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Review: 'Man Of Steel' Only Holds Interest In Spurts

Jason Coleman Jason Coleman
June 13th, 2013 9:10am EDT

Man of Steel

Potential is usually a good start.  When he first came on the scene, Zach Snyder seemed to have all the makings of a director who would achieve greatness.  Problem is that almost every outing he’s helmed has shown that the eye candy director has a knack for creating killer sequences, but falls short on the full-length feature film scale.  In "Dawn of the Dead" the first ten minutes all but eclipse the rest of the film, "300" features battle sequences that squander the dull scenes of happenings at home, "Watchmen" begins with powerful picture-esk potential the film can’t live up to and even "Sucker Punch" only comes to life when the mind fantasy section of the film is fully engaged.  So it’s sad that on the new Superman re-imagining "Man of Steel," even working from a script co-penned by Dark Knight maven Chris Nolan, Snyder stays true to his handicap by only holding interest in spurts – a music video director does not always a fine feature filmmaker make.

Father Jor-El and his wife have given birth to young Jor-El and the future looks dim indeed.  Seems maniacal militant General Zod has decided to keep the dying planet of Krypton going by killing off the local council and taking charge himself.  Wanting a better future for his son, Jor-El launches young Kal-El to earth to both hide and thrive.

Man of Steel

Sorry folks, I just can’t tell this whole damn story all over again, but rest assured it’s the story of Superman.  Updated for 2013, the tale told here is given a supposed jolt of new wave energy by employing the famed 'Quentin Tarantino out of sequence story structure,' but here it’s distracting as hell.  (Even Tony Scott knew to make Tarantino’s "True Romance" linear!)  Not to mention that once again Snyder has devised an opening section that truly takes your breath away, then hands down a film that only feels so-so.  Plus with its fast cutting vibe it’s hard to get emotionally involved in any of the characters and makes "Man of Steel" feel like a sloppy superhero mess.  But with a cast as potential filled as this, you would think that they could pull this one out of the fire and emerge, like Kal El himself, unscathed right?  Wrong.  Lead man Henry Cavill is wooden at best, Amy Adams lacks the fire for Lois Lane (she’s got nothing on the fire of Margot Kidder!), parents Diane Lane and Kevin Costner are not nearly given enough time to be effective and in the most disappointing performance of all Michael Shannon (one of my favorite actors and the real reason I went to see "Man of Steel!") provides nothing new or exciting as typical baddie Zod (I would even take his over-the-top work in "Premium Rush" over this!) – it's a real letdown.  (The only work to immerge unscathed from this one is Russell Crowe as the weary Jor El – way to save the day Russell!)

Look the visuals here are decent, the fights cool and I’m sure the film is gonna be a blockbuster.  But for my money, the inclusion of such amazing talent in front and behind the camera has to equal more then a film that simply looks good.  Depth, soul and Shannon should provide more then surface superhero stuff and potential that keeps coming up not fully realized has a shelf life.      

"MAN OF STEEL" OPENS IN THEATERS JUNE 14 FROM WARNER BROS. PICTURES.

 

Man of Steel

   

   

   Title: "Man of Steel"

   Stars: 2

   Genre: Action

   Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon

   Director: Zach Snyder

   Rating: PG-13

   Running Time: 143 Minutes

   Release Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

   Website: http://manofsteel.warnerbros.com/index.html

Photo Credits: Photos Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures