Playing with Explosives: Man of Steel Film Review

*Although I tried to keep this review as spoiler free/vague as possible – since the film was only released today and I realize most people haven’t had a chance to watch it yet – still spoilers occassionally tend to sneak past me, so read with caution!*

I’ve been anticipating the Man of Steel since I first heard about it and watched the trailer:

No, seriously, I bedazzled the date on my calender so I wouldn’t forget about it. I thought Henry Cavill (The Tudors, Immortals) fit the blue-eyed, chiselled physique of Superman. I was a little unsure of Amy Adams (Enchanted) playing the role of Lois Lane, but I figured that reboots were all about changing a character’s traditional image and starting from scratch, so why not have a redhead play a brunette?

Of course, another HUGE factor in my need to watch Man of Steel was the fact that Christopher Nolan was mentioned in the trailer. Yes, Nolan was only producing the film and thus, I was a little skeptical of how much control he would have over the day-to-day procduction and/or changes in script…but I pretty much wept when I saw his name of the trailer. (I was still running in the high of Dark Knight Rises obviously.)

Batman, in the HISHE Super Cafe clip, pretty much sums up my feelings and reaction to seeing Nolan’s name in the Man of Steel trailer:

The film focused on making Superman larger than life. The film doesn’t concentrate on the life of Clark Kent. Superman is given an almost god-like aura throughout the film – which, of couse, as the saviour of Earth he almost is – but we rarely get to see the human side of Superman, which may be the reason that the film lacks humour and relatability at times – even the early, young Clark scenes are short-lived.

That isn’t to say that the Man of Steel lacks charisma. Henry Cavill plays his role to near-perfection as the suerphero. Cavill, as I mentioned before, fits the physical appearance of the character, but he also does well acting out his role – though he is limited by the storyline. (I’m also a fan of the darker-toned costume, makes me take the superhero a little more seriously and, almost, ignore the tights.)

The filmography is likewise stunning. I have to give the filmmakers props for getting all the non-stop, explosive action – and I do mean non-stop! There are almost three long battle scenes in this film, but given the fact that the film is two and a half hours long, that shouldn’t have come as a big surpise to me. (One thing I have to say about long films – anything over 2 hours – is that they need to have an intermission. Salty popcorn = soda = I NEED TO USE THE BATHROOM!)

Plus, maybe this is the darkside of me talking, but I love all the destruction in this film. There’s something oddly beautiful about the collapsing buildings and shattering concrete in this film.

Finally we have Lois Lane. Adams does a good job of portraying a spunky, no-nonsense reporter whose smart enough to recognize – or at least be suspicious of – Clark’s alter-ego. Adam’s portrayal is a nice change from the traditional, nearly naive version of Lois Lane that is depicted in so many renderings of the DC comic. Unfortunately, the film is called MAN of Steel, so as expected the female lead of the movie gets limited screentime.

So, what are some of the cons of this film?

Well, as I mentioned the limited screen time for Lois Lane, which would have been beneficial to making her character mroe memorable and of course the need to have more “Clark” in Superman’s character. Though I didn’t mind the fact that Zack Snyder tried to portray a character that deviates from the “sensitive” superheroes, like Spiderman, that we’ve been getting recently, I understand that the “Clark” personality is an important part of Superman’s character and it needs to be more prominent in the film.

The action sequences, though beautiful and heart-poundingly exciting, were also too fast. Personally, I appreciate it when I can actually see a punch being thrown and making impact – not just the resounding “BOOM!” which is the aftermath. (Yes, Superman supposed to be “faster than a speeding bullet,” but for the mortals watching, like me, I’d appreciate it if he could occassionally slow down.)

Was this movie a complete write-off for me?

Absolutely, NOT! Did you miss the part where I say I loved the explosions and Cavill’s potrayal of Superman? The movie has great potential and if there is going to be a sequel, then there are so many avenues for the filmmakers to explore. I would prefer to see more romance between Superman and Lois Lane in the next installments – if there are any.

Unfortunately, there haven’t been reports of a sequel yet – and as far as I know, Amy Adams isn’t contracted for any more films as Lois Lane. Nor is Henry Cavill reprising his role as Superman in the upcoming Justice League film – neither is Christian Bale for that matter, but I hope it’s not too late for these guys to change their minds!

So what are your thoughts on the Superman reboot? Did it live up to your expectations?

Rika Ashton

(aka, The Ever Hopeful)


11 responses

  1. june h.

    Can’t wait to watch this! I tried to skim through your review and not read too carefully – for fear of having the plot spoiled. I’m now curious to see the different way in which Superman is portrayed. By the trailer alone the film looks *much* more mellow/darker than the older versions. At a glance, I’m liking this edgier/darker/Dark-Knight mood


    June 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    • I got a little of the “Dark Knight” vibe, but I just never thought it fit well with my impression of Superman – it was ike he was trying so hard to be Batman.

      But it was a good movie despite a few flaws and entertaining, too! 🙂


      June 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm

  2. Kaley Williams

    I watched this last night with my little bro – he’s a big fan. And though superhero movies are not my think, I found it to be entertaining at least. Yes, there were a lot of explosions! Someone needs to take Zack Snyder’s dynamite away lol! 😉


    June 16, 2013 at 11:51 am

    • LOL! I have to admit though, I really, really like all the explosions. 🙂


      June 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm

  3. This was the most intelligent review. I was blown away when I kept seeing Sears, 711, and IHOP in my face shamelessly. For a brief moment I thought Nolan and Snyder were sending a message to the people of the world with a wink “See what Hollywood and Capitalism is really all about?” But then I noticed that the film had absolutely no character development and logic. Superman kisses Lois, who kisses him simply because he was a hero, like a navy man met at a bar in the 1940s. They didn’t even get to know each other at all.

    The film was an ode to hyper-macho-steroided masculinity, and a war-happy militaristic America. Even the “Soldier of Steel” advertisements that have played for the last couple of months in theaters before the films say it all: military good, join up kids!

    But what it fails to note is that this country is owned by corporations, and the “soldiers of steel” will be sent to kill, to die, or to be scarred for life, all in the name of corporate dollars and a false sense of imaginary patriotism.

    Thankfully, I knew this would be the case, going into the film, so I got a ticket for After Earth instead. I figured, might as well give my money to a film that is about a father and son relationship, and has the message of remaining in the present moment. So I bought the ticket for After Earth, and went and saw Man of Steel. That’s the best way to protest, with the money.

    Anyone who has their eye on the waves of the world, on the trends, on the media, on the education system, on the politics, on the corporations, and on the arts, can see clearly, this nation is going down down down, yo. My advice is to become as simple and Buddhist like as possible, and go to a poorer nation where capitalism hasn’t sucked the soul out of every single person you meet.


    June 17, 2013 at 5:48 am

    • Product placement is always present in films, but usually I end of seeing Starbucks – IHOP was a new one for me. There was a “military” vibe to the film, but I associated that with the fact that Superman was originally created in the 1950s (during the Cold War). Plus, there’s the fact the most superheroes are linked to the military in some way or the other. The only exceptions that I can think of are Spiderman and to an extent Batman.

      This is a film based on a male protagonist, based on a very specific ideal of what it means to be male. But I disagreed with the focus of the modern reboot – a film set in the 21st century, with a female lead, should at least have given said female enough screentime for character development.


      June 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm

  4. MQM

    The film “relies” on special effects?
    I ask once again what this means? Superman has to fly to be superman. Special effect…it’s integrated into the story. Buildings topple because of superhuman strength–special effect that is integrated into the story, because the kryptonians have to be superhuman to be kryptonian.
    Reliance is different than detail. Yes, the movie has DETAILED special effects, but I don’t agree that it relies on special effects. If it RELIED on special effects, there wouldn’t be any sort of story in this film whatsoever. But there is. The story’s emphasis on Krypton’s character testifies to the fact that this film did not rely on special effects. The war waged within Clark regarding his identity testifies to the fact that this film did not rely on special effects. The fact protagonists can make mistakes testifies to the fact that this film did not rely on special effects (Johnathon Kent’s choice to save the dog, Clark’s choice to not save Johnathon)

    If as viewers we choose not to embrace details of the story because we were “overstimulated” by the effects, the producers and directors cannot be fully blamed. Partially, maybe. But not as fully as most of the critics blame them.


    June 17, 2013 at 5:49 am

    • Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy well-executed special effects – and the great effects in this film was a huge factor in making it entertaining. Even my objection about the speed of the fight scenes in minor. For me what brings this film from an “A” to a “B” is the fact that there was minimal character development. I think the filmmakers focused too much on creating the legend of “Superman” and less on what makes him “human” or relatable.


      June 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  5. Superman exceeded my expectations and have made me a fan because I have never EVER like Superman except now.


    July 10, 2013 at 9:36 am

    • I’m hoping they make a sequel – Cavill was a good Superman. 🙂 I just hope that they make Lois Lane’s character more relevant in the next film.


      July 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      • Exactly! Lois Lane in the movie seemed almost like an extra or an accessory.


        July 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm

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