Man of Steel (2013)
Adding much needed depth and humanity to such an illustrious character, who’s storied and intricate history is as delicate as it is powerful. ”Man of Steel” has the action, heart, and nostalgia to satisfy both fanboys and newcomers alike. While it may prove to be too bombastic and interwoven for a few critics and harsh naysayers. This polarization is nothing new to the Superman franchise. Nonetheless, ”Man of Steel” is a revival with such exuberance, precision and emotion, that it is nearly impossible to resist its charms. However, having been built-up, collated, and magnified with significant importance and anticipation for close to two years. “Man of Steel” was arguably set-up to disappoint and sadly but inevitably, for some this is the case. Regardless, for die-hards, cinephiles, and inner-children everywhere, including myself. “Man of Steel” was well worth the wait and is a fresh, honest, and mesmerizing take on the world’s most famous superhero.
Krypton and its inhabitants face imminent destruction due to an unstable core. To protect their new-born child, Jor-El (Crowe) and his wife Lara launch a spacecraft carrying their son Kal-El (Cavill) to Earth, in order to secure the fate of their race. Upon arriving at Earth, Kal is found and taken care of by his adopted parents Jonathan (Costner) and Martha (Lane) Kent, who rename Kal, Clark. Because of Clark’s Kryptonian physiology, he inherits superhuman abilities on Earth. Soon, Clark and the entire population of Earth are under attack from another native of Krypton.
Written by the immensely successful “Dark Knight” trilogy scribe’s David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan. Who make sure that “Man of Steel” contains all the wonder and amazement of the cosmic superhero’s intergalactic existence, in addition to the grounded and elemental nurturing that fortified the batman re-imagining. “Man of Steel” has all the makings of another fortuitous endeavour, not only for “DC comics,” but all involved. Nolan, who also produced the flick, oversaw most of the film’s creation and was essentially present for the ideal’s birth from Goyer’s mind. Although, clearly stating that he would not direct another Batman film, or superhero film of any kind, Goyer and company had to look elsewhere for someone to helm this reboot. After a slew of high-profile names fell to the wayside, it was visionary filmmaker Zack Snyder who was officially picked to take the reigns.
Upon witnessing the triumphant boom of the Marvel franchise into multiple blockbusters and countless tangents. DC, simply put, had their work cut out for them. Looking to Christopher Nolan for a spark that would ignite a similar explosion, DC completely entrusted him with their future prosperity…and while it is decidedly easier to simplify Batman with a modern, realistic twist. It is near impossible to humanize and ground a hero who was born amongst the stars and soars through space. Be that as it may, with ”Man of Steel,” Goyer and Nolan have managed to transform Superman into a dark and brooding character with a heart and mind just as strong as his physical capabilities. All in all, Nolan has been, and will continue to be the catalyst and made sure that the continuation of DC films not only goes smoothly and successfully, but will continue to thrive.
Having director Zach Snyder’s keen eye for detail and jaw-dropping flare coordinating with Nolan and Goyer’s taste for believability, soul, and consciousness makes “Man of Steel” the most unique and honest take on the superhero to ever hit the big screen. The film has an exquisite blend of fast-paced action, atmospheric imagery, and heartfelt relationships that never cease resonating. Snyder’s vision for “Man of Steel” brilliantly collaborates with Hans Zimmer’s epic, melancholic soundtrack, Nolan and Goyer’s disheartening, but bewildering script making the finished product truly something to behold. If you let critical skepticism, minor blemishes, and transitional inconsistencies tarnish the films reputation or influence your opinion, this might not be the picture for you. Take my word for it, set aside the hype and reviews, appreciate this breathtaking rebirth for what it is.
Obviously, without a cast to perfectly animate these features and hard work, the film would utterly falter, luckily, this is not the case. ”Man of Steel” stars Henry Cavill in the title role, Amy Adams as the beautiful but brainy Lois Lane and acting heavyweight Michael Shannon as the blood-boiling villain, General Zod. The film’s supporting cast is equally as impressive, if not more so. Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishburne and the surprising Antje Traue solidify what is an outstanding ensemble.
It’s been a while since Kevin Costner has blown any of his co-stars out of the water. Yet, aside from Cavill and Shannon, Costner is without question the most sublime and really reminds us all of his staggering talent. Diane Lane and Russell Crowe aren’t far behind, preparing Clark for the brash and brutal reality of the world’s he is now apart of. The two are formidable in their supporting roles and add another layer of brilliance to an already astounding story. As for Fishburne, who is his usual, intimidating self. One can’t help but feel letdown by his standard performance, however, his role was extremely limited. If I’m being completely honest, I had never seen Antje Traue in a film prior to ”Man of Steel,” but now that I have, I am smitten. She really captures the fearless mentality of Faora and if i might add, looks quite good doing so.
Out of the three leads, I’d say that Amy Adams is the most underwhelming. Albeit, that is in comparison to Michael Shannon and Henry Cavill, so a case can be made that it’s more of a compliment than an insult. Yes, she is sweet, cute, and calm in the face of danger. I’m not implying she performed horribly, I’m stating that Lois Lane in general was somewhat underwhelming. Which should be the case considering ”Man of Steel” is dealing with the origin story of the man himself, not her. The severely underrated and tragically underused Michael Shannon finally gets his due as a ruthless, violent, determined villain who’s primary goal is to guarantee the safety of his people. One can tell that Shannon has always had this dark, primal catharsis waiting to be unleashed deep down inside. Now, finally, Shannon has burst into the mainstream and will hopefully stay there. Shannon delivers a powerhouse performance.
Henry Cavill is Superman: the body, the hair, the voice, everything. I don’t know how else to put it. His acting is superlative, he clearly got in incredible shape for the picture, so he obviously invested heavily in the role. Everything about his emotional range, mannerisms, even the way the suit fits him is enough to send chills down your spine.
“Man of Steel” offers a never-ending series of heart-racing action seqeucnes that look anything but contrived or inauthentic. One thing on everyones mind prior to the film was how Cavill would look while flying, and thankfully, these segments look dignified. Snyder should gain a stronger fan-base with ”Man of Steel” considering his preceding films left audiences divided to say the least. For those Superman enthusiasts, be sure to look out for a few easter-eggs throughout the film. They’re sort of like subtle nods to the audience, a way of saying thank you and we appreciate you.
For the record, I’m overjoyed that I’m struggling to convey how I feel about ”Man of Steel” in this review. As with every film that is or eventually becomes an all-time favourite of mine, I have a hard time dissecting them. I think it’s because I can never quite put my finger on what I love about them. It’s just a reaction, a series of euphoric shocks to my brain. I write excessively trying to unveil the root of my fascination, but never can, that’s why this review and all others like it are so long. I think this is the best way to describe how I feel about ”Man of Steel.”
Man of Steel: 8.5 out of 10.
The Gushing Cinephile: June 17, 2013
Hello all and welcome to another week of The Gushing Cinephile! This past week was a big one in the cinematic community as the highly anticipated (a huge understatement) reboot of the Superman franchise was finally released. “Man of Steel” was met with generally mixed to positive reviews from critics but the box office numbers and die-hard fans everywhere beg to differ. “Man of Steel” had the biggest June opening in film history and had one of the highest grossing weekend’s for a film that isn’t a sequel. Looks like fanboys and cinephiles everywhere have spoken, “Man of Steel” is officially a smash hit. I loved the film and look forward to the day when its sequel is released.
Speaking of a “Man of Steel” sequel. Apparently the follow up to Zack Snyder’s 2013 hit is already in the works and has been fast-tracked. David S. Goyer, the first film’s scribe, and the aforementioned Zack Snyder have already been contracted for the sequel which could release as early as 2014. Now, my question to all of you is…how do you feel about the sequel being fast-tracked? Granted, I had a feeling this news was inevitable, but it is still a bit alarming. After taking so long to re-imagine the series and create “Man of Steel,” to rush the sequel seems idiotic. Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy wasn’t rushed and look how well that turned out. If they can pull off a sequel that is as vivid, riveting, and heartfelt as its predecessor in limited time, all the power to them. However, I’d rather them take their time and get it right, what do you think? What did you think of “Man of Steel?” Let me know in the comment section below. I’ll be posting my review for “Man of Steel” hopefully Wednesday or Thursday.
Next up, the brand new, first poster from “Insidious: Chapter 2.” Upon seeing how brilliantly terrifying the trailer looked and how eerie and haunting this poster is, my anticipation for the film has skyrocketed. Check out the poster below.
Finally, a slew of new trailers were released this past week and the few below really caught my attention.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” released its first trailer and the sequel looks even better than the first.
Next up we have the second trailer for “Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.” I know many of you have no idea as to what or who Alan Partridge is, but check out the trailer anyway. If it catches your attention, check out my review for the television series staring Steve Coogan. It is insanely hilarious, take my word for it.
This is a big one, the first trailer for Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, and a plethora of high-profile names.
Last, but certainly not least is the first trailer for “Snowpiecer.” Directed by Joon-ho Bong (The Host, Mother, and Memories of Murder), “Snowpiecer” stars Chris Evans (Avengers) and Kang-ho Song (The Host, Thirst). I am really looking forward to this one, check out the trailer below and let me know what you think.
That’ll do it for this edition of The Gushing Cinephile. Be sure to comment all thoughts below and everyone have a great week!