After the epic finale to the Batman trilogy, Christopher Nolan might have mulled over the need for yet another superhero franchisee. To be or not to be – and yes, ‘to be’ and to reboot the comic hero who lasted just one lap in the last offering. So, he along with writer David Goyer (of Nolan’s Batman trilogy) gave birth to Man of Steel. Then they gave the mantle to director Zack Snyder to do an irresistibly unrelenting rehab of Superman.
Zack Snyder brings back the memories of David Lynch’s Dune with theway he sculpted the architecture of Krypton. Then there’s a sacrifice of Kal-El who is sent to save the mankind. Surprisingly, with just minutes into the film, he makes way for a stupefying action scene. Yes, that looks easy. You don’t need a reason to invent an action scene. Then he shifts the base to Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) – a sui generis guy who wants to stay aloof and never want to come on the radar with his super powers. That’s okay but I believe he also stays alienated from Facebook or Twitter. No cookie for you to guess that he’s Kal-El, now Clark Kent, one of the few survivors of his home planet, Krypton. It’s better to stop here with the story. The movie leaves no stone unturned in explaining even minute detail about Kal-El and Krypton.
Clark tries to be human-ish and learns most of it from his parents (from Earth), Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) and Martha (Diane Lane). They always preach him to stay in isolation for his own good. Clark can’t stay anonymous for long and has to discover his true powers to save the planet. The follow of events bring General Zod (Michael Shannon) and a militant group to Earth. Their objective is to annihilate the planet and create Krypton again. Can the man wearing a blue suit (without the red trunk) with an ‘S’ symbol that’s representative of HOPE save the planet?
David Goyer and Zack Snyder outshine at telling the story of Kal-El and make an impressive first hour of the film. The initial action scenes, Krypton getting destroyed, Jor-El (Russel Crowe) frantically moving to save his child, the civil war and the subsequent punishment to the militants; sets up the history of the planet Krypton finer than ever. Then, the makers present Clark’s life as a child in relevant flashbacks that give out the key elements. Kevin Costner’s Jonathan Kent is filled with warmth and his influences on young Clark are the endearing moments of the film. It gives an amazing feel to the character transformation of Clark where he realizes who he is and what he wants to become. One such noteworthy and heart-wrenching moment is when Clark faces a tornado.
Now it’s time to cut Snyder’s share of brownie points. He puts on his seat belt and keeps pressing the accelerator through the rest of the film. Although it takes pace and unleashes one breath-taking scene after other, it leaps miles away from logic and effective storytelling. In a flash, Clark is cognizant about the technology of Krypton along with its history. A little exposure to his true origins makes him a learned individual. Not to forget, the people of Earth root for this enigmatic ‘Man of Steel’ much before he does something spectacular for them. It gives a sense that the makers were in a rush to guzzle the dessert without giving a damn for the main course.
A reasonable amount of time has been spent to develop the relationship between Clark Kent and Lois Lane (Amy Adams). But the way Lane’s love blossoms in just a couple of days or weeks is unjustified. All this amidst her struggle to deliver the scoop that may turn the world order. Where has gone the fearless reporter and the tough girl persona. Oh forgot… arms of steel can bend anything!
Cinematographer Amir Mokri must be applauded for the handheld shots. He made them noticeable all through the film and stayed away from the norm of restricting such shots in high-budgeted ventures. The short-focused shots of Clark’s face while he was flying were shot beautifully.
The worst comes from the gala action scenes in the later part of the film. The story is basic, so the action needs to be engaging. But alas! It fails to give the momentum. The visual effects, which are perennial in this part of the film, are not razor sharp as they usually were in Nolan’s Batman trilogy. They try to be expert but border on the video-gamey. Then the story gets into a rant and the audience learns more about Jor-El trying to stop Zod for the second time. Please don’t ask me how Jor-El finds a place again in this meandering script.
I didn’t understand the reason behind Man of Steel 3D when there aren’t much 3D effects. The film looked good without the glasses. Rather than enhancing the experience, 3D added a new dimension of DARKNESS. Needless to say, an extra dimension was lent by Hans Zimmer. Although the music was on a low key compared to his earlier works with Nolan, it punctuated the story perfectly.
Another complaint is about the presence of Henry Cavill that got toned down by other characters on the screen. But it’s not his fault. When he is not given much charm and dynamism, how can he glorify his appearance on screen? That makes me sing hymns for Chistopher Reeve’s remarkable performance and his charming, dynamic figure as Superman. And when I say Superman; barring one scene, I never heard the word again in the entire film. Lois Lane attempted to say that but she was stopped saying just ‘super’.
Man of Steel lacks a script of steel. It may soon fade from our memories like the action and special effects in the film.
My Rating: Expectation – 8/10; Reality – 5/10.view less