You better believe a man can fly. Thanks to a special Wal-Mart event benefiting Children's Miracle Network, I was able to get discounted tickets to see Man of Steel before it was released. Being an extremely in-depth fan of DC Comics, Man of Steel was my most anticipated film of the year. Directed by Zach Snyder (300, Watchmen) and written and produced by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, who famously wrote and produced the incredibly successful "Dark Knight" trilogy of films reviving one popular superhero, Man of Steel attempts to revive Superman after 2006's "Superman Returns" floundered and failed to light the spark. But hold fast, because Man of Steel is not only the first step toward bringing the Son of Krypton back to silver screen glory, but was also the first move in achieving the long awaited Justice League movie. Man of Steel not only successfully launches the Justice League one step further toward realization, but is the best Superman film since Richard Donner's 1978 Superman flick. An origin story anything but unlikely, we start with the typical Superman origin story: On the planet of Krypton, on the edge of implosion, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), a highly respected scientist, sends his son Kal-El to Earth, after realizing the destruction of his home, helped brought on by a Kryptonian general who aims to usurp Krypton's hierarchy in order to save the planet. Zod (Michael Shannon) is stopped and banished to the Phantom Zone as the planet dies. From there, we are brought forward to Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) as an adult, leading a nomadic life in an attempt to struggle with the weight of his powers, while we learn the backstory: After crash landing in Smallville, Kansas, he's found by Martha (Diane Lane) and Jonathan (Kevin Costner) Kent, who name him Clark Kent, and the rest is history. Meanwhile, Clark's identity is being chased by crack shot Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams). Right off the bat, the first thing you'll notice is the pacing. Unlike most origins stories in the superhero genre, Man of Steel bounces back and forth from an adult Clark Kent attempting to rationalize with his powers and searching for his true identity, while showing his upbringing and his attempts to comprehend how to live among the human race that rejects him. Zach Snyder does a great job at not bouncing too hard leaving holes open, while still delivering an "in-the-now" story line that successfully tells the origins of Superman without spending too much time pandering around in the young Clark Kent's life. Although it's almost an hour into the film before the donning iconic costume (Now with underwear on the INSIDE!), there is no short of cool abilities and the plot paces along at a decent rate. The film successfully juggles an origin story, a story involving Superman in his current state before becoming the iconic hero, and a background story involving Lois Lane, but never manages to lose the viewer in the midst. It does a brilliant job of holding steady with building aspects of the character, like his human versus Kryptonian allegiances, his need to protect those who raised him, all while stopping General Zod from taking over the Earth and making it Krypton 2.0. It pushes so many boundaries, to the edge where it may have become too much, an area where fellow superhero flick Spider-Man 3 faltered, but it never does, and the pacing is great. There is something to be said about great casting. Often a bad casting can lead to a very difficult time accepting and enjoying a story, and is insanely difficult to nail when it comes to adaptation stories, but Man of Steel catches it exceptionally. Henry Cavill is the best actor to play Clark Kent yet, narrowly beating out Christopher Reeve, and leaving Smallville actor Tom Welling and Superman Returns' Brandon Routh in the dust. Not only looking the part, but he manages to convey fear of himself, as well as the iconic call of duty typical of the character. Adams' Lois Lane is sassy, headstrong, and doesn't fall into the trap of the damsel in distress (Although it wouldn't be all that fun if Superman didn't save his lady love, now would it?). Potentially stealing the show is Michael Shannon's General Zod, who is ruthless mixed with brilliance and anger, a character of pure strength and unwavering motivation. The rest of the cast is rounded out by a well casted Martha and Jonathan Kent, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, Lois' editor-in-chief at the Daily Planet, and Russell Crowe as Kal-El's father, Jor-El, whos role is greatly expanded from most Superman stories, and his addition feels welcome and never out steps it's boundries. Make no mistake, this isn't the 10 minutes of Marlon Brando we expected. The real star of this show, however, was the special effects, and Snyder’s direction. Films with Snyder’s names directed are often associated with a grand amount of special effects and Man of Steel blows anything of Michael Bay’s out of the water. Utilizing numerous backgrounds and locations, from the frozen wastelands of the South Pole, to the corn and grass fields of Kansas, and the skyscraper laden Metropolis, no two fights ever feel the same, and the usage of destruction and the choreograph of the fight scenes, while less technical then most action films, delivers punch by bone crushing punch in beautiful sound. The most impressive part is that despite all the action being faster than a speeding bullet, you never lose focus of the ongoing battle, including when Superman is battling numerous enemies at once. The audio mix here is also a very strong and notable. Each whip of wind as Superman flies through the air is crisp and each explosion and punch lands with the perfect mix between strong and loud, but never crosses the line, thankfully. The film is enhanced by Hans Zimmer’s fantastic score, and his action film pedigree continues to hold strong. While it isn’t as strong as his work on Christopher Nolan’s previous films, it hits its mark once again, opting out of the dark booming scores of the Dark Knight films, into a lighter, and ultimately more hopeful sounding orchestral score, which more than holds up to its expectations following John Williams’ very popular Superman score from 1978. With a very strong script, brilliant and eye popping special effects, and one of the best cast’s in a sourced material film, Superman has left the Fortress of Solitude of lackluster films and production hell, and has come to the forefront of the modern take on the Man of Steel that fans, and ultimately, the character deserved. Not only has it taken one step toward building the cast for the essential DC Comic’s super group flick, but it stands on its own as a spectacular super hero film, a smash-packed summer kickoff film. If you’re fond of high impact action films with spectacular special effects, backed by a greatly cast, exceptional battle choreography, and a strong cast, Man of Steel does its source material justice and is sure to sit strong on your ranks of comic-to-film lists and is sure to be a surefire hit. The ambition leaps higher then a single skyscraper, and hit's it's mark faster then a speeding bullet. Final Score: 9.5/10 Kicking off the build up to the Justice League with a sonic boom and a skull crushing punch to the face, Man of Steel is going to steal your attention and keep you at the forefront of the best superhero flick since "The Dark Knight"