July 12, 2013

Man of Steel (2013)

I've never been a big fan of Superman. I could never stand any of the Superman movies, and as far as his Comics went, they just never appealed to me, aside from the whole Doomsday story arc, which was kinda fun for a while. Supes just never touched me on an emotional level, and that's what needs to happen in comic books to make me care. I'm definitely more of a Batman type of guy.

I say all of this to let you know that I'm not any sort of expert on the Man of Steel as a character, and that the prospect of a new Superman movie did absolutely nothing to get me excited.

Until I saw the first teaser trailer...

It also needs to be said that I feel that people shit on Zack Snyder and his body of work far too much. His Dawn of the Dead (2004) was one hell of a remake, and it did the original Romero film justice in its own way. 300 was a pretty fun flick that broke some new ground and entertained us, at least on a superficial level. I personally liked Watchmen a lot, even though most Comic Book purists had nothing but venomous disdain for it. The animated Owl movie he did wasn't my thing, and Sucker Punch... well, it had a shit story, but it was really pretty to watch. Cool soundtrack too.

All in all, the guy has delivered some pretty good stuff for Fanboy audiences thus far in his career, even if said stuff tends to gravitate more towards the style over substance side of the fence. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

So, about that Man of Steel trailer...

Right, so something about that very first teaser they released caught my attention and hasn't let it go since; It felt like they were going to take the movie down a more serious path, and make it more than a campy action flick. The Russel Crowe voice over actually gave me chills.

Bottom line is that for the first time in my life, I actually wanted to see a Superman movie.

I think we all pretty much know the story: The planet of Krypton is about to be destroyed, and a worried  father and mother shove their baby into a penis-shaped escape pod, and send him to Earth so that he may both live and someday rebuild his race. Possibly.

The baby is named Superman, and he's raised by the guy from Bull Durham and Cherry Valance from The Outsiders. Since the Earth is so close to a yellow sun, little baby Superman grows up to be stronger than anyone ever, and is able to lift things like school busses with ease, which of course makes every other kid in Kansas think he's a freak... or a liberal, which is the same thing in Kansas.

Baby Superman grows up using the fake name of Clark Kent, to keep his secret powers hidden from the world. Pa Kent doesn't want the world to see him, because he doesn't thin that they'd understand. Clark just thinks that when everything is made to be broken, he just wants them to know who he am. It's like the Goo Goo Doll's song, Iris. Suspiciously so.

"No one understands me. I'm so alone."
Anywho, everything is all fine and dandy in his secret life until fellow Kryptonian General Zod and his cronies arrive on Earth, demanding that baby Superman be turned over to them for nefarious purposes. Clark Kent finally stops moping around and gets a costume, because he's the only one that can save Earth from the evil Zod, and proceeds to destroy Metropolis while trying to save it.*

*Lots of people probably die because Superman doesn't stop to think about the fact that people actually live in buildings before destroying 500 of them.

A sequel will surely ensue.

"Get your hands off my bitch, bitch."
Critics seemed to like it, a lot of Fanboys seemed to hate it, and I honestly think that Man of Steel deserves the love. Sure, it falls apart a bit in the third act, mainly because it goes really heavy on the action (almost to the point of overkill), but aside from that, most of the movie was earnest and enjoyable. This movie made me give a shit about the MOS, which trust me, is saying a lot. Make of it what you will, but I thought this movie hit all the right notes, mostly. 80% of the time, it worked every time. Yeah, it's kinda like Sex Panther, only with a higher percentage of success, and it didn't smell like Bigfoot's dick.

Aside from the heavy-handed action towards the end, I really liked the balance that the movie struck between the action and the softer aspects of the story. Bottom line is you either like the type of action flick that Zack Snyder makes, or you don't. For the sake of comparison, let me tell you that my favorite Comic Book movie of all-time is Batman Begins (for various reasons.) While for me, Man of Steel doesn't approach the first Nolan Batman flick in terms of overall quality, it was still an enjoyable ride.

You will believe that a man can fly while scowling!
Henry Cavill has been awesome ever since his days on TV shows like The Tudors, and in movies like Blood Creek, and now the world at large gets to see his talents in action, which he deserves. Michael Shannon is a beast of an actor, and while I thought his Zod talked way too much and would have benefited from some more quiet menace, he did the role great justice. Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner were both equally great as Jor-El and Pa Kent, respectively, though to different extents; Crowe had the bigger role here, and he got to do more, but Costner seemed to work our emotions more, and so his smaller bit felt just as important. They were both great.

Amy Adams was great as Lois Lane, and not just because she's cute as a button; girl can act, and way better than Margot Kidder ever could. The real surprise for us was the girl who played Faora-Ul, Antje Traue; she was all menace, and she definitely rivaled Zod in the biggest bad-ass department. And does Diane Lane ever not look good?

Nice casting all the way around, even if guys like Christopher Meloni, Richard Schiff and Lawrence Fishburne didn't have a lot to do on screen. I imagine they'll have more to do next time out, or at least I hope so.

"I am not happy right now!"
Where Iron Man 3 left us feeling a bit underwhelmed, Man of Steel left us feeling mostly satisfied. Sure, it could have been tightened up a bit script-wise, and the action could have been thinned out a lot at the end, but MOS gave us a compelling Superman story that didn't make us want to stop watching it halfway through.

When it hits Blu-ray in a few months, maybe our opinion of MOS will change; we may like it more, or its flaws may shine through to the point where we end up thinking less of it. As of right now all we can say is that this is a pretty good Superhero flick, and the only Superman flick we've ever really and truly liked.


Since we probably won't see Amy Adams in a Horror flick anytime soon -she's a bit too A-list now to go genre slumming like that anymore- let's take a moment to celebrate her hot, sexy, beautiness while we can.

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