I was rather let down with Bryan Singer’s attempt at reviving the Superman franchise. In spite of the jaw-dropping FX work (and Kevin Spacey’s scenery-chewing Lex Luthor), I – for the love of Gawd – can’t buy wet-behind-the-ears Brandon Routh as the Last Son Of Krypton in Superman Returns (too twinky – get him to a Twilight casting call)
Thankfully enough, Man Of Steel – helmed by Zack Snyder (aka Michael Bay with a less hammy visual style) – restored my faith (somewhat) in the Big Blue Boy-Scout. The white-knuckle action takes you from a Krypton facing imminent civil war and self-destruction to the sleepy town of Smallville, KS, where a certain Clark Kent gets to grips with his great powers (and imminent great responsibilities, to paraphrase a certain father figure at that other big comics conglomerate).
I, for the record, have seen all the big-screen Superman incarnations – yup, even that one where the BBBS flies his childhood squeeze Lana Lang all the way to the moon without breathing apparatus – and I can proudly say that Man Of Steel ranks a close second (Superman II still tops my list, if only for Terence Stamp’s portrayal of General Zod)
Supes pwns Zod!!!
Under the guidance of Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner, poised for a career comeback in character-actor mode), Clark (played in well-muscled adulthood by square-jawed Englishman Henry Cavill) is given the opportunity to find his own place in his adopted world, as opposed to the rigid caste system practised back in Krypton (which beggars a point: why did they name their birthing devices “Genesis chambers” – too Catholic much???). Even while the schoolboy Clark Kent struggles to keep his powers a secret to his family and friends, he could not help but periodically rise to the occasion when needed.
The turning point comes when a number of Phantom Zone escapees make their way to Earth, led by General Zod and his co-command Faora, with the intent of turning this bright blue marble into a second Krypton.
That’s when the action goes into crowd-pleasing overdrive. The minute Zod lays his hands on Supes’ own ma, all bets are off. The staging of the fight sequences show that director Snyder might have been doing his homework watching DragonBall Z episodes non-stop. Whether it’s about laying waste the Smallville 7-11 & IHOP branches or busting holes thru Metropolis’ skyscrapers, we are talking high-testosterone grow-some-hair-on-your-chest ACTION.
Top 10 Dragonball Z fights
Then the unthinkable happens…Supes
kills takes the life of fatally twists the neck of Zod. However, what justifies that act was that the Kryptonian renegade general was about to barbecue an innocent, Middle America-type family with his goddamned HEAT VISION. Not exactly your Dad’s defender of Truth, Justice and the American Way, but well in keeping with producer Chris Nolan’s insistence of grounding his superhero characters within reality. Early arguments have that such an approach may fit Bruce Wayne/Batman (who makes up for his lack of powers with superb detective and fight skills, not to mention a belt-full of gadgetry and his own freakin’ R&D) but not an alien from Krypton whose every move and action on Earth is further amplified by the energy from our yellow sun and our own gravity.
I was also pleased by the fanboy nods that Snyder gets to sneak in. Aside from that Waynetech satellite, there is also a LexCorp tanker truck which features in the collateral damage from the Great Kryptonian Smackdown. Near the end of the film, Superman gets chewed upon by Army General Swanwick after downing a spy drone, whose assistant has the name “Ferris” sewn to her camo (Carol Ferris…from Green Lantern? But she’s not as statuesque as Blake Lively???)
Thankfully enough, Lois Lane (portrayed by a perky yet mannered Amy Adams) doesn’t overtly flirt with Clark Kent, which apparently gives much room to develop a sequel (where, apparently, Kryptonite, Lex Luthor and maybe Jimmy Olsen might turn up)
Love Supes’ new threads too…seems that he’s finally picking up after Bats in realising that underwear are supposed to be worn under your costume.