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Man of Steel (2013)

by on 2013/06/16

man_of_steel_2013“That’s what the symbol means… hope.”

* * *

I’ve never been a huge Superman fan. I like my heroes flawed and twitchy. There’s something about otherworldly invincibility that’s a bit boring, and frankly, a little depressing.

Hacker Renders, however, is very interested in Superman, as evidenced by the seven reviews on this site that deal with Superman in one way or another.  Superman is important to him.

We clambered over to the theatre to see on its opening day. I was looking forward to this film despite my slight ambivalence to the man with the ‘S’ on his chest. We emerged feeling battered, overwhelmed and a little sad. I saw an expectant looking guy wearing a Superman t-shirt walking fast to the next showing, and I wondered if I should warn him.

But warn him about what exactly?

Now that my thoughts have formed somewhat more coherently, here’s what I might have said to that guy.

First, I can’t imagine what the poor bastards in 3D must have felt. We saw it in 2D and it was a full-on, shaky cam, debris-flying, planets-exploding, sensory overload. I like director Zach Synder very much, 300 is a film I crazily adore, it is right up there in my list of favourite movies of all time.

Even 300 had its moments of quiet reprieve. The still before the life-crushing tsunami.

Not so with Man of Steel. The film starts with the death of a planet, and the apocalypse frankly, never stops. There are bus crashes, tornadoes, explosions and the end of the world (again). There’s the yelly villain General Zod played by Michael Shannon to fill in the non-exploding moments with spitty tantrums.

Then there’s the flashback whiplash. We are snapped back and forth from the present to Clark’s childhood to the present. This ride is filled not only with sudden frights but also sudden starts and stops. My neck actually hurt for hours afterwards.

This Clark Kent played by Henry Cavill (Stardustis one of the biggest, hairest, beefcakiest Superman ever. The yellow star’s rays definitely grew this superhero big and strong. And how. My vision felt blunted by the hulking manliness of so many protruding pectoral shots. Again, I don’t know what the poor bastards in 3D must have felt.

This is also a tougher, deadlier take on Superman than I’ve ever seen before. Without giving too much away, I found myself wondering what the final death toll was in main street Smallville and Metropolis. Hacker Renders leaned over and said, “Who is the villain here again?” Again, I’m going to blame David S. Goyer, the film’s writer for the deadly darkness of this take on Superman.

There’s so much more to be said about this movie but I’ll leave that to the man who knows Superman better than I.

If Superman’s about hope, perhaps we’ll see another resurrection of Kal-El again, this time quieter, more noble, with a lower body count.

* * *

143 minutes

Rated PG, seriously, don’t bring your little kids to this movie unless you think bloody, battered faces and snapping necks are a nice day at the cinema

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