I really wish superhero movies would stop retelling the origins of some of the most famous, well-known characters in comic books. Man of Steel adds a few new wrinkles to the Superman story, but overall it doesn't feel all that new.
Then Zod and his followers show up on Earth, with a plan that involves destroying humanity to create a new Krypton. It's time for Clark to don his slightly-less-traditional red-and-blue outfit and become Superman, to save the Earth!
I wish Man of Steel had been more entertaining. Cavill does good as both Clark and Superman, a hero in the making who can't stop helping people but isn't sure how they'll react to him. Shannon is terrific as Zod, full of a manic zeal and conviction that, to him, justify all violence. On the flip side, Russell Crowe gets tiring as the Kryptonian "ghost dad" offering endless advice, Costner seems a little bland, and Amy Adams lacks the certain spark and determination that make Lois Lane a human match for Superman.
Director Zack Snyder handles action far better than drama. The movie flounders during the first half, as we get barraged by a seemingly-endless number of flashbacks. Once Superman and the Kryptonians start zipping around the screen, things pick up considerably. There are a few plot holes, but these are balanced by the epic scale of the battles.
Based on the initial box-office success, Man of Steel will probably be the start of a new Superman franchise. I'm curious to see what happens next -- and what they can do when the origin doesn't need to be re-told yet again.
Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch