So, here we are with another reboot of the Superman series. The last film was only mediocre, and the one before that was absolutely awful, so I went into this movie with a little trepidation. This time, however, the Man of Steel did not disappoint, and director Zach Snyder had a very clear vision for this film.
Krypton was dying, and Jor-El and Lara have just had the first natural birth on Krypton in centuries. As General Zod tries to take over to try and force his vision of a new Krypton upon the populace, the infant Kal-El is sent on a long journey to Earth where he is found and raised as Clark by the kind-hearted Kents on their farm in Kansas.
After he leaves home to try and find himself, Kal-El assumes many different identities as he drifts from one place to another. We learn through flashbacks about his childhood and the struggles he had as he came into the powers gifted to him by our yellow sun. We also see that he’s been using those powers to help people along the way, leaving many wild stories behind as he moves on after each incident, and intrepid Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane is hot on his trail. When General Zod arrives at Earth and demands that Kal-El be handed over as a criminal, Kal-El has to make a choice: surrender himself or continue in anonymity and let the Earth be destroyed.
With a story and script written by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, Snyder leads us on a merry adventure of discovery and coming into ones own which is exciting and fun while still maintaining the seriousness which brings in the reality to which we can all relate. This is something which has been missing from recent DC Comics film translations (outside of the Batman trilogy from Nolan, which is perhaps why he was involved in this one).
The musical score from Hans Zimmer was done masterfully, and never once brought me out of the story. Instead, it carried me along through the journey of Kal-El and enhanced the film in every way possible. I really, really enjoyed the music.
The only niggly bit in the film was related to the epic battles between the Kryptonians. Kal-El is shown over and over to be very concerned about the humans and he goes out of his way to protect them. However, during these battles, the Kryptonians are seen smashing through buildings and causing widespread massive destruction without seeming to care about the hundreds (if not thousands) of casualties being caused.
While I know General Zod and his companions don’t care at all about the inhabitants of Earth, the same is not true of Kal-El. It would have been more fitting of his character if he had tried to minimize the damage somehow, perhaps by taking the fight to somewhere less inhabited. Rather, we see skyscrapers being casually destroyed and collapsing left and right as the practically-invincible enemies battle each other.
I still really enjoyed the film, and it gets high marks from me. Man of Steel is a worthy successor to the Superman series, and I hope to see many more films of this caliber in the series.
Release Date: June 14, 2013 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (one scene in a bar with social drinking)
Language: 2 (some expletives, mostly minor)
Violence: 4 (massive collateral building damage, multiple characters killed off screen, two characters partially-shown getting necks broken)