Man of Steel – Review

4/5 – Up, up and away!

I liked The Man of Steel a lot. I was actually surprised by how much I liked it, based on the amount of nerd rage that was swirling around the internet the weekend the movie opened. The majority of the rage seems to be focused on three parts of the movie. I’m going to be going into all these parts, but they involve SPOILERS, so if you haven’t seen The Man of Steel yet, don’t read past this shirtless photo of Henry Cavill!

The main thing in Man of Steel that seems to have Superman fans’ crimson panties in a bunch is Superman killing Zod. He didn’t banish Zod back to the Phantom Zone. Zod didn’t die accidentally, or in a situation out of Superman’s control. Superman had to make the choice to kill Zod or let Zod kill a family with his heat vision, and he chose to kill Zod.

Superman should have killed Zod just because of that facial hair.

A lot of people have labeled The Man of Steel a darkening of Superman’s story. I don’t think that label fits this movie, unless we’re talking about the actual lighting in the movie. I’m serious. Even on a bright, sunny day, the lighting seems subdued. This may have had to due with me seeing it in 3D. Every movie looks darker in the 3D version for some reason. But even if the trailer, Smallville looked like it was covered in perpetual cloudiness.

People are calling this is a dark movie, mainly because Superman kills. But Superman doesn’t kill wantonly. He’s no Punisher. In the one case where he intentionally take an enemy’s life, his back is to the wall. It’s kill Zod or let Zod kill innocents. Superman can barely restrain Zod at this point. If he didn’t kill Zod, those innocents’ blood would be on Superman’s hands almost as much as they would have been on Zod’s. It’s not a choice Superman makes lightly. He’s clearly pained by having to do it, despite Zod bragging earlier about killing Superman’s birth father. I’m fine with Superman’s actions here. He was dealing with a genocidal mass murderer and didn’t have a choice.

Now this is a dark movie.

The second part of Man of Steel that seemed to upset Superman fans the most was Zod’s killing of Jor-El. In Superman’s classic origin story, Jor-El dies along with Superman’s mother Lara and the rest of Krypton when the world explodes. But in Man of Steel, Jor-El dies before Krypton explodes, thanks to a well-placed knife to his gut courtesy of General Zod. I was very surprised when this happened, but I was okay with it. I think it furthered Zod as a villain without causing Jor-El’s story to change too much. He would have been dead in a few hours anyway, right?

Speaking of Jor-El, I half-expected (or should I say half-wanted) Russell Crowe to break out into off-pitched song when he was making his presentation to the Kryptonian High Council. I think Les Miserables has ruined Russell Crowe for me.

“Zod, at last, we see each other plain…”

The mass destruction that takes place in Metropolis during Superman’s climatic fight with Zod is the third thing in Man of Steel that seems to have ruffled many feathers. To that all I can say is this is a superhero movie. Mass destruction comes with the genre. No one bats an eye when giant robots are involved, but if it’s a few super-powered men batting each around that wrecks the city, the internet cries foul. A lot of these complainers are superhero comic book readers, which makes their reaction all the more surprising, as New York, Metropolis and Gotham seem to get leveled any time a multi-title crossover event occurs.

Insurance in Metropolis must be insanely expensive.

In the battle of the summer superhero movies, Man of Steel definitely wins over Iron Man 3. Iron Man 3 had me wishing it would all end. Man of Steel had me glued to my seat.

I really liked Amy Adams as Lois Lane. She played Lois as fearless and whip-smart. It’s too bad we didn’t get a Jimmy Olson though. Maybe next movie.

More superhero movies need Amy Adams.

I also really liked the way Clark Kent became a reporter at the Daily Planet. I like the way it was explained in the movie and I liked where in the movie it happened. And I loved that by that point, Lois knew Clark and Superman were one and the same. They have a cool relationship that I’m looking forward to seeing more of in the sequel to Man of Steel.

In 2011, DC Comics relaunched its entire line of comics in The New 52, doing away with decades of continuity in an attempt to bring in new fans. If Man of Steel shows us anything, it’s that DC should have hired screenwriter David Goyer to relaunch Superman in The New 52. The story in Man of Steel outshines any Superman story we’ve seen from The New 52.

Man of Steel is so much better than this nonsense.