MAN OF STEEL (2013) – Film Review

It’s been several weeks since the release of Man of Steel, but I’ve only now gotten to see the movie. I do have some thoughts, but I won’t develop a full-length blog post. Consider this a capsule film review.

CONTENT (C): 4 out of 10
Man of Steel is surprisingly and refreshingly clean. Except for a couple vulgarities and a few other words, there is little profanity to speak of. Sex and nudity are eschewed. Not as surprisingly, there are several Christological references throughout the movie. Clark Kent even seeks counsel from a priest at one point in the film (although I found the resulting conversation lackluster). The reason I’m giving a 4 out of 10 here is because of a handful of thematic choices made by the filmmakers that depart from Superman’s intrinsic character strengths. If you want a more detailed description of these elements, see Steven D. Greydanus’ review over at Decent Films.

ARTISTRY (A): 7 out of 10
This is a well-made film with a wonderful cast. The special effects are excellent. Except for a few somewhat questionable scriptwriting choices (see above), the only real sore thumb is the mediocre score by Hans Zimmer. It seems to me that the one consistently glaring deficit in films associated with Christopher Nolan is a poorly conceived musical score.

In the interests of full disclosure, I like a lot of Zimmer’s music. He has produced some real zingers. This film’s score, however, is a zonker. (Yes, I made that word up. It means, “unacceptable; the opposite of ‘zinger.’”) Granted, whoever scored the film was going to be compared to John Williams, and no one was going to live up the standard he set in the original Superman films. But by golly, a dozen other composers could have gotten at least a little closer. When it comes to modern superhero music, Hans Zimmer is anything but super.

PREFERENCE (P): 9 out of 10
After reading all of the above, you might be surprised to discover that I really liked this movie. Even as I encountered some of the content issues hinted at earlier, I still enjoyed the proceedings—except for maybe the final third (or even fourth). As the mayhem of the last act reached to ludicrously high levels, I found myself slightly bothered. And yet, even then I was much more engaged than I was during the final act of The Avengers. The questionable thematic choices the filmmakers made still didn’t derail the experience for me. I’m intrigued to see where the story will go from here.

CAP score: 67%