Man of Steel (2013)

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Adding much needed depth and humanity to such an illustrious character, who’s storied and intricate history is as delicate as it is powerful. “Man of Steel” has the action, heart, and nostalgia to satisfy both fanboys and newcomers alike. While it may prove to be too bombastic and interwoven for a few critics and harsh naysayers. This polarization is nothing new to the Superman franchise. Nonetheless, “Man of Steel” is a revival with such exuberance, precision and emotion, that it is nearly impossible to resist its charms. However, having been built-up, collated, and magnified with significant importance and anticipation for close to two years. “Man of Steel” was arguably set-up to disappoint and sadly but inevitably, for some this is the case. Regardless, for die-hards, cinephiles, and inner-children everywhere, including myself. “Man of Steel” was well worth the wait and is a fresh, honest, and mesmerizing take on the world’s most famous superhero.

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Krypton and its inhabitants face imminent destruction due to an unstable core. To protect their new-born child, Jor-El (Crowe) and his wife Lara launch a spacecraft carrying their son Kal-El (Cavill) to Earth, in order to secure the fate of their race. Upon arriving at Earth, Kal is found and taken care of by his adopted parents Jonathan (Costner) and Martha (Lane) Kent, who rename Kal, Clark. Because of Clark’s Kryptonian physiology, he inherits superhuman abilities on Earth. Soon, Clark and the entire population of Earth are under attack from another native of Krypton.

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Written by the immensely successful “Dark Knight” trilogy scribe’s David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan. Who make sure that “Man of Steel” contains all the wonder and amazement of the cosmic superhero’s intergalactic existence, in addition to the grounded and elemental nurturing that fortified the batman re-imagining. “Man of Steel” has all the makings of another fortuitous endeavour, not only for “DC comics,” but all involved. Nolan, who also produced the flick, oversaw most of the film’s creation and was essentially present for the ideal’s birth from Goyer’s mind. Although, clearly stating that he would not direct another Batman film, or superhero film of any kind, Goyer and company had to look elsewhere for someone to helm this reboot. After a slew of high-profile names fell to the wayside, it was visionary filmmaker Zack Snyder who was officially picked to take the reigns.

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Upon witnessing the triumphant boom of the Marvel franchise into multiple blockbusters and countless tangents. DC, simply put, had their work cut out for them. Looking to Christopher Nolan for a spark that would ignite a similar explosion, DC completely entrusted him with their future prosperity…and while it is decidedly easier to simplify Batman with a modern, realistic twist. It is near impossible to humanize and ground a hero who was born amongst the stars and soars through space. Be that as it may, with “Man of Steel,” Goyer and Nolan have managed to transform Superman into a dark and brooding character with a heart and mind just as strong as his physical capabilities. All in all, Nolan has been, and will continue to be the catalyst and made sure that the continuation of DC films not only goes smoothly and successfully, but will continue to thrive.

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Having director Zach Snyder’s keen eye for detail and jaw-dropping flare coordinating with Nolan and Goyer’s taste for believability, soul, and consciousness makes “Man of Steel” the most unique and honest take on the superhero to ever hit the big screen. The film has an exquisite blend of fast-paced action, atmospheric imagery, and heartfelt relationships that never cease resonating. Snyder’s vision for “Man of Steel” brilliantly collaborates with Hans Zimmer’s epic, melancholic soundtrack, Nolan and Goyer’s disheartening, but bewildering script making the finished product truly something to behold. If you let critical skepticism, minor blemishes, and transitional inconsistencies tarnish the films reputation or influence your opinion, this might not be the picture for you. Take my word for it, set aside the hype and reviews, appreciate this breathtaking rebirth for what it is.

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Obviously, without a cast to perfectly animate these features and hard work, the film would utterly falter, luckily, this is not the case. “Man of Steel” stars Henry Cavill in the title role, Amy Adams as the beautiful but brainy Lois Lane and acting heavyweight Michael Shannon as the blood-boiling villain, General Zod. The film’s supporting cast is equally as impressive, if not more so. Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishburne and the surprising Antje Traue solidify what is an outstanding ensemble.

It’s been a while since Kevin Costner has blown any of his co-stars out of the water. Yet, aside from Cavill and Shannon, Costner is without question the most sublime and really reminds us all of his staggering talent. Diane Lane and Russell Crowe aren’t far behind, preparing Clark for the brash and brutal reality of the world’s he is now apart of. The two are formidable in their supporting roles and add another layer of brilliance to an already astounding story. As for Fishburne, who is his usual, intimidating self. One can’t help but feel letdown by his standard performance, however, his role was extremely limited. If I’m being completely honest, I had never seen Antje Traue in a film prior to “Man of Steel,” but now that I have, I am smitten. She really captures the fearless mentality of Faora and if i might add, looks quite good doing so.

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Out of the three leads, I’d say that Amy Adams is the most underwhelming. Albeit, that is in comparison to Michael Shannon and Henry Cavill, so a case can be made that it’s more of a compliment than an insult. Yes, she is sweet, cute, and calm in the face of danger. I’m not implying she performed horribly, I’m stating that Lois Lane in general was somewhat underwhelming. Which should be the case considering “Man of Steel” is dealing with the origin story of the man himself, not her. The severely underrated and tragically underused Michael Shannon finally gets his due as a ruthless, violent, determined villain who’s primary goal is to guarantee the safety of his people. One can tell that Shannon has always had this dark, primal catharsis waiting to be unleashed deep down inside. Now, finally, Shannon has burst into the mainstream and will hopefully stay there. Shannon delivers a powerhouse performance.

Henry Cavill is Superman: the body, the hair, the voice, everything. I don’t know how else to put it. His acting is superlative, he clearly got in incredible shape for the picture, so he obviously invested heavily in the role. Everything about his emotional range, mannerisms, even the way the suit fits him is enough to send chills down your spine.

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“Man of Steel” offers a never-ending series of heart-racing action seqeucnes that look anything but contrived or inauthentic. One thing on everyones mind prior to the film was how Cavill would look while flying, and thankfully, these segments look dignified. Snyder should gain a stronger fan-base with “Man of Steel” considering his preceding films left audiences divided to say the least. For those Superman enthusiasts, be sure to look out for a few easter-eggs throughout the film. They’re sort of like subtle nods to the audience, a way of saying thank you and we appreciate you.

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For the record, I’m overjoyed that I’m struggling to convey how I feel about “Man of Steel” in this review. As with every film that is or eventually becomes an all-time favourite of mine, I have a hard time dissecting them. I think it’s because I can never quite put my finger on what I love about them. It’s just a reaction, a series of euphoric shocks to my brain. I write excessively trying to unveil the root of my fascination, but never can, that’s why this review and all others like it are so long. I think this is the best way to describe how I feel about “Man of Steel.”

Man of Steel: 8.5 out of 10.

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About Joseph@thecinemamonster

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television. thecinemamonster.com

Posted on June 19, 2013, in Action and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. I can relate oh so well to your closing paragraph. My own Man of Steel review just came pouring out of me, and yet I was still left not quite certain about just how precisely I feel about this movie, and thus had conflicting feelings for a while even towards my own views on it, lol. But that’s what I think I’m coming to love most about this movie, in that, unlike other divisive films, there’s just such a broad range of emotions and reactions that this movie is triggering, which is just fascinating to witness. Good review, man. 🙂

    • Oh my god, you perfectly summarized exactly what I am feeling about this movie LOL. I just kept writing and writing and couldn’t stop, yet everything I put down didn’t do justice to how I felt or didn’t make sense. I LOVED this film, but I still think about it all the time! I am seeing it again tomorrow so I hope that will narrow my thoughts and make them coherent. Again, you’re exactly right, it is incredible to see all the reactions and emotions this film provokes. I just hope I can soon better control and understand them ;).

      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment :).

  2. DC is way ahead of Marvel right, in my opinion. Marvel probably has a better number of decent films, but their formula is beginning to show and they seem to be making very similar films now. But that’s just me, I am a Nolan nut, so that definitely means I’m biased. 🙂

    • I infinitely agree with you LOL. DC films are so much more grounded, I don’t know if that is the right word. It just feels like they take so much more time with their releases, make sure they’re done right. Marvel definitely has a greater number of films and they are entertaining, but like you said, they are very formulaic and rapidly becoming predictable and over-saturated. I just might be the biggest Nolan nut in the universe so I can’t argue with you, he is f-ing tremendous! Like I said, I loved “Man of Steel” but I am super bias :).

  3. I can so relate your closing paragraph because I had the biggest smile on my face after the movie and that was without actually thinking why. I just got swept up in it. Turned to my dad and said, “that was awesome.” He nodded in agreement. It just makes me so happy to a DC fan right now, especially considering how bad Green Lantern was, this makes me hopeful for DC’s film future. I really can’t wait to see what Goyer and Snyder do next. Ugh I still have emotions pouring out, the more I think about. Great review as always, loved reading it!

    • Thanks so much!!! I totally understand what you’re going through. It is really incredible that a film can evoke that much feeling and reactions. I still don’t know why, I just loved it to death, probably because I love Superman!! DC thankfully looks to be back on the right track and I too can’t wait to see what they will come up with next. Maybe a Justice League film with Bale and Cavill returning. I know it will never happen, but one can wish :).

      • It could work with Bale in the way that it was Nolan’s Batman but then Alien’s showed up but I loved how Nolan’s TDK trilogy wrapped up so I don’t want it to be undone or ignored. But I feel the future is so bright for DC and I love their interoperation’s of their classic characters. They were all great superhero flicks but TDK was also a great crime drama and Man of Steel is great science fiction. Love how they managed to ground them. Ahaha I’m sorry, I’m swooning on your comments 😀

      • It’s all goid bud, love talking cinema! I totally agree, it would be awesome for Nolan and Bale’s Batman to merge with Goyer and Snyder’s Superman, but it is rather impossible. I too love the way DC portrayed thier biggest characters. Made them somewhat human which makes them and the films that much more outstanding. Indeed, the future is bright, can’t wait to see what they come up with next :).

  4. Nice review Joseph, we’re about on the same page with this. As much as you want to dissect the film and pull out all its faults, the end result is positive and fun.

  5. Excellent review as usual. 🙂 Although you know I wasn’t crazy about the film. Lol. Totally agree on Costner – he’s just excellent in this. And I don’t really like him! You forgot to mention that Superman looks best shirtless… 😉

    • LOL, well, I don’t lean that way, but I have to admit Cavill is insanely chiseled in “Man of Steel.”

      Totally agree, Costner is incredible in this. I also don’t usually gravitate towards his performances but he was just outstanding.

      The film in general, I still LOVE it! Don’t know why, just because I’m a fanboy :).

  6. Fanboy here, good review 😀

    It was like a really excellent DC cartoon movie but live action. Does that make sense? I really liked it 😀

  7. Good review Joseph. It’s a movie that will make some go crazy and wet their pants, while it will make others just feel like there could have been more added to the final-proceedings. I’m more in the latter, but I feel like I could get in the former with the next couple of sequels.

    • I know a lot of people who feel the same way regarding the next couple of franchise films. “Man of Steel” is a great primer flick, hopefully they can follow it up with something of greater value. Thanks so much for reading!

  8. Such an underrated film, I’d class myself as a fanboy and was more than happy with the end result and I’m hungry for more! I just hope that the character gets equal focus and the MoS supporting cast aren’t forgotten in “Batman vs. Superman” (or whatever they end up calling it)!

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Films of 2013: Part 1 | The Cinema Monster

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