Man of Steel Movie Review
Kidzworld reviews the latest Superman film “Man of Steel”!
By: Lynn Barker
Teens and kids can totally relate to Superman. Huh? Well, if you are ever bullied, if you are not sure what to do or be when you grow up, if your parents are confusing you, then you are in the same boat with Clark Kent who grows up to be the Man of Steel.
On the planet Krypton, leading citizen Jor-El (Russell Crowe) lets us know that his world is imploding due to over-mining and environmental ruin. He’ll send his baby son Kal-El to distant planet Earth to save him. Meanwhile, power mad General Zod (Michael Shannon) wants to save his people by controlling an object that contains all their DNA. Jor-El won’t let him have it. With the planet crumbling all around them, baby Kal-El’s parents launch him into space and General Zod and pals are banished to lie suspended in the Phantom Zone.
Present and Past Mash Up
On Earth, the adult Kal-El, now named Clark Kent by his human adoptive parents, rescues workers from a burning oil rig. In flashback to his youth, we see young Clark see his classmates with x-ray vision as his powers develop. He’s often bullied and, as a teen, saves a school bus full of his classmates when it falls in a river. Daddy Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) tells young Clark he’s not of this Earth and shows him the ship he landed in. Clark just wants to be normal.
Lois Lane Investigates
Award-winning “Daily Planet” reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is investigating a story about a huge object buried in ice for 20,000 years. Clark/Kal-El shows up at the site and we learn that it’s a Kryptonian colonization ship that crashed. The “spirit” of Jor-El materializes to tell his son about Krypton and give him the famous red and blue suit and a mission to be a force for good on Earth. Lois sees way too much of this and, at one point, Clark has to rescue her, then disappears. He learns to fly and better use his powers and Lois tracks him to the Kent farm. More flashbacks show that dad Kent died in a twister, refusing to let Clark reveal his powers to save him.
A huge starship goes into Earth orbit and Zod broadcasts to the planet that he wants Superman turned over to him or he’ll destroy our world. Lois knows Superman’s secret identity so Zod and the military are both after her. Worrying for Earth, Superman will turn himself in. Both Superman and Lois end up on Zod’s ship where the baddie reveals that he wants to terraform Earth into a new Krypton but he needs the “device” holding all the DNA of the Krypton people. Superman doesn’t know where it is. The spirit of Jor-El helps Lois change the atmosphere on the alien ship so that Zod and his gang can’t live in it. Lois escapes but Zod lands right in the Kent farmyard and threatens mom Kent (Diane Lane). The “device” with the DNA isn’t on the farm and Superman arrives to battle Zod.
The Stand Off
It’s Zod and his forces Vs. Superman and the U.S. military on the streets of Smallville. Zod has finally learned that the DNA of all of Krypton’s people is in Clark’s/Kal-El’s blood! Clark has to die for Zod to extract it to start his new world order. Superman is successful against Zod at first but the baddie uses a huge anti-gravity, terraforming weapon to start altering the planet including Metropolis where the Daily Planet is.
Lois Does Her Part
Lois uses a key given her by Superman to create an overload on Zod’s ship that will create a black hole and destroy the ship. It works but Lois falls out. Superman catches her and they share a kiss or two. Zod is still alive in the rubble!
The Final Battle
Having been on Earth long enough to develop the same superpowers as Clark/Superman, Zod is ready to fight to the death on equal footing. Zod and Superman’s fight knocks down buildings and people die. Superman finally has to kill Zod to keep him from destroying innocent humans.
Into the Future
Having accepted that his purpose on Earth is to protect humanity and give it hope, Clark takes a job at the Daily Planet where he can be a reporter and get firsthand info on all the disasters Superman will be needed to “fix”. Lois, who knows his secret will work by his side.
Man of Steel comes at you like a souped-up freight train and never (well rarely) stops! When it does, it is for characters to tell a huge amount of history that might be confusing to kids and younger teens. The overall look of the movie is eye-popping; especially the Krypton costumes and amazing organic gadgets on the homeworld. Effects work well but the super-fast editing style in the many action sequences leaves us wondering.. what just happened?
Henry Cavill looks amazing and does a great job of presenting Clark Kent as a confused, tortured soul who has to decide his life’s purpose but many of his “human” moments can’t seem to exist without huge action going on around them. So much for character-bonding. Wish there had been more development of the Lois/Clark relationship but at least there is a kiss and a promise of more in future films.
Diane Lane and Kevin Costner make worthy and sympathetic Earth parents and Russell Crowe is regal and at times winning as a caring Kryptonian dad. Amy Adams’ Lois character is great at her job, spunky, smart and willing to help at her own risk and that’s a good role model for girls. Michael Shannon is pretty scary as Zod.
The film is 30 minutes too long and most of that is due to rather repetitive, overkill action battle scenes but, if you are into that kind of thing, you’ll be thrilled. I was glad to see that although there are some logic holes in the complicated story, this is offset by the fact that the real focus of Man of Steel is Kal-El/Clark’s struggle to deal with his powers, his destiny and his purpose and, in that, we can all relate and root for him and the humanity he serves. We’re going 4 stars
Man of Steel Movie Rating: