So, let’s try and start this review off on a positive foot. Let’s list the things I like about the movie.
1. It sure is pretty. The visual design is very striking. The special effects are held to a high standard, and there’s a lot of them in the film.
2. The casting was excellent. A lot of good, big-name actors that really fit their roles.
3. Henry Cavill looks really, really good with his shirt off.
There. That’s it. That’s all the good things I have to say about the film. Other than those, it is absolute dreck. It is a case study in style over substance, expecting the viewer to get distracted by all the shiny, shiny visuals and completely ignore the absolute incompetence in actually delivering a film. I didn’t like it, is what I’m trying to say. Is that coming through at all? There was barely any characterization, the plot was completely forgettable, and the action… well. Let me preface this by saying I loved 300, from the same director as this movie. I count Tony Jaa’s The Protector as one of my favorite movies, and everything in that film is delivered by fist. I have a special place in my heart for “action porn”, those movies where the plot is just an excuse to make people’s bones break. So, in light of that, when I say I got bored with the nonstop action in Man of Steel, you know it means something. The introduction is bloated, while the main plot barely goes anywhere. And the film is just joyless. That’s the best way I have to describe it.
The problems come from the filmmakers trying too hard on half the things, and not trying at all on the rest. Take the aforementioned fight scenes that make up most of the movie. Sure, it was exciting at first, to see a bunch of kryptonians pounding on each other. Yet they went on waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay toooooooooooooooooooooooooo loooooooooooooooooooooong without any progress whatsoever! Superman couldn’t hurt the villains, they couldn’t hurt him, and neither really had much to gain from the early fights, yet they kept ineffectually slapping at each other anyway. It was obvious they were trying to make the viewer have the feels of ‘OMG THIS IS AWESOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!!!”, what with everything that could conceivably explode doing so five times at once and the stuff that wouldn’t explode only doing so once, yet the action took forever to get anywhere, and it just got dull. And worst yet, between the shakycam and the constantly changing camera angles, techniques that are supposed to inject energy into fight scenes, it was almost impossible to keep track of what was going on.
On the barely caring side, we can use the characterization for an example. I was reminded of nothing more than crappy teenage fanfiction in this film. Oh, there’s certainly nods towards developing characters, such as Superman ‘learning’ humility from his Earth dad teaching him that letting people die was more important than people knowing that somebody has superpowers, but the attempts never actually went everywhere. Beyond that, nothing. Superman had barely any motivation, and little character. It wasn’t the actor’s fault, Cavill just wasn’t given much material to work with. There was nothing to him. He was far more of a plot device than he was an actual person. The worst is Lois Lane. Again, it’s not Amy Adams fault, the entire character seems to have been written like a bad Mary Sue. She’s able to intimidate career military officers, can outgun trained soldiers, figures out who Superman is effortlessly, and the protagonist instantly falls in love with her with absolutely no development, yet she contributes nothing to the plot! You could write her out completely, and the movie would be exactly the same. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the early drafts didn’t have Lois Lane in them at all.
And the entire film is like that. It tries too hard with the issue of Clark Kent being accepted on Earth, and balances that out by not trying at all to have a plot beyond ‘dudes show up, superman punches them’. It tries too hard to make the kryptonian culture seem alien, then doesn’t try at all to make its secondary characters matter. And so it goes. It was constantly trying to make me feel the feels that I didn’t really feel, and I was left aghast at all the obvious shortcomings. So that’s my review. This film is crap.