Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: Man Of Steel Review

The Superman franchise has been a bit of a poison chalice, from Christopher Reeve's iconic four movies, through the Dean Cain television reboot, the Smallville origins series, and the sorely unpopular Superman Returns in 2006. It has been re-imagined and re-envisioned more times than you can shake a stick at. A stick wearing a cape obviously.

When I was invited to see Man of Steel the latest offering from the DC wheelhouse I didn't know what to expect. A brief bit of research and I soon discovered Christopher Nolan was behind the story, the man responsible for bringing the Bat back to Gotham; I knew I had to see this.

Man of Steel is an attempt at an origin story only without the arduous task of telling the audience what they already know. I hate origin stories, mainly because you spend an awfully long time watching the protagonist discover themselves, finding out the minutia of their lives, the fact they hate peas or can't do maths. It's like those celebrity autobiographies where you're speeding through the pages muttering 'hurry up and get famous so I can find out what the Spice Girls are like.'

Man of Steel thankfully didn't  subscribe to the linear origins narrative. Snyder takes the action to the present day and shows the audience Henry Cavill's Clark when he's all grown up. The film becomes a different kind of origins story, it introduces us to a new Clark Kent as he simultaneously finds out where he comes from and tries to discover what kind of man he wants to be. How he can be a man when he isn't human, but more than that, how he can be a Superman who holds a mirror up to mankind and reflects back to them what they wish to see.

Cavill, plays a physically powerful Clark, we can almost see the power he is desperately trying to contain to blend in. In the early scenes his bearded face and build echoes Christian Bale  at the beginning of Batman Begins, whether Nolan and Syder realised it or not there is an echo. He doesn't play the goody-goody Clark that we're used to, rather we see a small child overwhelmed by powers he doesn't understand and can barely control, flashes of teenage frustration, confusion and loss, and a man who wants to know his purpose and how he can fit into a world he doesn't belong to. His performance is strong and he brings a very natural quality to the role which is difficult with an extra terrestrial storyline.

Diane Lane and Kevin Costner play Clark's earth parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent. Both are very good, but a special mention must be given to Kevin Costner who may not have been in much of the movie but had real impact in those scenes that he was. Russell Crowe played a relatively deadpan Jor-El, it was always going to be challenging to compete with Marlon Brando channelling a green suitcase, but he was solid in the role.

Amy Adams played Lois Lane, and although she did a good job, she didn't have much to do apart from further Clark's self discovery narrative and occasional action sequences. Hopefully in any future films she will be able to fully extend herself. Michael Shannon plays the menacing General Zod, he gives a fabulously Shakespearean performance which seemed apt with his Macbeth-esque narrative.

Man of Steel was a powerful and beautifully shot origins story which explores what an origin story really is. There were lovely humanising touches which overlayed the comic book story. It benefited greatly from the flashback approach which kept the narrative well paced. Snyder presents a movie which will please cinema-goers, there were some fabulous performances and a solid story line. I got more than an echo of Avengers Assemble at various points in the climactic scenes.  A solid offering from Snyder, the best Superman movie in a long time.

Before I go, here was my face of the day, flushed from the fabulously sunny weather we've been having. I kept things natural with Rimmel's Wake Me Up Foundation and matching cheek brightener.

That's all from me today folks.

Much Love

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