Man of Steel – 2013 – dir. Zach Snyder
A lot has been said about Man of Steel lately and the overarching theme has been one of ambivalence. Too much action, not enough heart. Just another Zach Snyder film. If you want a general review go to Rotten Tomatoes or watch the What the Flick review on youtube. I, on the other hand, have to whole heartedly disagree with the sentiment because of one scene towards the end of the film. If you have not seen Man of Steel and are not a fan of spoilers I recommend you stop reading now because I will only be talking about the climax of the film below.
So, we have a lot of drama and mystery with Superman’s life for the first 2/3 of the film. Then they start a tonne of big budget action sequences between Superman and General Zod’s band of Kryptonian ruffians. Eventually it comes down to a one on one fight between Supes and Zod. Some seem to have seen this as just another big dumb action sequence, but I feel this was the critics getting lazy. The context of this scene is Zod and Supes being the last two Kryptonians alive in the universe. Zod has nothing to lose and Supes has pretty much everything to lose. The fight is an epic battle where Zod wants to push Superman to his limits and find the one thing that he won’t do (kill people). Eventually they land and Superman puts him in a choke hold trying to restrain him but Zod uses his heat vision to threaten a family trapped in a corner of the room. The emotion that Henry Cavill is able to produce as he considers letting the family die is powerful and when he eventually chooses to break Zod’s neck to save them he falls to the ground. Lois Lane arrives to comfort Superman who then screams in agony. He is now alone in the universe and it’s entirely his fault. The character development is brilliant and it matches the greatness found in Supeman 2’s conflicting nature. Man of Steel at times does over do the action, but to say that robs the film of its heart is a gross misrepresentation of the power this film has.