A brilliant retelling of Superman's origin in a whole new direction
Alright so after a day I finally got to see the Zack Snyder directed 2013 Superman reboot 'Man of Steel'.
Let me start by saying that Superman is undoubtedly THE most popular superhero ever imagined and the flagship character of DC Comics (although the Dark Knight happens to hog a lot of the spotlight these days) and Superman represents the maximum potential within us - he is everything we can become, everything positive we can achieve. We saw a lot of movies in the past which portray the Man of Steel just as we expected, the bright blue boy scout doing his thing. A lot of people complained that the movie had no soul but ideally, I think that is a good thing. As cliched as a Superman origin can get, this movie set forth in a whole new direction paved by Snyder and Nolan and IT WORKED! And let me tell you that no superhero's origin has been retold more often than Supe's (with no noticeable changes) and I did not expect this movie to be grim and dark like the Dark Knight movies. And finally - do remember the bar is set pretty damn high because this is Superman we're talking about, when everyone is going to have sky high expectations - and pleasing everyone is not an easy task. So let's get right into it..
The casting was top notch. Henry Cavill was an apt choice and he was as good a choice as Robert Downey Jr was to play Tony Stark. The acting was overall amazing, Russel Crowe as Jor-El, Michael Shannon as General Zod and Amy Addams as Lois Lane (forgiving the different hair colour) - every one of them nailed their roles. There was the lack of Clark/Lois romance, but then again - no complaints, we've all seen that since 1979 and there was a whole TV show dedicated to Lois and Clark. Clark Kent's parents played their parts very well - Jonathan Kent making his son feel every bit human.
Now the plot was pretty average and they modified Superman's origin a bit - make the story more fluid, making General Zod kill Jor-El and the whole codex part, and ofcourse using Zod as the antagonist in the first place is a bold move instead of conventional Lex Luthor. Now, the movie felt just like a 'Superman Begins', uncovering all of his past, who is Kal-El? What happened to Krypton? Why is he so strong? Why was he sent to Earth?
The CGI was AMAZINGLY good, Snyder probably took a page out of Michael Bay's book. Anyhow, the graphics and the whole presentation of Krypton was very neat, we know what kind of environment the planet had, how its inhabitants lived and so on, we saw more of Kal-El's home planet here and ofcourse - there's the flight scenes and the fight scenes. A lot of these moments had me hanging, on the edge of my seat. The trailers themselves were so damn good, gave me goose flesh. The battle with Zod was very very satisfying - two superpowered beings in a fight to death causing mindless destruction leaving Metropolis in ruins.
Another aspect that took the movie to a whole other level was Hans Zimmer's heart-pumping background score, which made Superman's flight scenes only so much better!
Finally, I think the movie did justice to the franchise and this was a movie that DC's flagship character deserved. This was not a very conventional Superman movie - this did not show him stopping trains or speeding bullets, it was every inch a Superman Begins movie. It shows his transition - from alien outcast to the world's strongest and most loved superhero. A couple of things that bothered me:
Jonathan Kent's death. It did not instill any emotions in me like it did in the old Superman when he died of a heart attack. Here, he dies in a cyclone attack and Clark simply stands and watches as his Earth-father dies in the middle of a tornado. Why? Because his father told him it is important for him to conceal his true identity because Earth's people weren't ready and Clark trusted his father's judgement. But, really? Is the Superman we've read about in the comic books? Would Superman really care about his identity if it meant saving his father?
And the climax, where Superman snaps Zod's neck. It didn't feel very Superman-ish but then again, the whole movie was dark and grim. I'd say wherever the story lacks soul it makes up by excellent acting and screenplay, the amazing visuals and the music.
At the end of the day Snyder took a whole new direction with the Superman reboot and for me - it worked and I loved it! It was a very satisfying fast-paced superhero movie that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the 2 hours. Here I am now, hungry for a sequel and possibly a Justice League movie later!