This one I recommend

This one I recommend

Superman with obligatory love interest Lois Lane.

Superman with obligatory love interest Lois Lane.

It was, well, super!

It was, well, super!

When I was growing up, my father often jokingly told me that the best kind of movies were the ones where everything blows up in the end. If you agree with this, then Man of Steel delivers undisappointingly in that aspect.

But aside from having some of the most exhilerating action I’ve seen this or any other year, is there really anything else in Man of Steel to write home about? Directed by Zack Snyder and written by Christopher Nolan and comic book movie regular David S. Goyer, this film has torn many, comic book fans and average movie-goers alike. Most would probably say that it’s a terrible film and I will assure you right away, that is not what I’m saying.

First of all, though, let’s look at the story. Yes, it is another origin story for Superman, but if you’re a newcomer and you know very little of the hero in question, you’ll most likely be intrigued by it and motivated to seek out more. I think most of us know it, though; the planet of Krypton gets toasted, the evil General Zod (played by Michael Shannon this time around) gets banished for his crimes to Kryptonian-ity and Jor-El (Russell Crowe) sends his first-born son Kal-El into space, only for him to end up on Earth, along with a device that could very well be used to restore the people of Krypton. Or something like that.

Found and raised by farmer Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) and his wife Martha (Diane Lane), he becomes Clark Kent (large man Henry Cavill), and due to not being used to the atmosphere of Earth, the lost Kryptonian develops extraordinary powers that make him an outcast for most of his life. This all changes, though, when he’s all grown up and finds the ship that brought him to Earth, along with a hologram of Jor-El telling him that he must become an idol to the people of his new home planet. He’s also discovered by Lois Lane (Amy Adams), journalist for the Daily Planet, who wants to print his story, but is told not to by her boss, played by Laurence Fishburne. This, however, does not stop the people of Earth from getting to know the truth about alien visitors, when another ship approaches the planet, manned by someone bent on finding Kal-El and turning Earth into the new Krypton – General Zod.

Needless to say, major action ensues!


General Zod.

The supporting cast is made up of Richard Schiff as a scientist working for the government, Antje Traue as Faora (who’s basically Ursa from Superman II) and Henry Lennix of Little Britain-fame as a general. The acting in the film is often criticised for being bland and uninteresting, but I thought that most of the parts were well-cast as well as pretty well-acted. Sure, it is nothing of pure perfection, but it is enough to carry the film for viewers to feel interested and attentive for 2 and a half hours, a rumtime which, keep in mind, is usually too long for people to remain captivated, something the audience at my screening most certainly was.

A helpful factor is the visuals and action. Man of Steel has got some truly eye-popping imagery, even though none of it is necessarily aided by being in 3D, and some truly enthralling action on top of it. Hans Zimmer doesn’t disappoint as he brings us an equally enthralling score to go with the spectacle, which is surprisingly free of slow-motion for a Zack Snyder film. In fact, and this is one of the movie’s annoyances, it feels more like a J.J. Abrams film with all the beaming lens flares that keep blinding you, and then return for more before your eyes have had time to re-adjust themselves so that you can actually see what’s going on.

Another problem is that there are parts when the cinematography makes you wonder if the camera crew lost its tripod and instead tried to balance their hand-held camera on a washing machine filled with towels. It’s almost worse than in The Hunger Games at times, but it gets less irritating as the movie progresses.

Whilst I also somewhat agree with the common criticism that the final battle might go on for a bit too long, I did not find it nearly as repetitive or tiresome as many others did. Even when we reach the often complained about showdown between Zod and Superman, I only got the impression that this was the bombastic superhero battle that fans of the Superman franchise have been craving ever since the Richard Donner films. At least that’s what my father, who’s been a major Superman fan since he was just a little farm boy, had to say on the matter.

Overall, I’m gonna go ahead and give Man of Steel a thumbs-up. I had more fun watching it than I thought  I would, I’m happy that I finally got to see it and I am curious as to what will go down in the inevitable sequel.

4/5 whatever