Never thought I would see Christopher Nolan’s name attached to such an underwhelming film. The director of “Inception” and “The Dark Knight” trilogy has his hands all over the less-than-impressive “Man of Steel.” The reboot of the “Superman” film series is a major disappointment.
To quote the Joker in “The Dark Knight,” “Why so serious?” That’s what’s wrong with “Man of Steel.” There’s no joy in this story. It’s so unrelentingly dark that it doesn’t give the audience a chance to breathe. As corny as they were, the 1970’s “Superman” films were fun to watch because Superman took the time to rescue a cat from a tree. He routinely nabbed several robbers. He did the kind of things that a superhero does. And, they were things that didn’t necessarily advance the main storyline. We needed a couple of breaks like that during this film.
The film also suffered too many flashbacks. If you’re going to do an “origins” tale, perhaps a more linear approach. Clark Kent struggles with his identity, but his angst as a teenager keeping his identity a secret was overbearing and dull. Even when he saved a few lives, the joy of the moment was lost when he sulked over his place in the world. Henry Cavill (Superman as an adult) wasn’t much better. Humans didn’t like him. And, he was surrounded by dull, joyless characters like his adopted mother (Diane Lane) and especially his boring father (Kevin Costner.) They gave the worst possible advice to the young Kent.
No doubt Superman will come out of his funk in the sequel. But, fans will ultimately look back at the experiment as a failure. No fun. Just one big fight with overpowering action scenes. No joy. No routine rescues. It sucks being the Man of Steel. And, it sucks having to sit through such a long movie. Grade: D