For someone who dubs themselves as ‘not really a film person’, this whole living next to a cinema thing is ruining that title. It’s never been because I didn’t like films, it’s more that I just preferred books and found it hard to have the time for both. Hence, I have barely seen any classic films (side note: currently working my way through IMDB’s top 250 to rectify this). So, moving on from the pointless, I turn to the latest Superman movie.
Now, here’s the thing. I know I like Superman, I just can’t remember the specifics. I remember watching Smallville when I was younger because I really loved Superman and wanted to watch anything to do with it. That is the last I can remember being emphatic about Clark Kent, but it didn’t take long for that love to reappear when I sat down to watch Man of Steel.
What I liked about the film is pure and simple: it’s a revolution of Superman, to the point he’s not actually called Superman. Off the top of my head I remember one conversation in which he is called that, referencing the fact that ‘the people are calling him it’. He’s Clark, he’s an alien, he’s Kal-El. I take it to be this: the film isn’t a typical Superman story, this isn’t about Superman the superhero. This is his origins, his history and his nestling into the human world. In fact, it’s the perfect set up to move on to a ‘typical’ superhero film with his spot at the Daily Planet secured.
But it’s not the superhero antics I liked most. Sure, those were good, the effects were blinding and Metropolis found itself for the millionth time brought to the ground, but it’s those flashbacks, the personal moments that set it apart. It was the human element, the struggle to keep his real identity quiet for not only his sake, but the world’s, the most poignant moment being when he questions whether he should let a bus full of his schoolmates die to protect himself. “Maybe,” his step-father replies.
Cavill is great as Superman, in this sense at least. He plays with the emotional plot well and – from the moments where he plays the hero – is pretty great too, personally. Shame the same can’t be said about Amy Adams as Lois Lane. She just wasn’t there as a character, and at points it felt like they were trying to make her funny and it fell flat. Even the all important first kiss didn’t spark, nor did the resulting “It’s all downhill from here” comment provoke any form of amusement.
I know the critics haven’t exactly loved it, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the fact it’s not your typical superhero movie and tackled the plot from a different angle. I think Cavill will be great in any sequels, but Adams did all she could with a very poor character, and will do better if they make Lois’s personality more present.