Man of Steel (2013) | Movie Review
Release date: June 14, 2013
Runtime: 2 hr. 23 min.
MPAA rating: PG-13
How excited was I about this new Superman movie? Much more than I thought I would be. Let's get one thing straight: I did not grow up on comic books and superheroes, so when movies like this one come out I kind of treat them as average sci-fi action - I enjoy watching them and forget about them as soon as I'm done. Sometimes exceptions such as Iron Man (2008) or Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy come along and I find myself having a hard time parting with the characters, watching the movies over and over again. When I saw the trailer for Man of Steel, I was convinced it was going to be one of those exceptions - the film looked nothing short of epic.
As you probably already know, this is another origins story and it gives a lot of background. We open with Kal-El's (future Superman's) birth on the dying Planet Krypton, his father wanting to send him away in an attempt to save their race and General Zod starting a revolution against Kryptonian government. Kal-El ends up on Earth in Kansas and becomes Clark Kent. His childhood is covered in flashbacks throughout the movie, while we watch him attempt to find his way in life as a grown man. Eventually, General Zod finds his way to Earth as well - he wants to "rebuild" Krypton at any cost and demands Kal-El to be handed over to him "or else". Now Superman has a choice: sacrifice himself for the people of Earth and face Zod or carry on laying low.
So here is what I have to say: I thought Man of Steel was pretty great. I don't understand why the critics are giving this movie a hard time. I've read and heard all kinds of complaints: too many special effects, not enough action, too much backstory, not enough character development, too much Russell Crowe... Are you kidding me? But alright, everyone is entitled to their opinion. The complaint that made me roll my eyes the most, however, was that this movie isn't anything like the "original" with Christopher Reeve. No way guys! This movie isn't like the one that's over 30 years old? Curiouser and curiouser... Let's keep an open mind here: the times have changed, the society has changed, so many aspects of life have changed and so did our heroes. That's the beauty of art - it changes and evolves along with us. If you want the same old approach, why make anything new to begin with?
Here is why I liked it and why I hope they make another one. This is not a happy straightforward superhero flick: there is a lot of internal struggle within characters, especially Superman, a good amount of brooding, trust issues and eventually a leap of faith. The right choices aren't the easy ones and who know's if they're even the right choices in the first place. The final scene between Superman and General Zod is one of the most emotional scenes I've seen in superhero films. The acting is amazing: very strong leads and a stunning all-star supporting cast. The special effects were absolutely great, and so were the Kryptonian world and technology. Am I saying this film was flawless? No, but I'm not going to pick it apart to point out details, because as a whole Man of Steel was a story told well.
The bottom line is: it's a new approach and like anything new, it will meet resistance from people set in their old ways. My suggestion is to keep an open mind and form your own opinion. After all, despite the mixed critics' reviews, the regular audiences are giving mostly positive responses about this film. I thoroughly enjoyed Man of Steel and I want more from where that came from. What about you?