My Man of Steel Review: In Ten Super Bullet Points.

It is 6 A.M. as I write this, and the world – at least the world I inhabit while in uniform – is quiet.

Though not for long: summer has finally arrived and the glorious madness it brings with it, has begun.

The answers I have sought on behalf of my love have not yet arrived. Medical science is maddening in its limitations, but we are in a better place nonetheless.

There is a ray of beautiful hope in our lives and so it is time to move forward. I will update you if necessary, friends, but for now, here is my much-delayed Man of Steel review, originally begun several days ago.

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My mind remains under siege, and so my review has been structured thusly.

What can I say? The Hook will always find a way…

1)  This is not your grandfather’s Krypton.  Not by a long shot. This time around we’re treated to a lush alien landscape teeming with dragons and dinosaurs. “This is Krypton?” was my daughter’s first question and that about sums it up. Personally, I don’t think the departure will bother too many hardcore fans. I’m sure their anger arrived later on….

2)  This is not your father’s Jor-El.  When you bring Russel Crowe to the party, you give him something worthwhile to do, you let him flex his Gladiator muscles. In other words, you make his Jor-El a warrior as well as an academic. And so Kal-El’s daddy gets a few licks in before Krypton goes boom. 

Even after his world is space dust and kryptonite, Jor-El finds a way to bedevil main baddie General Zod – as a hologram with attitude and control over Kryptonian technology. Crowe even gets to share a scene with Amy Adam’s Lois Lane. (More on her later.)

3)  Kevin Costner gives Jonathon Kent a whole new mindset.  And it works. The single most powerful aspect of the early Man of Steel trailers? A single word uttered by Jonathon Kent.

The elder Kent is admonishing his son for risking the safety of his secret by saving classmates on a sinking school bus. “What was I supposed to do, let them drown?” a clearly-conflicted Clark asks.

Jonathon’s one word answer of “Maybe.” is a major much-needed shot in the arm to the franchise and it firmly establishes the kind of man Costner wishes to present to the audience. This Jonathon Kent is fully aware of just what his adopted son’s presence will mean to the world and he wants to keep his little boy shielded for as long as he can. Costner’s best performance in years by far.

4)  Henry Cavill should be proud of his performance.  What else can I say? personally, I preferred the disheveled  wandering Clark Kent in search of his identity to the polished, confident Superman, but that’s just me. The connections to Christ were a bit heavy-handed, but overall, Cavill was a great casting choice.

Of course, my daughter and I agree that after ten seasons of cutting his acting teeth on television’s Smallville, Tom Welling deserved a shot at the title, but you can’t have everything, can you?

5)  A stellar supporting cast makes all the difference.  Laurence Fishburne. Christopher Meloni. Diane Lane. Perfection.

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6)  Forget everything you know about Superman.  Never mind the changes I’ve already highlighted, this film turns the established “Big Red S” mythology on its head, loads it into a rocket and sends it to the stars.

In its place is a Superman for a new generation. However, my daughter is a fangirl representative of that generation and she was not impressed with “Superman: 2013 Version”, to say the least.

“This is Superman?” was all she could say.

Personally, I enjoyed this new look and feel, but I’m an open-minded fan and not a hardcore purist.

7)  Amy Adams is a terrific actress, but…  She’s no Margot Kidder. Or Erica Durance, for that matter.

Adams is spunky as all get-up, but Lois isn’t spunky. Lois is a tomboy with a great rack. Lois is a scrapper. Lois is the girl you take to the strip club – and then home.

I just wan’t buying Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Not for a second. My daughter felt the same and she’s usually supportive of any and all female characters, especially in a superhero flick, but this Lois failed her litmus test.

8)  Man of Steel is the superhero version of LOST.  

The ABC drama was heavy on flashbacks and this latest outing of everyone’s favorite Kryptonian is no different. My daughter didn’t care for this plot device and many reviewers agree with her. I had no problem with the plot’s time travel aspect, but again, I’m open-minded and flexible.

9)  This film makes the Transformers series look like a Bible documentary.  Honestly, in all my years of watching superhero films I have never seen so much destruction.

  • Smallville’s downtown core – which, let’s face it, is the entire town for that matter – gets pulverized.
  • Entire blocks of Metropolis are devastated.
  • Even the Kent farm takes a beating. 
  • To top it all off, it only took three Kryptonians to cause all this mayhem!

This flick is an insurance adjuster’s nightmare committed to celluloid.

10)  Man of Steel may not be Iron Man, but it worked for me.  Was this film a slam dunk? Not quite, but I loved it nonetheless. And no, not just because it provided me with a much-needed break from my troubles and worries and it gave me a chance to bond with my daughter over the discussion that followed. She hated it. I didn’t. You can imagine how the ride home went.

I loved this film because it represents the beauty of an artist’s vision. This was a Superman movie for a new generation of viewers huddled together in the dark, waiting for a hero to appear and take them on a journey.

And he did. 

They may not be universal in their critiques of the final destination, but it’s the journey that counts. Man of Steel presented a flawed Superman, one who is willing to question his place in the world of vulnerable mortals and even violate his moral code if necessary.

No, this isn’t your grandfather’s Superman, kids, but that’s all right.

You need your own heroes anyway.

ONE MORE THING BEFORE YOU GO…

Because I love you all, here is Miss Four Eye’s review of this film.

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CLICK HERE TO BE ENLIGHTENED AND AMUSED!

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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78 Responses to My Man of Steel Review: In Ten Super Bullet Points.

  1. Le Clown says:

    The Hook,
    Le Clown was asked to portray Superman in this new venture, but he was too busy blogging and watching Mad Men with his daughter. Glad to know Henry Cavill was able to fill my clown shoes.
    Le Clown

    • The Hook says:

      Le Clown,
      No one can fill your shoes, my friend. But Cavill did his best. His was a flawed Superman for an extremely flawed generation… and in my estimation, it works.
      Thanks for stopping by. Your presence elevates the cool factor of my little blog and the upgrade couldn’t have come at a better time, as I need to get back on track as much as possible.
      Be well, my friend.
      The Hook.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I didn’t read the whole thing, I want to watch it myself and then come back to read and add my own take on it. I remember being excited seeing the preview and liking how dark it was, as compared to other lightweight versions. This is one super hero I grew up with that is my man. And from what I’ve seen, he is definitely worth going to watch.
    Glad to hear all is better with the family situation 🙂

  3. mairedubhtx says:

    Thanks for the well-written and bulleted review of the movie. I still don’t know whether or not I’ll see it. Superheroes are generally not my favorite thing and I have trouble processing all that destruction. But I’m glad you enjoyed it. I liked Miss FourEyes’ review but can’t figure out whether or not she actually would recommend the movie or not.

  4. MissFourEyes says:

    I preferred the disheveled wandering Clark Kent too. There were connections to Christ? I so did not get that.
    As far as superhero movies go, it wasn’t my favorite, but I did like it. Great review, partner! Thanks for the non-state-law-violating plug 😉

  5. I hated the Superman comics (I was a Fantastic Four/Spiderman fan) and i’ve hated all the Superman films, every one. So I’ll be giving this a wide bodyswerve.
    I didn’t mind the TV series, but that was only because Teri Hatcher was hotter than Hades back then

  6. The Cutter says:

    I’m still not sure what I thought of it. The action scenes were done, but I feel that I’ve seen so many big superhero movies lately that big action scenes don’t impress me anymore.

    The plot…I kind of felt like I did with The Amazing Spider-Man where they were just telling a different origin story for the sake of telling a different origin story.

    And I’m still not sure why Kryptonian atmosphere took away Superman’s powers? I guess they didn’t want to use Kryptonite, and this was their alternative.

  7. I wouldn’t be a hardcore/ purist Superman fan, it was Batman, Spiderman and the teenage mutant ninja turtles when I was growing up. So I think I would enjoy this and the trailers had me hooked for awhile.

    Great review.

  8. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Thanks for the great review, Robert. I’ve seen the trailer and it has a much darker feel to it than previous Superman movies. But it is fun to revisit the story for a new generation. I’ll probably go see it. Not a big Kostner fan, but hey, there’s always hope…

  9. sortaginger says:

    I loved the movie. I was glad they didn’t do the whole “baby lifting the car” thing and really liked the whole Clark as an outcast vs. lovable nerd. I must have crossed the line to atheism finally because I missed the religious comparisons (that was a joke people…still agnostic!).

    Krypton reminded me of what Vulcan looked like in the Star Trek reboot.

    I am in love with Henry Cavill (and have been since The Tudors), but Michael Shannon is my new bad-boy crush, in an unconventional sort of way.

  10. Ashley says:

    I thought it was a pretty decent movie, but I guess it fell short of my expectations. However, I am also not a huge Superman fan in general, so it probably didn’t have much of a chance of wooing me over. I also preferred the wandering Cavill to the Superman Cavill, though.

  11. It’s great to get all three perspectives on the movie. Hopefully, I will see it before it is out of the theatres but I have a feeling I will be much like MissFourEyes. I always have a different train of thought going on at the same time.

  12. djmatticus says:

    I’m sure Welling will get his shot eventually… I agree he deserves it. I still can’t picture Amy Adams as Lois Lane… but she isn’t why I’m going to watch the movie, so I can deal with that. I can’t wait to see Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent – yes, his “Maybe” from the trailers is one of the reasons I’m dying to see this movie.
    Soon. We will find a sitter for the little prince and head off to see this film soon. I can’t wait.

    • The Hook says:

      Have fun, buddy!

    • bfg666 says:

      Honestly, Welling’s portrayal was a bit too much on the goody-two-shoes side for me. Also, if they gave him a Superman movie, they’d have to make it a sequel to the Smallville show or people would be confused. I, for one, prefer they start from scratch.

      Funny thing about the reaction to pa Kent’s “maybe”: I’ve read reviews where the authors ranted about the so-called dubious morality his father was teaching little Clark with this reply and how they hated it. I guess you can’t please everyone.

  13. “This flick is an insurance adjuster’s nightmare committed to celluloid.” your way with words always makes reading fun.
    Sounds like you appreciate the film from a different viewpoint: “Beauty of artist’s vision” a Connoisseur of the genre.
    Glad Costner worked. Sad about Lois – she’s just such a great complex character.
    I like your final line “You need your own heroes anyway.”
    Take things for what they are.
    Great review.

  14. MissTiffany says:

    I quite enjoyed Man of Steel. I’m actually going to go see it again. Dad and I went on Saturday, and his main problem with it was the massive amount of destruction going on. It was just too much. But even though they made changes (I am still in shock over what Superman did to Zod) I think it’s okay. It’s a new generation’s Superman. And even though it was much darker than any before, I think it ended on a positive note. Plus I loved Jor-El/Russel Crowe’s line: “You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.”

    Tom Welling did not want to be Superman – I believe Warner Brothers wanted to make a Superman series – continuing Smallville, but Tom Welling didn’t want to. He thought of himself more as Clark Kent than Superman. But why Tom, why? Personally, Erica Durance is my favorite of any Lois that has ever been cast. I’m also quite fond of Terri Hatcher. I thought Amy Admas did better than I expected her to as Lois. I’m looking forward to more interaction between her and Clark in the sequel.

    Great review!

  15. Great review. Interestingly, actually makes me want to watch. The addition of Crowe and Costner to the movie was definitely an interest!

  16. I enjoyed your review, even though I rarely go to the movies! Just love the fact that you went with your daughter, even though she hated it. Still, she’ll remember seeing Superman with her dad……

  17. renxkyoko says:

    Good critique, Mr. Hook, as expected from an authentic fan of superheroes ! !

    I ‘m sure everything will turn out right , Mr. Hook.

  18. lidipiri says:

    Thanks for reviewing it!
    Oh, and a ray of hope is like a shower of brightness at times.

  19. Katie says:

    As I mentioned to MFE, my boyfriend is a hardcore purist, and he said he was sorely disappointed by this. He thought they did too much with the Smallville origin and didn’t establish the romance between him and Lois Lane. He insisted that we watch the original, and he kept pausing it to explain to me how that one is so much better than Man of Steel.

    I didn’t see Man of Steel with him, so I don’t know. (Personally, I’m not that invested either way… I just want to see This is the End.)

  20. Cameron says:

    To the Netflix Queue!

    You totally get points for thinking Erica Durance’s Lois is kick-ass, because yes. And here’s where I admit that I am no comic book girl, but I watched every. single. episode. of Smallville, and not just for Tom Welling’s pretty blue eyes.

    Fingers and toes still crossed for all the Hooks.

  21. Well, I wasn’t going to go and see it, but seeing as I’ve just read this, I think I will be first in line. Great review – and thanks for your help today.

  22. Jonathan says:

    I agree with most of your points about Man of Steel – including the one from the final trailer where Coster says “maybe”… (and I noticed that wasn’t in the film). Great blog!

  23. Cat Forsley says:

    I so can’t wait to see it – 🙂 ………. I just saw Star Trek this weekend and loved it ……..
    Great review 🙂

  24. Cayman Thorn says:

    Yanno…when I found out Amy Adams was nameplating Lois Lane? My first thought went all the way back to the Booze Cruise episode of the Office. And man, I was NOT feeling Amy as Lois . . . not one bit. And here you go, storm warning me.
    Man, your reviews are steely.

  25. TBM says:

    Don’t be mad, but i don’t know a whole heck of a lot about Superman so this film might work for me.

  26. Don’t hate me – I am not a superhero fan….I’m more of a mystery dork… 🙂

  27. julespaige says:

    We all need distractions. Movies can be a fun way to get distracted. I might see the new movie when it gets to Red Box Rentals. Some movies are worth the matinee price. But I don’t think any movie is worth the full evening price. But that’s just me. Not when the head honchos and actors are making millions. Oh, yeah ok so it takes a million or two these days to make a good movie. Doesn’t mean you have to make me use a whole weeks salary just to see one (OK so maybe not that much…only if you add on the overpriced popcorn, soda, and treats). I admit to taking my own snacks in my pockets. Good thing I use a nom-de-plume or the movie theater police might come knocking at my door.

    Anyway I had a nice visit here Hook, and I even visited Foureyes. Still wishing you and yours good and swift news. Cheers. Oh I’m going to change just my address thingy (I more or less just figured out how to do that…) so if you like flash fiction …short stories, short distractions 100 – 200 words or there’s about, you can find ’em…here/there.

  28. The Hook says:

    Thanks – for everything!

  29. elenamusic says:

    Great review! And I agree on a lot of your points.

    I didn’t care for Russell Crowe, but Kevin Costner was good. Henry Cavill is as good as it gets next to Christopher Reeve. He even has the voice and I look forward to the sequel to see him flex his Clark muscles, because he would probably be good at it. I was most worried about Cavill not having the Reeve charm, what makes Superman completely different from any other superhero, and Cavill had it, not a lot, but he had the charm that made you believe he was Superman.

    The Christ comparasions now that you mention it are weird…

    And Amy Adams, yeah, she wasn’t bad, but she wasn’t good. WAAAYYY better than what’s her face in the 2006 movie. But, I didn’t buy the romance between Superman and Lois, seemed forced. Too bad, because Cavill is great and should have a better on-screen romance.

  30. bfg666 says:

    Your daughter uses a surprising array of sentences… 😉

  31. Jennifer says:

    Now I’ve seen it, I am back to read your review in full. I have to agree with both of you on certain points and while I enjoyed it, it still wasn’t superman to me. 🙂

  32. Pingback: Man of Steel – review | Coffee & Camera in Hand

  33. Pingback: Guest Post: The Hook offers up some travel advice | thematticuskingdom

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