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MOVIE REVIEW: Man of Steel

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Man of Steel is the new Superman flick from director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan.  Snyder is no stranger to the big budget, special effects driven, summer blockbuster game.  His previous work includes 300, Watchmen, and Sucker Punch which all definitely have a unique look and feel.  As for Nolan, he’s one of the biggest players in Hollywood after directing such films as the Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and Inception.  The expectations are high with Nolan’s involvement after he successfully resurrected the Batman series.  The last installment in the Superman series, Superman Returns, wasn’t as big of a hit as the studio had hoped and the sequel to it was scrapped.  That brings us to Man of Steel, which stars Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane.  The rest of the cast is rounded out by some serious heavyweights with the likes of Russell Crowe, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, and Diane Lane.  Man of Steel is being released in conventional 2D, 3D, and IMAX theaters.

Man of Steel serves as an origin story for Superman, but it is done in flashbacks as opposed to seeing him grow up.  The film begins on the planet Krypton, where General Zod (Shannon) has declared war on his own race with the agenda to create a better species of Kryptonians.  Jor-El (Crowe) and his wife have just given birth to the first naturally born child on Krypton in centuries.  In an attempt to de-rail Zod’s plan, Jor-El sends his son, Kal-El (Cavill), in a spaceship to the planet Earth.  The story then jumps ahead and we see Kal-El, now Clark Kent, as an adult trying to find his place in the world without the letting them know of his secret powers.  Confused as to where he fits in and looking for answers, Clark stumbles up a spaceship frozen in the earth’s atmosphere.  It is here where Clark finally finds out who he really is, and at the same time sends a signal to outer space letting Zod know of his whereabouts.  With Earth under attack from Zod and his army, Superman is revealed to the world and must save them from complete destruction.

I hate to say this and you probably don’t want to hear it, but I was very disappointed with this new take on Superman.  Maybe I had set my expectations too high with Christopher Nolan being involved, but I was definitely let down.  Nolan had set the bar so high for superhero movies with his Batman trilogy, and I wanted this to be just as good as them.  I have a number of issues with this movie, but most of all, the story was completely flat and boring.  I sat in the theater for almost two and half hours and I’m not sure I took anything away from it other than there was a lot of fighting and spaceships.  This felt like a blatant attempt to be bigger and more grandiose than all the other superhero movies before it.  The entire movie is pretty much CGI with a lot of the focus being on the alien aspect.  If I had to see someone or something thrown through another wall or building I was going to scream.  The other problem with the CGI is that a lot of it looks fake and almost cartoonish because it is trying to be so big.  I’d also like to mention that the 3D seemed completely worthless; I definitely wouldn’t recommend spending the extra money for it.  For me, it felt like the fun was sucked out of the movie.  Good examples of this are the flashbacks to Superman’s childhood.  They all revolve around him being an outcast and not exposing his powers to the world, whereas, it would have been much more fun and entertaining to see him showing off these powers.  In my opinion, the whole thing is way too serious for a Superman movie.  Nolan got away with a more serious Batman due to the darker material, but it just didn’t work here.  As for Henry Cavill as Superman, he’s okay, but nothing special.  He definitely has the body type to play Superman, but the character’s personality was too dull.  I think Amy Adams is a great actress, but I feel she was miscast in this role.  Lois really wasn’t all that likable and was overly empowered.  The rest of the cast was pretty good; I thought Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner both did a fantastic job.  With all of that said, people are still going to turn out in groves to see Man of Steel; I’m just not sure it is going to meet their expectations.

Grade: C-

Man of Steel opens Friday, June 14