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13 June 2013

Man of Steel (Review): "The New Superman"

I am a big fan of Superman. Yes, I have the T-shirt, the tank top, the bed covers and even the underwear.  Even as a child, Superman was my hero even if he was ridiculed for being too much of a boy scout and for wearing red underwear.  Fortunately, Zack Snyder made Superman cool, tough, masculine and sexy once again without losing his humanity.  Most importantly, fans finally get to see Superman use his superpowers to the maximum.  This new reboot of Superman is actually closer to Richard Donner’s “Superman II” than “Superman I.” Thankfully, the Richard Donner legacy lives on.   Kudos to Snyder for successfully modernizing our classic superhero and making him more appealing to adult audiences and not just to kids.  Henry Cavill as Superman is the perfect choice.  He is not Christopher Reeve and that is a plus.  Cavill gave us a more serious Superman suited to our darker times. 

Super fans of the Man of Steel should not be embarrassed anymore. With this new movie, our hero can beat anyone from the Avengers but we know he will not because it is not in his nature to show off.  Everything that seems illogical about the Superman story is also gone.  Zack Snyder made everything logical, even the ultimate Superman question: “If Lois is such a great investigative reporter, why can’t she see that Clark Kent is Superman, after all, Clark is just wearing eyeglasses as a disguise?” Well, disbelievers, screenwriter David S. Goyer (assisted by Christopher Nolan) has brilliantly settled that dilemma.

The qualities that also make Superman unique are still in tact. He still protects life at all cost. He is still a true blue gentleman.  He is still more human than people from earth are.  He still loves his family. He is still a small town boy, and all the positive connotations of that assignation.  He still feels alone and vulnerable despite having super powers, and he still loves Lois Lane.

For me, Margot Kidder created the perfect template for Lois Lane in “Superman I.”  Lois is smart, gutsy and a true equal to Superman but she still maintains her feminity, which has never been a sign of inferiority.  Thankfully, Amy Adams did not disappoint.  Adams’ Lois is still familiar but she made Lois her own.  This new Lois does not smoke.  She is not as witty as Kidder’s Lois but then again, this is just the first movie.  Let’s wait and see.  Still, Adam’s likeability as an actor has an affect on her portrayal as Lois.  Lois is beautiful but her beauty is beyond the physical.  She is a real woman like Superman’s earth mother, Martha.   This is perhaps the reason why Superman fell in love with Lois. The Man of Steel needs an equal partner not a bombshell bimbo.

As expected, Michael Shannon’s as General Zod is outstanding. Shannon’s portrayal kept the movie more interesting. As they say, the hero is only as good as the villain.  Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane provided good support as well.

Bottom line, Superman will always be a boy scout and I like that. Some people may make fun of us kids who used to be boy scouts but boy scouts (or kids who thinks like a boy scout) is what inspires people.  Boys with "boy scout mentality" will always help grandma cross the street.  They take out the trash. They volunteer. They do not abuse women. A boy scout will hold his woman’s hand not because he thinks women are weak but because a boy scout loves his woman and want to be with her. 

Superman rescues Lois but only during life and death situation.  On her own, Lois can take care of herself. Superman may also have superpowers but he is only as powerful as the number of ordinary people who help him. 

I like this new Superman. He takes me back to my childhood days when I was so wimpy and could easily be beaten by bullies.  However, my teachers always told me never to fight back against bullies but to rise above so you can see them for what they are.  Maybe that is the reason why I still love Superman up to now.  He reminds me of the simple lessons on goodness that I learned as a child.  Superman may not be as dark and rich as Batman, or as flamboyant as Iron Man. He may not get to ride an expensive car or motorbike but when push comes to shove, I will stand behind the “supermen and superwomen” in the world because they will take humanity to greater heights.   

4/5 but I'm biased. I love Superman
Despite casting a non-American to play Superman, the movie still clings to its American theme.  The phrase “fight for truth, justice and the American way” is downplayed but sadly, Superman is yet to let go of his allegiance to America and be a citizen of the world. After all, America is not the world. Perhaps, we have wait for several reboots before Kar-El belongs to everyone and not just Kansas, U.S.A., still, that is much better than belonging to Washington D.C., U.S.A.



  1. A rave review of a Hollywood summer blockbuster from Rob? Wait, I gotta pinch myself. Hehehe

  2. Like I said, I'm a big Superman fan so perhaps I'm biased, but the "intellectual" (emphasis on quotation marks)review is on my personal blog. Click link. Thanks A.J.


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