Main cast: Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Superman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Michael Shannon (General Zod), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White), Christopher Meloni (Colonel Nathan Hardy), and Russell Crowe (Jor-El)
Director: Zack Snyder
Man of Steel is basically another effort by both Zack Snyder and DC Comics to prove that they are still relevant in the scheme of things. Let’s face it, Zack Snyder has been more hype and hot air than anything else, if we are to gauge by the performance of the movies under his directorial helm, and DC Comics is getting its rear end soundly trounced by arch nemesis Marvel. Therefore, perhaps it makes sense to the white suits in DC Comics’s movie line to have yet another Superman reboot, this time with Zack Synder at the wheel – hey, he probably is cheaper than Bryan Singer – and Christopher Nolan lending his name to the credits by playing the producer. After all, Christopher Nolan was responsible for a Batman reboot that wasn’t that much of a joke, so what could go wrong?
Well, Man of Steel is so, so wrong in so many times, it is basically two and a half hours – two and a half hours, give or take a few minutes! – of pretentious navel-gazing art-twattery. It’s so horrifically joyless and tedious, the least they could do is to at least bring back the red panties in Superman’s costume and use some CGI to make the crotch so big that it will distract me from the rest of the movie. This movie may claim to be about Superman, but the main character does not resemble Superman at all. He’s more like a clumsy amalgamation of Batman and Spiderman.
In this one, Jonathan Kent dies to make Clark go all “No! Daddy! Pout!” I don’t know why, maybe because it made Spiderman a lot of money when Uncle Ben died, or when Batman’s parents got killed? Clark spends a lot of time brooding and moping, and he generally does his superhero antics in a more self-absorbed and even self-centered way that makes him more of a Batman than Superman.
I mean, Batman is driven by vengeance, which twists his sense of righteousness and makes him bend rules to do what he thinks is right. Superman, on the other hand, has always been more of a guy who wants to protect the innocent and the downtrodden because he believes in the ideals of being good. Superman doesn’t need personal tragedy and teenage angst to define him. He’s supposed to be bigger than that – like Captain America, he’s supposed to be about idealism, optimism, that kind of thing. So, to have this movie turn Superman into a joyless Batman-Spiderman wannabe, that doesn’t feel right at all.
Oh yes, the plot. You will be spending a lot of time basically seeing the drama on Krypton before it all goes boom, and then some slow, painfully crawling moments of child and teen angst as poor Clark is told to never, ever use his power, even if it is to save Jonathan Kent from being tornado chow. Clark grows up and gets even more emo, he discovers the location of a Krypton space ship, he meets the AI of his dead daddy – hi, Russell Crowe! – and GENERAL ZOD PLEASE KILL ME AND END MY MISERY.
I find myself looking at the time and fidgeting in my seat because this movie is interminable and devoid of joy. When Clark discovers that he can fly, he shows… nothing. He and Lois Lane have zero chemistry and I’m not even sure how they decide that they are in love, because they spend so few moments showing any of that romantic tension they supposedly have. There are some scenes of carnage and action later in the movie – if anyone is still awake by then; I barely am, I think I probably fell asleep for a while, waking up only when there is a loud sound from the movie – but even then, it’s Superman gleefully fighting Zod and causing all kinds of carnage and destruction around them. Again, I feel that this is not at all how Superman would behave: he would never endanger civilians just to take down an enemy if he has any say in the matter, and yet, here is this Superman, taking out the entire city just to save the day.
Still, there is some pretty good acting here, especially from Kevin Costner, although that’s not much considering that Henry Cavill looks and acts like he’s made of synthetic material and he has little chemistry with Amy Adams. The movie is already sinking like lead because it tries way too hard to be a movie by Christopher Nolan, and having the lead looking and acting like a Ken doll isn’t making things any better. Man of Steel is a turd for all season, and no amount of Henry Cavill going shirtless will make it worth watching.