When asked why an alien would fight so hard for a world that isn't even his, Kal-El (Superman for
the uninitiated) responded "I grew up in Kansas. I'm as much an American as you are."
A very pertinent message in a time where we try to assert our own identities based on the country we hail from. Zack Snyder's Man of Steel retreads the origins of the original super-hero, Superman, but he does so in a way that is fresh, modern, and successfully divorces itself from the 1978 Christopher Reeve film.
Many critics are saying that this interpretation--heavier and more grave than previous iterations of Superman on the silver screen--is a bad thing. They complain that it's "too serious," and that Henry Cavill is not allowed to show that lightheartedness that many associate with Superman. Well, those are some small-minded critics in my opinion.
Whenever you try to compare a movie that is attempting to be great on its own merits, you're always going to find yourself wanting. If you want a goofy, wisecracking Superman that seems more like a characiture on a poster, then this movie is not for you. Man of Steel envisions Superman in a real world.
Of course, it's not meant to be realistic in the sense of physical reality as we know it, but it's meant to be real on a human level. So many are saying that this is devoid of humanity, but I felt the exact opposite effect. Clark Kent spends the better part of his life attempting to figure out how to cope with what he is: an alien. He is constantly reminded that he is not from this world, and Henry Cavill and the actors portraying a young Clark Kent, do an excellent job of demonstrating just how much that hurts.
Despite being spurned by humans that fear his boundless power, he still strives to protect humanity and guide it to something greater than itself. It's not until the arrival and subsequent defeat of Michael Shannon's General Zod that Superman proves his benevolence to mankind, and he is more or less accepted.
Kal-El is more human than the humans around him. He is compassionate and understanding. He knows the fears that surround his existence, and he attempts to alleviate those fears by essentially prostrating himself as a servant of humanity rather than a conqueror.
And of course it's all very ironic, because an alien serves as the best, most shining example of what it means to be human. I think we can all think back to someone in our lives who inspired us to strive towards the best versions of ourselves. And so, the message in Man of Steel is two fold. First, that there is hope for humanity (even if a god-like humanoid doesn't exist among us), and secondly that being a part of a particular community doesn't mean you have to be born in that community.
And oh yes, lets not forget about the action. The action scenes in this film are just as epic as the trailers have made them out to be. You'll see destruction on a grand scale, and you'll see an epic showdown between Zod and Kal-El that was not doable 30 years ago.
If you can manage to sepparate yourself from the Christopher Reeve Superman, then you will absolutely be treated to a mature, less corny version of Supes in a movie that delivers both strong emotional content and some action that packs a wallop.
Go see this film!