Saturday, June 15, 2013

Man of Steel

Movie Name: Man of Steel
Year of Release: 2013
Director: Zack Snyder
Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Antje Traue, Laurence Fishburne, Christopher Meloni, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff, Ayelet Zurer, Dylan Sprayberry
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

After the disappointment that was "Sucker Punch", director Zack Snyder is back with the adaptation of a comic book, something he has dabbled in before, though previously he adapted graphic novels, which resulted in his films "300" and "Watchmen". "Man of Steel" follows the well known story of Superman - we are presented with the collapse of his home planet, Krypton. His parents save him from the destruction of their home planet, and also from the ire of General Zod, someone who sees his pursuits as the ultimate goal and who stops for nothing or for no one. Kal El is sent to Earth where he's raised in a small farm in Kansas, by the Kents, who raise the young Clark/Kal El with the knowledge he is special and whose destiny will change the human race. Clark eventually goes on a quest for himself, until he comes to terms with his alien origins. That acknowledgement also awakens the pursuit of a lost enemy - Zod. He comes to Earth to claim Kal El and the planet itself.
Zack Snyder is a director who has always primed for being visually virtuoso and for bringing a specific aesthetic to his films. His experience as a commercials director has always been clearly present in most of his features, which thus far has produced results that have been both interesting - "Dawn of the Dead" and "Watchmen", and also less interesting - "Sucker Punch". "Man of Steel" tries a different approach to the Superman legacy - it tries to create the hero as a young man coming to terms with a sense of belonging - someone who is just trying to find who he is and who his real family is. That is the concept that permeates the film - the heritage of who who we are and how we preserve a sense of identity. However these themes, as ambitious as they may be, are tossed aside for the greater spectacle of an endless digital effects showcase, which engulfs the story altogether. The last section of the film becomes a doppelganger of Lana and Andy Wachowski's "Matrix Revolutions", with endless fight scenes and special effects that though visually enticing, are hollow and meaningless after the viewer is bombarded with them endlessly. The actors end up having little to do, and feel a bit sidetracked in the middle of all the rubble and destruction that is on screen - Amy Adams and Michael Shannon have little to do, and ultimately is Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Russell Crowe who give the film it's heart. A flawed film still worth watching.