And this is how a Universe was born. The hype before the release of this Man of Steel was huge, and I was among the most eager to watch this film. I'm a DC fan since I'm 17 years old, so I get really excited whenever I hear or read news about an upcoming event, even just rumors make a bad day look like a good one to me. I can say that I leaved the movie theater quite satified, but others disagreed.
Man of Steel is probably one of the most polarised films among the fans, critics, and casual movie-goers that ever excisted in the history of cinema; 50% of the people seem to love it, and the other 50% seem to hate it. There seem to be little middle ground. I'm, of course, on of those people who actually enjoy it, but I'm not saying it was perfect, it wasn't, there isn't such a thing as a perfect film.
Many things made of Man of Steel a dissapoinment to half of the fans arround the world, the tone of it being apparently one of the main reasons for people to dislike this film. The movie is heavily influenced by the Dark Knight Trilogy, gritty, dark, and yes, a little bit moody. It didn't bothered me at first, but after watching this movie again, I came to realise that the tone of the film wasn't appropiate for Superman; the man of steel is not a moody superhero; serious, yes, imponent, even breathtaking, he is the greatest hero of them all, but he's also a symbol of hope, in a way that Batman cannot be. Man of Steel needed seriosly a change in tone; but in favor of the of it, I can say that the Clark of this film was not that grim as many people intend to make us believe; sure, he's not smiling all the time or joking around, and that's good, because that not how Superman is, and the film did a good job with that aspect of the character. Nevertheless, in the film, you can see Clark smiling, or chilling while watching a football game, then he's serious when he needs to be serious, like when he fights, when he is in the search of his destiny. Leave the perennial the Joker and the joking around to Spider-man.
Of course, comparing Man of Steel with other Superman films that came before it is also a recurring issue among fans, its more bitter rival being Superman Returns. This 2006 film directed by Brian Singer (X-Men and X-2), was better received by critics than Man of Steel, not so much with the fans though as it was almost as liked as disliked among them, but still better received than Zack's Snyder's film it seems. Having watched both films, I came to the conclusion that both are equally good, depite being so different; it'd seem that one failed where the other succeded and backwards. Superman Returns is the better directed of them both, you can see the love that Singer has for the Superman character in every scene of the movie, each beautifully shot. The production value of Returns is outstanding, the costum desing is superb despite being a little bit old-fashioned for a movie setted in today's America, and the sets, specially the Daily Planet set, were gorgeous. But a film cannot be just pretty, it needs a good story, and that's where Superman Returns fails; it was not much of a movie as a "homage" to the first Superman movies, copying the main plot of the Richard Donner's first Superman film in a 80%, same Lex Luthor's plan, same goofy girlfriend who adds nothing to the plot (plus Kal Penn who doesn't have a single line, at all). The pace of this Singer's film is another issue, being a superhero film, people expects to watch some action and thrills, sadly, after the scene of the falling plane (masterfully shot by Singer) the movie just fell flat, becoming less and less engaging, less exciting and less compeling by the minute until it reaches an anti-climax unworthy of a Superman film. Returns's cast is just okay, all the actors are just good for their roles, except Kate Bosworth, who is really bad. On the other hand, Man of Steel is if full of action and great visual effects with a satisfiying climax, full of even more action and and more visual effects and destruction, lots of it, too much perhaps. The first 15 minutes of the film are marvellous with Krypton coming to life, Clark's birth, Jor-El's speech in front of the ruling councel, Zod's coup d'état and his subsequent incarceration after killing Jor-El, all culminating with the death of Krypton with a great explotion accompanied with a beautiful score, gift of Hans Zimmer; this whole Krypton sequence deserve some praise that most people who have watched the it just deny it to the film. After this, Man of Steel keeps with a good pace, but the story, altough better paced and entertaning than Superman Returns, is just not as good as it's first 15 minutes. The flashback sequences were a nice surprise because of how good they were, the best being the one were Clark gets bullied outside of Sullivan's workshop (nice nod to Smallville's fans) and the worst one being definitely when Johnathan dies in a most silly way showing that there were problems with the screenplay at this particular point. The last fight scene with Superman and Zod in the train station has been highly discused and it will be for a long time as a controversial point of discussion with some people arguing if Superman should have killed Zod. Did he had a choice? problably, but for good or wrong he killed Zod, and fans will keep discussing this for a few more years perhaps. Then, what really annoyed everyone was that, after the massive destruccion, Metropolis was seen after just a second fully reconstructed and people acting like nothing ever happened. The cinematography is quite good, but not great and some parts of the film were more fit for a music video clip than for a film and the direction of Zack Snyder in Man of Steel is a big improvement from his previous films, and even though he is an interesting director, he still needs to learn a lot. In the casting deparment, Snyder's film tops Singer's, starting with a more experienced and carismatic Amy Adams over the not so much fun or Intellingent Kate Bosworth's Lois Lane and Diane Lane over Eve Marie Saint, performing a more hearth warming Martha Kent; the role of Clark Kent was equally good in both Henry Cavill and Brandon Routh, neither of them can claim to be better than the other, they were both good, but neither performance was great. Using a new actor to play Jor-El was a nice thing after the Marlon Brandon's footage from the 1978's film, showing once again the excess of devotion that Brian Singer has for the Richard Donner's film. Michael Shannon deserve some praise as well, making a great job at playing Zod, showing us his despise for humatity as well as his devotion to his own people; in the case of Laurence Fishburne, he did a fine performance, but he seemed more like a generic journalist, not so much like Perry White, while the White of Frank Langella was more amusing, more Perry; great Ceasar's ghost!
A little less desctruccion (not less action, as some people seem to think) is what Man of Steel needed, along with more Clark Kent than Superman. Showing Clark's life at the Planet, along with all his co-worker (seeing, at last, the cinematographic versions of Cat Grant and Ron Troupe for example, at least in small roles) and Clark abilities as a reporter would be a good for the next film, as well as introducing Jimmy Olsen, making him a character audiences can get interested.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is coming next year and the DC Cinematic Universe will be expanded, and it will hopefully be better and better with each coming film, making Superman better and better along.