Man of Steel opens with a lengthy expository sequence set on Krypton as Jor-El, played by Russell Crowe prepares to launch his son to Earth. Crowe is a terrible actor, not helped by portentous dialog such as “The world is about to come to an end”, which one imagines took numerous takes to say with a straight face.
Henry Cavill is quite good as Superman, certainly he has a physical presence and charisma. Amy Adams as Lois Lane also puts in a nice performance, with a feisty and confident turn. Sadly, she too suffers from some awful dialog, for example when facing a General, she asks if everyone has “finished measuring dicks”. In the next scene, when she is shown to her room, she asks “What if I need to tinkle?”. Does this sound like the same character?
Supes – as Clark Kent is pretty grumpy for most of the film’s first half as he tries to slide by without getting noticed. Eventually, Zod shows up and he has to suit up to prevent the Earth from being terraformed into a New Krypton.
This leads to interminable sequences of super-fights, with huge collateral damage. Over and over, we witness super people being chucked through buildings. Right at the end of the movie, Superman really cares about saving three people who are put in harm’s way by General Zod, but he didn’t try to stop sky-scrapers from tumbling down and he thought nothing of throwing Zod through concrete building supports or through inhabited buildings.
The constant super fights are patently ridiculous since the S-Man ad Zod are both pretty near invulnerable, which turns the battles into pointless scenes of impotent fury. The best turn in the movie is provided by Kevin Costner, who adds some humanity to the proceedings.
The film boasts some beautiful design work and superior special effects sequences. However, the musical score is terrible, intruding on dialog and constantly blasting the audience with honking bass notes. Hans Zimmers score is totally inappropriate for Superman and I was craving the beautiful music of John Williams by the end.
This version of Superman takes itself way too seriously, its disjointed, over-long and the plot is a confused mess. The film is an action spectacular, yet it’s a depressingly hollow experience, for it is bereft of both heart and humour. Do yourself a favour and rent the definitive Superman the Movie instead.