I saw MAN OF STEEL last night. This was the summer movie I was most looking forward to (more than THOR, WOLVERINE, or IRON MAN), and I really enjoyed it. Yes, Richard Donner made a better "Superman movie" that was more faithful to the original mythos. With Donner, we get Krypton, Smallville, and Metropolis, Lois and Lex and Jimmy Olsen. We get gags with glasses and alter egos. But if you treat MAN OF STEEL like an "Ultimate universe" (an edgier, reimagined and updated version of a superhero universe... with more goatees), then you can set your checklist aside and just enjoy the film. And I did. SPOILERS abound.
* I saw people complaining that it's not the joyful, fun adventure of other superhero movies (or even the previous Superman movies). However, it's about "saving the world" and I think the tone matched the theme. It opens with the destruction of his old home, and ends with him saving Earth. And you really get the sense that "these assholes are going to freakin' destroy the world." I'm okay with it being dark.
* Loved the elemental imagery: lots of water and fire throughout.
* Loved the use of colors: After Krypton's fall, scenes are accented with pops of yellow, red, and blue. Very clever.
* I don't know if they will ever find the perfect Lois Lane. Amy Adams was serviceable, much better than Kate Bosworth in SUPERMAN RETURNS. I like how they completely throw away the hiding-his-identity-from-Lois bit. She's smart. She's intrepid. She figures it out before everyone else. It worked, and it set up the last line of the film perfectly. Which...
* I loved the last scene: Clark's first day at the Daily Planet ("Welcome to the Planet"). And it resolves his father-induced dilemma of how to be a hero and remain hidden. I love that the secret identity is something he discovers at the end, not the beginning.
* The goofy line after Superman and Lois first kiss, "They say it all goes downhill after the first kiss" (or something like that). I wanted Superman to respond, "No one says that." Because I have NEVER heard anyone say that.
* Henry Cavill has muscles.
* General Zod was great.
* The music was great. It was time to retire the John Williams score. (It wouldn't have worked in this movie anyway.) Hans Zimmer gave us a perfectly moody replacement.
* I loved Pa's response to "should I have let them die?" "Maybe." So many layers in that delivery and the silence that followed.
* Pa Kent's death felt forced--as if the tornado should have been classified "plot device." Just save your freakin' dad, who will believe the bystanders anyway? Mark Waid does a good job defending the scene. And I agree with Waid: "It was a very brave story choice, but it worked. It worked largely on the shoulders of Cavill, who sold it."
* You should read Mark Waid's Man of Steel review. We agree on a lot of it. However, where he gets disgusted, I was still onboard.
* [UPDATE 6/19] Another interesting MAN OF STEEL review/defense from Craveonline.com.
* If you're going to nitpick the logical consistency of MAN OF STEEL, then remember that the Richard Donner SUPERMAN (while great) was not the gold standard of logical consistency either.
* I love how Superman gets his name, as if it were a military designator, "Air Force One" etc.
* On Rotten Tomatoes, Man of Steel's 56% with critics/82% with the audience perfectly illustrates the error with the rating system. Roughly half the critics disliked it, but that doesn't indicate how little or how much they disliked it. And there's no way this is a worse film than Superman Returns--75% with critics and 67% with the audience.
* Great fight scenes. 100% punchier than any other Superman movie.
* Holy crap, the collateral damage! I would hate to be an insurance auditor in Metropolis. Was any building left standing? I wouldn't call this a victory. Not really.
* The scene with the girl trapped under the rubble was intense.
* Acting was a little "eh" in places. However, I think it was more a director problem than an actor problem. Snyder needed a few more takes for some scenes or needed to better guide the scene. For instance, the scene between Clark and his Mom, the whole "I found my parents" conversation.
* And I'm out of notes. Please feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below.