The superhero genre of movies has undergone a big change over the last 10 years. Spiderman was the first movie to break the mould in 2002 and set the tone for what we now take as the formula of a modern superhero movie. It’s odd to think that not that long ago, the brilliantly campy horror that was Batman Forever was the epitome of a superhero movie from the 90s. Come the 00s, there was a notable shift in the way superheroes were presented. The idea of making characters more human and providing us an insight into their origin stories were a fresh take for the new millennium.
Hot off the back of the amazing Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel definitely feels like a movie taken from the Nolan mould and it’s not hard to believe. The Inception and Dark Knight director is on board as the Producer of this latest reboot and after the not so well received Superman Returns, Warner Bros. Studios desperately needed a fresh take on its flagship franchise.
I could easily give the plot away, but I won’t as I’ve quite a reputation of doing that. What I will tell you though is that the movie was definitely a good superhero movie. The back-story it provided into Clark Kent and ‘Kal-El’ definitely suited Zack Snyder’s vision and marks a departure from the Salkind’s Superman and a very big shift from what we saw from the attempted reboot, Superman Returns.
I also feel that Man of Steel’s back story suited the potentially refreshed franchise much better as it provided a better cinematic look at the elements that various television adaptations have attempted to provide. The scenes with Kevin Costner were definitely tear jerking and I might go as far as saying that I shed a tear when Jonathan Kent’s death happened. I could sense that a deep appreciation of the source material successfully made the transition to the big screen with Man of Steel.
The father son relationship between Jor-El and Clark was also done in a very smart way, Russell Crowe seems to definitely channel his inner Marlon Brando and pulls off a decent portrayal throughout the movie. Crowe, much like Amy Adams seemed to have been relegated to more of a background role than up front with all of the action. That said, it was easy to see that the character was placed to provide a paternal moral compass that would shape Clark into becoming a better rounded character.
Amy Adams portrays Lois Lane in a very modern manner too. Independent, upbeat and proactive at the right moments despite the situations she’s in. It felt as though there wasn’t enough use of the character across the movie, instead feeling as though she was getting in the way or becoming the typical damsel in distress. The moment where she is attacked by an on board computer whilst trying to take a picture of it was a bit too obvious.
My biggest qualm with the movie has to be with the Snyder’s Krypton. Perhaps I’ve been conditioned into expecting it to look rather futuristic and crystal laden but Man of Steel’s Krypton was more of a fantasy landscape from Game of Thrones than a DC Comic. It’s understandable that the series sets up Krypton as a much more advanced race but it channelled a Krypton that was far too different for my liking.
Krypton aside, a strong point I think might go unnoticed in other movie reviews is the soundtrack to the movie. I’m a big believer that the background music that can change something tense into something funny plays a much larger role than we think it does. I left the cinema attempting to remember the more fast paced bits of the movie and the only way I could do that was thinking back to what I’d just heard. On closer inspection the one and only Hans Zimmer composed the spectacular soundtrack. Something I didn’t realise at all despite themes of it sounded suspiciously familiar to Inception’s Mombassa.
For a movie hoping to pump some fresh interest into an old superhero, Man of Steel can definitely tick that box. Warner Bros. may be using it as its step into an amalgamated superhero movie with its Justice League but I’d like to see more Superman before that. The light glimpses of LexCorp and Wayne Industries definitely might be an indication of plot lines to come.