Warner Bros. and DC comics are back in an effort to revamp the series we have all grown to love and despise with its recent release of “Man of Steel”. Director Zack Snyder (“Watchmen”, “300”) steps behind the camera, while Christopher Nolan, mastermind of the highly successful “Dark Knight Trilogy”, signs on as part producer, part writer. With an experienced crew off screen, in collaboration with a highly credible cast, we can only expect good things to come from “Man of Steel”. What we get is nothing more than a slightly above average remake of “Superman”.
Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) is a young boy living in Kansas with the people he believes to be his parents. When he begins experiencing powers not ordinary to anything this Earth has ever seen, he journeys to discover his origins and his reasons for being on Earth. When General Zod (Michael Shannon) escapes captivity following the destruction of Krypton, he must find Kal-El (Clark Kent) in order to save the people of Krypton. With the help from his father Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and Lois Lane (Amy Adams), “Superman” must emerge as a hero and become the symbol of hope for all of mankind.
First and foremost, I would like to comment saying that this review is strictly off of my analysis of the film. I am not familiar with the comics, and I do not know how closely the film follows the comics. Moving forward, the directing of Zack Snyder is nothing to be applauded. Though he has directed some good-looking films in the past, the action sequences featured in “Man of Steel” are not the sharpest looking. Not only are there way too many action sequences, but they are not polished due to the work behind the camera, and some problems in the editing. The camera is very shaky, making it difficult to fully experience the action taking place.
Shifting gears towards the script, David S. Goyer (screenplay) and Christopher Nolan (story) start out with a simple but defining story. They give us the barebones of information we need to know in order to follow what is going on. Where they lack is the development of our main character, Clark Kent. They spend minimal time showing us the struggles Clark goes through as a child as he tries to adapt to this new planet, and instead skip forward about 15-20 years. They fail to combine the lives of “Superman” and Clark Kent well enough to a point where we can’t feel any emotional attachment to this character. Correcting that could have been huge for the film.
In terms of casting and acting, I first must start out with our main character, portrayed by Cavill. Cavill’s performance as the center stage of the film is not strong enough to carry the film. Though he looks poised while on screen, the dialogue he presents to us generates absolutely no emotions. This could be the fault of a weak script, to be fair to Cavill. In general though, he was not fully engaged in his role which is harmful to the viewing experience. Michael Shannon as the main antagonist plays his role well, and was a great choice for the role of General Zod. Shannon is typically known for the anger he consistently shows in his characters, so playing a villain fit him quite well. Amy Adams as Lois Lane was nothing special, but did not do anything to harm the outcome of the film. I was really impressed with Russell Crowe, though his role was somewhat limited. His character is cleverly written and he delivers his lines exceptionally well. As for the rest of the supporting cast, such as Kevin Costner or Laurence Fishburne, I was not really impressed.
One of the brightest aspects of the film happens to be the original score created by Hans Zimmer, arguably the most successful composer in Hollywood and artist behind successful films such as “The Dark Knight Trilogy” and “Inception.” The music he creates adds an interesting aspect that finally gets something aroused out of the audience. It is bright when Superman does something good, and dark when Zod does something evil. It adds that “superhero movie” kind of feel to the film which was a positive feature for the viewing experience.
The last thing I would like to talk about is the effects. The first half of the film delves straight into the story, and provides its viewers with important information about the characters. It was on track to being a very good film. The second half is all special effects, and it really gets annoying. Though the effects look amazing and are very well done, the entire final hour is just the absolute destruction of buildings, vehicles, and basically an entire city. Being a superhero film, it is obviously going to feature some fighting sequences and visual effects. But there is an extent to which something should be done, and this film goes way beyond that line. It is truly detrimental to the Superman character and is disappointing to us as viewers.
As I stated earlier, “Man of Steel” is nothing more than an average remake. Though it has some experienced people working off the screen, along with experience actors/actresses on screen, the story does not go into enough depth, keeping us from interacting with the characters like we should be. “Man of Steel” is something to be considered as a “popcorn movie,” where you just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. It has nothing memorable about it and will be quickly forgotten. Don’t go into it with huge expectations, because you will come out unsatisfied.