I am still basking in the afterglow of the triumph of the Wonder Woman movie. At the same time my anticipation for the upcoming Justice League movie is slowly growing. I recently revisited Man Of Steel (2013), the movie that started this slowly growing DC Extended Universe (DCEU).
Man Of Steel received quite a bit of criticism upon its release. I am not one of those voices. I was and I still remain a big fan of this movie. It is a movie that is far from perfect. The overall storyline has some questionable moments but it works well. More than anything else Man Of Steel has a great cast. Starting at the top with Henry Cavill as an incredibly pumped up Superman. Christopher Reeve will forever be the bench mark for the role. Cavill plays the role with a great deal of dignity. He excels in the movie because he is equally effective as Clark Kent and Superman.
The cast is rounded out by heavyweights such as Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane. Amy Adams is far from my ideal Lois Lane, Margot Kidder set the standard pretty high. But I can give credit where it is due, Adams won me over.
Here are just a few general observations in regards to Man Of Steel:
- First of all it was great to see Superman fight super villains. Only in Superman II (1980) and the dreadful Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987) has he fought powered super villains. More often than not he has used his powers to save the day. That has usually meant fighting disasters, natural or man-made. It was great to see Superman square off against villains that were just as powerful, if not more so, as him. For the sequel he has to find a way to save the day without leveling the city.
- I like that the movie did not involve the use of kryptonite. That is a good thing. Kryptonite as a major plot device is a bit tired at this point.
- Early in the film Lois Lane was a tough talking, hard-drinking, take no prisoners type of woman. However, she soon reverted to the familiar role of Superman’s damsel in distress. She was brought down to earth, figuratively and literally, throughout the movie.
- Kevin Costner has gotten a lot of grief over the years from critics. In Man Of Steel he was quite good as the loving Jonathan Kent, bestowing wisdom on his adoptive Kryptonian son.
- Diane Lane was absolutely precious as Martha Kent. It has proven to be a tough task being Superman’s mother. Between this movie and Batman v Superman she was put through the ringer.
- Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent was brilliant casting. Much like Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman, casting a relative unknown really helped the movie. Cavill obviously took the role seriously. His acting, his incredible physique and his conviction help to elevate the movie to another level.
- Russell Crowe’s very physical portrayal of Superman’s father Jor-El was refreshing. At one point there was talk of a Jor-El spin-off movie. Based on Russell Crowe’s performance in Man Of Steel that is a movie that I would watch.
- The movie’s opening sequences on Krypton were a definite change of pace. The ultra sci-fi depiction of Krypton almost felt like a Star Wars film. I was initially caught off guard by this depiction. It is an incredibly effective opening sequence.
- I loved the movie’s action sequences. At times Superman and his foes moved so fast they were just blurs. They are super strong, but they are also super fast. Filming the scenes in this way made so much sense. It was a big departure from all of the prior Superman movies. Not to sound corny, but I thought the fight sequences were super cool.
Zach Synder’s vision of Superman was a bit different and that is a good thing. The movie succeeded in large part because of Henry Cavill’s superb performance. Batman v Superman had it critics, but it introduced Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. With the big three now established the future is looking bright for the DCEU.
DC is currently playing catchup with Marvel Studios highly successful series of films. For many years we have seen various big screen depictions of Superman and Batman. Many of these movies were excellent, however they remained separate universes. Green Lantern (2011), a very good movie, did not quite catch on with movie goers. An unfortunate circumstance that stalled the expansion of the DC Comics cinematic universe. Man Of Steel was a very strong restart. I am hopeful that the Justice League movie successfully expands the DCEU.