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April 22, 2024

Man of Steel: Movie Review

By Bernie and Sand Pilarski

Bernie said:

Da-da-da-dah, da-da-da-da-dah,
da-da-da-dah, da-da-da-dah.
Da-da-DAH-da, da-da-DAH-da,

Eh? Remember that? Of course you do. For the past eighty years, Superman has been as much a part of our lives as toast. He almost singlehandedly created the spandex industry. He was so strong that he was able to survive being portrayed on television wearing leggings and a Depends undergarment pulled way up like grandpaw wears his pants.

Superman fits into that category of things that just are, things that are so familiar as to become almost unnoticeable until you change it. Like house paint. You don't think about it until somebody changes the house from white to yellow, then everybody's got to come by and take a look and the event becomes part of the neighborhood gossip for a couple of weeks, but eventually becomes simply the yellow house down the street.

Superman has been repainted lots of times, and the results have not always been good. The release of Man of Steel seems to have gotten the whole neighborhood talking. It had a record-breaking opening weekend at the box office, and the success is well deserved.

The first part of the movie takes us back to the planet Krypton and gives us the story of how Superman came to be launched into space as a baby and eventually deposited on earth to be found and adopted by Jon and Martha Kent of Kansas, where he experiences a normal human childhood filled with bullying and derision at the hands of the school jocks. When the time is right, Pa Kent takes the young Clark out to the barn for "the talk," and there Clark learns about raging hormones, hairy palms, intergalactic space craft, and that he is a hideous alien monster who may at any time grow tentacles and sprout googly eyes on the end of stems and who has been sent to earth for some unknown reason.

Clark must "find himself," and so goes off on a journey of discovery, meeting lots of people who don't like him, but eventually finding a buried space ship that contains the essence of his dead alien father, and by sheer luck, Lois Lane. Things begin to make sense for Clark as he discovers who he is and why Lois keeps breathing heavy.

But wait, trouble brews. General Zod, an anal-retentive type from back home, comes to earth to find Clark and take over the planet to repopulate it with non-Kansans. He's not insane, just good at what he does, and taking over the earth, annihilating its inhabitants, and irrevocably changing the earth's environment to support alien life, well, it's his job.

Da-da-da-dah, da-da-da-da-dah,
da-da-da-dah, da-da-da-dah.

This is a good story. At last, somebody who made a glitzy special effects movie also decided to spend enough money on a writer to get a good script. In this case, they got the heavyweight team of David Goyer and Christopher Nolan. The money was well spent. The story is fast paced, crisp, and interesting. Despite what I've read in other reviews, I thought there was plenty of good character development for the genre. I particularly liked that this was not a black and white, good verses evil story -- there was lots of grey. For example, when the young Clark saves a busload of kids from drowning, Pa Kent gently admonishes him saying it is unwise to do things that might tip people off to what Clark is. What am I supposed to do, says Clark, let them die? Maybe, says Pa.

The cast is good. Russell Crowe was great as Jor-El, Clark's biological dad, Diane Lane and Kevin Costner excellent Kents, and Michael Shannon a convincing Zod. I have to admit that I needed a little getting used to Henry Cavill as Superman, but he did it, he convinced me he could Superman. And Amy Adams, who I thought would not make a good Lois Lane, turned out to be arguably the best Lois of all time. (My previous fav as Lois was actually Margot Kidder.)

This is a great looking film -- loads of CGI, lots of blowin' things up, lots of action scenes. It could be argued that the action scenes were a little over the top. There was so much destroyed in this film that had it been real life, there would probably be a drive to get Superman to go live on some other planet, or at least to settle in the Middle East where they don't seem to mind having their cities blown up all the time. {Letters of protest should be directed to "Editor(at)pikerpress.com."}

This is a great summer popcorn flick, well worth the price of admission, and it may well eventually end up in our DVD library.

Sand said:

I really dragged my feet about seeing Man of Steel. Why?

  • We don't need another Superman.
  • Russell Crowe.
  • Waffle-weave blue tights.
  • Unattractive grimacing by the latest Superman in the trailers.
  • Superman and Lois Lane, yadda yadda

Yet for all my reluctance, and all the reasons Bernie listed above, this has become one of my favorite super-hero movies. There was a freshness to it that made all the stale Superman memories just disappear. The icing on the cake was the introduction of Clark Kent to the newsroom of The Daily Planet ... now it all makes sense!

I enjoyed every minute of it, and look forward to owning the DVD.

Man of Steel even made me enjoy Russell Crowe.

Article © Bernie and Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2013-06-17
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