Movie Review: Man of Steel
Pros:Beautiful looking, well-acted, Superman becomes more of a contender in the great line-up of comic book contenders.
Cons:Clunky, unnecessary plot strive for substance but leave the film open to far more questions than praise.
The last son of Krypton has an Earth-destructing challenge to handle on his first week in the job as Superman.
Hey, movie-makers. It’s us, fans. The Christoper Nolan Batman movies did well; we enjoyed them, we admit it. Batman Begins had its plot holes, The Dark Knight was a masterpiece, Rises was insignificant but all-in they were enjoyable and a standard to meet. An important lesson to learn is that complexity should be embraced in small doses. Say for instance with Man of Steel, the most recent attempt to release the Superman franchise from paralysis, you can attempt to draw us into a framing theme of identity and belonging, with Superman’s Kryptonian ancestry expanded by millenia and the complexities of evolution, but please don’t do this as the expense of sense and our enjoyment.
Not once, but twice during Man of Steel we need to break away from the story for shots of background story to be filled in, akin to Jessica Fletcher explaining the entirely illogical reason someone was murdered. When the plot points can’t be woven into a narrative, then maybe their value should be questioned. The complexity in Man of Steel comes courtesy of heavy handed sci-fi. We are worlds away, literally, from Lex Luthor type plans to reclaim land, this Superman movie is brought to you by terraforming, black holes, and Russell Crowe’s consciousness. The other-wordliness of events is immediately in place as we open on Krypton, nigh on destruction and the seeds are planted for the story to come, including of course baby Kal-El being sent to Earth. The structure to follow thereafter means we quickly get to Michael Shannon as a menacing General Zod and a fierce crew that trace Superman to Earth and and wreak holy structural damage.
This is an origin story, again. That said, Man of Steel is set apart, in that the the story of young Clark is told through flashback at various intervals; he is a bullied, uncertain, and unhappy future super-hero with his adoptive-father (Kevin Costner) a constant cautioning voice. This is a break from the traditional role of the Kents as supporting rather than restraining and it sets the serious tone to the film, and ultimately the movie comes dangerously close to being joyless. The inevitable Batman Begins comparison can be inserted here; but at times the Batman origin story seems light-hearted in comparison.