I think when it comes to reviewing this film, I do first have to mention the absolutely awesome trailer that was used to promote it. Honestly, that trailer was easily one of the very best I’ve ever seen and it did hype up the film for me. Kudos to whoever put that together.
As origin stories go, Superman’s story is one that I’m most familiar with, simply because I’ve been exposed to quite a lot of Superman over the years. I’ve heard the story, and I didn’t hold to much hope that it was going to hold my interest. I was so wrong about that. The opening sequences showing the reasons why Krypton ended up being destroyed was brilliant. I’m not a comic book fan, so I don’t know how much of that came from original source material, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I also really loved that the reason why Krypton was destroyed was because everyone had their place and they couldn’t deviate from that place. This then being the very reason behind General Zod’s desire to destroy Earth, to built Krypton anew because protecting it is all he knows, was a great bit of writing to tie together the whole film. It makes Superman into what he is: not human but also not a proper Kryptonian either.
I know some people I’ve talked to about the film find the plot quite slow in places, and that many of the flashback sequences feel like fillers. Personally I’m not that keen on the fight scene in his home town: I thought I was going to be sick when I watched it on the big screen for the first time. I like realistic, but there is realistic and then there are sequences that actually turns your stomach, and that fight scene for me falls into the latter.
For that reason I actually really like the slower scenes as it shows Clark to be a decent person, and his parents to be extraordinary, especially his mother, for raising him as well as they did. Not all children have supernatural powers, and being able to talk a child who is freaking out in a cupboard is hard enough as it is; getting a one to come out who can keep the door shut if he wants is a whole different challenge.
Those family scenes are there because they demonstrate who Clark is as a person, and when combined with the sequences with his real father, they show his potential to be a truly great hero and a decent person. It makes his choice when fighting General Zod all the more horrific, because that is not who he is as a person. He has to make a choice in terms of his ethics, and while he makes the right choice it is at a personal sacrifice.
It is not an outstanding film, but it is really good, and I find Henry Cavill’s performance as Superman one of the most believable of the ones I’ve seen. Well worth a viewing.