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.
On the planet Krypton, a coup 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 of the movie, the story makes up for it. The movie has a cleverly written script and makes the film a compelling watch that will not bore you to sleep. The producers for the Man of Steel take a unique approach to 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 also makes the film much darker than other Superman films which is great. The entire movie has a more serious tone to it.
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 film takes a darker tone with the sad death of Jor-El and the 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 Superman II (1980) scene 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 to 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. General Zod in Man of Steel 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. Just like Zod stated in the film, he will do it no matter the cost.
General Zod: Look at this. We could have rebuilt Krypton on this planet, but you chose the humans over us. I exist only to protect Krypton. That is the soul purpose for which I was born. And every action I take, no matter how violent or how cruel, is for the greater good of my people. And now, I have no people. My soul, that is what you have taken from me!
General Zod tries to turn Earth into a New Krypton just like The Eradicator attempted to during the Return of the Krypton Man storyline. It was a brilliant concept by the producers to turn Zod into the Eradicator come to life. The only difference is General Zod isn’t a 200,000 plus year old Kryptonian made up of pure energy. Zod also can’t absorb, convert, and release various forms of energy at the same levels he can. Near the end of the film, a reference to Mongol and the Cyborg Superman (Hank Henshaw) is revealed when Zod relies on his spaceship that 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. Henry Cavill as Superman is a bit brooding which fits the movie perfectly. Throughout his youth and into young adulthood, Clark Kent in the story is trying to find himself. The theme added for Man of Steel 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, his 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.
Throughout Man of Steel, General Zod was like a mixture of The Eradicator and Doomsday. Like all Kryptonians he isn’t really dead, Zod will just need a little sunlight to come back later. Some obvious references to Christianity and Jesus have been written in. This version of Superman is portrayed in a Jesus/Saviour type way. Females will be disappointed with Man of Steel, because it lacks romance. Amy Adams as Lois Lane did not make much of an impact. Not much humor is in the film. Only thing that resembled any humor to me was with the young army woman at the end blushing and saying about Superman, “I just think he’s kind of hot.” Russell Crowe was the perfect choice as Jor-El in an extended role for the character. Jor-El ends up being a vital part to the story. This Jor-El takes physical action, unlike the Marlon Brando version. 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 Man of Steel was centered on Superman’s origins, his eventual battle with Zod, and his army. 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 the bitter struggle. It looked like a war zone with Zod and Kal-El throwing each other around, cars smashed, buildings destroyed, explosions, and the military getting in the action. They even battle it out in space. That battle also reminded me of the fight in the comics between Superman and Doomsday. It is very well done.
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 when the two Kryptonian’s battle it out. The movie uses a lot of flashback scenes to tell Kal-El’s story. The great script, dark approach to the plot, and latter half action gives the Superman franchise great potential for the future. 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.
Man of Steel (2013) Trailer
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.