needed. Aside from developing trust, the script does not present much opportunity for Clark and Louis to develop much more of a relationship than that. Michael Shannon as General Zod was a serviceable villain, but a serious class below the likes of some recent memorable antagonists from the ‘Batman’ films.
There is certainly no lack of visual flair, Snyder brings his trademark bravado to create some absolutely incredible battles through out the movie. It just lacked the crunch and sense of violence that made ‘300’ and ‘Watchmen’ so impactful. It is lost between a Snyder tour-de-force and a typical PG 13 superhero movie.
Pieces of a great flick are in there somewhere, but it just fails to mesh by movie’s end. Scene to scene the movie lacked flow at times, put that aside and the actors did their best in the scenes they were given. Through the early proceedings, the movie constantly felt like it was in a rush – jumping between time frames and scenes. At first spending far too long in Krypton explaining the world Superman was born in, and then not spending nearly enough time showing the world Superman grew up in. Because of this, there was a certain lack of ‘awe’ in the first moments Clark Kent puts on his suit, a moment that just seemed to happen all too suddenly. As an audience, it did not feel like he earned his place in the world.
All in all we end up with a movie that is a notch above the average summer blockbuster, and worth seeing in the cinemas. The action is unreal and immense. Superman was deeper and stronger than we have ever seen before, a memorable portrayal of an iconic character – a nod to Henry Cavill and Snyder’s cinematography. An enjoyable movie overall, but it just was not as “complete” as ‘Batman Begins’ or the subsequent sequels. This may be a rare case where the inevitable follow-up may end up being far better than the original.
It’s an 8 out of 10 for me.