Man of Steel (Z. Snyder, 2013)
Probably the best superhero movie I’ve seen yet. Is it flawed? Absolutely. But it’s also bold and risky (well, for a superhero movie). For a movie that is meant to please the masses, they spend a dangerous amount of time focusing on shaky-cam, sun-beamed filled, atmospheric Clark Kent wanderings and childhood flashbacks. Sure, even parts of these distinctive scenes still feature cheesy dialogue and plot-based moments, but the tone is incredible on several occasions and there are even some extremely dark psychological ponderings. (Jonathan Kent even suggests to his young son that there are times when he will have to let people die to prevent what he believes would be a grander long-term problem.) No one in Kent’s past had all the answers – just a small town family doing what they thought best. And this uncertainty but good-hearted nature follows Kent into his twenties as he drifts from one stop to the next, never able to fully commit to anything as he battles between his father’s convictions and his always heavy conscious. It’s actually quite a large chunk of great cinema.
But, of course, it is a superhero movie which means fighting and CGI. Now I’d be a fool to expect this to be void of these things, but as Snyder proved his was willing to go outside the box during the first half of the film, I was hoping he’d do that same in the second by providing toned down action sequences. But, no, there are a lot of fight scenes and there is a lot of CGI. It all looks the same, it’s dull, and the casual dismissal of the collateral damage caused by all of it totally negates the ending which I guess was supposed to be a heart-wrenching shame of personal honor for Superman. Don’t worry about the thousands of innocents dead and millions of dollars worth of damage. The sprint to the finish is bad, but at least the slow and oftentimes beautiful setup are enough to make this worthwhile. 7.5/10