Film Review: Man of Steel

Man of Steel theatrical posterRating: ratings-3

Disclaimer: I have never been a fan of Superman. The only thing that drove me to watch Man of Steel can be summed up in two words: Henry Cavill. I loved him since I watched The Tudors a few years ago, and to say I was beside myself with glee when I first found out he was cast as Superman is an understatement. I will try my best to keep my bias for him out of the way when I write the rest of this review.

TL;DR Disclaimer: You are about to read comments on Man of Steel written by a non-Supes fan who knows next to nothing about the actual man of steel and happens to be a major Henry Cavill fan. You have been warned.

Holy Plot Hole, Batman.

Man of Steel - Russell Crowe as Jor-El
Image from LA Times

So at the beginning of the movie a son is born to Jor-El and his wife, Lara – the first natural-born Kryptonian in centuries. Krypton is dying, and fast,  because its citizens have been harvesting its core for power. Jor-El has devised a way to ensure the Kryptonian race’s survival even after its planet dies. When he visits the council to discuss his plan, General Zod barges in and stages a coup to get rid of the council and find another way to save their race. Jor-El refuses to cooperate with him, and sends his son, along with Krypton’s Codex (where all the Kryptonian’s genetic information is stored) to Earth. After all that mess, Zod and his minions are trapped in large ice crystals, and exiled to a faraway place called the Phantom Zone.

Wait. What?

Antje Traue as Faora-Ul and Michael Shannon as General Zod in Man of Steel
Image from LA Times

Why the heck would you bother sending a group of rebels to the so-called Phantom Zone when you know your planet is about to die? If I were on that damn council, I would have figured out where the planet would start to crack first, and trap the criminals and let them die along with the rest of the Kryptonian race. If they could chuck a large group of criminals out of the planet, couldn’t they have saved their people using the same technology?

Then again, if they hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have a villain for our story…but that irritating little plot hole kept gnawing at me throughout the entire movie.

And don’t get me started on placing the fate of your entire race in the hands of an infant.

Or how Superman has supposedly adapted to the earth’s atmosphere to survive on the planet, but can still fly around in outerspace with no problems whatsoever.

Someone went trigger-happy on the cuts.

Copper Timberline as young Clark Kent in Man of Steel
Image from LA Times

Anyway. The movie cuts to 33 years later, with Jor-El’s grown-up son taking on several odd jobs and constantly being on the run. He eventually discovers a old ship Throughout the movie, we get to know more about Kal-El, who grew up in Kansas as Clark Kent, when the main story cuts to non-chronological flashbacks of his childhood. While I enjoyed learning about how young Clark struggled with his powers while growing up, I found myself blinking in confusion a few times while recovering from an ill-placed cut that could have been replaced with a better transition into the next scene.

Someone flunked out of chemistry.

Henry Cavill and Amy Adams in Man of Steel
Image from LA Times

I don’t have a lot of comments on the supposed romance between Clark Kent and Lois Lane because…I couldn’t even see it. For me, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams barely had any on-screen chemistry, and the fast-paced storyline did nothing to make their connection believable. I’m starting to wonder if Lois just got carried away by dem gorgeous eyes.

A Necessary Special Mention: Faora-Ul fights like a BAMF.

 

The first fight sequences I thoroughly enjoyed every fight scene involving Faora-Ul, General Zod’s female second in command. She was pretty much toying with everyone, including Superman. It took a goddamn missile to knock her out, and it barely even scratched her. It was nice to have a female BAMF blowing things up, threatening to knife-fight with a human soldier, and beating Superman to the ground with hardly any effort.

The Final Verdict: More fun than I expected, but not as fun as it could have been.

I never expected Man of Steel to be anything but 143 minutes of Isa and I drooling over Henry Cavill (which is, for the most part, still true), and I certainly did not walk into the theater expecting to be WOWED. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did enjoy the movie, despite all my complaints above, because of how effectively it showed the human side of the Man of Steel. I think my dislike of Superman always stemmed from how I always treated him as an alien – a holier-than-thou outsider – who happened to have cliche superpowers and a goody-two-shoes attitude. Man of Steel gave me a version of Superman that I wanted to know about because I saw that he has the heart and the soul of a good human being.

Now I’m wondering if I should give Supes a chance in the other media he appears in. Maybe he’s not as lame as I initially judged him to be.