Just saw the early 7pm Wal Mart edition. It came with a very nice interview section before the actual movie. Henry Cavill, Zack Snyder, and others spoke about the film. It was a nice little extra that I don’t believe will show with the other airings due to the special Henry welcome mentioning Wal Mart specifically right after the giant Wal Mart logo flashed along. Very nice treat, and no major spoilers were given away either. In terms of spoilers, I’ll try to not give too much away, but here’s your warning (note: the first three sections after this are rather safe).
This is a new start. A new take on the Man of Steel. We get an extended look at Jor El on Krypton like never seen before. A taste of their technology, and what Zod really was like. We also, in the form of various flash backs, get a better look at Clark’s life growing up. Much of those feeling rather Smallville to me. Like the scene where he’s locked in the closet and his mother tells him to focus on his voice (as seen in an early commercial). The words there made me reminisce of Smallville where Jon Kent said a very similar line to help Clark with his super hearing.
Jon Kent was played by the very capable Kevin Costner. Despite that, his being dead didn’t come to me as striking as it did in Smallville when Schneider died or even Ford who, in Superman The Movie, got even less screen time. But then, I could be a bit biased towards Ford for it being a film I grew up with, and Schneider got 99 episodes to build his character with Tom Welling’s Clark before his death. Amy Adams makes a great Louis, who apparently can finally spell in this film, and has good chemistry with Henry. Diane Lane, while not quite how I usually view Martha, was still amazing in the part. While Russel Crowe’s Jor El lacked any epic speeches like Brando’s, he does have a VERY large role in the film even after death. One that is definitely not typical, but worked very well with this film. Laurence Fishburne made a great Perry White, while longer fans of Superman (or at least Smallville) will also get the treat of spotting Lana and Pete. Henry Cavill himself, who I believe looks a bit like Smallville’s Tom Welling, does a great job playing the Superman he was given. One who is lost and searching for himself, and trying to figure out how he fits in the world.
Now usually I don’t go into music that deeply in my reviews, which was handled by the very capable Hans Zimmer. The music was a very nice touch to the story. No where in it though did I feel it held the absolutely gripping music that John Williams did for the early Superman films. Or even John Ottman’s score from Returns, which probably was because it danced and toyed so magnificently in a lot of songs with Williams’ original Superman music. Zimmer’s music is much more melancholy instead of up beat. Of course it fits the film’s tone, but its a bit of a shame it couldn’t be quite as upbeat. Which will lead into the next section, which comes with a much higher spoiler possibility. Again, you’ve been warned.
As just stated, this is a much less upbeat film. In the 1978 movie we had Clark spend 12 years learning about his origins and how to use his powers. 12 years! And when he arrives he first saves Louis and the crowd cheers! Soon after not only does he give his “life” details to Louis so the world knows about him, but he also quickly builds up rapport as being a hero. In the same aspect Returns came with a highly looked up to character, and of course his mild manner reporter side. Highly upbeat all the way around through the Reeve films and, despite a more adult story, still is in the Returns movie. Man of Steel is a lot darker. Clark isn’t set and figured out who he is for one. Much of the film he’s trying to figure that out, really. Not to mention he doesn’t get to introduce himself to the world. Instead, before he even becomes Superman to the world, Zod shows up and demands him from the world very shortly after he learns about his true origins. So not only do we get a Superman who isn’t fully sure of his powers yet facing against multiple Kryptonians who somehow are right after they show up on Earth, but he’s also doing it while trying to prove himself to the world. People aren’t cheering him on (except Louis) and in fact the military is firing on him for most the film probably more than they do Zod and his crew! Its a completely different take, especially with Louis having figured out who he was somehow.
This is a Superman film, but the mood overall is dark and bleak. Completely amazing for the action, but its probably not going to uplift your mood like the Reeve movies or (for me at least) Returns does. Not to mention that the film isn’t without flaws. When Zod first addresses the world apparently EVERY place in the world is in night time from America to Japan to some group that has working cable TV in a hut in what seems to be nowhere. Much like Superman II it comes to question how Zod’s army instantly have super strength, seem to know about it, and use it more proficiently than Superman himself who seemed to slowly build up his powers over years. Oh, and Jor El mentions how the sun will nourish Clark’s body but its also the atmosphere? Superman got weakened in the ship due to it having Krypton-like atmosphere? Not to mention Jor El AI took over the ship, yet all he did with his control was change it’s atmosphere (which did not seem to bother any Kryptonians on board), open and close some doors, and shoot off an escape pod. I mean really, if he was so out to stopping Zod’s plan why didn’t he do more to the ship’s controls and systems? Let’s not forget that Louis found out who Superman was. Space ships specifically land on a Kansas farm (someone had to have seen that), followed up by a fight between Zod’s army and Superman right at the nearby town. Which later the police bring Louis Lane right to said house where they see Superman chilling with Martha Kent almost like they were family. I find it very hard to believe his secret identity is going to hold for long after all that, I mean wouldn’t people start asking questions and someone in the town (coughthosepoliceofficerscough) are bound to point out the farm to them. If Louis could do it with some scraps of information loosely tied together, well I bet a lot of other people can with all that laid before them.
But apparently there is a second movie on the way, so we’ll see how things turn out then. With how the first film ended, we can probably look forward to a more typical Clark Kent alto ego at least. Not to mention the different dynamic Louis and Clark will have is going to be interesting at least.