Review henry-cavill-superman-mos-man-of-steel-movie

Published on June 15th, 2013 | by Allan Brown


Man of Steel Review


Movie Review: Man of Steel 3D (2013)man-of-steel-film-poster. movie review world

Rating: (12A)

Director: Zack Snyder

Producer: Christopher Nolan

Writers: David S. Goyer

Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishburne

Plot: When earth is invaded by an alien race, Clark Kent must become everything he was born to be in order to defend Earth and its people from destruction.



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We have all seen the Terrence Malick-esk trailers and have read the reports promising a deeper and more personal look at the superman story. Looking into the psyche of a ‘man’ who has been raised to hide who he is his whole life and what effects this would have on a person’s mental state. We also all know that the screenplay was penned by none other than ‘The Dark Knight’ Veteran; David S. Goyer, but what gave this project more promise than anything else for many, was the fact that a certain Mr Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception) was on board as producer.


kevin-costner-at side of truck in film man-of-steel. movie-review-worldSo with all these advantages going for it, has Zack Snyder pulled off the most anticipated film of this year the way we all hoped and were promised?

The film kicks off with a prologue set during the final hours of Krypton, as Jor-El (Russell Crowe) fights off general Zod (Michael Shannon) rebellion placing his last hope in Krypton’s survival on his infant son, Kal-El (Superman) as he sends him to Earth in the hopes that he will thrive as his home planet dies.

Once on Earth, the story follows Clark Kent as he journeys to find the hidden answers to why he was placed on Earth. His childhood is relived through a series of flashbacks where we are introduced to his foster mother and father; Jonathan and Martha Kent (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner).

 this is probably not the movie most people were expecting to see and certainly not the film the trailer had convinced me it was going to be

The third act sees General Zod and his insurgence come to Earth in a bid to take Kal-El / Superman captive, but like all superhero movies a bad guys intentions are never that simple.

And so it comes to my thoughts on the film. Well, where do I begin…………?

michael-shannon as general-zod-as zack snyders man of steelOk, let me start by saying this is probably not the movie most people were expecting to see and certainly not the film the trailer had convinced me it was going to be.

Again, in previous interviews, Director Zack Snyder had promised a deeper, more realistic and personal look into the character. A man with superhuman abilities who is raised to hide his true self from the world his whole life and what effects this would have on a persons mental state as a result.

So do any of these interesting character traits make it into the finished film?

Well yes, but only as brief and fleeting flashbacks sequences. These quieter scenes that often involve life lessons with his father (Kevin Costner) are the heart of the film and are at times deeply moving. However, as beautiful, captivating and emotional as these scenes are they unfortunately feel disjointed and of a different tone from the rest of the film, and this is another one of the films issues; it pulls in so many directions it never truly knows what kind of film it wants to be, a deeper thought provoking comic book film or an loud, OTT CGI, action blockbuster.
amy adams and henry cavill threatened by Faora-Ul in man of steelThis film is extremely LOUD both visually and orally and runs on way longer than it should. Like the scene where Zod takes of his breathing mask for the first time on earth, showing he is not used to our atmosphere which results in sensory overload. This scene could not have expressed or echoed my own feelings better if it had tried.

The CGI is at times magnificent as are many of action sequences, but when you are faced with these scenes over and over and over again, explosion after explosion, fight after fight, followed by another explosion in a tedious and relentless fashion they lose any sense of intensity or peril, and as result I often found myself bored and disconnected from the emotion and character development (although minimal) that had come before.

Snyder does show some initial restraint from his usual methods (Snyder a director I’ve never favoured due to lack of focus on anything other than OTT CGI) but sadly slips back into his CGI led visual mentality that is sadly all too familiar and this is ultimately one the films many downfalls.

The whole cast are impressive with no weak links to speak off. Henry Cavill especially shines as the new supes, offering enough intensity, grit and believability

The films story is also something that doesn’t seem to offer anything fresh, and by the time the third act swings round it solidly plants itself into the science fiction arena where the earth’s imminent destruction scenario is back on the cards again. In fact, we could be watching any alien invasion movie from the last 15 years as all the familiar visuals hit the screen. There is nothing new or anything that makes it stand out as a Superman film. Its lack of focus on characters and the human side of the story again leaves you feeling disconnected or even interested in what’s going on, as we watch another building collapse or one of the many fight scenes that result in the same outcome. When these ‘invincible’ characters fight, we know they can’t die, when the humans open fire on them we know they are not going to inflict any damage and therefore again there is lack of any peril as we watch these two Gods like characters punch each other through one building after another.
amy-adams and laurence-fishburne-in-man-of-steel-movieWith that said there are things in the movie that are more than noteworthy and that are done well. The fact that the film doesn’t go down the slow, over familiar origin story route works in its favour and keeps the film moving with pace throughout.

The whole cast are impressive with no weak links to speak off. Henry Cavill especially shines as the new supes, offering enough intensity, grit and believability. Something I feel has been lacking in previous adaptations of the character. Kevin Costner as Clarks/Kal-El father offers the most captivating and honest performance in the whole movie and gives the film its emotional string and weight when he is present on screen. Michael Shannon does well as the films antagonist, General Zod, proving himself as a worthy opponent both physically and mentally.

russell-crowe-as jor-el-in mos movieThe CGI work is stunning throughout as are some of the action sequences. I just feel if Snyder had held back a little more in these elements and showed more focus on interesting characterisation, character arc and of course narrative, the film would not have slipped into the generic so easily. The tools were all there to do the job but like a kid in a candy shop Zack Snyder has failed to show adequate self-restraint or allow the word moderation enter his vocabulary. Still, it is worth saying that this adaptation offers more than many of the previous incarnations of the story and character ever have, I just expected more.

It is also worth mentioning that the 3D in this film was retrofitted (film shot in normal 2D and then made into 3D using computers during post production) and sadly added nothing to the experience. In fact, the 3D was so un-3D at times, that I questioned whether it actual was at all. This is another extremely poor example of the 3D tool being used, which is sadly all too common. It is these lazy, cash-in efforts that studios seem to enforce to make a quick buck that will likely kill off the use of the 3D experience completely, and likely in the not too distant future.

Man of Steel Review Allan Brown


Summary: There will be hordes of comic fanboys that will no doubt be overjoyed at Zack Snyder’s adaptation. It is loud, long and relentless with enough repetitive CGI action to fill six movies, but for the people that were expecting, depth, character or a more ‘Dark Knight’ affair, you will be sadly underwhelmed by this over the top, crash, bang, wallop summer blockbuster.


User Rating: 2 (1 votes)

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Despite my 9-5 being consumed by the daily duties of an Electrician, Movie Review World serves as a platform for me to share my thoughts, explorations and reflections on one of my biggest passions, film.

10 Responses to Man of Steel Review

  1. Dan O. says:

    Nice review Allan. After all of the insanely epic trailers and previews we were getting, it is a bit disappointing to say that this didn’t fully deliver as expected.

    • Allan Brown says:

      Hi Dan, Expectations and hype are powerful things when it comes to movies and can often make or break it for a viewer. I say give it another go (as I did) you maybe surprised. Its still not the film we were promised and its a bit unbalanced in tone and everything else but there is lots to like about ‘Man of Steel’ and I would even be as bold to say, I enjoyed it far more than most of Marvels efforts.
      Thanks for reading Dan.

  2. Jason says:

    Totally agree. Packed with non stop action but no depth or time spent on building any kind of attachment to the characters or story. Overall, it was fun but I expected a lot more.

    • Allan Brown says:

      I think even the fun side of it subsided after a while as it all got a bit repetitive. Still, I think the parts of it that were handled well, were done so with skill but overall it has cemented my opinion of Zack Synder as a CGI over anything else kind of director.

  3. Gerard Dodd says:

    The problem Zack Snyder was always facing, as will anyone else who steps up to make a superhero movie is that it will follow the sensational trilogy that was Nolan’s Dark Knight (being DC doesn’t help either).Unfortunately, because those movies were so good we will find ourselves being extremely hard to please the more these movies are made.
    Okay, the trailers were a touch misleading in making you think you were in for something of more depth, but while it did offer scenes of mindless (typical blockbuster) action, is it a real problem? I mean the avengers got away with it (without consuming the most dramatic dialogue), smashing up buildings without clarifying how many innocents actually died throughout seems to be a trend these days. What is the difference with Man of Steel?
    I just don’t see what people were hoping for with this…it was entertaining; a word I would not give to half of Marvel’s drawn out crap. All in all, a good review Allen, If I judged my own review in “stars” I would have given it 4! 🙂

    • Allan Brown says:

      You do raise some interesting points Gerard and yes I agree the film is and was handled better than many of Marvels efforts. However, I still think it was over repetitive and a mix-mash in tone and narrative, whether that was an editing flaw I don’t know, but I found it jarring.
      There was also virtually no build up or intensity throughout, something that the dark knight trilogy had bags of and even some of Marvels films. This as a result left me feeling absolutely nothing for the characters or they’re plight.
      I also feel the film pulled in too many directions for it to work cohesively. There was whisperings of a much better and more interesting film in there but it was never given any time to develop and so dropped to make way for more action sequences that by the third act were all so samey.
      The same can be said with the characters in the film, with a fantastic cast who all done well in my opinion were given no time to develop or for the audience to connect with. All we get is a collection of scenes that at times felt randomly patched together. I felt nothing for any of them, not even supes which is a shame. This is something Marvel in my opinion does better, real investment and time is given to their characters and developing them and ultimately making them more interesting.
      Maybe my expectations were too high knowing Nolans involvement and maybe I was misled like so many others by the trailers, I don’t by any means feel the film was bad, I just feel extremely disappointed its not the film I was hoping for and the teasing’s of a deeper more complex comic-book film that is present in there, only heightens my disappointment further.
      Thanks for reading Gerard. I appreciate your feedback as always.

  4. JJ says:

    I thought it was better than Iron Man, I found it to be longer than need be but it could have been due to the cinema being way to hot. Synder will never out do Watchmen.

  5. Tim The Film Guy says:

    Got some fair points, but I still love it and I just couldnt take another superman film where he does nothing. He kicks ass in this and that makes me incredible happy 😀

    • Allan Brown says:

      Yes he did kick ass, but thats all the film offered for me. Explosions and CGI fight sequences, that to me is not so much a film but more a series of youtube videos or computer game cut scenes patched together. Where was the film I was promised?

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