Man of Steel - 2013 - Directed by Zack Snyder
Man of Steel has all the elements of the Superman movie I have been waiting for and yet ultimately it is a disappointment. I'm beginning to think you can't make a great Superman movie.
As the film opens I am anxiously ready to see our hero yet I am instead inundated with a 25 minute CGI rendering of the planet Krypton. By now doesn't everyone know the origin of Superman? Those who don't probably don't care.
After Krypton, young Kal-El is sent to earth and we get to the heart of the film. This is a Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) unsure of himself. He hears everything, feels everything and is unequipped to deal with it. His parents try to instill in him a sense of good and Clark not only believes it, it is who he is. He wants to help everyone even when his Dad tells him he must keep his identity a secret.
Which is why the film falters once again as he not only blatantly allows people to see who he is he does with a central character which kills the film's one lone mystery. While talking to his father he asks him, "What was I supposed to do? Let those people die?" His fathers response is one word, "Maybe." But the film is not interested in exploring this. It doesn't put Clark in a situation to test him. This is just dialogue to advance the story.
Lois Lane (Amy Adams), however, is a breath of fresh air. This is not just a woman thrown into the mix. She is a reporter first and foremost, trying to track down a story, while no one else wants to believe her theory. Her character is also setup nicely for the sequel.
As Clark tries to hide his identity, General Zod (Michael Shannon), the banished warrior from Krypton, has finally found Clark and demands that the people of Earth turn him over to insure their own survival. What comes next is the least interesting part of the film and its downfall.
The character of Superman suffers from what I call the "Hulk Syndrome." In todays age of film making the only way to show off the character is through CGI and I have yet to see anyone do it believably. You can always see the CGI.
When Superman and General Zod do battle they destroy what seems to be the entire city of Metropolis. The damage would be in the trillions and the loss of life in the hundreds of thousands. Why doesn't Superman seem to care about this? Where is the inner conflict that Snyder brought up earlier?
There is much to like here. The cast is great and Henry grows more and more into his character. Lois is stronger than she has been previously which makes for a nice dynamic. The best parts of the film are when we see Clark and not Superman. Problem is, the last hour is Superman engaging in one monotonous battle after another. Character makes a film. Not violence.
Rating: 4 out of 10