Zach Snyder tries to bring Superman back into audience’s good graces, does he succeed? Here’s Aaron’s best thing, worst, thing, and main thing about “Man of Steel”
Text of Review:
So far this year we’ve had the Tin Man, the Iron Man, and now the Man of Steel. Somewhere in a Hollywood office they are greenlighting the “Aluminum Man” script right now.
“Man of Steel” is the latest reboot of the Superman story this time under the watchful eye of Christopher Nolan and the directing prowess of Zach Snyder. Though the movie centers around a grown Superman and his battle for the ages with main baddie General Zod, the movie focuses on enough of the backstory that it doubles as an origin story as well. This time mostly unknown Henry Cavill dons the red cape and is surrounded by actors like Russel Crowe and Kevin Costner as his two dads, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. All of whom deliver very solid performances. Michael Shannon plays Zod a bit over the top but that could just be because I’m still remembering his scenery chewing in last year’s bike messenger movie “Premium Rush”.
“Man of Steel” is an amazing movie. I promise I will land on my official Best thing, but I have to first mention in addition to the great performances, the score is incredible, and the themes of trust and choice are beautifully interwoven into the morality of the word in a very real and powerful way. I found myself genuinely moved many times by the way this story was told. But the real best thing? The visuals. Zach Snyder has officially locked in his ownership of the greatest visual director working today. The way he uses the camera is clever, confident, and clear despite being chaotic. His frenetic action scenes create the suspense and drama of bedlam while at the same time always giving the audience the visual information we need to not be confused. Though many might quote 300 or Watchmen as showing Zach could handle the action of Superman in a modern way, for me it was, the CG movie, The Legend of the Guardians the Owls of Gahool. Go ahead and laugh, but watch the flight scenes in that movie again and tell me they aren’t brilliant. That brilliance is on full display here right from the opening action on Superman’s home world of Krypton, 10 minutes of which may have been the most exhilarating 10 minutes I’ve spent in a movie theater since Dash ran on top of the water in The Incredibles.
Man of Steel is a great movie, but it’s not a perfect movie. Even Superman has his kryptonite (speaking of which it’s the one part of Superman lore that was conspicuously absent from Man of steel, well mostly). The worst thing about the film was that it was just too dry. There were occasional moments of humor but they did very little to bring joy to what was often a dour experience. Cavill seems to play Superman as always on the verge of breaking down emotionally. It’s an understandable choice used to emphasize the weight that he carries (both literally and figuratively) through the movie but it makes the movie feel more self serious and down than it needs to. It also results in a superhero who feels in desperate need of a personality. It could just be my preferences at work, but I seem to lean towards the exuberant joy of a movie like The Avengers or Star Trek into Darkness instead. It’s not a major flaw and the positives more than make up for it but it was the one thing in the movie that left me wanting more.
So what’s the main thing about Man of Steel? Despite a possible personality problem from our lead, It’s one of the most visually striking movies I’ve ever seen with a beautiful story and some powerful moments. I say it gets an A