Man of Steel

Out Now On-Demand

Superman gets a cinematic reboot, directed by Zack Snyder (Watchmen) and "godfathered" by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight). Henry Cavill (TV's The Tudors) is Clark Kent, unsure of his purpose on our planet or the extent of his powers - notions that will both be tested by the arrival of a fellow Kryptonian, the maniacal General Zod (Michael Shannon). This is the fifth Superman film after the Christopher Reeve tetralogy and Bryan Singer's Superman Returns.

With Krypton on the brink of a cataclysmic end, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) has taken steps to ensure the survival of his son Kal-El. As their planet teeters on the edge of total destruction, General Zod attempts an unsuccessful coup, during which Jor-El is killed - although he manages to send his son to Earth. Sentenced to the Phantom Zone, Zod and his cohorts survive Krypton's demise.

The adult Kent, having been raised by Ma and Pa (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) moves from job to job, concealing his powers but drawn to helping people in need. When he discovers an alien spacecraft in the Arctic - where he first encounters reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) - Kent discovers his origins. This hastens Zod's arrival on Earth and with the future of Earth at stake, Clark must attempt to repel an attack by Krypton's finest general.

It is ceaselessly fascinating how the specifics of the decades-long battle between comic book giants Marvel and DC are continually reflected in their respective film adaptations. While Marvel have had great success in both comics and movies by exploring the human, relatable side of their heroes, they could never quite achieve the culture-dominating status of DC’s best-known characters: Batman and Superman. Superman’s grand, mythic nature is both his greatest strength as a character and his fatal weakness. Man of Steel can’t quite overcome this, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun watching it try.

Positioning itself as a “first contact” alien story is a unique (to cinema) way of exploring Supes, and director Zack Snyder offers a lot of great imagery around this idea. But it also keeps the lead character at arm's length, which (combined with his aforementioned mythic nature) makes for a somewhat distant protagonist.

But, character issues aside, this movie wholly delivers on the spectacle front. It is here where the mythic factor really sings – the sheer scale of what’s on screen here feels unprecedented. Snyder evokes the broad scope and tall building-focused action of producer Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films, but also builds on Nolan’s style with increased pace and dexterity in the set-pieces. The grainy, blue-gray look of the film stands in marked contrast to the lush, bright colours of Snyder’s previous works, and there’s no sign of his signature speed-ramping either. His grasp of large scale action is in full-effect though.

British actor Henry Cavill looks great as Superman, but Michael Shannon gets all the most emotive actor moments as baddie Zod. The visual aspects of Man of Steel fulfil the potential of a Superman movie made in the digital era, but the emotional side of things remains a tough nut to crack. Nonetheless, this is a valiant and stupendously entertaining effort.

AV Club (USA)

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More space opera than superhero movie… by effectively denying Superman his defining traits—his complex relationships to duty and humanity—the movie robs the character of any depth or agency.

Empire (UK)

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It aches for more depth and warmth and humour, but this is spectacular sci-fi — huge, operatic, melodramatic, impressive. It feels the right Superman origin story for our era, and teases what would be a welcome new superfranchise.

Guardian (UK)

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This is a great, big, meaty, chewy superhero adventure, which broadly does what it sets out to do, though at excessive length.

Hollywood Reporter

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There’s big, and then there’s this Superman. Although it does go over the top toward the end... mostly plays it smart by mixing its action deck-of-cards style.

Los Angeles Times

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This film is pulled in different directions, delivering satisfactions without managing to be completely satisfying.

New York Times

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Everything [is] almost lost in the last 45 minutes, when Mr. Snyder piles on the hammering special effects, becoming yet one more director gone disappointingly amok.

Total Film (UK)

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A bracing attempt to bring the legend back into contention that successfully separates itself from other Super-movies but misses some of their warmth and charm.

Variety (USA)

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Gloomy, with little of the genuine wonderment the very name “Superman” calls to mind... less would almost surely have been more.

Okayman

Revisiting childhood heroes is risky. We want them to be as we remember them - rose tinted and shiny. How can a movie live up to expectations like these? Donner's Superman created a shadow recent interpretations have struggled to shake off. However, as a standalone film - it's big, noisy and fun.


Average

Very average movie. Not enough time was spent on Superman's background, and Henry Cavill was hard to like given his lack of facial expressions. Action scenes were good, although that seemed to be all the movie was about. The main villain was funny rather than scary.


Super cinema spectacle

Beautifully crafted popcorn fare. Henry Cavill owns the man-in-metallic-tights role. Michael Shannon rocks as the snarly bad guy who's convinced he's doing good. Amy Adams is a breath of fresh air as a journalist not so dumb as to be fooled by a pair of spectacles, and Kevin Costner manages to make sappy dad dialogue work.

But sadly, high production values can't hide a convoluted script that spends the first hour carefully constructing an origin story and then the next hour rushing a plot-hole-filled action extravaganza that really does not make a lot of sense...

Still, there's oodles of fun to be had and Hans Zimmer's score is fabulous. It might not be great - but it is great fun, vastly entertaining and, when all's said and done, a darn sight more super than Bryan Singer's sappy 'Superman Returns.'


Epic. Inspiring. Beautiful craftsmanship.

My inner geek just loved the care and attention to detail and design that went into this. Masterfully done. Villains with meaning and purpose. A backstory that is coherent and makes sense (you get a sense of just how a large advanced civilisation can undo itself with some really bad policy decisions!). Brilliant casting. I love how you see the struggle and moral development early on. Go see. You'll enjoy and be inspired.


Brilliant

Superman to me is the least interesting superhero, so I went not expecting much, but this film was Amazing! Amy Adams is great and was fantastic paired with the new guy. A more emotional (more personable) take on superman teamed with some great technological effects from Weta, great design, great cinematography- a couple of interesting ideas on god and society themes- a few too many exploding buildings, a bit too long at the end- but overall a really awesome story and watch!


I love the movie.

I appreciate the take on this movie - different from what we are so used to based on all the previous ones. Did I forget to say how hot Henry Cavill is? :D


Too alien not enough super man

I'm a big superman fan and this movie does not depict the sensitivity and nerdy character strength that Christopher Reeve portrayed. I missed the real superman! Anyone who knows their superheroes, knows that the charm is in the subtle hint of difference and not depicting superman as an alien.


Good, but could have been better.

I was looking forward to this movie ever since I first heard it was coming out.

While I enjoyed the cast, the special effects and the acting (was pretty decent despite what people have been saying), the only thing that really let me down was the script itself. It felt like there was no real connection made between the characters and the audience, barely any development that was picked up on strongly, and some awkward pacing between scenes and ideas. I know it's meant to be a much more gritty and dark version of a reboot, but it felt like they took that to the extreme; to the point I felt uncomfortable to think it was a superman movie. It would have been fantastic with better writing in the script.


Rubbish. Where's the charm?

I'm a big Superman fan and have been eagerly awaiting this movie. I thought it was hugely disappointing. It as if it was directed by Michael Bay - barely nothing in the way of character or charm, huge on wanton destruction, terrible dialogue and plot holes (why doesn't Superman just take his fight elsewhere, instead his personal squabble flattens a city and presumably kills thousands). This and an aggressive lack of subtly ruined it for me, give me Bryan Singer's version anyday.


Disappointing

Whereas Batman was reignited in the latest Nolan trilogy I expected the same for Superman and had high hopes, I was genuinely excited. But, turns out it was another lame, cheesy attempt which left me feeling ripped off. So much potential wasted in this lackluster film which was only really an introduction to a few franchise. The action was boring and repetitive, flying into buildings, over and over and over again.. yawn. The script was just bad and it there wasn't enough insight or development into the characters. I just didn't care. I'll watch the next one but I don't expect much. The originals owned it, get them out from the video store instead.