Man of Steel is full of sound and fury. It takes Superman and his families (on Krypton and on Earth) to places that original creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster never could have imagined.
Man of Steel is a prequel, the backstory of Kal-El/Clark Kent. Superman’s dad Jor-El (Russell Crowe, in a non-singing role) launches the infant Kal-El toward Earth as Krypton implodes. Amid the terror on Krypton, Jor-El gets impaled to death by Krypton nemesis General Zod (Michael Shannon). But, amazingly, he’s not out of the movie! Jor-El shows up in future events in the film, but don’t ask me to explain how. (No, he’s not a hologram.)
Meanwhile we see young Clark being raised in Smallville by the Kents, Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha (Diane Lane). They make him control his super powers while growing up, even when peril hits close to home. Young Clark does save a busload of schoolmates from drowning after an accident, but his strength remains undercover, for the most part.
Just as the adult Superman (Henry Cavill) begins to do his super thing, here come General Zod and more bad guys from Krypton. They’ve decided to colonize Earth! Smallville is going to need millions in urban renewal funds from the feds after Zod and Superman (+ personnel and machines from the US military) tear up the town in an epic, lengthy faceoff.
Speaking of epic, lengthy faceoffs, there’s another one—this time in Metropolis—between Zod and Superman. It does not take up the entire second half of the movie, it just seems that way.
Amy Adams is Lois Lane and unlike we’ve been led to believe in every comic book, TV show and movie of the past, in Man of Steel she’s hip to the fact that Clark Kent is Superman early on. She wants to tell the whole fantastic story via the Daily Planet but editor Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) nixes it because it’s too outrageous.
If you enjoyed the Christopher Reeve Superman movies or even the 2006 Superman Returns with Brandon Routh in the title role, take note that this new movie has a different feel. Zack Snyder, who directed 300, Watchmen and Sucker Punch, has made a movie for those who like things that go boom. Sure, there’s a bit of humanity to go along with the sound and fury, but that’s not the reason most will buy tickets.
(And to answer the question, whatever happened to Brandon Routh? He recently played a vegan male nurse—true—on a CBS sitcom called Partners that was cancelled after six episodes last fall.)
Man of Steel is a bit longer than it needs to be. (It runs 2:20 or so.) My guess is that so much was spent on battles and effects that it made it hard to leave a multi-million dollar sequence on the cutting room floor.
Cavill is a solid Superman. He plays it straight with none of the campiness witnessed in the Iron Man movies or the last Trek flick.
As does the film have excessive length, so does this review. Therefore I’ll wrap it by saying that I like Man of Steel but I didn’t love it. My guess, however, is that audiences will. Love it, that is.