The planet Krypton faces imminent destruction due to its unstable core, the result of depleting Krypton’s natural resources. The ruling council is deposed by the planet’s military commander General Zod and his followers during a coup d’état. Knowing that the use of artificial population control has ruined their civilization, scientist Jor-El and his wife Lara launch their newborn son Kal-El, the first naturally born Kryptonian child in centuries, on a spacecraft to Earth after infusing his cells with a genetic codex of the entireKryptonian race. After General Zod kills Jor-El, he and his followers are captured and exiled to the Phantom Zone. However, they are indirectly freed after Krypton explodes.
Kal-El’s ship lands in Smallville, a small town in Kansas. He is raised as the adopted son of Jonathan and Martha Kent, who name himClark. Clark’s Kryptonian physiology affords him superhuman abilities on Earth, which initially cause him confusion and ridicule. He gradually learns to harness his powers and uses them to help others. After revealing to a teenage Clark that he is an alien, Jonathan warns him not to use his powers in public out of concern that he will be rejected by society. After Jonathan’s death, an adult Clark spends several years living a nomadic lifestyle, working different jobs under false identities, anonymously performing good deeds, and struggling to cope with the loss of his adoptive father.
Clark eventually infiltrates a U.S. military investigation of a Kryptonian scout spaceship in the Arctic. When Clark enters the alien ship, he uses a Kryptonian “control-key” from the ship that brought him to Earth, which allows him to communicate with the preserved consciousness of Jor-El in the form of ahologram. Jor-El reveals Clark’s origins, the extinction of his race, and tells Clark that he was sent to Earth to bring hope to mankind for a better future. Lois Lane, a journalist from the Daily Planet newspaper who was sent to write a story on the discovery, sneaks inside the ship while following Clark and is rescued by him when she is injured by its security system. Lois’s editor Perry White rejects her story of a “superhuman” rescuer, so she traces Clark back to Kansas with the intention of writing an exposé. After hearing his story, she decides not to reveal his secret.
Meanwhile, Zod and his crew seek out other worlds that the Kryptonian race colonized long ago, only to find out that none of the outposts survived after Krypton abandoned them. Zod and the others eventually pick up a Kryptonian distress signal sent from the ship Clark discovered on Earth. Zod arrives and demands that the humans surrender Kal-El, whom he believes has the codex, or else Earth will be destroyed. Clark accepts, and the military hand him and Lois over to Zod’s second-in-command, Faora, at Zod’s request. Zod reveals that he intends to use a terraforming ”world engine” to transform Earth into a new Krypton and use the codex to repopulate the planet with genetically-engineeredKryptonians, killing all of Earth’s indigenous life in the process. Clark and Lois escape Zod’s ship with Jor-El’s help, Clark defeats Faora and another Kryptonian, and convinces the military that he is an ally. Zod deploys the world engine and initiates the process in Metropolis and over the southern Indian Ocean, increasing the Earth’s mass and atmosphere.
Clark, now called “Superman”, destroys the world engine, while the military uses the spacecraft that brought him to Earth in an aerial strike on Zod’s ship over Metropolis, sending Zod’s forces back into the Phantom Zone. Only Zod remains, and he engages Superman in a destructive battle across Metropolis using his newly developed powers. When Zod attempts to murder cornered civilians as revenge for his defeat, Superman is forced to kill him. Some time later, Superman warns the government that, if it wants his help, it will be on his terms. To create an alias that gives him access to dangerous situations without arousing suspicion, Clark takes a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet.
So yeah, if you didn’t gather it from that intro, I do not understand the criticisms of this movie. I thought the action was exciting and entertaining. The destruction in the movie didn’t seem any better or worse than the destruction in any other big blockbuster. People said it had more destruction than Avengers, I actually think Avengers had more, and for the record, The Avengers is a movie that I LIKE! I’m not dissing Marvel. I think really the only reason that people think the destruction was so severe in this movie was the lighting. The battle of New York in the Avengers was shot in broad daylight, the fight between Superman and Zod in Man of Steel was mostly shot at about late in the day/early in the evening, so subsequently the city was darker and looked grimmer. Now, let me take a moment to criticize not the complaints people had when they saw the movie, but the ones they had BEFORE they saw the movie.
Grace Randolph, writer of the BOOM! Studios comic book series, Supurbia, reporter for Bleeding Cool, and the YouTube personality behind Beyond The Trailer and Think About The Ink, was a very early negative speculator for the film, at one point outright theorizing that Man Of Steel would goes so far as to not only change the look of the costume, but outright refuse to destroy Krypton. People in general were speculating that this movie was changing so much about the superman mythos. I asked then how do you figure? And I ask now, how much different is this guy from the one in the comics? It, like a lot of comic book movies, was written as a patchwork of different stories to make the filmmakers’ own story. It derives from John Bryne’s Man of Steel, Mark Waid’s Superman: Birthright, Geoff Johns’s Superman: Secret Origin, J. Michael Straczynski’s Superman: Earth One, Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman, and so much more. I’m not going to criticize the ignorant masses who mostly don’t read comics for not knowing this, but if you’re a comic book fan who regularly follows Superman, you should bloody well recognize at least a couple of these elements. I mean hell, in that first teaser trailer that they released in front of The Dark Knight Rises, you either had a narration from Kevin Costner as Pa Kent, talking about how one day Clark, whether he became a good man or a bad man, would one day change the world, or you had a narration from Russell Crowe as Jor-El giving Jor’s speech from All-Star Superman! The promotional material did not show anything you’d never seen before if you know your right from your left in comics.
But enough of my complaints with people, they are a silly a bunch. Let’s get into few issues with this movie and my high praise for the rest of it!
Henry Cavill as Superman. You couldn’t have hired a better guy, you just couldn’t have. There’s no two ways about it. Thank you Zack Snyder!
Amy Adams as mother fucking Lois Lane! The minute I went over the casting for this movie and saw Amy Adams’s name next to Lois’s I just sat back and proclaimed “Oh My God Yes!” Again, I don’t think there’s a woman out there, who could do a better Lois than this woman!
I never really knew who Michael Shannon was before this movie, but watching him here, I want to find out! Because he not only made me hate Zod as a person and love him as a villain, but he legitimately made me feel sorry for the guy. He outright says it more than once in the movie, his entire reason for existing to ensure the protection, the security, and the safety of Krypton and it’s people, even if it means being destructive. You get the feeling at certain times that he doesn’t actually want to hurt anyone, but he feels that he has to in order to ensure the survival of his people. The scene where he holds the ashes and gravel from his destroyed ship and laments “Look at this. We could have built a new Krypton in this squalor, but you chose the humans over us. I exist only to protect Krypton. That is the sole purpose for which I was born. And every action I take, no matter how violent or how cruel, is for the greater good of my people. And now… I have no people. My soul, that is what you have taken from me!” It leaves you not knowing how to feel, you get the feeling that Zod is about to attack Superman (and he does) but at the same time, you feel genuinely awful for the guy. He has literally lost his entire reason for existing. The fact that Shannon can convey so much as just one character speaks volumes to me! I really want to check out more of his work!
I have loved Russell Crowe ever since I saw him in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, when I heard he was Jor-El I was so happy! I was already excited when I heard the guy who directed 300 and Watchmen was directing a Superman movie produced and co-written by Christopher Nolan, but when I saw that one of my favorite actors was playing Jor-El I leaped with joy! And I did an even bigger leap when I saw how awesome the guy was in the movie! The minute I saw the movie in theaters I just said to myself, “Screw Superman! I want a fucking Jor-El prequel!” And I stand by that! Snyder, Goyer, DC, Time Warner, give me my Jor-El prequel!
Now you know who else I love? Laurence Fishburne! Look at this guy
Okay! There! That’s Laurence Fishburne! In fact, that’s Larry Fishburne himself as Perry White in this movie! While Frank Langela played it a bit more J. Jonah Jameson, Fishburne plays it strait up serious newspaper man. And kicks some serious ass at it!
Diane Lane and Kevin Costner not only kill it as Ma and Pa Kent, the destroy it! Every scene they have with Clark they make it fucking count! And they have terrific chemistry with the scenes they have with Henry, and young Clark actors, Dylan Sprayberry and Cooper Timberline. You really feel the difficultly they had with raising their child to be a good man, but at the time telling him, you can’t actually go out and show people who you can do, it won’t end well. The last scene with Kevin as Jonathan Kent, is absolutely heartbreaking. You can see every fiber of Clark’s being wants to run strait over there and save his father, especially after the terrible thing he’d only just told him, and Jonathan tells him don’t. Don’t expose yourself, not to save me. Please son. It’s fucking horrible. And every single scene with Diane is terrific! She is just such a mommy! It’s wonderful really!
In case you don’t actually follow me on here, I am a HUGE House of Cards fan! I LOOOOOOOOVE that show! And one of the things I love most about is Michael Kelly! The guy is such a great actor who does great here as Steve Lombard, the sort office dickhead who sort of makes some good natured, but somewhat irritating, ribbings at his coworkers, particularly Lois. But what I really like here, is that he may be a bit of a dick, but he’s not a terrible person. In the scene where the World Engine is leveling Metropolis and Perry is trying to get their coworker, Jenny (Olsen(?)), out of large chunk of debris. You can see he briefly considers leaving them behind to save his own skin, but says screw it, and grabs a fallen street sign and helps try to save his coworker. He may be a dick, but even dicks can be decent human beings.
Hans Zimmer’s score is fantastic! I can’t wait to hear what he and Pharrell Wiliams are gonna do together for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and I REALLY hope he comes back for Man of Steel 2! It’d be really awesome to hear him come up with a completely new Batman theme!
The action throughout is incredible! More so in the Smallville fight than the Metropolis fight, but that was still pretty fucking awesome too!
Harry Lennix is in this movie.
Christopher Meloni is also in this movie.
If you’re a Smallville fan, there’s a couple guys from the show with very small roles but you might recognize them. The guy who played Lex’s disfigured clone in season 10, who set Lois up as a scarecrow like the jocks at school did to Clark back in season one, plays the Kryptonian scientist aboard Zod’s ship. And the guy who played Emil Hamilton in 14 episodes actually has a small role here as one of the army guys at the Canadian base where Lois first meets Clark. I’m not sure if these guys were purposefully put in here, but it’s a nice little coincidence.
I think it’s kind of dickish of Jor-El to not try to make a computer program for Lara’s consciousness so that she could see their son too.
This one’s more of a nitpick, but what exactly is Zod and his crew’s ages supposed to be? Michael Shannon is 39, and Antje Traue, who played Zod’s second in command, Faora, is 33. But they spent 33 years in outer space. I mean, I know your body ages more slowly in space, and you can tell Zod’s a little older. He’s got some grays on his head, and he’s got a goatee with a lot more gray, but everyone else looks pretty much the same. So how old are they supposed to be exactly?
This isn’t a con with THIS movie, but I really wish Snyder had done at least one solo sequel before bringing in Batman and Wonder Woman. But that’s a minor quibble.
What am I going to give this movie? Do I need to tell you? … Well, yes, I do, I guess that’s part of the review. I’m gonna give Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel an 8.9 out of 10!
I loved the hell out of this movie, and I can’t wait for the second movie in 2016! Especially since it comes out the day before my birthday! In any case, please stay tuned for my comparison of these two films, I hope you enjoyed this review and have a terrific day!