Man Of Steel *** out of ****

Jun 23, 2013 -- 10:42pm






Can a film be too serious to be fun? Not for me. Superman is back and better than ever,{ which isn’t saying very much cinematically when you consider its predecessors}. Under the direction of Zack Snyder {300 and Watchmen}, Man Of Steel is a thoughtful, earnest and ambitious re-imagining of the legendary super hero. Be warned, this is not your daddy’s Superman. Unlike Richard Donner’s “ Superman  in 1978”, this man of steel is deadly serious. Chris Nolan produces and you can definitely sense the “ Batman-ization” of Superman. From the outset of the film the colors are subdued and grim, and there is very little humor, which matches the tone which is somber.

While the film does lack the frivolity and charm of the original, I find the gritty realism refreshing. Part of the difficulty in putting Superman on the big screen is the characters lack of dimension. He’s too perfect, there is no ambiguity. He’s about truth, selflessness and a  figure of the light, thus the Christ comparisons. Superman is not a tortured soul like Batman. I applaud Snyder for trying to take Superman in a different direction. I liked him being conflicted by his powers, wondering whether to use them to save lives. It serves to humanize a character that is otherwise flawless. His daddy issues with his adoptive parents again give the character some frailty. Some feel because of this, the film is too cold and dour, and that Superman is too brooding, which makes the experience joyless. I disagree. By giving Clark inner conflict we relate to him more. If I have one criticism, it’s that Snyder really doesn’t examine Superman’s uniqueness as a super hero. Where is his compassion? He never seems worried that thousands are dying during his clashes with General Zod and company.

Snyder’s film is visually stunning, and is complimented by Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score. This is the first time cinematically we experience Superman’s awe inspiring power. The fight sequences alone are worth the price of admission. Many film critics are secular and dislike the spirituality of the film. But when you consider the source material, Christ comparisons have always been embedded in the character. A savior comes, shows humanity the shining example of what they can aspire to, and leads them to the light. How is there something wrong with this?

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