Published on June 15th, 2013 | by Allan Brown10
Man of Steel Review
Movie Review: Man of Steel 3D (2013)
Director: Zack Snyder
Producer: Christopher Nolan
Writers: David S. Goyer
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishburne
Plot: When earth is invaded by an alien race, Clark Kent must become everything he was born to be in order to defend Earth and its people from destruction.
We have all seen the Terrence Malick-esk trailers and have read the reports promising a deeper and more personal look at the superman story. Looking into the psyche of a ‘man’ who has been raised to hide who he is his whole life and what effects this would have on a person’s mental state. We also all know that the screenplay was penned by none other than ‘The Dark Knight’ Veteran; David S. Goyer, but what gave this project more promise than anything else for many, was the fact that a certain Mr Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception) was on board as producer.
So with all these advantages going for it, has Zack Snyder pulled off the most anticipated film of this year the way we all hoped and were promised?
The film kicks off with a prologue set during the final hours of Krypton, as Jor-El (Russell Crowe) fights off general Zod (Michael Shannon) rebellion placing his last hope in Krypton’s survival on his infant son, Kal-El (Superman) as he sends him to Earth in the hopes that he will thrive as his home planet dies.
Once on Earth, the story follows Clark Kent as he journeys to find the hidden answers to why he was placed on Earth. His childhood is relived through a series of flashbacks where we are introduced to his foster mother and father; Jonathan and Martha Kent (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner).
this is probably not the movie most people were expecting to see and certainly not the film the trailer had convinced me it was going to be
The third act sees General Zod and his insurgence come to Earth in a bid to take Kal-El / Superman captive, but like all superhero movies a bad guys intentions are never that simple.
And so it comes to my thoughts on the film. Well, where do I begin…………?
Ok, let me start by saying this is probably not the movie most people were expecting to see and certainly not the film the trailer had convinced me it was going to be.
Again, in previous interviews, Director Zack Snyder had promised a deeper, more realistic and personal look into the character. A man with superhuman abilities who is raised to hide his true self from the world his whole life and what effects this would have on a persons mental state as a result.
So do any of these interesting character traits make it into the finished film?
Well yes, but only as brief and fleeting flashbacks sequences. These quieter scenes that often involve life lessons with his father (Kevin Costner) are the heart of the film and are at times deeply moving. However, as beautiful, captivating and emotional as these scenes are they unfortunately feel disjointed and of a different tone from the rest of the film, and this is another one of the films issues; it pulls in so many directions it never truly knows what kind of film it wants to be, a deeper thought provoking comic book film or an loud, OTT CGI, action blockbuster.
This film is extremely LOUD both visually and orally and runs on way longer than it should. Like the scene where Zod takes of his breathing mask for the first time on earth, showing he is not used to our atmosphere which results in sensory overload. This scene could not have expressed or echoed my own feelings better if it had tried.
The CGI is at times magnificent as are many of action sequences, but when you are faced with these scenes over and over and over again, explosion after explosion, fight after fight, followed by another explosion in a tedious and relentless fashion they lose any sense of intensity or peril, and as result I often found myself bored and disconnected from the emotion and character development (although minimal) that had come before.
Snyder does show some initial restraint from his usual methods (Snyder a director I’ve never favoured due to lack of focus on anything other than OTT CGI) but sadly slips back into his CGI led visual mentality that is sadly all too familiar and this is ultimately one the films many downfalls.
The whole cast are impressive with no weak links to speak off. Henry Cavill especially shines as the new supes, offering enough intensity, grit and believability
The films story is also something that doesn’t seem to offer anything fresh, and by the time the third act swings round it solidly plants itself into the science fiction arena where the earth’s imminent destruction scenario is back on the cards again. In fact, we could be watching any alien invasion movie from the last 15 years as all the familiar visuals hit the screen. There is nothing new or anything that makes it stand out as a Superman film. Its lack of focus on characters and the human side of the story again leaves you feeling disconnected or even interested in what’s going on, as we watch another building collapse or one of the many fight scenes that result in the same outcome. When these ‘invincible’ characters fight, we know they can’t die, when the humans open fire on them we know they are not going to inflict any damage and therefore again there is lack of any peril as we watch these two Gods like characters punch each other through one building after another.
With that said there are things in the movie that are more than noteworthy and that are done well. The fact that the film doesn’t go down the slow, over familiar origin story route works in its favour and keeps the film moving with pace throughout.
The whole cast are impressive with no weak links to speak off. Henry Cavill especially shines as the new supes, offering enough intensity, grit and believability. Something I feel has been lacking in previous adaptations of the character. Kevin Costner as Clarks/Kal-El father offers the most captivating and honest performance in the whole movie and gives the film its emotional string and weight when he is present on screen. Michael Shannon does well as the films antagonist, General Zod, proving himself as a worthy opponent both physically and mentally.
The CGI work is stunning throughout as are some of the action sequences. I just feel if Snyder had held back a little more in these elements and showed more focus on interesting characterisation, character arc and of course narrative, the film would not have slipped into the generic so easily. The tools were all there to do the job but like a kid in a candy shop Zack Snyder has failed to show adequate self-restraint or allow the word moderation enter his vocabulary. Still, it is worth saying that this adaptation offers more than many of the previous incarnations of the story and character ever have, I just expected more.
It is also worth mentioning that the 3D in this film was retrofitted (film shot in normal 2D and then made into 3D using computers during post production) and sadly added nothing to the experience. In fact, the 3D was so un-3D at times, that I questioned whether it actual was at all. This is another extremely poor example of the 3D tool being used, which is sadly all too common. It is these lazy, cash-in efforts that studios seem to enforce to make a quick buck that will likely kill off the use of the 3D experience completely, and likely in the not too distant future.
Summary: There will be hordes of comic fanboys that will no doubt be overjoyed at Zack Snyder’s adaptation. It is loud, long and relentless with enough repetitive CGI action to fill six movies, but for the people that were expecting, depth, character or a more ‘Dark Knight’ affair, you will be sadly underwhelmed by this over the top, crash, bang, wallop summer blockbuster.