As you may have guessed, every time I hear news of a new Superman movie, I find myself getting rather giddy (yes, even after watching the atrocity called Superman Returns). So, when I first started hearing about Man of Steel (in theaters now!), and the fact that they were going to take a more human approach to the Last Son of Krypton, I started making my plans to make it to opening night.
As luck would have it, the local drive-in theater decided to have a midnight showing of this shiny flick on opening night, paired with Star Trek: Into Darkness, another film I had been wanting to catch. So, using my current Father’s Day power, I convinced my wife to load up the van with the kiddos and head out to allow them to stay up waaaay past their bedtime. Honestly, the expectation was that they would both fall asleep shortly after the first film started, an expectation that did come to fruition.
Now, I really don’t want to get into too many spoilers. It’s a totally worthwhile movie to watch. In fact, I intend to catch it again soon in a real theater, because the 3D effects for this film appeared to be pretty awesome, at least from the 3D trailer I saw before JP3D.
If you’re like me and feel rather cautious about another Superman movie, especially another Superman origin story (I mean, come on, who doesn’t know Superman’s origin by now? The Superman shield is the second most recognizable symbol in the world, second only to the Christian cross), allow me to assuage your fears. First, for the ladies, my wife (as well as several male friends I have who know about these sort of things) assures me that Henry Cavill as Superman offers more than enough eye candy throughout the film. Apparently the sight of a shirtless, hairy-chested, ripped man of steel covered in flames is the sort of thing she gets into. . . things I shall have to take into consideration the next time I’m near a fire . . .and covered in about 50 more pounds of pure muscle.
Second, my children, who had fallen asleep pretty darn quickly during Star Trek, somehow realized when Man of Steel started up, woke up immediately, and stayed awake through the whole damned thing. I have never seen either of my children be able to make it until midnight, much less the 3am time in which we were leaving the big outdoor screen. They loved it and are both already talking about going to see it again.
For the general male, DC/Warner heard our complaints about the lack of super-powered punches in the blunder they called Superman Returns and delivered in spades. The battles between General Zod and Kal El far surpass anything Donner filmed for Superman 2. This gets down to some straight up testosterone induced brawls, complete with heat vision and . . . well, let’s just say that I’m amazed at how much collateral damage they included in this flick. And Superman didn’t even have his questionable “reverse damage eye beam” from Superman 4: The Quest for Peace, so, yeah. . . things get broked. It’s an action flick at it’s core, and action done well, although one can’t help but feel that they may have overdone their attempts to right the wrongs of the preceding film.
For the super-nerd, this movie does Superman justice. Sure, we have the retelling of the origin, but they do make it an important part of the storyline, similar to Superman 2. Sure, the plot itself seems eerily similar to that of Superman Returns (albeit, makes much more sense and doesn’t seem nearly as stupid). Sure, Terence Stamp’s portrayal of General Zod can’t be beaten. But this movie is much more about what it means to be The Man of Steel than it is about superheroes vs. supervillains. The reality of Zod isn’t important because this story is truly about Clark’s journey to realizing his true destiny, as, of course, should every origin story be.
I honestly can’t say too much about this film without becoming a spoiler, but if you’re looking for a recommendation, I heartily give it. As a man who has loved the red trunks since birth, I am in love with this depiction of the first superhero. The dedication to details, such as with how the superpowers work, the inclusion of LexCorp and Wayne Enterprises logos, as well as a very brief mention of S.T.A.R. Labs helps grow the world that Superman lives in to be something more than just this movie, and *fingers crossed* sets us up for a DC version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe where we can finally see Batman and Superman on the screen together, aided, of course, by a woman with an invisible jet, a man with a ring, and the fastest man alive.
After over 30 years, DC has finally released a Superman movie that they can be proud of, and from the looks of it, the box office will respond in kind.