First off, I should say, they got the casting right. This guy?
I'd say he's pretty much a spot-on Superman. I loved Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, and even the kid cast as young Clark/Kal-El... the casting was great!
Then, you ask, what's the issue?
I wanted some story. Man of Steel seemed to me like a collection of backstory-infodumping, flashbacks, and action sequences with a very muddled narrative, most of which felt very distant from the hero himself. If you're going to tell a hero's story, here is the ultimate hero. The whole time it seemed like looking in on a movie about him rather than ever fully engaging with the character.
But it was supposed to be dark and edgy! Plus it's Zack Snyder and freaking Christopher Nolan!
Yes, yes, I hear you. I know some fans loved this take on Superman. Ain't It Cool News loved it, an opinion I respect, and I'm glad some fans devoted to the legacy of Superman comics thought Man of Steel got it right. But for me this one had all the style and look but a story that was not engaging.
It was kind of like sitting through the first half of Phantom Menace and wondering, who is the main character here? Is there one? It's supposed to be that guy, I think but... For literally half of Man of Steel, I was waiting for the dang thing to get started.
Take the beginning. An extended backstory about Krypton and its troubles, the birth and sending off of Kal-El, followed by a brief trip to the present where Clark/Kal-El is literally on fire saving people, followed by more flashbacks of Clark as a kid saving kids and doing superhero-y stuff. We are now a good 30-40 minutes in and still no scene with our Hero himself having any meaningful dialogue in the present day. A brief tussle in a bar does not count for me, although it was a great scene. I am seeing you doing things Clark, but I don't know you.
But hey, didn't the Star Trek reboot start the same way? Why yes, it did! Star Trek opens with Kirk born at the same time Romulans are taking down the ship his father is the captain of. It is not extended exposition, and the Romulans are a key part of the story. Then it flashes to kid Kirk hassling the law, which then flashes to the present with scrappy Kirk getting into a bar fight and then recruited to Starfleet. The scenes are brief enough and related enough to give context, and then we move on. Man of Steel spends so much time on the backstory, I figured they just wanted to get the most out of Russell Crowe's massive paycheck, and if I'm thinking about that during the movie that means I'm not connecting.
Now, I've seen Zack Snyder's other movies so maybe I shouldn't be surprised. I thought Watchmen was a great representation of the graphic novel, some of the shots even mirrored the comic exactly. It was a tough story to adapt, but the feel of it fit. Sucker Punch on the other hand was all style, no substance. Schoolgirls with big guns masquerading as girl power. Well, the soundtrack was good at least. And Christopher Nolan--I loved Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception. I was geeked about a grittier take on Superman. The scene (shown in previews) where Superman walks across snow, a shot from the back with his cape blowing aside, gave me chills. But geez, can you give this man some dialogue?!
|I couldn't resist! From The Hawkeye Initiative|
I didn't hate Man of Steel. It's not the worst superhero movie by far, and in a lot of ways, it's pretty good. I liked the mythology and the absence of campy Daily Planet stuff. Henry Cavill sure was pretty to look at. His posing wasn't Tourist level bad (where Angelina Jolie, supposedly mid-chase on a boat, looked like she'd stepped off the cover of Vogue), but he seemed more the representation of Superman in an arms-length look at the hero. Some people might be fine with that. I just wanted to get inside his head, to know this man of steel a little better.