The Consensus of Steel

The official Boar review gave the Man of Steel four stars but not all the writers were quite as impressed.

Man of Steel is nothing if not big. Big plot, big powers, and plenty of big explosions.  A few too many, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, superhero movies have a sacred right to blow things up, but Man of Steel went a little bit overboard. It reached the point where I wondered if there would be anything left of earth by the time the battle was over. You become a little desensitised to the bangs and the flames about a quarter of the way through the action, which means the calamity and chaos of the whole situation lose some of their impact.

The star-spangled cast can’t be faulted, even if the script is a little bit cheesy in places. Clark Kent and Lois Lane are characters well known by comic book readers and moviegoers the world over, and Man of Steel does them justice. Cavill, and his younger counterparts show us the vulnerability behind Superman’s Kryptonian powers. It turns Clark Kent from a super-powered alien into someone, well, human. Russell Crowe is fabulous as Jor-El, Clark’s Kryptonian father and he has some brilliantly poignant scenes, which really make this movie great.

It has all the hallmarks of a modern-day sci-fi – scientists who instantly know the answer, dubious laws of physics, and plenty of logic that doesn’t quite follow. For some reason, the bizarre science seems even more prominent in Man of Steel than in other sci-fi films. Maybe it’s just my physicist tendencies, but I did find a few moments a little bit cringe worthy. The two and a half hour movie could have been quite a bit shorter, and quite a lot punchier without so much strange pseudoscientific preamble, and a lot fewer explosions.

With all that said, Man of Steel is a solid movie, and it really shines in its more subdued moments. It’s perhaps not as slick as other superhero hits, like The Avengers or Iron Man, and it may be a little bit heavy on the pyrotechnics, but as a whole, it has got a strong plot and a great cast. Though it might not be the best summer blockbuster out there, it’s one you should definitely watch if you get the chance.

Helena Moretti

Man of Steel Faora

Man of Steel is by no means a perfect film, but a brave and admirable effort has been made to bridge the two distinct styles of superhero filmmaking that exist today. On the one hand is the work of Christopher Nolan and The Dark Knight Trilogy, most clearly represented in Nolan’s producer credit, exploring the inner turmoil and anguish of our hero. This is something many would consider an impossibility for the man of tomorrow, but Snyder’s film does an impressive job of showing Superman’s fear of acceptance and restraint against the worst aspects of humanity. On the other side of the spectrum we have The Avengers, a pure thrill ride entertainment and jaw-dropping spectacle which may lack substance but still brings joy to the lives of plenty of cinema goers. Man of Steel does also contain a greater proportion of this than The Dark Knight Trilogy did, however, it doesn’t feel as engaging in comparison to the emotional parts of the film and doesn’t dazzle with the same wonder as Marvel’s body of work.

The balance of these two styles is well handled and gives a positive overall experience. While it does feel as if there is something lost between trying to combine these two distinct styles, there is certainly enough of both to keep fans of either camp content.

Patt Gill

Laurence Fishburne Amy Adams  Man of Steel

With the recent box office domination by Marvel, Man of Steel really needed to step up to the plate and show that the spandex-bound super-journalist was fit to fill the very big shoes left by Batman. Zack Snyder was a very big gamble here – Hollywood’s King Nerd with a very hit and miss career. Snyder however, does deliver a visual feast and the film doesn’t fail to entertain, despite not being allowed to reach the height it aspires to due to a misplacing of tone.

Henry Cavill to my mind fits the role perfectly and delivers the best possible performance given the script. Though this is a script that requires him to invest a lot of time moping. Amy Adams and Russell Crowe are satisfactory as Lois Lane and Jor-El, but nothing remarkable. And is it just me, or is there something vaguely irritating about Adams? Almost as if she’s always acting with a lose thread on her coat in front of a slightly wonky picture frame.

Michael Shannon is beautifully melodramatic as General Zod and is the character that I feel most fits in this universe. I mean, really, it’s Superman fighting a man called Zod – this is an inherently silly story and doesn’t really mesh with the super serious tone of The Dark Knight trilogy. This is really my main problem with the film. There are cities being destroyed, alien life arriving on Earth, levels of handsome hitting unnatural highs. Things are wrong. If this were a serious story then the world would be in permanent crisis. Iron Man 3 made the very smart move by transitioning to a more self-conscious style post-Avengers and Superman must do the same. I can only hope that now the tweed and spectacles have been donned, we can at least witness a decent twirl in a phone box.

Dan Mountain

Man of Steel General Zod

Man of Steel is a big film. With a 142-minute running time, perhaps the main issue with this latest superhero franchise revival is that it tries to take on too much. From the plodding exposition of political corruption on Krypton to a full-scale alien invasion of Earth via some coming-of-age flashbacks of Clark Kent’s childhood, you can’t help but spend much of the film waiting for the hero to finally don his cape and fly around a bit.

But this film doesn’t really fit the bill of a pensive slow-burner either. Despite Christopher Nolan’s involvement as producer, this is a film tinged more by the sheen of a summer blockbuster than the sombreness of The Dark Knight Trilogy. If anything, it’s the boundless imagination of 300 director, Zach Snyder, that steals the show here, conjuring up vast landscapes of supernatural grandeur as Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack delivers an emotional punch where the film’s dialogue fails to do so.

If you’re looking for the deep and thought-provoking, then Man of Steel may well disappoint. But its failure to deliver on promises of real emotional depth belies an otherwise impressive spectacle. Superman’s return is an entertaining one; just don’t take it too seriously.

Sam Carter

(Header Image Source, Image 1, Image 2, Image 3)

Comments (3)

  • Robyn Parklane

    I love Man of Steel. I love the idea that Superman is an alien struggling to find acceptance among humans who fear him. Great special effects and love Cavill as Superman. Cavill is so much better than Reeves. Will be watching Man of Steel again.

  • These people that review this film is not even open minded and go to the theaters expecting THE PERFECT SUPERMAN. I love this movie because he’s not perfect . You need room to be perfect. He’s still young with new powers that will take some time to get use to and that in the future will become that perfect hero. I believe that’s why they call it Man of Steel. My opinion, this is the best superhero movie out there as speaking. It was the perfect way to reshape Superman for these times. It made a lot of new fans out there and more to come. The old fans might not appreciate it now, but will in the future. I will see it again. Can’t wait for MOS2.

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