Friday, 14 June 2013

Man Of Steel (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – Just Falls Short Of ‘Super’

3/5 Stars

Every superhero franchise has gotten an overhaul ever since Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises) tasted success. This time, it's Superman's turn. 300 and Watchmen director Zack Snyder is at the helm of this story, co-written by David S. Goyer and Nolan. The trailer of Man Of Steel has generated a lot of hype among the audiences. Let's see if the film is worth all of it!

Man Of Steel gets a lot of things right. It mixes up the dark elements (which we associate with the recent Batman films) within the commercial space wonderfully. The screenplay and the dialogues are also a good mix of cheesy and hard-hitting.

Where the film falters is the length, the casting of the principal villain Zod and the never-ending, repetitive final face-off between Superman and his nemeses. However, it is a fine film. Trailer flattered to deceive a little bit, but then you all are going to watch it anyway. So, I must stop the ranting.

As planet Krypton is nearing destruction, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer), send their biological son, Kal-El (Henry Cavill), to Earth to carry their race forward.

While Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van do face resistance from Krypton's military commander, General Zod (Michael Shannon) (who has now turned hostile, and planned a coup against the establishment), Kal-El does get transported to Earth eventually.

Zod, along with his team of mercenaries, is caught, and is sentenced to spend all eternity in the Phantom Zone, an eternal living void.

Kal-El, who finds himself in a different environment altogether, struggles to adapt to the human world during his childhood. However, while growing up (with the name given by his adopted parents Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane), Clark Kent), he realizes the significance of the superpowers that he has been bequeathed from his place of origin.

Kal-El/Clark Kent is rechristened once more (SUPERMAN!), when he puts on his suit, and readies to wage a battle against Zod, who successfully managed to escape the Phantom Zone.

The first-half of the film (setting of the basic premise, the marvellous special effects in the Krypton sequence, Kal-El inadvertently showing-off his superpowers, the wonderful conversations between him and his adopted father, the introduction of Amy Adams, and to top-it-up Hans Zimmer's enchanting score) is terrific.

The film, especially in the first hour-and-a-half, wonderfully balances out the quirkiness of a commercial superhero film and the seriousness of a coming-of-age story.

It is in the latter half, when the film really begins to drag. The final face-off, involving a lot of hand-to-hand combat and innumerable explosions, between Superman and his nemeses lasts for almost an hour.

While the action and the special effects are brilliant, the repetitiveness of this never-ending last act does mar the impact, a trifle!

The dialogues of the film, especially the ones involving Kal-El and his two fathers (biological and adopted), are well-written and performed. Watch out for those scenes!

The highlight of the film is our superhero's bravado! There's a scene in which Zod is threatening Kal-El's adopted mother Martha. At this point, the man in the blue suit swoops in and beats the evil commander up to smithereens, while warning him to not threaten his mother. For the lack of a better word, such scenes are absolutely filmy, and manage to keep your interest alive!

The one major downside to the film is the runtime. With a shorter duration, the film could have been much better.

Not bereft of flaws, but entertaining enough.

Shivom Oza

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