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Blu-ray Review: “Man of Steel”

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man of steelThe character of Superman is quite possibly one of the most iconic America has ever produced, and the world has ever known. Known throughout that same world as a champion of truth, justice, and the American Way, Superman is both well known and widely loved. His legend retold a hundred times by a hundred writers, this time, our friends at Warner Brothers have sent the newest such retelling in “Man of Steel.” This one won’t be available until November 12, on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download, so mark your calendars now to get in on a brand new look at that great American icon.

“Man of Steel,” as might be expected, follows young Kal-El from his dying planet of Krypton back to Earth, where he’s found by the Kents, a farming couple who raises the boy as their own. But when his adopted home planet is faced with destruction, he quickly discovers that he’s really nothing like the Kents, and that he has the power to fend off the aforementioned destruction coming to Earth.

Warner Brothers’ connection to DC has produced quite a bit of fruit, and though not all of it was that great–I think we all remember the less-than-stellar performance that was “Green Lantern”–but they won’t take long to hook you in with “Man of Steel.” The sheer beauty of Krypton is striking, but it quickly changes tracks, and the jarring impact of going from dazzling visuals to what immediately follows is as striking as it is spectacular.

But dazzling visuals will only go so far without a proper storyline to back them up, and the storyline will do pretty well for itself too. This is, oddly, a much more human Superman than we’ve seen recently. He gets angry. He doesn’t want his duty. He takes a rather entertaining revenge against a trucker who upended a beer mug over his head. This is a wonderful diversion from the norm, and Superman is for once, oddly, relatable. I will say this; at a run time of two and a half hours, this could have stood a bit of trimming somewhere.

Really, it took the better part of an hour before the movie really starts to get going. They’ve done a nice job of tossing in bits of just what Superman will one day be, but there’s so much space between the bits that it could have stood a bit of paring down. It would have been a shame, perhaps, but there wouldn’t have been anything wrong with a robust deleted scenes array, or a full unedited director’s cut for those who wanted every sniff and nuance. The end result, however, will prove plenty watchable if a bit overlong.

Special features are abundant here, almost shockingly so. Not only will there be audio tracks in your choice of Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, Portuguese and English, but the same will be said in subtitles.There will be over four hours of special features here, including a featurette on remaking Superman with none other than Zack Snyder, a featurette on the film’s action effects, a featurette on the planet Krypton itself, a featurette on the characters of the “Superman” universe, an animated short for the 75th anniversary of “Superman,” a feature about how New Zealand was turned into Middle Earth for the Peter Jackson “Hobbit” series, and a trailer for “Pacific Rim,” though that won’t be on the main menu.

“Man of Steel” is a sound, entertaining package that has dazzling visuals and a half-decent storyline. It’s not perfect, of course–I meant it about paring it down a bit–but it’s still very much worth catching.

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