Movie Review | Man of Steel

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A Movie Review for 'Man of Steel' 

Warner Brothers Pictures | 2013

'Man of Steel', directed by Zack Snyder, was far better than what I had expected, and watching the film in IMAX 3D allowed me to be a part of the action. It was a compelling, sci-fi story, filled with enough action to keep me on the edge of my seat. I believe that it is a reinvented Superman for the 21st century, similar to the J. J. Abrams reinvention of the classic 'Star Trek' series. This is one of the rare films that I would easily rate as a 10 out of 10, and if I were able, I would have rated it as an 11.

The Plot

The plot for 'Man of Steel' is one that I do not want to give away. It begins with a stunning backdrop on the planet Krypton where Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) are attempting to save their planet which has not had a natural birth in centuries. Krypton had used genetic sequencing to design their children to fill certain roles in society. Jor-El is the leading scientist in their world and General Zod (Michael Shannon) who is their military leader. Both, Jor-El and General Zod, observe that Krypton is dying, and therefore choose different paths to save their race. 

General Zod attempts a hostile takeover of the planet, which fails, leaving him and his companions to be imprisoned within the ‘Phantom Zone’. While Jor-El has a son named Kal-El, who is sent from a dying world through the cosmos to Earth, a world where the radiation from our sun absorbs into his cells, providing superhuman abilities. Most of the film includes Kal-El’s journey in becoming Superman, who is raised in Kansas and named Clark Kent (Henry Cavill).

The film is centered around the plot that General Zod and his people have escaped the "Phantom Zone". They have now come to Earth with the intention of terra-forming (a process of redesigning) Earth to become a new Krypton. However, the process would destroy all of humanity. Superman therefore struggles with being an "outsider" on Earth while attempting to save humanity to prove himself to not be an enemy.

The Casting

I believe the casting was impeccable. Henry Cavill was the right man to play the role of Superman, portraying what even Christopher Reeve could not. He embodies a strong and contemplative character who is introspective on who he is, and why he is here. 

Amy Adams as Lois Lane does not show the character to be incompetent and helpless, rather she reveals Lois to be an intelligent, heroic figure in her own right. She embodies justice and truth as a journalist, but also inner strength, tenacity, and tenderness.

Michael Shannon, as General Zod, is an extreme patriot trying to restore the race that exiled him. Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent embodies the best of Americana culture. Laurence Fishburne as an African-American, while Perry White symbolizes the quest for truth. 

I was genuinely impressed with both major and minor characters within the film. (Can you tell that I really liked the movie?)

The Scenes

I thought the scenes to be well put together. When the viewer sees Krypton in the opening twenty minutes, it seemed as though 'Avatar' met 'Star Trek' in the design, landscape and feel. Many of the scenes on Earth, including Metropolis, gave the audience such a feel for the true size and scope of a giant American city.

Soundtrack

I believe the soundtrack is absolutely epic and I would not expect anything less from Hans Zimmer, one of the greatest composers of our time. Granted there was an original sound to the first movies composed by John Williams, but this was an improvement by far. In fact, I bought the soundtrack on iTunes.

Rating

This movie has a feel to it like the "Christopher Nolan" 'Batman' series, not including the overwhelming darkness. In Canada the movie has a PG rating, mainly for the violence, fighting and some minor language. However, I would highly recommend it for families, friends and parents, including Superman lovers, and even those who do not know about Superman.

Profound Moments

I thought the dialogue and storyline throughout 'Man of Steel' to be emotionally gripping and impactful. Clark struggles with his identity as a child and a man. He has a great strength within him and is therefore different from others. During a touching conversation with his earthly dad, he asks, “Why did God put me here?” 

Clark as well struggles with a moral decision, and he therefore decides to go to the one place you would hope: a church. He converses with a priest and as he expresses his fear in humanity, the priest encourages Clark to "take a leap of faith."

Overall, the entire movie was a buildup of hope and inspiration. It is truly one of my new favourite movies of all time. As I wrap up this review I’ll leave you with a quote from Jor-El which has so many implications, especially if you spell ‘sun’ with an ‘o’ instead of a ‘u’...

“You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.”