Spoilers follow.”Superman: Man of Steel” is soaring at theatres.
Since its opening Thursday, the film has earned a remarkable $125 million in the U.S.
Warner Bros. has been trying to find a way to bring a Superman reboot back to the big screen for a while. There are plenty of reasons why they got it right this time.
After an early screening last Tuesday, we left thinking the film was good — not great.
After seeing the film a second time over the weekend with excited moviegoers in a more relaxed atmosphere and without expectations, we enjoyed director Zack Snyder’s take on Superman much more.
Not only does Snyder’s version have longevity for a newly-announced sequel, but a “Justice League” film as well.
Most people know the story.
Superman's home planet of Krypton is facing imminent doom and as a last-ditch effort his parents send him to Earth while they perish along with the alien planet.
The film doesn't rush by here.
Instead, director Zack Snyder and his producers spent time researching a way to extend the Kryptonian culture in the film.
They reached out to University of British Columbia linguist, Dr. Christine Schreyer to help create a new language. In addition, producers decided that Superman's people should be inspired by the the Kings of medieval times, complete with a caste system in order to make them more realistic.
If you've seen the 1978 'Superman,' Snyder gives some nods.
(Source: 'Man of Steel' production notes)
Snyder took creative liberty to make Superman's home planet look less like Snow Miser's ice kingdom.
Now, it looks like something out of James Cameron's 'Avatar' complete with giant mythical beasts, a creepy pod centre to artificially grow Kryptonian life, and a core that brings back memories of Pandora's Tree of Souls.
When Kent lands on Earth, we don't follow along to see what happens next.
Instead, we're blasted 33 years into his future, which is fine because we get to see bits and pieces of his early life in flashback sequences. It's a fresh take on the earlier Superman films before it.
From Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Superman's Earth parents, to Amy Adams as Pulitzer-winning (really) reporter Lois Lane and Michael Shannon as a revenge-seeking -- and ill-tempered (how many times do we have to hear he's going to find Superman? We get it.) -- General Zod, the dynamic between the cast is fantastic.
Adams' versatility in films like 'The Fighter' and 'Master' lends her to a grittier role than previous airy and lighted-hearted characters ('The Muppets,' 'Enchanted').
From chiseled chin to extremely toned bod, it's not hard to see why British actor Henry Cavill finally got the right to play the 'Man of Steel.' Cavill's body language and expressions sell the man who struggles internally to ultimately find the calm, collected brilliant hero buried beneath any self doubt.
As well, it's good to see Laurence Fishburne back on screen as the Daily Planet editor.
Crowe's role is more than just the saviour of the doomed Krypton in the beginning of the film. His return is welcome, not only as slight comic relief, but to help get Clark/Kal-El grounded on Earth.
It's similar to the scene in 'The Lion King' where Simba has a heart-to-heart with his passed-on father Mufasa to get his rear in gear and 'take his place in the great circle of life.'
OK, they do cry.
But many times General Zod or Superman decide to show their emotions with some serious heat vision.
Seems like a good way to let off steam, provided no one's in firing range.
We guess they missed out on these parts which audiences found funny:
- A pastor's reaction after Superman reveals his identity.
- Russell Crowe's sheer seriousness -- though it's probably not supposed to come off as funny.
- A man tries to hit Kent early on, but can't. Later, Kent gets his revenge in a way that doesn't bring harm to the man, but instead one of his possessions.
- Shannon's Zod also delivers comedic punches Kent's way: 'Where did you train -- on a farm?'
- Amy Adams' frankness with the government, Army, and Superman.
- Bonus: Blink and you'll miss a sign in the construction zone that goes from 'Last incident 106 days' down to 0 after Superman gets hit.
The film contains so many messages that resonate with people outside of the fictional film's universe.
Superman's home planet gets destroyed because they have exhausted all of the planet's natural resources.
The Man of Steel's upbringing is very much a metaphor for any children who have ever been bullied for feeling different.
Many have compared the last 45 minutes to an over-the-top rock 'em, sock 'em ordeal. Though the action may feel a bit familiar, any testosterone-filled male will enjoy seeing concrete ripped up, Superman flying through buildings, and a battle in the skies (and space) between two super-flying gods.
The all-out assault on Metropolis is welcome after about an hour-and-a-half of Kent coming to grips and accepting he's a force to be reckoned with.
It's a fictional superhero film. When you're dealing with aliens with heat vision and super strength, buildings aren't going to be left standing.
Don't get us wrong, the city of Metropolis gets pummelled in the final act of the film, however, it's refreshing to see a superhero film step outside the bounds of a big city and take the fights -- in a Western-style showdown nonetheless -- to the streets of a small American town in Kansas.
'Thor' did this as well back in 2011.
'Man of Steel' doesn't only have its American viewers in mind, but its worldwide audience, as well.
Much like the creepy, spine-tingling trailer teaser that debuted in April, Zod's corruption of the airwaves to broadcast a message stands out because it's played out in multiple languages across Earth.
Those with eagle eyes will notice a few nods to other figures from the D.C. universe, hinting at those who may show up in a 'Man of Steel' sequel or a possible 'Justice League' film.
LexCorp -- During the fight with General Zod, a truck with the LexCorp name gets destroyed. There's also a LexCorp building momentarily shown in a previous trailer. Those familiar with the Superman universe know this means his arch-nemesis Lex Luthor is alive and well in Metropolis. We're betting more than just one of Luthor's trucks got destroyed in the carnage. He probably has some bones to pick with Supes.
Lana Lang -- After the bus incident, we learn one of Clark Kent's schoolmate's name is Lana. Why is this huge? Other than Lois, Lang was a love interest for Kent. Also, if you've read the comics, you know Lang grows up to become CEO of LexCorp ... which just so happens to make an appearance in the film.
Batman -- You didn't think 'Man of Steel' would have any reference to The Dark Knight? Come now. Bruce Wayne's (Batman) company gets a small cameo in the form of a Wayne Enterprises satellite. If you want to catch it, pay attention when General Zod and Superman are fighting in space. The satellite they crash into has a Wayne Enterprises logo.
Movie blog /film points to a few more good references we missed.
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