Superman is a beloved character. With his name come certain expectations of greatness. So how does the reboot of the Superman franchise play out on the big screen? My family and I saw the film, I share our thoughts.
Please note there are some ‘spolierish’ moments in this review. While I tried not to be explicit with details, some things are spelled out.
Man of Steel is a serious take on the Superman legacy, exploring the difficulty Superman faces fitting into the world. Make no mistake though, this is a serious summer blockbuster with all the action and thrills you’d expect from a big production. The serious tone and action are only part of the draw, with near perfect casting, and a depth of detail that will leave fans wanting more.
Or in the words of my 9 year old, “It. Was. AWESOME.”
Should You Take the Kids?
Yes, if they are 10 or older OR you know they can handle the quieter moments of a movie, and won’t be scared by action. Our 7 and 9 year olds loved the movie, and while I noticed they got fidgety once or twice it held their attention. Parents should know there is a LOT of destruction (it is Superman after all) and several curse words and ‘dick’ jokes. If language is a concern, you can either choose to discuss it beforehand, or see if they notice and talk about it then. In the context of the film they were well-placed, but in my opinion not necessary. All three of the kids we took (11, 9, 7) loved the film, and said it’s a must-see.
Man of Steel Review
Man of Steel is the relaunch of the Superman movie franchise. This is a new take, much like Batman, that is darker and more serious in tone. This works well for Superman, as it’s a side we haven’t seen explored on the big screen. Director Zack Snyder (and producer Christopher Nolan, Batman director and writer) explores the nature of Clark Kent/Superman’s relationships to others and his journey to figure out who he is in a world that is not his home.
We see many of the familiar characters introduced including Lana Lang and visual nods given to Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne. This sets up the universe in which our hero dwells, and allows fans to speculate about future films. The beauty of this was we know those characters are present, but the focus of the film was on Clark Kent or Superman. There was no wasted screen time on side stories that weren’t necessary at this point in our story.
Despite being two and half hours long the film kept us engaged and entertained as it took us through Kal-El’s (aka Superman’s) birth, to Clark Kent’s childhood experiences, and into present day. We see the struggles Clark Kent goes through to become Superman.
The visual effects are stunning and while many are on an unbelievably large scale (whole cities) I didn’t stop to think about the ‘movie’ since I was so engaged in what was happening on screen.
The casting is nearly perfect with a quiet, understated Kevin Costner as Pa Kent; a savvy and smart take on Lois Lane from Amy Adams (I’m thankful too that they didn’t dye her hair-she looks more real); and a serious, quiet strength from Henry Cavill as Superman. Russell Crowe plays dad to our Superman to perfection as Jor-El. Russell Crowe is not relegated to the backstory though, so look for him to steal every scene he’s in throughout the film.
Superhero fans and geeks alike will delight in seeing the gravity and action that the film brings to the screen. This is not the campy Superman of your youth-he is grown-up, and has real life struggles beyond hiding his identity behind some glasses (as if that would fool any of us in real life).
Many reviews are saying that this film is too dark, not campy enough, not fun enough-but the reason I enjoyed the film so much was that it made room for subtle acting-a craft which is often forgotten in big budget blockbusters. While there was room for a bit more humor, the gravitas of the film is in my eyes necessary when the subject is an alien super man battling seriously evil forces bent on the literal destruction of the Earth.
The moments were the movie really soared were not during the enormous battles, but in the quiet moments, in the struggles of our characters, and in the heart of our Man of Steel.