My first exposure to the Superman mythology was more than a half-century ago. Back then he was the Max Fleischer cartoon, a man that could literally leap tall buildings with a single bound, he could not fly. His big red S sat on a field of black. He was also George Reeve in black and white, a Superman that could fly or at least jump so far he might as well be flying. George was superhuman to all of us back then. More than a protector, he was a father figure despite his tragic real life story. But how can you live up to something that large. I later learned in a film class that the costume George wore was actually brown and green, as they provided a better contrast in black and white, hinting at the red and blue. I was not an avid Superman comic book reader, but I did read my share of them. I understood there were twists to the myth.
In the late 1970’s, Christopher Reeves donned the cape and the Salkinds put their spin on the telling. It held onto a bit of the camp that some of the comic books, and George, and even Max Fleischer portrayed, but there was an attempt to make it a bit more adult, at least the first one. In 2006 he returned, Brandon Routh now flaunting the tights. That script was 15 years in the making, designed as a sequel to the 1978 Superman, assuming that II, III, and IV never happened, thank goodness. In my mind, they never did. Once again there was an attempt to be a little more adult. But, while I enjoy Kevin Spacey, somehow it all fell apart and drifted back into the comic book zone.
Finally someone has gotten it right. Adult without being crude, a bit deep without being droll. Action packed, titans fighting titans, without being comical or pulp, and yet just as we all saw it in our heads, without the flat tone colors. A realistic look, a scientist is one of the heros, a must in science fictions. It should please everyone that has enjoyed The Man of Steel in any of his incarnations.
All of the actors do a good job, with tips of the hat to Mr. Crowe as Jor-El and Mr. Cavill as Kal-El. Cavill, while British, seems as American as, well, Superman and apple pie. The weakest link is Kevin Costner, but he is evenhanded and does not distract. Amy Adams is a little flat at times, but overall does fine. The Krypton sequences are the best Krypton ever, in my opinion. The art direction is spot on, and the script is very well written with few holes you can point at. Hans Zimmer and crew do a fantastic job with the score. If I have any complaint or wish, it would be that they made more use of a tripod or steadicam. Not every shot needs or wants that handheld look.
Definitely worth the ticket and the 3D glasses.