Nailbiter Reviews MAN OF STEEL: Lots Of Superman Action & Little Character Development
Warner Bros. can breathe a huge sigh of relief, Man Of Steel is a huge hit at the box office. But, what did I think? Was it the Superman film I always dreamed of, or was it disappointing?
I figured this as good of a spot as any to post my own brief review of Man Of Steel. I liked it, but didn't love it. Its big on action, with plenty of WOW moments, but weak on character development.
Most of the blame for that falls upon screenwriter, David Goyer. Most glaringly, three great actors: Christopher Meloni, Laurence Fishburne and Richard Schiff, are left with underutilized and underdeveloped roles. Which is surprising since David Goyer had worked on Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. For those films there were always plenty of witty dialogue and meaningful scenes for supporting actors, like Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman. Because of that, we ended up caring for Alfred, Gordon, and Lucius Fox, just as much as we did for Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman).
But, not every character is underdeveloped. I was delighted with Kevin Costner's performance as Pa Kent, and the way the character was laid out over a handful of flashback sequences. Because of that, I felt like I knew who the character was, and had a solid grasp of his relationship to Clark. That made it so much easier to empathize with Clark as he watched his father get swallowed up by a tornado. Leaving quite the lump in my throat.
I loved Henry Cavill as Superman. He was perfect. Amy Adams' portrayal of Lois Lane was spot on. Although, the romantic relationship between the two comes off as forced. Sure, there was some light flirting going on between them, but not nearly enough to warrant the Romeo and Juliet-like kiss at the end.
Visually, the film is stunning. Zack Snyder never disappoints when it comes to visuals. Which is no surprise to anyone that has seen his past offerings, Watchmen and 300. But with Man Of Steel he upped his game. Pretty much every iconic Superman pose that has ever been conceived in comic books is realized on the big screen. The flying scenes are glorious.
How about the action? Some scenes are jaw-droppingly good, while others carry hardly any weight, a byproduct of not being emotionally invested in the characters. The action sequences come at such a frantic pace, reminding me of The Matrix Reloaded at times. I just wished the director had pumped the brakes a bit, instead of keeping his foot on the accelerator.
As for the the climactic battle between General Zod (Michael Shannon) and Superman. It was one of the few times that the film was able to establish a perfect balance between drama and action. A fully satisfying conclusion, that packs an emotional wallop.
In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time. Clark Kent/Kal-El (Henry Cavill) is a young twenty-something journalist who feels alienated by powers beyond his imagination. Transported years ago to Earth from Krypton, a highly advanced, distant planet, Clark struggles with the ultimate question 'Why am I here?' Shaped by the values of his adoptive parents Martha (Diane Lane) and Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner), Clark discovers having extraordinary abilities means making difficult decisions. When the world is in dire need of stability, an even greater threat emerges. Clark must become a Man of Steel, to protect the people he loves and shine as the world’s beacon of hope – Superman.
Man Of Steel was directed by Zack Snyder, from a script written by David Goyer. The cast includes: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Ayelet Zurer, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon, Antje Traue, Christopher Meloni, Harry Lennix, Laurence Fishburne and Richard Schiff. In theaters June 14th, 2013!
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