Man of Steel (2013)

man-of-steel-flagStarring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Antje Traue, Laurence Fishburn

Directed by: Zack Snyder

PG-13. 148 mins

Joyless and full of noise; the humanity in this superhero reboot suffers under the immense weight of heavy exposition and oppressive action sequences. The film begins as a young boy named Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) learns that he is not from our planet and he is capable of extraordinary things. Soon it becomes clear that some will fear him, while others will revere the ‘Man of Steel’ as a symbol of hope. Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300) directs and Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight) produces this comic book-to-film adaptation of Superman which takes a much more serious tone in comparison to Christopher Reeves’ original portrayal of the beloved hero. There are compelling moments here and there, but the balance is off and the last third of the film is a series of torturous action sequences which lead to nothing more than a mind-numbing headache reminiscent of the Transformers franchise. Snyder is consistent when orchestrating action on an awe-inspiring level but when it comes to emotional punches, he only scratches the surface. While the Kents (Costner & Lane) offer up some tender moments, often via flashback, the rest of the cast is lacking in complexity. The unforgettably feisty reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is introduced with a promising amount of energy, but her character soon dissolves into a spiritless damsel-in-distress. Even the talents of Crowe and Shannon are wasted as equally one-dimensional enemies and most unfortunate is the lack of charisma from the brooding hero himself. The film’s solemnity is so crushing that those searching for something more than just an action film will be sorely disappointed, not to mention bored thanks to an endlessly uninspired screenplay. Given the numerous Biblical references and Clark’s Christ-like demeanour, it becomes increasingly difficult to empathize with him and his speechifying mentors. Ultimately, Man of Steel overwhelms rather than entertains – * * 1/2

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