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Man of Steel

2013 | 143 min | PG-13 | 2.39:1

Man of Steel


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

User reviews

13 user reviews

Movie appeal

Comic book61%


Theatrical release date

 14 June, 2013
 14 June, 2013

Country of origin

 United States

Technical aspects

3D (converted)

Box office




Overview Preview Cast & crew Screenshots User reviews News Forum

Man of Steel


Screenshots from Man of Steel Blu-ray

Man of Steel Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, June 13, 2013

Superheroes do not get much more sincere than Superman. He’s a symbol of hope, a fantasy of justice, and a slice of Americana down to his red and blue outfit. So what happens when a lively character of pure bravery is brought to the big screen in 2013, when sour introspection, graphic violence, and doomsday action rakes in major box office bucks? The result is “Man of Steel,” a concentrated effort to bend the Superman mythos into the shape of the Bat-signal. While fresh narrative directions and a radical redesign of known elements are welcome, it’s odd to find the latest from Zack Snyder essentially reheating what’s come before, straining to give the faithful what they love while stripping away intrinsic emotional expanse and the joyful experience of superpowers. Superman has been turned into a song by The Smiths. He was much more interesting as a sweeping orchestral explosion.

As the planet Krypton is about to be destroyed by its own mismanagement of natural resources, scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) decides to send his son Kal-El, the civilization’s first natural born child in centuries, to Earth for safekeeping, planting information on the boy that could regenerate Kryptonian life elsewhere. Bungling a chance to thwart Jor-El’s plan, General Zod (Michael Shannon) is imprisoned in the Phantom Zone for his crimes, swearing to find the child when his sentence is complete. Raised in Kansas by Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane), Kal-El becomes Clark (Henry Cavill), a troubled boy ordered to conceal his superpowers out of fear of humanity’s reprisal. As an adult, Clark is shadowed by Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams), who’s out to reveal the alien’s identity after a close encounter, only to develop respect and a crush on the mystery man when his purity of heart is revealed. As Clark begins to comprehend his powers with guidance from Jor-El’s consciousness, Zod reappears with devastating plans for Earth, commencing a war between the titans that threatens to destroy Smallville and Metropolis.

The director of “300” and “Watchmen,” Snyder is a visual stylist who takes greater comfort in the perfection of lighting than depth of feeling. He’s a blockbuster machine, always reaching for the most explosive alternative when it comes to the essentials of screen adventure, which makes him a controversial choice to helm “Man of Steel,” as it appears the screenplay by David S. Goyer aches to be a more sensitive creation, returning to the Superman origin story once again, retracing the steps of destruction and education that transforms Clark into Superman. It’s an air of vulnerability and compassion that Snyder doesn’t know what do with, turning potent moments of doubt, with Clark staring down a judgmental society as he struggles with his abilities, into postcards with vague human outlines, while the initial Krypton sequence feels like community theater rehearsals, not stunning fantasy film conflict. Snyder doesn’t have the width of soul for this type of material, finding himself more at home with the cynicism of “Watchmen” and its motivated hostility.

In an intentional move to distance the production away from previous Superman features, “Man of Steel” carries a different appearance, with Krypton imagined as a Pandora playland with flying creatures, while costuming is geared towards heavy armor, with Superman’s suit more underwear than regal attire. The effort is understandable, but it’s odd to find so much rehash in the picture, with only minor differences in execution. “Man of Steel” coughs up General Zod as a villain, with his master plan to build a New Krypton on Earth; the script wanders through Clark’s growing pains with bullies and witnesses, aided by tough love from Jonathan; there’s cantankerous interplay inside the Daily Planet newsroom, with editor Perry White (a well-cast Laurence Fishburne) barking orders at Lois; and there’s the initial destruction of Krypton, where the elders doubt Jor-El’s science despite his position as the smartest man on the planet. We’ve seen these characters and situations in the other movies, only here there’s a thick layer of CGI poured everywhere, rendering environments and costumes plastic in appearance, without texture, while the cinematography targets desaturated grit over Technicolor splendor. Goyer maps out a plan to builder a bolder, deeper Superman with exposed pathos, yet he’s butterfingers with the basics, merely tweaking known elements instead of engineering a brave reinvention of the superhero and his famous world. Turning Clark into a sullen loner in a greenscreen world doesn’t reignite the franchise in the least.

Parts of “Man of Steel” work very nicely, including Adams’s necessary pep as Lois Lane, bringing womanhood to a character more complete with maturation. Adams doesn’t have much chemistry with Cavill, but she’s fine on her own, keeping Lois and her investigative pluck away from becoming a one-note damsel in distress. Also enjoyable is Crowe as Jor-El, playing both a leading mind of Krypton and an actual mind, conjured via a special key that plugs into alien technology. Crowe is expressive and measured, wisely electing stillness while Shannon goes embarrassingly DEFCON 5 as Zod, always one step behind his pedestrian dialogue. As for Cavill, he’s a handsome man, fills out the suit, and can believably throw a punch. What he can’t do is convey the awesome powers of the character, finding his Superman frustratingly blank while rolling through heat vision, super-strength, and flight, the latter being a particular letdown, absent the goosebump thrill such soaring discovery deserves -- Snyder almost seems reluctant to address the topic. I never believed a man could fly.

Goyer keeps matters complex with Zod’s arrival on Earth, detailing atmospheric changes and superpower surges that make the warmonger a formidable foe for Superman. In Snyder’s hands, the final 40 minutes of “Man of Steel” dissolve into chaos, with murky visual effects battling murky visual effects (it resembles a video game), while Metropolis is flattened (ignore the insane number of casualties) in a style befitting a Roland Emmerich movie. It’s a monotonous pounding that’s meant to exhaust not inspire, which plays to Snyder’s strengths, yet results in a mediocre, cold-to-the-touch endeavor trying too hard to follow superhero cinema trends.

Starring: Henry Cavill, Diane Lane, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon
Director: Zack Snyder

» See full cast & crew

Man of Steel, Forum Discussions

Last post
Zack Snyder's 'Man of Steel' 15715 Jan 10, 2014
'Man Of Steel' Sequel 206 Jul 20, 2013
Man of Steel Opening Weekend Gross 136 Jun 18, 2013

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