The world’s first superhero. Always a good guy. Always classically good-looking. Always a clean-cut, upbeat ‘gee wizz ‘ kinda guy.
This is not that Superman.
Krypton is a planet about to self destruct. The inhabitants have been tampering with their planet’s core, against the advice of their own scientific community and are now paying the ultimate price. In this world, children are not born but created. They are created to serve a single purpose in their society and there have been no natural births in over 300 years. Jor-El (Crowe) is an elite scientist and he and his wife have produced a son the old-fashioned way. This child,Kal-El/Clark Kent (Cavill) is only a newborn when his father sends him into space in the hope of finding some kind of life away from his dying home planet.
Fast forward about 25 years and we find the young Clark Kent leading a quiet, transient life working menial jobs that, I assume, offer him a certain amount of anonymity due to a lack of close friendships. Having been found and adopted by the Kents (Lane and Costner), we learn that Clark is an introspective man who has never felt like he fitted in. During flashbacks, we see a childhood marred by bullying with Clark being keenly aware he is not like other boys.
A mysterious object is discovered and sassy reporter Lois Lane (Adams) heads off to investigate. This brings her and Clark together for the very first time. His presence near the object also alerts the evil General Zod (Shannon) to his existence and Clark’s destiny is sealed. Zod and his minions come to Earth to try to reclaim something very important.
As I said, this is not the Superman of old. This new Superman is plagued by self-doubt and as he has always felt like an outsider, it seems he strives to continue to be one. He is close to no one except his mother. I won’t even go into the parental issues at play. This internal struggle keeps everyone at a distance, most notably Miss Lois Lane. Now I am a fan of the slow burn but seriously…. apart from some gazing into each others eyes, there was no real connection between the pair. So what you say. Well the Superman / Lois Lane / Clark Kent love triangle is the stuff of legend and deserves a lot more attention. It’s a pivotal element to the Superman story.
The special effects for Krypton and everything to do with it….. the inhabitants, the spaceships, the world itself…. everything was amazing. And there was a subtle continuity with all thing Kryptonic (Kryptonite seems wrong) and although it was very obvious who was who and what was what, it was still nice to see such detail.
The special effects for Superman were pretty good too. I must add here that I liked the ‘why he could fly’ back story. Not sure if that has always been addressed for Superman but I wasn’t aware of it so it was new for me. The flying and fight scenes were giddyingly superb. And I mean giddy in the literal sense. Phew ……
Those fights scenes. They went on for too long. Way too long. I know that seeing Superman fight the bad guys is why many love him but seriously…. you could have cut out at least 30 minutes and lost nothing of the story. And that story was flimsy to say the least. It started out well and we got right into the history of Krypton and Clark’s childhood but once he reached adulthood, ironically just as things heated up for Superman and the world, the story kinda gave up on itself. I am sure the action was enough to carry the movie for many but not so much for me.
Cavill is perfectly cast as the clean-cut and beyond handsome superhero. Gorgeous man. Shannon, who I am more used to watching on the small screen in the stunningly brilliant Boardwalk Empire, was superb as the nuanced villain. Amy Adams *sighs* Amy, you have been nominated for 4 Oscars so what went wrong here? There was just no connection between her character and Clark.
Superman is and was always going to be a blockbuster. It was always going to spawn a sequel, which is just as well because it has been well and truly set up in this movie. What it lacks in story it more than makes up for in action. Cut out 30 minutes and my opinion may have changed. So all up, I give it a solid meh.
Starring : Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Antje Traue, Harry Lennix, Christopher Meloni, Kevin Costner
Running Time : 143 minutes
Release Date : June 25