Today, we here at On Request magazine were able to finally see the highly successful Man of Steel film. I have personally always been a fan of the original Superman film with Christopher Reeve, even with its comic plot and characters, and I never expected to find a modern day Superman film that would outshine that film and become the cult classic that the original has become. However, Man of Steel accomplished that feat.
Starring Henry Cavil as the iconic Clark Kent, a.k.a. Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and Michael Shannon as the powerful General Zod, Man of Steel has officially taken the title of best superhero film of all time. Featuring some of the best casting in a film I’ve ever seen, the film followed Clark as he went on a journey of discovery to learn who he was, and where he came from. The film beautifully told the story of how Jor-El and his wife Laura sacrificed their lives to save Kal-El from the decaying planet of Krypton and the corrupt military leader, Zod. Russell Crowe’s portrayal of Jor-El, along with Keven Costner’s portrayal of Clark’s adoptive father Jonathan Kent, gave the film some of the more emotional stories that a comic book film has ever had, while Shannon’s portrayal of the mad leader Zod was haunting and heartbreaking all at once, because although his actions were horrid and monstrous indeed, he did them because he truly believed he was saving his people, and he believed that only by sacrificing the lives of humanity could he achieve that. Clark must discover the power he wields within himself as Zod attacks Earth, determined to remake Krypton on Clark’s adopted planet.
The action of this film had the same level of intensity and scope of Marvel’s The Avengers. I love Marvel and the work they are doing with their characters, notably the Avengers. However, for DC to have the first film in a planned movie universe they are building hold the same level of action and depth that the combined forces of the Avengers had speaks volumes about Zack Snyder, David S. Goyer, and producer Christopher Nolan’s vision and understanding of how powerful and emotional the comic book world can truly be. The music was truly breathtaking, with Hans Zimmer truly capturing the essence of each scene as it played out throughout the course of the film, and the special effects brought to life one of the most realistic looking Superman films around.
Now, what i have to say next deals with the end of the film and the allusions to other DC comics references, so if you don’t want to know anything specific about the film, do not read ahead. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!
OK, don’t say i didn’t warn you. Now the end of the film, after Superman and Lois Lane, (with the help of the US Military), have banished Zod’s forces to the Phantom Zone, and have destroyed the terraforming machines that would created Krypton on Earth and give birth to hundreds of new Kryptonians, a broken and soulless Zod begins to fight Superman. Tearing through the city of Metropolis, we see Zod with his advanced military training go toe-to-toe with the hero as he threatens to destroy every human on the planet to avenge his lost planet. Throughout the battle, we see many references to other characters, such as Lex Luthor’s LexCorp logo throughout the city and Bruce Wayne’s Wayne Tech logo on a satellite in space.
This fight is one of the best fight scenes on film to date. The brutality of Zod intermingled with Clark’s desperation to stop Zod and save the remaining people of Metropolis not only makes for good action, but really gives an in-depth look into the struggle a man like Superman must go through while in battle. Finally, Superman holds Zod down in a subway station, but must make a hard decision when Zod uses his heat vision to threaten a group of innocent civilians. Clark pleads with him not to do this, but all Zod will say is, “Never.” In one of the more controversial but in my opinion much needed plot twists, Clark is forced to snap General Zod’s neck in order to stop him, killing the infamous villain. The horror and sadness at having to kill the last remaining connection to his home-world and his people that overcomes Clark’s face is so tragic, and to see him being held and comforted by Lois as he kneels by Zod’s corpse just tugs at the heart-strings.
Ending with a satisfying look at the continuation of the series, with Clark taking a job at the Daily Planet with Lois, it was comforting to see some of the changes made to the story as a whole. Not only did Lois learn who Clark was very early in the film, but to see Clark start off as a drifter looking for answers to who he was rather than throw him into the role of a bumbling reporter right away was refreshing. A hero like Superman, who has the entire weight of the world on his shoulders, needs to have someone he loves, who he can talk to and rest his head on their shoulders when times are tough, much like he did with Lois after killing Zod. Despite his origins, he is only human, so to speak, and he cannot be the hero the world needs if he is not allowed to experience love, warmth, and a sense of belonging. With nods to villains such as Lex Luthor and heroes such as Batman alluding to a larger universe, this film was beautifully done, and warrants multiple sessions if you can afford to. This film may very well become the film of the year for On Request Magazine. Go see it in theaters before it’s too late, and look for information on a DVD/Blu-Ray release when it becomes available.