In the run-up to the release of the much-anticipated Snyder Cut of the Justice League, I will be rewatching the movies preceding it from the DCEU related directly to the movie (i.e. MoS, BvS and the Joss Whedon cut) to celebrate and MAYBE the others from the same universe.
Rewatching it the 8th (or so) time, I have tried to watch it more critically than I had before. It cannot be denied that there were moments at the end of the second act and the third act that were silly in and of themselves – particularly the coincidence of there being a port for the command key exactly where Lois is imprisoned and the repetition of destruction around the same spot and group of people bordering on hilarious at a point – its merits cannot be denied either.
Three things continue to bring me back to this movie; the first and most obvious being how much Snyder knows how to frame an image. You can literally screenshot any frame in this movie and frame it. All the elements – the lighting, the production design – particularly anything Krypton very reminiscent of H.R. Geiger, even those which where extremely phallic or silly – somehow work. I cannot explain it, but it oozes emotion; Henry Cavill’s Superman is a man of few words, but Snyder’s use of the camera arms him with the emotion to bring Clark Kent to life.
The second element: the casting, particularly Amy Adams and Henry Cavill. Obvious eye candy for all tastes aside here, Adams provides a witty and driven Lois Lane which is not your typical depiction of her being a damsel in distress. It is refreshing that Snyder has had outgrown cheesecake depictions of women at this point, particularly evident of the depictions of Lane and Kryptonian Faora-Ul and the loving depiction of Ma Kent. The men are no pushovers either; while Cavill is not giving a repeat of Christopher Reeve‘s take by no extent of the imagination, he presents a very human Superman who is very human, very inexperienced, and quietly emotional – a true story of a man brought up in an adopted family rediscovering his roots and having to choose between his origins and the world he was brought up in. A man of choice, countered by Michael Shannon’s simultaneously over-the-top yet intimidating General Zod, raised without such luxury as a choice, and who despairs when his only option is taken away from him. The only controversial one from this lot originally was Kevin Costner‘s Pa Kent, which I have since grown to appreciate as an adoptive father just as torn between what is good for his son, giving him the opportunity for choice, and protecting him from the world at large.
The third is the score, particularly during the first flight. Oh my God. I had never thought I would hear a theme (“What are you going to do when you are not saving the world?”) rivaling anything by John Williams but this one is pretty close to bringing the same soaring emotions. Not surpassing – Williams will always remain the legend he is – but close.
Flawed but beautiful, I still believe it is worth a watch.
Man of Steel review by Raphael Borg