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Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Man of Steel" – A Movie Review

Andy Wang & Jeffrey Chang

Superman comics were first introduced in America in 1938, and, in 1978, the first Superman movie was released. Over the next 35 years, film production companies made quite a few Superman movies, and this year, Warner Brothers has released the latest in the Superman series, Man of Steel. However, Man of Steel is different from the Superman movies that came before it; it is surprising in many ways. 

Posters courtesy WarnerBros

       Superman (played by Henry Cavill) was born on the planet Krypton. When Krypton was about to die because of exhausted natural resources, official corruption, and bad social policy, his father, Jor-El ( play by Russell Crowe), sent his only son to a planet far from home – Earth. He was secretly raised on Earth by Jonathan Kent (played by Kevin Costner) and his wife. They gave Superman the Earth name, “Clark.” Ever since Clark was a boy, he knew he was different from other children. Sometimes he felt confused about why he was so different. Jonathan taught Clark to control himself and not to expose his power to others; he believed that one day the world will need him. Until that day, Clark had to wait patiently because Jonathan had told him that people are afraid of things they don’t understand and would fear him because he was from another planet.

Zack Snyder, the director of this film, made quite a few changes in making this film. If you have ever seen a Superman movie or comic, you will remember how powerful, extraordinary, and righteous Superman is.  Past Superman movies were shot in bright light and vibrant colors that led the audience to believe that Superman stood for righteousness and justice. However, in Man of Steel, Superman was nobody for 33 years. He grew up in the everyday grey world that we all live in, and the colors of the movie show this. Even Superman’s costume has changed. In old Superman movies, Superman’s outfit is bright red, blue, and yellow – colors that mean strength, courage, and energy. In Man of Steel, the colors have become darker, looking more like armor with a cloak. The biggest change in Superman’s outfit is the “S” logo on his chest; it is now not “S” for Super, but merely his father’s family crest, the symbol of Clark’s ancestors on Krypton. His father wanted Clark to remember who he was and where he had come from.  However, Clark, Superman, has trouble understanding himself – and being understood by others.

When General Zod ( play by Michael Shannon), an old friend of Superman’s real father, Jor-El, came to the Earth looking for a secret document that Jor-El had hidden with his son when he sent him to the Earth, Superman sided with the humans and fought the aliens. However, while the US military attacked the aliens, they attacked Superman, too! It was just like Clark’s Earth father, Jonathan, said it would be; humans attack what they don’t understand. Even when Superman promised he would not harm humans, they still suspected him. This is how life really is.

Man of Steel is not just a fantasy hero movie, but a movie with a lot of depth and hidden meanings. This film talks about political issues, environmental issues, racial issues, and free will – the power to decide for ourselves who we are. When people see this move, they are forced to think about what they would do if they were in Clark’s, Jonathan’s, or Jor-El’s situation. We highly recommend this movie. It is not just a good time; it has gone beyond entertainment to something more.


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