Man of Steel (2013) Review

It's good, it's REALLY good.

It’s good, it’s REALLY good.

It’s not an S. On my world it means hope.

You don’t know summer is here by the change in weather. Nor by the way people start to dress. Only when you begin to see trailers and posters for the next big superhero movie, do you start to believe summer is actually upon us. It will never feel like the summer unless we get superhero movie, they’ve proven to be safe money for studios. 2013 has already seen the return of Tony Stark in Iron Man 3 (Review Here), now it’s Superman’s turn to hog the limelight. But does his long-awaited return succeed in making Superman a hot topic? It certainly felt that way to me!

Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder, produced by Christopher Nolan and written by David S. Goyer, has the credentials behind it to make any movie lover go crazy. Zack Snyder knows his way around an action movie, and the people behind the greatest superhero trilogy ever conceived are helping him. This movie was going to be great before it had even been made. Man of Steel is about Clark Kent trying to find his purpose in life. He is then forced to confront his heritage and who he really is when Earth is invaded by members of his race.

Henry Cavill plays Superman in the movie, and if you didn’t like him now, you’ll like him after the movie. He’s an excellent Superman, being both a sympathetic character and an absolute badass when needed. Michael Shannon plays opposite to that as General Zod. We’ve not had the pleasure to such a greatly played villain since Heath Ledger was the Joker. He felt like a menace when on-screen and was able to hold his ground in fight scenes. Not to mention, he don’t give a flying fuck about us humans, he’s totally ready to kill everyone on earth. At Shannon’s side we have Antje Traue as Faora-Ul, she also plays a great villain but I feel as though she was a little underplayed in the movie and deserved more on-screen time.

Both Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner play Jor-El and Jonathan Kent respectively. They are the father figures towards Superman in the movie and do well to drive forward the more emotional moments in the movie. They both shape what Clarke is to grow up to be, and are both responsible for the birth of Superman. Amy Adams unfortunately didn’t quite nail Lois Lane for me. She felt like more of a forced love interest to me and didn’t do much in the story for me to care about her character. I literally wouldn’t have bat an eye lid if she had died or not, and it serves her right, she even flew into battle with the military at the end of the movie.

Unlike many other superhero movies that have blessed us in the past, Man of Steel features very little comedy relief. DC Comic movies generally go for that tone anyway, and it’s usually Marvel that love to put a lot to chuckle about in their movies. That works to Man of Steel’s advantage though, giving it a serious tone. That in turn, makes the overall movie seem more violent, we may not see blood everywhere, but having people punched across a city certainly makes you feel the contact. You can tell the guys behind The Dark Knight Trilogy had their hand in this movie as it features the same dark, adult tone you would get from one of the recent Batman movies.

Being directed by Zack Snyder, you’d expect nothing short of amazing from the action in the movie. No problem here, there’s plenty of it and it both looks and sounds amazing. To movie has few quiet moments, but those that are there give great motive and reasoning behind why Clarke wants to find out who he is and where he came from. On the other side of the coin, the action is spectacular. Zack Snyder uses his experience to great advantage here, with fight scenes where anything is possible, to seeing Metropolis fall victim the General Zod’s scheme. It’s eye candy at it’s very best, we know a lot of it is CGI, but we simply don’t give a shit. It looks that amazing and is extremely entertaining to watch.

The real highlight during the movie for me however is Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack. This guy knows his stuff when it comes to creating memorable music that truly resonates with the characters on-screen. He showed this with The Dark Knight Trilogy. I am also a big fan of his work in Inception too. Is this my favourite work he has done however? I’d have to listen to the whole soundtrack on its own, but it has a great chance to be his best work yet. The way the music and scenes on-screen are moulded together was a treat for both your eyes and ears. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but when we’re getting explosive action on-screen and epic music behind it, I shake a little with excitement. It may be just me, but it happened on a regular basis during Man of Steel. I can’t wait to get my hands on the OST as soon as I can. It’s the kind of music that builds up tension over time and then explodes with the orchestra in full effect.

I felt something I had never felt after watching a movie before. I’m not quite sure what, I was speechless, immediately wanting to watch the movie a second time. Was it the sheer scale of the movie? The kind of fights scenes were we can see people punch each other through buildings? A Superman that we can relate to? How about all of it and more. Not only is this Zack Snyder’s best movie to date, this is the best superhero movie we have ever gotten. This comes from a big fan of The Dark Knight movies, but it’s only when you watch it for yourself will you truly believe me. Now all we need is some worthy sequels and an equally worthy Justice League movie.

If your still reading at this point, please don’t. Open another tab, book some tickets to go and see Man of Steel, and experience one of the best cinematic experiences I’ve ever had. Whilst you’re at it to, try to make it an IMAX 3D booking if you can, it will blow your mind. Whilst not quite a perfect movie (what is?), this may be as close to perfect as we’re going to get this year.

10 Laps Around Earth out of 10

-ast

Standout Summer Blockbusters of 2013

The summer always provides us movie goers with a great selection of movies, with big budget action movies, to the smaller, more character focused movies. There is however, standout movies that really make the audience walk away with a smile and the intention to tell everyone how great of a movie it was. These movies are the heart of the summer. So what do I think will be the big standouts this summer? Below are some movies (with UK release dates) I think will bring in the money and praise they seek.

After Earth – June 7th

Will Jaden Smith see as much success as his dad?

Will Jaden Smith see as much success as his dad?

Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith star alongside each other in this Sci-fi epic, directed by Sixth Sense and Signs director M. Night Shyamalan. Crashing down on a long abandoned Earth, we follow both father and son as they try to survive on an evolved Earth. It’s no secret that Will Smith is a big selling point already to this movie, but with M. Night Shyamalan directing, this movie could go either way. He hasn’t had the best track record lately, but I hope this movie shows he’s back on form.

Man of Steel – June 14th

Michael Shannon as General Zod looks fierce

Michael Shannon as General Zod looks fierce

Henry Cavill plays the famous Kryptonian, Superman, in franchise reboot Man of Steel. Having Christopher Nolan as a producer and David S Goyer as writer with their Dark Knight credentials behind them is certainly promising. Let us not forget Zack Snyder as director and this movie has to succeed. A lot of hype is gathering for this movie from both comic readers and original Superman movie fans. The question now is can Man of Steel repeat the success of The Dark Knight movies and make Superman just as popular as Batman? I sure hope so and I can’t wait to see this at IMAX!

World War Z – June 21st

Am I the only one who thinks this looks awesome?

Am I the only one who thinks this looks awesome?

In a similar position to After Earth, can the pedigree of a famous actor sell a movie to people? With Brad Pitt at the heart of the movie, and a horror movie at that, World War Z is looking quite promising from the trailers. Based off a Novel, World War Z sees an unstoppable infection sweep across the globe, with the infected outnumbering us more and more with each day that passes. This movie has seen a lot of problems in production, from script re-writes, to re-shoots. However, despite all that, early viewers have praised the movie. Fingers crossed we see more zombie movies at the cinemas in the future.

Despicable Me 2 – June 28th

Clearly the best part of Despicable Me

Clearly the best part of Despicable Me

Everyone loves an animated movie. Toy Story proved that. Despicable Me was a favourite of mine, I love it. So with the sequel looking to be just as funny as the first, I can’t wait to see it. Of course the Minions steal the show, so I look forward to seeing how they will keep the humour consistently funny. As crazy as it sounds too, I’m looking forward to the inevitable short movies on the Blu-ray/ DVD release just as much.

Pacific Rim – July 12th

Can't wait!

Can’t wait!

By far my most anticipated movie of the whole year, Pacific Rim sees giant robots fighting giant monsters. That’s pretty much the movie, of there’s a lot more to it than that, but I’ve been distancing myself from info/ interviews as much as I can. The trailers are simply amazing though, however I hope they aren’t showing all the best scenes from the movie. I love the work of Guillermo del Toro, so I have much faith in his ability to provide an entertaining movie. It’s also worth mentioning that Idris Elba makes everything 10x better!

Kick-Ass 2 – August 14th

Predator reference?

Predator reference?

Chloë Grace Moretz and Aaron Taylor-Johnson return as Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass respectively, in the sequel to the surprise hit (no pun intended) Kick-Ass. I wasn’t a massive fan of the first movie, to me the Hit-Girl and Big Daddy scenes stole the whole movie for me. But with Jim Carrey joining the cast this time round as Colonel Stars and Stripes, that has put this movie on the list for me. I guess the pedigree of an actor does sell a movie!

Elysium – September 20th

Sharlto Copley stars in another Neill Blomkamp movie

Sharlto Copley stars in another Neill Blomkamp movie

Neill Blomkamp made a name for himself when District 9 was released. So with Elysium, he has a lot to live up to. Judging from the trailer, it seems to have a very similar style and tone to District 9. This is not a sequel however, Max played by Matt Damon, takes it upon himself to fight his way to Elysium, a space station for the rich and powerful to escape the overcrowded slums of earth. Sci-fi is big right now, and this movie looks to deliver a truly terrifying visual representation of the future.

Honourable Mentions: Monsters University, The Wolverine, 300: Rise of an Empire, Red 2, The Lone Ranger, Only God Forgives.

-ast