Movie Review: Man of Steel

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

The Last Son of Krypton returns to the big screen for the newest reboot of the Superman franchise, Man of Steel.  After the funny taste 2006’s Superman Returns left in audience’s and critic’s mouths, can Man of Steel redeem the series?  Will this be the movie of the summer or will it fall flat?

Early box office numbers reveal that Man of Steel is poised for a record breaking weekend after a $21 million opening night, besting last year’s Avengers’ $18.5 million opening night that propelled it to a $200 million opening weekend.

That initial success is well deserved.  Man of Steel has enough action and suspense to keep you clinging to your seat for the entire movie.  The fight scenes are excellent and make you realize how powerful Superman can truly be.

Henry Cavill does a remarkable job portraying Superman.  A surprisingly deep performance, Cavill is able to make the viewer relate to Superman in a way that few actors could.  You feel Superman’s disconnect from the rest of the world as he searches for answers to who he is, who his people are, and why he was sent to Earth.

Cavill aside, the stand-out performance of the film is Russell Crowe’s portrayal of Jor-El, Superman’s birth father.  This is Crowe’s finest performance since 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma.  Crowe gives Jor-El a depth of personality that viewers have never seen from this character.

The opposite side of the coin from Superman is Kryptonian General Zod.  The last remnant of now-destroyed Krypton, Zod is a man with one driving force—to protect the people of Krypton at any cost.  Portrayed by actor Michael Shannon, Zod is a villain that you actually feel for.  Behind the evil, Zod is capable of a drive to serve his people.  It would be respectable… if he wasn’t a genocidal maniac.

Hard-hitting reporter Lois Lane is portrayed by Amy Adams.  Adams has branched out from her previous roles in lighthearted movies such as Enchanted, Leap Year, and The Muppets to deliver the best Lois Lane performance the series has seen.

Director Zack Snyder is no stranger to either action films or comic book based movies, directing Watchmen, 300, and Sucker Punch.  Snyder’s wild and bold visual style perfectly mixes with the writing and production help of Christopher Nolan, who is best known for his work on the Batman trilogy and Inception.  Nolan brings a sharp sense of purpose to Snyder’s trademark visuals.

The plot and story to Man of Steel is solid but not perfect.  The movie starts on Krypton, but it’s a Krypton unlike any ever seen.  The planet has a much harsher environment than Earth’s.  Kryptonians no longer conceive children.  Rather, they opt in favor of genetically manufactured children bred for specific tasks.  A once brave and exploring race, Kryptonians have become reclusive.  This is a refreshing take on one of the duller aspects of the Superman mythos.

The plot gets around telling the story of how Superman grew up by using flashbacks to give Clark Kent character.  These flashback sequences aren’t executed perfectly, but are a good workaround to having a completely linear plot that tells the same story we all know.  However, the moments between adopted-father and son are some of the most touching moments in the film.

So, should you take the kids to see Man of Steel?  As always, that is up to YOU, parents.  However, here are some things you should consider.

Man of Steel is rated PG-13.

There is light-to-no sexuality in the film.

There is mild-to-strong “action” violence in the film.  Superman saves dozens of people from otherwise certain death.   The forces of Zod fight Superman hand-to-hand, kill soldiers and level part of a city.  There is very little blood and very few killings shown.

There are a few mild obscenities in the film.

The most visually pleasing summer 2013 movie yet, Man of Steel is the movie fans have been waiting for.  Man of Steel gets 4.5/5.

I believe a man can fly.

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