Man of Steel (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

Truth and justice personified.

Any re-boot or re-make of a film franchise, no matter how well done, will inevitably draw comparisons to original or earlier productions (see “Batman Begins” or “The Amazing Spider-Man“). This is especially true of Zach Snyder’s (“300″) efforts to turn the “Superman” story on its ear by updating it through a series of multi-million dollar effects and computer-generated, often mind-blowing cinematechnics. These are amazing visuals and the sound technology is certainly not far behind, but while Man of Steel is light years better than the last attempt to revamp the series (2005’s “Superman Returns“), it cannot replace the heart, humor and general overall wholesome corniness of the first two feature films, “Superman” and “Superman 2,” from 1978 and 1981, respectively. Of course, these are almost vastly different movies, but the legend of the super hero remains basically the same.

Replacing the late Christopher Reeve is difficult enough, but add Marlon Brando (Jor-El), Gene Hackman (as Lex Luther), Ned Beatty (Otis), Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Jackie Cooper (Perry White), Glenn Ford (Jonathan Kent), Susannah York (Lara), and Valerie Perrine (Miss Teschmacher) to the mix and it’s nearly impossible. That cast was wonderful, as the fun was balanced with the hero’s righteous indignation and the plethora of action. True, the special effects from then seems woefully outdated when viewed today, but audiences at the time really dug it (I ought to know, I sat in those theaters and watched those pictures).

Now, we get an almost entirely new take on the tale thanks in part to writers David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan (who knows a little about revamps). Forget about the planet Krypton colliding with a nearby star (its doom is caused by overproduction of its internal core), and here General Zod (Michael Shannon, “The Iceman“) was a friend of Jor-El (Russell Crowe, “Les Misérables“) and actually succeeds in his takeover of that world — for a while, at least. Escaping from the planet’s doom, the baby Kal-El (various young boys and then Henry Cavill, “Immortals“), lands in Smallville, Kansas, and is adopted by the Kents, Kevin Costner (“The Company Men“) and Diane Lane (“Secretariat“). Papa, wise beyond his paygrade, continues to tell the alien lad that his powers, while special indeed, should not be used lest people begin to fear and loathe him (kids already pick on him because he’s “weird”).

Clark is allowed to brood a bit more on his situation, but soon journeys to his “Fortress of Solitude,” which in Man Of Steel is now a large spaceship buried beneath tons of Arctic ice, before coming face to face with Zod and his equally-super minions. Meanwhile, the flashbacks kick in and we go from the present time, to Clark’s childhood to his adolescent years and back again, causing no end to the movie’s confusing overtones.

Man of Steel (2013) by The Critical Movie Critics

A “super” Kodak moment.

And amazingly this actually gets worse when another incredible plot reveals itself. Now, because he is ticked off at Jor-El, Zod wants Superman and — for some reason — Lois Lane (Amy Adams, “The Master“) to surrender themselves to him aboard his massive spacecraft so he can pontificate and put into motion his very own “Genesis Project.”

With no desire to see Zod’s plans come to fruition, Clark battles it out with him and his right hand woman Faora-Ul (Antje Traue, “Pandorum”) — first in Smallville (how such a tiny berg could withstand such destruction is beyond me) and then in New York. Here, the very well done special effects go into hyper-drive, but the almost unending sequences of Superman and Zod bludgeoning each other (while destroying hundreds of high rise structures) are, at the very least, headache generating and, at the worst, seizure-inducing.

The hundreds of millions spent on these impressive graphics will no doubt lure the young and uninitiated to the box office and, perhaps, break records. But for those who remember the original films, Man Of Steel will leave one with mouth agape in earnest admiration, yet they will no doubt sadly miss the fun and innocence and soul of those earlier, less costly, efforts.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
3 Star Rating: Average


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The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for "Platoon"). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards - but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of "The Movie Guys," each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.

'Movie Review: Man of Steel (2013)' have 33 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 14, 2013 @ 11:41 pm Gozo

    Is asking for an actual review of the movie too much to ask for?

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 12:10 am Danny Reece

    It’s the great reboot Superman fans have been clamouring for.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      June 16, 2013 @ 11:07 am Travis

      Sorry to break the news but fans will have to keep on clamoring for a worthy reboot . . . Any true-blue fan of Superman will be disgusted with this version.

      • The Critical Movie Critics

        June 16, 2013 @ 7:53 pm ForTheWin

        I’m a longtime fan of Superman and I loved this movie. The action was pulse pounding, the back story was heartfelt and Cavill nailed the part. You were expecting something other?

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 12:53 am HiFiGuy

    Strong picture and finally a DC movie that can compete with Marvel.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      June 15, 2013 @ 6:50 am INN

      You’ve got to be kidding. Did you forget The Dark Knight series already?

      • The Critical Movie Critics

        June 18, 2013 @ 4:15 pm Clocker

        Forget Batman, did he forget Green Lantern?

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 2:22 am Thule

    Henry Cavill > Christopher Reeve

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 8:39 am Amy Slaughter

    Great movie. Reviewer is biased – he would have liked it more had he not been on the lookout for a Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve clone.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 9:03 am Piggie

    Bring on the sequel!

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 11:29 am Brad Jasper

    Not “Super” unfortunately.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 12:14 pm DethStarr

    I was initially put off by the deathly serious tone of the movie but the more I think about it the more I think it is fitting. I now realize Avengers and Iron Man have too much comedy in them to be taken seriously. They’re stuck in their comic books past while Superman and Bat-Man have graduated.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 1:48 pm Mobius Drew

    Most I’ll say is MoS is much better than Superman Returns.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 3:34 pm queenbqty

    So no Lex Luthor?

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      June 15, 2013 @ 10:19 pm Dat Dude

      Who needs Lex when you got Zod?

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 4:41 pm bridge_troll

    didn’t like it. i want the old superman back.

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 6:55 pm RudeComment

    It fucking sucked.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      June 16, 2013 @ 4:10 pm Ebert

      That was rude. True though.

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 8:16 pm Gumslinger

    Makes me sad to see it only got an average ranking. :(

    I really liked it.

  14. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 15, 2013 @ 8:23 pm NoodleHead

    It is a mess. Character development is nonexistent. Lois Lane and Perry White offer so little they could have just as easily been left out of the movie. Plot is bad on its own but the bouncing around the timeline makes it all the more worse. Effects are decent although for a movie of this magnitude they should have blown my socks off.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      June 20, 2013 @ 4:32 pm Eko1980

      Personally, I’d say using the flashbacks was an ingenious way to develop the backstory.

  15. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 16, 2013 @ 12:22 am Heather Champion

    This does not sound like Superman especially when considering the spoilers I read regarding the final battle. Leave it to Snyder, Goyer and Nolan to ruin a true Icon.

  16. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 16, 2013 @ 1:55 pm justAbox

    Stick with the trailers–they won’t let you down.

  17. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 16, 2013 @ 6:14 pm Squash

    Deeply, deeply flawed; still better than Iron Man 3

  18. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 16, 2013 @ 11:03 pm red stain

    Best movie of the summer. Best superhero movie of the year.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      June 17, 2013 @ 5:34 pm Affix

      You can’t say that – Thor: The Dark World is yet to be released. It has potential. :roll:

  19. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 17, 2013 @ 10:21 am Goat

    The movie never had a chance to live up to the hype.

  20. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 17, 2013 @ 12:12 pm iHOP

    For some unexplained reason I craved pancakes afterwards…

  21. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 19, 2013 @ 10:16 pm SuperBite

    Fantastic movie! Superman is best!

  22. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 25, 2013 @ 6:30 pm Andres

    That tornado scene was one of the more touching moments in a movie all year. If it doesn’t elicit an emotional response from you, you are either a sociopath or don’t recognize good filmmaking.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      July 4, 2013 @ 12:14 am Greg Eichelberger

      Because I did not respond emotionally to an unnecessary special effect means I may be a “sociopath.” That’s a new one on me.

      • The Critical Movie Critics

        July 7, 2013 @ 1:46 pm Andres

        It was an ‘or’ statement. If you say you don’t have the traits of a sociopath (I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt) then you don’t recognize good filmmaking. Along with all the building collapses was a very touching human drama.

      • The Critical Movie Critics

        July 7, 2013 @ 3:48 pm Dan Gunderman

        Greg, I’m with you on this one; unnecessary special effects, weak character development and an all-around strange way to spend $225M. I don’t see a bias here…when you hear about a Superman movie, you want some muscle behind the story!

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