Sunday, 29 December 2013


The Last son of Krypton is back in a more darker, realistic and Christopher Nolan-y take and its name  is suitably named MAN OF STEEL.


Finally, a... decent Superman has graced the screen and it only took 30 years to do it!

The story begins (as all Superman origin stories do) with a dying Krypton, but this time due to an unstable core, due to the Kryptonians having used up all their natural recourses.
A Krypton scientist, Jor-El, is explaining to the ruling council about moving location, but they are killed by the military General, Zod. 
Jor-El and his wife Lara send their son Kal of El (Kal-El) to Earth, knowing that there was no way of them to escaping from their doomed planet; but this is the thing... Kal was the first naturally born baby in centuries, whereas, all others had been genetically altered to serve specific jobs once they become of age. Along with this, he was also infused with genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race!
After Zod discovers this, he kills Jor-El. Zods men try to shoot down Kal-El's spacecraft, only to be arrested for treason. 
So, our last 5 minutes at our look of Krypton concludes with two minutes worth of Zod threatening Lara about finding her son 'I WILL FIND HIM!'; and Lara looking out of a screen witnessing the final seconds of the planet.
So, Kal-El's ship lands in Kansas, Smallville, where he as we know, is raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who they then name Clark.
Thanks to Clark's Kryptonian chemical structure, the Earth's sun radiation grants him superhuman abilities, which leads him to confusion. This then leads to a heart warming conversation between Martha and Clark, when he storms out of a classroom.
As Clark grows older he learns how to harness his and control his abilities and focusing on helping people, only to be exposed by his whole class and a bully. After the reveal, Jonathan then explains to a thirteen year old Clark how he is an alien and how whoever he turns out to be, he will change the world.
Now fast forward a few years, we see Clark and Jonathan having an argument, where Clark fires out the old 'stab me in the back' line "You're not my real dad", which coincidentally leads to a tornado where Jonathan Kent is killed, where Clark could have easily have saved him; but they decided with the whole thing about 'having to keep your identity a secret' overshadowed this.
So, as Clark grows older and wiser, we see him taking on multiple personalities and jobs, while saving people along the way. He saves a bunch of people at sea and destroys a truck without anyone seeing, all without having his identity revealed... yeah, like that would happen.
Clark manages to find himself infiltrating a US military investigation in the Arctic, where they have discovered a Kryptonian scout ship and this is where we finally get to see The Daily Planet's star reporter Lois Lane, on the look out for an 'alien' which she has been searching for, who is of course Clark.
Clark manages to locate the ship, Lois decides to follow him to only be attacked to by an AI within the ship, meanwhile Clark manages to find the hologram of Jor-El, who explains about Krypton and who he is and then gives him his own custom made suit. This is also where the obvious 'S' on his chest, actually means hope upon his own world.
Kal then begins to practice flying and actually manages to get his grip on flying pretty easily.
Lois goes back to the Daily Planet and tries to sell a story about 'Aliens walking amongst us' to her Chief editor Perry White, who ultimately rejects it.
Although Perry told Lois to drop the story, she still decided to track down Clark and ended up tracking him down to Smallville and finally managing to get Clark's attention. After hearing his story, Lois decides to drop the story.
The story then pans out about Zod and his men (including Faora) managing to escape the Negative Zone. They pick up a distress signal that was activated when Clark went to the Kryptonian ship. Zod sends out a freaky broadcast message all across the planet demanding that they hand Kal in, as he believes that Kal has the Codex (the only way to recognise Krypton). Clark agrees and the Military hand him in. Zod explains to Clark that to repopulate Krypton, they must use a terraforming 'World engine' to change the Earth's state to their needs, but this will ultimately kill the Human race.
To conclude, Clark disagrees, They fight, destroy half of Smallville and 3/4 of Metropolis, killing millions in the process. Faora is a bad butt killer and Clark eventually snaps Zod's neck, when he attempts to fry five people, so he practically saved five people and 1/4 of Metropolis... boy is he a saviour...
At the end we see Clark heading towards Daily Planet stating that he has to work somewhere, where no one would question him, if he wanted to go somewhere dangerous and so... he becomes a journalist, and that's where it ends.

So, i found the story to be... interesting. You can kind of see the similarities between this film and Batman Begins, which also had Christopher Nolan involved with the making.
Although Batman Begins and The Dark Knight was a breath of fresh air, thanks to Nolan's realism and gritty story lines, assisted by Batman brooding demeanour; this doesn't necessarily work well when Superman is involved.
This movie does play homage to the Richard Donner and Christopher Reeves' Superman movies from the 70's very well, but it suffers from what Superman Returns suffered from. This Superman is far too brooding. What happened to the light hearted, fun loving, boy scout we came to love over the past 75 years? What happened to the Man of Steel, who Batman loved to hate being around as they were both the complete opposite? What I am trying to say is that this Superman is far too serious. Christopher Nolan's dark movie view has completely taken over this movie. Supes didn't crack one joke in the movie... heck, Batman cracked more jokes than him in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises!
Lois Lane discovering Superman's identity seemed like a dose of fresh air. Instead of Lane being fooled like a buffoon by an eyeglass wearing Clark Kent, she managed to track him down and find out who her mystery saviour really is. Personally, i think she may have discovered it a tiny bit too recently, but it was indeed a new take.
Lois did discover who Kal-El was before she even had a full fledged conversation with him, but what
about all the other fellow journalists and photographers working at the Daily Planet, who will actually talk to Clark face to face? Will they be fooled and see who Clark really is beneath the glasses?
One thing I did really approve of was the heavy military presence. This strange, God-like being was actually seen as a threat, instead of just immediately being accepted within the general public.

The destruction in this movie was a little bit too much in my view. It just wasn't necessary. Granted, this is actually the first time we have seen Supes use his powers to good use in combat, but 3/4 of Metropolis was destroyed and approximately 200,000 dead! I can assume that the death toll was twice as much in this than The Avengers, where they battled an army of high-teched aliens.
A thing that was gained from all the destruction and death, was proving that Superman can't be at multiple places at once. In the previous Christopher Reeve's movies, I can guarantee that not one person died amongst the destruction that Lex Luthor, Zod and his party gang had caused, which was not realistic whatsoever.
They really should have left all the destruction for a future 'Death of Superman' storyline, where Metropolis experiences the worst catastrophe they have ever witnessed against Superman and the destructive Doomsday.
If they really want to top the destruction of this movie for a sequel, they would seriously have to destroy all of Metropolis and Gotham city!
And can somebody please tell me how they managed to rebuild the city so quickly within the movie? Wouldn't it have at least taken 10 years?

But enough nit-picking about the destruction, lets talk more about the general story.
Clark having to kill Zod, was a brave move for the writers. Superman having to kill someone has never actually been seen before on screen, never mind punching! For fans of the original red and blue boy scout, I can understand how this would a shock to the system and possibly disapproved of; but when you think about it, this has the opportunity to go places. This could possibly be shown to have Superman swear for this to be the first and last time that he is going to kill and this therefore leads to him eventually having to kill again, which doesn't leave him in a good state.
(I still don't appreciate how he only killed Zod when he threatened to kill five people, after 200,000 people can be presumed dead).

The acting was superb, I have to say.
Henry Cavill does give a convincing portrayal of someone just trying to find where they belong. He also has the perfect look for Superman. One thing that I do question about his performance, was his constant brooding look. I know I had touched on this before, but I want the Superman whose smile could make even the saddest kid happy.
Amy Adam's Lois Lane, is personally the best portrayal up to date. This Lois gives the comic book counterpart justice. She is the sassy and feisty Lois, but she is also one who will laugh in the face of danger and won't look annoying while doing it.
Michael Shannon's Zod couldn't be done better. There is nothing better than a villain who believes he is doing something for the greater good. Shannon's portrayal shows a relentless, murderous leader, yet someone who has been through great pain.
Antje Traue as Faora was one of the best things about the movie. Her killer instinct was just plainly awesome and her combat skills alone was enough to make any man shudder.

Overall, I did actually enjoy this film. The movie had it's problems and continuity points which should have been left for a later date, but Man of Steel is setting up for a bigger universe (though, they really could have planned it better).

I give this movie a 7.5/10

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