“I have journeyed across an ocean of stars to reach here. Your world has sheltered one of my citizens. He will look like you, but he is not one of you.”
– General Zod
The planet Krypton is falling apart, its inhabitants having exhausted its core and killing it all off. Scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife, Lara (Ayelet Zurer) have birthed the first natural birth the planet has seen in centuries. Kal-El is seen as the planet’s hope, and Jor-El is intent on convincing the Kryptonian council that the codex need to be sent out to preserve the Kryptonian race. However, General Zod (Michael Shannon) has staged a coup to extinguish all the bloodlines he feels are responsible for their planet’s demise. His faithful followers are caught and sentenced, though Jor-El has fallen, and Kal-El has been sent to Earth with the codex.
Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) is a young man running from his destiny – from his life. He has spent his entire life hiding who he is at the behest of his father, Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner), not believing that the world is ready from him. He and Martha (Diane Lane) found Clark as a baby and adopted him. Jonathan taught Clark how to control his superhuman powers he has gained on Earth, and tells him where he is really from. Clark’s insistence on helping people with his powers has caused that he needs to run – people cannot know who he is. While on the run, reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) discovers Clark, who is on a mission to find out more about his people and where he is truly from. Clark meets his biological father, Jor-El, and learns of Krypton’s destruction and how he is the last hope. Lois is intent on spreading the story on alien life after Clark saves her life, but her boss and editor at the Daily Planet, Perry White (Laurence Fishburn), refuses to publish it. Lois will not let it go but changes her mind after tracking Martha and Clark down, and hearing the reason for his secrecy.
However, Zod and his followers have escaped the Phantom Zone, and track Clark down on Earth. They inform Earth that they are housing a fugitive, and insist that they turn him over or their planet will be eradicated. Clark is torn between turning himself in (knowing that he cannot trust Zod) and trusting the humans on Earth to do the right thing. Clark chooses to trust the people, and hands himself over to the United States military. They are both threatened and in awe of the powerful being. Zod’s second in command, Faora-Ul (Antje Traue), takes Lois as well as Clark to her general. Zod insists that Clark join them, and when Clark turns him down he is agitated. All hell breaks loose.
Will Clark be able to neutralize General Zod and protect the inhabitants or Earth? Though he knows nothing of the codex, will he be able to keep it from the superhuman beings and maintain his identity? Will he be able to fight off the last remaining members of his extinct race?
Man of Steel merits a 7/10. I thought about this for a while, but I think that the score is fair and deserving. Yep, I know I am late to the Superman party, but we got it late. Michael Shannon was an absolute joy to watch as the hardcore General Zod, and the Kryptonians had such phenomenal costumes. They just looked brutal. The opening sequence of Krypton and its demise was so well rendered, and it was breathtaking to watch. Russell Crowe was a great good Jor-EL, and Kevin Costner impressed me as Jonathan Kent. Diane Lane was also lovely as his mother. Hans Zimmer again delivered a stunning score, and Man of Steel was visually stunning to look at, though I see why people say that there was an overload of CGI. The destruction was just a tiny bit much for me, but in a way I guess foreign life coming to Earth did not mean they were going to give a toot about damage totals. Henry Cavill is simply a great Clark Kent and Superman, so kudos for that. He was really compelling to watch, charming and the complete embodiment of what Clark Kent should be. I do feel though that there were so many intense action scenes to mask that there was not as deep and in depth a story as you would expect, but the action and fighting keeps you from getting too close to that. The revamping of the Superman outfit was truly fantastical, and long overdue. That cape just thrilled me (yes, again me and the cape). The kids that were chosen to play Clark over the years were so cool as they really looked like they could have been Cavill at a younger age. Amy Adams was well cast, but sometimes I think she is too cute for the role of someone so gritty, though she made it work here. What I appreciated about this film was that it had a darker tone, though there was still some humour. I like some humour in this type of thing, but I feel it is far better with a bit more brooding, which they nailed here. It gives it a sense of realism, not total cheese. Overall, one of the best DC comic book films in many years, and it was epic, though not as wonderful and wow as I would have hoped – I was holding out for my new Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan set a whole new bar for the genre with his Dark Knight trilogy.