AnthonyLewis' Rating of Man of Steel

Anthony's Review of Man of Steel

4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
Man of Steel

Man of Steel(2013)

Director Zack Snyder and Screenwriter David S. Goyer along with producer Christopher Nolan have brought Superman back to the big screen a few shorts years after the Superman Returns debacle with "Man Of Steel".

I am not a Superman fan at all. In fact he might be my least favorite superhero, that would kind of go for any superhero that is overly powerful. You like rooting for a hero, but it is hard to root for them when he basically outmatches the villain in every way. So have to throw those notions out the window. Whether I personally enjoy Superman doesn't, what matters to me is a good a movie. In some way I got what I wanted and in other ways I did not.

Man Of Steel falls in the same trap for me that The Amazing Spider-Man did, if not in different ways. In TASM we got a rebooted origin story to a film series that gave us an origin story less than 10 years ago, and origin stories are already tough to do in the first place because you are so restricted to telling that story that you really can't delve into a more meaningful story. Man of Steel is the Superman origin story, it major origin story problem is that everyone knows it. Even I, as a non fan who never read a comic, or seen a movie STILL knew the origin story of Superman just because the character is THAT well known. The story of Man Of Steel never really struck me as exciting or gripping just because I felt like I knew what came next.

There is no doubt that the Zack Snyder effect made this movie and the Superman world feel MUCH bigger, and it looked the part. The visual effects were glorious and kudos to the studio(s) that handled them they knocked it out of the park. From the fall of Krypton, to the final battle between Supes and Zod, we got more than our share of breath taking visuals and big old explosions.

But is often the case with Goyer and Snyder I felt like there was a lot of uneven dialog and performances. Goyer while well known for his work in the recent Batman trilogy (although I thought The Dark Knight Rises while the most recent, was the worst of the three) he has also penned Jumper, and the ungodly terrible Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Zack Snyder on the other hand has a reputation in Hollywood for producing visual treats like 300, Watchmen, and Sucker Punch. And while I enjoyed 300 and Watchmen there is no denying that Snyder often does a George Lucas and tends to pay more attention to his visuals than his performances which led to uneven acting in all his recent films and the less said about Sucker Punch the better.

Man Of Steel suffers from this somewhat. I liked Henry Cavill as Superman. I thought he looked the part, and was largely a good fit but I didn't see sense any charisma or charm, and the same kind of went for Amy Adams' portrayal of Lois Lane. They both kind of felt muted at times. I also felt Michael Shannon's General Zod was at times a very good bad guy, but at other times he felt WAY over the top (too much for my liking), and at points even fell into cliche bad guy territory. I did enjoy Russel Crowe, Diane Lane, and Kevin Costner's brief outings in this movie and I kind of wish they had more screen time.

Whether or not this is another case of Snyder syndrome or whether it had more to do with with being stuck in "origin story mode"......only time will tell as it relates to that, and I am sure we will see another film.

Is this a good Superman movie? I can't really say. It is the first Superman movie that I actually enjoyed even with its flaws. Ultimately though for me it is in a strange middle ground. Not as dark as the Nolanverse Batman, but yet not as charming and vibrant as the Marvel films. I guess for me I would place on the same level as Ed Norton's Hulk film above Iron Man 2, and WAY above The Green Lantern.....

I am curious to see if DC can step it up for round two.