Directed by Zack Snyder
Screenplay by David S. Goyer
Story by Christopher Nolan
David S. Goyer
Based on Superman
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography Amir Mokri
Editing by David Brenner
Studio Legendary Pictures
Distributed by Warner Bros.
June 14, 2013
Running time 143 minutes
Country United States
Man of Steel
Superman is... Well, he's Superman. Like him or hate
him, he's Superman! An icon. A cultural treasure.
Truth, justice, and the American way! There's something
wonderfully optimistic about him, a being with immeasurable powers who
wants nothing more than to help people? I've always loved that
about the guy and it's one of the most endearing things about him.
It's just too bad that Man of Steel takes all of that
wonderful optimism and replaces it with the gritty realism of The
Dark Knight. Hey, I loved The Dark Knight, but
there are some cases that realism and grittiness just aren't going to
work and this is one of them.
The Dark Knight was rooted in reality... Man of Steel is
about a guy who can shoot lasers from his eyes, is impervious to
bullets, and can fly. Reality has no business being there.
Man of Steel, the retelling of Superman's origin and debut on
Earth, is a laudable attempt to update the Man of Tomorrow with a more
contemporary feel and, in some cases it works and, in many many
others, it doesn't.
More effective here are the more human moments such as Ma Kent talking
her little boy down when the overwhelming sensations of having
super-hearing freaks him out to the point he has to hide in the
closet. That is a great interpretation of Superman's early
What doesn't work is that Man of Steel devolves into a
mindless action movie with a a whirlwind of incredible destruction at
the hands of Superman's biggest and most dangerous foe, General Zod,
played with wonderfully insane abandon by Michael Shannon. By
the time the movie is over, Supes doesn't save Metropolis, he saves a
rubble pile where Metropolis used to be. He pretty much saved
That is really the breaking leg of Man of Steel. In the race to
bring a new contemporary feel to Superman and create a new marketable
product for the masses, it sacrifices much of the humanity that drives
There's no magic here, no wonder... just explosions and buildings
falling down with some good to decent character moments.
Cavill plays Superman this time around and, honestly, he looks the
part and plays the part rather well. Even though I'm not wild
about Man of Steel, the actor makes a lot of it work. I
have a feeling that Cavill has a good Superman movie waiting for him
in the future, but this one isn't it.
I guess, if you want to look at my beef with Man of Steel
from a more symbolic viewpoint, it's echoed in the changes to
Superman's uniform... it's cold, less colorful, and less of a beacon.
It doesn't look like it was made with love by hand, it looks like it
was pressed into existence by an unfeeling machine. Does it look
nice? Of course it does... all polished and sculpted, but there
is no comfort, no warmth, and no humanity.
I've taken a lot of heat for my opinion in the months since I saw this
movie, but very little about that opinion has changed over time.
If nothing else, it's just cemented my opinion that Man of Steel
is, at best, highly polished mediocrity.