I saw it for the first time on June 20 at the AMC Theater on the Boston Common. I watched it again at Regal Theater (by the way Boston literally only has these two cinemas excluding Coolidge Corner, which exclusively shows Indie Films) down the street from Fenway Park this afternoon.
I first heard about the movie two years ago. All I knew at the time was Kevin Cosner (you may know him from The Bodyguard starring Whitney Houston) was playing Johnathan Kent and not much else.
Then I saw this movie trailer on Xbox Live last January:
It’s one thing when you know Superman can break the sound barrier. It’s another thing entirely to actually see him do it.
Two things should be said for those who may want to see this movie either in theater or when it’s released on DVD/Blue Ray/iTunes/Xbox Live/Netflix/etc.:
- This movie is unrelated to the previous Superman Movies. Reportedly it’s just the first of several Superman movies to come.
- Also unlike the previous Superman movies, in Man of Steel Superman is portrayed as a man struggling to find his place in the world as well as figure out where his abilities came from.
The movie opens with Kal-El being born. Russell Crowe plays Jor-El, the father of Clark Kent/Kal-El. I can’t think of anyone else who personifies the wise yet resourceful scientist who took steps to ensure his son would not die with Krypton. When General Zod leads a coup against the Krytponian leadership Jor-El is forced to move his son’s escape plans faster than originally planned. Before Krypton is destroyed General Zod and his followers are banished to the Phantom Zone. 33 Years later the Kryptonian sent to Earth–Clark Kent–lives off the grid helping people in need everywhere he goes while searching for traces of his origins. After a fateful first encounter with Lois Lane in the Article Circle Clark finds an alien craft of Kryptonian origin. It is here Clark finds the answers to questions he’s had his entire life.
One thing Man of Steel took a page out of the original Superman movie (and Smallville too) is Jor-El’s interactions with Clark, Lois and Zod. By the time Clark has grown up Krypton has been gone for 33 years. Jor-El left a shadow of himself behind in the scout ship Clark finds to reveal his otherworldly heritage to him. One interesting part of Superman that has been speculated for decades is answered by Jor-El: The “S” symbol is Kryptonian for Hope.
When Zod threatens the Earth, Kal-El surrenders to the U.S. Military and the audience is treated to two funny moments that are my personal favorites. The first is the perp walk inside a military base. Superman is in handcuffs being led to an interrogation room flanked by a half dozen heavily armed soldiers. One does not simply handcuff Superman! The Man of Steel demonstrates the folly of handcuffing him a few minutes later he gets up and effortlessly pulls his hands apart, breaking the cuffs as if it were a toothpick.
I can’t say enough about how well done the storytelling was. The moments from Clark’s childhood you saw in the trailers? They’re splashed throughout to movie and add an emotional break or solice at just the right time. Man of Steel focuses more on Kal-El/Cark Kent dealing with trying to fit in on Earth despite his extraordinary abilities. He even has a bit of trouble flying for the first time. Even when it becomes obvious mankind’s fate rests on his shoulders he still has doubts.
If Superman sounds human that was the intent. In Man of Steel they got it right in terms of making Superman relatable in the present day. It’s a given Clark would rescue his classmates whose bus fell into a river but I’m sure he’d give pause to the notion of intervining in the political unrest going on in Egypt right now. He’d probably help with the brush fires wreaking havoc in America’s Southwest but wouldn’t get involved in the political squabbles in Washington.
One interesting thing I’ve seen thrown around on a few websites are the parellels between this Superman and Jesus. What’s controversial isn’t the similarities but the fact that the comparisons are being made between the Man of Steel and the Messiah. One example is the way Clark falls in a few scenes looks like Jesus on the cross. Another point brought up on the subject is Clark coming to terms with his powers and trying to figure out why he was brought to Earth and what his purpose is. Clark is able to do the impossible thanks to his Kryptonian heritage and has Jor-El says at the beginning he’ll be “A Savior” to the people of Earth. Starting to get it?
One thing I’ll end on is he is called Superman by name only once in the entire movie. After getting into it with Marines and two of Zod’s lieutenants in Smallville Clark earns the Marines’ trust and is affectionately codenamed “Superman”. You don’t hear the word again for the rest of the movie. It is also interesting to note for all intents and purposes the U.S. Government and The Daily Planet knows he is Clark Kent as well as Kal-El though this fact is downplayed over the course of the movie. The only people who really point this out more than once are Lois Lane and Martha Kent.
Overall I give this movie a 10/10. The only other movies I bothered to see more than once in theaters were This Is It (I have it on DVD and iTunes), The Last Airbender (I have it on iTunes and Xbox Live) and The Avengers (I have it on Xbox Live in HD), all of which I now own. I plan to see Man of Steel at least two more times this summer and yes I will be buying it in HD. Probably on Xbox Live as well as Blue Ray.
I leave you with the official Theme Song for Man of Steel:
…And yes, I bought the full song (Titled What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving The World? by Hans Zimmer) on iTunes.