Directed by Zack Snyder
Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon
There are approximately 1,000,000 reviews for Zack Snyder’s attempt at Superman online at the time of writing, so I will keep this brief and to the point and start with an absolute bombshell… Man of Steel is perfectly OK. I understand if you need a moment to regain your breath. This is the feeling that Man of Steel left me with; one of vastly subdued excitement and only mild pleasure. The opening scene on Krypton displays that is can reach grand heights, and the mid-day movie flashbacks showcase its many low points – Diane Lane is let down by an underwritten script and Kevin Costner is a fantastic (and now criminally underused) actor, but has nothing to work with as the honourable Jonathan Kent.
Upon leaving the cinema there was one point above all others I wished to emphasise: It is not alright for a man to give his life to save his dog. His wife? Absolutely. His children? Of course. But not a canine… this plot point broke my immersion in the story completely.
As stated, the film commences with a bang, as an uprising occurs led by the villainous General Zod (the always excellent Michael Shannon) on the self-destructing planet of Krypton, from which Jor-El (Russell Crowe) wishes to send his naturally born son Kar-El. Krypton is destroyed and Kar-El arrives on planet Earth, where he is re-named Clark and grows up under the thumb of bullies, as well as his own powers. Honestly, this is one of the most iconic superhero origin stories ever told, but I am boring myself writing about it – mainly because this most recent re-telling sparks very little inspiration in me. Once Zod invades Earth with his desire to exact revenge upon Superman and transform the planet into another Krypton, the pulse does begin to race once more, but never as rapidly as it should; especially when one considers the talent behind the helm. With Memento, Inception and the Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan has cemented himself as a true visionary of modern cinema, and Zack Snyder won the hearts of fan-boys the world over with his luscious, layered and damn near perfect interpretation of Watchmen; so what went wrong here? Man of Steel truly does feel as though it has come straight from the mind of J.J. Abrams (an extremely competent director of action and sci-fi) and lacks the distinction that the aforementioned two men can apply.
This is a fine 3D foray into fantasy that will fill that weeknight in which you have nothing planned, just don’t expect much more. If Watchmen, The Dark Knight and X-Men 2 are at the top of the comic-book/graphic novel movie sphere, then Man of Steel ranks in the mid-ground alongside Thor, The Avengers and The Incredible Hulk.
2.5 chiselled abs out of 5