Man of Steel

Man of Steel

Director: Zack Snyder

Rating: 3.5/5

In the eight years since Superman was last on the big screen in Superman Returns, the film industry has gotten into superheroes in a big way. Whereas we used to see only one or two of these films a year, it now seems a week doesn’t go by without a new caped crusader hitting theatres. However, few superheroes are as highly-esteemed as Superman, and Zack Snyder’s new film Man of Steel seeks to raise that bar even higher.

This reboot of the Superman franchise takes us through the entire origin of Superman, from his birth to his rise as a hero on earth. The newest Superman, Henry Cavill, nails the poise and grandeur of the hero, but his Clark Kent is nearly as wooden as Keanu Reeves. This made Superman seem overwhelmingly alien at times, making certain plot points regarding his human origins a little unbelievable. Russell Crowe and Amy Adams were excellent choices for Jor-El and Lois Lane, but the real star was Michael Shannon as the maniacal General Zod.

The film ends up being one-third the intriguing origins of Superman and two-thirds absolute carnage. You can expect more explosions than a Michael Bay film, which is to be expected from Zack Snyder (the director of 300). An American disaster analysis firm calculated that the events of the film would have caused 129,000 deaths and over $700 billion in damage. However I couldn’t help being disappointed, as the film’s producer was Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan. Nolan’s own films gave the superhero genre a much-needed kick of psychological and moral complexity and I was disappointed to find that Man of Steel contained very little of this.

It is rumoured that Snyder’s film may be the start of a DC series that culminates in a Justice League film – much the same way that Marvel approached The Avengers. However, if these films are going to drop narrative complexity in favour of two hours of explosions and destruction, we should ask if we really need another six films a year of this already crowded genre.
This article first appeared in Issue 14, 2013.
Posted 6:05pm Sunday 7th July 2013 by Baz Macdonald.