"Like most of the new batch of superhero films Man of Steel attempts to shy away from the conventions of previous Superman films."
Zack Synder’s Man of Steel comes to us after a break from superhero films. It’s been a few months since we had the summer of comic books with suits made of iron and lycra rubbed in our collective faces. Superman has been a tricky film to make, we’ve had a few campy fun filled romps with the Man of Steel with no one being able to secure a level of respectability to the ultimate superhero.
Man of Steel doesn’t ease you into an origin story like it’s predecessors. Within the first five minutes Krypton, Superman’s home planet, is collapsing in on itself through bad governing and mismanagement of its resources. Scientist and new father Jor-El, played by Russell Crowe doing his Gladiator accent, rails against the leaders of Krypton for their bad judgment and proposes his new plan of saving his race. Military leader General Zod, played by an unnerving Micheal Shannon, decides that a coup of the government through shooting them is a much better plan. Jor-El and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) launch baby Kal-El, Superman’s real name, into space and the rest is history as we are told the rest of the renamed Clark Kent’s history through flashbacks and narration.
Like most of the new batch of superhero films Man of Steel attempts to shy away from the conventions of previous Superman films. We’re introduced to the man Clark Kent on a fishing boat in the middle of Ocean, bearded, pale and isolated from the rest of the world he isn’t related to. However rather then let us see the depression and alienation (literally) he feels towards the humans his father, played fantastically by Kevin Costner, said would never accept him. Synder lets it linger for all of four seconds and we are shown Kent’s awesome power very early on, making it rather boring later on when buildings are exploding at his touch.
There are nice geeky touches for fans of the comics and superhero films in general, the name Superman is stuttered and danced around before it is finally uttered and Lois Lane is revealed to us in a nice winking fashion. The problem with Synder’s vision of Superman is tired visuals and an unclear vision. Overly long action sequences pepper the 2 and half hour epic, when the actors are doing more then capable job why simply through out all the dialogue for another ‘awe’ inspiring fight sequence?
There are touches of Batman director and co-writer Nolan’s influence but not enough; there are winks and nods to Joss Whedon’s sophisticated but funny dialogue but not enough. Synder tries his best and a fantastic cast cannot save this film from it’s unbalanced plot, underwritten Lois Lane and action that will bore you after half an hour. What a shame, maybe next time?