Man of Steel: Is Superman still worth the reboot?

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The Filipino fans were the first of the few races to watch the celebrated reboot of Superman via Man of Steel on June 12 (The US screening was set on June 14.) Not to mention that it’s opening date here is the celebration of our 115th Day of Independence, and, coincidentally, we are to celebrate Father’s Day over the weekend (June 16). A day full of occasions; a movie stuffed with lots and lots of action sequences.

The Triumvirate

Man of Steel is directed by Zack Snyder, the imaginative mind who helmed modern-day cinematic experiences via 300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch and Legends of the Guardians. The film is produced and co-written by no less than the person who made Batman cool again, Christopher Nolan – who also directed the Dark Knight trilogy. And it was co-written with David S. Goyer, the person also responsible for making Batman “better” than any other superhero we know of. So with these men on top of the movie, what could go wrong? I don’t want to think of any yet. Theirs would probably be a case of serving us a buffet of delicious food notwithstanding the effects of too much eating and indigestion like the way Nolan did in Inception. This is a case of putting together all Superman versions from various media – comics, TV, video games and the previous Superman movies. (By the way, the series is celebrating its 75 years!). You just got to have a little of everything in there. That is why the 2 hours 28 minutes ordeal, maybe, “not that long” after all.

man of steel

Snyder clearly knew how to keep our minds and eyes busy prompting most of us to be eager on what and how the next scene should be.
The opening sequence was like a movie on its own – Star Wars meet The Matrix. When I first knew about Snyder directing Superman, I was more than just excited. If the movie Watchmen was any indication how the Superman reboot would be like, then, I am for Snyder all the way!

The Action Sequences and Actors Fit for the Roles

Noise. Explosions. Destructions!!! This would probably best describe the effectsmof the fight sequences. And no offense meant to the Man of Steel, ‘Batman Begins’ flashed back. It’s the same feeling I have all over again. But, I can’t help To compare it with films whose elements are obviously present here.One, is that ‘disturbing’ alien-spaceship sound – you know it’s an alien when you hear that sound. Steven Spielberg, if I’m not mistaken Is their inspiration for that. Then you have that mercury-rising-silver-snakey-thing flying to capture Superman is so-Transformers! Not to mention that small town battle which led to worldwide destructioN – The Avengers and Thor (who shares an almost identical outfit with Superman). And what about that face-off towards the end of the movie? Didn’t you miss Harry Potter and Voldermort? But Supe and Zod’s final battle was one for the books – it was so intense that it seems like you are watchin a TV cartoon series. This excited the kid in me. If we thought it can only happen in cartoons, where the heroes and villains go for an all out war!!! I just have one concern though – what happens to the buildings our superheroes and villains destroy after their “childs’ play”? Unlike in the first action sequence in Krypton, where we saw the anhilation of its race, moreso the planet itself.

Russel Crowe (as Jor-el) was way better here compared to his Les Miz portrayal of Javert. (Although, Marlon Brando is still the Jor-el to beat, looks and voice wise, Crowe gave us a “reachable” Jor-El. The mystical element we know of the El family in Superman II seemed to remained in Sulerman II.

Jor El Man of Steel

So what new elements does it give us? The movie, though we’re not asking for it, gave us clearer pictures of the origins and beginnings of Clark Kent’s well being and his development to being the Man od Steel that he has become. This is also Nolan and Goyer’s strength as writers. They did it in The Dark Knight trilogy; and Nolan gave too much of it in Inception. Both writers presented justifications why things are like this and that. That ‘corny’ explanation as to what “S” stands for caught the moviegoers’ attention. Really, “S” stands for “hope”? Who are you kidding me? But that was cute.

Then, Snyder gave us a breather, and again subjected us to another action sequence where he transformed Clark into a reincarnation of Wolverine of some sorts – shirtless, torn out jeans, barefoot, fully-bearded face, full of angst, and curly hair. I thought for a while I was watching X-men.

The first part of the film was full of flashbacks and dream sequences in land, water and air, where Clark recalls his childhood, how he was bullied and can’t fight back. And I’m pretty sure, “Smallville” fans out there has a lot of things to say! Nice to see stars of their generations- Kevin Costner appeared to be the perfect fit for the role of Jonathan Kent, the perennial bodyguard is again looking after the welfare of his adopted son minus the themesong. Diane Lane as Martha Kent transformed completely! The “Unfaithful” did remain faithful to her loved ones despite the impending doom created by General Zod. Costner and Lane gave us better portrayals of the Kents, who were always regarded as old, 70+ years old. (exceept in Smallville by Fox TV).

General Zod, and his throng of followers were depcited here at their best. Michael Shannon portrayed the role to its core. He did not overdo Zod, nor he underplayed him. We didn’t hate him as much because his was patriotism and allegiance not just to his country, but to his race.

general zod man of steel

Then came in Lois Lane – the penultimate love interest of Superman – played by Amy Adams, who was I think still not at par the way Margot Kidder played the same character in the Christopher Reeves version. No one has probably come close to Kidder’s portrayal of Lois. But Amy Adams seemed to have done it better than Kate Bosworth, who was as dry as her Superman, Brandon Routh.
The supporting cast of lawrence Fishbourne and company was just enough to digest. But their near-death experience was not as dramatic as that of Kents.

And of course, Henry Cavill. eyebrows raised when he was chosen to be the Superman of this generation. he is British and he doesnt resemble Christopher Reeve. Seeing him in Immortals added to the doubt whether he can look the part. Then as he opens his mouth, gives out a grin, starts to speak, looks us in the eyes, takes off his shirt, wobbles in his flight, and showed facial expressions; women melted, and giggled; while the men wished and hope for a sequel right away. He did prepare dlr the role physically and emotionally. His emotions during the fight scenes are very natural. But, two of the best scenes that showed Cavill’s depth as an actor were when he ‘let his Father died’ in the twister attack; and when he met his mother, Martha, for the first time after he found out who he is. The former showed us, that a superhuman like Clark can show vulnerability – which basically sets him apart from his race of origin. His candid moments with his foster mom, Martha on the balcony of their house revealed a super human becoming a son to a mother. This scene somehow reminded me of Jesus and Mary, in Mel Gibson’s epic “The Passion of the Christ.”

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Notably though, the movie might have (unconsciously) honored the words and wisdoms of the three “fathers” in the film – Jor-el, Jonathan Kent, and Father Leone. Jor-el, for giving his son Kal that Kryptonian powers – giving us the real understanding of why HE is superman. Because in his genes are millions of genetically induced race designed for the planet. Then Jonathan Kent who ‘controlled’ and ‘honed’ Clark’s superhuman powers – showing us that he can be one of the “seemingly intelligent race” of Earthlings. And when Clark decided to surrender Superman to mankind, Father Leone in the church told him to take the leap of faith, so trust can follow.
Superman showed respect to these men, which made him the Man of Steel we know today. So boys and girls, there are still a number of days to catch Superman, and celebrate Father’s day with a date with your Superdad and Supermoms!

Did i like this reboot? Oh, yes. And For four straight days it was shown, I was there. How long is the movie again? As long as you have been reading this – that’s how long. But it is worth the wait. Apologies to Tom Welling of Smallville fame – who is the Clark Kent of this generation; and to Christopher Reeves who is the epitome of Clark and Supe of all time. For now, Henry Cavill is by far, the real Man of Steel. Thanks for the threat, Iron Man. Superman just got better.

Spoiler Alerts: Fanatics are hoping for the making of Justice League. Now that Superman has been rebooted, fans are hoping that Batman and Green Lantern joins Superman for the ultimate superhero gathering. But for now, a Man of Steel sequel won’t hurt especially with the following spoilers:

  • LexCorp logo, the corporation owned by the Earthly nemesis of Superman, Lex Luthor appears in the tanker and the building.
  • Wayne Enterprises logo is also seen during the outerspace fight scene of Zon and Superman, where Zod hit one of the satellites. Yes, Wayne is Bruce, aka as Batman.
  • And did you know that The Martian Hunter is “in” the movie?

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