Superman is arguably the most well known superhero around, meaning that creating a movie that is both interesting and entertaining is a bit of an uphill struggle. Previous attempts have varied from the inspiring first attempts of Superman 1 and 2, of course starring the late Christopher Reeve, to the absurd plot-lines of Superman Returns, despite an excellent performance by newcomer Brandon Routh.
I must admit that although when I first heard that ‘Man of Steel’ was in production, I was sceptical as to whether it would succeed or flop. When the first full length trailer was released, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find a Superman who was a little rough and rugged, and seemed to be a man with a past who was not only able to hold an audiences’ attention, but make them really invest in him and his goals.
The movie opens with a gripping scene depicting the fall of Krypton and introducing the formidable General Zod, with a fairly simple yet powerful performance from Russell Crowe playing Superman’s father. We are then introduced to Superman as an adult attempting to make his way in a world despite his supernatural powers. We see flashbacks to his past, some of which are more satisfying than others to an audience interested in his back-story and quite soon into the movie the serious action begins.
The adult superman we meet has a magnificent beard, a brooding expression and a very mysterious air about him; perhaps this is what makes him so interesting as a new interpretation of Clark Kent. He has somewhat of an edge, and seems immensely more dangerous than previous attempts. He lacks the happy-go-lucky Clark Kent we have come to know, and implies an interpretation of the role who might live up to the abilities the superhero is known for; x-ray vision, superhuman strength, flight and much more. Unfortunately, I’m a little disappointed by the fact that ….
…at the end of the movie, Clark joins the Daily Planet as a reporter and Lois knows who he is. It ruins, for me, one of the fundamental themes which run through previous Superman films and TV shows I’ve really enjoyed. He’s also a little bit difficult to root for, simply because he is invincible. Although the enemies from Krypton are formidable enemies, they are not better than him, and so don’t give any sense that he is in real danger. General Zod does seem to be a threat because Zod’s only life purpose is to protect his people, and Superman doesn’t agree with his methods, but in the end Zod is also fairly easily defeated. As far as story goes it’s quite good at explaining a lot of Superman’s personality, due to his background and so on, and the special effects are amazing, however in the next installment there needs to be more threat and danger. I’d also be happy if he decided he had to be shirtless more often 😉 With the introducton of Ben Affleck as Batman, I can see some great chemistry happening between the two actors, and I think they’ll play really well off each other — here’s hoping!