After a massively successful ‘Batman’ trilogy and a failed ‘Green Lantern’ film, DC Comics and Warner Bros. once again turned their attention to their prized jewel, ‘Superman’. A character that once saw tens of millions of dollars squandered on unending development during the 1990’s that wound up with the subdued ‘Superman Returns’ in 2006, it has long been thought that a successful return to Smallville and Metropolis would enable Warner Bros. to build towards a ‘Justice League’ film to counter Marvel and Disney’s ‘The Avengers’.
While that may seem quite ambitious in scope, the combination of one of the most well-known comic book characters in the world and the involvement of two of the more important people from the recently completed ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’ certainly allows for this type of thinking and planning.
Now, whether or not ‘Man of Steel’ lives up to this hype and billing is completely in the eye of the beholder, but for this beholder, it certainly does the job well for a company that has struggled to make good films based on comic book characters lately.
Personally, I have always been left a little underwhelmed by Superman as a character. Here is a superhero with a power set unlike any other character that we will see on screen, but he has never been treated in a manner that properly shows these powers. As a result of this, I would have to say that I have, for the most part, found the characters big screen appearances to be boring, but that really cannot be said of ‘Man of Steel’.
While this may not be your Daddy’s Superman, Henry Cavill’s Kal-El fits perfectly into this film, and you can clearly see how he will be the focal point for any proposed ‘Justice League’ universe moving forward. Cavill brought greater humanity to Clark Kent than we have seen at any other time in the past, short of the TV series ‘Smallville’, and this works to the benefit of the film as a whole.
I also really enjoyed Michael Shannon as Kryptonian General Zod. While not necessarily in the same mold as Terrence Stamp’s Zod from the original two ‘Superman’ films, Shannon brought plenty of on-screen presence to his character to balance out Cavill’s Superman.
Russell Crowe as Jor-El stole the opening of the film for me as well. In stark contrast to Marlon Brando from 1978’s ‘Superman’, you can tell that Crowe was proud to be Superman’s father and I will say this, I would watch a Jor-El on Krypton two-hour film without a moments hesitation.
The easiest way to explain ‘Man of Steel’ is that if you are a fan of Superman and his mythos and his “all-American values” you may not enjoy this film, but if you are a neutral when it comes to DC and this character, you should for the most part enjoy this film.
Regardless of whether you are a fan or not, you owe it to yourself to see this film on the big screen, exactly the way it was meant to be seen.
For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers.