Saturday, January 18, 2014

Things I Liked About Zack Snyder's Man of Steel (2013)

  • The film does a not unsuccessful job at working on the great problem with Superman as a hero, namely that actual heroism needs the hero to do heroic things despite of his flaws and fears and failings; being a hero is hard. Usually, Superman is just too perfect for that, and you need to invent a magical element to get him to even break a sweat. Snyder's way here is a bit more organic and human, while still keeping the demigod-like status of the character as much as possible without going the Miracleman route.
  • On the other hand, the film doesn't make the mistake of turning the character all grim and gritty. Despite a higher body count (not caused by our hero), this guy is not a killer at heart, nor is there anything cynical about him, which even a declared Superman-sceptic like me sees as important for getting the character right.
  • It's also pretty important to the way the film sees Superman's heroism that it spends time with non-superpowered people doing their parts in saving the world, or "just" saving each other. In fact, the film's most heroic deed in a human understanding of the word falls to Laurence Fishburne's Perry White, doing something that hasn't anything at all to do with saving the world but a lot with all the good parts of being human.
  • Despite giving her still way too little to do, Snyder does deliver one of the better Lois Lanes. Why, you can even believe she's a competent reporter and a human being beyond being a professional love interest. It does help that Amy Adams is pretty awesome.
  • When it comes to the carnage, Snyder is often very good at giving the impression of the sheer physical impact of the Kryptonians on Earth, taking his cues on how to show the destruction of the film's final half hour from giant monster movies more than other superhero films, it seems to me.
  • While the film's plotting is a bit hit and miss (Pa Kent and the dog come to mind with the misses, for example), it does hang well together philosophically with a connection between characters and theme that feels organic instead of forced or random. Of course, this lacks the sheer ambition, confusion and ambiguity of Christopher Nolan's final Batman film but these things would probably not be Superman-like anyhow.

No comments: