7 Jul 2013

Man of Steel (This is notAvengers)

In 2002 the super hero franchise was reborn with the success of Sam Raimi's Spiderman. In 2005 Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyers movie resurrected the Batman franchise from the dirty ashes of  Batman and Robin (nipples on the bat suit?) with Batman Begins. Nolan and Goyer took a different route from Raimi's lighted hearted Spiderman with dark, gritty more grounded Batman that worked, and superhero movies were back.

We soon saw Ironman, Thor, three more Spiderman, and two more Batman movies.  Not all were successful, The Green lantern and Hulk were pretty dire. We even saw the rise of the amateur superhero with Kick arse, Denfendor and  Griff the Invisible to name but some. Marvel and Warner Brothers have taken the success of the (majority) of Super hero films and created the ensemble hero film with The Avengers. Its success has not only put two more Avengers  movies into development but created the opportunity for Paramount to do the same with the Justice League movies and of course Superman the Man of Steel.

But make no mistake this is not Joss Whedon's humerous Avengers film which appealed to a mass audience. Warner Brothers has learnt the lesson of the failures Green Lantern and Incredible Hulk. The studio has brought back the succesful team of Goyer and Nolan to write the story and screen play, and the director is Zack Snyder who is well know for being able to create a very pretty film.

No synopsis today - I think we all know the story of Superman, but in saying that there are a couple of spoilers.

The quintessential problem with Superman is that he is almost omniscient. He is stronger, faster, tougher, braver and better than everyone else. It is hard to identify with someone like that. But with this reboot they tackle that issue with Clarks alienation (no pun intended) from society. Even as a child he was different and that difference isolated him. 

The first act revealed Kypton, its culture, why it blew up, Supermans biological parents Jor-el and Lara Lor Van and setting up General Zod as the villain of the piece, and that Zack Synder used the same production team as  John Carter.  But the real story was in act two, which addresses the issues of Clark's place in the world.. Kevin Costner's and Diane Lane's chemistry with Dylan Sprayberry(young Clark) and Henry Cavill is good and very believable.  The scenes with them as a family  presented us the difficulties of Clark's lonely child hood. Both Diane Lane and Kevin Costner were awesome in their roles as the parents trying to protect and raise Superman to be the best man he could be. Jonathon  is deeply concerned that by revealing himself Clark will be in danger from a suspicious and fearful world,  he even sacrifices himself to protect his son.  These scenes were my favourite in the film, much more than the cgi battles that came later.

There a couple of Jesus references in the film. The first, where Clark discovers who is his, is an acceptable addition to the plot. The second in the third act is completely over the top.

I really liked the  non linear second act. It was unexpected and refreshing. The artificial lens flare, the use of a single camera and other techniques to give an nostalgic, hand held feel to the story which supported the scenes with Coster and Lane.The first act however seemed a little disjointed, but that could have been the rather stiff acting from the Krytonians.

I am not sure if for those scenes Zack Synder was ill and M. Night Shyamalan took over, but I thought the Kryptonians were all a bit staid. The exception  was Faora-Ul (Antje Traue), who I thought was a better villain than Zod (Michael Shannon) who was a little shallow. 

Amy Adams gave us  probably the best Lois lane ever, intelligent and independent.  This was a Lois Lane we could believe in as an investigative reporter. She came across as intelligent and  compassionate, and while yes Lois is a bit of a damsel in distress as a character, Adams maintained her dignity for the most part.

Henry Cavill is a very good Superman. We all had high hopes for Brandon Routh, but  that whole film was a bit of a let down, him included. Cavill is strong and brings a humanity to the role which engages us, set up by Costner and Lane, Cavill keeps us interested in Clarke Kent the man in the world. Something that the previous Superman movie tried to do but failed.  I think that success started with removing the undies from outside the costume.

The fight scenes were good, although with the massive destruction to Metropolis I wondered if New Yorkers were going to get PTSD with all the buildings coming down. It did seem to drag a little though, but the climax was superb.

Overall I enjoyed it. Some of the story didn't seem to make sense, but nothing that was jarringly bad. Cavill took his shirt off for the girls, and punched baddies for the guys so it was fun for everyone.  It was the story of a Superman in a real world, not a comic book world. And I think it worked

A few haters out there but I think this is the superman movie to see.  Six and a half caped monkeys from me.

PS don't touch Superman's mum.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. It's a decent movie and thoroughly enjoyable. Does it top the avengers or the dark knight? Not necessarily although it acheives what it set out to do: Entertain.