For every person that seemingly refuses to leave their shell, there is an insecurity that pushes them back inside each time they try. My shell was called the mid-2000s era of commercial entertainment fostered not too far from home, and my insecurity, intricately crafted pieces of pop culture, particularly of the English language. Superhero films made the top of the list, and I shuddered at the thought of catching up with even a single one of those. Until, of course, I found the right one.
For a film that has at the disposal of its imagination an entire world (or two), Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel is an extravagantly simple one. Despite a protagonist who can, with his bare hands, lift the heaviest of buildings and outrun the fastest bullet, the film remains true to the core of its ambition: that of telling the origin story of the world’s most beloved superhero, not just in terms of his physical abilities, but also in terms of those that got him through times when he felt like the loneliest guy in the world, an outcast…an alien. How during these times, even the strongest man of two worlds felt safest in the company of those who cared for him, understood him. And how it was only just an extension of their love and protection that gave him a desire to save the world, and made him Superman.
It is here, I believe, that lies the essence of his tale. In the memories of his childhood. In the conflict of his mind. In the humanity of his spirit, and in the ordinariness of Superman. Coupled with Hans Zimmer‘s reassuring background score, his journey from the first natural birth on his planet in centuries, to slowly evolving into that one leap of faith he took, flying and smiling away in a newly-found sense of belonging, and finally becoming the saviour of the earth, is a story that was done full justice by the film, and one I can no more fathom the thought of having missed out on.
I am extremely grateful that this film was made, but even more for that one summer afternoon I decided to watch it. I may have seen countless other superhero films since then, some of which I love dearly, but Man of Steel remains my favourite, and my very own leap of faith!
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.