Written by Matt Mungle
Title: Man of Steel
Superman is one of the most recognizable superheroes due in part to the countless film adaptations and the popular television series. Even The Electric Company had a character modeled after him called LetterMan. "It's a word, it's a plan; it's LetterMan." The question still remains if we needed another film and if so what does it have to contain to be successful? Man of Steel has to earn its metal.
Zack Snyder (300, Sucker Punch, The Watchmen) takes the helm as director this time which already is a step in the right direction. His past films have been visually stunning, yet he is able to bring out the morality of the subject regardless how dark the content. He uses the screen like a painter uses the canvas, maybe better than most directors out there. Also he loves the franchise and would never do anything to harm its reputation. He is able to make the long time Superman fans happy while also offering up a fantastic film to the newbies.
The most important element by far is the guy in the suit. Superman has traits and characteristics that have to be forefront. He has to embody truth, justice and the American way. He must be able to bend steel yet have the demeanor that would not harm a fly. Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Superman) is a near perfect fit all around. According to Producer Deborah Snyder, Cavill had the part as soon as he put the suit on. There is no doubting his on screen presence and he makes a solid Man of Steel.
There is little fault it find in the rest of the cast. Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), and Russell Crowe (Jor-El) each bring depth and believability to their role. A lot hinged too on the bad guy: hard to be a hero with no villain to purge. Michael Shannon brings his dark, brooding, intensity to the role of General Zod. Shannon has the right balance of intelligence and insanity that is perfect for a ruthless bad guy.
The action in the film is prominent. There is a lot of back story while we get the history of Clark and how it was growing up with this secret. The first half of the movie we follow him around as he tries to blend in with society. It isn't until Zod shows up on Earth that he has to step up to the truth. Once that happens there is plenty of excitement, fist fights, and superhuman strength to fill the need. The film is a bit lengthy and many will be ready to leave once it is over. They could have shaved 20 minutes off of the final conflict and been better for it.
Man of Steel is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language. It is certainly made for older fans of the franchise. Younger viewers will be bored with the early dialogue and a bit overwhelmed with the destruction.
Superman is no Tony Stark so don't expect any awkward adult moments - 14 and up is certainly reasonable for this outing. I give it a solid 4 out of 5 super suits. Not sure we needed another Superman film, but at least we got a really good one.