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Man Of Steel (2013)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Man Of Steel (2013) Superman reinvented for the 21st Century, and it wasn't too bad, despite the excessive use of CGI to the point of overkill. Kind of a rethinking of the first two Christopher Reeve SUPERMAN films, we get pretty much the same story- the origins of Superman on Krypton, his parents sending him to earth before the planet blows up, and the whole shebang of General Zod being sentenced and condemned to the Phantom Zone before Krypton blows up. We catch up with Clark Kent on earth, wandering in a Batman-like trance state, trying to find himself in odd jobs (yes, it's a darker spin on Superman, co-produced by DARK KNIGHT directing legend Chrisopher Nolan). There's lots of brooding and flashbacks of being raised by the Kents (played here by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) and some cool setpieces involving a wrecked school bus rescue and a tornado that I thought worked well, and then we get into Clark Kent rescuing workers on the oil rig and other confrontations...and finally, Lois Lane crossing paths with him at the site of a UFO crash in Siberia, which of course, turns out to be Clark's Fortress Of Solitude. Russell Crowe plays Jor-El to the letter and guides his son into becoming Superman, and the story marches on with Superman announcing his intent to help the U.S. with finding "truth, justice, and the American way" when General Zod and his cronies arrive to wreak havoc and get revenge on Jor-El by destroying his son and earth, making it the new Krypton. Here's where the action really amps up, with things happening so fast with everyone's "super speed" that it's hard for the human eye to even keep up with what's going on on the screen! Still, it all works great, we're invested in the story, and the modern day violence and commentaries on a post 9/11 world are everywhere in the total destruction and chaos of the battle. The effects are spectacular for CGI, even if overdone (especially on Krypton scenes, I didn't like the flying creatures everyone rode or the Matrix-like underwater birth stuff) and the story moves at a breakneck pace. Speaking of breaking necks, I know there was great controversy with the ending and whether Superman would break a bad guy's neck, but I surely didn't see any problem with that as the baddie was about to destroy an entire family with his laser eyes! There's little time for romance between Superman and Lois, but it's hinted at, and lead actor Henry Cavill plays Superman superbly- not quite as good as Christopher Reeve, but he now owns the role in the 21st Century here. While Superman '78 is still my favorite incarnation of the hero (mainly for nostalgia and because I grew up with that one), I'd say this is a great update for the Nu Generation of fans, and I'm excited about where it all goes from here. Brutal, dark, brooding, action-packed, and fun only begin to describe this excellent film. It's worlds above the last attempt to reboot the franchise, SUPERMAN RETURNS.

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