I'll admit to being slightly prejudiced. I've have always loved Supey (my personal nickname for the Kryptonian Hero). I have seen just about every movie and cartoon adaption put out for major release. Some have been great, some not so good. But I love the overall story and concept of Superman so I'm always going to think favorably of an adaptation.
Man of Steel is almost two and a half hours long so it's a commitment but it's well worth it. No spoilers but here are five reasons why you should invest your time and money in the DC Comics-based classic.
1. Henry Cavill is glorious. Not just to look at (I do love the brown-haired, blue eyed guys with six packs... moving on) but also in his craft. It's one thing to play a lovable Kal-el/Clark Kent - it's another to give the character layers and facets. Henry Cavill does both. He makes the character both introspective and likeable. He's a damn fine American but a tortured Kryptonian with no home planet as well. I could explain more but take it from me. Mr. Cavill is more than eye-candy in an awesome suit.
2. The Two Dads. Jor-El kicks ass. Up until now, Marlon Brando had that whole omniscient kindly father of the hero won hands down. But Russell Crowe as the doomed but forward-thinking dad is not only cerebral but takes to fisticuffs as well. He manages to come across as both regal and real at the same time. They wisely devised ways to have him appear throughout the film and each scene with his presence was a treat. Kevin Costner as Jon Kent... well, Kevin's always good in the corn fields, isn't he? There's one particular moment with a tornado that was pure awesomeness.
3. The ladies. I'm not a huge Amy Adams fan. She tends to play variations of the same role over and over again. But she brought a little something something to Lois Lane. Edgy without being over-the-top driven. Attracted to the hero but not smitten. Lois had life outside of clinging to the cape of it all. Diane Lane as Clark's Kansas mom was a treat. She played sweet but sturdy Midwesterner Martha extremely well. Hat tip to Antje Traue who plays one of the villains. She threw herself (literally) into the role with delicious unbridled malice. There was an oddly fascinating chemistry between her and Christopher Meloni that was fun to watch.
4. The supporting cast was the best I've seen in a while. It was like watching an All-Star game where even the folks coming off the bench could score 40 in a night. The afore-mentioned Meloni, Laurence Fishburn, Michael Shannon, Henry Lennix, Richard Schiff - you almost want to call them underutilized but having that kind of talent level even in smaller roles added to the over slick production and direction of the film.
5. The script was Oscar worthy. No, I'm not joking. To take a story that's been told over and over again and make it into something fresh and different is an award-level skill. This is the film where you get to understand what makes Supey tick and it's not just because he was plunked down on a planet where he rocks. Even the villain's motivations are explained in detail so you don't feel like the battle to save mankind is an afterthought.
If I could change one thing it would be the prolonged battle sequences, particularly the last two. Too long and too much of the same crash-bang-boom. One other thing of note, as in The Matrix where you started getting the feeling that Neo was a Jesus allegory? Yep, there's a lot of favored son descending from the heavens to save mankind from themselves imagery here as well. I liked it but I'm sure others will be irked by some of the Judeo-Christian references. Note the halo in the poster? Yeah well, okay then. :)
Costumes were amazing, I saw it in 3D with Dolby so that was fairly epic. There were a few flashbacks that weren't as fluid as I would have liked. But all in all, it was a movie that I would go back and watch again and then again just in case I missed something. I was left wondering how in the world they would sequel that without ruining that feeling of closure they achieved but no doubt someone will find a way. I gave the move 4.5 stars out of five. Have you seen it? Are you going to? Do share (no spoilers, please)!!!