‘Man of Steel’ review

There is a moment early on in Man of Steel, where a young Clark Kent locks himself in a school closet.
His mother is called.  She is on one side of the door, he is on the other.
‘The world is too big Mum,’ he cries.

It is no surprise then that the character lives in a remote country home, works in a quiet local bar. Infact, much of the film takes place away from our world.

Man of Steel is about our anxieties.  Sometimes the world is far too big.   Our strengths can be our weakness.  Should we follow our heart?196778-movies-man-of-steel
And the lack of identity in the film’s title is an indication that the ‘Man’ with the anxiety is not only Superman.  It’s also Kal-El and Clark Kent. And ourselves.

Of course Henry Cavill is a fine choice for the role. His physique is what we expect of ‘Superman’. But Cavill’s strength has never been his acting.  In The Tudors where I first came across him, his role never encouraged deep acting, and relied alot on his charm and seduction.   Man of Steel offers him little.
And perhaps that blame lies with Zack Snyder’s direction.   A bombastic display of CGI, lens flare, shaky and swift camera movement.
The film’s title may be about a man, but the film’s style is about Snyder.

There’s little from Russell Crowe and Amy Adams to be impressed with.   Crowe’s fault is not his own, all his lines are constructed as though they are pivotal speeches in history.  More grandiose than required.

Adams never really stands out in the film. She’s lost amongst the dark, gritty, dull, CGI, mechanical backgrounds and colours.  And isn’t that what ‘Man of Steel’ is.   A poster child of what blockbuster films have become.  Machine over man.

Score:  2/5

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3 comments

  1. I agree with much of the above review. Man Of Steel was spectacle over substance, in my opinion. A disappointing reboot.

  2. Finally a superman movie the way it’s supposed to be. Sure I had some minor problems with it (Lois’ character could’ve been fleshed out, some continuity issues), but overall, the directors do a great job of showing why he is the ‘Man’ of Steel. There’s moments of genuine tension because one actually doesn’t know if superman is going to be able to save the day. “How is he going to do it?” is a valid question in this film, unlike Brian Singer’s 2006 martyr depicting disaster in which it was just assumed that Superman somehow wins (aside from the incredibly stupid plot). Focusing on the origin story also gives us insight into the superhero abilities of the character and the limits of his power; not the god like omnipotent superman that critics love, but a superhero with abilities and powers that have weaknesses (otherwise Green Lantern would never be a match for Superman). This is a movie that will delight fans of the superhero and the comics, not over intellectualizing critics who love the ‘idea’ of superman and what he represents. As for the action – a nicely nefarious and destructive earth destroying plot by the bad guys fleshed out with some great graphics and art work. Good fight scenes that see Supe getting variously pummeled and also doling out some beatings. Again, that doesn’t seem to appeal to the critics who slammed the film for ‘too much action’. Dude, this is superman; if you want character development, watch Pride and Prejudice. Ironically the critics miss their own portentous pretentiousness when they at once claim the film is too sombre (i think it has an appropriately dark mood) and then ask why the characters and love story aren’t the focus. Superman; action-film; ass-kicking; excellent. They also seem to miss that Nolan and Snyder manage to masterfully show how being a child of two worlds is the central dichotomy of superman’s character and how it hurts him to be alone. He is evolutionarily superior to humans, but chooses to protect them out of love. That is the essence of the character, an idea that previous films have touched upon but never delved into, including the classic, but campy, 70′s films.

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