Movie Review: Superman – Man Of Steel

By OckyDub | Posted Jun 16 2013 | 20 Comments  

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Cypher Avenue Rating: 3 of 5      

I have been an avid comic book fan and reader for over 25 years.   Comics helped me with my reading at a younger age.  They allowed me to escape and travel beyond the stars.  They gave me forward thinking visions to imagine variant earths that could be; either threatened with evil or saved and protected with super powered good. Marvel Comics was always my favorite. They were cutting edge and their subject matter was by far ahead of its time. DC comics was a little bit to “boy scout-ish” and conservative.  Many of their characters were clean cut and straight laced.  Even though they evolved, I was already a loyal Marvel Comics fan boy.

I didn’t realize how they spoiled me.  I had already seen unparalleled creativity on glossy pages.  Fight sequences filled with non-stop action and believable physical outcomes. This was all driven by thought provoking and complex stories that fixated me to the margins of the pages.  The real world that was right beyond my peripheral vision did not exist.

Being that I was exposed to and grew up with this world, viewing live action Hollywood movies in their attempts of action was always a disappointment.  True, Asian Kung Fu cinematics feed my unfulfilled imagination with their gravity defying feats; I still knew what existed in print.  Chiseled bodies, unimaginable strength and power, living and housed in capes and tights. This is the reason why I am so critical when I see a lack of creativity in certain media…Exhale.


 

I knew there was hope. When the Wachowskis brothers filled my senses with the Matrix, it took my mental breath away.  Finally, someone captured the essence of comic book panes filled with action and gave it a real world cinematic name; “bullet time”.  The comic book martial arts laced Matrix, let me know that others shared my pain and understood my joy. The Matrix Reloaded surpassed, revolutionized and will forever be timeless.  Neo was a human super hero in an imagined world, well you know the rest.The first and second Batman movies and the first and second Dark Knight movies satisfied me even though Bruce is a human being.  Spawn, Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four and Priest were complete fuckery. The two Hulk movies showed me what was possible. Oh the let downs and shrugs of my stupid cinematic super hero high hopes.  All the X-Men movies for me were horrible with the exception of First Class in which the story was cool but the action was very network TV-ish.  I did enjoy the “Night Crawler” sequence in the second X-Men film.  The second Spiderman with Dr. Octopus was fun but the first; third and the reboot were a yawn.  The DC and Marvel animated films are by far superior in almost every way.The origin films, Iron Man 1 (Yes I enjoyed it), Wolverine, Thor, Caption America, Green Lantern all seemed like they were just going through the motion of generating money for the production and film companies…sigh.Finally The Avengers got it right but for me there was still an element that was lacking true comic book action.

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Enter Superman: Man Of Steel

For some reason in 2013 no one knows the origin of Superman, thus Man of Steel needs to tell the story.  For me the scenes and story on Krypton at the beginning of the movie are far more interesting than the remaining story of Kal-El becoming Superman; however one can’t exist without the other in an origin story. I could have done without at least an hour and a half of this movie.

Why?  Because for the most part, this is not a good movie; however it is a new incarnation of Superman that works.  Henry Carvill is the new perfect Superman. Finally there is an actor who physically embodies the characteristics of Kal-El from head to toe.


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Acting wise the stand outs are Russell Crowe (Jor-El), Kevin Costner (Pa Kent) and Antje Traue (Faora Hu-Ul, a minion of Gen. Zod).  Everyone else…meh, particularly the “Pam” from the TV show The Office reject that was Louis Lane. Since when has Louis been a red head?

 
The Jesus Christ Super Star Superman references throughout the movie were disgusting.  From Supes in one scene with his arms spread out like he was on the crucifix to him actually seating in a church pew with a white Jesus directly next to his head for an extended period of time.  The symbolism that Zack Snyder attempts force upon the viewing audience is annoying.  Dude, your personal faith should in no way be attached to an iconic comic book character that is Superman, especially being that his original creators were Jewish.  I can go on and on about how bad the movie was but I would whether tell you about how great the action cinematics in the movie were.

The Evolution Of Super Hero Action

PictureThe Faora Hu-Ul, Non and Kal-El’s fight…EPIC!Man Of Steel has set the bar.  All other superhero fight sequences going forward should use this as a bench mark.  It is as if you can feel the power of the super beings as they are throwing down.  The level of detail is unbelievable and completely made this film an enjoyable experience. You get that there is a true sense of destruction that is taking place on an open free flowing environment that is not confined to a green screen. I was back to being consumed by the four corners of the glossy pages of my comic books.  The Avengers New York fight sequences feels confined to the set (it was still great), The Man of Steel’s Smallville fight sequences feels as if you are hiding in your closet or basement for dear life because of the hell that has broken loose and you are waiting for the tornado to pass by outside.


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This is Matrix pushing cinimatics all over again. KUDOS to Zack for giving me comic book action heaven.  The climatic fight with General Zod fails in comparison to the initial fight with Zod’s  Lieutenants (Faora and Non).  Don’t get me wrong, the final scenes with Zod and the level of “city wide” open world destruction still raises the bar for everything else that may come; however there is nothing like the virginity that was lost with the first Superhuman brawling sequence of the movie.Also it must be noted that the costume designs, the creativity behind the technology designs that is used by the Kryptonians, and the cinematography for Man Of Steel is suburb.  It is rare that I am fascinated by images I see on the big screen.Would I recommend this movie?  This is the Superman of the next generation.  It is darker and can help build the DC Movie Comics franchise into finally bringing us a Justice League movie AND it was better than Superman Returns.  I mean who wouldn’t like a Superman with hair on his chest?

PictureI can go either way…go see it in theaters or wait for DVD or Blue Ray.  Regardless you should SEE it and have a healthy respect and appreciation for the action and special effects because they are in my opinion…revolutionary.  I would give Superman: Man Of Steel, 3 out of 5 stars ONLY because of the ground-breaking special effects.I felt as though I was glad the movie has been completed and the first new Superman is over so the DC universe can continue to evolve.  I can smile because it seems like I am getting closer to the perfect comic book super hero movie.  I can feel it.

Did you see the Man of Steel movie?  Tell us your thoughts.


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About the Author
OckyDub

Octavius is a founder and editor of Cypher Avenue. He's here to help speak for us and show the world that masculine gay / bisexual men of color are not a part of the stereotypical gay normal that is seen and fed to the masses. No...we are a distinct breed, filled with character and pride. Cypher Avenue is here to show the world how we are different.

   
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20 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. Brother Love | July 17th, 2013
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    I did see the moving opening night! It was full.

    I am not a comic head like you are lol, but I thought it was alright.

    The fighting scenes were AMAZING though! Very well done!

    All the flash back and flash forward was annoying and confusing…but I guess it was necessary for those that do not know Superman’s history.

    I feel like it is just going to set up toward a bigger project so it was all necessary. (Justice League) 🙂
    That was one of my favorite shows growing up too.

    I would give it a 3.5/5.

    • African King | July 17th, 2013
      0

      Yeah… what this guy said. LOL.

  2. INPAQ | July 17th, 2013
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    I’ve been so disappointed with the Summer Films/Flops of 2013 that I’ve seen so far..

    Iron Man 3 was felt like a half-assed Iron Man 1&2
    Hangover 3 was a complete disaster
    After Earth.. directed by: M.Night Boomshackalaka (Insta-Flop)
    The Purge was your typical “Dumb White Folks” thriller
    This Is The End was only funny if you were doped up on Acid
    Man Of Steel just had me once again saying DC do better

    The only films that I’ve enjoyed so far this summer have been *Fast And Furious 5* and Star Trek 2. Still keeping my hopes up for few other upcoming releases..

    – Elysium
    – Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
    – Kick-Ass 2
    – Machete Kills
    – Pacific Rim
    – Riddick
    – The Wolverine
    – Thor 2
    – World War Z

    Keep my fingers crossed (and my wallet tight) for the rest of these..

  3. bde | July 17th, 2013
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    I loved it. Far superior to Superman Returns. The action was just like comic books brought to life. Even more than the Avengers. Loved how they updated Lois. The red hair was a throwback to the old TV show with George Reeves.

    Yes, the Christ imagery was heavy handed but not new to this filmmaker. The whole idea of a father figure in the sky sending his only son to save us is pretty much asking for it. Although, maybe the Jewish comic creators had Moses in mind (baby sent in a basket to help humanity).

    But either way, you’re right, it was about as subtle as a blow job. Speaking of sex, that British boy damn sure filled out that super suit, didn’t he?

    • Ocky | July 17th, 2013
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      Right for the Jewish creators it he was to symbolize Moses. Question if he is indestructible, how does Superman shave or cut his hair?

      • bde | July 17th, 2013
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        In the old comics, he would bounce his heat vision off the reflective surface from a piece of his baby rocket ship and burn off his beard. I don’t know how he gets a haircut.

  4. Black Pegasus | July 17th, 2013
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    I just posted a review of “Man of Steel” on the Superman Forums late last night. I’ll repost my review here – it’s a bit lengthy, but if you’re more than a casual fan you’ll find it insightful.

    **Note – I wrote this review off the top of my head. There were no rough drafts, so that means I didn’t cover everything in the film.**
    ======================================

    SPOILER ALERT*** SPOILER ALERT***SPOILER ALERT*****

    What I liked:

    1. The krypton scene was a cinematic and visual delight! Loved this portrayal of Superman’s home planet. The technology was incredible and almost unimaginable. And the space vessels were awe inspiring.

    2. I liked how the movie used flashbacks of Clark’s childhood instead of telling that same old tale again. Fervent fans are quite familiar with Supes cannon so it wasn’t needed. The writers gave those new to Superman’s origin just enough to process his struggles growing up. 45 minutes of “Kid Clark” was not needed and I’m glad they chose this route.

    3. Russell Crowe! OMG, every scene he appeared in was epic. I found myself paying closer attention every time he appeared on screen. His wisdom and bravery shined through as Jor-EL.

    4. I loved how the writers made Zod and his crew struggle with Earth’s different atmosphere in their bodies. I thought it made sense to since they weren’t exposed to the amount of radiation as Kal-El did growing up. Having said that, I thought Kal should have been stronger since his cells have been absorbing the sun’s radiation since infancy.

    5. Lois Lane: This may be the first Lois that wasn’t annoying. I know her character is suppose to be tough, but I always thought she was too head strong for Supes to fall in love with. But this iteration of Lois was tolerable.

    What I didn’t like:

    1. The film should have placed more emphasis on the revelation that we (as Human Beings) are not alone in the universe. I wanted to see a more realistic reaction from the people of Earth and their governments. I’ve always imagined how earth would respond to the discovery of intelligent alien life, and I never pictured it as just another day as the people of Metropolis seemed to respond. It was rushed.

    2. Some of the CGI fight scenes looked very unconvincing. But bringing an omnipotent super being to the silver screen with ALL of his abilities isn’t a small task, so I’ll cut them some slack.

    3. The destruction of Metropolis was like Sept 9/11 x 1000.. Hundreds of thousands of lives were probably lost. I would have liked to have seen an aftermath scene weeks or months later with CNN reports on the death toll or something that pointed to this calamity on earth.

    4. This is more of a wish than a gripe: It would have been cool to see a hint appear on scene that pointed to Wonder Woman or Batman for the possible Justice League saga in later films.

    5. The Music: while some of the music was ok, I wish the music would have played up the many emotional scenes contained in the film. I thought the scene with Kal asking his dad “can I just continue pretending to be your son?” was a potential tear jerker. The music could have played up that scene along with others.
    ============================

    And there you have it… These were my initial observations about “Man of Steel”……I gave the film 5 Stars out of 5 for it’s ambitious undertaking. I think it delivered and then some!

    I absolutely love the fact that this movie didn’t have a cheesy joke in every other scene like the Avengers film. It might have worked for Marvel, but this universe is different.

    THIS IS THE SUPERMAN MOVIE WE “ADULTS” HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR!

    Leave little 5yr old Billy at home, or take him to see Monster’s University. This film is for the grown up geeks like me who bought a ticket to see an Iconic American Hero, NOT a comedy show.

    thanks for reading 🙂

  5. Black Pegasus | July 17th, 2013
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    @Ockydub, you took a huge sh*t on this film lol! I’m shocked that you were so critical of this movie. Yet your critiques seemed more like little pet peeves or Monday morning quarterbacking than actual quantitative flaws with the movie. Some people went to see this film with unreasonably high expectations. These same people wouldn’t have been satisfied if the movie ticket also provided you with a free blowjob, a steak dinner, and a vacation to Hawaii. lol

    Even though lots of “adults” went to see the film, spoiled “children” emerged from it only to take their tantrums to the interwebz and twitter..

    We’ll agree to disagree lil homie 🙂

    • Ocky | July 17th, 2013
      0

      5 out of 5? So basically what you are saying it that there is not any other action or superhero movie out there that is better?

      Spoiled children, Monday morning quarterbacking?…Nope its just some folk are just not as easily impressed than others. This film can’t come close to the printed stories or action scenes of Rising Stars, Spawn, The Authority, or Uncanny X Men Extinction Agenda; again these are comic books.

      I’m sorry to have shit on your love of this movie but if you think this was better than say Aliens, Matrix 1 or 2 as to give it a 5 out of 5…you are right, we good lil homie

  6. Craig | July 17th, 2013
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    Ocky I’m not going to lie I was losing interest in your review in the beginning, but when you got to your point I was almost confused of the fact it for liked it or not.

    Going by your rating system I give Man of Steel 4 out of 5 stars, this Superman was better than the five previous Superman movies put together, where Superman Returns tried and failed to make you believe it was a continuation from Superman II, Man of Steel was able to reimagine his origin story with more context of what Krypton was like and more of a story of his birth place & parents. I like the darker tone the movie had and loved how it told Clark’s story in flash back instead of a long sequence of him from a child to an adult. I loved loved loved the fact they made Zod a much more fuller character than they did in Superman II, he was the way he was for a reason and how he explained it in the end was perfection, if in the beginning you thought Zod was evil by the end of the movie you had a better understanding of who he was & why he was the way he was. Action wise it was some of the best action I’ve seen in a movie in decades Snyder made the action part of the story and not just filler like most comic books movie do. Word for word the story was on point, the whole messiah complex comparisons didn’t bother me at all, my only complaint is that they could have cut off about 30mins .

    Will this lead to a Justice League movie, maybe, but it’s going to take more than a Batman & Superman movie doing well, remember Green Lantern sucked. Was it better than the Avengers, debatable.

    • Black Pegasus | July 17th, 2013
      0

      @Craig – I like your thoughts about ZOD. By the end of the movie when he told Superman “I was born to protect my people”, his character was no longer 1 dimensional for many movie goers. He was a character with purpose, but the lost of billions of lives on Earth would have been collateral damage to his “purpose”.. Supes couldn’t allow that to happen.

      As for a Justice League movie; I had a conversation with a friend, and we couldn’t quite figure out how the chemistry would work in this universe. I can see Batman in Superman’s universe, but can you imagine Wonder Woman or Hawk Girl being properly placed into this universe? As much as I love all of these characters, I just don’t know if they can make it work.

      But Warner Bros made this film work so just maybe……

  7. Ocky | July 17th, 2013
    0

    The reason for the my back story is that I am not just your run of the mill fan…meaning that I was a fan of comics and super heroes long before Hollywood made it cool. Most folk that are on the bandwagon have no idea of the rich history or source material of these movies. Like how the Jean / Dark Phoenix was killed so simply in X2, being that this same woman/being can destroy galaxies…well never mind.

    Usually the reviews you see are from people who have never picked up or read a comic in their life…as is most of the people who write and make these movies. It is rarely about story and only about explosions, making money, merchandising and being PG 13.

    Regardless I am just one dude with an opinion. Thanks for your feedback.

    • Craig | July 17th, 2013
      0

      Ocky thanks for reminding me not all people who read the blog are deep comic book fans, so I understand the details in your article. As for X-Men none of the movie follow the truth in the comics any way.

  8. Lee B | July 17th, 2013
    0

    Lol Ocky is a comic book nerd! They don’ t take this shit lightly lol.

    I don’t read comics but I am a big fan of x-men, I do know a good amount of the background info on a lot of characters, and none of those movies did enough justice for me.

    I thought the movie was cool. The action/fight scenes were on point!

    Also, I Thought superman, even with all his power, didn’t kill people? He snap the shit out of dudes neck, which was very anticlimactic all at the same time.

    • Ocky | July 17th, 2013
      0

      LMAO…yes I am, but I can be satisfied. Matrix 1 & 2 proved that.

      The last scenes between Superman and Gen. Zod was nothing compared to the first 3-way fight scene between Supes, Non and Faora Hu-Ul. That shit was amazing!

  9. Julien | July 17th, 2013
    0

    I thought this reboot was terrible. The plot was all over the place and Amy Adams was miscast as Lois.

  10. eug | July 17th, 2013
    0

    It seems like all critics (people who think they know better than actual movie goers) all decided to give a bad review. One critic said henry cavill isn’t big enough to be superman which makes him sound like a joke. Go right now on Twitter and search henry cavill or man of steel and get feedback from people who saw it and I bet u 9 out of ten people like it. All I am saying is that a critics’ review at the end of the day is just his opinion and not a reflection of what movie goers think. All that said I think man of steel is a good movie. I agree the fight with zod was great but the one before was even better. I think the kents were poorer than usual in this movie. Diane lane looked like she couln’t afford the cheapest hair shampoo. Lol yall don’t mind me. Oh and did i mention how hot the new superman is? He looks a lot like the smallville aftor in some scenes .

    • Ocky | July 17th, 2013
      0

      Critics who saw the movie were also movie goers. The movie goers who saw the movie and thought it was great are also critics.

      So who knows better than who?

  11. Dre G | August 11th, 2013
    0

    I could deal with most of the movie EXCEPT the end of the fight between him and Zod.i understand revamping a character,but i feel like they ruined a core trait of his right there.

  12. Black Moses | September 8th, 2013
    0

    I make no apologies in loving this movie: THIS is the Superman film I was waiting for. Well, almost. It is a bit too long, and I’m not crazy about the suit (besides, Cavil looks better with it off, right?)

    But when the action got started – and Faora (can I be forgiven if I wanted them to call her Ursa and hear her tauntingly call “Suuooopahmahhhhhn”?) kicked Supes’ ass all over Kansas, my inner fanboy went into convulsions. And at the end, when Supes, eh, did what he had to do to resolve the conflict, I jumped up out of my chair in the theater and applauded. Yes, I did. And I usually snap on people for doing that sort of nonsense. Couldn’t help it.

    About the Jesus imagery, though it’s been overplayed in both this film and (especially) in “Superman Returns”, it’s practically become a standard element of the portrayal of Superman at this point.




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