The Ninjabot

Man of Steel Review: The Pros and Cons

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm by Scott Murray

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Even with my strong ties to Christopher Reeve and Terrance Stamp, I went into Man of Steel with interest and anticipation.  Despite my reservations about certain changes, I really wanted a new Superman that I could get excited about again.  Now that I’ve seen the movie, I felt the overall experience had pros and cons.

PRO: The performances
Everyone was good in Man of Steel.  Everyone.  Henry Cavill is a great fit for Superman and Michael Shannon was a great angry villain.  Kevin Costner and Diane Lane made great super adoptive parents and I really enjoyed getting more Jor-El in this film.  Russell Crowe was cool every time he was on screen.  Laurence Fishburne  was good in the limited amount of time that we got to see him.  Amy Adams as Lois is the hardest to get used to, but it might get easier with time.

PRO: Krypton
I like Superman: The Movie, but it was nice to see more of Krypton instead of simply watching it explode.

PRO: The American Way
It was nice to see this movie didn’t follow recent trends where the politics of writers were interfering with the character we all know.  After the idea of Superman renouncing his citizenship and lines like “Truth, Justice and all that stuff,” it was good to hear him say that he was from Kansas and it doesn’t get more American than that.

CON: It felt like two movies
I found myself immersed in the origin story.  I believed in this new Superman and I enjoyed watching him search for his place in our world.  I thought Zod’s arrival on Earth was cool, but eventually all of the alien spaceships and spacesuits flying around creating destruction made me feel like I was watching something closer to Independence Day than a superhero movie.

CON: The fights
Were these fights really…fights?  Most of the time it felt like one power tackle after another.  This got way out of hand in the final showdown between Zod and Superman.  It began to get repetitive and over-the-top as they rammed each other into one building after another.  It felt that it was much more about CGI destruction, than a good fight between the supervillain and the superhero.  Since it seemed like all they could do was smash each other into a building, there was never a fun way to get into it because it felt like it was just going to be an endless, repetitive back and forth.  The city was getting the worst of it…which brings me to why I think Superman II covered this lot better.

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When Zod, Ursa and Non were fighting in the street, there was actual fight choreography.  They chased each other, they threw stuff at each other, they used different powers, they threw more punches and it felt like much more of a battle.

The other thing I remembered about the 1980 fight was that Superman lured the villains away because he grew concerned about the fight’s destruction and it harming innocent people.  This Superman seemed to be less concerned about the people in a building (or the 7-11) that he blew through faster than a speeding bullet.

How many years in the future will the second film take place?  Will they still be rebuilding Metropolis?

PRO: It’s not Superman Returns
Need I say more?

CON: It’s not Batman Begins
Christopher Nolan was a part of the team that put this together and that didn’t hurt.  It’s probably a big reason I can list the PRO above.  However, I think Batman Begins is a better and deeper story than what we got here.  This may have to do with just how the two stories were told.  There are occasions where a second film in a series is so good that it makes the first film better.  Perhaps the sequel to Man of Steel will do this.

PRO:  I want to see the sequel.
Despite the cons I’ve listed in my review, I want to see the next film.  I say that with no hesitation.  I’m ready to see the reporter Clark Kent/Superman dynamic throughout the story.  It’s always been kind of a funny side story that nobody notices that Clark is Superman.  In the older movies, it was a little more feasible since most people didn’t have much interaction with him (outside of Lois).  However, in this new interpretation, a lot more people have already talked with him in person or saw him on TV.  Is nobody going to make that connection?

Meh.  I am much more interested in whether or not we’ll see Lex Luthor in the next movie and who’s going to play him.  Stepping in for the great Terrance Stamp is one thing.  Stepping in for the legendary Gene Hackman is another.

MAN OF STEEL REVIEW GRADE: B-

Scott Murray is a writer, content producer and host of the Beyond the Screens podcast.

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