I’m gonna start this by saying I went to this movie under protest. I’m not a Superman fan, never have been. I’ve enjoyed the Christopher Reeves movies the same way I enjoy B rated sci-fi movies, they’re hokey and lame but that’s the fun of them. Also I can mock them in the comfort of my own home. As a kid I was raised in the D.C. universe (given the choice now I prefer Marvel) with shows like Superman the animated series, Batman the animates series, Justice League and it always felt as though you had to choose between Batman and Superman and my brother and I always picked Batman. Superman was always too white bread, too much of a goody two shoes it was annoying. He was the vanilla ice cream of superheroes and I’ve never liked vanilla. It wasn’t that Batman was darker, well he was but that’s not the point, it was that I could understand Batman/Bruce Wayne. His origin story made sense to me, I could see where he could come from and why he was who he was and accept it. I couldn’t understand Superman, I mean I get he’s an alien raised by humans in Kansas which I guess instills him with good wholesome (christian) values and then he’s a news reporter/ superhero in Metropolis but why? He has superhuman abilities but why is he a superhero? Because he can? Is it some random hobby he picked up, all the freaks are doing it and I have nothing better to do so I might as well save Metropolis? Then there’s the whole Clark Kent issue, the man’s personality is so earnest and sweet you talk to him for five minutes and you walk away with type II diabetes. My final sticking point was the glasses. Glasses? Really? That’s your disguise? Batman has a cowl and mask so no one recognizes him and all you do is take off your glasses and I’m supposed to believe no one recognizes you? If I take off my glasses and dress different from normal my friends aren’t going to wonder who I am, most of the guys probably won’t even realize that I’ve changed anything. Sorry, I got off topic venting about Superman but these were the feeling I had going in to see Man of Steel.
Sitting in the theater before the movie started all I could think was ‘oh goody another origin story reboot, and it’s my least favorite superhero. Yay.’ I’ve grown so tired of origin stories, lately the movie industry has been saturated with remakes, reboots, re-whatever and honestly it’s boring. I rarely get excited over movies anymore. When I see a remotely interesting movie trailer, instead of ‘I can’t wait to see this in theaters’ it’s ‘meh, I’ll wait till it comes out on dvd’. Then The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug trailer came on and I had a moment of squee, have you seen the trailer for that? So great! Then came Man of Steel and I have to say, I absolutely loved it.
There are many fans who are worried that because it was Christopher Nolan the movie would be too dark and gritty like the Dark Knight trilogy. Read these words and repeat after me: it’s not Dark Knight. Got it? Good. Yes, Man of Steel is darker than any Superman movie before it but think dark in the way Star Trek or the Avengers is dark, honestly I wouldn’t use the word dark with Man of Steel I consider it more heightened reality than dark and gritty. For the first time in my life I felt that I could understand Clark Kent, more than that (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I felt that I could LIKE Clark Kent. He felt like a real person, he wasn’t plain white bread anymore but an individual who had to deal with the same crap the rest of us did (bullying, growing up, feeling like a total freak, etc) with the added issue of hiding who he was so the black helicopters wouldn’t pick him up and take him to some government lab where he’s dissected for science. He was so…human. His honest, unassuming, almost vulnerable at times, nature was balanced by the rage, sorrow, and confusion that afflicts us all. And he had a good sense of humor, you don’t understand how important that is until a character doesn’t have it. Interestingly enough the whole movie I was actually hoping that he would succeed and usually I’m on the side of the bad guys in a Superman movie.
The graphics and aesthetic of this move were amazing. Krypton looked like something from Star Wars or John Carter, you get a good feel of the world and some of the culture before it’s completely annihilated and I gave bonus points for their counsel looking like they had raided the Time Lord Counsel’s closet. I really liked the flow of the movie as well, instead of the traditional straight line that the Superman movies usually take (meaning it starts with Krypton being destroyed, scenes from childhood, Daily Planet, bad guy fight scene, save Lois, save the day. Rinse, lather and repeat) his childhood is in flashbacks. There are a ton of cool fight scenes too, all the mindless violence and destruction an audience could ask for. I had some minor issues with the main bad guy but it was mostly that looking at him unnerved me because even though I knew it was an actor I kept feeling like he was cgi, maybe it was the costume. Made his head look like it didn’t go on that body.
There’s also another aspect to this movie that really affected how I judged it. Henry Cavill. I’m usually not shallow, I find talent and intelligent hot over looks but have you seen him? He doesn’t need heat vision to burn me up with those steel-blue eyes. There is some serious fan service in this movie and for once it is in the girls favor. I might have zoned out a couple times hypnotized by those abs and eyes and hair….where was I? Right, lets just say this movie has something for everyone. Little bit of romance, ton of action and explosions, sci-fi goodness, and a man of steel who stole my heart. It’s a visually stunning movie and what I remember of the plot (the parts where Cavill wasn’t shirtless) was good. Man of Steel is a refreshing film in a tired genre.