Man of Steel box
Man of Steel Blu-ray Combo Pack
Coming off of 2011’s critical and box office disaster Sucker Punch, Zack Snyder had a lot to prove with Man of Steel. The director has never had a problem with introducing fans to visual wonders, and this time around, he had David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan on board to handle the script. The combination resulted in an intricate action story that captivated audiences and led to the nearly immediate greenlight of a sequel. Now, the film’s available to take home on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and Digital Download, and a Limited Collector’s Edition, to view for a second (or maybe fifth) time.

Part origin story and part modern-day battle tale, Man of Steel first introduces us to the planet Krypton in its final moments. Scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) sends his newborn son out into the universe, in the hopes that his race will be preserved. The little boy, Kal-El, lands on a farm in Kansas where he is taken in by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane), and redubbed Clark Kent (Henry Cavill). Some of the most compelling moments in the film come when Clark is a young child, learning about his abilities and learning how to live out life on Earth. His father is terrified that people will judge his son’s abilities and see him as a freak. He hopes to shield him from a life under scrutiny.

However, anyone who is familiar with the Superman story should know that Clark Kent was never destined for a life in the background. He begins to test his abilities just as a Krypton General named Zod (Michael Shannon) latches on to his location on Earth. What follows is a battle for Earth that leaves destruction and waste everywhere and truly tests Superman’s abilities for the first time.

There are a lot of nitpicky problems with Man of Steel, including Jonathan Kent’s sheltering of his son, and the wild, rampant ways that Smallville and Metropolis are destroyed, without regard to the human lives Superman is hoping to protect. The biggest issue with the film is that its action sequences, while carefully crafted, lack in diversity. Viewers might find themselves looking at similar sorts of shots over and over as Zod and Superman square off. Still, the scenes of destruction are richly detailed and the scope of the film, from Krypton to Earth, and later a battle for Earth, is impressive.

More compelling than the epic battle between Superman and Zod is Kal-El’s origin story, which traces his early days on Krypton, his early years in Smallville, his nomadic years, and his first contacts with Lois Lane (Amy Adams). The more intimate looks at the young man’s life build a world and a story worth telling, and should continue to expand in the films to come.

You can order Man of Steel over at Amazon.

Best Special Feature: As the back cover of the Blu-ray will tell you, Man of Steel sports nearly four hours of bonus features. That’s enough for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to put some extras on the Blu-ray disc and to put together a separate disc devoted to additional extras. In short, there’s a lot of stuff for fans to peruse. The first extra fans will encounter looks at the graphic novel history of Superman and how Nolan and Goyer were able to re-envision the franchise for film. That’s probably the bonus feature I enjoyed most on the actual Blu-ray disc, and it’s called "Strong Characters, Legendary Roles," although I’ve been told that true Superman fans will be most excited about the 75th Anniversary Animated Short. Be sure to give that one a shot if Superman is up your alley. There was also weirdly a Hobbit bonus feature on the disc, that is certainly skippable.

"Journey of Discovery: Creating Man of Steel" is an extensive "Making of" the story which is set up similarly to audio commentary, with actual members of the cast and crew pointing out facts and stories from the set while the film plays. It’s basically like watching the film with the audio commentary on, but instead there’s a split screen with the cast member talking while the actual film plays. Additionally, behind-the-scenes footage will sometimes pop up on a third screen or even fourth screen. It’s way better than any audio commentary. Just a few minutes in, there’s a fight sequence with Russell Crowe in which we get to see the final product as well as the initial film sequence without any green screen on Krypton. If you have the time to basically re-watch the movie, this extra is great.

As a side note, segments from the Hans Zimmer-composed soundtrack play when the menu screen is on for each of the discs. Critical reception for the soundtrack has been mixed, but I actually loved its use on the menu page. It should allow viewers to feel as if they are about to delve into something epic, which they are.

Other Special Features:
"All-Out Action"
"Krypton Decoded"
Superman 75th Anniversary Animated Short
"Journey of Discover: Creating Man of Steel"
"Planet Krypton"

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