Director Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel gets a lot right. The casting of Henry Cavill as Superman/Kal-El/Clark Kent is spot-on and the actor brings the right notes of heroism and earnestness to the role, as well as embodying the physical presence of the character. Superman Returns saw Brandon Routh (successfully) following in the footsteps of Christopher Reeve, but Cavill takes a fresh approach. He has to be commended for this interpretation of the character.
The 2013 film charts the Superman origin story in a non-linear fashion (like Batman Begins), offering a unique slant on the story. It covers many of the plot points from the Richard Donner films, but gives it much more of a sci-fi orientated spin. The Krypton of Man of Steel has more in common with George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels than the icy crystal landscapes of Donner’s world. In fact, there are many elements of the Krypton scenes that are very reminiscent of Lucas’s second trilogy of Star Wars films. The gunships, creature design, inter-galactic politics (and even some CGI camera work) brings to mind Attack of the Clones. Could now be the time when Lucas’ Star Wars prequels have started to feed into the filmmaking psyche like the original films did?
Few actors would be able to replace Marlon Brando as Jor-El, Superman’s birth father, but Russell Crowe manages to do it. He adds gravitas to the character and his role is much bigger than you would expect (but more on that later). Kevin Costner is Man of Steel’s emotional core. He brings the baggage of his onscreen persona to Jonathan Kent. It’s an underplayed and small role, but he’s the beating heart of the film, and he gives it its humanity.
Budgeted at $225 million, Man Of Steel grossed $291 million at the US box office and $668 million worldwide when it was released in 2013.