Cocktails and Movies Review: “Man of Steel” – A Soaring Success

Cocktails and Movies Flies With The Man of Steel -And Comes Back To Earth Wanting More… With Just A Couple Tweaks.

Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) has always been a little different. He’s stronger than most people,Cocktails and Movies Man of Steel and faster for that matter. He’s even more attuned to what’s going on around him, and he uses these abilities to help people in need. What he’s about to learn is that he’s the last child of a dead world. A world whose avarice and rejection of logical thought had doomed their planet to destruction (metaphor much?). A world that his father (Russell Crowe) tried to save even in the face of a ruthless adversary (Michael Shannon), by sending him to a planet far, far away. Clark Kent may look like an ordinary man, but truth be told he’s something much more… super.

The Superman mythos is one of the most basic, most popular, and possibly most told origin stories of comic history. And yet, it’s also one of those stories you can retell numerous times and still be able to change it around enough to be relevant to modern audiences. With Man of Steel, Zach Snyder takes the extremely vibrant visual storytelling that he’s known for, and tones it down. That’s not to say this film isn’t extremely gorgeous with inventive sights and creatures we’ve never seen. What I’m saying is that it’s almost as if he’s distancing himself from his similarities to Michael Bay by taking his spectacle down a notch and focusing on probably his most emotional film yet.

I’m a sucker for all the things the Superman franchise stands for. The story is an immensely emotional origin that takes an altruistic, more philosophical view of the world and makes a hero stand up for that view. While Batman is dark and brooding, trying to fight a corrupt city from the inside, Superman is dropped into a world of more idealistic integrity. Smallville, Metropolis, and no matter where you go in this world, there are people bound by duty, sworn to help others, and ultimately will do what they feel is necessary to preserve the common good. Even if it means their own end. Snyder not only gets this, but he manages to preserve this moral universe without seeming out of date or doing so in an ironic way.

If you’re a hardcore Superman fan, you are going to probably take issue with some points of this film. Even as a regular movie-goer, you’re going to find this film a little slow and bordering on high-handed, especially when it comes to the role of religion in Clark/Superman’s life. Something people don’t understand with Superman movies, especially origin films, is that you NEED that emotional and moral center before you get to leaping tall buildings in a single bound. You need to see the Smallville days on the farm, and the way film handles that background exposition of Clark Kent’s early life is inventive and emotionally connecting.

Knowing full well that today’s audiences need a little “sugar in their tea”, we see relevant bits of his development in flashbacks that are paralleled to his current life. With this tactic in play, Snyder solves the problem of requiring emotional/historical attachment to our hero, but keeping the story progressing in the modern day. With two solid narrative strands developing at the same time, we’re able to maintain momentum and progress with the story to the point that’s needed for the action/battle beats to feel of any importance. And trust me, by time the film gets to its final battle sequences, it’s earned them.

Two final notes: first, the cast in this film is amazing. Everyone in this film pulls their weight, and does so with great dignity. Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is full of piss and vinegar that we’ve yet to see her truly own in a film, and she helps maintain the role of a reporter that’s smarter than most of the others. Michael Shannon’s Zod is ruthless, and while he does get his fair amount of shouty moments, he doesn’t overdo them to the point of parody (despite what the trailers may have you believe). Lawrence Fishburne, Christopher Meloni, and Richard Schiff are all prime examples of the Nolan tactic of how putting well known faces in background roles does indeed pay off as all of these performers manage to exude gravitas and even humor when required. Most importantly, Henry Cavill really sells the Superman/Clark Kent role quite well for the first non-American actor to take the lead. I’m looking forward to his nerdier alter-ego taking center stage in the next film.

Which leads to the slight nagging bits about the film. It does still feel a little long and fluffy, without the full weight of a Nolan film. Perhaps some tightening or restructuring of the story would have helped, but the film still plays well enough on its own. A little more humor might have helped. Also, as awesome as Hans Zimmer’s new Man of Steel theme was, it felt a little repetitive to have the same solo piano melody playing throughout numerous times in the film. Yes, I know we’ve got to earn the full theme by the end of the film, but a little more bombast in the right places during the film might have helped push things along.

Overall, this film is a welcome addition to the Superman canon, and it’s something to behold. It doesn’t make the same mistake Superman Returns did. More specifically it doesn’t rely on previous entries in the canon, and then make new history without remembering some rather… unethical elements that make for big problems later. (Superman would never become a deadbeat dad.) It retells a story we all know and love, and does so in a way that covers previous subject matter that fans are anxious to be retold. Which now leaves the franchise with a great chance to do something new and escape the shackles of the previous films. Whether Snyder does that or not will depend on time, and the Justice League film. Whichever comes first. Bravo!, Snyder and Company, you made a great Superman film. Now the question is: what’cha got for us now?

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Superman shots

Here’s the recipe for that shot, courtesy of That’s Nerdalicious

1 part Red sourpuss
1 part Blue curacao

Directions: In a shot glass, carefully layer your blue curacao on top of the red sourpuss.

cocktails and movies death-to-supermanHowever, if you’re playing for the villain side of things, you might want to drink a Death To Superman! For that, you’re going to need some Kryptonite!

1/2 oz Green creme de menthe
Energy drink

Directions: In a tall glass, add a mixture of 1/2 oz green creme de menthe and energy drink to taste. Standard issue drop shot with the Superman, now with Kryptonian killing might. Drop him in and plan your world domination.

Thanks to That’s Nerdalicious and EXP for their awesome sounding Drink combo.