Man of Steel, Zack Snyder, Warner Bros.
Synopsis: A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.
Thoughts: To start, watch out for the first period of the film, set on Krypton. It's full of sci-fi and comic eye-candy.
It was great that Christopher Nolan chose a darker hero for his superhero debut. Given that he'd been directing such-themed movies (Memento, The Following, Inception), wouldn't it follow that the Man of Steel himself would take on a darker tone? While in a few ways it did, Zack Snyder's fantastic vision (as per usual) and Zimmer's cold, bright score helped breathe a different life into DC Comics' newest film feature.
While I'm familiar with only some films (and none of the comics) with Superman, I will say I enjoyed this one most. It is a wonderful, emotionally-involved origin story that leads you through the development of this Man of Steel quite well. Henry Cavill plays an extraordinary man learning what it means to be a hero. I appreciated seeing his normal human attitude shine through. After all, he grew up knowing no other way to act.
Amy Adams as Lois Lane didn't fit as I hoped, though she did fair. The Daily Planet group did well, but were slightly off-putting. I'm hoping they do more in future films, if they appear. Michael Shannon's was my favorite performance: a near-emotionless (yet obsessed) general with a greater good in mind, and nothing will stay in his way. The climax of the story was just as it should have been.
Here are a few ways Nolan's darker presence have seeped in. Krypton is seen as a plague, destroying to survive, but I won't go further into that. The threats in Man of Steel are very real, and have dire effects. This isn't Avengers. People die, destruction reigns. That said, the violence isn't blatant, but does happen. On that note, there is some language and frightening/intense scenes, but nothing more to worry about. I highly appreciate the lack of inappropriate material in this film.
In conclusion, Man of Steel has not let much in the past explicitly define it. A unique costume, altered chronology, real terror and threats, character accuracy and development, and more are all defined by this film more than the previous ones (or other superhero films). I recommend it to all fans and newcomers.
Rating: 8 stars