After “The Dark Knight Rises” premiered in 2012, Warner Bros. released a teaser trailer of “Man Of Steel” before the final film of “The Dark Knight Trilogy” commenced. Afterwards, DC fans were enthusiastic to see Superman back on the big screen after “Superman Returns” felt underwhelming in terms of quality. Warner Bros. recruited Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder & David S. Goyer to began working on Man Of Steel, intended as the first installment of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU for short) to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU for short) critical and box office hits since “Iron Man” propelled the MCU as the highest grossing film franchise of time.
Man Of Steel was released in 2013. (same year Fast And Furious 6 came out) It earned divisive reactions from critics, fans & movie goers alike. Despite mixed reception, the film made enough revenue at the box office. The DCEU later spawned more installments some where a hit and miss.
Upcoming installments including “Wonder Woman 1984” will be released in theaters and HBO MAX, “The Suicide Squad” slated for a Summer 2021 release date & “Justice League: Snyder Cut” will stream on HBO MAX in 2021. I’d like to share my thoughts on the DCEU’s first chapter.
Today’s review contains crucial SPOILERS. If you wish to read, tread carefully.
Strong & Weak Elements
Strong: Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne & Russell Crowe all did a decent job for their respective performances.
Action Sequences are given a bigger upgrade filled with “Dragon Ball Z” like fights with Superman going toe to toe with Zod and his henchmen.
Visual Effects are incredibly gorgeous. I have to give the effects team Bonus Points for creating realistic outfits. I could’ve sworn they were made by a 3-D Printer. I thought Supes’ first time flying got my adrenaline up the charts.
Hans Zimmer scored many tracks. I can listen to the soundtrack all day.
When Zod breaks into The Kryptonian Council, Jor-El said “This is madness.” A reference to Zack’s “300.”
It was interesting to see Clark getting used to his powers since childhood.
Zack Snyder incorporates slow motion (Bullet Time) in some scenes. He’s influenced by The Wachowskis works, especially “The Matrix Trilogy.”
In a bar where Clark works as a busboy, a singer plays a cover version of “Ring Of Fire.” Joaquin Phoenix, who played Johnny Cash, ultimately won his first Oscar as “Joker.”
Fun Fact: Both Russell & Joaquin starred in “Gladiator” as enemies prior to participating in separate DC movies. The latter became the second actor winning an Oscar as Joker after Heath won his posthumously.
Jor-El transfers a part of his DNA to The Fortress Of Solitude, encrypting the codex to Clark, kinda reminds me of Aelita’s backstory from “Code Lyoko.” Both Aelita & Clark’s fathers sacrifice themselves to save their kid from danger, gives them a source as their only child is destined to save the world, later achieve a digital form meeting their kid. As a fan of Code Lyoko growing up, I’m giving Chris, Zack & David an Extra Point. Maybe their kids are fans of the show.
One of Zod’s henchmen is named, Nam-Ek a reference to Piccolo’s home planet from Dragon Ball Z. “Battle Of The Gods” came out the exact same year as Man Of Steel. I think Chris & Zack are DBZ fans.
In one scene, Zod says, “The Greater Good.” A possible “Hot Fuzz” reference.” Edgar Wright’s film, “The World’s End” was also released in 2013.
According to Zack, when Clark enters The Fortress Of Solitude, it’s an intentional homage to “John Carpenter’s The Thing.”
Weak: Henry Cavill’s performance as Superman felt depressing. He’s not Batman. Superman is a lighthearted boy scout with a positive personality inspiring truth and justice. Superman isn’t emo like his polar opposite.
Cinematography suffers from Shaky Cam. Who’s in charge of filming The Cocoa Puffs Mascot consuming way too many Monster Energy Drinks?
Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer copy and pasted the story from Batman Begins into Man Of Steel. For the first time in his career, Chris made a really big boo boo. Chris if you’re reading this, as a fan of your work, I have to give you tough love.
Zack Snyder didn’t get the tone right. Superman isn’t a tragic hero like Batman. They are polar opposites with different views on how they apprehend suspects. Superman is good cop while Batman is bad cop when they have to interrogate a thug.
Krypton’s atmosphere is a cheap knock off of the planet Teth from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Even Jor-El riding a dragonfly stole Anakin & Ahsoka’s dragonfly escape from Ventress.
Like Nostalgia Critic & Angry Joe’s review of the movie. I notice there’s a lot of zooms. Which reminds me of that zooming scene from “Kung Pow: Enter The Fist.” After six minutes in, Man Of Steel has become an unfunny self-parody like “Superhero Movie.”
A nest of babies in pods with robots keeping an eye on random ones is stolen from The Matrix Trilogy. The Machines store human in pods so they can use them as a source of energy.
Jor-El picks up codex, resembling the crystal skull from the 2008’s biggest flop “Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.”
At the 11:32 mark, a shot with aircraft riding during a sunset looks like the helicopters riding during a sunset from “Apocalypse Now.” Is DC trying too hard to make obvious references?
Zod yelling “I WILL FIND HIM!” Painfully inspired Eddie Redmayne yelling “GO!” From the critically panned epic clunker, “Jupiter Ascending.”
Aw geez! I swear to god I’m totally not making this up fellas. As Zod is transferred to a pod, it looks like Dr. Evil’s rocket. Am I watching a Superman movie or “Austin Powers 4?”
A Chris Cornell song pops up when Clark traveling. I don’t think Grunge suits Clark. It suits well for Bruce Wayne.
Clark’s Earth dad Jonathan didn’t properly tell to not save the kids from a drowning school bus. He could’ve said, “I don’t know, I’m just an ordinary human being with flaws who can’t solve every obstacle.” Alfred Pennyworth is a better father figure than Jonathan.
Jor-El said “The Best Of Both Worlds.” EGADS! This brought back painful flashbacks of Miley Cyrus twerking at “The 2013 MTV Music Awards.” The Best Of Both Worlds is a concert movie released in 2008. So glad I skipped it in favor of Sly Stallone’s fourth “Rambo” film.
Superman’s outfit is dark red and blue. Isn’t he suppose to wear a bright outfit like in the comics? I think Supes’ costume in the movie is too Grungy.
Supes’ S logo means “Hope” in his birth planet. Tell if The Kryptonian Alphabet is disconnected? Does the letter H start with the letter S? I am so confused with Krypton culture.
Zod’s villainous plan is to destroy the city of Metorpolis and its citizens is too similar to Ra’s Al Ghul’s goal to destroy Gotham City.
As y’all complained about Metropolis’ destruction from Superman’s battle with Zod, it’s later addressed in “Batman VS. Superman.” So I’ll let this con slide.
The controversial scene with Superman breaking Zod’s neck didn’t bother me at all. It’s not the first time he killed him in “Superman II.” Man Of Steel felt effective with Zod forcing Supes’ to break his neck or else he will use his heat vision to kill people. I’ll let this con slide prompting Supes to not kill anybody in his way.
Product Placement (Pee Pee for short) featuring many brands such as 7-11, Sears, U-Haul, IHOP, Nokia, Budweiser & Nikon.
The Final Verdict: C, FOR CLUNKER!
Man Of Steel is perhaps the biggest disappointing film of 2013. As a fan of both DC since Bruce Timm’s shows and Christopher Nolan, I have to give the DCEU’s first installment tough love. Unlike “Teen Titans Go” at least Man Of Steel tried its best to tell a narrative without going overboard on idiotic moments from the aforementioned show. If you want to prep up for Wonder Woman 1984, The Suicide Squad & Justice League: Snyder Cut, so be it.