Man of Steel, a solid reintroduction to Superman

Man of Steel

Directed by: Zack Snyder

Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Diane LaneAntje Traue

Let me start off by saying that I may not have always been the biggest Superman fan but I’ve increased interest of late and Man of Steel is something that I’ve been anticipating since the first leaked image of Henry Cavill wearing the suit. I’ve seen the original Superman, Superman 2, and Superman Returns (I’ve managed to avoid the disastrous 3 and 4) and they never really sparked my interest as much as Man of Steel’s trailers did. This is a completely different take on Superman than Donner’s, Lester’s, and Singer’s take on the character and I am happy that they choose to do it in a way like Batman Begins, reintroducing the audience and general public to one of the most popular superhero. Snyder, Nolan, and Goyer all do a great job getting us familiar with Clark Kent and the problems that he faces when he has the amount of power and abilities that he does and making him a lone outsider is always a much better way of showing an audience that this man is not a human but an alien that will always feel left out no matter how much he tries to be part of the human race. What always got me about Superman is that he wears glasses to conceal his identity and I personally don’t think that would be anything close to realistic given that the two guys look so similar and that the ridiculousness of him wearing glasses makes the people around him completely oblivious to his identity is just ludicrous, given that the people he associates himself with are reporters who are good at investigating these kinds of things. I’ll first off say that I like that Synder decided to remove this aspect and have Lois know who he is early on, it makes it more believable and not something that always made the character ridiculous when he is on screen.

Superman flies back onto the big screen in this Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures production directed by Zack Snyder (Watchmen), produced by Christopher Nolan(The Dark Knight), and featuring a screenplay by David Goyer (BladeThe Dark Knight). As the planet of Krypton crumbles, General Zod (Michael Shannon) stages a coup as concerned leader Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife send their infant son Kal-El to a distant world called Earth. While the young child travels through space with an object containing the DNA of his home planet, General Zod and his cohorts are sentenced to an eternity in a black-hole prison. Named Clark and raised by kindly farmers Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane), young Kal-El lives in fear of what might happen should his neighbors learn about his extraterrestrial origins, eventually exploring the world in search of himself. In time, Clark’s travels take him to a frozen tundra, where the American government has discovered an 18,000-year-old anomaly buried deep in the ice. Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) has just come to investigate when, after venturing out with her camera, she has a profound encounter with Clark. Convinced that his presence on Earth is proof of life on other planets, Lois finds her attempt to publish the story thwarted by her boss Perry White (Laurence Fishburne), who rejects it outright. Later, the airwaves are hijacked by General Zod, who threatens to obliterate the human race if they fail to hand over Kal-El within 24 hours. Forced to embrace his otherworldly origins for the first time in his life, Clark Kent dons the special suit from Krypton and prepares to take a stand against an enemy far more powerful than any he’s ever known.

I may be one of few to say this but I usually enjoy Zack Snyder’s work, except Sucker Punch, and this may be his best work to date. It is able to capture the spirit of the character while also showing his dark side. It makes for a much more satisfying Superman movie when you can make him seem human even though he can be considered a God. I never was able to see Christopher Reeves as Superman, Clark Kent he was great at but unconvincing as the main hero, while I believe that Henry Cavill has both the looks and feel of Superman and the human side as Clark Kent. The entire cast lives up to the hype, especially Amy Adams who manages to make Lois  a powerful yet vulnerable woman that no one else has been able to do she embodies like she does with every other role she does. It was also nice to see a Superman that is able stand his own in the fighting situations, something that we never really got in the other films and the amount of destruction is mind-blowing, on a level of Michael Bay (sorry that his name has to come up), but given that the two duking it out in down town Metropolis is are near god it works in this film more that any other blockbuster. I feel that this movie is the first movie to really take the character seriously and also make him appealing to the crowds than any other has.

SPOILERS 

Now I find that end controversy to be funny and that it is ridiculous that it is under so much scrutiny. This is a new take on Superman and that the snapping of General Zod’s neck is important to the movie. In a time of choice, Superman realizes how much life has been wasted on account of the epic battle between him and Zod and when he sees this is the form of a family of four at the mercy of Zod’s heat vision, so taking the noble route he ends his life but immediately regrets it. This may seem out of character for a Superman film but given that in the second one he kills Zod for no reason other than he did pose of threat before his powers were taken away by Superman and he also has killed for the greater good in a few of the comics shows that this is in fact part of character but not quite touched on as much in the movie as in the comic. I would have liked it show a much greater effect on Kal-El and have it define the moral decision not to kill anymore, I think it sets up great sequel potential but is somewhat lost in the end in this movie it is more overshadowed by the fact that Clark Kent becomes the man that we (as comic book readers) know him as. It personally think that the end fits the movie and also works to redefine Superman for a new audience.

Spoilers

I think that Warner Brothers has finally hit their mark when it comes to non-Dark Knight DC comics after their failed attempt to make a Green Lantern movie, that borrowed to much from Marvel successful formula. Man of Steel is able to make people care about Superman again and it would be interesting to see where they take the possibilities that they are presented with when they own some of the greatest comic book characters of all time. Personally I would like to see a Flash film next or hell even Aquaman, if you applied this formula with a storyline similar to Thor and you are sure to have a great movie there. I think everyone should give it a shot to see how Superman will work in modern day times and not rely to heavily on Richard Donner’s take before basing your opinion on this, seriously I know people who didn’t enjoy this because of Donner’s version.

10 out of 10

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Iron Man 3, the flawed return to the marvel universe

Iron Man 3

Directed By: Shane Black

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, and Ben Kingsley

It surprises me that the Marvel Cinematic Universe became as successful as it did, two separate billion dollar grossing movies and nearly ten movies either out or in the works. With every new entry I start disliking the series even more, they are producing far too many movies in a short period of time and it is starting to get redundant. Iron Man 3 looked as if they were going with a much more serious tone with a villain that actually looks threatening compared to every other villain that was in the movies so far. What they did instead was make a movie that relied more on the comedy aspect than actually making a good story and you wanna know what that is the biggest flaw that Marvel is doing now a days is that they are making these movies appeal to the younger audience and they choose to make it light hearted instead of focusing on the characters journey.

Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man 3″ pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

I have deep admiration for the road that Shane Black wanted to take but I think in the end the final product is by far the weakest the series has to offer and doesn’t live up to first one or even The Avengers, which I am starting to dislike as a movie. I had feeling that Mandarin could have finally brought in a villain that poses a threat for Iron Man instead of machine on machine but boy was I wrong. Spoilers Ahead So Beware. The Mandarin is actually an actor hired by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) so that he could be the scape goat and Aldrich can get aware with the crime. I can’t think of a worse way of including a villain in the movie, he is just reduced to some bland actor who doesn’t pose any threat to the main character. The studio decided to reduce Iron Man’s prime villain to a stupid twist like this movie. This is my biggest problem because he was marketed to extremes, making him seem like the Joker or Bane of this series but once again the villain in these movies don’t live up to expectations. It also doesn’t help that the real villain is a terrible excuse for one. At one point he breaths fire at one of the characters and that is when I was done with this movie. First you ruin what could have been a great villain and then you add something as ridiculous as someone who has healing abilities and fire breathing abilities that you would never coming from a movie like this. Then you include the Iron Patriot, another departure from the comics, and you give him absolutely nothing to do. This movie is not what it could have been at all. About halfway through the movie really falls apart and ends with a less than stellar fight sequence that could have been truly awesome.

There were definitely moments in the movie that I really enjoyed such as the barrel of monkeys catch seen that used real stunt actors falling in mid air and Iron Man catching them. I also liked the small diversion in Tennessee which shows that Tony Stark is just a man who needs help from even the smallest person. There were moments that I was entertained by but ultimately this has to be the biggest disappoint of the year so far and a very poor way for marvel to start their Phase Two of their Cinematic Universe I hope the likes of Thor Dark World, Captain America Winter Solider, and Guardians of the Galaxy don’t suffer from the same troubles.

5.5 out of 10