Saturday, June 22, 2013

Man Of Steel

Year: 2013
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Christopher Meloni, Ayelet Zurer

Plot: The epic story of Kal-El from Krypton, who grows up on Earth and calls himself Clark Kent, and becomes the hero Superman when a cruel general from his former planet comes over to cause havoc.

Review: Everyone knows the origins of Superman, right? The alien from another planet who makes Earth his home and protects it from evil has been immortalised in film many times, and on TV as well.

Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan, with a script by David S. Goyer, tells a whole new epic tale about Superman, and unlike the usual approach of focusing on Clark Kent, they focus on what it is like being Superman. Through a series of flashbacks, Snyder develops Superman's character on his struggles in fitting in at school, the debate with his father on keeping his powers a secret, and ultimately his identity. In other versions usually we see Clark Kent and how he turns into a hero when the situation calls for it, but here he already is the hero and we see him fight his way to become the Clark we know from the Daily Planet. It's a fascinating approach which is a fresh attempt at the story, though it is not without flaws.

The performances of the top notch cast are mostly spot on. Henry Cavill certainly has the look to play the man of steel, and manages to bring the character's humility and honesty to the fore. Amy Adams is pretty good as Lois Lane, she is tough and very likable as she should be. Michael Shannon, despite getting some pretty cheesy lines as the villain General Zod, is quite solid in the role, though I must say that Antje Traue is a bit more interesting as his lieutenant Faora. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are perfect choices as Clark's human parents, the Kents, the former being protective and inspirational, the latter being loving and supportive. Laurence Fishburne gets too little time as Lois' boss Perry White, while Russell Crowe is awesome as Jor-El, being every bit as commanding and gentle as Superman's father ought to be.

The film does suffer a bit from pacing issues and occasionally shaky camerawork, and the final third of the film flip flops between being exciting and being overdone. The carnage on display overwhelms most of the stuff you'd see in a Michael Bay film, and that's saying something. When it was over, I didn't know if I was supposed to cheer or not.

Overall, Man Of Steel is a somewhat solid attempt at retelling a familiar story, and it deserves a sequel just to see how far it can go. (3.5/5)

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