It has been almost three long years before the announcement of the follow up to Man of Steel at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con. For the first time, on the bi screen, we were going to see two of the most iconic comic book characters duke it out. After the announcement, months and months of speculation on who should play who, what the plot should be and so on was excitedly bantered about online. Then the casting started rolling in and people were met with disdain, excitement, or like me, a wait and see attitude. I learned my lesson when Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker. Over the last few days a slew of negative reviews have come from all over the place, which would make me worry if i listened to print media or the hoity toity online guys. I read most and even accidently spoiled the movie for myself, but nevertheless I went in with just as much excitement as i did for The Dark Knight, if not more so. So how did it turn out?
Two years after Superman (Henry Cavill) battled General Zod Metropolis, the city is back to functioning and for the most part, Superman is seen as a hero. Not so for Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) who was an eyewitness on the ground of the battle and the personal destruction it caused him. Since the Man of Steels arrival, Batman has come out of the shadows again and has become more brutal. He believes that Superman might have to be stopped and that he is the man to do it. Learning of this vigilante, Clark Kent/Superman seeks to curb is brutal ways. At the same time, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) , has a much deeper hatred for Superman and is looking for ways to destroy him. All the while the world is still trying to figure out how Superman should fit in the world of men.
As per Zack Snyder’s personal touch, this is a great film to look at. The ways scenes are set up just engross the viewer in the world of these two heroes. He makes movies for fans and did he make one hell of a fan film here. Too many to count on the first viewing were the number of shots that were taking from the comics from over the last three decades. The score is hit and miss, but mostly hit when it counts. the pacing slows down some 45 minutes in for a bit, but then quickly picks up the pace again. The actors were all up to the task with the exception of one. Scott McNairy, who plays a pivotal role, doesn’t seem to be up to the task of making the viewers truly care about his character. Each major role was great for specific reasons which I will list below:
- Superman/Clark Kent – Cavill continues to prove that he was terrific casting. Superman isn’t really given much more to do here, but his interactions with Lois Lane, Batman/Bruce Wayne, Luthor etc. all hit the right note. We still love and admire this character. His relationship with Lois Lane feels real and touching at the same time.
- Batman/Bruce Wayne – Affleck knocked this sucker out of the park. This is a completely different Batman than we have seen before and I’d even say he is not only the anger and bitter Batman for Frank Millers The Dark Knight Returns, but even some of the current takes on Batman. His Bruce is also great, going from moody to drunk bachelor is seamless.
- Lex Luthor – This will definitely be the biggest gripe for the film. While I can understand how someone would hate Eisenberg’s take, I found it inventive and an interesting take on the character. There were a few moments where I doubted his take, but in the end I think it was well done. He is both evil, brilliant and crazy.
- Lois Lane – Amy Adams is great for this role and not since Margot Kidder has there been a better actor in the role. She has a lot less to do here, but what she does do is good.
- Wonder Woman/ Diane Prince – I have never been a fan of this character outside of her interesting crush on Batman in the sadly cancelled Justice League Unlimited. But what Gal Gadot does in this movie makes me look forward to else she has in store for the character. Her Diane Prince was both flirty, strong and interesting and her Wonder Woman moments do shine.
- Doomsday – We were all bummed that this guy was shown too early in trailers, but I can say that he is a completely faithful incarnation of the early 90’s monster. Seeing him portrayed this way was a childhood dream come true.
Snyder and company not only bring to the screen every DC fans dreams. As he has done in so many of his comic book films, he has marked it with philosophical questions, themes of bravery and sacrifice, questioning what being a hero means, etc. He is a master at this and I do not understand all the hatred for him. There were strange plot points that I was able to dismiss and would understand if others wouldn’t. I also would have liked some story lines to be delved into deeper or had a full movie about, but this is what we have now. Snyder is a fan himself and doesn’t make movie for the critics…looking at you Sucker Punch..but makes ones that he thinks the fans of the genre/characters will get excited about and this was his best. Multiple times last night I saw my childhood up on the screen. Great artistic panels from the late 80’s and the 90’s from my comic books were shown in motion before my eyes and it was awesome. The last half of the film I felt like a little kid, filled with giddiness and pure excitement at what I was seeing. I walked out of the theater with a huge smile on my face.
If you like these characters, you will love the new interpretations. One caution needs to strongly be heeded here, for those thinking of taking kids younger than 13, be warned that there are many uncomfortable if not outright frightening scenes that may be inappropriate at that young age.
3 and 1/2 stars out of 4