Monday, 1 July 2013

Man of Steel Review

The popularity of comic book movies combined with reboots and remakes made this a foregone conclusion.  Superman is the iconic go to superhero in most people's minds.  So, the question is: did they do a good job of modernizing Superman for today's movie going audience while still maintaining his everyman superhero status?  I think they did.

You can't do much to alter the origin story of Superman or most other superheroes.  The hard line fans will kill you if you do.  So, you know that you're going to have to sit through a long, drawn out story of Krypton's destruction and Clark kent growing up in Kansas while learning to come to grips with his powers.  They alleviated this somewhat in two ways.  First, they made all of the stuff on Krypton very nice to look at.  While we can turn our minds off while they tell us a story that we all know, we can just sit back and enjoy the view.  And they are visuals that are superb all the way through.  Second, they wove the coming of ages stuff within the movie with flashbacks.  This allows the story to move forward with a decent pace while still showing the viewer the entire struggle that Kal-El faces on earth.  It made a 2.5 hour movie move fairly quickly.

The action sequences are a little sparsely placed.  But when they do show up, they are done very well with minimal shaky camera work.  There are a lot of exposition and slower "brooding" scenes which could have slowed the movie down.  But this version of Superman is very well cast and the actors really do step up to the plate.  I had never heard of Henry Cavill but making him Superman was absolutely brilliant.  He has the perfect physique and look to play the All-American hero.  Amy Adams isn't the stereotypical Lois Lane but Lane takes a different direction in this version.  I love that they didn't make her an idiot who can't tell the difference between glasses and no glasses.  Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe are both solid as Kal-El's fathers.  Finally, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White was a very good choice.  He has a air of authority and father figure that plays very well as editor of the Daily Planet.

Lastly, I want to give a nod to their portrayal of Metropolis.  There are numerous famous buildings from around the world in the shots of the city and this gives it a real "every city" feel.  Their use of the International House of Pancakes works in the same way for Smallville.  And having Clark go to Canada to work on the fishing boats was a nice touch when they could have easily just sent him to Maine.  While they do Americanize the whole story a bit, these elements do allow for Superman to be a hero for the whole world.  It's something this Canadian reviewer appreciates.

See it.

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