Man of Steel Reviews

As we move to the new site layout and features following the hack attack, we have not one but two reviews for you of the new Superman movie “Man of Steel”.

By Ryan Guerra

Let me start by saying that ever since I was a kid, I have found Superman boring. Seriously, the guy is invincible, so why read about him when he faces no real danger? Worse, he has one ultra-rare weakness and the bad guy always seems to have it. My friends told me that there are some great comic story arcs with better villain such as Doomsday. However reading how Superman perished at the hands of Doomsday did not interest me because Superman had always failed to capture my imagination in the first place. That was until now.

Man of Steel starts by introducing us to a dying planet krypton where scientist Jor-El (Russell Crow) sets into motion the events that has his son Kal-El transported to earth as the last hope for the people of Krypton. Crow’s performance is one of his better ones in his last few films as we see his hopes for not only his people but for the people of Earth through his son who he realizes will be special.

We are then introduced to Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) who is living his life as a drifter trying to find himself in a world where he is not sure he belongs. Shown through a series of flashbacks, Clark’s father John (Kevin Costner) is trying to impart wisdom on a young Clark to hide his true identity because the people of Earth would never understand or accept who he is.

During this first half of the film there are some questionable transition cuts to fully tell the story. I understand that the film is trying to tell as much of the origin story as possible and introduce us to elements we expect from Superman, however at times it was a bit jarring and almost confusing as to where we are in the story. It’s not terrible by any means but I felt the lack of useful transitions and abrupt cuts pulled me out of the emotional connection that the film was trying to convey.

For instance, the developing relationship between Superman and Lois Lane (Amy Adams) seemed quick and without merit. So much so that when we get to the big payoff scene between the two I did not understand why it was happening as I did not feel their bond had matured that quickly. It must be noted that Henry Cavill and Amy Adams delivered spot on performances as Superman and Lois Lane respectively. Throughout the film I never felt I was watching anything but those characters rather than actors.

Cavill was especially solid as for the first time ever I felt Superman’s plight of being alone as Supreme Being in a world that does not understand him. His internal struggle is showcased well through the first half of the film, only to be disappointingly, and a bit quickly, transitioned during the second half on what seemed like a whim. During the second half of the movie it felt like I was watching a different film all together. When Villain General Zod (Michael Shannon) and his soldiers arrive on Earth looking for Superman, the film quickly transitions into a blockbuster action film. This is the film that many fans and the average film viewer will enjoy. We see Clark grow and accept who he is and make the choice to stand up for himself and the people of Earth. It is a fun and entertaining ride that ends the film on a high note overall. In the end this film is worth the price of admission.

Man of Steel is not a perfect movie, but it is a good introduction to the new Superman world. Whereas the Marvel films have a realistic yet comic book feel to them, Man of Steel feels like it could take place in the same universe as the recent Batman films. This should not be a surprise as Watchmen director Zach Snyder was brought in to helm the screenplay by Batman writer David Goyer and produced by Christopher Nolan. It will make the fans wonder where they will go from here and leaves the door open for an eventual Justice League movie like The Avengers.

4 stars out of 5


By Amy-Jo Shriner

Clark Kent is a man who just doesn’t want to be noticed, but can’t stop himself from helping people survive extraordinarily catastrophic circumstances. He is an alien from a dead world who was sent to Earth to be a beacon of hope for human kind, and because of his alien physiology he can perform amazing feats with less effort than you or I take to breathe.

Zach Snyder brings us the most recent version of Superman’s origin. While staying true to the essence of the original story, Snyder manages to pay homage to past incarnations of the story and beloved icons of previous movies. Truly this is the best of Snyder’s work so far and brings about a hope that he will be truly telling stories rather than trying to shock his audience with visually stunning effects and filming. Snyder is no amateur to telling comic book stories on the big screen; his credits include Watchmen, 300, and Sucker Punch. All visually striking material that he converted to equally stunning movies, but Man of Steel surpasses them all. There are equal amounts story, characterization, and visuals.

Snyder chooses to start at the beginning with Superman’s birth, but decides to tell his maturation on Earth in flashbacks that are significant to the plot unfolding in the movie’s present. This allows the audience to experience what is happening more like Superman does, and pulls them into the story in a way that doesn’t let you out until the end.

Henry Cavill’s version Kent is a bit of a lost soul. He wanders from job to job, rescuing people in need, eventually ending up at an Arctic scientific dig. The scientists think the object of the dig is a Russian submarine, but Clark suspects something different. What he finds leads him to answers he has been searching for his whole life. Upon finding these answers he accepts that he has great power and a great responsibility to the people of Earth.

Cavill plays Kent in a way that endears him to the audience immediately, partly because they get to see the trouble he has gone through his whole life being different and holding back. While earlier roles have allowed Cavill to stretch as an actor, this one shows his range in allowing a character’s story to form and take definitive shape in a short time. Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Diane Lane and Lawrence Fishburne round out the cast with wonderfully fleshed out roles. Crowe and Costner especially are excellent as two fathers, who care and believe in their son with all their being, but take dramatically different points of view on who Clark should be to Earth. Costner tells Clark to hide his true nature, the world isn’t ready, and because he doesn’t want his son to go through what humanity would do to him in the worst case.

Crowe’s parenting advice is a bit different, “He will be a god to them.” Clearly he wants his son to stand as a “beacon of hope” for humanity to show them their potential. Michael Shannon’s Zod is the essence of military fanaticism and to his core believable as the zealot who will save his people. I especially like Adams as Lois Lane. She provides softness, with a core of steel, to the doggedly determined reporter. Fishburne, as her control point editor is also equally refreshing, as a down to earth version of Perry White, who still reins Lane in. Finally Diane Lane is quietly strong as Clark’s mother, who provides him a sense of what his Earth father truly wanted for his life.

Go see this movie, go see it in IMAX 3D if you can. You will not be disappointed.

4.5/5 stars.