Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Aside from my own enjoyment of many strong tales where good triumphs over evil, I’ve never been 100 percent behind the concept of hero worship. I believe in the idea of respecting a true saver of the day, but try to shy away from idolizing a set definition, no matter how revered their courageous exploits may be.
One of the best examples of this recently hit theaters and despite all evidence warning the idolizers of the classic dude beforehand, the disappointment of the results by some is being treated as if someone murdered their pet kittens. It’s not as if I don’t have compassion for many of their valid points, but instead of coming away crushed and insulted by the admittedly drastic changes, I feel like I know this man in a red cape better than any who have put on the suit before. “The Man of Steel” ultimately shows that no matter how pure one’s intentions are for the betterment of the world around them, it is through imperfections we learn the most powerful lessons and makes the most impact on what we can look forward to in the future.
However, while most of the story has been revamped to reflect the times, there are still quite a few elements that remain for Clark Kent/Kal-El/Super Man’s (Henry Cavill) origin story. His loving parents, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and Lara (Ayelet Zurer ) foresee the demise of the planet Krypton and is adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) with the key differences starting with occasional flashbacks to Clark growing up in world a lot less boy scout than the old comic books.
Perhaps in a bit more real world than old school fans would like, there is a constant feeling of fear and unlucky circumstances that follows Clark as he immediately stands out from his human counterparts and an attempt to as much as possible not draw attention to him by Pa Kent. Despite this Clark feels compelled somehow to try and do better by the world while also not being noticed, something he fails at when he inevitably attracts the attention of one of his Kryptonian brethren, General Zod (Michael Shannon) who escapes from his prison in the phantom zone to get revenge for what Jor-El set in motion. Oh yeah…. and what would Superman be without his Lois Lane (Amy Adams), who comes off as much less pretentious than some other incarnations, but still reporter-y enough to annoy the sources she gets for big stories.
The thing that made this an acceptable version of blue tights guy is how our hero feels like someone I and many of my peers could have grown up with, not like he came from an awe shucks “Leave it to Beaver” sitcom episode, which is as far from the truth as possible if you actually have spent any length of time in a small farm town (good people, but Mayberry they are not). He has to deal with real world problems, make real world choices and though his powers give him a great deal of invulnerability, he is shaped by a world that it isn’t always a pretty picture.
Sure, I enjoyed Christopher Reeve’s exploits as much as the next comic book fan back when I was a kid, but despite how nice that sounds, people die and they can’t always be saved and somehow pretending things will always be that way is never as genuine. I leave to the discretion of the parents how much violence they’ll allow their kids to see, but with the dark nature comes no lack of it. That said; it’s something I’d recommend with some of the year’s best visual effects, another kicking sound track by Hans Zimmer and something I’d be glad to follow into sequels.
All in All, I’d have to say “Man of Steel” earns four out of five hopes.
Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.