Man of Steel Review


Iron Man 3 was a farce from start to finish and Star Trek Into Darkness degenerated into a Wrath of Kahn rehash. Alot was riding on this film for me because the truth of the matter is the modern version (Post-Crisis: 1986 – 2006) of Superman has never-ever been put on film. Only depicted on television with The Animated Series, Lois & Clark (Teri Hatcher didn’t work), and Smallville to a lesser extent. The same people behind that P.O.S called The Dork Knight Declines by the Nolan brothers plus Jon “Zoomania” Peters’ Executive Producer elevation after Deadbeat Snooperman, hope dwindled.

I walked out with pure satisfaction on my face at first viewing. Had to take some time-off when all my prior doubts and fears came rushing back. Upon second inspection there are problems (one major but I’ll get to it later), but I stand by my earlier statement.

So glad that Director Zack Snyder (Watchmen) and company took inspiration from John Bryne’s mini-series of the same name with the Kryptionians’ artificial concept. The council looked like they stepped right off the pages with their elaborate wardrobe. Wasn’t sure about the “Neo-Medieval” look at first, but in context The Last Days would be The Dark Age (in the Medieval sense) of their society.

Russell Crowe (Gladiator) as Jor-El was the proactive scientist/father similar to Christopher McDonald (Shooter McGavin) was in part one of “The Last Son of Krypton” three section episodes, where he narrowly escapes from security after finding out Brainiac’s true intentions to save itself above the race.

Even though Lara Vor-Van (Ayelet Zurer) was still the worried mother/housewife (Susannah York), she finds the planet/coordinates for her (aswell as the planet’s) first natural born child in a thousand years to Earth. Which was one of the tweaks to the origin story that I found really interesting. Saving her husband’s life (through Kelex voiced by Snyder favorite, Garla Cugino) when more of General Zod’s forces come seconds after he breaks free of his captors. Even after her sufficient other is killed stares defiant at Zod when he along with his crew are sent to The Phantom Zone even though their imprisonment was short-lived. It would’ve nice if half the dialogue in the prelude was spoken in Kryptonese with subtitles to get the alien point more across.

I myself was prepared that David Goyer (Blade) pulled the same non-linear story. Henry Cavill (Immortals) nailed the role as I knew he would especially during his teenage Clark Kent performance during the tornado flashback. He had the charm, modesty, courageousness, and directness the Metropolis Marvel is supposed to have in general.

Goyer’s characterization of Lois Lane is the strong no-non sense reporter in addition to being less of a damsel-in-distress in order to grow from since her creation. Her knowing Clark before then after donning red and blue cuts out all the stupid love-triangle baggage like a knife. The fact that she calls him by his human name for the majority tells you she cares more about the farm-boy from Kansas (Smallville) then his other identities.

Snyder absolutely delivers action-wise. The Big Blue Boyscout finally gets to throw some punches. However there’s been alot of bad responses to the collateral damage in the climax. In defense, The Man of Tomorrow can’t be everywhere at once. It’s much more compelling when he saves as many people as he can but sometimes can’t save everyone. Some also say that he “didn’t care” about civilians getting-caught -in-the-fire, that’s a misunderstanding. He tried twice to get Ursa and Non (Nam-Ek) away from the populace but they kept yanking him back down to the ground during the Smallville sequence.

I knew Hans Zimmer’s score wouldn’t reach John Williams’ level. Though the music he put together obviously had the uplifting tune with the tracks “Flight” and “What Are You Going to Do When You’re Not Saving The World“. The kind that it’s supposed to have for the character aswell as the humanity per “Goodbye My Son”,Launch“,”Krypton’s Last”, in addition “I Have So Many Questions“.

People are overreacting to the forced execution of Zod by snapping his neck not just to save the cornered family but to the rest of the world cause Zod wouldn’t have stopped until all life on his enemy’s adopted world was destroyed as the mind reading/dream/nightmare showed. Also this isn’t the first time this kind-of-thing happened. In the last issue Bryne wrote, a pocket-universe Zod accomplished that goal vowing to do it again. Supes threw everything he had at Doomsday which lead to his “death”. Keep in mind too he’s a 33 year old living solar capacitor. He got alot thrown at him with the Kryptonian atmosphere of The World Engine and both military beatdowns for his first time. Lastly, how is it different from what a policemen or soldier has to do in that kind of Trolley Problem?

The biggest problem is with how the ending played out. After the big moment, Editor David Benner (Roland Emmerich’s tool) misplaces an underdeveloped Clark/Martha act that quickly jumps to Clark becoming the reporter for The Daily Planet. I’m sorry but you can’t have an intense situation like that then immediately throw in light-heartedness (the “he’s kinda hot” line being meh) like it wasn’t a big deal. Words needed to be said: “Mom, I killed one of my people today.” Did Clark come across as apathetic towards his Ma during their reunion?

Things that need to be addressed or happen in the next one:

  1. Superman not resort to killing again which seems unlikely due to his reaction afterwards.
  2. He has to be haunted by it like he was in Roger Stern’s Exile (minus the leaving Earth bit) and deal with repercussions.
  3. How many years between Metropolis’ destruction and restoration. Even with Luthor’s construction division it cannot be months.

Kevin Costner’s Jonathan Kent appear to demand that his adopted son to live the life of a farmer out of harped-family-tradition as opposed to allowing him to forge his own path like John Schneider’s portrayal did. Diane Lane (Hollywoodland) played Martha Kent accordingly. Though if she hadn’t left the dog in the car then her partner wouldn’t have met his demise…again. I prefer him living in the mythos.

Unfortunately I for one don’t buy Amy Adams (The Muppets) in the part. She’s too wholesome sweetheart then tomboyish city-girl that Erica Durance did in spades. Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy) would’ve been the better candidate. We can at least thank Rao Kristen Stewart or Mila Kunis didn’t get it. When she’s walking along the streets of Smallville looking for Pete Ross (Joseph Cranford) to find her rescuer, the “should’ve been Lana Lang” thought crossed my mind. Speaking of which, Lana (Jadin Gould) had no other prepuce outside of sticking up for Clark before the random school bus crash happens.

Clark’s journalistic aspect was severely underused as it’s comes across as “just another disguise” like the other nomadic jobs at the beginning is totally pointless. Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) along with the staff members (Steve Lombard and Jenny) aren’t idiots (clearly not Lois). They should’ve used more elements from Mark Waid’s Birthright where Clark was on assignment while maintaining Goyer’s “finding your place” mantra.

Wasn’t thrilled the tyrant and his renegades being the antagonists once more prior. His motivation to save his people but lust for power (killing a council member and exposure to the yellow sun) getting the better of him were clearly based on Geoff Johns/Richard Donner’s Action Comics Annual interpretation. Sometimes Michael Shannon’s voice worked for the character and other points he acted like his tonsils got pulled out of his jaw. Antje Traue’s Faora wasn’t Sarah Douglas’ Ursa (personality-wise) she still was in appearance. It’s unavoidable Lex Luthor will be in the sequel (LexCorp galore). But then again, we’ll at last see the corporate-tycoon interpretation that Clancy Brown (Highlander), Michael Rosenbaum, along with John Shea have depicted.

Since A.I. Jor-El taught her how to operate Kryptionian-tech off screen, how come Lois doesn’t know about turning the nose of Kal’s ship slightly to the left in order for the key to activate the Phantom-drive? Her instantly-being-there across miles of city blocks to witness the final confrontation in the train station. Bummer too that Emil Hamilton (Richard Schiff) bit the dust. He is an acknowledged supporting character in canon that could’ve been a recurring person.

The ancient scout ship aka Fortress of Solitude being the deceased Alura’s with the hint of her daughter, Kara appearing in the future (prequel comic written by Goyer confirms) erks me. The whole “last of his kind” concept is thrown-out-the-window yet again. Just to clarify, I don’t hate her or the Super-Family (Conner, Mon-El, Krypto, or Power Girl), but if they exist in different timelines where their mentor is not around then it helps them be more unique. At the end of the Justice League Unlimited episode “Far From Home‘, Kara (who was from Argo, the sister planet of Krypton) decides to stay in the 31st century with The Legion of Superheroes (along with her boyfriend, Brainiac 5) to make more of a difference then just being Kal-El ‘s Cousin as she thinks she is in the present.

Overall, this is a step in the right direction for Warner Bros. to start the DC Universe onscreen (the Wayne Enterprises’ satellite, Booster Gold’s publishing firm, and Codeword: Trident referring to Aquaman) plus getting them back into the box office game that Marvel has been dominating. Still think it’s too soon for Justice League rather then Batman’s reboot afterward and then jump right into World’s Finest. It would be less of an obvious financial failure.

Rating: 8 1/2