man-of-steel-michael-shannon-general-zod-artI am getting ahead of myself.  Let’s pull back and start at the beginning.  This is not a spoiler free review.  I feel that I have to let you know because for those of you who has not seen the latest Superman movie I do not want to stunt your enjoyment of MAN OF STEEL.

The movie opens on the planet Krypton.  It’s an incredible re-imagining, it ignites childhood memories about what I thought Krypton and its people would look like.  There were some guidelines from the comics and old Superman movies, but nothing like this.  On Krypton Lara Lor-Van, has just given birth to a son.  Her husband, Jor-El, have birthed their son naturally, in violation of the basic laws of the planet where babies are to be bred through genetic engineering with a planetary Codex that imprints just what a person’s place in life is to be.  The children of Krypton are born free from original sin and the only child that is birthed naturally is his people’s only hope and their ultimate doom.  There are no indigenous people on Krypton.  They are engineered only if society needs them and that’s the dark side of Krypton — there is no culture, just a robotic sense of life and living.  Their laws promote racial purity.  I would loved to have seen what the first Kryptonians looked like and how they became this ancient race of space travelers. Here’s where General Zod’s evil takes root.  Through the birth laws of his people, only Jor-El and his wife Lara Lor-Van saw the evil in that law and tried to change it.  In the end that’s the only choice they had.  What was so interesting is that General Dru-Zod couldn’t see how he has fallen into the bowels of hell with his and Krypton’s limits due welcome_to_metropolis__man_of_steel_by_bongzberry-d5mbevpto engineering.  Like a sci-fi retelling of ancient Sparta, Krypton and Zod didn’t recognize the monsters they have become.  I love what Snyder and company did on Krypton.  The whole movie could have taken place here on this planet with this alien culture.  MAN OF STEEL could have been called KRYPTON and the movie would not have lost any of its excitement.   What I’m saying is Man of Steel could’ve been the sequel to Krypton and you would have enjoyed it.

I have to briefly mention Kevin Costner’s role here.  Costner’s performance, as Jonathan Kent, is so powerful that I can’t explain with it words. He made the whole movie for me. Before I geek out here, let’s just say it’s the better part of the movie.

Now onto some Man of Steel problems.  The movie rushes the audience to get Kal-El in his Superman uniform so he can throw down with General Zod and his cronies.  It loses some of it wow factor because of this.  The ideas are great and developed well but could have been delved into more deeply and the story suffers from that.  For example, a Kryptonian ship that was sent to Earth eighteen thousand years before Superman was born appears to have had his super suit waiting for him.  Some explanation like his command key created it 3871042_6847786_balong with the hologram of his dead father might have been helpful to more fully envision the wonderful world created here.  Little faux pas like that rob us, the audience ,of a fully realized story along with the underneath message of the movie that screams silently at the viewer.

With a strong box office this past weekend, MAN OF STEEL clears the way for Warner Bros. to kick-start their movie franchise based on DC Comics superheroes and villains, as Disney has done with its Marvel Comics characters like “Iron Man” and “The Avengers.”  Though it would be a shame to throw away Nolan’s Batman Trilogy.  MAN OF STEEL is the first Superman movie in seven years and it has recorded the biggest opening by any movie in June.  Its debut tops the openings of the previous five films in the franchise combined.  To Warner Bros. the strong take-off justifies the weakness in the plot.  That said, it would have been very cool to get a complete vision of the movie.  It’s a solid film, don’t get me wrong.  I saw it twice, and plan to see it again. I just wish the studio let Snyder and his people do their thing.

Your beloved Raphy.

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