Bringing Superman into the 21st Century
I've been a fan of Superman for as long as I can recall, having grown up watching the 90's Animated series, and the earlier films, and although Batman became my favourite superhero, Superman isn't far behind. The more recent Superman films have not been kind to the Man of Tomorrow, with Superman Returns, and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace being very poor, and Superman III also not being too great. This however is the perfect time to rectify that.
When Krypton starts to destroy itself Jor-El sends his only son to Earth. After growing up on Earth, Clark Kent searches for the truth about his real parents and where he's from, and becomes Superman. His first task however is to stop the vengeful General Zod.
This was a phenomenal film, and possibly the best Superman film to date. Now it's not really fair to compare this film to the Christopher Reeves films, as both are from different times, and are truly different films. This film was however very different to any Superman film I've seen before, and that was nice, as things can get a bit repetitive if they stick to the same blueprint. With director of the Dark Knight Trilogy, Christopher Nolan on as producer, as well as Dark Knight Trilogy writers, David S. Goyer, and Jonathan Nolan writing the script, as well as Watchmen, and 300 director Zack Snyder directing, I had high hopes that I'd get the Superman film that I've long wanted to see, and I wasn't disappointed. The film had everything from emotion, to action in it, and was handled perfectly. I also loved how the film was laid out, having flashbacks to Clark's childhood instead of starting there. This did however cause the film to be slightly slow at the start, but with it being the first one that's expected, and needed, and the prolonged action near the end more than made up for it.
Besides the direction, and script, the cast is one of the key things to a brilliant comic book film, and this one had a fantastic cast. Prior to seeing the film I wasn't too sure if every cast member would suit their role, but now that I've seen the film I have to say that they've done an excellent job, and it would have been hard for anyone to have done better. Henry Cavill was brilliant as Superman, and although I always thought that he'd do a good job, he did an excellent one, and really suited the role. I also really liked how we finally got a muscular Superman, as it really made the Man of Steel look the strong being that he is. Amy Adams also did a fantastic job of playing Lois Lane, and although I wasn't originally sure whether she'd pull it off, she played the part perfectly, showing the determination that Lois has, whilst also showing that she's good natured. Another actor who I wasn't sure whether he'd fit his role or not was Michael Shannon as Zod, but he did a fantastic job, and I can't think of anyone who could have done better. Superman's two father's, Jor-El played by Russell Crowe, and Jonathan Kent played by Kevin Costner were also perfectly cast, and these two former Robin Hood's did an excellent job at playing Superman's two very different fathers. The rest of the cast was also brilliant, with Laurence Fishburne being perfect as Perry White, and Diane Lane doing an excellent job as Martha Kent, and overall this film had a spectacular cast.
The start of this film spent a lot of time showing the demise of Krypton, as well as the birth of Kal-El, and Zod's rebellion. I loved that we got to see some of Krypton at the start of this film, as with CGI graphics being as good as they are now it's the perfect time to show this futuristic word in all it's glory, and then take it all away in a explosive destruction. I also liked how due to this we got to see a lot more of Jor-El, and that we actually got to see him fight, which was nice, and really made the start of the film that much more exciting. I also really loved the design of the Kryptonian's cloth's, as well as the design of the planet itself, as everything looked amazing, and wonderful, and I'm glad that the film took the time to show this.
A good portion of the start of the film would show Clark travelling around the world, trying to find the truth about his parents, and where he's from. Again it was nice that the film took the time to show us this, and although it did slow it down a bit, it was well worth it. I also felt that this was a very different approach for a Superman film, and origin, as most telling's of Superman's origin have him find the Fortress of Solitude easily, and learning of his heritage that way, whereas this was a much more realistic take (for a Superman film that is), and very unique. It was also nice that these scenes had drama, and emotion in them, which made it's slow pace even more appropriate.
This film would see a slightly different look for Superman, as although he was still in the blue suit, with red boots, and cape, with a red S on his chest, the suit was still very unique, and different from the version that we've seen in other films, TV series, or comics. I loved this look, and the design was simply marvellous. I really liked the gold trim around the sides, and the gold buckle in the middle, and how it took a page from the New 52 re-design by removing the red pants, making it look much more modern. I also loved how the S, and it's gold backing had a metallic tint to it, making it stand out at times, which was really nice, and impactful.
The villain in this film would be vengeful Kryptonian, General Zod, who along with his army of Phantom Zone escape's come to Earth in search of Kal-El. Now Zod is a villain that I've always enjoyed, and I much prefer him to the more popular Superman villain, Lex Luthor. I also love that due to him also being from Krypton, as is his army, it gives a more equal opponent for Superman to face. As I said earlier, Michael Shannon played Zod perfectly, and you could really see the viciousness, and malice that's built up in him. Another thing that I've liked about Zod over the years, and Shannon showed this perfectly is that although he's evil, and callus, he appears to have the best interests of Krypton at heart, seeing his work as the greater good. His army was also very interesting, and the design of their armour, was also amazing, as was all the costume designs.
It was announced prior to this film that there would be no Kryptonite in it, which had a lot of fans worried. Added to that there were some fans that weren't happy about the fact that Lex Luthor wouldn't be in it. Although I wasn't too bothered about this prior to going to see the film, after watching it I have to say that the film was better for dropping these. I say that as all but one of the previous Superman films has featured Lex Luthor, so do we really need to see him again so soon. Also the general go to thing when trying to weaken Superman is Krytonite, which again makes the films slightly repetitive, and although I'm not comparing this film to any of the others, I felt it was brilliant how they managed to come up with a different way of evening the playing field between Zod, and Superman.
Finally I come to the action, and the fight between Superman, and Zod. Now I won't go into details during this section as to avoid spoilers, but as usual I will say what I though about both. The action itself was nothing short of phenomenal, with the last hour (possibly more) being packed full of amazing action, and excitement. What I loved most about the action however was that although it was basically non-stop, it was very diverse, and kept moving at a wonderful pace, never getting dull, or feeling prolonged, which was wonderful. The fight between Superman, and Zod was no different, as these two warriors went at it tooth, and nail, in what was a very entertaining, and exciting fight, which also had a bit of emotion to it. I also felt that the dialogue during this fight was perfect, and really made the fight not only flow smoother, but also more dramatic, and dynamic.
Finally we have the Superman film we deserve. This film had a lot of action, and emotion, as well as being very dramatic. The team behind this film truly did a fantastic job, bringing the Man of Steel into the 21st century, and I can't wait too see what they'll do in the sequel. The acting in this film was also very strong, and the costume, and set designs were also perfect. I'd highly recommend this film, and although this was phenomenal, I have a feeling that we've still to see the best from Superman in films.