The very first Superman movie back in 1978 was a decent movie, as was the follow up. But as time has passed, they haven’t aged particularly well. The special effects were hampered by the time, a problem which ‘Superman Returns‘ didn’t have. However that movie was long as mostly devoid of action. So how do you reboot Superman for the modern age? Make it darker, throw in some more action and muscles and get Zack Snyder to direct it is how.
‘Man of Steel‘ begins on Krypton, Superman’s homeworld. His parents ave just given birth to him and now a civil war is beginning as the planet is on the verge of death. Superdad Russell Crowe sends his son out into the universe to find a new home and survive. Standard Superman origin story. But the Krypton sequence lasts for around 20 minutes and it’s really good. Special effects heavy and full of weird alien creatures and technology. It’s actually a fascinating look into a doomed world we’ve never really had before.
Things quickly move to earth though as a now adult Superman, now Clark Kent, is drifting from one place to another, occasionally having flashbacks to moments from his childhood. The story is slow going for a little while, until General Zod comes to earth seeking Superman and with a plot to create a new Krypton. It’s not the greatest story ever told but it does make for some good action sequences and the best part is… Superman actually punches people! I’m not one for violence but seeing an incredibly strong dude actually use his strength when fighting is pretty cool.
Henry Cavill is great as Clark/Supes, if a little bit too dour and without hope. Amy Adams is good as Lois Lane, although the character can get a little annoying at time the way she just gets stuck in to every situation. Michael Shannon is great at Zod, scary and evil and yet with a motive you can kind of understand. The rest of the cast are also pretty decent, with everyone delivering solid performances. The special effects are another star of the film though. Whilst there may be a tad too much destruction, it’s brought to life so realistically that it looks great as these super-beings are destroying the landscapes around them to the score of Hans Zimmer’s great music.
Zack Snyder as director is a good choice for the action, but he’s not so great on story and characters as much I don’t think. He’s more of a ‘do this because it’ll look cool’ kind of director. And while this film doesn’t suffer as much because of it as ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘ did, the cracks do show occasionally. That being said, stylistically this is still a good looking movie. It may be a bit too dark for Superman who should perhaps be a bit more hopeful, but as an origin of the character that’s okay. This movie is fun and cool and explosive. Superman is awesome again! (Mostly)
JACK’S SCORE: 4/5