Thursday, July 11, 2013

Man of Steel

After seeing this movie, I went and had some drinks at my favorite watering hole with some friends and we had a very in depth discussion about movies: our favorite films, performances, and even our favorites by genre.  One of the genres we dove into was of course the popular action/adventure film and I asked everyone what they thought the quintessential action movie was.  Of course, the usual suspects were mentioned: Die Hard, Rambo, more recently the Transformer movies and most everything made by Jerry Bruckheimer.  Two of my favorites, when it comes to awesome action sequences, great writing and characters I want to watch over and over again are Face/Off and Bad Boys 2 (yes, I love the sequel more).  Face it, even the biggest movie snob loves a great car chase, explosions and buildings falling on each other. You know the ones, those people who claim to only watch existential independent movies full of intense, grungy people who don't bathe and are always having sex.

Last night when Man of Steel ended, my buddy and I looked at each other and literally took a breath. My first words were, "damn, I am tired now."  He says, "now that was sensory overload."  He could not have been more right.  Part sci-fi adventure, part dark drama, part disaster movie, Zack Snyder has delivered an epic, well-written, very well acted summer blockbuster.  The film has tons of emotion, depth, awesome characters and lets face it, a lot of stuff blows up.

I am the first to admit, I am by no means a comic book junkie.  I can only review these movies as a movie itself because I do not know much of the actual back story, as told in the comics of course.  When it comes to the Superman/Clark Kent saga, I have seen all the movies with the late Christopher Reeve and the Smallville television series, which I loved very much. This movie was advertised as being a much darker version and it definitely was. Henry Cavill (The Tudors, Stardust, Immortals) portrayed Clark Kent as a tortured, damaged man trying to find his way.  We've always seen that Clark Kent was a tortured guy, especially as the younger version in the series Smallville, as he was played by Tom Welling.  We saw him growing up into a man all the while trying to deal with the world almost literally on his shoulders and all he wanted to do was fit in.  As he grew and found out about how he came to Earth in a spaceship by his Earth father Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner in the film), Clark always knew he had a destiny.  In Man of Steel, the audience literally gets to see his life from the very beginning on Krypton and how emotional it was for his parents Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and Lara (Ayelet Zurer) to let him go.  Cavill's performance is very convincing in showing the audience how hard the struggles are for him trying to be like everyone else.

Then, he meets Lois Lane, the iconic Daily Planet reporter played surprisingly well by 4-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams.  I only say surprisingly because her most famous roles have been in dramas, comedies, and the occasional dramedy.  When I read she had been cast, I thought it was a very surprising choice. She played the role like a violin.  She could be tough and no-nonsense and didn't take any crap from anyone and she had to deal with a lot of testosterone in this role.  Kevin Costner and Diane Lane were awesome choices as Jonathan and Martha Kent.  Diane Lane was another surprise in the casting but she nailed the role as Clark's mom.  She was more of a pivotal character, I think, because she had to carry much of her son's anguish and pain for him, like any good mother. Lets face it, this guy needed his mother many times.  Michael Shannon as the villain General Zod was hard core and intense and had to be the entire movie, which takes some chops on his part.

Man of Steel starts off with a bang and ends up being 2 hours and 23 minutes of a nuclear explosion.  Now, I don't know if the more darker tone does any justice to the story in the comic books but at the end of the day, I enjoyed the hell out of it.  It is an all out, bad ass summer action extravaganza from beginning to end, but also has just the right amount character development to show them as real life people.   A great cast was picked, many with imperfections and flaws, just like the rest of us.  Even though Clark Kent is the Man of Steel, this film shows us he has a heart too.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

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