In 1978, the film industry brought a comic book character to life in “Superman: The Movie.” Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, this Man of Steel wowed audiences with his charisma and superhuman abilities. Two years later, Christopher Reeves reprised his iconic role to battle three villains threatening Metropolis. Two films were added, ending in 1987. Since then, fans have been longing for the next generation actor to take up the mantle.
This has been the challenge. In 2006, “Superman Returns” gave a decent shot at reviving the series. However, it was met with less than stellar reviews and mixed opinions from the fans. No flaws were found in the character, but in how the character was presented.
Director, Zach Snyder, Screenwriter, David S. Goyer with assistance from Christopher Nolan began to construct the type of story that would make Superman seem more “human.” The character needed to be presented in a way that was true to the original story, yet fresh to a new audience. They accomplished their goal.
“Man of Steel” focuses on why Superman is on Earth and how the people of Earth will respond to his unexpected arrival. The most poignant scenes focus on his childhood, from elementary school to the teenage years. The result gives the audience pause to believe “he is human after all.” And like all humans, the choices he makes defines the type of person he is.
The studio spares no expense for special effects. Certain sequences are inundated with explosions and projectiles to the extent the mind refuses to process it all. Scaling back on a few falling buildings would not have lessened the final product. Watching and listening to Superman take off into the air is a thrilling experience. Breaking the sound barrier was never this cool before.
The chemistry between cast members was impressive. Superman is played by Henry Cavill, whose physical presence alone could have sufficed for a superhero without any powers. Russell Crowe (Jor-El) seems to ground the story in reality with his presence. However, Superman’s Earthly parents played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane steal the show, making the atmosphere of the film more heart-warming. Amy Adams (Lois Lane) comes across as a real journalist while the eyes of Michael Shannon (General Zod) scream crazy.
While there are corny moments in the film and a few choice words that could have been left out, “Man of Steel” is a solid summer blockbuster which will have plenty of fans waiting to purchase on Blu-Ray and DVD. It is safe to say, the series has successfully been reborn.