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Nat thought – serves me right for getting excited by the trailer.

I thought Man of Steel was going to be fantastic. I mean look at the comic credentials of the people behind it. It’s the superhero movie making dream team; directed by Zach Snyder (Watchmen, 300), written by David S Goyer  (Dark City, Blade, the Dark Knight trilogy), produced and story by Chris Nolan (the new Batmans of course) and even a score by the fabulous and ubiquitous Hans Zimmer (responsible for pretty much every second film that comes out of Hollywood – I’m serious, look him up).

What could go wrong? A whole hell of a lot, so it seems.

It must suck to work so hard on something for years, something that the whole world is waiting for and then have it so easily dismissed as a failure. Well, a critical failure. Let’s face it, it’ll make a bucket load no matter what’s said about it.

And some people will probably really like it. I mean, if you compare it to Superman Returns, Bryan Singer’s limp attempt from 2006, Man of Steel is Citizen Kane. But compare it to all the films I’ve mentioned above and it’s… well… it’s Superman Returns. And that’s the problem. Since we’ve been shown in recent years just how good comic book adaptations can be, our (my???) expectations are super high (sorry) right from the get go.

So… since my creative juices are too sad to come up with anything original and exciting for this review (not that I normally do anything original or exciting) here’s a Sergio Leone rip off summary instead…

The Good

1. Henry Cavill looks the part and he can act. Plus the poor guy had to eat mountains of chicken for nine months to look like this.

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2. The suit rocks – you can exhale now.

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3. The opening sequence on Krypton looked amazing. Russell Crowe did well as Jor-El, Michael Shannon’s Zod is fleshed out to be more than just the megalomaniac Terrance Stamp version from Superman 2. The Krypton back story is satisfying, if maybe a bit PSA-ish. I felt a bit like it was a lecture aimed at Australia for depleting all their natural resources. Or maybe that’s just my own cultural guilt complex.

Here’s Zod being all scary alien general on a mission.

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And if those muscles are real, then props to Michael Shannon for eating half as many chickens as Henry Cavill to look like that.

4. Clark’s back story, told in flashbacks, is also very good. It manages to convey the difficulty, confusion and angst of a young boy growing up an outsider, burdened with god-like powers very well. These parts were probably the only time I had an emotion in the whole film.

The Bad

1. Too much action. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I know it’s an action film but the last third is ridiculous. Did you run out of story and thought blowing up shit for 40 minutes would keep us all entertained Zach/David/Chris? I’ve never seen so many people leave the cinema to go to the bathroom than I did during the fight between Clark and Zod. That said, I must admit the effects are well done, as expected.

2. There’s too much ground covered. It’s pretty much Superman 1 and 2 squished into the one film. Which means of course so many parts of the story are not given enough time to develop. For example…

3. Clark/Supes and Lois – just when did they have time to grow feelings for each other? Their romantic interlude at the end makes no sense.

4. Amy Adams – Normally I like Amy, she can do anything – kooky indie (Junebug), gritty drama (The Fighter), fairy princess (Enchanted) and can even hold her own against The Meryl (Doubt) – so I’m not blaming her. I’m blaming the script. Seriously, I think this is the worst role she’s ever had – not that I’ve watched every movie she’s ever done mind you. Her Lois left absolutely no impression on me; I didn’t love her, didn’t hate her, didn’t cheer for her, didn’t care about the romance with Clark, didn’t feel anything for her at all.

The Ugly

1. The stupid joke by the female soldier at the end. Please. This is not Transformers. Was that really Goyer who wrote that? Or did the script supervisor’s teenage daughter hijack the script that day? Ohhhh. Bad. Very bad.

So. Will this stop me from watching the next one? Probably not. But I won’t be there day one of release shelling out my ten bucks at the cinema. I’ll wait for the DVD. Now…

Zach – I know you can do better. Next time less action, less story, more substance please.

David S Goyer – I know you can do better. Be kinder to Amy next time too.

Chris Nolan – Don’t worry. You’re still the reigning champion.

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