Friday, June 14, 2013

Man of Steel: Kryptonite Not Included

I convinced the Wife to go see Man of Steel's midnight release. It took some coaxing but, in the end, we both agreed it was totally worth it.

I'll give my initial, non-spoiler reaction, then post a few thoughts I had that could potentially be spoiler-ish after a marked off section, so no need to fear spoilers from this nerd.

If you're wondering if Man of Steel is better than Superman Returns, the answer is yes. Yes, and you're a fool for thinking anything could be worse.

This was an action packed origin movie that covered a lot of plot details quickly and succinctly while still having time to introduce recognizable and interesting heroes and villains. It could have done more with some of the supporting characters on both sides, but I respect the decision to keep the film at a manageable length for movie-goers of all levels of interest in Superman.

My biggest complaint is that I didn't care for some of the casting of Lois Lane. Lois Lane's character was written very, very well (in my humble opinion), but casting Amy Adams in the role really brought it down. She doesn't pull off a refined, experienced, no-nonsense investigative journalist as well another actress could, and I was also distracted by the decision to change Lois' hair color. As if there aren't enough superheroes with red/orange haired ladies. Even so, the character wasn't ruined, just not as great as she could have been. I may not have liked other casting as well, but Amy Adams was definitely the most glaring issue for me.
Not saying she's a bad actress, just a sub-par Lois.

Henry Cavill as Superman was spot on as far as I'm concerned, and that's the important part, I suppose.

Otherwise, the action in this film was truly stunning. The fight scenes were intense, dramatic, interesting, and still believable (given the scope of the characters, of course). My first thought was that whoever shot these fight scenes NEEDS to be put on a Dragon Ball Z movie ASAP. Some of the fight scenes would have fit a live-action version of the anime series to a T.

Ok, those are my spoiler-free initial reactions.

Arbitrary rating: 9/10 - It's a bird... it's a plane... it's an actually awesome Superman movie!

---------Potential Spoilers from this point on, you've been warned!--------------

Since it is late and I am quite sleepy, I'm simply going to mention a few thoughts on the film.

The last days of Krypton: My Superman lore knowledge is fairly low. I've seen a few versions of Kal-El (later Clark Kent) being put in a mini-spaceship and sent to Earth as Krypton dies a fiery death. The way this was portrayed in the movie was not congruent with my exceptions and slightly unclear on the whole "the planet is exploding but no one is bothering to, you know, leave" part. Maybe I missed it, but I'm not sure why the planet was exploding, why no one left (I know Jor-El was arguing with the council at one point, I must have missed something then -- I hope), and I think the "Phantom Zone" could have been explained a touch better. 

Zod's fate: Again, Superman lore isn't my strong suit, but I'm pretty sure the big guy is against killing, no matter what. Snapping Zod's neck was awesome, appropriate, and done well, but seems out of character with my comic book expectations. Is this a different direction for movie-Supes? Does Superman kill when he absolutely has to? I don't know. I liked it and it makes Superman a more interesting character, personally.
Nobody puts Zod in a corner!

Indestructible man of steel: Supes apparently kills Zod by snapping his neck. Assuming Zod is actually dead and not in a 'Healing Coma,' this would potentially mean that Superman could be killed in the same way. I don't know how suitable they are, but I'm fairly certain there are several characters in the DC universe that could muster up the strength to do so (in the comics, anyway). Makes Superman feel a lot less powerful and a lot more real. This is a good thing for me, who does not particularly like Superman comics, but I wonder how others are reacting? Or do we bank on healing coma?

Greater DC references: I was enjoying the movie enough to not be hunting them, but I didn't see many references to the larger DC universe. The military enacted "Operation Trident" -- maybe an Aquaman reference, maybe not. And there was a LexCorp logo on a fuel truck during a fight scene, but I didn't catch any other names or references I knew. Considering we're supposed to be getting a Justice League movie eventually, it would have been nice to hear a name drop or two, at the very least. Note: if I missed any, please let me know!

When a rock meets a hard place: It is always interesting to see how a superhero fight is going to be handled when both parties have excessive strength and/or abilities. When every blow can potentially knock an opponent miles away, fight scenes can get both repetitive and slowed down. Man of Steel did not suffer from these problems. In fact, I think this movie had some of the best superhero smack downs I've ever seen. I loved Faora-Ul's fight scenes, even when she was taking out the military. Her enhanced speed being shown with stop-frame like quality was a joy to watch each and every time

Even with my questions and uncertainties, this was an almost perfect super hero movie for me. I want more of this, and I want it now.

What were your thoughts/favorite parts of Man of Steel?

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