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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Drama > Man Of Steel (2013/Superman/Warner Blu-ray 3D w/+Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)

Man Of Steel (2013/Superman/Warner Blu-ray 3D w/+Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)

Picture: B/A-/B Sound: A/A/B Extras: C+ Film: B

Superheroes have overtaken the world! Well, at least cinema.

Audiences seemingly can't get enough super human feature films so of course a reboot of Superman was on the list. With Zak Snyder directing a film written by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer it seemed like anything could happen. Whereas I had high hopes and low expectations, Man of Steel was an excellent take on a classic hero.

Whereas in the past Superman (along with many other heroes) were kept very archetypical with only surface level emotions; Snyder explores a darker, emotionally torn side of the hero which is admirable. The film kicks off with the destruction of Krypton as Jor-El (Russell Crowe) attempts to protect his family and race from the impending destruction of the merciless General Zod (played By Michael Shannon). From here we are taken on a journey through Kal-El [Clark Kent's] life as he struggles with his existence as superhuman looking for a place in the world. His adoptive mother and father (played respectively by Diane Lane and Kevin Costner) are loving individuals who do their best to bring him up ‘normally’ while teaching him to never forget who he is; in an attempt to protect him from the harsh world that awaits. Clark (played by Henry Cavill) puts up a good front, but it is more than apparent that inside he is torn between two selves and really two worlds.

Whereas we spend half the film exploring the inner workings of the man that is Clark Kent (Kal-El) the second act is an all out battle and race against time as Superman attempts to save humanity. The combination of emotional exploration, full fledged action, and brilliant acting makes Man of Steel a memorable film. Amy Adams appears as Lois Lane in an equally emotional role that differs from the way the character was ever played in the past on film or in the comics. Lawrence Fishburne is Perry White acting as the questionable moral compass for Lois Lane as she pursues the mystery hero that saved her in the Arctic.

Whereas the film stylistically is well done and displays beautifully; I would call the editing somewhat questionable. The film bounces around a bit much, disturbing flow and consistency; making Man of Steel a bit of a choppy cinematic experience. I find the overall exploration of the character admirable and refreshing; couple this with the explosive action that General Zod (Michael Shannon) brings to the picture and you have one entertaining film.

The technical features of this 3D Blu-ray set are nice, but there is a clear winner in terms of presentation. Whereas home video presentations of 3D feature films have drastically improved over the last several years, in the case of Man of Steel the 3D Blu-ray is not all too impressive with the standard Blu-ray being of a much greater quality. The 3D Blu-ray is presented in a 1080p MPEG-4, MVC encoded 2.40 x 1 image that was converted to 3D in post production and it shows. The plus side of the 3D is that it does not use ‘burst off the screen’ gimmicks, but instead merely adds a layer of depth and dimensionality to the film. The film in 3D manages to maintain a fine layer of detail, texture, and framing inky black levels. I do feel that the colors were a bit muted and even as this is an intentionally darker film stylistically the 3D bogs down the image a tad.

The standard Blu-ray in comparison is near perfection; granted the style choices by cinematographer Amir Mokri are not for everyone (having a grittier/darker feel), I quite enjoyed the direction. In the standard Blu-ray the audience is treated to brilliant 1080p MPEG-4, AVC Encoded 2.40 X 1 feature that is stunning with deep blacks, natural textures, and (when needed) bursts of vibrant color. If the detail on the 3D was good the standard Blu-ray is out of this world! Again, the presentation (shot on 35mm film in real anamorphic Panavision and Red Epic Digital) is stylized to an extent (modified in post production) as the somewhat blue, toned down was intentional to give the film a darker aura (like that of The Dark Knight). People want their heroes darker these days and it seems the creators of these films agree. The sound on both the 3D and standard Blu-ray is perfection as the entire speaker range is utilized. The well balanced presentation uses admirable panning effects, heart pounding bass, and immersive action from beginning to end. Throughout the 7.1 DTS HD- Master Audio lossless presentation (based on the 11.1 Dolby Atmos theatrical presentations) the audience will feel surrounded, while concurrently never losing prioritization as the dialogue, musical scores, and action are within perfect balance of each other.

The DVD doesn't compare to the stunning presentation of the Blu-ray and should only be explored when no other options available.

The extras are few and short (as I am sure a super special edition is on the way), but a something worth a look. Extras include:

  • Krypton Decoded

    • A look at the opening sequence of the film and the host of digital effects that went into it; hosted by the actor who played the young Clark Kent.

  • Strong Characters, Legendary Roles

    • The longest (and best) bonus feature (at nearly 30minutes) discusses the creative choices made throughout the film to ‘alter the history’ of superman, while concurrently staying true to the classic character.

  • All-Out Action

    • Takes a deep look into the physical training and stunt work it took to make Superman’s universe come to life

  • New Zealand: home of Middle Earth

    • A weird, weird look at Peter Jackson's The Hobbit; which is so out of place here.

  • Superman 75th Anniversary Animated Short

    • A quick look at the evolution of Superman from creation to today (in animated form) as John Williams score accompanies.

  • Planet Krypton

    • A fake documentary chronicling the destruction of Krypton as if it had actually occurred.

  • Journey of Discovery: Creating Man of Steel

    • An annoying feature that allows viewers to watch the entire film with constant interruptions for trivial knowledge and insight. I would have much preferred a straight audio commentary track.

In the end, Man of Steel was a surprisingly well made film that stands on its own. I would not put it on the level of excellence with The Dark Knight, but it is certainly one of the better made superhero films.

- Michael P. Dougherty II


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