Movie Review: Man of Steel

It would be safe to say that everyone has at least a vague idea of what the idyllic, charming Superman should act, look and behave like. My mom preferred the portrayal by Christopher Reeves, who cracked lovable jokes and lifted the audience as he soared above the city with the highly coveted gift of flight.

Does British newcomer Henry Cavill fit the bill? Absolutely.  However I felt that the film didn’t quite give him the chance to show off his charm like other adaptations in the years past. The film is jam-packed with action, filling the quota for experimentation with special effects. I feel that the line between enhancing the film with effects and overusing them was definitely breached.

Russel Crowe kicks off the film as Jor-El, Clark Kent’s true father, who inhabits the planet Krypton with his wife, Lara Lor-Van. In violation of the laws of Krypton, the couple births a son naturally. On Krypton, children are born by the use of Codex, a genetic engineering device that imprints what a person’s occupation will be in life.

Jor-El steals the Codex as Krypton is destroyed due to the harvest of the planet’s core and depletion of its natural resources. General Zod and his followers use this time of chaos to take control of the planet. As Crowe returns home to launch his son to the safety of Earth, Zod and his followers enter their residence, demanding that Jor-El relinquish the Codex. Jor-El refuses and is killed for betraying Zod, but Lara launches Clark to safety with the Codex. General Zod swears to Lara that he will find her son and claim the Codex.

The timeline is nonlinear, which was fun to watch unravel as Clark Kent discovers his true identity piece by piece rather than already being informed of his destiny. I thought the flashback scenes were really strong. They established the importance of Clark’s struggle to fit in despite his extraordinary abilities. The relationship with Clark’s adoptive father is also well developed and delicately shapes important decisions the hero makes later in the film.

Amy Adams takes over the reigns for the role of the heroine Lois Lane, who works for The Daily Planet and seeks the truth about a seemingly extraterrestrial ship buried deeply in ice older than earth itself. On her investigative journey, she meets Clark, who reveals his extraordinary strength to save her life. Lane leaks the shocking story of his abilities to an online blogger when her editor at The Daily Planet refuses to print her article. When she digs deeper into Clark’s past however, she decides that the public would be safer if his identity remained a secret.

On Rotten Tomatoes, “Man of Steel” sits at 56 percent a somewhat disappointing ranking for the highly anticipated blockbuster. On IMDB, the film scored a C ranking with 7.5/10. The last hour of the film is nonstop action to the point of being exhausting, but for many viewers, outstanding visual density merits the price of admission. At least the effects prove that Superman can indeed leap a building in a single bound.