I did enjoy this film. The special effects, the acting, and the overall story was told in an excellent and very stylistic that is typical of Director Zack Snyder and Producer Christopher Nolan (director of The Dark Knight Trilogy). That being said, it could have been told a little bit better.
The story begins on the planet Krypton, where Jor-El is warning the leadership that their planet is dying. He and his wife have the first naturally conceived child on Krypton in centuries, meanwhile, General Zod leads a coup to takeover the planet, but it stopped. He and his followers are sent into the Phantom Zone, but manages to kill Jor-El just after he sends his son Kal-El into space.
The film fast forwards with Kal-El now called Clark Kent struggles to find who he is and where he is going. His human father, Jonathan, wants him not to show his powers because he fears that people will reject him. At last, Clark discovers a Kryptonian scout ship carrying a ‘genesis chamber’ (how the Kryptonian would breed). He uses a special key from his original pod to access an advanced AI that is modeled after his true father Jor-El, who tells him his purpose. Meanwhile, Louis Lane of the Daily Planet tracks him down and discovers who is really is. Just after Kal-El reveals himself to the world, General Zod and his followers come to Earth after following a signal sent by Clark’s ship. They demand him to turn himself over or they will destroy Earth.
While the film was WAY better than Superman III, Superman IV, and Superman Returns, Man of Steel did not have the epic quality of Superman or Superman II and ended kind of anti-climatically. Also, it seems that Louis Lane knows that Clark Kent is really Superman. I don’t know why they think these days that the hero needs to tell everyone and their mothers who they are.
They did not do a good job of making Clark Kent look different from Superman. At least Christopher Reeves, Dean Cain, and Brandon Routh were able to make the Clark persona seem more ordinary looking. Also, Superman is known for his cheesy lines. It’s part of who he is, but the lines seemed somewhat misplaced in this film, so instead of being well, “Supermanish” they came off, well, just cheesy. One minor point: no Lex Luthor cameo.
All that being said, I was happy to see Superman being super. There has been a trend in the comic books to emasculate the Man of Steel, make him whiny about his powers, take away his Americanism, and turn him into this overtly political character. This time, I was pleased that once he discovered who he was, he chose to do good and declares he is American. General Zod was a great villain and he really brought out what Superman could have become, but didn’t. I loved how our American troops were portrayed in the film as they came out to fight Zod’s forces.
Bottom line, hardcore Superman fans might be disappointed with the ending, but overall it is a great film that brought Superman back to his roots. I just wish they stopped worrying about making a superhero “realistic” and focus on the science fiction aspect of them. If I was grading the film, it would get a B-. If this is the direction the DC comic book hero movies are taking, it’s a good direction, but it needs some tweaking.
- Henry Cavill as Clark Kent aka Superman
- Amy Adams as Louis Lane
- Michael Shannon as General Zod
- Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent
- Diane Lane as Martha Kent
- Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
- Antje Traue as Faora
- Ayelet Zurer as Lara Lor-Van
- Christopher Meloni as Colonel Nathan Hardy
- Russell Crowe as Jor-El