I was a little (all right, a lot) worried before I went to see this film. I had been looking forward to it for a long time, and had hyped it up so much in my mind that I was afraid that it would be a massive disappointment.
I’m happy to report that I was wrong.
From almost the very first moments I was on the metaphorical edge of my seat.
We open on the birth of Kal-El. The room is clearly alien – the floating machines and the clothes give that away. After the birth, Jor-El holds his new son in his hands – and we cut to one of those scenes which, once you’ve seen it you can’t un-see it. An impressive alien vista is shown, with a large beast in the foreground. It raises its head and bellows towards the sky.
You’re more likely to understand what I’m saying if you have children, or were a child yourself around 1994. If you need a hint, click here.
I really love what they’ve done with Krypton’s architecture. Not for them the overly traditional ice palace motif. Instead we have a truly advanced race, with flying cities and technology that can change shape at need. The development of their tech followed logical lines, too – their designers had clearly been influenced by the natural world that was around them, four-winged creatures and all.
Once he’s been sent off into the void (and the story of how that happened was very exciting, with its high-speed chases, theft, treason, and attempted coups) we cut to 30-year-old Clark living on Earth.
His youth is told through flashbacks, but it doesn’t feel forced or out of place. What I loved about his childhood was that he struggled. He didn’t fit in, and he knew it. From the terrified “what’s wrong with me?” to the plaintive “can’t I just keep pretending I’m your son?”, this was a child who was desperately afraid of being different. He couldn’t fight back when he was bullied, not because he was afraid of being hurt, but because he was afraid that everyone would find out that he couldn’t get hurt.
When he learns how to fly you can see the pure joy on his face. Here at last is something that makes it all worth it.
Finally, a Lois Lane who is not the most unobservant reporter ever. Bravo!
Dru-Zod & Friends
General Zod was very much a victim of his upbringing, and I liked that he wasn’t just evil without reason. The one problem with his reasoning that I had was not at all the fault of the film. It was this line:
“Everything I have done, I did for the Greater Good of my people.”
Which is fine unless, on the way to the cinema, you have had a conversation about Hot Fuzz. If you’ve seen it, you will see what I mean. If you haven’t, I pity you. Go see it. And then try to listen to that line with a straight face.
Zod’s friends, however, had some interesting ideas about how nature works. Evolution always wins, does it? Hmmm, and all of those extinct species which evolved and then died out? Still, one dud line in a film of that length is a pretty good ratio.
There were no major loose ends that screamed “insert sequel here”, but there were a number of avenues that could be explored in future films.
The first is, of course, Lex Luthor. He wasn’t mentioned at all in the film, but there were several occasions where buildings and vehicles with “LexCorp” splashed all over them were seen (and often destroyed by the fighting). Whether this was a taste of things to come or simply good background remains to be seen. I for one wouldn’t say no to a film in which Lex was irritated at all the property damage.
The other idea I’d like explored is the question of Clark’s children. For reasons which I won’t go into for fear of spoiling things, this would be very interesting. And with his clear interest in Lois already demonstrated, we just need to discover whether Humans and Kryptonians are compatible in order for it to be a perfectly valid plot.
Five Stars. If you haven’t already seen it, go as soon as you can.