Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Man of Steel

Man of Steel (2014)

     My parents were proper comic book geeks. Growing up on the 60's and 70's, there was a desperate need for heroes and something to believe in. The common man becoming the uncommon leader, the brink of despair becoming the dawning of hope, humanity's fate in secure hands, and the never ending belief of good overcoming evil. We still love and look up to superheroes; it was relevant in the rebellious era of the 70's and it still holds true today, especially in a failing economy, terrorism in the East and leaders who know nothing of true leadership.

     Superman is one of the oldest and most well loved superheroes in comic book history. He is the embodiment of not only the American spirit, but of humanity's hope. Along with Captain America he proves that a great man is only great when the foundation of his life is goodness and not power.

~ ~ ~

Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent//Superman in
Man of Steel (2013)

     I said this is in my review for The King's Speech that Shakespeare's famous quote on greatness from "Twelfth Night" could apply to many heroes (fiction and non-fiction):

"Be not afraid of greatness: 
some men are born great, 
some achieve greatness 
and some have greatness thrust upon them."
~William Shakespeare, "Twelfth Night"

     In the case of Clark Kent, he had the full barrel. 

    Born Kal-El on the planet Krypton, raised as Clark Kent in Smallville, Kansas and achieved the name of Superman when he found his balance between his two worlds. 

~ ~ ~

   Only hours after his birth on the dying planet of Krypton, a planet based on science and technological discovery, Kal-El is sent away by his loving parents Jor-El and Lady Lara. After a thousand years of artificially created children, Kal-El is Krypton's first natural born child. His natural born birth gives him the chance of being able to survive on another world. Only moments after his capsule is released into the atmosphere, his home planet is destroyed. All Krypton's hope travels with that one newborn baby.

     Thirty-three years later a young man is found wondering aimlessly through life. Conflicted, confused and guilty of a decision made years before, Clark Kent has no idea what life has in store for him. Raised on Earth by his loving and protective parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, Clark grew up knowing he was different. His abnormal strength, heightened sight and hearing, and unusual x-ray vision paints him as a 'freak' to the kids and bullies at school. Eventually his father tells him the truth about who is, about how he was found and why he must always keep his abilities under control. He also tells Clark that he was sent to Earth for a purpose and whatever that purpose is, he is meant to be there, that his abilities will one day be a blessing and that he is the answer the question, "Are we alone in the universe?"

     When Jonathan is killed trying to protect his son, Clark leaves Kansas to find the answers to who he really is and the purpose for what he is meant to become. He finds his answers up north in an abandoned space ship when he comes face to face with a projection of his biological father Jor-El. In the spirit of Jonathan Kent, Jor-El reveals to Clark his birth name Kal-El , why he was sent away and what future destiny his son can carry. After years of searching, Clark finally discovers his purpose as a protector to mankind. 

And protect mankind he does.

     Courageous, compassionate and generous, Clark Kent is in all essence a wonderful man who wants to be excepted without being made to conform. He understands the human mind, but also understands the human heart and how it beats for a belonging in the world. His adopted father raised him to believe that he has a purpose and his biological father revealed that purpose to him. With two incredible fathers to learn from and a strong mother who supports him, Clark Kent realizes that he is not as alone as he thought himself to be. 

     Before this movie, I had never been big into Superman. Henry Cavill's engaging and charismatic portrayal of the legendary superhero made me a fan girl within a few seconds of his smile...and he's hot...so no argument there! In all honesty, Henry Cavill gave a flawless and effortless performance, and carried the movie with an incredible ease. 

~ ~ ~

Lois Lane
Amy Adams as Lois Lane in
Man of Steel (2013)

     Beautiful and feisty, Lois Lane is a Pulitzer Prize journalist from The Daily Planet in Metropolis. Never one to hold back her opinion, Lois does what she wants to do and give little to no regard to the consequences she might get herself into. While on a research project up north, Lois finds herself getting tangled with some alien life-force. She is rescued by a handsome stranger who heals her and then leaves without a trace to who he is. 

     Intrigued and confused, Lois writes about her supernatural meeting with this man only to have her boss tell her that she could be seen as insane. So Lois sets out (against her boss' wishes) on an investigative search to find this stranger. When she finds the mystery man whose name is Clark Kent from Smallville, Kansas, Lois becomes privy to he is, what he is and what is destined to become. 

     Before she knows it, Lois is thrust into a whirlwind of aliens, machines, explosions, holographic projections, and unlikely love. Her independent nature wins the admiration of Clark Kent who trusts her and only her with his information about who he is. Lois becomes an unexpected heroine when she helps Clark and the U.S. Army combat General Zod and his followers from taking over the world and of course, she is rescued by Superman when she falls out of the military chopper. All in a days work for Miss Lois Lane.

     I loved Amy Adams in this! She was a very different Lois in many ways as compared to other Lois Lanes. Amy took this character and put so much of her own fun and intelligent personality into her that you actually find this Lois Lane endearing and someone you would want by your side if the world was about to end.

~ ~ ~

Russell Crowe as Jor-El in
Man of Steel (2013)

     Krypton's foremost scientist and thinkers, Jor-El knows that his people are dying, that his planet is being destroyed and that the fault lays in the arrogance of Krypton's people. When the people of Krypton drill into the planet's core, they set off its balance and therefore begin the destruction of the millennial old world. Aware that he has only a few hours left to live, Jor-El makes a heartbreaking decision and illegally sends his newborn son, Kal-El to another world. A world that his son can make a difference in. Just before Kal-El is sent off, Jor-El is killed by his adversary General Zod for his betrayal to him. Yet, Jor-El believes and knows in his heart that all is not lost...as long as his son lives.

     After thirty-three years, Jor-El's holographic projection is activated by his human/alien hybrid son Clark Kent who stumbles upon it in an old broken down space station. Jor-El created the this projection in the hope that his son would come and find him for the answers to his life. Jor-El explains to the confused young man about his planet, his birth, Krypton's destruction and Earth's destiny. He reveals his son's birth name and tells him of the legacy that he must now carry on. The legacy of the House of El to bring hope. Finally, Jor-El predicts that one day his son will rise up and that the people of Earth will follow him; though they may stumble and fall, they will see him as their leader, their protector and their hope.

~ ~ ~

General Zod
Michael Shannon as General Zod in
Man of Steel (2013)

     After he stages a military coup on Krypton, general Zod and his followers are frozen and exiled into the Earth's atmosphere. Angry and vengeful at the direction that Krypton was headed, Zod felt that it was obligated right to "rescue" the dying planet from its idiotic leaders and make an attempt to save it. When his friend Jor-El refused to give him aid and sent his only son to Earth to save him, Zod killed him in cold blood and swore that he would find Jor-El's baby and gain his vengeance for Krypton. 

    When his exile is over, Zod sets out to dominate the earth and turn into a second Krypton planet, after he finds the son of Jor-El and destroys him for good. Zod finds him in the form of a quiet and compassionate man, known simply as Clark Kent. Believing that the simple farm life has weakened Clark, Zod believes that he has the upper hand when Clark surrenders himself to him. Little does Zod know that more than one person has made Clark aware of his destiny and legacy, and that Clark is fully prepared to take the General on to save his family and his adopted planet.

~ ~ ~

Man of Steel (2013)

     A cinematographic rush of explosions and mass destruction, Man of Steel is an incredibly fast pace movie that you cannot afford to miss a minute of, lest you miss something very important. One aspect I was pleasantly surprised to find was the religious element that was woven throughout the storyline. 
  • Jor-El sends his only son to Earth to save humanity.  
  • Clark is mocked as a child for not fighting back and has been misunderstood all his life.
  • Jonathan Kent loves and nurtures a child that isn't his own. 
  • Clark is 33 years old when he discovers who he is.
  • Jonathan Kent tells Clark that he has a father who has given him another name and that name has a purpose for the world.
  • When discussing to a priest whether or not he should turn himself into Zod, Clark is sitting in front of a stained glass window that has a picture of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane 
     Those were the few Christian themes that I was glad the story had. Another theme was obedience and respect of parents and carrying their legacies, even if you don't believe yourself worthy of doing so. Man of Steel has a genuinely allegorical storyline that doesn't die, but instead it is renewed for each generation to love, enjoy and learn from. 

1 comment:

  1. I'll have you know, I had a smile the size of Texas reading this ;)

    I loved how you connected Clark/Superman with the Shakespeare quote, and stated that "a great man is only great when the foundation of his life is goodness and not power." That was powerful and a truth that I think needs to be repeated A LOT in this day and age. I've noticed a lot of Superman and Captain America comparisons on the Internet over the past few weeks, so hopefully the noble, kindhearted hero will be coming back into popularity. And yes, Henry Cavill is outrageously good-looking...ahem. That little female Captain at the end of the film speaks for us all ;)

    Glad to hear that you liked Lois, too! She's a great heroine, spunky and funny and plenty capable of defending herself against the Kryptonians. I take it she has no problem handling guns. Can't wait to see her and Clark again in the next movie!


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