Zack Snyder does one brilliant reboot of the Superman franchise with Man of Steel, grounding most of the god-like fantasy to heavy realism, thus breathing life back into the fictional character who simply faded out after Superman Returns. This welcome film walks a path the earlier movies never walked, and takes itself very, very seriously, for this movie establishes the reason why Superman came to earth, and also justifies why he chose to stay here among the humans.
Like Batman Begins, Man of Steel is a story regarding the ‘origin’ of the caped superhero. The film begins in Krypton with the birth of the planet’s first naturally born child in centuries- Kal-El. Jor-El (Russel Crowe), Kal’s father, warns the planet folks of an approaching environmental catastrophe, but General Zod (Michael Shannon) distracts them from handling the disaster until it’s too late. With just hours remaining for the great planet explosion, Jor ships Kal to Earth in a tiny capsule, in order to save his child and protect the last remains of their civilization in a skull-shaped “codex”, which contains details of all bio-genetically conceived children of Krypton. Years pass, and Kal is now Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) staying with his earth parents (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane), who ask him to be secretive about his powers and assist him in hiding his outer-worldly gifts, but circumstances arrive which keep on exposing him. It’s after he rescues Lois Lane (Amy Adams) that he finds it extremely tough staying anonymous, mostly as she tracks him down to his childhood Kansas abode. In the meantime, General Zod in his pursuit of codex reaches Earth, and what follows is an action-packed grand finale glorifying the ‘super’ in Superman.
The first half of the story that establishes the hero is just too dull, but the second ‘noisy’ half pretty much makes up for it. The high-quality of the story is maintained for a major portion of the film. A dash of humour peppered here-and-there would have been nice. The narrative structure is not linear, and is maintained so to tell better about young Kal. The Kryptonian-part of the story takes too much of footage, and could’ve had enjoyed some editorial scissors. Similar for the prolonged fight scenes. The action in the second half is seriously one of the best sequences we’ve seen in recent past, and is totally “comic book awesome”.
Performance wise, Henry Cavill as superman has done amazingly well, and as far as his expressions are concerned, there must be a reason he’s called man of ‘steel’. Amy Adams, the academy-winning actress is mostly wasted as the clumsy Lios Lane, but her romantic chemistry with Henry is what beats the heart of this film. Michael Shannon for Zod’s role may have not been an obvious choice, but he has delivered a wonderful performance nevertheless. Also, the Superman-costume is a welcome change, with the exterior red underwear thankfully done away with. Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack simply pumps up the narrative mood.
This Christopher Nolan-Zack Snyder’s Superman offers a whole lot of visual meat to chew, and the hero tugs on your heart unlike ever before. Do give it a see.