Man of Steel holds a very special place in my heart; it’s actually somewhat nostalgic for me in a way. I am a huge DC comics fan and have been for a while. I love the DC world so, so much, and the trailers for Man of Steel honestly were/and still are some of my favourites ever. I had never been so hyped for a film in my entire life (until Batman v Superman came around) when I was stepping into the cinema to watch Man of Steel. One of the strange ways I judge some films is by goosebumps and chills. If a film can give me a lot of goosebumps, it must be pretty darn good (seriously, I’ll get goosebumps whenever I see moments of great direction, acting, story, music, in any kind of film), and boy did Man of Steel give me goosebumps the first time I watched it. I left the theatre in a state of ecstasy, I just saw a glimpse of the DC universe I know and love put up on screen. I was beyond the moon and also slightly blinded by my sheer love for DC. Each of the over 10 time’s after that, I started to notice some of the flaws in the film, and I do acknowledge and have complaints about some aspects of the film, and I now think I have a pretty good, less unbiased view on it. Lets talk about it!
Henry Cavill as Superman was just a damn great casting choice because he, honestly, is without a doubt the best superman we have had since Christopher Reeve, and for me, he might be even better. We’ll have to see how he continues growing into the character, but in thid film he is really great. He pulls off the Clark Kent, the guy who is afraid and trying to find his place in the world, while also playing the Superman part extremely well. He is Superman for me at this point. Russell Crowe as Jor El is one of the first characters we are introduced to and he grabs us right away, his undying love and adoration for his son is seen, and his scenes on Krypton were something we had never seen before. I found them to be fantastic world building. Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Ma and Pa Kent are some of the best aspects of the film, as well. They play the caring mother and father of this alien so darn well, Costner being especially great in the flashback scenes involving young, lost, Clark.
The fractured storytelling makes the origin story refreshing and engaging, immediately separating itself from past Superman movies. The sequences of Clark growing up and trying to find himself in the world, his loneliness and isolation are all extremely well done and make Superman a complex and relatable hero. Even though he can do all these amazing feats and has extraordinary powers, he was brought up as human as possible in Smallville, Kansas. He wasn’t treated like a God, he has had humanity imprinted on him from the beginning and therefore he has human flaws and feelings.
As always, I have to talk about Hans Zimmer’s music in the film. It has been one of my favourite soundtracks since I saw the film. It’s so inspiring, epic and emotionally charged. It was always going to be hard following up John Williams iconic tune, but Hans brings a new level emotion to the soundtrack and elevates the movie. Some of my favourite tracks are Goodbye My Son, Terraforming, What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving The World and Flight.
Whilst the final fight between Zod and Supes, I think, is incredibly awesome, powerful and emotional, the over reliance on CGI is apparent and can make it seem very repetitive at times. There in lies one of my major problems with the film, the final fight would be so much more effective if there was more breathing space in the final hour. Man of Steel just needed some moments of slowing down and focusing on characters in the final hour. From the fight in Smallville to the end, it’s just non stop action, and it does get tiresome on the viewer. Although, the final fight is about 10x more awesome now that we know Bruce was watching the entire time. I love it how Batman V Superman is actually making Man of Steel better!
The cinematography can be extremely beautiful at times, and I think Zack Snyder’s directorial vision is superb. He has a great visual eye. But the cinematography in Man of Steel is not justified, I don’t necessarily like the shaky hand held cam and unmotivated quick zooms with the racking of focus. It makes this 200 Million dollar movie seem a bit cheap, to be completely honest, so I am glad that Snyder has gone back to his fluid Watchmen style in Dawn of Justice. It feels much more cinematic if it isn’t shaking and zooming every 5 seconds.