Monday, June 24, 2013

Man of Steel * * * 1/2

Seven years ago we had Superman Returns which was a good film that just didn't click as well with audiences as it did with me.  Superman Returns tried to continue from where the previous Superman movies left off while at the same time being overly reminiscent of the first Superman Movie.  I think that it is a pretty terrific movie that didn't get enough attention.

Man of Steel reboots the franchise with a forgettable title, a new face and a few new twists on the Superman story.  The story is already familiar to everyone, but this remake adds enough to the mythology to make it fresh and interesting.  Unlike all the bad remakes I have seen recently at the movies, Man of Steel made me glad that I bought a ticket.

The multiple teaser trailers led me to believe that this going to be a brooding film.  It is anything but.  I thought that the regular trailers gave away too much of the story, but they don't.  What surprises me about Man of Steel is how hard it tries to a science fiction film.  Superman is, after all, an alien from another world, but previous films aren't as interested in this fact as this movie is.  We see a lot of hardware in this movie and this film gives a greater sense that aliens have invaded this planet.

The last 30 minutes have been criticized by some as being all action, but I think that it works.  I liked it much better than the mind numbing last 30 minutes of The Avengers.  The last half of Star Wars was nothing but action and that worked pretty well.  For me the key to any action sequence is what it reveals to us about the character(s).  If the action sequences advance the story while giving us insight to the people involved, then you couldn't ask for anything more.

You can't make a good superhero movie without a good villain, and General Zod in this movie is a complex character who in his mind has honorable intentions.

I am surprised and disappointed by the 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  This is a better film than that.  Like the previous Superman movie, it seems that it didn't click with everyone.

Given the intensity of the last 30 minutes, which had enough action for at least a couple of movies, it is hard for me to imagine how they would make a sequel without going over the top.

I have a theory that Superman is a modern day Hercules and perhaps inspired by this myth or other ancient mythology.

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