Before the highly anticipated Wonder Woman hits theaters on June 2nd, I’ve decided to revisit the previous DCEU films to prepare for the arrival of Diana Prince on the silver screen. Kyle previously reviewed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition (that link here) so I won’t review that film but I give it a B+ and believe that it is a really good superhero film and that fans of the DC universe and different types of superhero movies will enjoy that film. I also am going back and forth on whether I even wanna bother rewatching Suicide Squad as I’m not a huge fan of that film and it doesn’t necessarily apply to the overarching universe as much as BVS and the film I’m about to review. So that leaves Man of Steel, the first film in the DC extended film universe and an origin story of Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill).
Man of Steel like I said is about the origins of Clark Kent and how his growing up as an alien being raised as a human and eventually learning he was meant to be Earth’s ultimate protector and become the hero they need and deserve. When General Zod (Michael Shannon) and the few remaining Kryptonians arrive on Earth looking for Clark in hopes he’ll help them rebuild Krypton, Clark puts his newfound heroism to use and tries to stop Zod from destroying Earth and the people on it.
The way this film’s story is told is one of my favorite parts of the movie. Instead of being a linear film, it has different flashbacks scattered throughout the film to give the viewer backstory on Clark and how throughout his life, he has had moments that have defined him and ultimately made him question where he came from and what he was meant for. I think this is actually beautiful as I related to Clark in that you don’t know what your life holds for you and it can be a scary journey learning different things about yourself.
Something this film does is amp up the action to 11, especially in the third act. I honestly love this as seeing Superman actually fight and kick some serious ass is something I have wanted to see for a while on the big screen and Zack Snyder gives us this, a lot of this. Also, when Superman does throw down, it feels so realistic in that this superpowers God-esque character fighting other Godly characters would cause major destruction and that is something I feel was captured intensely and perfectly.
Henry Cavill as Superman is perfect casting. He has the look, the charm and the honesty of this character down to a tee. Seeing Clark go through this journey of basically finding out who he is and learning he is meant to be a hero and the Cavill plays it perfectly. There’s a seriousness to this Superman that hasn’t been done before and I like this take on Superman as eventually I think we’ll get the classic upbeat Superman but for now, I think this more serious take is perfect. Michael Shannon as Zod is menacing and imposing and you always see where he is coming from in terms of why he is doing what he is doing and I like that he wasn’t a villain that just wanted to hurt Superman and cause destruction for the sake of it and instead had a true and honest reason for what he was doing. Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner as both of Clark’s fathers, Kryptonian Jor-El and Earth’s Jonathan Kent both bring a presence to each of their characters and both show how they shaped Clark into the man he is today beautifully.
Before I get into flaws, I wanna say that this film first and foremost is a sci-fi epic and that is very evident from the opening on Krypton, probably my favorite opening sequence in a superhero film ever. It was cool to see Krypton and how the world operated. When Earth begins to learn about Superman, it dips into a first contact movie that honestly really works. There’s this sense of fear and awe to the world as they finally learn they are not alone in the universe and it’s like the perfect and most real portrayal of this and I applaud Zack Snyder for this. Hans Zimmer’s score is so bombastic and epic that it brings this momentous feeling to it every time it soars, which speaking of soaring, the moment when Superman first flies is beautiful and this is in large part to the score.
The film has a few flaws however. While this film is extremely fast paced and action heavy, that comes at the expense of some character development. Amy Adams and Laurence Fishburne as Lois Lane and Perry White are both good in their roles, but not given as much to do as I think they should have. This is Clark’s story and it is fleshed out wonderfully but most of the other characters take a backseat say for maybe Zod and Jor-El. Also, some of the dialogue is a little cheesy mostly when it comes to the army. Also, there’s one line that bothers me “Are you F ing stupid?”, I really don’t know why they didn’t just have the F bomb dropped in the movie as they still had their PG-13 F bomb and it just sounds so out of place and weird every time I heard it.
In the 3rd act, there’s a moment where Superman does something that a lot of people have kind of questioned about. I honestly don’t have any issues with this decision and I think it works so well in the film and gave Superman a moral dilemma that was an extremely smart choice that is both rewarding but at the same time very tragic.
I love Man of Steel. It is a wonderful intro to a new kind of Superman and does so with an intriguing story, a wonderful portrayal of Clark Kent/Superman from Henry Cavill, a menacing villain in Michael Shannon’s Zod and some of the most badass Kryptonian throw downs ever put on screen. I’ve been board with the DC film universe ever since seeing this film and still am after rewatching it. It is one of my favorite superhero films and I recommend it highly. Wonder Woman can’t come soon enough!