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June 14, 2013
Review: Man of Steel redefines the Superman we know
— Posted by Ryan
Synopsis: A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.
The film opens to a vast planet that we’ve never seen before on screen. There may have been glimpses and scenes that took place on Planet Krypton in past films, but Man of Steel is the first to give us an actual view of the dying planet and perspective as it pertains to the culture of Kryptonians. While it may seem like the story of Krypton would be wasted time, it ends up being an integral part of the film by establishing General Zod and his motives as well as adding to many other key plot points of the film.
After Krypton, the story jumps straight into Clark/Superman as an adult and integrates flashbacks of his childhood and teenage years as they apply to situations in his adult life. The mix of flashbacks and story progression form a very cohesive bond that builds strong character development and keeps a steady pace that continually holds interest. As Clark performs acts of heroism or shows restraint, a related memory will shortly follow that explains his actions. I enjoyed this style because I was able to see both Superman in action and the character develop which provided just the right mix of action and origin to keep me emotionally involved in the film.
Following forward with the fluidity of the plot dynamics, the film starts to drift away from the flashbacks once there is a adequate understanding of the main character. Lois Lane, General Zod, and others are then established, but more so as they relate to Superman. Their origins are minimal and remain minimal as to broaden the outreach of the main character and his interaction with the world.
When I think of Clark/Superman and the characters surrounding him, I can’t think of one bad portrayal by any of the respective actors and actresses, I can only think of particular ones that shined among the others. Henry Cavill embodies Superman and everything he represents. On top of that he recreates Superman by accentuating his more human qualities, making the ability to relate to him very easy. Amy Adams follows a similar portrayal playing Lois Lane. She captures all of Lois’ strength and courage as well as her fascination with Superman. Adams tends to play very strong women so the role seemed to fit naturally. Superman’s opposition, General Zod, is not the simple-minded thug that we saw in Superman II. Zod is calculated, has purpose, and is even logical at times. Michael Shannon fits into the role well and establishes a worthy villain through his portrayal.
Looking at some of the other reviews, I had to wonder if others had seen the same film. There seemed to be a consensus that the action was too much and too intense, but is there any other way to visually depict Superman? Superman is at the top of the superhero chain and his villains usually are capable of destroying entire worlds, therefore high intensity action is a must. I felt that this movie excelled on many levels and should be on par with Richard Donner’s original Superman. The film was brilliantly cast as the acting showed, the visuals were stunning and weren’t as “Snyderish” as some might expect, and overall I was thoroughly entertained and emotionally involved in the film. If anything, I would say there were some long-winded moments in the action scenes but nothing that was not enjoyable. Out of all of the Superman films, I felt the most connected with this one. When the film ended I was ready to sit through it again at that very moment. After all of this time waiting, my opinion is that they finally got Superman right.
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who has written 330 posts on The Movie Blog
First and foremost, Ryan Brown is a fan. He has been an avid fan of both the theater and cinema since an early age and his passion for both has been continually growing ever since. When dissecting a film, he focuses on all elements of film-making including some fan/cult factors. He believes that character development is the foundation of a good film and usually starts his analysis of a film from there moving forward. His writing style may be influenced by his background of narrative and argumentative studies in the subject, but he tends to enjoy a more conversational style to better interact with the readers, unlike some other pretentious and pompous writers.
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