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Film Review: ‘Man of Steel’

A humorless tone and relentlessly noisy aesthetics drag down this heavily hyped, brilliantly marketed tentpole attraction.

Cast:
Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Antje Traue, Harry Lennix, Christopher Meloni, Kevin Costner, Ayelet Zurer, Laurence Fishburne.

There’s nary a mention of kryptonite, the Fortress of Solitude is only an existential locale, and Clark Kent never earns so much as a single Daily Planet byline in “Man of Steel,” director Zack Snyder, writer David S. Goyer and producer Christopher Nolan’s strenuously revisionist Superman origin story, which might more accurately have been titled “Rock Em Sock Em Spacemen,” given the amount of screen time devoted to exiled Kryptonians body-slamming each other into all manner of natural and manmade structures. Clearly designed to do for DC Comics’ other most venerable property what Nolan and Goyer’s “Batman Begins” did for the Caped Crusader, this heavily hyped, brilliantly marketed tentpole attraction seems destined to soar with worldwide audiences this summer, even if the humorless tone and relentlessly noisy (visually and sonically) aesthetics leave much to be desired — chiefly, a “Steel” sequel directed with less of an iron fist.

Where the red-booted one’s last bigscreen appearance, Bryan Singer’s 2006 “Superman Returns,” was conceived as a mash note to Richard Donner’s iconic 1978 “Superman,” Snyder, Goyer and Nolan (who also shares a story credit) labor to distance “Man of Steel” from those precursors, starting with a Krypton that looks less like an ice castle in the sky than a grayer, grimier version of “Avatar’s” Pandora (by way of “Alien”). There, the noble scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) plots to spirit his newborn son, Kal-El, away from the dying planet — a plan that coincides with a military coup staged by the rogue Gen. Zod (Michael Shannon, sporting a most unflattering bowl cut). That sequence sets the tone for much of what follows in “Man of Steel,” with Hans Zimmer’s thunderous score rattling both speakers and eardrums, the actors dwarfed by layer upon layer of crumbling buildings and warring spacecraft.

SEE ALSO: “Man of Steel” on Track for $100 Million Debut

After Zod and his accomplices are caught, they’re frozen solid and banished to a black-hole Siberia, just before Krypton itself goes kaboom. “Man of Steel” then breaks from a linear timeline to jump ahead some 33 years, where we find the adult Clark (Henry Cavill) working as a grunt on a commercial fishing trawler, not yet having revealed his superego to the world, but occasionally dabbling in large-scale heroics nonetheless. When a nearby oil rig is engulfed in a fiery blaze, he barges in to rescue the crew, then just as quickly disappears before anyone can ask too many questions. As in “Batman Begins” (which opened with a wayward Bruce Wayne wandering the earth like “Kung Fu’s” Caine), these are supposed to be Clark/Kal’s years in the wilderness, grappling with daddy issues and an amorphous sense of self as he bounces from place to place and one odd job to the next.

Pic also adopts a similar flashback structure in which present events trigger memories of Clark’s past, as the adopted son of Illinois farm folk Jonathan (a touching Kevin Costner) and Martha (Diane Lane) Kent, as a loner/outcast bullied by schoolmates, and as a superhero-to-be coming to terms with his alien heritage and powerful gifts. But even here, Snyder seems averse to staging a single scene in which there isn’t something catastrophic happening, whether it’s a schoolbus accident that plunges Clark and his classmates into a raging ravine, or the entire Kent family finding itself stranded on a highway in the path of an oncoming twister.

Things finally snap into sharper focus for Clark when he follows news reports of a strange “anomalous object” to a NORAD outpost somewhere in the Arctic and, via a little Kryptonian hocus-pocus, communes with the holographic consciousness of his birth father (who narrates a brief animated history of the rise and fall of Krypton, drawn in striking, Soviet propaganda-art style). It’s there, at just around the 50-minute mark, that Clark first dons the trademark “S” suit, and also where he first encounters Lois Lane (Amy Adams), this time a Pulitzer Prize-winning hard-news reporter who uses her journalistic acumen to quickly deduce Supes’ secret identity. But rather than moving logically on to Metropolis, “Man of Steel” somewhat curiously dovetails back to Smallville, where Clark’s reunion with dear old mum is interrupted by the arrival of Zod. Newly freed from his interstellar limbo, he threatens to make haste with all of humanity unless Clark/Kal surrenders both himself and a coveted “Codex” that can be used to rebuild Krypton … on Earth.

WATCH the Final “Man of Steel” Teaser (VIDEO)

So far, so gloomy, with little of the genuine wonderment the very name “Superman” calls to mind. Blessed with the most classically chiseled jawline of any actor who’s yet donned the red cape, Cavill is also the most dour and brooding, lacking even the sardonic self-amusement of Christian Bale in Bruce Wayne mode — and he appears to have been directed to be exactly this way. Like its lead, Snyder’s entire movie seems afraid to crack a smile.

The ambition to make a grittier kind of Superman pic is certainly admirable, but much of what Snyder and Goyer set out to fix wasn’t really broken in the first place. By having Lois discover Clark’s true identity so early on, “Man of Steel” relinquishes the halting romantic chemistry between the two characters that brightened previous versions of the tale. And the narrow focus on Clark, Lois and Zod gives the movie an oddly circumscribed feel. Nowhere to be found is the rich gallery of colorful supporting players that populated the Donner film, Nolan’s “Batman” pics and Snyder’s own “Watchmen” (one of the richest and most satisfying of all comicbook adaptations). Gone, too, are any of those lighter moments, fondly remembered from Supermen past,  in which our hero — in or out of disguise — used his powers for decidedly non-super feats and, by doing so, grew closer to his fellow man. One longs to see this Superman change a flat or rescue a kitten from a tree or take Lois for a flight around the block.

Instead, we get two climactic rumbles — one on the streets of Smallville, one (finally) in downtown Metropolis — that test one’s patience for blurs of movement smashing through buildings with little if any respect for the laws of physics. Indeed, if “Man of Steel” doesn’t much look like previous “Superman” movies, it does closely resemble such other recent sci-fi/fantasy pics like “Thor,” “The Avengers” and “Transformers” and their symphonies of disorienting CGI destruction. At points, the action scenes even recall the hallucinogenic dream sequences from Snyder’s own crazily ambitious mental-hospital musical, “Sucker Punch,” except everyone here is supposed to be wide awake.

Pic is undeniably impressive, in the sense that little if any expense has been spared in bringing Snyder’s vision to the screen, though this is a case where less would almost surely have been more. Much of the craft work exudes the same general feeling of overkill, from the frantic handheld shooting and desaturated colors of lenser Amir Mokri to the unceasing Wagnerian bombast of Zimmer’s score.

Film Review: 'Man of Steel'

Reviewed at Warner Bros. Studios, June, 6, 2013. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 142 MIN.

Production: A Warner Bros. release presented with Legendary Pictures of a Syncopy production. Produced by Charles Roven, Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Deborah Snyder. Executive producers, Thomas Tull, Lloyd Phillips, Jon Peters. Co-producer, Wesley Coller.

Crew: Directed by Zack Snyder. Screenplay, David S. Goyer; story, Goyer, Christopher Nolan, based upon “Superman” created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Camera (Deluxe color, Technicolor prints, 35mm, widescreen), Amir Mokri; editor, David Brenner; music, Hans Zimmer; production designer, Alex McDowell; supervising art director, Kim Sinclair; art director, Chris Farmer; set decorator, Anne Kuljian; set designers, Aric Cheng, Scott Herbertson, Tammy S. Lee, Thomas Machan, Richard F. Mays, David Moreau, Patrick M. Sullivan Jr.; costume designers, James Acheson, Michael Wilkinson; sound (Datasat/Dolby Digital/SDDS), Michael McGee; sound design/supervision, Scott Hecker, Eric A. Norris; re-recording mixers, Chris Jenkins, Frank Montano; visual effects supervisor, John “DJ” Desjardin; visual effects producer, Josh R. Jaggars; visual effects, Weta Digital, Double Negative, MPC, Scanline VFX, Blur Studio, Look Effects, Teamworks Digital; associate producer, Curt Kanemoto; assistant director, Bruce G. Moriarty; second unit director/camera, Pete Romano; second unit camera, William Dalgleish; casting, Lora Kennedy, Kristy Carlson. 

With: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Antje Traue, Harry Lennix, Christopher Meloni, Kevin Costner, Ayelet Zurer, Laurence Fishburne.

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  1. Just watched this film on TV. The writer and director are Addicted to blow ups at the expense of the story. At a minimum the film is 35 minutes too long.

  2. I have been a Superman fan since 1953. Everyone has the right to produce their own interpretation. I have read a lot of bad reviews and was expecting the worst. The effects are the best possible. The film drags at times but mostly action. My thoughts are the S on the back of the cape is gone and it gives Superman a Roman Gladiator look. The biggest negitive on this film is the music, or lack of. Superman is synonymous with a strong music score. In this respect, it is a flop as the music is neither memorable or impressionable. This is a huge negative on the film and was the culprit in the lack of excitement. Zack, listen up from someone who know. Trust me.

  3. A bit of levity, combined with small moments like saving a cat, would have made this a great film. And there were completely missed opportunities. For example, there’s a shot of shopkeepers in Smallville running indoors to avoid an early battle between Superman and Zod and we see the sign on the door reading, “OPEN”. Just a quick shot of the storekeeper flipping it around to the “CLOSED” side would have been a touch of levity to balance the explosive fight that follows.

    And recall the scene where Superman crashes into the IHOP and sees his now-grown-up but still tubby classmate staring on in shock. Superman looks at him, but they say nothing. Why even bother having him there? Since they’re both in the scene and there’s a small break in the action, Superman should have quipped, “Hey, Pete!”… and then continued the battle. It’s that type of characterization that makes us like the character of Superman. He’s an alien, but he’s also always trying to be human, even if it’s awkward. That type of levity would have balanced out the action and would have colored in Superman’s character.

    Finally, the scene at the end where Superman says, “I’m from Kansas! That about as American as you can get!” is a scene that will probably not be shown overseas. But it’s ridiculous anyhow and only speaks to how much the script failed to illustrate Superman’s character. This is film: SHOW, don’t tell. By the end of the film we should already know that Superman is “as American as [he] can get.” And this could have been done through simple visuals. I believe there’s a scene in a Reeves film where there’s a fight on the moon and the American flag gets knocked over. Superman makes a point of putting it back up. We see he priorities and love for America with no words needed. Something like that could have happened here, right after they fight around the satellite — they could have gone higher and fought on the moon for a second, knock over the flag, etc. But Superman’s lame statement is a product of poor script-writing. There was horrible dialogue throughout. Another example, Zod repeating himself a number of times in the final fight sequence, culminating in, “There’s only one way this ends! Either I die, or you die!” Ugh, no crap. But show it, make me feel that. Don’t have a character tell me what I should be expecting.

    On the plus side, the action sequences were pretty impressive. The choreographers understood what the creators of the Amazing Spiderman did not — we want to see the main character maximize the use of his environs and we want to see it from as many angles as possible. The fight between the buildings between Superman and Zod was excellent. By contrast, every shot in Spiderman seemed to be at the same distance — a medium shot. Over and over. No real effort to show him webbing his way through the city. Yeah, there was one little scene of it towards the end, but the camera work was stiff and always a medium shot. Fortunately the creators of Superman understood that the camera must follow the lead, wherever he goes no matter how fast.

      • Interesting. That’s better than what happened with the last Superman film, where they couldn’t have Perry White say, “Truth, justice, and the American way” and instead had him say, “Truth, justice…and all that stuff!” — even in the American version.

        But if Superman is portrayed as embodying the American spirit even overseas, then they had no excuse not to make it obvious that he was “as American as it gets” in earlier scenes. I suspect there was some debate about that during the filming process.

  4. An awful, awful film. Plodding over-serious distant-galaxy shit descends into a masturbatory fantasia on 9/11. The only redemption was provided by the most laughable line ever delivered – “how do I know you won’t one day turn against America’s interests?”

  5. Best action Movie to date with empathy, courage , and a story that shows real human interest .. PLUS the best visuals one would ever hope to see(.as . Zack Snyder’s. usually are. .NY POST got
    it right when they said the visuals were better than the Avengers, and the last scene was better also.
    Plus the Big Blue Boy Scout became real and approachable, like the rest of us!!!Thank the Lord for this movie which restored my faith in Hollywood. They finally made an action movie with modern technology and yes, basic values which made America great!!! Thank you Chris, Zack and the
    others………Best,, Lois H.

  6. In 1978 audiences were awed by a big-budget, wonderful adaptation of the comic books. The resulting franchise started showing annoying degradations of cinematic quality and embarrassing attempts at humor immediately in SII. The next two films went from bad to worst ever. In 2006 an homage to that first film was deemed a misfire, though many enjoyed Superman Returns and hoped to see where the new son storyline would go in sequels that were never made. The main criticism is it did not have enough fighting.

    What Zack Snyder did was a thorough reboot and the film is successful in its execution. Since it is fashionable to “criticize” super-hero movies, the film has to be picked on for something, so this time it is its serious tone (a critique that will never haunt any of next fall’s Oscar contenders, of course). In other words, critics and even many fans, look for things to think are somehow wrong: He’s a boyscout (Reeve), he’s too sensitive (Routh) , he’s too serious (Cavill).

    What audiences are getting is, aside from state-of-the-art effects and interesting new spins on the relationship with the Kents and Lois Lane, the most physically perfect Superman actor who ever donned the costume. Cavill looks AMAZING and acts stoic and soul-searching (deliberate parts of the new interpretation). The children playing young Clark are troubled even sad. The adult Clark smiles many times when appropriate, like during his interview, when he first appears as Clark, the reporter, and when he is practically giddy with joy for first finding out his Kryptonian heritage.

    That we see a character who is good and kind and forgiving is an inspiration for those of us who would like to be–in some way–like Superman.

  7. I disagree with, well, everything there is to disagree with in this review.

    Someone was looking for an apple and found a pear. Well boo-hoo.

    I think this was a more realistic portrayal of what someone like Superman would be like. I think it’s relatively ridiculous to think Superman would actually be like what he’s portrayed as usually. Seriosuly? You’re (usually) the only one left of your race, you’re totally different from others, you have to protect EVERYONE, and still you’re all happy joy joy here’s your kitten from that tree? Really?

    As to the Lois/Clark pace, well I for one am glad as hell we skip that Spider-Man will-it-ever-end specualation as to who that masked hero is.

    The pace in Man of Steel was great, the music as epic as Superman deserves, the destruction as it should be all strength considered (respect for the laws of physics, really? Observe: http://youtu.be/V-fL8zopddI ), and Cavill was fantastic.

    I’d say a negative point is that we have to wait even a year for a sequel.

  8. Man of Steel was not made to cater only to comic book fans, which I am not, but to the public in general and especially to children. This was suppose to be entertaining and it was. All these people that are shredding the movie with mindless, picky critiques are just taking all the fun out of summer. Wake up, it’s just a movie. Oh and by the way read the box office totals that are coming in, hmmmmmmmm?

  9. I’m thinking of a possible class-action lawsuit for hearing loss against the sound design team and Hans Zimmer. I spent much of the last 40 minutes of the film with fingers plugged in my ears (and eyes on my watch.) OUCH! That’s Entertainment?

    • I was way too loud in my theater, a complaint I thought I’d never make. I love loud dialogue, sound effects, and music. But it was just deafening throughout.

  10. I’m a superman from the 50′ and 60’s. This move was a big budget story-less expedition into camp. i cracked up laughing to the point of tears. All this needed to be complete was BIF, BAM and BOOM plastered over the screen. If superman screamed one more time … This was not Superman.

  11. To the folk taking a pop at the reviewer and others: GROW THE HELL UP AND STOP ACTING LIKE SELF ENTITLED PUNKS!!

    I swear this groupthink mentality’s laughable as it is disturbing and it gets worse ever year. You’re only confirming the fact that you lot are the lowest common denominator who truly enjoy making asses out of themselves online. Instead of a polite “I respectfully disagree” and move on, you shout down anyone who doesn’t have the same views as you like rabid dogs who’re in need of euthanasia.

    So what if 100 odd film critics and some viewers voice their bemusement regarding Man Of Steel. They’re no more entitled to their opinion than you are regardless of how much money it made opening weekend and being at the No. 1 spot. IT’S NOT THAT FRIGGING SERIOUS!!!

    You make those Kardashian stans (Super Fans, FYI) look like saints…and to be blunt, it really doesn’t say much.

  12. I agree with everything in this review. Too much large scale destruction that takes away from the realness of the characters. It was dark, noisy, and one dimensional. It had no charm. Nolan should have directed this, but instead I feel like he was just involved to make money and nothing more. One thing this review left out is that once again, just like Superman Returns there were too many Christian religious metaphors likening Kal-El to Jesus Christ as a Savior, including his age of 33.

    Go back and watch Star Trek into darkness and Iron Man 3 and you will see movies that offer something for all audience members.

    • “One thing this review left out is that once again, just like Superman Returns there were too many Christian religious metaphors likening Kal-El to Jesus Christ as a Savior, including his age of 33.”

      Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. Especially if you’re Christian.

  13. I really do not know what you movie you saw…it was not the same one I did that is for sure. When you are as Powerful as Superman you do not need to waste time rescuing kittens or changing tires. The was a big movie about big ideas that brings the story from one created by two Jewish kids with every thing from Jewish Lore to Victorian Strong Men….hence the underwear that is missing.. in 1938 to today world.

    One where not every one is open to oh BTW I am an Alien and Buck Rogers Science Fiction…to one grounded in some sort of real world setting..

    Great Movie with Nod;s to Luther, Wayne Enterprises and Booster Gold.

    There are so many place Goyer can take this….cant wait till the sequel and the JLA movie….

  14. The Kent farm is in Smallville Kansas… not Illinois. The different take on Krypton with the insect like technology and the strange animal Jor-El rides were distracting, but the real downer for this flick was the characterization of Jonathan and Clark Kent. Jonathan places hiding Clarks secret above the lives of others? Clark learns this, grows up an outcast, let’s Jonathan die in a tornado (NOT!), and then KILLS Zod? …very disappointing! Clark has always been able to figure out a way to beat the bad guy without killing. That’s the biggest thing that makes him so special. He’s got ultimate power, but he won’t kill. That’s why he’s called ‘the boy scout’. This version of the story would seem to lead to Ultraman, not Superman… And how are they going to top the destruction of Metropolis? I mean, I could see the fight with Doomsday taking down a lot of realestate, but Zod? Also, Zod was lame. Faora stole the show as a villian.

    • But Superman did kill Zod in the comics (1988). Zod, Faora and another. He wasn’t even under the gun. He conducted a summary execution by purposely exposing them to kryptonite until they were dead because he didn’t know of any way to stop them from continuing to destroy with their extreme powers. He then fell into a deep depression and self-exile from Earth until he felt like he needed to stop being selfish and wallowing and go back and help Earth again. So, no, he doesn’t always figure out how to beat people without killing and certainly wouldn’t let humans die while he figured out a kinder gentler solution. He also killed Doomsday. (though Doomsday always gets better it seems).

      Also, I believe the farm scenes were all filmed in Illinois and Illinois was thanked several times in the credits which is probably where the confusion in the article came from.

  15. “as the adopted son of Illinois farm folk Jonathan (a touching Kevin Costner) and Martha (Diane Lane) Kent”

    Shouldn’t that be “Kansas farm folk…”?

    • I believe the farm scenes were all filmed in Illinois and Illinois was thanked several times in the credits which is probably where the confusion in the article came from.

  16. Lois lane figuring out who superman was and the way it happened was the weakest part of the movie. Up till that moment, i was fine with all the “reboot” stuff going on. I found that scene to be forced, dopey, and remove a big element to the superman story, which is lois not knowing who superman was and the tension between her and superman/ clark kent. The romance between snyder’s superman and lois also seems forced and there was absolutely no build up or chemistry. I was ok with the “reboot” because while this is different than the superman i remember from the comics (i stopped reading 15 years ago,) all the basic elements are there… Just different. I also thought general zod’s motivation was rushed and the initial scenes were not scripted too clearly to understand whats going on or why. With a running time of 2 1/2 hours, there was plenty of time to explain things. I felt as if they threw it at you quick so they could cut to a fight scene with lots of lens flaring.

    • If you stopped reading the comics 15 years ago, then it’s no wonder why you didn’t get this movie. This movie is truer to those comics than the other movies. And if you’re upset about Lois knowing Clark’s ID, that was part of the status quo for almost 2 decades up until the New 52 and that worked out fine. Your complaint about that shows that you’re really behind on your Superman.

  17. This article is SPOT on! This is everything that is wrong with this film. I only hope Goyer and Snyder read this and take it too heart before they make the same mistakes with the sequel!

  18. I saw this movie yesterday and I was surprised. Having hated Superman returns, I found this one was more true to the comics. Clark really seemed torn up about the decisions he had to do and Zodd was fantastic. It’s worth mentionning that the theatre was packed (at 3pm!) and everyone applauded at the end. I don’t care if critics don’t like this movie, I loved it, everyone I know loved it and I’m happy that this franchise is finally back on track. I can’t wait for the sequel.

  19. With Zack ‘Watchman’ Snyder and Christopher ‘Dark Knight’ Nolan behind the film, it’s no surprise the mood should be dark and serious. If you’re hankering after the playful innocence of Christopher Reeve’s Superman, you’ll definitely be disappointed.

  20. The critic/reviewer clearly did not see the same movie most audiences saw. Should have gone to specsavers!! 3d imax is the only way to see this movie, incredible experience 10/10.

  21. ILLINOIS?? Did this “chief film critic” even watch the film? Even if he’s not a fanboy, any idiot would know (just by childhood storytelling or watching the movie perhaps?) that Clark Kent was discovered and raised in KANSAS. Dumb review, great movie.

  22. I stopped reading at “Illinois farm folk”. (It was Kansas) Saw the movie. It was a great start to a reboot.

    • I’m done with cowardly movie critics jumping on other cowards band wagons. Why this idiot is faulting the movie for some “re-imagining” I don’t know. As a stand alone movie by itself the movie was good. These are the same idiots that said “Superman Returns” was good and that sucked. I guess this coward can still sit at the cafeteria table with the other cowards without being shunned.

  23. Finally saw M of S, and i don’t miss the cloying camp of the Donner superman. There is a visceral sense of risk that presents Clark/Kal El the true opportunity for heroism. Modern society has changed from the 40’s-50’s, so to keep the strophe of Clark being advanced yet not self-diminishing to protect humans requires a change of story and other characters in his milieu. I had no problem with the last death in the movie, in fact was a little annoyed with the amount of exposition to make it required.. I always went to Marvel for humor, and DC was for those square jaws and solid morality plays. I like this Man of Steel.

  24. Having now seen the film, I can attest that it was worse than I had feared. There were a few decent moments, but this was by and large the most depressing Superman film I’ve ever viewed. I have no doubt it will be a great financial success, because all the young pups out there who are ranting and raving about they finally got a Superman for their generation will go back and see it countless times. But this character is NOT Superman; that fact was driven home for me once and for all at the moment this character finally “defeats” Zod. An utter travesty and a desecration of a great and noble character. If this is the Superman for a new generation, I weep for that generation and what it means for the future of our society.

    • You do know that in the comics, Superman did end up having to kill Zod to defeat him, Faora and Quex Ul. And this was back in 1988. It was one of his greatest regrets. In that event, he wasn’t even under the gun. He made a conscious decision to execute them for their crimes and potential to cause even more destruction. He exposed them to kryptonite until they were dead. So, I don’t know what Superman you think this movie desecrates. Certainly not the one that’s existed for over 20 years. Essentially the movie actually makes the death more of a kill or be killed scenario instead of an summary execution as happened in the comics. Probably actually more redeemable of an act.

      • Yeah, I do remember that storyline. I also remember that Superman was haunted by the act and sent himself off into exile at the time. This was about the time I gave up on the comic books as well.

    • You do know that in the comics, Superman did end up having to kill Zod to defeat him, Faora and Quex Ul. And this was back in 1988. It was one of his greatest regrets. In that event, he wasn’t even under the gun. He made a conscious decision to execute them for their crimes and potential to cause even more destruction. He exposed them to kryptonite until they were dead. So, I don’t know what Superman you think this movie desecrates. Certainly not the one that’s existed for over 20 years. Essentially the movie actually makes the death more of a kill or be killed scenario instead of an summary execution as happened in the comics. Probably actually more redeemable of an act.

  25. “fix what wasnt broken?” Superman and Superman 2 were, in their time, great movies that made you believe a man could fly. In today’s world of tweets and online media moviegoers are more cynical and as Superman Returns prooved, do not want a nostalgic take on Superman.
    To say this film is without humour is also false. Whilst there are no scenes of Zod blowing a man’s wig off or Lois hurting her hand punching a Kryptonian there were still some funny scenes such as Supes impaling a trucker’s rig.
    Man of Steel is Superman for this generation but as a 40 year old who enjoyed the originals, it’s also a movie that appeals to the older generation. The story build up is told and acted well, and Shannon is excellent as Zod. I actually liked how Lois found out Clark’s secret early on and I look forward to seeing how their relationship continues in the sequel.
    The action was fast, frenetic and awesome. You actually believed two super powered guys were going toe to toe. If you watch Superman 2 again you dont get that feeling.
    I’m going to watch the movie for the second time today.

  26. ” … to the unceasing Wagnerian bombast of Zimmer’s score.”

    Sorry? Is the logic “loud + brass” —> Wagner? That’s just an awful comment. Wagner and Zimmer sound nothing like each other – harmonically, orchestrationally, the way they approach melody – basically in every way that’s important. And if you listen to some Wagner you’ll discover that the vast majority of it is anything but bombastic. Zimmer’s own recent output is far more so… so why would the qualification be apt?

  27. I have to say that it’s a better film than I was expecting as I’m not a big fan of Superman. That said, I agree that like many special effects laden big budget tent-poles, it’s easily forgettable as there is not much original here in story or ideas to make it really memorable! Snyder and Nolan has successfully updated Superman for the video-game generation who’s idea of comic book films stems more from Spider-Man, Batman and Marvel universe of recent big hits like The Avengers and Iron Man rather than the old Superman of Donner and even the recent Bryan Singer version. Also people shouldn’t keep comparing the old ones to the new as it comes at a time when CGI is at much advanced stage and you can actually make a smash-em up Superman with all the high tech bells and whistles which would not have been possible in the past so the stories tended to show Superman as a nice all Americab good guy! Since America itself is no more the good guy so Superman reflects that bad-ass and smash everything to smithereens attitude while still trying to retain some of the comic book character’s core goodness! The hyped-up action is just to cover-up a lame storyline most of which is taken by its origins telling but the action also is a marketing tool as well as a selling point to those movie goers are not fans of the superhero and just want to watch any guy In a cape kick some ass and save the girl! This Superman will have longer legs at the box office than any incarnation before!

  28. So, basically you didn’t like “Man of Steel” because it wasn’t close enough to the 35 year old Christopher Reeve version? “One longs to see this Superman change a flat or rescue a kitten from a tree or take Lois for a flight around the block.” Well, for 35 years, some fans of Superman, action movies and comic book movies longed to see Superman FINALLY fight something. Thankfully Goyer, Snyder and Nolan actually came through where Donner, et al let us down. It’s just too bad that nostalgics like you can’t let go of the past.

  29. Lets get one thing straight with regards to a last comment regarding film reviewers and how more educated they are then the rest us. So therefore their judgement should be trusted. I bet anyone who reviews films for a living 9/10 doesn’t read comics. So they have this preconceived notion of how the film should be just like the rest us. So like the rest of us they give it a bad review without objectively judging the film simply because the main character is SUPERMAN. If this was some made up character they didn’t know from a film made 35yrs ago, they would have loved it. This film accurately portrays the Superman in comics for the last 15yrs. That Donner Superman (who I grew up loving) hasn’t existed in comics for a long time. Superman struggles with real issues in comics today and a lot of decisions aren’t cut and dry. There’s a lot of grey. One thing I’ll say is this film didn’t feel like a Superman film. And that ain’t bad. When I watched The Dark Knight after a while I forgot I was watching a Batman movie and felt I was watching a real good thriller. And THAT’S what a good movie should do. Now I’m not saying this is on the level of TDK, but it did the same thing for me and that speaks volumes.

  30. Critics are outdated and its the average audience that should be trusted. The movie was awesome and made Superman very beleivable in a real world setting. Everything i have read on critics saying he is gloomy and brooding is overreaction. Its just the right amount of drama and its fun, I am a huge superman fan but that doesnt sway my opinion i would still be this honest. This is an our generation Superman and its great.

  31. The truth is, this reviewer is mostly right. It lacks all the fun and charm of the originals. It isn’t that fun of a movie. It is kind of like watching someone play the video game. It also feels like a Star Trek movie.

    There are also some good things about it. Mainly that Superman gets into fistfights. However, this film doesn’t really show us anything we haven’t seen in other movies. When the first Donner film came out, it was ground-breaking. This one if forgettable.

  32. Oh, I almost forgot. MOS still has a 58% at RT which would rank it 4th out of six previous Superman films. It’s a pity this has happened to my favorite comicbook character, but, Snyder’s reimagining was too disconnected from the character’s roots.

  33. I find it amusing how fans react when critics reviews are not favourable. While the film is visually stunning, it’s comparable to the Transformers franchise. Lots of destruction and action, but the story and the characters as just an afterthought. Nolan’s influence is quite obvious. After the film was over, my friends and other people agreed that it felt like we just watched Batman Begins with superpowers. Hopefully we’ll get a better Superman on the next reboot a few years from now.

  34. I saw the movie and as a comic book fan I thought it did justice to what Superman is about. First of all, Superman is one of the strongest beings in the DC Comic Universe; therefore, his battles would result in a lot of collateral damage and possible fights in space. Not Superman changing flats or rescuing kittens. This fits with what one who reads the comics would find if they picked up a Superman comic book. I also find it difficult to understand why the critic is comparing this film with the previous two as if they are the gold standard for what Superman is as opposed to comic book. Maybe its just me but just about every movie based on comics deviate from the original in some sense. Also, comics books and the characters change all the time. The original Batman was campy. He wasn’t always the dark knight as he’s known as today and the same thing is true for Zack Snyder’s version of Superman. He’s not a dark Superman. He’s not batman lite. He’s much more of a real person now than he’s ever been. He’s a young guy, with powers and responsibility that he didn’t ask for; forced into a situation that no normal person would want, and he’s supposed to be happy? He’s just supposed to handle it with a smile right? Of course not. I’m not calling the film a masterpiece but it was fun and exciting and I think if you’re a fan of the comic you will like.

  35. My favorite comment thus far regarding this film, from a review on the website Thrillbent.com: “If your favorite part of SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE was Superman standing in the Fortress while Jor-El lectured him, you’re gonna love MAN OF STEEL.”

  36. First it was always stupid that a ace reporter never realized her partner was the same person she was infatuated with.Second, stop comparing this movie with the past ones. Third,He is the most powerful person on the planet and you complain about alot of action we live surrounded by violence (3rd world countries militia’s,drug wars,massacres but you want him to rescue kittens(once again stop comparing movies)Forth, He is alone the last of his kind,the eternal outsider who has to live a double life and must fear the worlds reaction to aliens and somebody who can crush them at his whim. Than he must fight his own kind instead of after years of being the only one…I wouldnt be smiling……FYI the comics of the past 5 years or so dont show a boy scout they show him dealing with real issues like what we see on the news with nations at war and people seeking safety from dictators..Superman is also with Wonder Woman not Lois Lane.

  37. hans zimmer score, how can you tell one from the other
    they ALL sound the same
    just another overrated over paid “composer”

  38. I’m so very relieved some of the top critics dislike this movie due to the fact any movie they tend to like (Superman Returns) is a waste of time and money. This is the Superman we have all waited for and the critics disdain for it solidifies my belief. Man Of Steel is exactly what Superman in film needed. A nod to the real character from the comics and animated show is what is craved by fans, not some sappy story driven dribble critics eat up. Kudos to you for cementing my already starved desire to view this film.

  39. You thought “Iron Man 3” was good, so to say you lack credibility with a good super hero/comic book movie review is a gross understatement…

  40. By the way, I saw a screening of the film last night.. and I agree with much of what this reviewer says. I likened the film and its endless f/x to a trip to Florence, Italy some years back. After 2 days of non-stop sightseeing of countless Masters, masterpieces, friezes, etc. I had an odd feeling of overload. You draw a “ho-hum” eventually to something extraordinary. They even have a word for it in Italian, one guide mentioned, I don’t recall the word. It happens in this film. The last third of this film is an endless stream of loud effects. I expected SO much more. This was not a masterpiece, like those in Italy… the end result did draw an ultimate ho-hum, however.

  41. In going back and re-reading the majority of comments that have been posted here, it strikes me that a lot of you don’t even understand the nature of film reviews. They are, by their very nature, OPINION PIECES reflecting the feelings of the individual writer. The writer will base that opinion on any or all of a variety of criteria: his own personal knowledge of the director, the actor, the screenwriter, the genre of film or even film history in general; the quality of the acting, directing or writing; comparisons between other films that are out at the same time; and even something as simple as how the film affects the reviewer as an individual sitting there in the theatre watching. All these criteria will have some kind of an impact on the reviewer’s final reaction to the film. But at the end of the day he or she has simply shared their opinion, which the rest of us are free to agree or disagree with as we see fit.

    Now, when it comes to our response to said opinion, there is a valid and a non-valid way to express that response. The valid way is to say “I agree” or “I disagree” and to explain why. And by “explaining why” I don’t mean “Because I say so” or “Because he’s an idiot.” Give us rational arguments; give us information that demonstrates that you’re capable of making informed decisions rather than knee-jerk “wah-wah-wah” crybaby snottiness.

    The non-valid way is to say such things as “This guy is an (insert favorite epithet)” or “I could write a better review.” The reason such responses are not valid is that (a) Having an opinion different that yours does not automatically make a person an idiot (or whatever other ugly name you chose to call him); and (b) No you probably couldn’t write a better review than he could, because he is a professional reviewer who likely as not has gone to school to study things like journalistic style and film criticism and even film history (can you say “Roger Ebert, boys and girls?), whereas based on the available evidence you’re most likely just some know-it-all who thinks that having an opinion, a keyboard and access to the Internet somehow makes you smarter than all the other know-it-alls with an opinion, a keyboard and access to the Internet.

    Bottom line: if you don’t agree with this guy’s opinion, that’s fine and dandy. But try to express yourself intelligently and without resorting to name calling and hissy fits and the like. Because that’s the kind of behavior that you should have outgrown somewhere around the second grade. And at the end of the day, all it does is make YOU look like whatever vile and hateful name you’ve thrown at the reviewer whose opinion you disagree with.

    Anyway, I have had say now and I’m going to leave it at that. I’ll go see “Man of Steel” this weekend simply because, hey, it’s a Superman movie and I’ve seen them all. Based on what I’ve seen and heard so far I expect to be disappointed. I genuinely HOPE I’m wrong (and if I am you better believe I’ll say so). But I’m not holding my breath. Have a good day.

  42. What does the fact that it’s 2013 have to do with anything? Zach Snyder has apparently sucked the soul out of Superman. This movie is 2 1/2 hours of ear splitting action. No on-screen chemistry between Lois Lane, no humanity…no humor. I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that Russell Crowe isn’t singing his part.

  43. Reviewer here seems to have still in mind the previews Superman movies who were more joyous and adapted to their century.
    Come on this is 2013 ! audience has evolved and changed. You cannot expect to have a “gone with the wind” kind of movie instead and place of what M.O.S is supposed to be: the ultimate super fighting machine!

    One should watch M.O.S , as a stand alone movie and using only the comics as a sole point of reference. And that is what Zack Snyder, a genuine movie maker visionnary, has done. And the result is THE real superman we have always wished to see on a big screen!

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