Is the new Superman movie Man of Steel appropriate for young kids? No. This isn’t your family friendly Christopher Reeve/Richard Donner movie.
Let’s start off with the previews. The previews at the Regal Cinemas where we watched began with a look at Machete Kills, and then went on to show previews for films like 300: Rise of an Empire and Elysium. Both movies look to be quite violent, based on the number of people killed in the clips. While there was also a preview for Turbo, the upcoming Dreamworks movie about a racing snail, it seemed misplaced among the other previews.
The first three-quarters of the film was appropriate for elementary-age children and they will identify with Clark Kent’s journey through childhood. The scene where Clark Kent finds out who he is and what he was meant to do is fantastic and portrays a depth of emotion. That was the pinnacle of the film and I enjoyed seeing a new take on Superman’s rise.
But then things take an abrupt and violent turn. The careful and compelling story-telling of the first 1.5 hours is discarded for a violent action sequence – it was as if the director, Zach Snyder, lost faith in his ability to tell a story and turned the movie over to the special effects guys to finish it.
Of course, things had to get violent, it is a superhero movie after all and people need to be put in perilous situations so that Superman can save them, but unfortunately for a lot of those people in perilous situations, it doesn’t turn out well. To the director’s credit, you don’t see most of the bodies, but entire cities and their populations are laid to ruins. And these scenes are long. At times too long – like Transformers 2 type long.
There’s some bad language in the film also. Not much, but there are some words that I’d rather not have my kids walking around saying. I understand that sometimes movies feel they need to use a curse word to emphasize a point, but there could have been other words substituted.
The film is also loud. Really loud. I would suggest that if you do take a child to this movie that you bring along some ear plugs. My wife spent the last 45 minutes of the film with her hands over her ears.
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the movie – the movie was quite good and I had a lot of fun watching it. As many fans and critics have mentioned, this superhero among superheroes was dying out as other, more relatable, superheroes emerged. Superman had to be revamped and had to be a little more intense than in the past.
The film though didn’t have to quite go so far. Without so many deaths and the occasional swear word, the film could have easily been downgraded to a PG rating, which would have been nice since my almost 9 year old has been begging to see it. Most of the Superman toys are for ages 4 and up, but in my opinion, they shouldn’t watch the film that their toys are based on unless they are 11 or older.