Man of Steel (2013) Runtime: 2 hr 22 min Rating: PG-13
Directed: Zack Snyder Screenwriters: Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Lawrence Fishburne Studio: Warner Bros. & Legendary Pictures
Henry Cavill takes on the role of the beloved and iconic comic superhero, Superman. In Zack Snyders adaptation Clark Kent seeks to learn where he came from and, ultimately, acceptance on Earth under the moniker of “Superman.”
No story of Superman’s origin comes without Martha and Johnathan Kent. Diane Lane and Kevin Costner are perfect fits as the embodiments of the salt of the earth couple responsible for the humanity at Clark’s core.
This re-telling of Clark/Kal-El’s origin story is presented in smaller nuggets of memories that feel organic as they weave in and out of the storyline. The viewer can see Clark’s progression and struggles. Clark learns as a teenager that he’s an alien- because, ya know, high school isn’t hard enough, but that only helps him understand why he’s ‘not normal.’ Logically, he still wonders where he comes from. The film starts with his adult self out in the world seeking answers to that exact question. That need to learn where he came from and why go hand in hand with the movies other driving questions, ‘is the world ready for me? Am I ready?’
Most humans don’t measure their lives on how their character is judged by the world. So they can’t imagine if their very existence was the embodiment of someone else’s hope and beliefs. That this existence, not life, will forever be judged on their choices, their character. The adversary to Clark/Kal-El’s internal struggles judges his choices too, and from that, we see the external conflict through fight scenes.
A few of the things I really appreciate in this film are the rig and harness work for the choreography on the flight and fight sequences. They’re impressive if you think of how fast Kryptonians move on Earth. With all the shooting and explosions, you have to appreciate all that physicality and timing required to pull it off. What you thought I was gonna give specifics? That would have meant spoilers!
Compared to the Earth’s military forces, the Kryptonians’ technology and equipment are in stark contrast, yet not unbelievably. It’s not cheesy or over the top-it’s explained in ways that any viewer can follow along with. One scene/aspect of the story gave me a very ‘Matrix-like’ vibe.
Henry Cavill as Superman, not just because he physically looks like a great Superman/Clark Kent but because of his presence. The way he delivers the character. His ability to take the script and what the character needs to do physically comes off so naturally. Yes, he looks good in the suit too. Honestly, I was distracted by his calf muscles a few times in that suit. Dang! He’s an ideal casting choice that makes you think there can’t ever be another actor who would do as well with a character with so many required layers.
Clark is never without Lois, and Amy Adams is such a believable incarnation of her iconic character. She’s soft and human at all the right moments, but not delicate. Yet never loses the ‘never takes crap off of anyone’ attribute that drives Lois home as an award-winning writer. Some iterations of Lois have been too feminine, and others to tom-boyish. This version is an excellent mix of both critical aspects to her.
So, is The Man of Steel worth your time? YES! It has drama, action, and charm rolled together in a well-told, developed story and a cast that is a perfect fit for their respective roles with great performances. Not sure yet because I don’t include details that spoil the magic? That’s cool. Just do an internet search for any of the three trailers that came out before the film’s debut. I’d recommend the second or third (the third one is below). By viewing them, you’ll get a much better feel for what I’m saying. Don’t worry if you’ve never read a comic before or know nothing about Superman; it won’t matter. This movie should be on your watch list!
-a pen lady