Thursday, June 27, 2013

Superman Done Right

As a superhero fan-boy, when I found out they were doing a reboot of the Superman movie franchise I was ecstatic! I enjoyed the old Superman and Superman II from way back in the day, don't get me wrong. But everything went south with Superman III, the possibility of a Tim Burton directed film featuring Nicholas Cage *shudders*, and Superman Returns. Supes deserved better than all of that. And this reboot gave him what he has long deserved.
I remember seeing the first teaser trailer last summer when I went to go see The Dark Knight Rises. It gave me a chilling case of goosebumps. But, I still had to wait another 11 months for the film. Bummer!
Then two months ago, this trailer was released.

I watched that trailer at least 20 times that day. This movie was going to be incredible! And for the most part, my hopes and expectations were met and exceeded.
I don't even know where to start with this movie. Okay, I do: the story.
Being a reboot of the Superman movie franchise, Man of Steel serves as an origin story for Supes (and also took away his signature red briefs). And what a great take on his origin story it was. Krypton is a distant planet with incredibly fantastical technologies. Unfortunately, it is going through some tough times: lack of resources, unstable core, etc. Oh, and  its military leader, General Zod, tries to overthrow the government. Definitely sucks to be on Krypton.
That is why Kryptonian scientist Russell Crowe Jor-El sends his newborn child, Kal-El to a tiny little planet called Earth via a small spacecraft he built. He hopes that his son will be raised on Earth and survive so that a part of Krypton will survive since it is about to explode. General Zod ends up killing Jor-El, and then his coup d'├ętat fails. He and his minions are punished and sent to the Phantom Zone (sort of like Krypton's dumpster in another dimension). Then Krypton blows up.
We follow Kal-El to Earth where he crashes and is found by the Kents. They adopt the space child, name him Clark, and hide his spaceship.
Now, going through the rest of the story bit by bit would take far too long. So, to sum it all up, Clark, played by Henry Cavill, learns of his Kryptonian heritage and receives his "super suit." He then saves the gorgeous Amy Adams' reporter Lois Lane from a killer robot-thing.
Zod and his cronies attack Earth. Surprise! They escaped the Phantom Zone when Krypton exploded! The general wants to find Kal-El and turn Earth into a new planet Krypton using terraforming technology.
Superman and Zod duke it out. Superman wins. Clark gets a job at the Daily Planet so he can be in the know of world disasters ... and keep an eye on his lady friend, Miss Lane. The end.
I left out some pretty big parts, but I don't want to spoil the movie for you if you haven't already seen it. Which you should. Right now.
Now, in my opinion, the story did something that no other Superman movie before it did very well: Krypton. The first 20 min of the movie are all about Krypton, and in that chunk of the movie you gain an understanding of an entire alien culture! How their government works, how important technology is to them, how important expansion is to them, their belief in superiority, the way they treat newborn life, etc.  And later on, you learn even more about the destroyed planet via an expository monologue from Russell Crowe. It all really added to the depth and believability of the Man of Tomorrow's home world.
The special effects in the film were beautiful! As if I haven't lauded the version of Krypton in Man of Steel enough, the visual effects used to create the look of the planet were astounding. It really looked an alien planet on the fringes of destruction. The movie as a whole just looked great.
Finally, I'll talk about the music.  It was honestly chilling at times. In fact, while writing this review I am listening to the soundtrack. SO. GOOD. Hanz Zimmer, whose work on music in films has created some incredible soundtracks (most notably Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy), outdid himself. The music creates an aggressively intense and sometimes beautifully soft atmosphere for the film. This isn't the John Williams theme you're used to, folks. This new music is for a new generation of Superman fans, and it works very well with the film.
In a time where superheroes are now grounded in reality and made believable, Man of Steel soars. It not only has the potential to launch a successful Superman movie franchise for a new generation, but also the potential to launch the Justice League movie everyone has been whispering about since Marvel's The Avengers came out last summer (fingers crossed!).
In case you can't already tell, I would highly recommend seeing this movie. Whether you're a superhero fan or not, you don't want to miss Man of Steel!

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