Man of Steel: cold, hard, good
Ugh! Another reboot of another superhero franchise. Honestly how many different ways are there to tell the story of Superman’s origins? Wasn’t Smallville enough? While those may have been my thoughts and the reason why I didn’t see Man of Steel in the theaters in spite of the fact that Amy Adams is in it, Zack Snyder’s take on Superman was really a nicely done movie.
There are still a lot of the same stories as the Christopher Reeve’s version of Superman bit the first and second in his series, but overall, in spite of the drag in some places, Man of Steel is worth seeing. There are plenty of social issues and moral dilemmas at stake – the energy crisis, what people think about the unknown, how does one become a man, to name a few.
There are plenty of cheesy jokes like the placement of Christ behind Clark’s head or the injury report as Zod and Superman battle it out. There is plenty of product placement – most notably Sears, which even my 11-year-old niece picked up on. There were some incongruities, which can be forgive in the context that if the sun granted true invulnerability to the Kryptonians, the movie would have been a lot longer and a lot more expensive to make.
Spoiler Alert: If you want to know what makes Man of Steel worth watching, keep reading, but know that this is a major spoiler that you have probably already heard about.
However, these drawbacks are to be expected in a big property like Man of Steel, and as such, they are forgivable if only a little jarring. What truly makes this movie worth watching is the incongruity of watching Superman kill General Zod. Superman is supposed to be the goody two shoes. He has the power and ability to not kill, so he doesn’t. It helps keep the villains alive for the next confrontation, and it makes for a good all-around hero.
Henry Cavill’s performance, and Adams follow up, are both noteworthy and beautifully done. Unfortunately, the movie glosses over the obvious psychological effects this could have on Clark Kent and goes for the joke at the end rather than explore the nuances. The good news is that this could set up the dynamic that Justice League needs. Superman not wanting to kill people, and Batman being indifferent to the killing. Man of Steel is definitely worth a viewing if for no other reason than to prepare for the sequel.