Despite its excessive running time, and slightly meandering narrative, Man of Steel has definitely earned its place amongst recent comic-book adaptations, standing tall in the DC / Marvel cinematic universe.
A definite step-up from the last attempt to revive this character, but there's something still missing from this origin story. Other franchise builders have done more with less, but here that isn't for lack of trying.
The battles between Superman and the evil Kryptonians set a new standard for on-screen urban destruction, but they also give us pause: Aren't hundreds, even thousands being killed in the riveting, spectacular smashing of skyscraper after skyscraper?
Man of Steel indirectly tackles the conundrum of how a mankind engrained in monolithic religion greets the concrete proof of a mythological figure. Is it possible for an alien from Krypton to reside alongside an unquestioning faith in Christ?
Though fans might miss the levity that made Richard Donner's classic 1978 film Superman: The Movie such a game-changing joy, the thing that really sells this respectful reboot is the dramatic conviction underlying all the mega-scale mayhem.
Parental drama is Man of Steel's most potent weapon. For all of the film's issues - and they will be discussed - it resonated on a deeply emotional level. That alone helps it to stand tall above the pack.