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A Review Of Zack Snyder's Man-Of -Steel...

Updated on June 28, 2013

A Review of Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel…

In reviewing Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, I am tempted to fall for the obvious parallels to the Gospels, the latter which tell of Jesus, the Messiah’s life - but I will fore-go what indeed would be an academic comparison so that those who have seen the Man-of-Steel movie and heard of the comparisons to Jesus’ life, and are not versed in the tenets of the Christian faith, would not make the blasphemous leap and compare the life of the Christ to that of a comic book character concocted by Jerry Siegel and brought to life in Hollywood. As for the movie, it is mouth wateringly good, mostly because of how the story is played out on the screen and the fact that there were marked changes in its visuals that are different from the other Super Man movies. I must also confess too that I am a Zack Snyder fan and may be a tad subjective because of his opus auteur work that Mr. Snyder did with the movie, 300 - who could forget the iconic line uttered by Gerard Butler: “…This is Sparta….Man-of-Steel may not have an iconic line, but the movie in its entirety is well done.

Let me start with the look of the Man-of-Steel movie… from the get go, the opening scenes of Krypton, the home planet of Super Man, are spectacles to behold and I will here go out on a limb by predicting an Oscar nomination for ‘Special Effects.’ The machines that are part and parcel of the Kryptonian culture and working in tandem with its citizens seem as normal as how we Earthlings interact with our telephones, only that Kryptonian gadgets are light years ahead in superiority. The visual orgasms, as concocted by Mr. Snyder, of Krypton, especially the space ships and under-water cities, which Jor- El, marvelously played by Russell Crowe, is the architect of such awe settings. We also get to see the inner political workings of Kryptonian society and noting that its very structure was inherently detrimental to Krypton. Case in Kryptonian civil point, its culture breeds its citizens to perform certain jobs… so just like how Jo El was bred to be a scientist, so too General Zod was bred to be part of the warrior class… giving a salient clue as to the latter’s dogmatic way of resolving any threat to Krypton.

It is no wonder that when General Zod, played magnificently by Michael Shannon, finds out that Krypton was doomed because of too much mining and governmental indolence - the former reason an obvious nod to the environmentalist - the warrior general lethally lashed out at the governing caste and goes on a bloody attempted coup. I say that Michael Shannon is brilliant because he played the role as one dimensional since the very nature of Kryptonian society requires him to be literally one dimensional in protecting his people… so when we watched Mr. Shannon… he is centered and compelled by the dictates of his genetic make-up as being bred a warrior protector of Krypton, who knows nothing else….

The first quarter of the Man-of Steel movie belongs to Russell Crowe and although he was bred to be a scientist… manifested in the fact that he foresaw the demise of his beloved Kryptonian planet and who also built a one of a kind ship, which sent his son to earth, is also a formidable warrior too. But it is Crowe’s voice - with its soothing cadence that can project paternal kindness and civic duty for love of country like when he is explaining to General Zod and the ruling caste the pending danger to Krypton - that is the star. Mr. Crowe brings to mind and channels the great speech he gave in his Oscar worthy performance in Gladiator… You know that voice which uttered, “… I shall have my vengeance in this life or the next.”

As for the action sequences, Mr. Snyder rivaled those in his classic 300 and the fight scenes between Zod and the Man-of-Steel are relishingly, satisfying and I swear that one could feel the blows share between the combatants. Zod’s army, made up of both females and males, is impressive and vicious in their prosecution of combat and the aftermath of their battles look like off the scales tornadoes came through the Mid-West… even the costume worn by the alien army is inspiring and looking at it gives one a sense of woe and foreboding.

But who would have thought that I would live to see the day when the beautiful Dianne Lane would be playing the mother of the thirty-three-year-old Clark Kent and delivering a very funny line in midst of chaos by referring to the Super Man costume as: “nice suit.” The writing is heartfelt too because we witnessed the struggle, as brought to life by Kevin Costner as the Man-of-Steel adopted earthly father, when he is ambivalent about the young Clarke Kent using his powers even for good… highlighting how screwed up we as Human Beings are when someone doing us ‘good’ could cause that same ‘good’ to morph into a pandemic of hatred and xenophobia.

I like to look for ironies in a script, even when they are subtle. Take for instance the fact that the technology on Krypton is futuristically impressive, yet, we still see the Kryptonian mother of Super Man going through a painful birthing delivery… with the attendant gasps and grunts that are part of the birthing process for Humans. I also saw this irony when the young Clarke Kent gifted with all that power, but, yet, have to engage in Human patience in not giving into the notion of kicking the snot out of bullies; and seeing Lawrence Fishburne of Morpheus, Matrix’s fame, being skeptical, initially, in believing in aliens; or seeing a young Clarke Kent on his Kansas farm… emulating a Super Hero by donning a cape or witnessing Super Man in hand cuffs.

I also commend the writer, David S. Goyer, that the story was not told in a linear sequence… but that it showed us vital periods of the Man-of Steel’s life, as he adapts and goes through the super growing pains. Lest I forget, to mention and gives props to Henry Cavil who plays the grown-up Man-of-Steel. With all that said, we should have known that the Man-of-Steel would be an excellent movie due to the fact that Mr. Snyder was at its helm, in addition to the fact that the great Christopher Nolan of The Dark Knight’s fame was its producer… I look forward to see the coming chapters depicting the Man-of-Steel.

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    • profile image

      Verily Prime 

      5 years ago

      Well said - you are right about it not being campy.

    • Mr. Thinktank profile image

      Mr. Thinktank 

      5 years ago from California

      I also commend the way that the film was handled. Zach honestly surprised me at how he tackled Man of Steel (even though some of that credit should be Christopher Nolan's, since I saw a lot of his style and influence in the film too). What really impressed me though, is that they chose to take Superman in a completely different route. When people think of Superman, they think of a man in red underwear, with incredible strength, taking on the world's problems with his only weakness being a radioactive glowing stick called kryptonite. Not only did they give him a new suit, they gave him a new personality, and weakness (didn't bring up kryptonite once, which I was so happy about). There was so much more depth in Henry Cavill's portrayal of Superman, then any other to have graced the screen. This superman didn't feel "silly" or "campy" at all, it just played out. So that, by the end of the film, I was happy that I gave my money to watch it in the theater. And that, I would argue, is an increasingly hard thing to justify with Hollywood's current lineup of typical tentpole films.

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