Man of Steel - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Man of Steel Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 1, 2013
For someone who has never been a fan of Superman as a character, this movie is not really impressive, as it relegates to flashbacks every dramatic scene that would help build him as a relatable person so that it can jump fast into action like any uninspired blockbuster.
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2012
A most difficult proposition here: a story over 50 years old that you want to enjoy but may be inclined not to (you've probably got a favorite already) - they've got to win us over. How to do that, keeping it fresh, while touching on all the familiar-as-your-own-family elements demanded by the never-to-be-denied true believers? The stars deliver, drawing us into a story made fresh by focusing on the inherent immigration aspect of it : like most Americans, Supes comes from someplace else originally and has to decide whether he's American or not. Particularly good are Adams as Lane, Costner and Lane as Pa and Ma Kent, and Traue as one mean b-tch. Crowe and Cavill have the biggest jobs, stepping into the shoes - and yet out of the shadow - of huge cultural icons.
Super Reviewer
February 11, 2008
Compared to what 'Superman Returns' offered in 2006, 'Man of Steel' come back with a stronger power to drawn the audiences attention by having a well-named director and incredible cast with a more interesting story too.. Henry Cavill gave a strong performance as Clark Kent with another lovely performance from Amy Adams as Lois Lane, but the star of this movie is no other than Michael Shannon who successfully as before portraying a ruthless villain in the name of General Zod.. Overall, since I haven't watched the original Superman in 1980's, this version is way better than 'Superman Returns' but just good not that great nor amazing..
The Gandiman
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2013
It's hard to not pass judgment on a film without comparing it to its predecessors if the source material is well known. Unfairly or not, a critique of "Man of Steel" has to be helped or sullied by the muscle memory invoked by versions past. And with some past versions of "Superman" being quite good, it puts "Steel" in the precarious position of having some pretty big shoes to fill.

The film just struggles. You can feel the film struggling. Even with the things it does right, "Steel" labors to be interesting and in many ways creates a mess for itself.

Let's start with what it has rewritten. It has given Lois Lane (the miscast Amy Adams) and Jor-El (Russell Crowe) "more" to do and with that it effectively gives Superman/Clark (a stiff but physically perfect Henry Cavill) a lot less to do making him not as compelling in the story as he should be. And despite Lois' increased role, she's pretty inconsequential.

And those are just the few character shortcomings in the film. There are many others you can quibble with but the films biggest problem? It's boring. As nonsensical as it seems that a film with such extraordinary subject matter is so boring, it inexplicably is. Even the scenes with awesome effects like the great fight sequence between Superman and his two Kryptonian opponents is hampered by the corniest exposition dialogue. But the action sequences save the film from being a disaster.

Too bad Zach Snyder directed this film as his penchant for flashy visual effects without any substance hurts the film. He seems to not understand how to effectively use his camera to best showcase humanity. What he fails to understand with this and his other films is that it is not just an actors job to invoke substance, he needs to pace films to let humanity show appropriately. He needs to stage scenes to showcase these moments. He's too consumed by dazzling the eye and ear that he forgets about dazzling the brain.
Super Reviewer
½ December 25, 2013
This was mostly flashy action and fighting scenes showcase rather than a movie itself. Where the heck did the plot, the character development, and all the dialogue go? All I remember was the streets cracking and buildings falling apart every time someone fought... because that was what happened for about 80% of the movie: fighting scenes. If you didn't actually know the story behind Superman, I don't think this would be a great introduction to it.
Super Reviewer
½ December 14, 2013
A derivative, disappointing restart to the "Superman" franchise about the life of Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), an adopted alien from another planet, and how he works numerous odd jobs before accepting his role as the savior of mankind when Earth is threatened by his own species when they desire to repopulate the planet with their own kind, led by the vicious General Zod (Michael Shannon). Director Zack Snyder is far from the most skilled in the business, given his obsession with slow-motion action sequences, as well as his pacing being all over the place and never consistent. The last hour of this movie is so violent, so full of jumpy action sequences with no room to breathe, capped off coldly by 9/11 imagery at one point, the viewer should be relieved when the movie finally reaches its end. Ultimately, the special effects are awesome, no question, and there are glimpses of promise, but they are often vanquished by lackluster production and a story full of characters we do not really get to know as well as we should. Ultimately disappointing. Maybe not terrible, but it sure comes close to reaching that status.
Super Reviewer
½ December 12, 2013
Visually impressive -- but otherwise, a dud. There's very little to root for. I guess it's still better than Superman II or III ... but that's just a guess.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2009
Why make us sit throught the whole well-known original story all over again? Why not have a brief origin montage during the opening credits or flashback instead and get right into the Superman in Metropolis excitement? Dark and cold-looking with a blue tint. There's no warmth in this movie. I timed the final battle and it lasted about 35 minutes, with a small break when they went from Smallville to Metropolis. The battle was a big blur of Superman and General Zod throwing each other through buildings. I sorely missed the John Williams Superman theme music; they should've at least put it at the end credits.
Super Reviewer
November 13, 2013
A forgettable revival of the iconic Superman character. Offers so much however delivers so little.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2013
In the wake of four heavily dated movies and that travesty known as Superman Returns, this hero is in certain need of an upgrade. In response, Warner Bros has opted to give Superman the "Dark Knight" treatment, bringing in Christopher Nolan, David S Goyer, and Hans Zimmer as producer, writer, and composer respectively. Zack Snyder of 300 and Watchmen fame helms from the director's chair. With huge names behind and in front of the camera (the cast is packed with A-list actors), does Man of Steel live up to the hype? Not in my opinion, but others will certainly disagree. There are reasons to like this film, and reasons to hate it. The action and visual effects are amazing. The story, however, is virtually non-existent. Flashbacks into Clark Kent's childhood are executed in broad strokes where his Earth father provides textbook words of wisdom that never really resonate with the character later on. There's maybe about half an hour of plot development and two hours of random shit blowing up. Though I'm not gonna lie, these explosions looked freaking cool. Whether this is the Superman movie you've been waiting for or just another run of the mill popcorn flick is something you'll have to decide for yourself. The acting is top notch and the visuals are mighty impressive. If that's enough for you, then you'll have fun. If you're looking for a more character focused origin story, you may be disappointed.
Super Reviewer
October 17, 2013
Mario M.
Super Reviewer
½ July 25, 2013
Throughout the comic book superhero's 75- year history, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster's Superman has been an inspirational figure. Whether punching out an abusive husband or arresting Joseph Stalin, the Kansas- raised strongman has used his considerable strength to fight oppression, rescue the downtrodden and inspire others with his example. That's why the corny refrain of "It's a bird, it's a plane" was used to herald the character's approach. Superman was such a fantastic force for good that the natural response to his appearance was to look up in hushed awe. In Zack Snyder's bold reimagining of the character, "Man of Steel," people only look up to see skyscrapers topple on them.

In their zeal to modernize Superman for a 21st century audience and replicate the record- shattering success of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, Snyder and co-writer David S. Goyer have abandoned the character's core strengths. Taking up the cape in the era of military drones and government surveillance, Snyder's Superman (Henry Cavil) is racked by fear. He hides his fantastic abilities until coaxed into action by the apocalyptic threat of General Zod (Michael Shannon), and though he is presented as a positive figure out to saves lives, the amount of destruction that follows in his wake makes him an ominous figure. In Snyder's vision, the red S is always an omen of impending destruction.

This unintentional inversion is partially an outgrowth of Snyder's lack of restraint. His successes and failures share a speed-ramped, go for broke intensity that seems almost tailor-made for the subtly free blockbusters of the modern era, but his maximalist aesthetic is wholly unsuitable for a Superman movie. His epileptic editing and hunger for large-scale violence lends an air of brutality to what should be an uplifting story. The inevitable clashes between super humans, which are normally a selling point for films like these, are rendered grotesque and horrible through Snyder's lens. The collateral damage is front and center and the sheer scope of the carnage would almost seem to suggest Snyder is attempting to critique the modern fascination with apocalyptic disaster imagery, but there is no point being made or lesson being imparted. As with his thinking man's masturbation fantasy "Sucker Punch" all the blood and thunder is just pretty wrapping paper for an empty box.

That said the wrapping paper is pretty great. Perhaps because Nolan and Warner Bros. didn't like Snyder's color timed-within-an-inch-of-its-life palette, the film is surprisingly naturalistic looking. This works better in some areas than others, with the Kansas set material featuring the finest cinematography in a Snyder film and his Heavy Metal take on the planet Krypton ranking as the most interesting element of a superhero movie this season. It works less well in the poorly defined city of Metropolis, where much of the film's third act takes place. The city looks blandly anonymous until people start pushing over buildings and then it looks uncomfortably like New York City, so much so that it takes the audience completely out of the movie. The fights between Zod and Superman move so quickly and are framed so jaggedly that they resemble high-definition cut scenes. And because Snyder was so impressed with how he was able to render a super powered hand- to- hand combat, the audience is treated to seemingly endless sequences of the same, and slowly but surely the fantastic becomes numbing. It makes for a strange viewing experience, like going on a roller coaster and then attending a college lecture. And none of the film's actors provide a respite from the tonal shifts.

While Henry Cavil is good at posing dramatically, he doesn't have much in the way of acting chops. Since there is no bumbling Clark Kent for him to play, Cavil largely has to play confident Superman and upset Superman, a task to which he mostly acquits himself, though he never pulls off inspiring Superman. It's a bit unfair to pillory Cavil since Snyder films aren't really known for their nuanced performances and "Man of Steel" is no exception. Russell Crowe's Jor-El seems stiff and lifeless even before he's turned into a computer program and Amy Adams' Lois Lane has some bite and agency but still spends most of her screen time getting rescued by dudes. Most disappointing is Michael Shannon, a dynamite character actor who is called upon to either bellow threats or calmly reiterate his character motivation. For all of his considerable talent, Shannon can't make Zod anything other than a genocidal manic. Without a strong storyteller at the helm, "Man of Steel's" performers get lost in its CGI maelstrom.

Superman, even with his antiquated code and slightly goofy uniform, is a highly adaptable figure. He inspired in the middle of the Great Depression, delighted children at the dawn of the television age, and soared to new heights right before John Wayne Gacy was captured. Social mores change, illusions of innocence are shattered and darkness is ever-present, but the idea of a child-friendly figure of pure altruism is indelible. With the character's optimism and indefatigability replaced by fear and insecurity he's just a branding opportunity in a cape. And products, no matter how well made, aren't inspiring.
Super Reviewer
June 22, 2013
What's up Goku?

Complaints were thrown all over the place after the disappointing "Superman Returns" hit the silver screen.
"Where's the action?"
"This Superman movie is boring."
"All Superman does is lift things."
Blah, blah, blah.

I, too, was disappointed with "Superman Returns". But I'll give it this: that film was the truer form of the comic book superhero compared to "Man of Steel".

Running off the fumes of the successful Dark Knight trilogy, "Man of Steel" attempts to carry the same tone as that trilogy, but it only serves as tone. The dark tone doesn't cohesively mesh with the plot, especially because the Superman saga is essentially a sci-fi action flick. "That's alright," I thought. As long as "Man of Steel" portrays an entertaining rendition of the rise of Superman, I'm good. Nope. "Man of Steel" adds nothing fresh or new to the old tale. Doesn't matter still -- as long as the drama for an old tale works, I'm sold. "Man of Steel" still comes out stilted. It makes me wonder why a film about the genesis of Superman was needed in the first place, and this is coming from someone that has not seen one Superman movie that starred Christopher Reeves.

It clicked: This movie was made purely to address the complaints of "Superman Returns". Oh, and it tried to redeem Superman's reputation, alright. What is, for the first half of the film, a somber and brooding film, explodes out into a Dragon Ball Z-esque, face smashing, concrete-breaking, building-exploding frenzy of quick cuts. Hey, if you thought "Superman Returns" was boring for Superman's lack of aggression, you sure get the complete opposite side of him in "Man of Steel". For the most part, the action is somewhat entertaining, but it's all cathartic violence with over-the-top set-pieces. In a crux, it's all mindless and forgetful. Possibly for that split second, you'll find yourself entertained, but once you walk to your car from the movie theater, you'll instantly forget. Albeit, you've never seen Superman action like this before. Gone are the weak-sauce green screen Superman action scenes. "Man of Steel" is rife with bodies being thrown through multiple stories of buildings, complete with skyscrapers falling on larger-than-life characters. You've never seen action in a live action movie like it. Still doesn't make it a marvelous achievement though.

All in all, "Man of Steel" is jarringly disappointing. The beginning half is a drama that never seems to stand on its two feet and the last half is an over-the-top action flick that doesn't exactly coexist with its tone. It's Zack Snyder's best movie, but that's not exactly saying much.
Super Reviewer
August 25, 2012
It's the best Superman adaptation ever made. The trio of Director, Zack Snyder, Writer, David S. Goyer and Producer, Christopher Nolan craft a vastly engaging and breathtaking superhero film that grabs you with it's compelling and mysterious story, powerful characters, stunning visuals, searing suspense and mind-blowing action. An unforgettable and spectacular experience that's thrilling, deeply moving and incredibly entertaining all the way through. An impressive display of special effects and storytelling. A true instant classic. Director, Zack Snyder crafts an extraordinary masterpiece that soars. This film is beyond super, its superb. Man of Steel is a darker, tougher, more confident and more character driven piece than expected. The cast is amazing, their is not one bad performance in this film and every actor in this gives it everything. Henry Cavill is absolutely perfect, he gives an outstanding performance. Cavill brings his Superman to life with charm, charisma, emotion, inner-darkness, tremendous confidence and a whole lot of heart. Michael Shannon is incredible, his interpretation of Zod is just fearless. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are terrific, they give such strength and heart to their characters and deliver wonderful performances. Russell Crowe is excellent, he has more screen time than you expect and leaves a strong impression. Amy Adams is fantastic. A heart-pounding and explosive action-packed adventure that you wont soon forget and will want to see again. An impressively effective and astounding piece of work
Super Reviewer
July 11, 2013
I have to say, I found this pretty boring, too long, and Superman managed to have not a single personality trait. Which seems hard to pull off.
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2013
Going into watching the movie in the theatre, I saw reviews and comments saying things like "bad script", "could've been better"......blah blah etc etc. Maybe I'm missing something, but I thought the script and everything along with it, was perfectly fine. Lots of action, amazing CGI, and great casting. Zod was my favorite character, amazing casting there once again. Overall, I actually really enjoyed the movie; I'm also disappointed with the tomatometer.....this is a rare instance where we don't see eye to eye.
Super Reviewer
½ June 30, 2013
Epic in scale but tight in focus, this is city-breaking action with a close eye on character and a great set-up for an exciting new franchise. Full review later.
Super Reviewer
June 29, 2013
'Man of Steel'. The complexities of Clark Kent presented in a beautiful, emotionally rich manner. A super ensemble, score and vision.

Getting to see so much of Krypton brought forth sheer delight. The opening is stunning, creating a real sense of wonder. The first time Clark takes flight, all that wonder comes flooding back.

Inter-cutting flashbacks of Clark's early childhood while he wanders the world alone searching for answers totally works from a storytelling standpoint. I could have asked for no greater exploration of the struggles of Clark Kent/Kal-El. Henry Cavill certainly looks and suits the many identities he takes on.

Jonathan and Martha Kent are the best parents a superhero could ask for. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are so damn good every moment they're on screen with young Clark and old. There's no doubt that Clark is all he is because of what they've instilled in him.

The flashback to a young caped Clark running around the backyard while his dad proudly watches on is perfection. The moment Costner holds his hand out is a fatherly sacrifice that hits you hard.

Speaking of fathers, Russell Crowe is a badass Jor-El! As with Krypton, I didn't expect to see so much of him, but was very glad to do so.

When I heard Michael Shannon was cast as Zod, my hype for 'Man of Steel' increased tenfold. He's one of my favourite actors working today. The menace in his Zod is evident, yet, I don't know if it's what I was expecting. I had higher hopes for him as a villain. His delivery of some lines early on felt rather jarring too.

The last hour descends into the all too familiar destruction of a city. I've seen this too often lately to be impressed by the scale of what happens. I wasn't invested in any of their lives, even Perry and co. There's a decent amount of cheese littered throughout. Some of plot advances are shaky at best.

Zod's death brings the focus back on Clark, ending things on a high. The gravity of taking his first life is evident on his face. No doubt the first of many new internal conflicts he'll face.

I can't forget Zimmer's score. Literally. It's been drumming away in my head from when I left the theatre through to writing this. Now to listen to it again on Rdio.

I had little faith in Snyder when the announcement was initially made. The trailer blew my mind, looking Malick-esque in parts. There's a lot he's done right to capture the essence of both Clark and Superman. Bring on Lex.
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