Man of Steel: Blu-Ray Review -

Blu-ray Review

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  • Rated: PG13
  • Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner
  • Written By: David S. Goyer
  • Directed By: Zack Snyder
  • Original Year of Release: 2013
  • Studio: Warner Brothers
  • Extras: See Below
  • Series:

Man of Steel: Blu-Ray Review

Superman moves into the 21st Century

By Tim Janson     November 18, 2013

Henry Cavill in Man of Steel
© Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
So apparently there is some controversy over the Man of Steel and Superman killing General Zod…But what a minute!  Didn’t Superman kill Zod way back in 1980’s Superman II?  Superman uses the molecule chamber to take Zod’s powers away, essentially turning him human.  He crushes his hand into mush, picks him up then tosses him into a seemingly bottomless pit of ice and snow. (and don’t give me any crap about the Donner Cut). Did anyone think Zod survived that? Ok so having your neck snapped like a twig might be a bit more in your face than being tossed into a ravine but dead is dead.

Seems to me Man of Steel pits long time Superman purists against modern day fans who grew up in the post mid-1980s era of The Dark Knight Returns, anti-heroes like The Punisher and Lobo, and The Death of Superman storyline.  Man of Steel is very much a Superman film for the modern age, delving far more into socially conscious subjects like bullying and individuality than the Christopher Reeve films of 1970s and 1980s which were pure comic book cheese…but good cheese.

Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer give a new take on the planet Krypton and its destruction.  They design Superman’s home world as one that is a mix of the high-tech and the primitive.  This isn’t the stark, emotionless world of the Reeve films but rather one of great passion and angst.  The Kryptonians have sealed their planet’s fate by stripping their world’s resources and destabilizing their core.  The ruling council is overthrown by General Zod (Shannon) and the military but not before Jor-El (Crowe) can blast his newborn son off the dying planet, infusing him with the genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race.  Zod kills Jor-El but he and his followers and captured and banished to the Phantom Zone.  However when Krypton explodes, Zod and his soldiers are freed and track Kal-El to Earth where he has now grown into an adult.

Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent/Superman is one who is very unsure of his place in the world.  He lives as a loner, travelling from place to place working odd jobs and saving people quietly and under the radar. He infiltrates a military operation in the artic that is investigating an ancient Kryptonian ship found in the ice.  The ship’s activation sends out a distress call leading Zod to Earth where he demands that Superman surrender to him.

People may still be unfamiliar with Michael Shannon but he is an incredible actor.  His portrayal of Zod is many layered.  Zod is a tragic and sympathetic figure.  He’s not motivated by a lust for power but rather the desire to see his race survive and who can argue with him for that?  Man of Steel is laden with performances that work on many levels and depth which the Reeve films often lacked.  That’s not a criticism against the Reeve films.  Those films accomplished what they set out to do in making pure comic book magic come to life.  It’s just we see these familiar characters doing things we haven’t seen before.  From Diane Lane’s caring and vulnerable turn as “Ma Kent” to Lawrence Fishburne’s caring portrayal of Daily Planet Editor Perry White.

The battle in Metropolis between Superman and Zod results in the kind of wholesale destruction that you’d expect to see.  Snyder doesn’t candy coat the resulting devastation.  Entire city blocks lie in ruin and while we don’t see it, no doubt thousands had to have perished in the battle.  It’s a grim picture to be sure.  But here is where Man of Steel falls somewhat short.  It doesn’t feel heroic.  It lacks those rousing moments that made you cheer such as when Superman catches Lois Lane freefalling from a building or challenging Zod to “step outside”.  Those moments accompanied by the unforgettable score by John Williams have become the stuff of cinematic legend.  This is one time when a big hunk of comic book cheese was sorely needed.

Blu-Ray Extras

Journey of Discover: Creating the Man of Steel (2:54:00) – this nearly three hour feature is integrated into the film itself and features pop up split screen and even triple screen commentary by Snyder, the cast and crew breaking down just about every scene in the film.  The actors discuss their roles; the special FX guys provide split screen comparisons from green screen to finished product; we look at stunt work and training regimens; and costume and set creation.  Truly a highlight feature!

Planet Krypton (17:00) – This is a faux documentary that covers the invasion of Metropolis invasion by the Kryptonians.  

Strong Characters, Legendary Roles (25:00) – A look at Superman history, mythology, and his placed in pop culture.

All Out Action (26:00) – A look at the training that the actors went through for the action-oriented film.

Krpyton Decoded (7:00) – Dylan Sprayberry who plays the young Clark Kent hosts a look at the Kryptonian equipment used in the film such as the spacecraft, weapons, and armor.

Superman 75th Anniversary Animated Short (2:00) very cool little animated film that traces Superman’s history from comic books to films, TV, and animated shows.

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samson 11/18/2013 1:44:15 AM

 There was no sense of awe or amazement. The whole thing should have felt more grand , more epic. Instead, it just felt like an above average action film.As I said, worth seeing. I'm looking forward to a sequel. But it's not what it could have, should have been.


I hate to say it but Superman Returns was a better movie. It just had crappy ideas.

 Again, I thought the movie was worth seeing. It wasn't bad. Just lacking. I didn't mind the over the top style action. That's what I want to see in this kind of film. My issues all lay with the script. When Pa Kent died, did any of you really give a eff? You probably didn't and that's because of the script. BTW - how is a farm boy going to prevail in hand to hand combat with a similarly powered millitary trained killer? Especially one who seemed to master his new abilities in a fraction of the time it took Kal. They should have put Superman in a position where he had to do something Zod could not, and would not, be able to do; out think Superman. 


Kal-el was a decendant of the scientific class. So, he is predispositioned to have a genius level intellect. Even by Kryptonian standards. That's his true strength. Zod should have been able to kick the blue off of Superman's ass. But, Superman should have won in the end because he out though Zod. I think if that would have happenend, no one would have cared if Superman killed Zod or took him out for ice cream and a puppy (hi, Krypto).


marcd30319 11/18/2013 6:42:17 AM

One of the perceived downsides of the so-called more realistic approach in superhero movie-making a.k.a. the Nolan method is the muting of stand-up-and-cheer moments.

No where during Batman Begins, Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, and Man of Steel do you have those rousing, hand-clapping audience surges that you had with The Avengers, Captain America, or the original Superman. Overt humor is kept at arm's length like a Clint Eastwood movie. Stark story-telling and the satisfaction of a story well told are the final audience rewards.

For me, the final scenes between Clark and Lois in Man of Steel provoked an almost giddy grin of satisfaction that these two wonderful person who have survived so much are now poised on the cusp of a better, more settled future.

In the end, Man of Steel shares that same sense of completion and resolution that I felt with the end of Dark Knight Rises. And for film-goers of a certain age, that is worth cheering about.

Davewriter 11/18/2013 7:49:15 AM

For me it was when Jor-el suddenly became the action hero.  The leader of the House of Science is suddenly kicking arse on a squad of Zod trained professionals?  I call BS.  Not to mention that whole "leap of faith" jump over the edge because he just knew his trained Avatar... er, flying bird... pet... personal transport thing would be there just in time to catch him.  BS!

Superman has been beating the odds for decades now - never needing to kill.  But here, well... nope, just can't think of anything...  Oh well, just snap this guys neck.  A moment both dads would be proud over.

And I agree with Samsom.  Up there with scale of Imax - I wanted grandeur!  I to wanted awe and school boy amazement.  I wanted a HERO!

KungPow 11/18/2013 7:54:03 AM

 I personally felt like the movie was too long.  I kept expecting it to end and then it kept going on, and on.  Not even interested in picking up this at all, but that's just my personal preference.

monkeyfoot 11/18/2013 8:18:06 AM

I enjoyed this movie. I liked having a whole new take on the character that was different from any that came before in an adaptation. The only other one that you could say was very radical was the Smallville TV series. And whether you like it or not comes down to how tightly you hold to your first childhood experiences of the character. Some say Superman is this, this and this. Anything different and you are doing it wrong. I liked that this was a science fiction movie and not a superhero movie. Do I like everything they changed and did? No, but since I enjoyed most of it its all good with me.

Dave, why can't Jor-El be a fantastic action guy? Even though everyone has a prescribed place in their society, the Kryptonians of the adaptation are a warrior people. Jor-El doesn't just sit in a lab with test tubes all day. You are allowing your Richard Donner version of cold intellectuals to taint this version.  

And for some reason in the these MoS discussions it always needs to be reminded again and again that Superman has killed in the comics in offical canon. He EXECUTED Zod and two of his Kryptonian cohorts with Kryptonite for killing every single human on an Earth in another dimension. The threat of them coming to his Earth was too great.

spiderhero 11/18/2013 8:36:51 AM

Lots of action, crappy/nonexistent character moments.

Reading the review, I smiled thinking about Superman catching Lois. I got fanboy chills remembering the invitation for Zod to step outside. This movie had none of that.

Tommygunner9 11/18/2013 9:11:47 AM

 I thought the movie was bad ass.Wish they could of dropped some justice league references.but I thought the movie was everything it should've been

Tommygunner9 11/18/2013 9:17:56 AM

 I grew up with reeves superman & it was great for that time but times have changed.cinema has evolved,and it's something better.Reeve's superman will always be a classic but for me this is as good as it gets & even better than Reeve's & this is what superman is supposed to look like.

DarthoftheDead 11/18/2013 9:48:19 AM

 Beware of MOS in the Wallmart 5 dollar bin......

samson 11/18/2013 10:41:06 AM

 I still don't get how a farm boy was able to beat a guy genetically bred, and raised from birth, to be a trained killer, in hand too hand combat. Just not gonna happen. Zod mastered many of his abilities in days while it took Clark years. 

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