Over the weekend, I went to see Man of Steel, the new Superman movie directed by Zack Snyder. Despite the scads of negative reviews I'd been hearing, I was still stoked to see it, primarily because the previews showing the bleak obviously-not-Kansas setting and a seemingly depressed-looking Clark Kent really piqued my interest. I also knew that Snyder (300, Watchmen) was going to produce a visually beautiful movie no matter what, so I happily paid the price of a movie ticket, popcorn, and a slushie.
According to my husband, there were times when I was pretty much gawking at the screen. And I'm not surprised.
Man of Steel is a refreshing interpretation of the iconic American superhero we all think we're familiar with. I am thrilled that Snyder deviated from the formulaic "Clark Kent secretly cultivating his powers in his Kansas homestead, moving to Metropolis to become a reporter hiding behind horn-rimmed glasses, being THE boy scout goody-two-shoes superhero, and being utterly useless when faced with Kryptonite" plot line. In Henry Cavill's Kent, I saw more of the isolation and piercing loneliness that I always imagined an alien with superhuman powers stuck on Earth would really feel. Cavill captures the tortuous pensiveness that Kent is perpetually immersed in as he tries to grasp what it means to be who he is: a Kryptonian, a human, a son, a god among humans.
I thought that the casting was adequately done: my favorites being Cavill (of course) and Antje Traue who plays the only female, yet immensely badass Kryptonial soldier, Faora-Ul. As an Amy Adams fan, It hurts me to say this, but she didn't contribute much to her character (Lois Lane) or to the movie. In fact, I thought her tired and just plain. Michael Shannon was a frightful enough General Zod, but I think he should have pushed further to the point of irrationality or crazy rage.
All in all, Man of Steel was enjoyable to watch and even more fun to talk about. The graphics and effects were (nor surprisingly) exceptional and tasteful, though I do wonder how Metropolis could ever possibly rebuild itself after all that destruction. It's tricky to create a superhero movie that isn't fueled by the excessive action scenes that portray the clash of good vs evil. But the audience has to like the hero to cheer him on.
Man of Steel captures that balance of character building and jaw-opening action and has me eagerly waiting for the sequel.