Movie Review: Man of Steel

The Superman franchise got its start in the 1930s as a comic book, ultimately becoming a cultural icon for the ages.  Like Twinkies, it is a truly American creation that has transcended geographical boundaries.

The latest Superman film, “Man of Steel,” is yet another updating of the story of Kal-El’s life.  It starts with his birth on Krypton and ends with his appearing as a new hire at The Daily Planet.  There is a lot that happens during this time period, and the more than two hours of the movie’s running time seems to take about twenty years or so.

The film is almost all special effects.  From the destruction of Krypton to Superman’s battles with the evil General Zod and his minions, the amount of CGI-created mayhem is incredible.  But I didn’t really engage with most of the characters (except, I admit, for Kevin Costner and Diane Lane.  Oh yeah, and their dog, too.).  The unbelievably handsome Henry Cavill exudes a saccharine-sweet charm that borrowed too heavily from the late Christopher Reeve for my tastes.  The normally very likable Amy Adams (Lois Lane) came across as annoying here and Michael Shannon (General Zod) pushes his trademark menacing presence way too hard.

The whole affair was pretty joyless and I couldn’t help but wonder who Superman’s law firm is, and how much the owners of all those destroyed cars, trucks, buildings, etc. are going to sue him for!  On the plus side, however, Henry Cavill’s six-pack was regarded quite favorably by my lady friend, so this wasn’t a total loss as a movie-going experience.


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