Man of Steel

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2

Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne. Action/fantasy. Directed by Zack Snyder.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Superman, our flying caped defender of the American way, gets a bit of an overhaul in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Though he can still leap tall buildings and is faster than a locomotive, now we see him as a vulnerable, introspective outsider with doubts. This super guy is lonely. (Hey, you wear tights and a cape, you’re bound to be lonely. Well, unless you live in San Francisco.) But okay, the filmmakers are trying to give him a little character enhancement. So, along with saving the world from that other alien from Krypton, General Zod (Michael Shannon), this Superman for the new millennium (Henry Cavill) also questions who he is and why he’s here.

PREVIEW REVIEW: A conflicted Man of Steel, this rebooted Superman will please those dedicated to DC comics no matter the 143-minute excess. And for those who like a clean movie, one filled with spiritual metaphor, this installment should also satisfy…well, somewhat.

This is a good film, one that gives dimension and thoughtfulness to an overly familiar screen presence. The look, the storyline and especially the acting are, you should excuse the expression, super. What’s more, one could take from the film the proposition that we need something more than military might to protect us. We don’t just need a Super-man, but a Super-Savior who is forgiving, just and sacrificing. But if you prefer CGI-enhanced action over messages and good acting, this summer’s big-budgeted confection is loaded with it!

My only complaint is that no amount of superhero battling seems to overload my fellow moviegoers. To most followers of this genre, more is never enough. And these filmmakers gave it to them.

The last twenty minutes of any superhero film is going to be a colossal, destructive clash, symbolizing the battle between good and evil. But this final battle royal never ends. At one point, I had to take a breather in the lobby (I was the only one who did so). It became somewhat laughable as I could still hear Kal-El go “uhh” then the sound of a crash. Then Zod would go “uhh” followed by another kaboom. On and on it went. Reentering the theater, I discovered the entire city of Metropolis was in flame, nothing in sight was untouched, the skyline aflame with Armageddon – and Superhero and Supervillian were still going “uhh” and tossing each other through buildings.

The budget is said to have been between $175 and $225 million (yeah, like the studio doesn’t know exactly how much their movies cost). Well, it’s all on screen. Sets were built for the purpose of being destroyed. And loud, it’s the loudest movie I ever saw!

What Christian symbolism religious publicists enthusiastically insist radiates through the proceedings is often overwhelmed by the bombastic and endless carnage. There’s no blood, hence the PG-13 rather than an R rating, but make no mistake, by film’s end we are beaten up as much as the screen characters.

This film needed a trim. Twenty-five minutes could have been left on the cutting room floor, and the producers would have been wise to reuse John Williams’ iconic score. With respect to Hans Zimmer’s work, Williams’ Superman theme jazzed us! Zimmer’s just adds to the pummeling. Listening to John Williams’ Superman score while I wrote this review, I was reminded of a hummable style of movie music film composers once created. (Can you hum the theme from any film out this past year?)

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Some crude language from a boy.

Obscene Language: Towards the beginning of the film, a school bully uses crude name-calling to belittle young Clark Kent; but this kid is won over when the Super-boy saves him; a few minor expletives.

Profanity: I caught no misuse of God's name. But then it wasn't always easy to hear the dialogue over the excessive din of action.

Violence: Wall to wall.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 143 minutes
Intended Audience: Fans of Comic book superheroes made into movies

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