Man of Steel (2013)

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Zack Snyder directs Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Micheal Shannon in this modernisation on the Superman origins myth.

Perhaps the most frustrating blockbuster ever made – the first 90 minutes is a 5 star classic look at Superman embracing his destiny. From an eye popping last day on Krypton right up to being outed to the world as an alien saviour among us, this is exciting stuff. Then we have a relentless hour of overwhelming, effects obese set pieces that numb the audience into submission unraveling all that good work. You can even see what two of the four action chunks could be easily cut out; attack of nanotentacles & 15 minutes of Supes and Zod playing pinball with other against and through the architecture of Metropolis. Snip those two plate spinners off unto the cutting room floor and the narrative is unaffected, the running time manageable and that rumble in Smallville and the stop World Engine from destroying humanity skit would be a more than satisfying one-two knockout. There’s lot to love in that start though – Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner shine as Kal-El and Clark Kent’s respective fathers, the smaller scale action as hobo Clark hitchhikes across an accident prone America rocks, the glimpses of his alien eyeview of childhood disturbs, Amy Adam’s Lois Lane is given meaty more to do than wait for the boy in blue to save her, the production design is lavish and Hans Zimmer composes possibly the greatest movie score since… well… Richard Donner’s Superman. OK, it’s not all solely the overlong conclusions fault… Cavill, Adams and Shannon do not have much chemistry with each other or the source material which is a shame (especially considering what talents the last two are). And the big name mega ensemble may add the sheen of quality but also means we get to have a completely unnecessary Perry White action sequence (at 2 hours 15 minutes in, no-one cares about Jenny the Intern, even if it is Laurence Fishburne saving her). Still any film where you get to see Gladiator fly a space dragon and Kevin Costner teach life lessons in the visual equivalent of a Bruce Springsteen album is worth a punt and you can always switch off once the CGI overpowers the hope.

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