“Man of Steel” by Zack Snyder, is a mostly entertaining take on the Superman origin story that becomes hunkered down by its excess. While it’s satisfying to see the beloved hero fly around in a red cape, the movie feels overstuffed and tonally uneven. A distracting number of things happen, with explosions and crashing space ships filling the screen. The warmth from the original series is gone, as this is more of a damaged Superman searching for his place in the universe.
The planet of Krypton is in chaos, pushing the desperate Jar-El (Russell Crowe) to ship his child Kal-El, or Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), to Earth. Scenes of Krypton are strewn with scattered CGI, never coming together to create a specific environment. Plot wise, all you need to know is that Kryptonian General Zod (Michael Shannon) is bent on finding and destroying Kent, who lives on Earth with his adoptive parents Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane).
Scenes of Kent’s childhood are when the film works the best, as they are emotionally resonant. There are some interesting questions raised here, like what it would be actually like to have superpowers in reality. While Kent struggling in finding his purpose, he meets the perky but strong willed journalist Lois Lain (Amy Adams). The story holds up pretty well until Zod comes to Earth, as it gives way to an ending of mindless action.
While I liked Adams work in the film, I wouldn’t necessarily say that Cavil is that good as Superman. He definitely looks the part, but his acting seems forced at times. The script also has many plot holes, never properly explaining certain things like its absurd fascination with a skull piece. And at the end I was left with the feeling that there were more emotional grounds to explore, like the relationship between Martha and Kent.
The movie isn’t that grueling of a sit through, but it could bave been better if it didn’t completely ditch the story in its final act. And the action isn’t well done, as it never jumps off the screen. All in all, the movie does open an intriguing future for the series. Next time I suggest a script that further develops these characters, before letting loose to intense amounts of action.
(2 1/2 out of 4 stars)
Released: June 14, 2013