IN THE BUILD UP TO BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (BVS), MOVIE VIRAL is looking back at the cinematic careers of both heroes. We start, today, with our very own Man of Steel, Nick Clement, who looks back at MAN OF STEEL (2013).
The film did well, though some detractors at the time suggested its failure to crack the magic Billion is what caused Warners to fast-track Batman into the sequel. Some felt it was too action heavy and lacked attention to the collateral damage Superman inflicts. Others felt it too ‘dark’.
Personally, I LOVED it. I thought it married all previous iterations of the character (including comic book and never made versions, such as TIM BURTON’s SUPERMAN LIVES), whilst being very much its own thing. It was a direct answer to (legitimate) criticisms of the action-light SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006) and in fairness, the ‘way in’ for the central Batman/Superman conflict in BVS is BASED on the fall out that would have happened in the real world, had some alien race just conducted their own war on earth.
Spot the Difference!
But for the very last word? Is it a bird? A Plane? NO! IT’S NICK CLEMENT! Movie Viral is SAFE, thanks to you, once again: TRUTH, JUSTICE and the MOVIE way! Take it away, Nick..
I love every single second of Zack Snyder’s genre-busting comic book movie Man of Steel. You can tell me all you want how it’s “not a Superman movie” and how Superman “wouldn’t kill anyone or anything” and I’ll tell you that you’re wrong on both counts.
If you don’t like it, then that’s fine. But don’t try and tell me that it didn’t stay true to the iconic nature of the character, or that it didn’t pay respect to its source material. It did both of those things, whilst retaining its own distinct personality. It’s a blockbuster with heart and soul as well as outstanding special effects, a film that’s both epic in scope yet intimate in the fine details.
I grew up revering Richard Donner’s original film and it still holds a very special place in my heart. Same goes for the two Richard Lester sequels and Sidney Furie’s often derided The Quest for Peace. But with Man of Steel, Snyder was painting with a set of paintbrushes that had previously been unavailable to those great filmmakers, and in doing so, crafted a unique blockbuster that has interesting attracted as much scorn as it has love. The bottom line is this – everyone involved with Man of Steel made the Superman movie I’ve been waiting my entire life to see -.
Featuring mind-boggling action scenes that have seemingly been ripped from a youngster’s vividly playful and destructive imagination, Man of Steel also pauses for the contemplative and serene (at times it’s as if Malick ghost-directed a few of the sequences), and benefits immensely from an exceptional cast of actors.
Henry Cavill carved out a modern, powerful, and extremely appealing take on the duality of Clark Kent/Superman. Michael Shannon was terrific as Zod, bringing the requisite intensity to the role previously made famous by Terrence Stamp, and Amy Adams possessed great pep and vulnerability in her incarnation of Lois Lane.
And then you have Russell Crowe as Jor-El during the film’s protracted opening sequence, bringing gravitas to a role that was previously inhabited by none other than Marlon Brando. And as Clark/Superman’s earth parents, I’m not sure you could have cast better on-screen parental units than Kevin Costner and Diane Lane.
Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan were smart to populate the film with a deep cast, while Cavill was able to create his own, inspired take on the titular character, showing occasional traces of the late Christopher Reeve (and not just in that one shot where Snyder melded a few frames of Reeves’ face onto Cavill during Superman’s climactic encounter with Zod’s doomsday device at sea) while allowing for new grace notes and a serious sense of physicality.
Goyer’s thoughtful screenplay set up a new foundation of ideas and characters while still treating the material with reverence. And his decision to humanize Superman and make him emotionally accountable for his actions will only serve to enrich the role for Cavill every time he steps into it.
One of the things that Snyder never gets credit for as a filmmaker is showcasing characters who are smarter than they appear; it seems to be one of his un-discussed trademarks. And when it comes to the action, few other filmmakers have the same sense of excitement and tenacity to their image-making; if Bay wasn’t going to get the job, I can’t think of another director better suited to the material.
Cinematographer Amir Mokri bathed the film with a mix of natural light and heightened CGI effets work, with the decision to shoot on film creating a richer texture to the entire endeavor. And Hans Zimmer’s bold and triumphant musical score was one of his best in years, never interested in attempting any sort of repeat of the classic John Williams overture.
Visually dynamic in ways that few superhero movies have ever been, rich in tradition yet never slavishly faithful to what’s come before, and thought provoking to ponder in the larger scope of the D.C. comic book movie universe, Snyder and Goyer considerably upped the ante when it comes to this sort of filmmaking back in 2013.
I absolutely cannot wait to see the entire DC universe explode up on the big screen over the next few years.
ABOUT NICK CLEMENT:
After spending close to a decade working in Hollywood, Nick Clement has taken his passion for film and transitioned into a blogger and amateur reviewer, tackling old, new, and far flung titles without a care for his cerebral cortex. His latest venture: Podcasting Them Softly, finds him tackling new ground as an entertainment guru, and along with his spirited partner Frank Mengarelli, are attracting some diverse and exciting talent to their site.
Some of Nick‘s favorite filmmakers include Michael Mann, Martin Scorsese, Tony Scott, Oliver Stone, David Fincher, Werner Herzog, Terrence Malick, and Billy Wilder, and he’s a huge proponent of the “31 Flavors of Cinema” school of thought. Favorite films include The Tree of Life, Goodfellas, Heat, Back to the Future, Fitzcarraldo, Zoolander, Babe, and Enter the Void.