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From director Zack Snyder who loves to hit us with blockbusting CGI in the likes of 300, Watchmen and Sucker Punch, comes the reboot to the DC franchise that is Superman, here is Man Of Steel. What has largely been touted as the beginnings of the long awaited, much anticipated, Justice League movie, Man of Steel combines the power punch of Snyder with the stylistics of producer (and Dark Knight trilogy directory) Christopher Nolan. What it creates is a world where these people can co-exist and as expected, a darker turn for the franchise.
Starting off on the planet Krypton, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) fires his and the planets first natural born son for centuries into space towards Earth where he might survive as Krypton is about to implode. Banished to the Phantom Zone for staging a coup against the leaders, General Zod (Michael Shannon) vows to find the child and make him pay for his fathers treason.
From the opening sequences with its vast landscapes and strange creatures, Snyder sets his epic stand. We then follow Clark Kent on Earth, doing good but living a life in the shadows, his upbringing told in various flashbacks as people start to realise that maybe this child isn’t from this Earth. When Zod arrives, Clark / Kal has to reveal himself to the world, not knowing how they’ll react. What follows is a battle that has been building up inside Clark since he first realised he was different and a fight that literally levels a city.
Man of Steel isn’t your classic Superman movie, it’s a darker shade of blue and red and you won’t find the humour of The Dark Knight or the wit of The Avengers here – although one scene atop a construction site with a ‘106 days without an accident’ sign could illicit some chuckles. Kal-El doesn’t hide behind spectacles and Lois Lane (Amy Adams) lacks the sass of Margot Kidder. The action is chaotic and on a massive scale, not that we would expect any less.
The story does have a couple of plot-holes in it and I do have a number of personal gripes. These include the hurricane scene – I don’t care what secret you have it’s not worth the sacrifice – and it doesn’t matter what information about saving the world she might have, Lois Lane would not be allowed on a US Military aircraft. Don’t get me started on the key not going in the hole conundrum!
Despite totally destroying Metropolis in the final showdown with Zod and killing countless civilians, once the battle is over Clark walks happily into the Daily Planet – the building restored to its former glory – did Supes help rebuild the city after he destroyed it? Such a clean-up operation would take years.
Man of Steel has left me in a state of bemusement, I can’t decide if I enjoyed the film or not and I can’t pinpoint any moments that left me smiling or indeed angry. Maybe that’s a good thing? It has the scale you’d expect from such a hero and there is scope for this universe to potentially house the rest of the Justice League. For one brief moment you do get to see a Wayne Enterprises logo on a satellite and apparently the is a ‘Keep Calm and Call Batman’ sign on a wall.
This incarnation has outperformed and outdone the previous iteration Superman Returns and there is already sequel talk which is encouraging. We will certainly see more of the Man of Steel, weather or not he has an of his Super Friends with him still remains to be seen.