By Nicholas Smith


Flying Moderately High: Snyder Reinvents Superman For The New Generation

It was nearly a year ago when we received a small, but memorable sampling of Snyder’s creation of Superman. The rich, haunting music played throughout this minute and a half clip showing Superman as vulnerable and misunderstood, who would conclude the trailer by storming the skies in the infamous costume. I was grasped. And now the time has come and indeed Man of Steel is brought out into the world after much discussion and patience.

I hate the use of the term ‘reboot’ as if it’s to say something is out of date, so we reinvent it into something ‘better’. But, I like the fact that the same story can be made with relevant ideas giving the franchise a new dimension. Snyder reinvents Superman as a modern day hero, blending his origins in with today’s society. The story kicks off with Superman’s birth and has arrival on earth after his home planet is destroyed and here we see his struggles with human identity. It is something we’ve all seen before, a man who struggles to fit in with contemporary society and ultimately finds a path leading him to realise he is worth something more. However, as brilliant as it is seeing Superman find his identity, it can feel at times his flashbacks to his childhood/teenage days are random and almost thrown in to enhance his vulnerability as Superman. It seems identity struggles and loners seem to be what we as an audience are all into and Snyder displays this throughout in true overt fashion.

When it comes to donning the costume, we are immediately introduced to the imminent dangers that are conducted by the primary antagonist, General Zod. I have to say the villain is portrayed with viciousness and also desperation as Zod’s prime objective is to salvage his home planet Krypton by bulldozing earth. Superman no likely. This leads to the last hour being action packed all the way through. Buildings are smashed, faces are pummelled and not the mention Lawrence Fishburne sporting some impressive man boobs as he exits the building of the Daily Planet for which he runs.

The casting is also impressive, Henry Cavill is an impressive Superman, but I feel his next outing will see him extend his role to greater heights. I feel development was needed for when he dons the costume. For instance, it is as if by becoming Superman that he now has confidence in himself with a click of a finger. He leaps into the sky and falls, but only once. No time is spent on discovering his skills, he just happens to know about every power he has and never make a mistake. Michael Shannon gives a great performance as Superman’s nemesis, whilst the support roles given by Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams and Diane Lane blend together nicely showing us the different aspects of Superman’s life. But, I praise Russell Crowe the most for his bold support throughout as Superman’s father, guiding his son in inspirational ways.

The script at times can feel flawed and often typical in some ways. It has high levels of good writing when it comes to Zod’s character and his conflict with Superman, but I feel Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, who play Superman’s adoptive parents, could’ve been introduced to a more challenging and rewarding script when it came to their scenes. But, they work well with what they received and I praise them. With the first half retelling Superman’s origins, the second half throws us into threats of violence leading to ultimate carnage throughout Metropolis. My Criticism with this is that it blends two films into one, with the first half engaging in drama and self-discovery and the seconds resulting in epic battle after another epic battle. There is no blend or mixture; it is very much black and white, separating a lot of the film into miniature films of their own.

Snyder uses a lot of slow-mo shots in his films, but there seems to be no sign of his signature style during the actions scenes and I believe this would’ve benefitted the film greatly. Hand-held cameras take over throughout most of the action scenes, it conveys danger and destruction well, but leaves you wandering who punched who and cutting off the action abruptly. I found it was more relatable to Cloverfield in terms of a disaster movie rather than a superhero movie. I suppose Snyder used this as an intention for us, as an audience, to feel more a part of the action and Superman’s story. Bless him. With Hans Zimmer behind the music I was really interested to see how it plays out throughout the film, but I feel it had no relation or significance which is a shame as I thought he did a fantastic job with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight.

We see a Superman film brimming with darkness and at times a little flawed, but I expect the second instalment to learn from this and evolve into a proud moment of the Superman legacy. Although shaky at times, it does take off and impress. It is a film which will carve a great future with DC fans and the future of Superman. Henry Cavill has a bright future ahead of him, and it’s all thanks to the great support surrounding him and Snyder’s focus on his characters and the story that it conveys. So far so good, and I’m already eager for the sequel.

Rating: 6.5/10

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