Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Man of Steel

Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 143 minutes

Unlike Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and The Purge, I wasn't particularly excited to see this movie, but it was on my watch list for the year. There was a lot of hype and I didn't completely buy into it, but I was curious on what direction they would take with the iconic comic book hero.

Growing up on a farm in Smallville, Kansas, Clark Kent learns that he is not human and that the parents that raised him are not his birth parents. Throughout his life, he struggles to try to fit in and fight his temptation to save the people around him from danger. As he grows older, Clark tries to figure out who he is and who his real parents are.

I must admit that I don't find Superman the most interesting of superheros, but somehow I've seen some of his movies and I was interested in this one. It had nothing to do with the director or Christopher Nolan's name being attached to it, but purely curiosity on the "new direction" they were going to take. I went in cautiously and my expectations were barely existent. I've heard some mixed reviews from the few critics I follow online. One was extremely pleased, some did not like the movie [*spoiler warning], one did not like it, but acknowledged the good points [spoiler review], and one liked it, but acknowledged the weaknesses. What these reviews had in common were, to some extent, praise on the visuals, questioning or annoyances toward Lois Lane, and complaints about the length.

For me, I was afraid that Man of Steel would try to have this "dark and gritty" story or feel to it and it didn't. Although, the color palette reflected that and I wish it was a little more vibrant to match previous Superman movies. I guess I'll start with the pros. I thought the casting was quite good. They didn't quite own their characters, but they did good with what they were given. General Zod was intimidating, Lara was inspirational, and I adored Martha Kent's contribution. I also enjoyed Faora-Ul. I'm tempted to imitate her costume. Most of the fight scenes were pretty cool and the CGI was on point. I also enjoyed the flashbacks, especially when Clark couldn't control his powers. The way it was shot was perfect. As for the cons, the story didn't offer much and their attempts to make Clark's character more identifiable to audiences was a failure. There was definitely a lack of character development. The camera angles were shaky, especially during the fight scenes and some dialogue/dramatic moments, and the father figures were a bit bland or did senseless things just fit into Nolan's noble logic. Also, nature logic was thrown out the window. Clark's character wasn't really consistent and didn't match what most of us grew up with as the good guy that avoided harm to anyone (read this as "death" or "severe harm"). The editing of the present day story and flashbacks didn't make sense and sometimes seemed out of place. Lois lacked purpose and seemed to only be there for the sake of fanservice. When she appeared, it seemed illogical or pointless for her to exist. Lastly, I felt the length of the movie to be too long. The two major fight scenes were dragged on and became decreasingly entertaining and monotonous. At times, especially the end, I felt like I was watching part two of The Dark Knight Rises.

Despite my disinterest in the iconic Man of Steel, I didn't think the movie was terrible as some said it was. On the other hand, I don't think it was a fantastic representation of Superman for the new generation of cinema. There are plenty of flaws, but they did manage to do some good in this adaptation. Since it's already been confirmed, I hope that the sequel brings something fresh and more closely to the hero we know. For the most part, I did like it, but I am not overwhelmed enough to nag people to go see it.

Rating: 2.5/5

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