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Man of Steel Movie Review

Although suffering from some issues, Zack Snyder's take on the Man of Steel was a visual spectacle that grounded the character of Clark Kent/Superman.
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Genre: Action / Fantasy / Sci-Fi

Directors: Zack Snyder

Cast: Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Antje Traue, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishburne & Kevin Costner.

Run Time: 143 min.

US Release: 14 June 2013

UK Release: 14 June 2013

German Release: 20 June 2013

Welcome back to my string of reviews, this one is on Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, which will lead up to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which I am going to watch tonight. Man of Steel was written by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, who also produced this superhero blockbuster to re-imagine Kal-El’s story for the big screen. This is one of the most polarising films of 2013, with critics and audiences alike either hating or loving this movie. Personally, I really liked Man of Steel and thought it was one of the better Superman pictures we obtained since Donner’s Superman II.


The planet of Krypton is about to implode and General Zod (Shannon) attempts to save his people via a political putsch. Jor-El (Crowe), lead scientist of Krypton, steals the Codex (a skull imprinted with the genetic code of every Kryptonian) and combines it with baby Kal-El’s DNA before he sends him off to Earth. Jor-El dies protecting the spaceship from Zod and shortly after, Zod’s rebellion is stopped and he and his army are banished to the Phantom Zone.

On Earth a now grown up Clark Kent (Cavill) is travelling the world, searching for something that might answer where he came from. His adoptive father Jonathan Kent (Costner) died a few years ago during the tornado season in Kansas and his adoptive mother Martha (Lane) is tending the farm all alone. When Clark stumbles upon a Kryptonian spaceship in the arctic, he accidentally sets off a distress beacon that draws Zod to Earth. While mean he makes the acquaintance with Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane (Adams), who is immediately infatuated with her mysterious saviour. Once Zod attacks Earth, Clark needs to choose whom to trust: the humans that adopted him, or the last of his people?

What many viewers do not understand and therefore dislike, is that Man of Steel isn’t a typical Superman movie! What Snyder gave the audience was more; a beautiful road trip tale that sees Clark in search for answers of whom he is and where he came from. It is a sweet emotional and human story with flashbacks that explored Clark’s loving childhood.

I really like the extended Krypton scenes, showing us more of its people, its culture and the political system, as well as the fauna and flora. Snyder also implemented a lot of easter-eggs attributing to other superheroes and villains such as Aquaman, Batman, Carol Ferris and Lex Luthor. I also believe that Superman killing Zod at the end is important, it is an act that torments him immediately and sets the path for his more peaceful resolutions. The blockbuster has good, solid and over-the-top action as expected from a Superman film, but it could have benefited from a little bit less.

As much as I like Man of Steel, it also suffers from severe narrative issues. The dialogues sound sometimes a little wooden, especially during the beginning segment on Krypton, and the pacing of the movie is a little bit messy, but not as much that it will throw the viewer off. The codex subplot is handled way to rushed and is not explained properly. The church scene is, until now, my least favourite scene of the whole film; I don’t understand why he would seek a stranger, who doesn’t even share his (religious) belief, for advice. Lastly, the romance between Clark and Lois is handled really rushed and feels forced and sloppy.

Henry Cavill is great as Clark Kent, who is tormented throughout the movie, about why he is on Earth and what his purpose is. Can he trust humanity with his secret? Can he even trust his own people to leave the planet alone? Cavill portrays Clark like no-one before; in spirit he is human, even though if genetically he is Kryptonian, and he is brought up by the Kent’s with a moral code of justice. Clark is a guy who wants to do good, but needs to be careful how to go one about it and he is most definitely not a pushover!

Russell Crowe is one of the best parts of this movie. He is simply perfect as Jor-El, Clark’s biological father, giving the character personality and a lot of emotion. Michael Shannon, on the other hand, is good as General Zod, but it does not feel like he owned the character. Nevertheless, he manages to kick butt and is a good villain for the first film, making his point about why he does what he does. He isn’t just a maniac ready to commit genocide, he is a warrior that was bred to protect Krypton and it’s people, without them he has no purpose left.

Kevin Costner & Diane Lane are fantastic as Jonathan and Martha Kent. Lane understands her character and gives a lovely rendition as Clark's adoptive mother and Costner gives one of his best performances in years. Although I do have an issue when Jonathan suggests to Clark that it might be wiser to let his classmates die in a car accident, to keep his super strength a secret. That is not the Jonathan Kent I know!

Amy Adams gives, in my opinion, the best Lois Lane portrayal on screen. She acts like a reporter and not like a damsel in distress, playing the reporter. She always shows curiosity and is on the hunt for the next big story. Her chemistry with Cavill, on the other hand, is somewhat weird, because of the forced love story that needed to happen in this film.

Man of Steel is a beautifully shot movie and an incredible visual experience that shows us the story of Superman as we have never seen it before. The quieter scenes, depicting flying birds, clothes hanging to dry or a toy in a field of grass, turn this big fantasy movie into a more human and realistic tale. The scene in which Clark learns to fly, looks as if the pages of Superman: Birthright had come to life. The depiction of Krypton and the computer effects used, look fantastic on screen - as does any other Zack Snyder film. Still, there are traces in which CGI was used very noticeably, specifically the Kryptonian fistfights, but the transition from CGI Superman to the real Henry Cavill is flawless.


Verdict: This is a Superman film I still enjoy watching today. I love how human it looks and feels, as it tries to make the point that, although physiologically an alien, Clark has more of a human soul than some people on Earth. The cast do a fantastic job at depicting the comic book characters, specifically Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Henry Cavill as Clark/Superman. The music by Hans Zimmer is epic and powerful as always and the cinematography is beautiful, including fantastic effects. It might not be a perfect movie, suffering from pacing issues and wooden dialogues but it is, nevertheless, one of my favourite depictions of the last son of Krypton. I will give Man of Steel a 7.5 out of 10.

What is your opinion of Man of Steel? Are you a fan of it or do you despise it? Leave a comment in the section below and share your opinion. As I stated at the beginning of this review, I will go watch Batman V Superman tonight and will have my review online tomorrow evening. Thank you very much for reading and if you liked this review, make sure to share it.

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