I first started my blog in 2013, which is a rather serendipitous time because that’s the year Man of Steel came out. If you search my posts that year, I wrote a lot about Man of Steel. I was so hyped. Posts about the trailer, the costuming, the Rottentomatoes critical consensus, and a few posts about the movie itself. Then, in 2015, I re-visited the film in another blog post. If memory serves, that’s the last time I’ve seen it. You can see the first and second reviews here and here.
Today, after six years, which blows my mind, I watched it again. Folks, I am here to tell you it still holds up with a thought I had back in 2013: Man of Steel is my all-time favorite comic book/superhero film. To be sure, 2008’s The Dark Knight is also right there in the conversation. But hey, I’ve always been a Superman guy first, Batman second.
I’m not sure what I can say about Man of Steel that I didn’t already speak extensively on in my first review or my revisited review. The Hans Zimmer score is still goosebump-inducing. When Superman takes flight for the first time, I get chills and tears. When Superman nearly kills himself to destroy the World Engine, I get tears. Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe hit all my spots as the two dads, and Michael Shannon is as menacing a force as ever. The action, as I said in 2013, is some of the best action I’ve seen put to film. Amy Adams is lovely and bad-ass as Lois Lane, which is what you want for that character.
And of course, Henry Cavill is beefy and handsome and strikes the right note of being within that mold of Christopher Reeve, who set the standard, without being too much of an imitation. There’s still enough wiggle room that it’s Cavill’s version of Superman.
Superman is a God. In this film, he’s still blossoming into that role when he’s forced to take on other god-like beings, who don’t share his affinity for the human race. It’s going to be destructive, folks. They are powerful beings, and something I think no Superman film prior to this one has shown is just how powerful Superman actually is and what it would be like for him to exist within our world.
That’s why I love director Zack Snyder’s vision (along with David S. Goyer’s screenplay) here: Let’s show off Superman. And whew, it works.
Throughout there also just so many darn gorgeous shots, one of my favorite being when Superman floats off the alien shape above Earth and then races after Lois, who was careening toward Earth in the alien ship. I’m getting goosebumps describing and picturing it again.
You also can’t discuss Man of Steel without discussing him killing Zod at the end, one of the most polarizing acts of the film. However, what I said in 2013 still holds true:
This is a journey film; a becoming of age film, if you will. That is, Clark Kent/Kal-El is not “Superman” yet. He hasn’t developed the parameters for his powers or his moral code with the “thou shall not kill.” Superman has always been about finding another way, but he’s not there yet. Clearly, given his anguish after killing Zod, such will be the catalyst for him establishing such a moral code.
Likewise, the ending of the film points to this segue into him becoming the fully realized version of the Superman character, as he begins the disguise of “Clark Kent” at The Daily Planet.
Overall, it felt great to revisit the greatest superhero film ever.