Being a huge fan of DC, this movie was one of my most anticipated films last year. The trailer grabbed my attention and I believed it would be the Batman Begins of the Superman franchise. Unfortunately, I was wrong and left disappointed by the emotionless and disjointed effort by Zack Synder and David Goyer.
The plot is a retelling of Superman’s origins. The film begins on the planet Krypton with Jor-El (Russell Crowe) planning to send his son to Earth due to Krypton’s imminent destruction. He infuses his son with the genetic codex of the Kryptonian race before sending him to Earth. Meanwhile, General Zod (Michael Shannon) is leading a coup d’état and eventually kills Jor-El. Zod is then captured and imprisoned in the Phantom Zone. However, he is set free once Krypton explodes.
The film jumps forward to Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) traveling the world trying to discover who he is. The film’s narrative structure follows Clark as an adult and has occasional flashbacks to his youth. Once he finally discovers who he is, Zod reappears threatening Earth. He wants the codex to create a new Krypton with artificial Kryptonians in the place of Earth.
While I enjoyed the flashbacks and the interactions between young Clark and his parents, the film’s third act was tedious and repetitive. I enjoyed the Faora vs. Superman fight – although, the ridiculously obvious product placement was unnecessary (IHOP, Sears, 7-Eleven, U-Haul). However, once the battle was taken to the city, the film lost my attention. The film devolves into a bombastic display of destruction and CGI that was uninteresting. Another one of my issues with the film was that I felt no emotional attachment to the characters. The characters felt severely underdeveloped. I even had a hard time believing that Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Superman actually cared about each other. To me, it felt extremely forced.
The film had some redeeming qualities. The casting was excellent. I think Henry Cavill made a great Clark Kent and Superman. Amy Adams played the spunky Lois Lane very well. The supporting characters Perry White (Laurence Fishburne), Martha Kent (Diane Lane), and Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) were all great. While all the performances were great, the script really never gave them much to work with, making it feel like some of the actors/actresses were wasted. Another positive aspect was that there were some terrific shots and Krypton looked excellent.
Man of Steel didn’t capture my interest like I hoped it would have. I wish more time was spent on character development rather than an all-out brawl that became boring to watch. I enjoyed the first half of the movie, but wasn’t too keen on the rest of it. While I’m still excited for the Batman vs. Superman film, my expectations are slightly lower due to the fact that I didn’t enjoy Man of Steel as much as I would have hoped.