‘Man of Steel’ Film Review
Director/Directors: Zack Snyder
Cast: Henry Cavill, Michael Shannon, Amy Adam, et al
Rating: 12A (U.K.)/PG-13 (U.S.A.)
Release Date: 2013
Review Rating: 3 ½ stars (good, lives up to the hype)
First of all, I’m not going to clutter up this review by providing a synopsis; go and have a look elsewhere if you want that. Instead this review is going to focus on the acting, how good the story was, and other such things that will affect the movie’s actual star-rating.
We’ll begin with the acting. Henry Cavill, as Superman, was probably the best Superman I’ve seen on screen, although Christopher Reeves definitely wins in the `fun’ category. Cavill, although making only an extremely brief role as Clark Kent the journalist, seems to do so well if indeed there will be any sequels to this film where he could play the nerdy guy a little more. I found his Superman to be slightly naïve, but in a good way: he hasn’t learnt everything yet, and there are still dangers out there he must face. The performances that stood out for me, though, were Michael Shannon as General Zod and Russell Crowe (Jor-El), whose British accent has improved a great deal since 2010’s Robin Hood.
Some people who have watched the film have mentioned that Superman and the film in general are humourless and lack character. Don’t believe these people; Man of Steel does indeed have a few laughs, although of course these are not as frequent or stupid as Reeves’ Superman. And who can blame Snyder and the writers for this? We are not in the 70s and 80s anymore, and showing a Reeves-type Superman nowadays would be downright wrong for today’s audience.
The Kryptonian costumes are stunning, so much so that I would not mind owning an outfit myself, and the CGI is heavy, but as a whole it adds a lot to the film and in some cases is quite beautiful, especially with the scenes on planet Krypton. Other people I know who have watched the film have complained about `shaky camera’ throughout the film, but to be honest I didn’t notice it much until it was mentioned to me. Just be aware that the camera style may not be for everyone. As for the story, it does have a strong resemblance to 1980’s Superman II, but obviously it’s darker and has a lot more destruction. If you like destruction and chaos that’s fine, but for me it was a tad too much.
The same goes for the action, and this is my major gripe with the film, which ties in with the review’s title: there is far too much, and it is nigh on constant. The flashback to Clark’s past does slow and quieten the movie a little, but nowhere near enough (the flashbacks are a neat way to do an `origins’ story and get straight into the action, by the way). Of course it is not that Snyder cannot direct slow films. In fact, far from it – see his excellent Watchmen to understand what I mean. I think it was simply the script being too condensed and full of fights. The only one that stood out for me was Superman and Zod’s second one-on-one fight.
And the action hinders Lois and Clark’s relationship, too – there isn’t enough `alone time’ for them to really get to know each other, and it makes the whole love aspect of the film far less believable. The precious time they did have together showed that their chemistry was okay, but I don’t think Amy Adams was quite up to the task, although she did try.
Overall, the movie did live up to the hype of the trailers, but only just. Hans Zimmer’s score is as good as his The Dark Knight trilogy and other such works, but if you’re one of those people who don’t like his music or find it mediocre, then there’s nothing new in that department. The acting is great, the dark twist on the character is good, and the directing is well done. If you liked Nolan’s take on Batman, then you should like this (although it is evident that this is Snyder’s film,even though you can see hints of Nolan as well), but be prepared for slightly more cheesiness than the vigilante Dark Knight. Watch out for a couple of Lexcorp references, and remember that The Justice League movie and other such DC characters coming to the big screen rests on Man of Steel’s success, so go ahead and watch it in the cinema! Sadly, however, there is no post-credits scene of Batman. Next time, maybe…