OK, so I just got around to watching Zach Snyder’s ambitious “Man of Steel“. I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant to cough up my $12 after having read mixed reviews of the film but noticed that many critics seemed more turned off by the darkening of the good old Superman film formula first brought to the screen by the smiley-faced Christopher Reeve in Richard Donner’s “Superman” in 1978.
Well, as in the case of Frank Miller giving Batman a newer darker identity in his classic “Dark Knight” series of comics back in 1986, I thought that perhaps this Man of Steel would be far more interesting than the tamer versions of the Superman character offered up by Christopher Reeve and, more recently, Brandon Routh in 2006’s “Superman Returns“. That Christopher Nolan served as one of the film’s producers thickened the plot considerably.
Here are several of my most immediate observations on the film:
1. I will never leave Mrs. Perez alone with a shirtless Henry Cavill. Not for a second.
2. Michael Shannon’s General Zod wasn’t half as good as Terrence Stamp’s Zod from “Superman II” (1980). One of the great screen villains of all time.
3. The relationship between Superman and Lois Lane was awkward and poorly developed (as was a good portion of the script).
4. I was getting tired of seeing Russell Crowe pop in to the film what seemed like every ten minutes.
5. Nice to see Kevin Costner again – he was terrific.
6. All the makeup in Hollywood can’t make Diane Lane look old and worn. She’s a beauty.
7. Zach Snyder & Co surely had as much fun spending the film’s budget on over the top special effects as Floyd Mayweather does “making it rain” at a strip club.
8. By the end of the movie, I felt like I was watching a Michael Bay film.
9. “Man of Steel” was easily 20 minutes longer than it had to be.
10. Despite the film’s many shortcomings, the filmmakers here get major points for giving the sleepy Superman film series a major kick in the ass. It was risky and ambitious and it worked more often than not – especially in the dramatic scenes. And the orgy of CGI did produce some pretty spectacular action sequences.
I was never a fan of Christopher Reeve as Superman (he bored the hell out of me) and the best film of that series was when Stamp stole the show as Zod in “Superman II”. 2006’s “Superman Returns” was a lackluster remake that continued the Lex Luthor/Kryptonite formula that, for me, needs to be locked away and the key destroyed.
Overall, “Man of Steel” offers a promising redux of a superhero in desperate need of a more serious side…and a cooler costume.
Well worth seeing. Nuff said.