Zach Snyder did two things that have long been impossible: with Man of Steel Superman transcended the far-fetched, simple minded, bright red and yellow cheesiness that were the previous poor attempts to bring the Kal El of the beloved books to the silver screen and TV; and he made the guy’s existence on earth plausible.
The acting, writing, effects, costumes, designs, and music were all top-notch.
It is not an exaggeration to compare Christopher Nolan’s Batman series with this fresh new Superman flick. Batman Begins was not perfect (though it came really close) and is a classic film, and on the Metropolis side of the world, Man of Steel proves likewise.
As great as the comic book rendition of Tim Burton’s Batman is, and I think it will always be one of the single best live-action depictions of the caped crusader, no one can deny the much more complex and realistic world that Nolan delivered to us in terms of a trilogy thrill ride that could happen.
Similarly, Man of Steel reaches out to a Krypton where politics have blinded a people from seeing their own impending extinction, and Russell Crowe is a phenomenal Jor El that steels the show from the start.
And Zach Snyder has delivered an all-star cast – Henry Cavill is perfect and Amy Adams is a Lois Lane that is not an obnoxious reporter (like most since the original black and white TV show), but more of a strong, smart woman next-door figure.
Everyone working on this was at the top of their game, and Snyder wonderfully revamped a destitute D.C. Comics movie franchise in the 75th anniversary of Action Comics Number One blowing the world’s minds.
Hitting home are this movie’s real world themes, gritty fighting in an all-out brawl-for-survival style, and interesting character depth.
Without invoking spoiler alerts, General Zod is very conflicted and has contrived warped views, actions, and brain patterns based on society’s actions (watch this to learn the true horror within).
Lois Lane might seem pretty straight forward, but her character undergoes a series of changes that leads her to decide upon whether to follow her normal system of beliefs or abandon them.
And our good friend Superman loses the Jesus-like pretty boy goody-two-shoes that does no wrong – as nearly all prior depictions cast him in live-action pieces – and he messes up, he gets dirty, and he becomes a more haunted being – is he human? – than has ever been gotten across on screen.
The decades of great comic book storylines have tackled some of the most controversial, real world, and ordinary human traits where extraordinary things and people emerge day to day. We can look back to the comic books breaking of racial boundaries, vying for peace in Vietnam, and pushing for the US intervention in WWII long before the mainstream media sympathized with those marching down south, those burning draft cards, and anyone that felt the US should end its official neutrality during WWII.
I have always been dumbfounded when the directors of many comic book movies dumb down the messages, lines, and conflicted characters to make them a virtual televised parody of the actual heroes that we’ve fallen in love with in the books. Superman is now real!
Man of Steel is the Superman film that fans have dreamed of seeing. The dark, gritty settings, the creepily alien suits and the insect-like ships all blend wonderfully to take the viewer to Metropolis, Kansas, Krypton, and beyond. I only wonder how Lex Luthor will feel about all this.
Impulsive Review Grade: A+
by R.J. Huneke
Though the blockbuster Iron Man 3 has higher expectations than possibly any other Marvel super hero flick, Shane Black’s comic book adaptation thrills and brings new depth to the characters and world.
Because of the tremendous success of the brilliant previous Iron Man films that were directed by Jon Favreau, The Amazing Spider-man reboot, and Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, many are mistakenly trying to compare this newest Iron Man installment to the past projects and not look at it in its own light.
Though Marvel and former Iron Man director Favreau had a dispute that ended his controlling the third movie, Shane Black who co-wrote the Iron Man 3 script stepped in to add more action and more darkness to the story arc.
No one can deny how perfect the first two movies fit the Iron Man comic book character and Favreau emanated the spirit and the great story from the books in two fun, thrilling, witty, and entertaining pieces of art.
What Black has done in the third Iron Man film is completely different and a bit rougher, and this is not a bad thing.
Tony Stark the genius, billionaire scientist turned machine-suit superhero is still depicted brilliantly by Robert Downey, Jr. whose acting prowess continues to wax brightly.
SPOILER ALERT: And Stark is tested throughout with a newly acquired anxiety disorder stemming from certain largely unexplained events from New York, alluding to Loki’s alien invasion of the Big Apple, a terrorist attack leveling his own home and close friend, Happy (played by Favreau), and numerous suit malfunction from his prototype toys.
The major theme of the movie involves the coping with adverse conditions of change that affect everyone, including billionaire playboy philanthropists, and finding the perseverance to endure.
That said, there is a lot of fighting (in every type of way), a few grim and eerie hacking of TV’s that the Mandarin uses to highlight terrorist attacks as his own commercials, and a very human Tony Stark that becomes desperate to keep his new girlfriend Pepper – played by the starkly talented Gwyneth Paltrow – even at the cost of killing people.
Tony Stark as the drunk is referenced by not shown as much as Tony Stark the lost tinkerer who is desperate to avenge and protect what he cares most for in the world but does not know how to accomplish this. This could be foreshadowing a darker and meaner side of Stark that we have not seen before for future movies, as the comic books often delved into his substance abuse and his volatile personal relations, which often caused strife between him and Captain America, amongst others.
This movie is funny, thrilling, surprising and full of great acting; Ben Kingsley is a great Mandarin (I hope for his return in the future, though the story made that unlikely), and Don Cheadle reprises Tony’s friend Col. Rhodes (and the War Machine and/or Iron Patriot) very well once again.
This tale is deliciously dark, full of explosive action, and very funny from start to finish.
Impulsive Review Grade: A-
by R.J. Huneke
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