One thing I will always be thankful to Zack Snyder is for introducing me to a new Superman with his 2013 blockbuster film Man of Steel.
Mind you I was not a Superman fan at all going into to this film, I was more of a Batman guy. He was just cooler to me as a kid, he had all the gadgets, the best villains and didn’t come across as a boy scout like Superman did. That all changed in 2013 when I watched Man of Steel, I know it’s crazy but its safe to say that I’m now a Superman fanboy because of this film. I appreciated the character of Superman a lot more that I even went back to watch the Christopher Reeves films which I really love too, Superman II being my favourite. Graphic novels such as ‘Superman: Exile’, ‘Earth One’ and ‘All-Star’ are amongst my favourites just to name a few. As I am writing this there seems to be a cloud of darkness that looms over the DC extended universe films. So I’d figure I shed some light and positivity on a film that was so impactful to me and a film that I feel in general doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
A New Superman
One of the main reasons why I love this film is because of the re-introduction of a New Superman (look let’s just pretend Superman Returns didn’t happen). Granted Henry Cavill doesn’t come across as charismatic as Christopher Reeve’s Superman but that’s not an issue for me. I wasn’t a big fan of the Mr. Perfect boy scout Superman of the previous films. Man of Steel in my opinion introduced us to a more relatable Superman. A Superman that was not perfect and couldn’t be everywhere at once. This was a Superman that when things went wrong he couldn’t just spin the world around backwards and fix everything. This was a Superman that struggled to find his place in the world as a teenager who was bullied to an adult who struggles to find a place to settle down going from job to job. Eventually Superman finds his place in the world realising why he was sent here in the first place to save humanity and set an example for people to follow.
By the end of the film this Superman still had a lot of learning to do about both his powers and humanity which is what made Man of Steel a great starting point. Was Christopher Reeve’s Superman ever going to snap General Zod’s neck? No way because I would have never expected that of him. I remember at the time the killing of General Zod caused an outrage online which I don’t understand to this day. It’s not like Superman enjoyed killing Zod, it hurt him because at the end of the day he was taking someone’s life regardless if they were good or bad. This is why I was so disappointed with what they done with Superman in Dawn of Justice. They should have built on the framework laid in this movie but instead they killed him off too early in my opinion. Superman should have been built up across multiple movies and then you should tear him down to make his death more meaningful.
The Krypton scenes from Man of Steel were brilliant in the opening act mainly because it looks so great. It was Krypton like we’d never seen before and better than all of its previous iterations. Although the majority of it was shot on green screens and with special effects the visual effects team deserve a lot of praise for making it look and feel so real. Not to mention the storyline that was going on in Krypton was compelling too. A society where there had not been a natural birth in years and Kal-El became to be the only one, making him special from the movement he was born. The fact that the Kryptonians had mined so much of their own natural resources that the planet was starting to implode on itself. You had Jor-El trying to save his people but the council wouldn’t listen to him. On the other hand you have General Zod trying to stage a coup to save his people too. It’s interesting to note the similarities in their means to save Krypton it’s just the method General Zod chose included violence which he tries again later in the film. For the film to spend up to twenty minutes on Krypton was a bold move for Zack Snyder to take and I feel like it paid off. I could honestly watch a whole movie based on the early society of Krypton before Kal-El’s time. Of course with Russell Crowe being the star of the movie as Jor-El.
Michael Shannon with his portrayal of General Zod is by far the best performance you will see in this film. To me General Zod is an extremely underrated villain when it comes to discussion about the best villains from recent comic book films. General Zod was a genuine threat to not to all of humanity but to Superman too. Zod came across as a hardened leader that was not afraid of getting his hands dirty in achieving his main goal of rebuilding Kyrpton. Now this was not like the original Zod played by the late Terence Stamp that we all came to love, he wasn’t going to demand that everyone kneel before him. But if there was anyone that could pull off that iconic line it could have been Michael Shannon. Also I’m not sure if this was done on purpose because he was a villain but I kind of sympathised with General Zod and his mission. He wanted to rebuild Krypton with or without Superman’s help to ensure the stability of his race. As I stated earlier I didn’t have an issue with Superman killing him. If I were to have a problem with his death, it’s that we won’t see him in the DC universe again (Not as Doomsday).
Let me just start off by saying this, nothing will ever top the iconic John Williams Superman score. The theme that made us all as kids tie a towel around our neck and jump around our living rooms like Superman. However, Hans Zimmer did an amazing job with the Man of Steel soundtrack which I would put up against his other highly praised scores such as Inception, Dark Knight and Interstellar. Ever since the first trailer when I heard the theme it had me hooked not only for the film but this new Superman. The theme brought so much hope and lightness, it’s still crazy to me how music can do that to you especially when there aren’t any lyrics.
I knew then and there that this theme would now be synonymous with Henry Cavill’s Superman. This score to the film is so great that if you were to take it out the of the film it would be severely impacted. The Man of Steel score still remains one of the few that I actually went out of my way to purchase and listen to every now and then.
Now don’t get me wrong is this film perfect? Is it the greatest movie ever made? Of course not but sometimes it’s just the connection that we make with films that make them special to us and Man of Steel is that movie to me. Man of Steel will always be a land mark movie for me because of my love for the character of Superman and comic books as a whole.
Let me know what you think of this film below