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2013 LA Film Festival: Review of Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel

Man of Steel
Warner Bros/DC Entertainment

Warner Bros film, Man of Steel opened the LA Film Festival unofficially with a special screening of the film. Man of Steel does not officially open in theaters till tonight at midnight but the lucky few had the opportunity to see this new chapter in the Superman on-screen history.

Man of Steel is directed by Zach Snyder and written by David S. Goyer who penned the Dark Knight film for with Christopher Nolan who produced this film. Henry Cavill stars as Clark Kent/Kal-El aka Superman. Lois Lane is played by Amy Adams with Jor-El played by Russell Crowe.

The movie begins on Krypton as Kal-El is being born the first live birth in centuries for the civilization until the planet is destroyed and Jor-El sends his only son to earth to help  save the Kryptonian race. On earth as in the origin story he is brought up by Jonathan and Martha Kent played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. He is raised as a human but will grow up to learn more about himself and his place in the world until General Zod played by Michael Shannon, an exiled Kryptonian comes searching for the last son of Krypton to rebuild the civilization on earth.

The film is a different take from all the Superman films we have seen in the past with amazing acting from Cavill and Adams really plays well on screen together and the relationship between the two. Really updating the Lane character into a more modern women who stands on her own, strong and intelligent. Adams played a Lois Lane so well giving new life to the character in a very strong performance. Cavill as Superman is sensitive but as Superman plays him strong and deeper than what has seen in the past. The cast from Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White the editor of the Daily Planet to Christopher Miloni Colonel Nathan Hardy are strong and compliment the well rounded cast.

The standout performance besides Cavill as Kal-El was Russell Crowe. When people think of Jor-El many people point to the well played job of Marlon Brando in the 1979 film. Crowe took the character to a new level giving him life and an element that you will notice from his first moments on screen.

Zach Snyder directing though not perfect is good for the wide audiences that will visit the theaters this weekend but may have some jeers from the hardcore comic book fans that sometimes cannot split the printed page to the live on-screen techniques needed to translate the comic to film. He also placed some images of what we will see in the future with Lex Luthor’s company logo on certain items in the film. Placed very well and doesn’t not distract from the story between Superman and General Zod.

The story by Goyer is strong and keeps you involved. The 143 minute flew by like Superman through the sky and left me wanting more. The telling of the origin story was very well written not going to much into the little points but the ones that shaped him into a man and the struggles of this alien growing up among us with powers beyond a mortal man. How to control them and keep who you are hidden until the time to show himself to the world. A story with more heart and struggle that really came closer to the story and legend then ever before.

Overall, I am a person who was lucky enough to see the Richard Donner Superman at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood in January of 1979 and remember the awe and wonderful impression that the film left on me at the age of four. This film left me walking out of the theater feeling the same way 34 years later. Man of Steel gives you the real element and feel that this can occur right now and someone on earth can be from an alien world.

That true nature and feel make this film so good. It is not a light version of Superman, it is a darker tone to the character which struggles to find himself in this world as Clark and Kryptonian Kal-El. The conflict that we all go through at one time or another in our lives, what is our place in this world. This Superman is a hit and with the second film already green lit I cannot wait for the next adventure as we get to see Superman apart of this larger DC Universe.

Man of Steel

Rating: A+

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Michael Sandoval

Michael created MUSE/MUSE TV after a career in professional sports and journalism. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Don Bosco Technical Institute in which he studied Electronics and Computer Science and California State University, Fullerton in which he graduated with a degree from the College of Communication in Journalism. He is a big Foo Fighters fan, loves Star Wars and loves photography. Member of the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society.

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