I saw Man of Steel this week and I have to give it a middle of the road rating. Bringing Superman to the big screen has never been easy. Really the only other one that worked was Richard Donner’s Superman. Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns was a good attempt, but it suffered from being tied to the older films and it was a little campy. I liked the film and it would have been interesting to see where the franchise would have traveled under Singer, but Warner Brothers viewed the film as a failure and decided that Superman needed to be revamped. The studio hired Christopher Nolan, the director of the new Batman films, to develop a new Superman franchise. He picked Zack Snyder to direct. What came out of this collaboration is Man of Steel.
Love him or hate him, you have to give Zack Snyder credit for always being able to craft a visual stunning film. Man of Steel is no exception. The one thing I really liked about the movie is that it depicts what a superhuman fight would be like. It would destroy most of a city. The Superman-Zod fight destroys a large chunk of Metropolis and literally that would happen if two beings with superpowers fight each other. I can’t think of any other superhero movie that does that. The acting was good for the most part. I was surprised how good Russell Crowe was. Hans Zimmer’s music was a nice touch to the film.
One of the things the film lacked is moments for character development. The story was moving at a breakneck speed and it lost those small moments of learning who the characters are. We get small doses, but not enough the truly care for them. Many people have complained about how dark the story is, but what were people expecting? Christopher Nolan produced the film and of course it’s going to be dark. It’s one of those things I can debate back and forth about. Yes, Superman is the epitome of a good person, but this is a different version who is just learning his powers and what it means to be a hero. Could he have saved more people from all the destruction that Zod and his crew brought to the Earth? Yes. The destruction of a large chunk of Metropolis by the Kryptonians in their attempt to terraform the planet is disaster porn. It showed destruction with none of the consequences of it. Thousands of people are dead, but we’re not going to show that. Lets not make it too dark. The final part that has caused a big debate is when Superman kills Zod. I have to come down on the side of many of purists and say that Superman doesn’t kill. In this instance, he did it to save innocent lives, but the character will always find another way that does not involve lethal force.
Sequels are to come and it will be interesting to see where this darker version of the Man of Steel travels to.