Man of Steel (2013)

cavillIt turns out there was a very good reason that this movie is called Man of Steel instead of using some variation of Superman in the title: There’s barely any Superman in it. Sure, the main character comes from the planet Krypton and wears blue longjohns and a cape — but he only very rarely behaves like Superman.

The movie opens on Krypton — which has been reimagined as a hybrid society of Game of Thrones and The Matrix, where liquid-metal robots exist side-by-side with dragons a man can ride to his high-tech cave — a doomed planet where scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) wants to save the planet’s genetic information from destruction, and General Zod (Michael Shannon) decides to stage a military coup even though the planet is falling apart around him. Defeated, Zod and his forces are exiled to the Phantom Zone just minutes before Krypton is destroyed. But not before Jor-El sends his newborn son to Earth (along with the Codex, the genetic that could one day rebuild Kryptonian society).
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Man of Steel’s Majestic New Trailer

Will Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel finally be the Superman movie we’ve all been dreaming of — the film that Superman fans deserve? The latest trailer certainly makes it look that way…

Krypton, Russell Crowe, Lois Lane, Zod, mournful piano music that grows into a stunning heroic theme — and an explanation for the S shield? (Plus, the best acting of Kevin Costner‘s entire career in the one line, “You are my son.”) What more could we want?

Ready for THE Man of Steel?

Well, I’d say 93 percent of my doubts about next summer’s Man of Steel have been put to rest by this trailer. This is the visually dazzling work we’ve come to expect from Zack Snyder (Watchmen, Sucker Punch). The only lingering doubt is the storytelling; will Snyder be able to win over the audiences that need to be led by the hand through a movie.

I’m not entirely sure we need to see Superman’s origin retold again, but if there’s a good story attached to it, well, why not? The Amazing Spider-Man managed to put a fun spin on Spidey’s beginnings, so it can be done. And perhaps familiarity will help the audience.

I’m still not sold on Kevin Costner as Pa Kent, and he’s certainly not shown in the best light here. But Costner got more screen time than Russell Crowe as Jor-El.

Man of Steel takes off on June 14, 2013.

HATFIELDS & MCCOYS (2012 miniseries)

The History cable channel pulled off a terrific feat this week, airing the most massive, highest-rated miniseries in basic-cable history, HATFIELDS & MCCOYS. And it was a damn fine, mighty entertaining three night, six-hour production that made history seem stranger than fiction. For instance, I had no idea so much of the Hatfield/McCoy feud was tied up in state’s rights issues!

The feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys is one of those American stories that has become almost mythical; it’s a shorthand for two groups who don’t like each other so much it practically reaches a molecular level (think Yankees vs. Red Sox), so perhaps the greatest feat of this miniseries was to bring the story back down to Earth and make the McCoys and Hatfields human beings. But the rivalry loses none of its brobdagnigian proportions; in fact, the truth makes the battle somehow even huger, because it really happened.
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