Sunday, June 23, 2013
Man Of Steel
We all know the story of Superman, he's been part of our group think for decades, but Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead) has given our favorite Kryptonian a slightly new polish and it works. There was lots of noise about this being too dark, too gritty, but in a word...Hell no. Superman is still the exact same square-jawed boy scout, however, he's been made a little more real and accessible. I never bought into this kid growing up with perfect acceptance of his powers, no feelings of isolation, no adjustments or anything. The comics have always glossed over that, at least the ones I remember reading. hell, even the Chris Reeve film, the standard bearer, whitewashed that part. This Superman is along the lines of the Smallville Clark Kent, an eminently more realistic and yes, believable, hero. I don't know about you, but I want to know that my hero has struggled, that he's had to overcome and still struggles. You can't have good without some bad, there is no perfection. Saints have their flaws and so should superheroes. Oh I can hear the protests now, "Mel, Superman's not human, he's from Krypton." Bull shit. He's humanoid and anything remotely human is flawed to the nth degree.
Cavill brings this Superman to wondrous life. He struggles, he's isolated, hell, he's scruffy, something that Clark Kent never was before and I love it. Henry's turn is strong, quiet, yet there is a commanding air about him. He has humor, warmth and a deep love for those around him. He gets ticked off and there is one scene where he avoids a bar fight, but gets his own revenge and I pumped my fist. It was beautiful.
Amy Adams is terrific as Lois. Smart, strong and a take-no-prisoners attitude coupled with compassion and a huge heart. She risks herself for Clark because of who he is and what she finds out he has gone through. She's not awed by his looks. The chemistry between Adams and Cavill sizzles. They fairly smoked the screen. You could feel the depth of attraction and affection. I cannot wait for chapter 2 of this romance.
Now for the villain of the piece...Kneel before Zod, er Michael Shannon. Oh my God was he incredible. Zod is a warrior, sworn to protect Krypton and their way of life to the exclusion of all else and Shannon delivers that depth of duty and psychosis in a pure crazed, relentless performance. I could not take my eyes off of him when he was on screen. He even outshone Russell Crowe and the delicious Cavill in some cases.
The supporting cast was terrific as well. Diane Lane and Kevin Costner were so amazing as the Kents, a couple struggling to raise not only a child, but a being who will change our world. Their performances were honest and true. Laurence Fishburne did not get enough screen time as Perry White, but I hope he remained because he was not only a hard-nosed news man, but he had a softer side that made me love him. He and Amy had great rapport. Harry Lennix and Christopher Meloni struck a perfect balance between hard nosed soldier and decent fellow. They weren't flat, stock soldiers like Stephen Lang in Avatar.
I do have to make special mention of the badass bitch of the movie, Antje Traue as Zod's second, Faora Ul. She rocked it, kicking ass and taking names. Her fight scenes were hellagood and I hope she gets more action work ASAP.
The fx were bold, brilliant and just had my mouth agape almost the whole time. I could have caught Skittles in my trap. Zack Snyder knows how to do big action, yet keep human and real, unlike Michael Bay. Each fight, explosion, etc. has a purpose beyond "wouldn't that be cool."
There was really only one flaw for me and that was Krypton. I thought it was a little overdone, too much like Dune in some sort of medieval, opera style when it should have been more tech and smooth like Minority Report or Star Trek. For me people who have to fight with metal swords don't travel in space.
Overall this was one hellacious good time and I can't wait to strap in for another.
Any of you see this yet? What did you think? Talk to me.