The much anticipate Man of Steel hit theaters today and I must say that I liked it— But I didn’t love it. Yes, this Superman promised and gave fans the action that previous Superman films couldn’t, thanks to todays CGI effects, but those very same effects were in my humble opinion overused, acting more like kryptonite to the story than helping it.
Admittedly, the filmmakers had a tough job of re-introducing the character to younger audiences, who may not be familiar with the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve classic, Superman The Movie (1978), and keeping it fresh for the rest of us who love that film and who know Superman’s origin like the back of our hands. They also incorporated elements of Superman II into the film, by having General Zod as the villain— I would have much preferred to have seen a villain that we’ve not seen before like Darkseid or Braniac or Metallo.
Although the film’s special effects brought us the kind of Superman battles we’ve always wanted to see on the screen, they go on too long and seem to overshadow any true character development (between Lois and Superman or between Clark and his adoptive parents). Instead we get interwoven snippets that never truly come together. The focus on effects versus story also impedes the logic behind Zod’s plan and Jorel’s actions to include an important element to propagate the Kryptonian race. Without Zod and his Kryptonian tech, Jorel’s actions are pointless and the thread behind Zod’s motivations and plan are thin to say the least. I can’t really say more without giving away too much for those who haven’t seen the film yet.
Henry Cavil and Amy Adams do a fine job with the material they have to work with, and the rest of the cast turn in some solid performances given the limitations of the script. All that is except for Michael Shannon as Zod, who I think was miscast— He just didn’t have the arrogance and menace required for the role. In fact, he left me wishing that they would have just asked original Zod actor Terrance Stamp back to reprise the role he made famous way back in 1980’s Superman II.
Any other criticisms of the film I have would just be nitpicking, so I’ll just keep them confined to my Twitter or Facebook page.
Bottom line, it was a much better film than the theatrical version of Superman II, Superman III, Superman IV and Superman Returns. If WB and DC want to really make a lot of money, they’d give us a re-mastered, special edition version of Superman the movie and Superman II with not only enhanced CGI effects, but additional CGI action effects sequences— NOw that would be Super!
All in all I give Man of Steel 2 out of 4 capes.