Man of Steel (M)

 

"It’s a grittier, some might say darker version of the story (there’s none of Gene Hackman’s likeable if villainous Lex Luther here), but given Snyder’s previous works (Watchmen and 300, among others) and those of writer Christopher Nolan (the latest Batman movies), that comes as no surprise."

I must confess that I wasn’t overly excited at seeing another Superman film – watching the last one, Superman Returns, was an entertaining couple of hours but that was about it.

Director Zach Snyder, however, ensures Man of Steel takes the Superman story into relatively uncharted territory (at least on the big screen). Here, the focus is much more on the origins of Superman (played by Henry Cavill) than previous films – we learn that not only did his home planet Krypton explode, but that it was the actions of his own people which led to their planet's destruction.

We also learn of an attempted coup which took place shortly before the end of this world which resulted in the key figure – a general called Zod (played by Michael Shannon) and his cronies imprisoned – and led to the death of Superman’s father Jor-El (Russell Crowe).

The movie then returns to more familiar ground – sent to earth as his own planet explodes, Superman (known as Kal-El on his homeworld) grows up in Smallville as Clark Kent (the son of Jonathan and Martha Kent - played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane respectively) but unlike the story many may be familiar with, he doesn’t immediately find his place in life.

His search for purpose and indeed return of Zod and his friends set up the premise for the rest of the movie which is, of course, all about Superman saving the world from utter annihilation. And we’re introduced to a couple of familiar characters along the way Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Daily Planet editor Perry White (Laurence Fishburne), although there’s no sign of Jimmy Olsen (yet!).

It’s a grittier, some might say darker version of the story (there’s none of Gene Hackman’s likeable if villainous Lex Luther here), but given Snyder’s previous works (Watchmen and 300, among others) and those of writer Christopher Nolan (the latest Batman movies), that comes as no surprise.

Meanwhile, much has been made of the Christian connotations in this movie (in fact in the US the promoters held special screening for pastors) and indeed Man of Steel – as is the Superman story generally – is filled with Christian-based ideas such as sending a Saviour to save the world (although the violence in the film has led some to declare Superman to be more like the Anti-Christ).

But it’s also possible to over do the analogies. So just sit back, relax and be transported to another world.