As always, I must warn of spoilers galore in this review. So although I think it likely that I'm one of the very few left who haven't seen this movie, I must warn that if you fall into that category you skip this. However, if you're one of the many, MANY who saw this weeks ago when it came out and are interested in my take, read on.
Yes, it is still an origin story but it's a completely different one. Kal-El is still sent off from Krypton, but under rather different circumstances than we've seen before. Here, rather than the imminent destruction of the planet sparking his emergency exit, it is a coup staged by General Zod that leads his parents to high-tail him off the planet. Shortly after his escape, Zod is sent off to the Phantom realm as we originally saw in the 2nd Superman film. Krypton does eventually implode, at which point Zod sets off to find Kal-el.
Meanwhile, back on earth, we are exposed to a rather different image of Clark Kent then we've previously seen before. Here, rather than the geeky reporter of the Daily Planet we have a scruffy vagabond drifting from place to place like a lost soul. Of course he can't keep himself from rescuing people, but he's clearly doing it out of moral obligation rather than out of his role as a hero, cause he's not playing that role yet. Plus he always ends up leaving shortly after to keep his super strength and indestructibility a secret. It is a lonely, rather bleak look at the hero we haven't seen before.
But, to be fair, it is Superman. If something's not blowing up, or a city's not in life-threatening danger then how would we know what we're watching? Sigh.
Not that the special effects aren't good. The sequence where he first learns to fly made me so happy I almost teared up (mainly because flying, to me, seems like the greatest thrill a person could ever experience. Seriously- every time I get a quiz asking which superhero I'd be I say Superman for this reason. And of course if I could have any superpower it'd be flying. But I digress. It was gorgeous, is my point.) And Krypton has never looked so good.
But to be fair, what makes a good fight scene is the people fighting it. One pits superman against Ursa and a faceless Zod underling- both of whom are painfully flat throughout. The other pits Superman against Zod himself and that, thankfully, was worth watching.
It's here that I have to take a moment and apologize because I'm about to go a little fan girl on you all. Eh-hem. HOW EFFING AWESOME IS MICHAEL SHANNON?!? Any of you who have seen Boardwalk Empire (which I love so, so much) know what I'm talking about- the man is sheer brilliance! He does zealots better than any human being that has ever acted. The singlemindedness, the restraint, the rage boiling under the surface that explodes in unimaginably brutal violence- he's just brilliant at that. And this Zod taps into every one of those characteristics. I know I'm biased but I have to say that, in my opion, he stole the whole damned movie.
Ok, rant over. A couple more points before I end this: the music was great. Nowhere near the epic score from the original which is as distinguished as the sound of Jaws, Star Wars or Harry Potter, but still great. Henry Cavill was wonderful and did the role of Superman proud. Amy Adams was a wonderful Lois Lane- full of spunk but also gentleness but seeing her in this role makes me long to see her in something totally different for a change, you know? It's a just a little too familiar. I heard a rumor that they're going to finally make a biopic of Janis Joplin (something they've been trying to do for years) and that she's slated for the role. I would LOVE to see that. Cause her sweet yet spunky act has been a little played out.
All in all, I kind-of loved it. And assuming they do make a second installment in this franchise (which I suspect they will) I will happily go see it. But they better get a damned good villain to make up for the loss of Zod.
I know, I felt the same way.