#REVIEW – “MAN OF STEEL”
Review by: Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
Legendary Pictures was founded by industrious entrepreneur Thomas Tull with the express intent of producing Films capable of leaving an indelible mark. The Company began eight years ago with Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. And thanks to the assisting ink of David S. Goyer, The Dark Knight went on to triumph as a trilogy both critically and financially.
During the almost ten year period that the cowled Crusader was being cultivated, Zack Snyder was on the other side of Legendary’s lot working on projects of his own. Amongst them, a stylized lobotomy similar in essence to Nolan’s Inception, (i.e. Sucker Punch). It was during the development of these two Films that the pair of Directors began to plot out an even more ambitious adventure: the return of Superman – not to be confused however with Superman Returns. With that failure to thread Dick Donner’s yarn in mind, Goyer decided to ditch the theatrics and focus on a more literary approach. Comic Books in other words were read and expounded upon to make the script that Henry Cavill & Co. would soon act out on stage, (including John Byrne’s Man of Steel). Coupled with Zack Snyder’s avant-garde imagery the last Son of Kyrpton would soon be elevated to heights unbeknownst previously.
With the biggest June Box Office in history there’s little doubt that the people are pleased with the results, and there are numerous reasons as to why. First there is the cast. Not only has Mr. Cavill proven he has a Herculean physique, he utilizes it to portray both stoicism and borderline barbarism. Accompanying him are two sets of parental figures: Russell Crowe stands tall as Krypton’s prophetic Man of Science (Jor-El), and Israeli Goddess Ayelet Zurer (Lara) is enchanting with her cascading curls; across the expanse of space Diane Lane provides a heartwarming portrayal of Martha Kent, whilst Kevin Costner delivers the philosophies of Jonathan Kent perfectly. Much of the guidance this Quartet provides is reserved for pithy flashback sequences awash with reverence.
In the advancing narrative Amy Adams owns her screen time as the snarky Lois Lane. So much so that she’s not only believable doing what is everything but, she also does well with the Pulitzer prose of her voiceovers. Lois’ Boss, Perry White, is played by Laurence Fishburne. And though his lines are limited he is nevertheless stalwart as the exemplary newsman. And let’s not forget the Villains, for why else would a Superhero need spandex. Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Shannon plays General Zod, who from the moment he steps onto the screen is an evident threat, because no one throws a fit like he does! However, he is not the only one to worry about. Germany’s own Antje Traue plays Zod’s second-in-command: Faora-Ul. Desirous of a warrior’s death she fights in the most innovative way since 300’s blood soaked slow-motion.
With all that said, the Cast is not the only lot that shines. Crew members such as Art Director Kim Sinclair and Production Designer Alex McDowell were masterful in fleshing out fictitious locales, (i.e. Metropolis, Smallville, and Krypton). Upon the latter Costume Designer Anne Kuljian forged alien armor similar in appearance to the brilliant work of the late Michael Turner. In addition to these Craftsmen, the Men and Women within the varying Art Departments must also be recognized. They helped facilitate Snyder’s beloved approach of seamlessly sequencing CGI Action with real life Drama. Last but not least, Hans Zimmer accomplished the feat of all feats: he scored an icon once thought to be John Williams’ symphonic Son. The haunting notes of Zimmer‘s heroic Anthem build alongside the rumbling war drums of twelve world class drummers. The roar of the struggle ripples throughout the mythos that is Man of Steel.
A Mythology is exactly what this Film constructs. Like that of a Homeric Champion this Superman is one that will endure for ages to come. And considering the original tale turned 75 years old this month, it’s fitting to see it acknowledged in a form that will help it reach its Sesquicentennial 75 years hence. Far sooner the sequel will hit the screens, but until then see how the man becomes a legend in theaters now.
Warner Bros. releases Man of Steel, now in theatres.