With the rise of the superhero culture in today’s age, the absence of a contemporary “Superman” story has been far too noticeable. DC Comics has seemed to put no real effort into creating a universe where its characters can come together in a manner similar to that of Marvel’s Avengers.
Marvel went to work early on, setting up its heroes in 2008 with “Iron Man” and then adding to it in 2011 with “Thor” and “Captain America.” Their ultimate goal was to have all of the characters come together in one action-packed film. This of course came to fruition in 2012 with “The Avengers.”
Marvel’s conviction and determination to make their “Avengers” universe work is something we have not yet seen from DC; however, “Man of Steel” might just be DC’s ticket into the shared universe they’ve been searching for.
With several Easter eggs thrown into the mix, the possibility of this one movie sparking a demand for an entire series of DC movies doesn’t seem so far off.
The movie opens in the one place that has yet to be shown on the big screen: the dying planet of Krypton. In previous films, the only knowledge of Krypton is what’s told to you by a long dead Jor-El in the Fortress of Solitude.
In “Man of Steel” the audience is able to see exactly what transpires in the last moments of the planet’s life as General Zod (Michael Shannon) battles with Jor-El (Russell Crowe) in an attempt to seize control of the planet.
Aware that the planet has only minutes, Jor-El works with his wife Lara to send their son, Kal-El, to Earth in an attempt to save their people from total annihilation. This part of the story isn’t extremely different from that of previous origins; however, with a few twists and turns added in, we’re offered a new perspective on the previously one-sided tale of what truly happened on Krypton.
After a half hour of Kryptonian backstory, the movie progresses and we join an adult Clark Kent, 33 years after being found in a cornfield by Kansans Jonathan and Martha Kent lost in an endless journey to find the truth of where he’s from while at the same time, working to keep his abilities a secret from all of humankind.
Everything changes, however, when General Zod and his crew escape from the Phantom Zone and travel to Earth bent on the idea of transforming the planet into their home planet, Krypton.
Throughout the film we see flashbacks of Clark’s life growing up on the farm with Jonathan and Martha and the morals he’s learned along the way. In past renditions of the story, Clark’s backstory is whipped out in the first few minutes and doesn’t give the audience an accurate understanding of just how difficult his childhood was. Overall the flashbacks add to the humanity of the film and are guaranteed to bring you to tears.
The writing duo responsible for the success of the Dark Knight trilogy, David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, took the helm with this reboot and offer a fresh, new take to the otherwise ancient origin story of Superman. With the direction of Zach Snyder, they have turned out a movie that is not only “super,” but also very human.
Overall, I would give this movie a 3/5. While I enjoyed it, I would’ve liked to see more development of General Zod, where he comes from and why he’s fighting for what he’s fighting for. One move at the end of the film left me questioning whether or not the writers went the right direction with the story. All in all, I’m looking forward to seeing how DC brings its world together.