Man of Steel

Man of Steel

Zack Snyder (2013)

137min
12 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
The lukewarm reception given to Bryan Singer's Superman Returns led to a seven-year wait for the big-screen revival of DC's archetypal superhero. But spurred on by the success of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy and Marvel's blockbuster output, the last son of Krypton is back in the strapping shape of buff Brit Henry Cavill. Nolan is co-producer and story provider for a reboot that melds the plots of the first two Christopher Reeve epics - origins story meets Kryptonian bad-guy invasion. But, unlike those classics, Watchmen director Zack Snyder's take is more Matrix than mythic. The Krypton depicted here is run by computers and bleached of humanity, though Russell Crowe as superdad Jor-El at least gets his Gladiator mojo working when he battles to send baby Kal-El to Earth. The scattershot flashback technique revealing Clark Kent's time in Smallville with his adopted parents (Kevin Costner, Diane Lane) and his struggle to deal with being "different" undermines the film's momentum (though a scene about the sensory overload caused by his powers is worthy of note). And while Cavill certainly looks the part, when he dons his iconic supersuit for the first time, it's a muted moment instead of a rousing one, with Hans Zimmer's otherwise insistent score strangely silent. Admittedly, when General Zod (a ferociously shouty Michael Shannon) and his icy henchwoman (Antje Traue) start throwing around their weight, there is plenty of viscerally destructive Transformers-scale violence - indeed, the climactic smackdown in Metropolis makes the end of Avengers Assemble look like a minor fracas. But the rest of the cast has little to do, which is a shame when you have the likes of Amy Adams (as Lois Lane) and Laurence Fishburne to call on, and Snyder's failure to create sustained emotional depth feels like a lost opportunity. Let's hope any sequel has script and direction that's more superpowered.

Summary

An alien child from a dead world is raised on Earth, and grows up keeping his origins and extraordinary abilities a secret. He is forced to take a stand to protect his adopted home from a fanatical general from his own world, who intends to wipe out the human race. Sci-fi adventure based on the Superman comic-books, starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon and Russell Crowe.

Cast & Crew

Clark Kent/Kal-El Henry Cavill
Lois Lane Amy Adams
General Zod Michael Shannon
Jor-El Russell Crowe
Martha Kent Diane Lane
Perry White Laurence Fishburne
Jonathan Kent Kevin Costner
Faora-Ul Antje Traue
Director Zack Snyder
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Warner BrosAvailable on: DVD and Blu-ray
Drama