Good lord, where would you START to clean up a mess like we ended up with at the end of “Man of Steel”?? It boggles the mind, so many broken windows… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Yes, after a long while in the Phantom Zone of Development Hell, Superman gets the reboot treatment, quietly trying to pretend “Superman Returns” never happened (what was so bad about it?)
But it’s not a dark reboot particularly, Superman’s origins are pretty fraught with difficult events and this film doesn’t seek to change that. Krypton is still doomed, Clark is still brought up in Smallville by the Kents, Clark still struggles with his split identity brought on by superhuman powers, and there’s a Kryptonian threat forcing him to choose between his adopted race and own species.
The flashback method of recounting Clark’s back-story is done gradually and it feels natural despite its choppy nature. Bigger budgets mean that the death of Krypton could be told for the first time with visuals to match the scale of the events. It’s no secret that General Zod is the big bad for the movie, and he makes for a tough and unrelenting threat.
The cast work well, I didn’t feel there was a weak link there. Henry Cavill was powerful but human as the main man – not to mention totally gorgeous, goodness me. It felt like Amy Adams’s Lois Lane was just inserted into various situations without any real reason for it (why was she on that mothership?), but serves as the plucky and unflinching female lead well.
The Kents still represented the wholesome heart of Clark, it struck me that they are among my favourite characters in all the comic book mythology … don’t ask me why. The other supporting cast served various functions even if they felt a little sidelined in such a big story. The scenes with the Daily Planet team in peril were shameless but still wielded emotional weight (I’m a sucker). Frankly I could name everyone and say they did a good job, so let’s just leave it at that.
Visually it was incredible, it feels like there are no limits to what CGI can do these days. Particularly the end stage of the film (maximum peril!) was so impressive and other-worldly, I loved it. My criticism is probably that for a long 2 1/2 hour long film, some of the fight scenes really did go on for way longer than they needed to.
I actually felt rather sad at the collateral damage wrecked in Smallville, maybe I’ve just watched too much “Smallville” and hate to see such an idyllic town totally trashed.
I had to turn a blind eye to a few bits that were rushed through, though Richard Schiff’s role as a catch-all scientist did make me roll my eyes a lot, he was able to explain all manner of hitherto never seen things within seconds of seeing them. Maybe he just saw a lot of sci-fi films. Big films like this will always have some nitpicks so you just need to move on.
But yes, it was a pretty incredible film, thank God the big popcorn movies have arrived, they are really turning 2013 around film-wise, and “Man of Steel” I can comfortably say is my favourite film of the year so far.