My Review of Man of Steel (3D)(2013) (This review may contain spoilers)
Saw Man of Steel today! It was a packed auditorium. Went with a friend, he had a few friends with him as well. Now I got the seat to the extreme right- the last one, so I was a bit sad about not getting the best position, but anyway onto the review-
THE GOOD STUFF- Its a very good Superman movie, as a re-imagining that is!
Kaal-El's origin is deeply probed and dealt with.
- The reference to Corporation's (in reality) strip-mining our Earth's core for fuels and minerals, leading to a gradual destabilizing of our Core, which scientists are beginning to understand only now: the fact that its becoming a dangerous place for us to live-in is rightly hinted at!
- Russel Crowe makes for a strong Jor-El, in fact, the Krypton prologue is quite similar to Superman the animated adventures from WB[/SPOILER]. Most of the REALLY INSPIRING lines in the movie come from him, and the lines are SOLID; POWERFUL!!! There is a unspoken subtext of welling emotions between Jor-El and Kal-El [Show spoiler] , and that's really did strike me!
-Henry Cavill is very good as Kal-El/Clark/Superman. I personally feel though, that he could've done better!
-The best part of the movie is the relationship between Clark and Jonathan Kent (played with great subtlety, depth and power by the wonderful Kevin Costner)! This is the part that can make anybody cry. Their bond is the strongest in the film!
-Diane Lane is also good as Ma Kent, she exudes a strength, which I have always imagined the character to possess, right from the days I first laid my eyes of The Man of Steel by John Byrne(comics).She and Cavill also have a good bond!
-Amy Adams is good as Lois Lane (more on that below...)
- Lawrence Fishburne is really good as Perry White, never was I distracted or felt conscious of his performance. He was seamless- A no-nonsense Editor-in-chief! Rebecca Buller as Jenny Olsen was wonderful and sweet!
And Christina Wren gets a great line and makes the most of it- "I just think he's kinda hot."
-The Cinematography by Amir Mokri is very good in certain frames, and ordinary in others. Epic mostly, but never failing to be evocative and uplifting in certain others.
-I absolutely liked the subtle homages to some not-so famous panels from DC Comics versions of Superman, especially to John Byrnes' Man of Steel!
-Also The story is Really GOOD! The BEST origin story yet!
Now the things that BOTHERED ME-
-There are many emotional moments in the film, infact the entire movie is very emotional. But many of those moments are developed but do not have a satisfying closure-
-When H'Raka (as far as I remember ), the faithful Dragon-like creature of Jor-El gets fatally wounded and crash land on Jor-El's balcony, we don't see Jor-El even look at it, even for a small moment. I know its a plot device, but remember the Ukranian Ironbelly from Deathly Hallows part 2, that was also a plot device, but the emotions it generated in the audience had a satisfying closure. Here the scene quickly cuts away.
-In fact the cuts in the movie are odd enough to destroy many emotional buildups, which are essential since this movie promises it! In general the pacing of the movie, especially towards the beginning felt off, as if they wanted to skim off Krypton as fast as possible. I guess they were scared of boring the audience. But because of the pace, and the lack of emotional build-up in many scenes, the movie felt like a 90 mins picture, rather than 143 mins! It feels that the director was just going from one scene to another, the connection between scenes felt a bit forced, and made me conscious of it which a good movie doesn't. It didn't feel seamless!
-Ayelet Zurer didn't make me care much for Lara Lor-Van at all! She was so metallic, so lacing in warmth for a mother who has given birth to a son in the natural way for the first time in a thousand years. Where were her emotions that a mother would display at the prospect of parting with her only child??
She was very ordinary and uninspiring! Even Susannah York was like this in Superman (1978), ordinary and dry! The most emotionally powerful Lara has been an animated incarnation of hers- Superman:The Last Son of Krypton (animated)!
-Michael Shannon was OK as ZOD, but nothing striking or scene-stealing about him, really! He was good in the role, and he did the best he could with the material he was given! But I kept waiting for some Shannon Unleashed moment in vain. The Best scene of Shannon closing his eyes and screaming "NO!!!" which was in the trailer, was cut from the film. Its really criminal to let such a moment go away! I'm sure it would've been iconic, as it was in the trailers. Such a shame!
-Antje Traue as Faora was effective, she was absolutely ruthless and cold, like a rock! Sarah Douglas as Ursa in Superman 2(1980) was slightly better in my opinion as she got to express a bigger range of emotions!
-Amy Adams despite being very much Lois Lane-is, looks aged and way more maturer tha Henry Cavill. Lois Lane looks more like Clark's older sister than his girlfriend. Amy Adams looks more livelier and younger in the TV Interviews. Also she looked slightly chubbier, but that's besides the point! Its a minor issue, though I have no idea what'd happen when Man of Steel 3 releases 10 years later. She'll be 50 and Henry would still be 40. On Amy's side, age may not be too kind!
_Also I did not feel their chemistry in a significant way. Did not feel their connection a lot. She is presented as more mature than Clark, and a lot protective of him- as I said, they have that older sister-younger SUPER-brother vibe.
-The movie gets a little convoluted and twisted in the end, which didn't gel too well with the flow of the movie, in my opinion.
-The fight sequences were overlong, and were becoming monotonous. There are quite a few references to the fight between Christopher Reeve's Superman and Terrence Stamp's Zod from Superman 2! Hardcore Superman(1978) fans shouldn't fail to notice them!
The Rest of the cast - not much to talk about!
LARGELY UNINSPIRING, overly repetitive, very ordinary! Where is the grandeur that his past scores had, be it The Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons, or Sherlock Holmes, Pirates of The Carribean, The Last Samurai,
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, or The Dark Knight compositions???
The magic Zimmer touch is very much lacking here. There is noting I heard in the cinema that's worth remembering much, that I hadn't heard in the trailers before. There are some softer evocative flows though which are good, but they're not touching enough! This is a movie that should be carried shoulder-to-shoulder by its musical compositions, and here it fails to shine!
-The last thing that bugged me was the blatant Americanism-
When Superman destroys a Drone (the ones that are killing innocent people in the Islamic nations everyday) General Swanwick asks him- "How do we know you won't go, in the future, against American interest?" To which Superman replies-"General, I was raised here in Kansas. I am 'bout as American as they get." Now I always saw Superman as Universal, not just standing for one-country. If the American Government becomes evil(which I am worried is a not-so-distant possibility>Drones, Surveillance of public, targeting its own citizens, poking their nose into other countries in the name of the so-called "War on Terror"???). Superman is an Universal force for good, not a flag bearer for the American-Government(which it ironically did in another movie where he fought against ZOD)
- THE 3D-
Moderate depth, not much pop. Overall, a soothing watch, not distracting. I recommend it because I liked it. The 3D doesn't draw attention to it! But its definitely not a strong 3D conversion. But the moderate level is appropriate for a large-scale movie like this because the 3D helps immerse the audiences in the story rather than the Visuals! But anybody watching the 2D won't miss too much, I think, though I haven't watched it in that format! The flying scenes are the ones that benefit slightly from the 3d conversion, but as I said before, the extra dimension has a comfy, soothing effect and not distracting at all!
-THE INSPIRING ELEMENT-
The greatest gift of the movie, for everyone is that it is Very inspiring, filled with HOPE, and POSITIVE!
Watch it and you'll feel good, if you're receptive to goodness that is!
At its fundamental level its NOT a movie about a MESSIAH sent from BEYOND,
but the BASIC GOODNESS, VIRTUE, and BEAUTY that ALL OF US have within US! And WE CAN ALL harness those forces to make a change for the better, to our lives and to those of others!
Plus it tries to make the sensitive person aware of issues dogging our own Mother Earth- The ruthless Corporatisation and commercialisation of our world,
the destruction of Nature,
the Strip-Mining of the planets natural resources to the point where the Earth's Core has become unstable already- Frequency of Tsunamis, earthquakes, other natural disasters!
The damage to the atmosphere and the poisoning of the water sources are showing its devastating symptoms already- The Hurricanes etc.
Man of Steel is a cautionary tale (the Doom of Krypton), and a wake-up-call for all of us to be a force of change in a world that's being RAPED right in front of our eyes by GREEDY Corporate Mobsters and even The Governments of more or less each and every country, who are corrupted by Power! Just as
Clark harnesses the KAL-EL or GOD within ( The Hebrew meaning of "EL" is GOD!)
Thus a Child from the house of "GOD" who is raised as a HUMAN becomes the greatest force of GOOD and HOPE in this world.
Similarly, we are all created in "GOD's IMAGE".
So We like KAL, Created in GOD's image, are BORN as HUMANs, and we can equally be a similar force of GOOD for OUR WORLD. We just have to harness the "GOD" within us!
ITS Time to Shake away our apathy and take Charge of our lives, with renewed vigour and ZEAL, and above all LOVE and POSITIVITY, so that we can provide the MUCH NEEDED HOPE to those who are week.
So That we can show them the way. So that we can Inspire them to come out of their closets and join us in the Sun!
We'll Stumble, we'll fall, but we'll RISE nonetheless!