“Man Of Steel” breaks from previous super films

Andrew Huygen

In 1978, director Richard Donner, along with Christopher Reeve, convinced their innocent and believing audience that a man could fly. After seeing “Man of Steel,” I can tell you this: Zach Snyder and Henry Cavill did the improbable and made it nearly possible for our modern, skeptical world to believe that a “man” can fly.

I use the term “man” very lightly here — Superman is in no way a man. He is a god and this is why many people can’t connect with the character. Unless you shoot a kryptonite bullet through his heart (which isn’t as easy as it sounds), there’s no way to defeat him. He’s invincible. He’s unwavering. He’s everything we Americans strive to be: honest, just and good.

Snyder made the difficult decision to skip the 30-minute origin story of Clark Kent, instead cleverly intertwining flashbacks that would thematically match the scenes preceding them. While it seems everyone and their grandmother knows Superman’s origins, Snyder still had to include some form of background for this newly redefined Superman.

Henry Cavill was brilliantly cast as Clark Kent/Kal-El, bringing his own take on the title character. He’s stated in numerous interviews he chose to base his interpretation on the comic books and not the films that came before, which in the end made him a more believable “big, blue boy scout.” While it was doubted he could play a menacing villain, Michael Shannon delivered leaps and bounds above my expectations. His cold and relentless Zod was a perfect foil for Cavill’s man of steel.

This isn’t to say that the film was without its issues. While Cavill, Shannon and Russell Crowe breathed life into their otherworldly roles, Amy Adams seemed forced as Lois Lane. Because Lois has been very similarly characterized for the past several decades, one comes to expect an actress to fit a clearly defined “Lois” mold. Adams seemed to “phone in” many of her lines, one example being her confrontation with Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White. Another problem I had with the film was that some of the over-the-top CGI was a little undercooked and stuck out like a sore thumb in some scenes.

Superman may not be the hero we deserve, but he’s without a doubt the one we need right now.