‘Man of Steel’ gets tied up in exposition and explosions
Unlike other recent superhero reboots, “Man of Steel” does not so much reflect the present human condition as it does the present condition of Hollywood, which wants everything bigger, faster and – regrettably – in 3D. Henry Cavill plays Clark Kent in director Zack Snyder’s gray and exposition-heavy take on Superman, which focuses on Clark’s inner conflict between acting human and honoring his alien roots. He is outed when General Zod (a nicely deranged Michael Shannon), an escaped convict from his homeworld, comes looking for him.
Cavill fits the role, if a bit blandly, while Russell Crowe sets up the story as Jor-El, and Diane Lane and Kevin Costner bring warmth as Clark’s adoptive parents. Amy Adams, as Lois Lane, is squeezed in too, but not enough.
Both the opening 20 minutes (on the doomed Krypton) and the closing 20 minutes (in a besieged Metropolis) are so filled with fast-zooming action and things blowing up everywhere that it’s hard to get a handle on what’s happening, or why, or how. We’re used to comic book movies being taken to another level; this one is decent, though sometimes cold and disorganized, but it never rises to new heights, even with a hero who flies.