Monday, February 3, 2014

Review: The Man of Steel

I recently watched the Man of Steel movie, the latest big-screen version of Superman.  I will start by saying that Superman has never been my favorite super-hero.  He’s always been too over-powered and that makes him dull because it’s so hard to really challenge him in a fight.  Neither is his personality incredibly interesting, because again, he doesn’t seem to struggle with anything.  He’s great at his job, he gets the girl, he’s adored by his public and idolized by the other super-heroes.  However, I must acknowledge that Superman is the granddaddy of them all, the first super-hero! Without him, it is possible that nothing about the modern genre would ever have evolved.  And also, there have been some extremely good Superman stories told in print and other media.  So—is Man of Steel another good Superman story?

Yes!  I really liked the movie.  I would say that it is the second best Superman movie ever.  I’m sure almost everyone would agree that Christopher Reeve’s Superman-The Movie from the 1970’s was the best.  Unlike some fans, I think the Reeve movie has some pretty big flaws. I don’t have time to go into those flaws right now, but perhaps you could “read my mind”.  Anyway, Man of Steel has some flaws, also.  Particularly the costume, while not horrible, just isn’t to my liking.  I really wish movies would go back to the days of trying to make costumes look like the comics.  The other big flaw in my opinion was the way Lois Lane figured out Clark’s secret. Sure, it shows how good a reporter she is, but it was still too easy and it goes against the tradition that Superman was one mystery she could never figure out.

The really good parts of the movie more than make up for the bad, however.  I really liked Jor-El and the scenes on Krypton.  Clark’s background on Earth is also very well done, even if I prefer the versions of Superman where his parents are still alive when he’s an adult.  Also, Zod’s motive behind his actions is well done, as we have a villain who doesn’t see himself as evil, just as a protector of his own people.  It made me sympathetic for his plight and I wished he could have come to realize his solution was very wrong.  Finally, I liked the final fate of Zod.  Superman doesn’t want to take Zod’s life, but Zod forces his hand, and we see how much it upsets Clark.  I’m hoping the next Superman movie is at least as good as Man of Steel!  The big guy deserves to be treated this well.

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