The team-up of director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan had the chance to be legendary. Teaming up the guys behind The Dark Knight trilogy and Watchmen was something that could of given us one of the greatest superhero movies of all time. Too bad some poor writing and a lack of care for the characters derailed this movie that besides that was a lot of fun.
Man of Steel follows the origins of Superman and his rise into the hero. The problem with that was that I never felt like we had a defining “he is Superman” moment. That usually is a key point in an origins story, the moment that the hero realizes his potential and fills that to become the superhero. While I liked Henry Cavill and thought he did a solid job with the character, his build-up seemed lethargic and by the time he became Superman I was thinking, “wait is that all we are going to do to build him up?”
I guess the best way to describe his rise is rushed. We spend time in flashbacks discovering what he had to fight through when he was younger and it did come around to become relevant in the end but outside of the scenes with Kevin Costner (who was great), I felt like we never fully developed why Superman needed to become Superman other than the fact that he had these powers. A lot was introduced in the origins scenes and then we had to ditch all of that for a forced romance with Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and the fact that General Zod (Michael Shannon) was coming to take over the world.
While I struggled with pacing and some story elements, I will say that Snyder did an exceptional job at of shooting the action. While it may not be for everyone, I found it to be what you would expect from Superman fighting and whenever he sparred with another Kryptonian it was absolutely exhilarating. The fight scene that took place in Smallville was high octane and fun and had me on the the edge of my seat enjoying the entire thing. I will say though that the final scene in Metropolis had me legitimately worried for civilians as Zod and Superman crashed from building to building with no regard for people under them.
The acting was solid, like I said I thought Henry Cavill did a fine job. The stand-outs to me were Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner who were easily the two most interesting characters in the entire movie. Crowe as Jor-El and Costner as Pa Kent gave us two different, yet similar figures to grow Superman off of, too bad they relished that chance at times. Amy Adams was ok, her character was not well written and thrusted into a relationship with Superman way too quickly. Diane Lane was there but not special.
Man of Steel isn’t the second coming of The Dark Knight. Instead, it is its own beast and deserves to be viewed that way. Comparing it to other Nolan movies is a crime and takes away from the different atmosphere that it brings to the superhero genre. The action is fun and while the script struggled at times, it still was an all-together fun blockbuster.