Five years since Marvel kicked off their universe it is speculated what their comic rival DC Comics would do. We’ve seen the original Adam West Batman, the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher Batman films (no one wants to remember the bat nipples, in fact can we erase that from our memories?), Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, the original Superman with Christopher Reeve and Superman Returns (he should have stayed in space). But now that a culminative universe is possible, will the greatest heroes ever created take their shot? If history tells us anything, does DC even need to create this overarching storyline told over a decade and end with a crescendo of a big bad villain?
No, they don’t. historically, their character’s have worked rather successfully in their own universes told in a way that the characters don’t need to rely on other characters to support the story the storytellers are putting on film. But the Marvel machine and success is enough for the best to change their minds. It’s always a spectacle whenever a new actor is picking up the mantle of James Bond, Batman or even Superman. This time was no different – and at the helm of this project titled Man of Steel, which is the first Superman film to not have Superman in the title is visionary director Zack Snyder.
Just like The Dark Knight is the first Batman film to not have Batman in the title, Man of Steel is another origin story of a hero we all have either seen or at least know of that character’s origin before. The history of Krypton that’s portrayed by Snyder also serves as the destruction of Kal-El’s (Henry Cavill) home. This destruction also sets up the antagonist General Zod (Michael Shannon) and the differences in philosophies between him and Jor-El (Russell Crowe). Kal-El is the key to the Kryptonians survival being the first natural born baby in centuries.
“You just have to decide what kind of a man you want to grow up to be, Clark; because whoever that man is, good character or bad, he’s… he’s gonna change the world.”
Zod and Jor-El’s struggle in the opening act sets up the tone for how the film plays out because their development is well thought out and their vastly different motivations are explained thoroughly. What makes a great villain is not only the fact that he or she can measure up to the hero in ways that an actual struggle is presented but what makes a great villain is the development and why they’re taking certain precautions and acting the way they do.
This is where Marvel and Dc has its differences – at least for this film. Zod easily outweighs 90% of all MCU villains. Zod wants Krypton to survive, His views are harsh but traditional whereas Jor-El is more progressive and forward thinking. Both characters are similar as they will do whatever it takes to make the survival of Krypton happen but go about it in vastly different ways. Clark on the other hand, being an alien sent to earth has to be careful. He can’t show his power otherwise he’ll be an outcast taken in by the government, studied and controlled. Clark’s mother and father Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) understood this from when Clark was a child.
Jonathan instilled morality into Clark at a young age. Man of Steel asks the tough question of what would you do if you had superpowers and had to save your fellow classmates lives from drowning in a bus? Would you risk the exposure thus saving everyone or let everyone die to protect your secret? Zack Snyder plays this out in a series of flashbacks that only test Clarks willpower. The most significant one is the tornado scene.
“I grew up in Kansas, General. I’m about as American as it gets.”
Clark has to make the tough choice to do nothing and that pain is felt by the incredible performance by Henry Cavill. All of these lessons Jonathan teaches Clark mold him to become the man he turns out and in turn making him the ultimate good verse Zod’s evil. Where a lot of people see the negative of this film is in the final act – the fight for Metropolis. Zod’s plan is extreme but, in his eyes, he sees it as a necessity for Krypton to survive. Clark’s struggle is presented well when going up against Zod. He must stop him at any cost and the pain he feels is heartbreaking in the fact that it took every ounce of strength to stop Zod.
Clark and Lois Lane’s (Amy Adams) relationship is interesting. We all know they will get together eventually but she’s not the damsel in distress. Instead Lois holds her own in every situation she’s thrown into whether it’s following a complete stranger in a tunnel of ice or fighting back against Kryptonians on their ship. Amy Adam’s gives a strong performance as Lois that can stand up to Henry’s.
Overall, Man of Steel is one of the most underrated comic book films of all time. It’s underappreciated and unlike anything we’ve gotten from the past iterations of the character. Zack Snyder’s visuals and directing style are clear and present and they add to the overall feeling and mood this film gives off. Man of Steel is a fantastic step in the right direction for DC after the Dark Knight trilogy giving fans “S” (get it?) for a connected universe. If I were to rate Man of Steel, I’d rate it a 4.5 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Man of Steel and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Man of Steel is directed by Zack Snyder is Rated PG-13 and has an 56% on Rotten Tomatoes. Man of Steel was released on June 14, 2013 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 28 minutes. Man of Steel can be streamed on HBO Max or purchased on Retailers such as iTunes, Google, & Vudu.
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