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Man Of Steel

Tori B.'s picture

I’d like to begin with the premise that I am not a big Superman fan. But I am a big movie fan in general. While I’m into some DC titles, Superman has never been one of them and my biggest exposure to him was marathon-ing episodes of Smallville with my cousins “because everyone [was] super dreamy”. That being said, there are some things that you can’t avoid as an ordinary comic/superhero fan.
Going into Man of Steel I was expecting to maybe not be as into the storyline, knowing little of Clark and his origins and was pleasantly proved otherwise. As it turns out, I knew a lot of Krypton and Jor-El and General Zod (thanks comic community!) but the film also did a fantastic job of introducing this foreign universe that Superman comes from. Even those who were with me that knew nothing about Superman beyond the immediate image that comes to mind; walked out excited, questions of curiosity, not confusion.
Our first look at Kypton is amazing and just a mere sampler of the great special effects that are used throughout the movie. Krypton isn’t the crystalline world we’re often used to seeing, but the envisioning behind it doesn’t entirely beg for questioning, besides the pull of Russell Crowe’s acting could convince you of anything. We start of course with Clark’s (Kal-El) birth and his arrival to Earth, seeing as it’s one of note, being that he’s not an ordinary Earth-man like so many of our beloved superheroes are. After Kal-El is sent to Earth, instead of progressively following his life as he grows up into the man that will become Superman, Man of Steel successfully incorporates flashbacks to Clarks upbringing as he remembers them in the present time as he tries to live a quiet, anonymous life.
It’s this story-telling technique that makes Man of Steel so different than any of the other action packed blockbuster films we’ve seen or are expecting from the summer. And while Christopher Nolan wasn’t as involved in it’s creation as let’s say the Batman trilogy, it still rings in its comparison for being something a little darker than we normally expect from a superhero movie. It certainly plays its serious cards a lot more than it’s lighthearted funny ones. Of course Clark isn’t the one to be usually cracking a joke or anything of the like but after the influx of Marvel movies that have been released recently, it’s almost easy to forget that other kinds of superheroes (and superhero movies) exist out there. 
For those expecting “Iron Man” levels of wit, that’s not what you’re getting from Man of Steel. Instead what you’re getting is an incredibly moving story about family, morality, what it’s like to be human, trust, and of course, love. Most of the action seems pretty minimal and yet that doesn’t prevent the film from being a gripping thriller of events. For the entire two hours I was on the edge of my seat (not in preparation to walk out any minute). The immense talent of the cast certainly played a huge role in the effectiveness of getting such a story across. Names like Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, and Laurence Fishbourne are names one would trust to take a good story seriously and deliver, and deliver they did. Then of course there’s Henry Cavill taking on the role of Clark himself, and he’s certainly not the first to be taking on such a super role. The question that begs is whether he lives up to the great hero or not. Thank goodness he does, from the chiseled looks to the warm soul that in every aspect managed to encapsulate everything Clark Kent is. Out of this world super-being, Kansas farm boy, Superman.
If you think I’m over exaggerating on the tone of the film being grim and serious, I really am not. 80 percent of the movie is either in a wash of grey or raining, or grey and raining. Which is probably my biggest complaint coming out of the theatre, leaving and feeling a bit damp from watching all that grey rain.
Enough about all the emotional stuff (let’s not talk about how many times I may have let out a sob in the middle of the theatre in those two hours) but onto the good action-y, superhero-y stuff, which is what we were all were expecting, right? Here’s the good news, there is some of it in the movie. The first time happens seemingly quickly with Russell Crowe as Jor-El and his mad rush to send off baby Kal to a safer place, and the last one is large and drawn out with massive amounts of destruction. Every other action seen is great but hardly memorable at best (except for you know that one moment when Clark is on fire and shirtless, but lets be real, that’s memorable for some whole other reasons).
The final battle is the sole reason people (like me who have little to do with Superman) walk into a Superman in the first place, to see two super powered beings have at it and wreck havoc throughout and entire city. And there it was, and the amount of destruction was satisfying to any fan of an action and explosion genre. Personally I found the fight to be borderline on almost too long and nearing the end of it, I was wondering when one of them would finally just put the other out of their misery so the movie could end (and I could run to the bathroom). Any longer and I certainly would have been left feeling drained from a touch too much fighting, though I certainly got enough of that feeling from the way they tore the city apart. Yes it was AWESOME, but due to the lengthy nature of the fight, my mind had time to wander about trivial things like city clean up and high-rise evacuation procedures and admittedly this was where the movie lost me.
I’m all for action, but Man of Steel was its strongest when there wasn’t much fighting happening. The action was just a bonus that we got greedy and overindulged on.
In summary, Man of Steel was a great superhero epic that may lack in wit and lightheartedness, but fully makes up for it with moral turmoil and serious heart. It’s no Iron Man or Avengers nor should it be, but it’s a great epic for anyone who’s a fan of moving stories and wanting to leave the theatre with a great sense of hope for humanity, the world, and that superheroes do exist, and even though Clark has super abilities, that's not what makes him a hero, it was the choices he made, which is something we all have in us to be a hero-- which I believe is what we should always be walking away with any superhero story. Thank goodness Man of Steel did that.
As a film fan I enjoyed it and followed along with the plot in a very enjoyable way. I cannot fully compare to how it holds to your normal Superman fan though.