Man of Steel Reboots Franchise Jun14

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Man of Steel Reboots Franchise

The summer is long and hot, and we’ve come to expect a couple of hours of respite from the heat and boredom at our local Cineplex in the form of the so-called “Summer Blockbuster.”

mos3Man of Steel
Warner Bros. Pictures

I blame Steven Spielberg for it. If it weren’t for “Jaws” we’d still be waiting for the next big movie to cycle its way around the country until it finally landed at the local Bijou, and that big summer movie might not make it to our tiny hamlet until Thanksgiving. But I digress.

It’s Flag Day, and what better way to celebrate Truth, Justice and the American Way than with Superman. (Yeah, I know, if you’re younger than 50 years old you probably have no idea what Truth, Justice and the American Way have to do with Superman, but trust me, all us old codgers got the reference.) Man of Steel hits the big screen today with Kal-El packing a bigger wallop than he’s packed for many a film incarnation. In fact, we’ve finally got the summer blockbuster we’ve been waiting for.

Give a heaping helping of credit to Henry Cavill as the man with the S on his chest. The guy more than just looks the part, he inhabits the part. And has convinced me to never take my shirt off in public again. Let’s just say the dude doesn’t need a muscle suit like Batman has to wear.

This reboot takes us back to the doomed planet of Krypton to reveal Superman’s origins. The CGI’s are lush and seamless. Russell Crowe is dynamite as Jor-El, but I confess I would have loved to see more of Ayelet Zurer as Kal’s mother, Lara Lor-Van. And that quad-winged flying critter that Jor-El rides? I gotta get me one of those!

Kevin Costner delivers a surprisingly nuanced and moving performance as Jonathan Kent, Kal-El’s earthly dad. But a word to the wise; do not threaten Kal’s earthly mom (Diane Lane). It makes Superman angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. Wait. Wrong comic book universe. Rewind.

MOS4Michael Shannon as General Zod might be the best super-villain on the planet. Or any other planet. But not because he is overly evil. In fact, he’s really not evil at all. He is a genetically engineered military commander, doing what genetically engineered military commanders do. He’s defending his race, his homeland, his world. And if that means he has to destroy an entire civilization to do it, well, that’s just the price of war.

On the down side, the flick is a bit long. They could have edited out 1/3 of the fight scenes without losing any of the impact. And the smattering of coarse language (not a bunch, but enough to make me cringe as a parent if I had young children with me) wasn’t really necessary.

Overall, this is a promising reboot to a series that has long played second fiddle to Marvel’s entries into the comic book/movie realm. Makes me want to follow along and see what the Man of Steel does next.