Man of Steel

June 17, 2013 at 11:07 am | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ½

“Man of Steel” represents DC’s grand attempt to rebuild its brand and is the clearest vision yet of the artistic direction they have chosen.  With Marvel’s superhero films supposedly bringing in 47% more revenue, DC has been playing catch-up for years.  While Marvel has placed it’s bets on a whimsical, larger-than-life and sometimes tongue-in-cheek approach to superheroes (think “The Avengers” and “Iron Man”), DC has chosen to follow the vision of their grand auteur, Christopher Nolan.  With the “Dark Knight” trilogy, “The Watchmen,”  the “Arrow” tv series and now “Man of Steel,” they are tapping deep into the troubled hero archetype.  This Kal-El is haunted by his outsider status and the missing fathers in his life, both of whom left him with a legacy of mistrust toward humans.  Now, young Clark must learn to trust the world he is destined to save and overcome his own insecurities in the process.  Hmm… “Dark Knight,” anyone?  “Arrow,” anyone?  He manages to do so, of course, with the help of a spunky Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and the standard host of characters.  In a clever move, the script writers have him face off against General Zod from Krypton, effectively turning this film into more of a sci-fi bonanza than a superhero one.  Lots of special effects.  Lots of explosively fast fight scenes.  Lots and lots of action.  Perhaps, that’s why the film broke box office records but, after 2 1/2 hours, I was exhausted.  The movie only really shined in brief moments between parent and son, Lois and Clark.  Apparently, even aliens need human connection.  The rest of the time was a blur of effects.  I can’t say I was bored but I wasn’t really engaged either.  Though I will say this, Henry Cavill is hot to look at.   And DC knows it; there is a sexual current running throughout the film and the camera loves to linger on his body (btw- look for the flying dildos early in the film.  They are truly… astonishing).  For all my criticisms, this is a far better movie than “Superman Returns.”  DC may have finally figured out the right model for themselves.  And, frankly, if they can make Superman dark, who can’t they do it with?    I’d be watching for emo Aquaman any day now.

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