Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Man Of Steel (2013)

Year: 2013
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne
Man Of Steel is now showing everywhere. Check your local cinema listing for times and details

Superman films have in recent years become a dangerous project to take on. Not because of the so called Superman Curse (although some may argue that this MAY have something to do with it), but because they have so much history and so much to live up to.

Man Of Steel has created so much buzz from film and Superman fans alike with a wonderful cast and Zack Snyder's history with visually astonishing action. However, with all that comes incredibly high expectations and a wave of depression when you realise that Man Of Steel isn't all you wanted it to be. The biggest disappointments being an incredibly weak screenplay and overly self-indulgent direction by Snyder.

Man Of Steel opens with the first natural birth of a child on the planet, Krypton for centuries. Sensing unrest and the end of the world as they know it, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) sends his new born son to Earth to live among the humans and give his race hope. Kal-El grows up being known as Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) and possesses extraordinary strength which sets him apart from others. When Clark sets out to find out who he really is, he encounters reporter, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) who is on a mission to also find out who he really is. Unfortunately, there is someone who knows exactly who Clark is and that is General Zod (Michael Shannon) who is set on rebuilding Krypton even if it means the destruction of Earth and the human race.

One has to wonder how different the reception to Man Of Steel would have been if it was the first we had ever known of Superman or if it was a stand alone film. It is almost inconceivable to think of it this way and therefore is hard to say what we would think about it if it was. Superman has been in our culture for over 60 years now and as a result, it isn't an option for Man Of Steel not be compared to its predecessors.

The major thing that is lacking in this film in regards to past Superman films (particularly those Christopher Reeve films) is there is a lack of suspense and lack of excitement and thrill, which is what Superman is all about. The first half of the film is completely void of any excitement or suspense. The second half admittedly does get better, but 143 minutes is just too long for the film. There was a point where it should have just finished and it would have been the perfect feeling for the action packed conclusion. Yet it just feels like Snyder went overboard with trying to prove what he could do special effects wise and it becomes a little too much. However, don't be alarmed. This is an improvement on 2006's Superman Returns.

It isn't just the final scenes which are a little too much when it comes to the special effects and cinematography. Man Of Steel is primarily a 3D film and that is how it appears even when you watch it even in 2D. There is so much going on that the story is sometimes lost in the crazy CGI and special effects. There is no denying that the special effects are incredible, especially during those scenes on Krypton and in Metropolis. The costume design is also incredible. Then there are the moments that give the impression that a handheld camera is being used and it doesn't add anything to the film.The choice to have flashbacks continuously through the film is also quite annoying and does not allow the film to run smoothly at all.

What die-hard Superman fans may not like about Man Of Steel is that there are several aspects of the film which contradict the original Superman stories. You can tell that what story creators, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer were trying to do with the story was to not make it exactly like the original Superman so that it wasn't an exact remake. It is really quite admirable as it gives the story some originality and makes for a different take on how Kal-El/ Clark Kent becomes Superman.

However, you cannot fault any of the actors. Henry Cavill was a great choice for the lead role. He shows great character development throughout the film and completely embodies all that both Clark Kent and Superman should be. He has some wonderful emotional moments showing his true acting ability that lies behind the Superman suit.

Amy Adams can clearly do everything and with Man Of Steel she can add action to type of films that she has now conquered. She is a very convincing Lois Lane and her and Cavill work brilliantly together. Michael Shannon does evil very well as General Zod and has some truly terrifying moments. Russell Crowe is far from terrible as Jor-El. He does well and is actually quite fun to watch. Both Diane Lane and Kevin Costner do very well as Clark's parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent. They both are wonderful and very convincing in regards to the emotion they show to their son.

Man Of Steel is let down by a Snyder's thirst for creating as big an impact with CGI action as possible and a very jerky screenplay. The high expectations of anything Superman related didn't help it's cause at all. Yet, it is still Superman and there is always interest when it comes to the man who is faster than a speeding bullet.


You may also be interested in reading our article about whether there is a Superman curse or not. Check it out and decide for yourselves!

You may have also seen Amy Adams in....
Julie & Julia as Julie Powell
The Fighter as Charlene Fleming
The Master as Peggy Dodd

You may have also seen Michael Shannon in......
The Iceman as Richard Kuklinski

You may have also seen Russell Crowe in....
Robin Hood as Robin Hood
Les Miserables as Javert

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