Sunday, June 16, 2013

'Man of Steel': a symbol of hope for cinema


Director Zack Snyder brings audiences everywhere this weekend with the long anticipated superman film, Man of Steel. Almost seven years to the day of the last superman film, Superman Returns Snyder surpasses expectations and soars to the top with his star studded cast and beautiful cinematography. The film stars Henry Cavill as the powerful title role, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Michael Shannon as Zod. Man of Steel focuses on Kal-El being sent to Earth as an infant and growing up not knowing his true identity, until one man comes to Earth threatening to destroy the planet if Kal-El does not sacrifice himself. 

 The film begins with Jor-El and Lara (Kal-El’s parents) preparing to send their newborn son to another planet to save himself, from their corrupt crumbling planet. When plans go awry, evil Zod appears 33 years later to find Kal-El and attempts to convince him that they should build another Krypton on top of Earth, thus meaning destroying everyone and everything on the planet. It’s up to Kal-El to conjure up a plan to help save the world and himself. 

 To say Man of Steel is a fast paced action packed thriller would be an understatement. From beginning to end this film will have audiences at the edge of their seats, watching in awe as the amount of action and entertainment overflows the big screen. Snyder does a beautiful job showcasing Kal-El’s life in flashbacks after he is sent to Earth, with him as a child, a young adult and then as a man. The flashbacks explain how he’s kept his powerful secret, how he was an outcast, and how he struggled with holding in his power of strength to save people. Snyder does a fantastic job creating the tone for the gritty superhero flick. He displays Krypton as somewhat breathtaking in the beginning with scenic shots of the land with moons and sunsets, before the devastating destruction that engulfs the planet and its people. He repeats that tone when Zod and his army invades Earth and inflicts fear on the world, with eerie satellite messages through televisions and phones and all of Metropolis being under attack. 

 The acting in this film is brilliant. Henry Cavill had massive shoes to fill and after catching this flick it is known that he was born to portray this national cultural icon that Superman is claimed to be. He not only had to be Clark Kent and Superman but also Kal-El, and all three characters were great. He portrayed Clark Kent as the misunderstood outcast and constantly struggled with holding himself back from fighting back. He had grace and integrity as Kal-El, willing to sacrifice himself for the human race. He is fierce, powerful and captivating as the man of steel, protecting his planet and going up against the bitter, merciless Zod. Amy Adams was great as Lois Lane; she encapsulates not only the beauty of Lois but also the brain and intelligence of a dedicated journalist. Russell Crowe is influential, stern and empowering as the beloved biological father of Kal-El. Michael Shannon delivered a fine performance of the menacing, devious Zod. His violent, intimidating presence is frightening to encounter on screen. He portrayed a great bad guy. Kevin Costner played Jonathan Kent, Clark’s father as a loveable, wise and admirable man. He taught Clark to keep his identity a secret, and to always take the higher road. Jonathan would do anything to protect his son, even if his son is Superman. 

 Man of Steel is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys Zack Snyder films, superhero flicks, and the stories of Superman. It is also recommended to anyone who enjoys films filled with action, heart and the thought that one man can embody the symbol of hope in a world that desperately seeks it.

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