“Man of Steel” arrived today, and trust me on this, he is one of the good guys. We didn’t need another Superman. We have the comic books and I was raised on the 50’s TV show starring George Reeves. There were more TV shows and two separate movie re-boots. So it’s impossible to approach this movie without pre-conceived notions. I decided to just sit back and watch director Zack Snyder’s (Watchmen) version in the spirit of truth, justice and the American way.
It starts on the familiar pins of the Krypton destruction with baby Kal-El jettisoned toward earth. The foundation of hope is laid here in Krypton, just as it is on earth. We give birth to a child and then send them out into the universe. As his father Jor-El (Russell Crowe of Gladiator) says, “My hopes and dreams travel with you.” Unfortunately, General Zod (Michael Shannon of Mud) and his henchmen are soon to follow.
Putting on the cape this time is Henry Cavill (The Cold Light of Day) as Kal-El/ Clark Kent/Superman. From this point on the audience, like Clark Kent, is on a new path. Gone are the cheeky cliché’s and winks at the past. This is a story about family and a guy (I know, an alien, but stick with me) who is different. A guy who is not from here, who has to find his place and his purpose. He takes a big step when he meets Lois Lane (Amy Adams from Enchanted), a nosy reporter who will not let his story go. I remember when I met my Lois Lane, and it all started for me then as well.
Everything would have been great if that General Zod had not shown up and claimed the earth. Sure, the movie sets Superman up as a Christ-like figure. And then he saves us, but that does not make him “the” Savior. He’s just a guy that grew up here, and now belongs here, and does the right thing for what has become his home.
I am not qualified to critique the legend and lore that has been 75 years of Superman. But I do know a good movie when I see one. With themes of family and duty and life decisions, this movie has lots of sci-fi and special effects. It still bothers me that it comes down to fist fights. From John Wayne, to Star Trek to Superman, we have not moved past the guy with the best right cross wins.
In the end, this movie shows us what a guy can do with good parents and a girl that believes in him. I have been lucky that way myself. I give this movie 4 stars out of 5. If you can watch this movie and not be moved, then I think you may be made of steel.
Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker.
Here is a link to his movie review site: http://bashmovies.wordpress.com/