“Aw, Superman, come back. We promise we won’t stare at your penis anymore. These aliens are really strong.”
If you’re debating whether to catch Man of Steel and are on a time-crunch, let me save you a pile of nerd words and say, yes, go see it. Because even though it’s not quite the Superman movie people have been hoping for after Superman Returns, and I’m about to nitpick the hell out of it, it does start out full of promise and potential that you almost don’t completely zone out once the whole thing becomes a CGI pinball game with characters loosely resembling the ones you saw earlier played by actors. It’s also not quite the well-crafted reboot Batman Begins was, despite huge similarities thanks to sharing the same writer and Christopher Nolan producing, but it does come close before Zach Snyder basically goes, “Eh, that’s enough stories. Just throw him at shit.”
A Note on Spoilers: I’m going to try and keep things relatively spoiler-free which shouldn’t be too hard considering there really aren’t any major spoilers at all. In fact, the only way there are spoilers are if you read the few hardcore nerd sites floating around rumors that not everything that generally happens in the Superman mythos happens. All bullshit. This thing is by-the-numbers for the most part, but not completely to its detriment. That said, I will address how one mythos event plays out because it’s too fucking ridiculous for me to ignore.
The Shit That Worked:
- Henry Cavill. Absolutely nailed Superman. He has the right presence and the right delivery without being burdened with aping Christopher Reeve. Although, he does look like a lot like Smallville‘s Tom Welling at points which was odd. Anyway, I see a lot of reviews calling Man of Steel “soulless” which I can kind of understand after the last hour, but you do actually get to see a Superman who gets angry, happy, conflicted, and genuinely trying to figure out what the fuck he’s supposed to do with himself and just how far his powers can go. As for dude-bro/conservative anti-British fears that this will be a “pussy Superman” because he was handcuffed in the first poster, that was the money scene for me and exactly the moment when I would’ve bent right over for Henry Cavillthis movie. The movie.
- Russell Crowe. Considering the only cinematic version we’ve seen of Jor-El was a Marlon Brando who desperately wanted to be replaced by a bagel – God, that man was a legend. – it really wouldn’t be hard to show a more dynamic version of Superman’s biological father, and holy shit, was Russell Crowe that. In fact, his role was so expanded, he basically devoured Kevin Costner’s Pa Kent. And possibly even tried to literally. Who’s to say?
- Krypton. As much as I’ve bitched already about the CGI, the opening sequence with Krypton was clearly where the money went. Not only do we get to see a more complex, visually stunning version of Superman being rocketed to Earth as a baby, but I’d easily watch a whole movie about Russell Crowe’s Zor-El doing space science and fucking up KryptonNEWS.GNOM.ES who touch his space beakers. You won’t like him when you touch his space beakers.
- Basically everything until the Battle of Smallville. Like I mentioned before, Man of Steel really starts off great. Damn near incredible even. Between Krypton and the pitch-perfect flashbacks (save one), it was to the point where I was sitting there in the theater going, “This is it. This is the definitive comic book movie.” And then just like that, “Haha! Fooled you. Everything blows up now.” It was like somebody flipped a switch from Batman Begins toTransformers 2 and never looked back.
Newport International Group: A Review of ‘Man of Steel’