FOX 34 at the movies: 'Man of Steel,' 'Iceman'
On Twitter: @JamesEpplerI think "Man of Steel" is the Superman movie I've been ready to see for a long time. I've never been a fan of the goody-goody character or any of the cheesy movies with Christopher Reeve. (I know that's blasphemy for some).
This is a new approach to the well-worn material. It fixes a lot of annoyances I've always had with the Superman tale and adds some depth to the character.
Henry Cavill is well cast as Kal-El, an alien sent to Earth by his parents when his home planet is destroyed. Russell Crowe is solid as his real father Jor-El, and I love Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as his adoptive Earth parents.
Much of the back story is told in flashbacks, as we watch a young Clark Kent tormented, scared and confused by his powers.
Perhaps the greatest asset to this movie is how Lois Lane is re-imagined and actually given some brains and an important role to play. Amy Adams is sublime. I also like Michael Shannon as the evil General Zod, who wants to wipe out humanity to create a new world. Just don't ask me to explain his overly complex plan.
Direction is by Zack Snider who made "300" and "Watchmen." He's a talented action director with a unique visual style. The religious overtones aren't subtle, and the action gets a bit tiresome in the final third, but after years of bad Superman movies since the second one - this one delivers in a big way.
Michael Shannon also stars in a much smaller movie this summer. "The Iceman" tells the true story of Richard Kuklinski, who's reported to have killed more than a hundred people for the mob over about 20 years.
Kuklinksi was brutal and remorseless, which earned him the Iceman nickname. The only sliver of humanity we see is his love for his wife and kids, who have no idea what he really is. The unlucky lady is played by Winona Ryder, by the way, doing her best work in years.
"The Iceman" is a dark, dreary drama, filled with tension. But because the movie spans decades, it has to gloss over a lot. Shannon is riveting, though, and deserving of Oscar recognition.