Natural Wonders

Movies Like Avatar That Are Just As Visually Stunning

“Man of Steel” is far from a perfect film. Zack Snyder’s take on the origins of Clark Kent/Kal-el (Henry Cavill) is riddled with inconsistencies, uncomfortable tonal shifts, an awkward structure, and a fundamental misunderstanding of how Superman embodies “hope.” However, as a work of visual storytelling, “Man of Steel” is simply breathtaking, capturing both the exotic alien locations and the reality of modern metroplexes. It’s a work of realism, style, and imagination that is rarely matched in modern comic book films; if many superhero films look as if they were shot in static backgrounds and stock locations, Snyder’s epicness rivals what Cameron did with “Avatar.”

The film opens with a jaw-dropping opening sequence that explores the final days of the alien planet Krypton before its destruction, an event only hinted at in the original 1978 classic, “Superman: The Movie.” Like Cameron, Snyder dedicates time to exploring a functioning society with distinguishable political infrastructure and cultural landmarks. Krypton’s politics are in flux, as the evil General Zod (Michael Shannon) rebels against the council. Jor-el (Russell Crowe) looks to find a solution to the conflict, but he’s also trying to find a home for his son.

Once Kal-el ventures to Earth, Snyder shows the beauty of the natural world as he discovers his abilities. Removed from the convoluted narrative, the sequence of Kal-el flying for the first time is filled with the same breathtaking sense of discovery that Jake feels in “Avatar.”


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