Man of Steel [IMAX] [3D]

[Disclaimer: I have never watched any scenes prior to the movie: no trailers, nothing, as per usual. The only sensed that I got before going in was that it made tonnes of money in its opening weekend, but was not as embraced by the critics]

This is a vast improvement over the previous entry "Superman Returns" and the retelling of the origin story does try to flesh out Superman more as a character rather than the caricature that he has become. There are two gems in this movie: Henry Cavill and Hans Zimmer. Cavill certainly carried the role of Superman off with aplomb, and for a British, he does convey a strong sense of the good ol'American that Clark Kent represents. In addition, he is a good actor. He may not be a very strong actor but definitely way better than Ken-doll Routh's portrayal. However, what he lacked in acting, Cavill certainly wins over with his charm, infectious smile and those blue eyes; certainly a more fitting descendent of Christopher Reeves' mantle. Physically, he may be too buff towards the end and that, I felt, was an artistic misfire by the team. Clark/Superman is supposed to represent the Regular Joe, but by making him so physically distinctive, it kinds of makes that synaptic link jarring. Then we have Hans Zimmer fantastically, epic score! Seriously, Zimmer has outdone himself here. His score carried the grandiosity and epic scope of the story throughout, from the the exposition-heavy, jarringly-edited prologue, to the climatic ending. And, in this case, as heard through the IMAX theatre sound system, it was heart-poundingly amazing! Some things did not work: Zack Synder directing tended to be overtly jerky (especially in the prologue) and his action sequences were too messy (this is where "The Hobbit's" HFR filming would have been beneficial; the screenplay by David S. Goyer (with story by his Batman collaborator, Christopher Nolan) was a brave retelling of Superman's origin that was (typical of the duo) filled with plot contrivances that lurch the narrative forward, but if the audience just accepts "things happen", then the problems are not as severe as their previous outings. However, to their credit, there were some good lines, one very good meta-self-mocking scene, some intentional, or un-intentional, throwaways snarks (visual or lines) on recent sci-fi flicks ("Prometheus", "The Matrix" and even "The Dark Knight"), and a general cohesion towards the end game. As for the rest of the cast, Amy Adams was an interesting choice to play Lois Lane, and as a character she did great (and this was one of the more significant change to the mythos), but opposite Cavill, they seemed rather mismatched and the chemistry is just not there. However, Adams did bring out the strong, independence, professional side of Lois without falling into the familiar trope of damsel-in-distress or trollop-in-love. Russell Crowe was surprisingly good as Jor-El and he played off well opposite Michael Shannon who has made a name as the go-to guy to play scarily normal psychopaths! Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne, Chris Meloni, Diane Lane, Harry Lennix and Richard Schiff did the best they could but they aren't really the focus here, perhaps Fishburne will get a bigger role in the sequel. Two other issues with the movie was that the final third relied too much on boring purposeless CGI destruction for impact, and narratively Synder, Goyer and Nolan tried to cram too much big ideas into the movie, but none of them ended up being very well developed: Freewill and Choice, Nature vs Nurture, Heroism vs Heroics, Regular Joe vs Superhero, Self vs Others. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable 140mins buoyed by the score, Cavill's charisma and a genuinely interesting re-telling of a familiar story. 3D not necessary, but IMAX was great!


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