Yeah yeah, I stole Lois Lane’s career defining ‘title’. But how else would I be able to describe my Thursday night, or at least the pursuit of it?
As a non-preview watcher I prepared myself to be overwhelmed senseless, but I have to say, I am still not sure how I felt about it. This film as a reboot of all the superman movies we have had to ingest for the last 30 years or so, managed to throw so many things into 2 hours that all my emotional focus got waylaid and I was left dizzy with various sentiments. But let’s start with the good.
Krypton; I have always wanted to see more of Kal El’s home town than the over dramatized blurry images with polished white surfaces and inexplicable flashes of light. What ‘Man of Steel’ presented was the fusion of ethereal and gothic on a far off planet. The strength of the self destructing Krypton was personified by Jor El played by Russell Crowe; Hands Down, one of his best performances. You’ll agree. I was pleased to see more of our hero’s father and not just the Jor El head in the fortress of solitude barking out profound reason. Krypton was beautiful yet murky with organic technology and…. Yeah I’ll stop there, any more and the spoiler police will come a knockin!
Henry Cavill plopped on the scene with Adonis hotness and carried the role of the krptonian alien to a slightly above average level. To be honest, I was far too distracted by his overcooked level of hotness to pay heed to the holes in his character portrayal. But in my lucid moments of sobriety I did notice that his attempt to deepen the hero’s personality was evident in the heavily darkened hues of his outbursts of rage, his burrowed expressions, and general intensity. More importantly his character brought us into the 21st century. There was no cheesified plastered grin or some unnecessary and inexplicable brood in the corner of the story. Henry is the believable alien searching for answer.
The nonlinear narrative jump started the whole film into a modern context until every scene and every plot move bore the fresh cuts of a modern take. With every flash back and flash-forward we were transported into a different time which revamped and retold the stories which the old superman versions gave us. For the ‘Smallville’ followers we were reminded of Clark Kent’s youth and yet we were cultured on the struggle he had to endure to fit in. It’s a strange truth to say that this science fiction boarded on a more realistic angle than any other Superman adaptation. Now, although the nonlinear narrative with flashbacks was exciting it stole away the beauty in chronology. And a part of my emotions got tongue twisted trying to dig my head out of the scene they had just plunged me into. It became evident that the film was packing a lot of story into a 2 hour narrative and even if it was a huge bite, they still left me wanting more.
The supporting cast did a lot of hand holding for the main character. With Kevin Costner grounding the plot sequence with his earthly father perception and Diane Lane providing a more versatile stretch to the hero’s mother who was subject to the comic book round faced bespectacled housewife stereotype. Amy Adams brought Louis lane into a much more likeable persona. She is strong without being aggressive and believably smart without having to be fast talking and overbearing. And Michael Shannon as General Zod was fantastic! Brilliantly menacing and yet deeply devoted to a seemingly noble cause. If anything, this film provided a refreshing insight into the internal workings of one of Superman’s greatest enemies.
The action sequences were ballistic. I don’t think there is any other way to describe them. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the action was like nothing I have seen before but I have to applaud the close ups and elaborate brawls; most especially the Smallville smack down many of the Justice League series followers will remember.
Come to think of it, I know exactly how this movie made me feel, it made me glad I waited. Don’t expect a score in this review, just except a recommendation. You have to watch this movie. And do yourself a favor, watch it in 3D. We can do that in Uganda now… you know?