Movie Review: Man of Steel Delivers

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Movie Review by Jordan Hunt for CaryCitizen.

Cary, NC – Man of Steel is the latest big screen incarnation of Superman, a comic book character who has had quite a troubled history making it to the big screen since Christopher Reeve originally made audiences believe that a man can fly in 1978. Sure, there were sequels, but all came with diminishing returns both critically and at the box office.

In 2006, Superman Returns again tried to capture the magic of the original Reeve film, and I’m actually in the minority of people who think it’s a nice love letter to that original movie and Reeve himself. Audiences disagreed though, and the film left them wanting more.

As a bit of a Superman nut myself, I can safely say that Man of Steel delivers a take on the superhero that is both refreshing and different from all other Superman films while also delivering some of the most impressive action sequences of any superhero movie.

Great Re-telling of Origin

The character of Superman and his origin are so well known that the filmmakers (most of this team brought you The Dark Knight trilogy) wisely avoid a lengthy re-telling of how the son of Krypton arrived on earth and became The Man of Steel.

The  time spent on his origins is told while still on the planet Krypton. The opening sequence allows the filmmakers to start with a clean slate and shows us a version of Krypton never before dramatized on film.

More science fiction than I expected, but it works beautifully. The entire film has a prominent science fiction feel to it. Superman is an alien after all, and it feels right that a big screen version should wholly embrace this fact.

Fantastic Cast

Henry Cavill makes a strong debut as the son of Krypton. He embodies the natural goodness and strong character that we all expect of Superman. Being an origin story, this version finds the Man of Steel struggling to find his connection with humanity as well as to his true origin, and Cavill displays his conflicts believably which makes his decision to fight for us humans all the more impactful.

The supporting cast is filled with recognizable faces, like Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Ma and Pa Kent. They all do a good job of bringing these familiar characters to life, but it’s Costner who stands out as the man left with the task of raising Superman. It’s a crucial role in the Superman mythology, and Costner delivers an emotional performance that leaves a huge impact despite only having a few minutes of screen time.

Michael Shannon stars as the films main villain, General Zod, a banished soldier from Krypton who sees an opportunity to recreate his lost planet on Earth. This villain has great motivation:  he’s willing to destroy humanity, but he’s doing it for his own people’s survival. As they say, a great villain is the hero of his own story, and that fits perfectly here and allows for some genuine conflict between Zod and his fellow Kryptonian, Superman.

Amazing Action

As for the action in the film, it is simply GIGANTIC in its scope. It’s fair to say that we have never seen action this big and epic in a superhero film before. In fact, the entire last hour of the movie is an all out brawl between Superman and Zod and his fellow soldiers. My jaw actually dropped a few times during the prolonged sequence.

It was truly exciting to see Superman on screen in a way that hasn’t been done on this scale before.

See It on the Big Screen!

Despite being only a few weeks into the 2013 summer movie season, I think it’s safe to say that Man of Steel is the movie of the summer.

Even non-Superman fans will find it difficult not to be amazed at the spectacle on display here. And if you decide to see it in theaters (which you should), find the biggest screen you can.