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Man of Steel: ‘I’m As American As It Gets’

Significant improvements compared to 2006's disappointing Superman Returns.

by
Stephen Green

Bio

June 20, 2013 - 1:00 pm
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Short version? I really, really enjoyed the movie.

Not that Man of Steel isn’t without its problems. The opening sequence on Krypton needed a much better storyteller than director Zack Snyder. There was almost no narrative, just a bunch of visually cool scenes adding adding up to… well, Krypton explodes, yo… but you won’t find yourself caring very much.

The movie finds firmer footing on Earth, taking its own sweet time letting you really get to know the characters. The performances were all fine, especially Amy Adams as Lois Lane. She’s no Margot Kidder — who could be? — but she brings smarts and tough and tenderness to the role. She’s easily the best thing in the movie. Curiously, the chemistry between her and Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) was hit and miss. Sometimes the sparks flew, sometimes not. But in the end, I bought them and bought them together, so it all worked out. Cavill wasn’t really allowed to shine until the last act, and his performance probably owed more to Smallville‘s Tom Welling than to Christopher Reeve, but that’s OK, too. In the end, when Cavill is finally allowed to flash his impervious smile? He brought the full Chris Reeve-power wattage.

Also curious is the drab color scheme. Superman is a hero of primary colors, but his costume here is dark and drab. The first half of the movie is shot in winter or in the cloudy days of autumn, and even the summer scenes are reminiscent of those cloudless days when the sun bleaches everything to off-whites and muted pastels. That’s a big change from the beloved Superman: The Movie, but I’m not sure it’s a bad change. Just different, and at first slightly jarring.

Michael Shannon wasn’t given a whole lot to do as General Zod, other than chew the scenery and kick some ass. His quieter scenes were menacing enough however to make up some of the difference. I preferred Terence Stamp in the role in the otherwise-inferior Superman II. That’s a shame, because Shannon is capable of much more.

CAUTION: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD…

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Top Rated Comments   
"And nothing was more disappointing than hearing Perry ask if Superman still believed in “Truth, justice, and… all that other stuff.” "

This was a pretty accurate depiction of the mindset found in the MSM
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (21)
All Comments   (21)
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I'm glad to see a reviewer whose knowledge does beyond the last films. Superman tellign Lois who he is goes back to the John Byrne comics.

PS - I'm not going to be able to see the film for awhile - so - did they change Lois' hair color? That would be unforgivable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I preferred the previous film, Superman Returns. It was visually beautiful with spectacular photography; Superman was younger and more believable, Lois Lane was gorgeous, and the acting was great. This new film is very long, and it is done on such a large scale, it was impossible for me to relate to any of it. The photography is dreary, the costumes are hideous, and the video-game quality of the fight scenes is ludicrous. It cost a quarter of a billion dollars to make, and one can see why. But, fewer computer-generated special effects and more actual artistry might have been helpful.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You are probably 1 of 5 people that liked Superman Returns. That's a compliment.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interesting comment by Superman - “I grew up in Kansas, I’m as American as it gets.”

Would this possibly be an effort at further damage control since the character was portrayed for a time back in 2011 as RENOUNCING his ties to the US?

I understand he didn't actually go through with that act in the comic book series, but it does seem to be a superfluous embellishment in the movie regarding how the character views his place in the world.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When Superman renounced his US citizenship in the comic, it was because he saved some refugees that were being persecuted by a dictator that the US had diplomatic relations with and the dictator claimed he was an operative of the United States. Superman did not want to have to the US to be responsible for his actions so he renounced his citizenship.

What I found interesting is that it was Obama's administration when Superman does this. He was always considered a US citizen before and in the comics series even Lex Luthor has been president.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And they even had him movign back to Cliinton Street under Clinton. The comics have been on a leftward down-spiral for a long time. But you all do have a point.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maybe it was make up for the "Red Son" arc in the comic books. That's where Superman lands in the Soviet Union instead of Smallville, Kansas.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Didnt see it yet...saw way too many many black and white re-runs of George Reeves as a kid, so nothing has displaced him as the "real" Superman for me, though Chris Reeves in his first role is a close second...feel the same way about Batman, only the TV show will do, everything else feels "weird" and artificial, just cant get into it.

Funny how George Reeves seemed like an (almost) out of shape middle-aged man to me then, kinda like my 40-ish dad at the time, while this new guy looks like a punk teenager to me now...gee, what could that possibly mean?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I always liked how Lois in the TV series was portrayed as a professional woman, not someone who was practically a teenager. And remember how far back this was.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The occult symbolism with Superman reminds me of the New Age wet dream where Su'en returns to an earth ready to believe in him once again.

I can't stand UN puke blue Superman wears. When the young Superman saves the drowning children in the bus, it was symbolic of Su'en giving hope to mankind. He will keep them form the flood, or protect them from the evil G-d of Noah.

The Su'en means hope? The last time I checked what Su'en means it meant Tammuz. The rebirth of the Sun god. Also, known as Old Knobs man on earth.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Kal-el represents American Individualism, General Zod is the New Communist Man.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The dialog needed a script doctor and toward the end the special effects were devouring the plot. Otherwise, it was OK.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"And nothing was more disappointing than hearing Perry ask if Superman still believed in “Truth, justice, and… all that other stuff.” "

This was a pretty accurate depiction of the mindset found in the MSM
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Technically, Superman and Zod went to town in Metropolis, but your complaint about beating up on New York is warranted. I actually got bored with the final fight because it just went on too long and all of the destruction was really unnecessary. You mean Superman couldn't have popped Zod so good that he flew into an open field or got smacked to the moon?

I too was glad that the movie decided to not play footsie with the relationship between Lois and Superman. The sexual tension really doesn't work in a movie as it does in the television series, Smallville, and it frees the writers to pursue a stronger storyline that involves Lois and Superman.

Finally, I was expecting to see a preview of Lex Luthor, but this is a minor complaint. There is more than enough material for a Lex Luthor to come along and give the world a reason to hate Superman in the obvious sequel to this movie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Technically, everybody knows Metropolis *is* New York City. ;)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When i saw Superman II in the theatre, the kid I took to see it told me I had embarrassed him by shouting "get out of New York!". Top much reading in the comics about the damage done to the city by such folks, I'm afraid....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Huh? I thought Metropolis was Gotham City!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Gotham City, after the British version of Chelm (a real place, by the way), is an old term for New York City.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, Metropolis is based on Toronto, Ontario.
The Daily Planet is based on the Toronto Star.

just saying.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No, it's the old New York Daily World.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
OK, you may be right, but I think the name is from there. The other famous comic book newspapers are also based on old newspapers that were killed by television.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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