Zack Snyder’s reboot of the Big Blue Boy Scout was a great big success, in that it made Superman cool again. Oh sure, there were a couple of questionable choices (destroying half of Metropolis, Hologram Dad, etc.), but overall “Man of Steel” marked a triumphant return to the big screen for a superhero that has long been marred by, shall we say, lackluster outings. “Man of Steel” blasts onto DVD/Blu-ray, and every other outlet of your movie viewing choice this November 12th.
A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.
Even though I totally dug most of Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns” (yes, I’m one of the three people in the universe that doesn’t think that film is a big shiny piece of turd), I do prefer “Man of Steel” over it, if only because Snyder’s movie lacked the nonsense Lex “King of the Get Rich Quick Land Scheme” Luthor. Throwing a trio of badass Kryptonian against a man who can bend steel and leap tall buildings in a single bound was, to put it mildly, a brilliant move. That is, if you love insane comic book action. If not? Then “Man of Steel” probably felt a little lacking to you.
Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, and Diane Lane all turn in creditable performances, especially a highly convincing Cavill as the man with abs and buns of steel. Michael Shannon as the bad guy, with the gorgeous Antje Traue as his right-hand woman, turn things up another notch. Shannon is menacing, even if everything about his motivations and how he goes about it makes almost as much (non)sense as Eric Bana’s Nero in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek”. Did I mention that Antje Traue is absolutely stunning? Cause, you know, she is.
The film certainly doesn’t lack for eye candy, from the actors to the action. And man, does it have action. Something is exploding and someone is getting super punched about once every 10 minutes or thereabouts. Unless you hate comic book superpowered fights, chances of you getting bored by “Man of Steel” is zero to none. Honestly, though, if you don’t appreciate the kind of mayhem that Snyder dished out here, I’m not sure what you were expecting from a movie about a guy name Superman.
The Blu-ray combo pack for “Man of Steel” boasts “nearly 4 hours of bonus features” on its back jacket, but I was disappointed one of those bonus features wasn’t a feature-length audio commentary. I always enjoy watching a movie that I’ve liked a second time around, but this time with input from either the director or cast. Maybe Snyder will offer an audio track on a Director’s Cut, because as someone who owns many of his other films on Blu-ray, I know he enjoys talking about his movies.
Instead, the Blu-ray’s big is pay off is “Journey of Discovery: Creating Man of Steel”, which offers up a viewing of “Man of Steel” with interviews and featurettes to get you more “into” the movie. “Journey” is available on the combo pack’s second disc, along with the 17-minute “Planet Krypton”, which is a faux documentary (or mockumentary if you prefer) on, er, the planet Krypton. I actually really liked this for some reason. It reminded me of the History Channel’s ludicrous “Ancient Astronauts” TV show….except “Planet Krypton” is probably more believable.
Other bonus features include “Strong Characters Legendary Roles”, about the history of Superman and Snyder’s take via “Man of Steel”; “Krypton Decoded” focuses on the VFX that went into blowing up Krypton (with the kid who played teenage Clark Kent as your host); and “All Out Action” is a lengthy, 25-minute doc on the physical training the cast endured for the movie, along with background on the film’s major stunts. And for those of you who missed it, the 2-minute “Superman 75th Anniversary” animated short, which chronicles the many iterations of Supes, is also included here.
As someone who enjoyed “Man of Steel” despite some of its missteps, I do think it’s the movie many people have been waiting for. It made Superman a hot commodity again, and let’s face it, the world is a better place when Superman is seen as cool rather than a joke. Certainly, we wouldn’t be getting the historical team-up movie “Batman vs. Superman” in two years if not for “Man of Steel”. The fact that it’s a pretty darn good slam-bang action/comic book movie doesn’t hurt, either.