Superman Begins: Man of Steel review

Posted: June 14, 2013 in fun

I have made a few blogs about training to achieve a physique like Henry Cavil in Man of steel, now a film review:

man-of-steel-poster-2

I was lucky enough to attend an advanced screening of Man of Steel, and my biggest worry was that it would not live up to expectations. To be honest I think I’ll have to see it again to properly gauge how it matched my anticipation.

It is a very fun film, and it is also very much a science-fiction film, which we should probably expect, but coming from the creative team who worked to hard to make Batman grounded in reality, this one does not try to hide its fantasy elements.

The film opens on Krypton as Kal-El is born to Jor-El and Lara. Shortly after Jor-El is appealing to the Krypton elders to evacuate their dying planet. Supposedly they have exhausted their planets natural resources, and as a result the planet itself will implode.

In the midst of this, General Zod is attempting a coup to overthrow the elders and preserve the Kryptonian future in his own way. This leads to a confrontation between Zod and Jor-El as he is in the process of evacuating his son — which brings up my first couple of problems with the movie:

Jor-El swims through this lake of embryos to get something called the “codex” which is what Zod plans to use to rebuild the Kryptonian race… the thing is, if this was so vital to Zod’s plan, and so easy to obtain it’s a bit of a stretch to think that Krypton’s greatest tactical leader would not have the foresight to secure it before barging in on the council.

As Kal-El’s parents are putting him into the space pod the dialogue between Jor-El and Lara is eerily similar to the conversation in Superman: the movie. Since they were trying so hard to set this movie apart from the previous series, I was a bit disappointed in this choice.

Next, as Jor-El is evacuating Kal-El, he reveals that Kal is the first natural birth in centuries, which sends Zod in to a rage, screaming “Heresy!”. Now to be fair, this might just be an under developed plot point, but there are issues here… first of all it is unclear if this has been done with the blessing of the elders or not. The elders are clearly against evacuating the planet, so they are probably not wise to Jor-El sending his son away. So this suggests that Jor-El is rebelling against the council, which seems to be exactly what makes Zod a villain. Furthermore, if it is such heresy on Krypton to have a natural birth that would mean that Lara would have to have hid her pregnancy for nine months, which alone seems a bit of a stretch.

Moments after Kal-El is shipped off, General Zod is captured by Krypton authorities, tried and shipped to the phantom zone… now this had me scratching my head at the time.  These guys have the resources and ability to ship these criminals to safety yet they will not evacuate their law-abiding citizens somewhere safe?

The story flashes forward to Clark Kent’s adult life, where he is on what I believe is a crab fishing boat. It actually only took a couple of minutes for them to stick a big fat flaw in… Clark is in the path of a falling crab cage, when one of his fellow fishermen dives at him football style knocking him out of the way to “safety”. You cannot knock down the man of steel! in fact not long after this, a gruff trucker tries to hit Clark and bounces off of him… moving on…

Adult Clark moves from place to place while we get glimpses of his childhood where he struggles with being different and having to keep his abilities secret for mankind’s own good. It is very similar in structure to Batman Begins, but that worked well for Batman, so you can’t really fault them for trying this format with Superman… mind you if they make Green Lantern begins I’ll be livid.

Clark (who is calling himself Joe) crosses paths with Lois Lane at a military site where they have discovered something very curious… why the military decides to indulge top-secret information to a reporter is beyond me, but feels a little bit like shameless exposition.

Now I’ll be honest, I’m a bit confused by what follows but maybe I just need to see it again. I believe this anomaly that the military found was a scout ship that was sent to Earth by Jor-El in advance of sending Kal-El — I’m not totally sure about what it is doing on the other side of the planet from where they sent him nor how Clark even found it, but hopefully in time I’ll understand that bit too.

Anyway, this is a ship that Clark flies away in to be instructed by Jor-El and be given his Krytonian garb… which is really cool, except that the first few times we see him, the low-cut top makes his upper-chest hair look like an escaping spider the first few times we see him. It was pretty distracting on an Imax screen.

The final third of the movie is just balls-to-the wall action… and this is where the movie really comes into its own.  It was nice to see Krypton foes mercilessly bashing the crap out of one another. And unlike Superman II, Superman wasn’t preoccupied with saving all the citizens from falling debris, which was a welcomed change, instead he was beating and being beaten on an epic level.

I really think the measure of how good this film is will be the sequel. Can Man of Steel improve on itself the way the Dark Knight series did? I think the potential is definitely there!

Related:

Super Hero Physique
superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

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