Man of Steel Review: Done by Rancel
A review of the 2013 summer blockbuster movie Man of Steel featuring Henry Cavill as the legendary DC Comics Superhero, Superman: The Last Son of Krypton. Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, and Laurence Fishburne also star in this reboot of the franchise.
Man of Steel (2013) Movie – General Zod’s Epic Speech
On the planet Krypton, a Coup d’état is taking place. The planet’s military commander General Zod (Michael Shannon) is enraged that Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and Lara (Ayalet Zurer) have a newborn named Kal-El. He is Krypton’s first natural birth after centuries of genetic engineering. Krypton is about to explode and Jor-El sends his only son to Earth where he will live as one of them and later be the saviour. A fight ensues between Jor-El and Zod resulting in Jor-El’s death. Zod, including his Lieutenant Faora-Ul (Antje Traue), and the rest of his followers are banished to the Phantom Zone for their crimes.
Later on Earth as a young boy, Kal-El learns from his adopted father, Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) and mother, Martha (Diane Lane) that he is unique, not from earth, and has extraordinary powers. Clark Kent/Kal-El (Henry Cavill) is now a young man and is coming to terms with what he is and makes the journey to the “Fortress of Solitude”. Within the fortress, a ghostly manifestation of Jor-El tells him of the oncoming threat of Zod and what he means to the people of Earth. His Kryptonian father elaborates further by telling Kal-El that he will become Superman, the hero he was always meant to be and save his adopted planet from being conquered by the cold and brutal General Zod.
Man of Steel is a well scripted reboot of the franchise. What it lacks in action during the first half, the story makes up for it. Man of Steel has a cleverly written script and makes the film a compelling watch that will not bore you to sleep. The producers and writers for the Man of Steel movie take a unique approach for the re-telling of Superman’s origins and the Kryptonian race. Unlike the comics, Kryptonian’s have never been mentioned to be genetically engineered in the movies. This twist in the story makes it darker than the other films in the franchise. This reboot has a more serious tone to it, which is great. It uses a lot of flashback scenes to tell the story of Kal-El.
Using the title “Man of Steel” gives you the impression that this Superman movie is taking the “kid gloves off” after the disappointing Superman Returns (2006). Right from the start, the story takes a darker tone with the sad death of Jor-El and the intensity level Michael Shannon brings as General Zod. I thought Terence Stamp was great as General Zod, but I never found him intimidating just kind of funny with his amusing British accent. I always got a kick out of the scene in Superman II (1980), the way Terence Stamp sounded when he said to Gene Hackman (Lex Luthor), “Why do you say this to me, when you know I will kill you for it.”
The Man of Steel film also added some references from the Death and Return of Superman Story-line (1992-1993). General Zod is one mean ugly dude. Michael Shannon does a great job as him. As much as I respect Terence Stamp’s talents and liked him as General Zod, I prefer Michael Shannon. This updated version of Zod is almost like The Eradicator from the The Day of The Krypton Man/Return of the Krypton Man Story Arc (1990-1991). Much like the villainous version of the Eradicator, Zod is cold at times, very brutal, irrational, cannot be reasoned with, and his sole purpose of living is to protect Krypton and its noble ways. Zod says to Superman at one point that he will do it no matter the cost.
General Zod attempts to turn Earth into a New Krypton just like The Eradicator tried to during the Return of the Krypton Man storyline. It was a brilliant concept to turn Zod into the Eradicator come to life. The only difference is General Zod isn’t a 200,000 plus year old Kryptonian composed of pure energy. Zod also can’t absorb, convert, and release various forms of energy at the same levels The Eradicator can. Zod appears to have limited control of his under-powered Heat-Vision. When he unleashes it on some innocent humans, it reminds me of Cyclops (Scott Summers) from the X-Men using it without his visor.
Near the end, a reference to Mongol and the Cyborg Superman (Originally a human named Hank Henshaw) is revealed when Zod relies on his spaceship. The Kryptonian Spacecraft attempts to do some Terra-forming on earth. The weakness that Zod has with his helmet getting damaged, being blinded by the light, and his black Kryptonian suit are also references to the Return of Superman storyline. I felt Henry Cavill was the best Superman since Christopher Reeve. He has that same angelic gleam to his eyes, the determined heroic presence, and he is the most physically imposing Superman ever.
Henry Cavill doesn’t have the height advantage that previous actors who portrayed the “Worlds Greatest Boy Scout” have, but he worked out like crazy and looks like the “Real Steel Deal” from the Comic Books. He is a bit brooding which fits the movie perfectly. Throughout his youth and into adulthood, Clark Kent is trying to find purpose and meaning in life. The theme added in about Superman being like a saviour is a nice touch. The S symbol and Superman are revealed to be symbols of hope. Kal-El is sent to Earth to guide the human race towards the common goal of progress using his excellent sense of morals, convictions, and principles. Even in the face of humiliation, Superman controls his powers. As for him killing Zod, I have no problem with that since he had no choice. You can’t reason with someone who deals in absolute. Superman has already killed Zod and Doomsday in the comics due to having no choice. In those story-lines it was either kill or be killed.
General Zod was like a mixture of The Eradicator and Doomsday in this reboot of the classic DC Comics villain. Like all Kryptonian’s he isn’t really dead, Zod will just need a little sunlight to come back later. Some obvious connotations to Christianity and Jesus have been written in. The scenes with Kal-El jumping from Zod’s space vessel and hovering in the sky with his arms outstretched like Jesus on the cross, he is age 33 in his final form, and will go out of his way to sacrifice himself for humans whom’s lives are threatened. At one point during the film, “Supes” visits a Priest for some advice. It was brilliant concept from the makers of Man of Steel to portray Superman in a Jesus/Saviour type way. I love it!
Females will be disappointed with Man of Steel, because it lacks romance. Amy Adams as Lois Lane did not make much of an impact. She is better looking than both Margot Kidder and Kate Bosworth, but lacks the fiery nature of Margot Kidder’s version. Teri Hatcher from Lois & Clark the TV Series is my favorite version of Superman’s wife. She is the sexiest Lois Lane. Not much humor is in it either. Only thing that resembled any humor to me was, the young army woman at the end blushing and saying about the Man of Steel, “I just think he’s kind of hot.” Russell Crowe was the perfect choice as Jor-El. He brings his usual noble and powerful presence to the true father of Kal-El. Jor-El has an extended role. This Jor-El takes physical action, unlike the Marlon Brando version. He ends up being a key part to the resistance against Zod and his army. Fans of the TV shows, Law and Order: SVU and True Blood will be pleased to see Christopher Meloni as Colonel Nathan Hardy.
The focus in the Man of Steel movie was centered on Superman’s origins, his eventual battle with Zod and his army, and earning the trust of earth’s people. The action packed visuals in the film are intense and spectacular. The long fight between Superman and General Zod was amazing. Massive damage is done to the surrounding areas of Metropolis during their bitter struggle. It looked like a war zone with Zod and Kal-El; throwing each other around, cars being smashed, buildings destroyed, explosions, and the military joining the action. Kal-El and Zod eventually take to the skies and into space for their brutal fight. The brutality and intensity of the struggle reminded me of Superman vs Doomsday, sans the blood and gore. I came away very impressed.
The two combatants were pretty much equal. The only thing I was disappointed about was the lack of blood during it. I found that really odd. The movie takes a dark approach, but fails to deliver with some blood and gore when the two bitter enemies battle it out. I was also disappointed with the weak score, composed by Hans Zimmer. I am use to the epic godlike theme that comes straight at you by John Williams. Surely a man as talented as Hans Zimmer could have done something more suitable for the most legendary, noble, and charismatic hero of all time. The Man of Steel main theme actually sounds more appropriate for the up coming Justice League America movie.
I do like the dark foreboding song that plays during General Zod’s epic speech about his sole purpose as a Kryptonian. The great script, dark approach to the plot, the theme of Superman being a God, and the latter half action gives the franchise great future potential. Other people might be disappointed with this rendition, because it might not seem like a Superman film to them with its alternative approach. Don’t expect the epic John Williams composed Superman theme to show up. This isn’t your mama and daddy’s boy Man of Steel. Henry Cavill as Superman the Power is a Non-Asstaker!
Filed Under: Action
About the Author: Hello and welcome to Rancel's Movie, TV Show, Animated Films, and Japanese Anime Review Website. I love writing, watching films (especially foreign cinema and horror), playing video games, listening to music, repairing computers, and spending time with people I love. I have always been into the world of cinema, animated films, and TV series. So now as an adult I am an amateur film reviewer and intend on getting a degree in journalism.