The new Man of Steel reboot of Superman takes us once again to the origin of the iconic superhero of superheroes with a more detailed look at his planet of origins. We meet his biological mother and father, experience his childhood and are lead to a showdown against an enemy of his people. General Zod and his cohorts are criminal Kryptonians driven to create a pure race from the remnants of the old Krypton and see the Earth as a planet to host them. Of course this demands the extermination of Earth's own weaker inhabitants. Man of Steel brings into play all the aspects that people derive from the character of Superman, from his alienation from human society and into a topic of racial purity; both aspects that no doubt inspired his character by his creators who were children of Jewish immigrants. There are also the Judeo-Christian messianic overtones that many draw parallels to.
The new Superman film has a lot of weight on its shoulders. Coming after the post-Nolan Batman which is firmly its own category and a few other DC films that weren't successful, Man of Steel is expected to bear the weight of being a launching point for what DC and WB hope to someday achieve inevitably in a Justice League film; akin to what Marvel has been doing with their own franchises culminating in the Avengers. Though you would never guess any of this from the film itself as Man of Steel doesn't hint or strongly lead into any idea of the greater DC Universe that might be waiting in the aisle. There's nothing outside of little Easter Eggs tucked in here and there, whether of a Lexcorp or Wayne Enterprises logo variety, or apparently a nod to Watchmen; though that doesn't feature into the DC Universe and is just a shout out to Zack Snyder's previous adaptation of a superhero graphic novel. There is also nothing following the credits either in case you were wondering.
Man of Steel plays it straightforward and manages to accomplish a lot at a quick even pace that doesn't feel like too much done at once. It's pretty much perfect at every beat stringing you along from Krypton's politics and collapse to Superman's discovery and childhood to his growing up into manhood to his discovery about his origins and rising up to meet the challenge he is confronted with when all the pieces start fitting together. It's an entertaining journey throughout its entirety and there's never a dull moment.
Zack Snyder really hits it out of the park here with great direction, creating some awesome imagery and the action spectacle is truly out of this world! Krypton is imagined in a very interesting manner. Clark Kent's childhood and traumas are very well done. This is the Superman action epic fans have been wanting and Man of Steel delivers in spades and cements itself as the most thrilling superhero film of the year so far!
The only fly in the ointment for some will be the changes made to the character that some fans will take issue with. One apparent due to the scope of the action and destruction where Superman seems unable to control himself and thus inadvertently endangers the lives of many around him, and he must even face scenarios in which he is willing to weigh peoples lives on a balance to decide the right course of action. The other issue is that Superman's secret identity is not quite so secret. But in my opinion, both cases are handeled well enough to an extent to be believable and plausible and sensible enough without really ruining the character who still values lives and a commitment to protecting it to the best of his ability. Superman is not omnipotent, even he has limits, especially when faced with enemies the equal of his own might. This is also a story of Superman growing into his role and evaluating the world he must now exist in and the repercussions his existence brings for the people who exist on Earth. The story truly does do for Superman what Batman Begins accomplished for the caped crusader. A fresh new origins tale that is unlike what we've come to expect from the genre that treats the source material with the right amount of respect and grandeur for our dark modern times.
There is not much more to say than that I highly recommend Man of Steel. I wouldn't recommend seeing it in 3-D as the conversion has some issues, though its not too bad. But here's hoping Man of Steel sets off what could lead to the second Comic Book movie event of a lifetime following the Avengers!