Martens' Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews from an avid movie-goer

Man of Steel Review

Release Date: June 14, 2013
Running Time: 2 hours 23 minutes

“With the imminent destruction of Krypton, their home planet, Jor-El and his wife seek to preserve their race by sending their infant son to Earth. The child’s spacecraft lands at the farm of Jonathan and Martha Kent, who name him Clark and raise him as their own son. Though his extraordinary abilities have led to the adult Clark living on the fringe of society, he finds he must become a hero to save those he loves from a dire threat.”

Because of the anticipated release of Justice League on Friday November 17, I’ve decided to write reviews of all of the movies that make up the DC Extended Universe so far. There have been a lot of talks about how long this franchise will last, but as a comic book fan, and huge lover of movies, I never want movies to be bad. I’m hoping that it’ll be amazing. You can find the dates for when the reviews for the other DCEU movie will be released at the link here. I wrote the review for Wonder Woman around the time it came out, and it can be found here.

DCEU

DC Extended Universe – Source: Warner Brothers Entertainment

Man of Steel Trailer: Source – Warner Brothers Entertainment


Cast & Crew

The director of Man of Steel was Zack Snyder, whose work includes films that I enjoyed such as ‘Watchmen’ in 2009 and ‘Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole’ in 2010, as well as films that I didn’t enjoy so much such as ‘Dawn of the Dead’ in 2004, and ‘Sucker Punch’ in 2011. The film that in my mind, he’s the most known for is ‘300’, which while visually amazing, was more of a meh kind of film for me. He has since directed the sequel to this film ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, and most of ‘Justice League’ before having to step away due to personal reasons.

Man of Steel was written by David S. Goyer, based on the story that he and Christopher Nolan wrote. Nolan’s work as a writer includes ‘Memento’, his ‘Batman’ trilogy, and ‘Inception’ prior to working on this film. He has since wrote ‘Interstellar’ in 2014, and ‘Dunkirk’ in 2017. Goyer’s previous writing jobs includes the ‘Blade’ trilogy from 1998 – 2004, working with Nolan on the ‘Batman’ films previously mentioned as well as the sequel ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ in 2011 prior to working on Man of Steel. He’s since wrote the ‘Constantine’ television show, as well as ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ in 2016. He was recently announced to be one of the writers for the ‘Green Lantern Corps’ that will be coming out in 2020.

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Cast includes Henry CavillAmy AdamsMichael ShannonDiane LaneKevin CostnerAyelet ZurerRussell CroweAntje TraueRichard CetroneMackenzie GrayLaurence FishburneChristopher MeloniRichard SchiffCooper Timberline and Dylan Sprayberry.


Review

The character of Clark Kent / Kal – El was played by Cooper Timberline, Dylan Sprayberry and Henry Cavill, with the latter also playing Superman. I feel like all three of them did a good job at playing the Clark Kent character, and I was surprised at how consistent they were in terms of character. Cavill’s acting in the role of Kal – El was rough at first, with some very wooden delivery of some lines, however that could also be the script or the direction that he got. I enjoyed the portrayal that we got, even if it was a ‘darker’ and ‘broodier’ version of what he is supposed to be, I still thought it was well done at the end. Cavill’s Superman still needs some work, but seems to have a lot of potential, and I was pleased with the improvements in the character in the follow up film.

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The character of Lois Lane was played by Amy Adams, in which she did an alright job with what she was given. I didn’t enjoy what they did with her character overall, but I will go into more detail about that further below. I feel like Adams was a good choice for the role that they put her in, but didn’t give off the Lois Lane vibe that I remembered from the few comic books that I read of Superman(read both Marvel and DC as a kid, but enjoyed Marvel more).

Michael Shannon as General Zod was a good choice in my mind for the role, as he demands the attention when on screen, and you need someone with a presence to portray Zod. I feel like the character could have been used a lot better, but from I enjoyed the performance that we got from Shannon. It demanded more than what we ended up getting.

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The Kent parents were played by Diane Lane and Kevin Costner, who I feel was really well cast in those roles. I would have prefered a lot more from Costner’s character, and the way he died was just stupid, but from the acting standpoint, I really enjoyed that Lane was able to capture Martha Kent’s essence of trying to connect with Clark on the emotional level, while Jonathan Kent was the moral compass of doing what’s right at the right time. I didn’t enjoy the fact that they made him say the word ‘maybe’ when asked if Clark should have let his classmates die.

The Kryptonian parents Lara Lor-Van played by Ayelet Zurer, and Jor – El who was portrayed by Russell Crowe was a mixed bag of emotions for me throughout this film. I loved everything about Zurer’s performance from the flashbacks to Krypton, and the struggle to send her child away for a chance for survival. It’s something that I wish would be explored more in the future, with the A.I. Jor – El talking about his wife to their son. Russell Crowe’s performance was a problem for me in this role. I don’t think he fit the role of Jor – El, whatsoever, and I didn’t like that they made him capable of beating General Zod in a fist fight. That was one of the problems with certain characters in the film.

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One thing that was really unexpected in the movie, was that it opens with the birth of Kal – El, literally Lara in labour, the first time that a natural birth happened on Krypton for centuries. I enjoyed what they did with the movie, in a way to make Kal – El ‘special’ in that sense, however I really wish that they will elaborate on the Codex. That is something that would be very interesting if ever they were going to have a new Krypton eventually in the universe, however I feel like they’ve already forgotten about it.

Seeing Krypton was absolutely amazing. I thought that the scenery and the animals in that sequence was very much inspired by James Cameron’s movie ‘Avatar’. The cinematography in general for this movie was beautiful. I thought that the way that they captured Krypton, Smallville, and the Arctic was extremely well done. It’s one of the better looking films in the past 5 years, and part of that quality is thanks to the cinematographer of the film – Amir Mokri. His work includes ‘Coyote Ugly’ from 2000, ‘Bad Boys 2’ in 2003 and ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ in 2011 prior to Man of Steel.

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The score for this film was put together by one of the most well known and fantastic composer since the early 2000s. Hans Zimmer‘s work has sadly been given a lot of slack in recent years for the loud ‘BWAM’ that marketing people love putting in trailers, which have become annoying, I have to admit. In my opinion, his work is on the same level in terms of quality and how memorable they are as other great movie score composers such as John Williams, Howard Shore and Danny Elfman. Zimmer’s work in this film was strong, hopeful, and sometimes inspiring while still having those epic moments that is required in big budget films.

Movie scores are what I listen to while I’m working at my desk, or writing these reviews, or when I was studying while in school. I just looked at my ‘instrumental’ playlist that I’ve had and been adding to it for the last 10 years and Hans Zimmer has 61 out of the 250 songs on that playlist. His work includes such soundtracks as ‘The Lion King’, ‘The Prince of Egypt’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’, ‘The Last Samurai’, ‘August Rush’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’, and ‘Inception’. I really enjoyed the music in this movie, and I know that a lot of people were disappointed when the Superman theme was never incorporated into the score, however I feel like Zimmer added a sense of wonder and grandness that was needed for this version.

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The flashbacks in Man of Steel was very much hit and miss for me. I feel like the two younger version of Clark Kent did a good job in their portrayals, and I was happy to see that they were providing some backstory to who he is, while at the same time not lingering too much on it.

One of the stupidest death scenes that I’ve ever watched was the flashback scene of Jonathan Kent being swallowed up by the tornado (twister, not entirely sure of the difference, if you know, tell me in the comments below) while telling Clark to stay where he was, and stupidly sacrificing himself. I feel like Clark could have easily saved him, but they wanted to make the film ‘darker’ and make Clark go on this long and arduous journey to find out what his place on Earth is, and to find out what kind of man he wants to become, but I was pissed off at that death scene.

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One of the bigger mistakes in this film was that Lois Lane was made to be an integral piece of the film. She was involved in everything, and while I know that she’s a reporter and loves getting information, the fact that she took a picture of cliff face, and saw a man enough to know to zoom in, then can somehow scale a mountain, and thinks she can escape the authorities after being called is funny. I feel like they should have kept her as a supporting character rather than one of the leads in the movie. I’m not happy that they made her find out that Superman is Clark Kent right away, as there’s a lot less in which they can explore and do in further films.

A small problem with the movie, is the magical appearance of the suit, with the crest of the house of El on it, that just happened to be on a spaceship that crashed on Earth 18 000 years ago, while also having one of the passengers on that ship survive and get out of their sleeping pod. Where are they? I don’t think we’ll ever find out.

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One of the most amazing things in the whole movie was that they were so casual with the destruction of Metropolis, and causing so much damage to the city, and they cry out that Superman is a hero. Yes, it wasn’t entirely his fault, but from the look of it, he did very little to save anyone, going as far as throwing Zod towards buildings full of people.

I enjoyed the nice touches of the greater plans that they might or might not have been planning towards the DCEU. Including the Wayne satellites, and the LuthorCorp trucks.\

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The most controversial part of the movie – the death of General Zod, is one of the most hated things about this movie, and I’m still upset about this to this day. Superman does not kill, yes, he’s killed Zod once in the comics, but that was one story that they had out of thousands of different stories. I feel like the circumstances of the death was stupid as well, I would have much prefered if Zod had gone into the Phantom Zone with everyone else when the ship collided with the World Engine. It would have been a much satisfying ending, rather than the whole air punching fight scene that caused so much damage to the city and to the Superman character as a whole.

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Overall, I feel like this was a solid film that had amazing music and cinematography, a little shaky on the characters and the acting, with an ending that is extremely divisive amongst the fans. I love Cavill’s performance as Superman, but there’s still a lot of room to grow. At the end of the day, I don’t have much more to say about this film, and I would end up giving this movie a final score of 7.5/10.

What did you think of Man of Steel? Are you excited for Justice League? Let me know in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading,

Alex Martens

Categories: Reviews

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1 reply

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