Man of Steel: Movie Review
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Christopher Reeve will forever be the iconic Superman on the big screen; with Man of Steel comes a fairly unfamiliar face to American audiences, British actor Henry Cavill (Immortals, TV's The Tudors).
Rated PG-13, mostly for action violence, Man of Steel is, for the most part, void of highly offensive content. In fact, a few references to Christ in the film make Man of Steel especially appealing.
THE MOVIE IN A MINUTE
With his planet of Krypton facing certain destruction, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) sends his newborn son, and only child, to Earth to save his life. Adopted by a Kansas couple, the boy becomes Clark Kent (Cavill). After discovering his true nature, Kent's list of enemies grows. Traitors who escaped Krypton before its obliteration appear on earth, threatening to destroy it. Lead by General Zod (Michael Shannon), the powerful invaders vow to rain down terror on humanity unless Kent is handed over to them. Desperate to be rid of the ominous alien threat, mankind begins to turn on Kent, who is dubbed Superman by reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams), his only friend and ally.
THE GOOD AND BAD IN MAN OF STEEL
Man of Steel has two things going against it: overdramatization and overkill. This almost two and a half hour superhero flick could benefit from a good paring down of its occasional melodramatic scenes. The battle scene at the end is intense, but at times feels like too drawn out. These weaken the movie's strengths: its well-picked cast and faith-filled message.
Man of Steel boasts a good cast, led by the Brit who dons the famous red cape. Alongside Cavill's impressive portrayal of the iconic American superhero is a dramatic performance by Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Superman's father.
The parallels to Christ are unmistakable in Man of Steel. A pivotal scene for Clark Kent takes place in a church. As he asks for wisdom from the priest, we clearly see stained glass depicting Jesus Christ framed in the shot. In another scene, Superman determines to save the human race, positioning his body in a cross pose before flying to the rescue. Themes of hope, sacrifice and redemption permeate Man of Steel, reminding us that the best expression of love is to lay down one's life for another, just as Jesus did.
Intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction and some language earned Man of Steel a PG-13 rating. Ready yourself for some town-toppling action. The end is full of it. Also, there are at least two instances of full-on baby nudity.
IN THE END
Man of Steel soars above the franchise's last blockbuster attempt, Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey. Is Man of Steel the incredible action flick we all hoped it would be? Not quite, but it's still a lot of fun and could be the start of a very successful run.
NOTE: Though there isn't a clip after the credits hinting at a sequel, Man of Steel does have a couple of references to a famous villain in the Superman stories. Perhaps that's DC Comics' way of saying what's up next.
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