I’m going to say this now: I’m about as much of a Superman fan as I am a Trekkie. He has a superpower for every situation, and the worse his problems seem to get is when Lois looks at another man or gets kidnapped. It’s a difficult task to bring Superman to the big screen, and an even bigger challenge to make him seem more relatable.
Sadly, this latest run at the silver screen didn’t pan out for me. The filmmakers take too long to get to the conflict, instead explaining how Superman becomes who he is through an in-depth look at Krypton and sometimes jarring flashbacks. When we do get to the conflict, we see Superman (thankfully with a defined set of powers) played by Henry Cavill, only he seems kind of wooden and with little to say, meeting up with the most expressive (and angry) character of all, Zod (played by Michael Shannon). Although the native Kryptonians have trouble adjusting to Earth, they prepare to beet the living snot out of Cavill, only for Cavill to fight back in fight scenes that I zoned out of most the time. There is one scene near the end where we get a real sense of conflict where good ol’ Clark has to make a tough choice, but that’s about the only time I get that sense that Supe’s as troubled as he’s supposed to be.
There’s also Amy Adams’s Lois Lane. Spunky, definitely not a damsel in distress. Will abandon her common sense if it means getting a photo of alien technology and is the only one who is able to make the connections between Clark Kent and Superman well before he puts on the suit and cape. I’m not sure why though, apparently he wasn’t as good about covering his tracks as he should’ve been. She’s basically important to the story, but her performance isn’t exactly spectacular enough for an Oscar.
Lawrence Fishburne is underused as Perry White (or perhaps that’s his character in Hannibal as a reporter), and Christopher Meloni plays Elliot Stabler in the Air Force with his usual tough guy act that never fails to kill. Other than that, not much in terms of acting to really make me feel like I’m in the middle of something fantastic.
Also, the swept-back hair look is out for superheroes. They would’ve done better with messy hair, something that rockstars might wear. And don’t stick around after the credits for a look at the inevitable sequel, because there’s not even a hint of what’s to come (though I bet it involves Lex Luthor, Kryptonite, and possibly an arms race).
Though the night wasn’t entirely wasted. That opening sequence gave me an idea on how to modify a certain story of mine and make it better. Who knows what that might lead to.
All told, Man of Steel gets a 3 out of 5. If this film was the beginning of a rival franchise to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then I seriously doubt that such a franchise will ever rival the Avengers, no matter how much money is made.