Comic Vine Review

Comments

Man of Steel Review

5

Kal-El returns to the big screen in an amazingly entertaining fashion.

Ladies and gentlemen, there's a new "best comic book movie" in town and it goes by the name of Man of Steel. Sporting great performances and breathtaking action sequences, Clark Kent's return thankfully lives up to the mountain of hype and anticipation we've endured for at least several months. This new take on the iconic character delivers a constantly epic atmosphere which mixes a more serious tone with a lot of over the top fun. And when I say "a lot," I mean it.

Yes, this is a reboot of Superman's origin -- a story we've seen countless times before -- but it doesn't suffer from a sense of overfamiliarity at all. They clearly draw elements from various comic stories from time to time ('Earth One' obviously inspired General Zod's broadcast and the symbol standing for hope comes from 'Birthright'), but for the most part, this is a mostly fresh take on the legendary character. After the grand sci-fi opening on Krypton (Russell Crowe's Jor-El is a boss), we fast forward to grown up Clark. From there, we're treated to emotionally compelling flashbacks about him learning to cope with his powers and receiving moral guidance from the Kents. There's some changes here and there to the mythos and I imagine some fans won't dig it, but for the most part, I think it's something many of us won't mind -- especially when countered by all of the things this film does so well.

Remember how The Avengers hit us with an astonishing and goosebump inducing battle in New York? I honestly believed a comic book movie (in the near future, that is) wouldn't be able to bring that level of greatness again, but Man of Steel totally does and then some. The action pieces are absolutely staggering and downright surreal. Director Zack Snyder fully unleashes the power behind these characters and when they throwdown it's visceral, intense and had my jaw dropped basically the entire time. While the two huge action scenes may be a bit too long for some, it was nothing but pure bliss for me -- I seriously can't get over how good they were and I was in awe.

My only minor gripe with these scenes was the lack of concern over the populated areas, but at least they tried to justify it each time (for example, one time Clark is beyond pissed and another time he tells them to leave). After all, Clark is new to this and he's not exactly dictating the fights all the time. It's something I can overlook, but when Clark tackles his enemy through a convenience store and blows up a gas station before the area is evacuated, I'm sure some of you will tilt your heads. And speaking of stores, holy product placement, Batman! If that kind of thing bugs you, then there's sure to be a few moments that'll make you groan.

What really sells every scene (you know, aside from super powered punches) are the superb performances and Hans Zimmer's excellent score. The music simply brings everything to the next level, making even seemingly basic moments come off as extraordinary and legendary. You'll definitely want to see this one in a theater with quality speakers.

Michael Shannon kills it as General Zod, delivering a commanding performance and truly selling the raw emotion behind his standout acts. As for Henry Cavill... well, the man just oozes "Superman." Some may complain he's a man of few words in this film, but the quieter moments with the character allow him to physically convey the tone and he does so extremely well. And, when he does chat, you can really sense the warmth, honesty and good will behind his version of Clark -- and seeing as he's a character meant to inspire us, that's critical. Also, I thought he and Amy Adams had fantastic chemistry and she definitely brings a brave and believable Lois Lane to the table. Aside from one Daily Planet employee having a silly line or two, the remainder of the cast does a more than able job as well.

It's clear Warner Bros. had a "go big or go home" mentality when kicking off the new direction for their DC universe and they delivered big time. I spotted at least two Easter Eggs which filled my face with such a goofy smile and I haven't been this excited about a movie universe's future since Tony Stark met Nick Fury. Speaking of which, there unfortunately wasn't a mid or post credits scene during my screening.

I do have some small problems with the film, but honestly, they're massively overshadowed by the things I loved. This isn't just my favorite comic book movie at the moment -- it's one of the best moviegoing experiences I've had in quite some time. With gripping performances and overflowing with absurdly impressive action, it's safe to say many of you out there will love Man of Steel every bit as much as I did. I know I'm definitely going to see it at least two more times.

504 Comments
Posted by The Stegman

I love how people keep complaining about CV's rating system. "Oh, you guys give out too many 5 star reviews" it's their review and their opinion, if you don't like it, GTFO.

Posted by toptom

5 out of 5 stars? No one will identify with how Zod is dealt with. IMO.

how can you be NOT in agreement with this review... if you have not seen this film yet? at least wait until tomorrow to say that 5/5 is too much.

some people are reeeally biased.

Posted by CODYSF

Watching it on midnight release

Posted by fartvader

@fartvader: well, even alot of the more known YouTube reviewers as well as top critics and various sites gave it a meh review, saying that its too much action, but that's the epitome of Zack Snyder's directorial career......sacrificing pacing, character or plot development for the sake of overuse of CGI and visual spectacles.

Have you seen it tho? Because IMHO, Snyder took his time developing the story and fleshing out the mythos. I'm not specific with the duration but I estimated 45 minutes. He took this much time to develop everything. Personally, I thought 45 minutes was too long and I was like "Oh my God, where's the action?". And there was no slow mo effect. Bummer. See it tomorrow and we'd be happy to hear what you think of it. Well, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Great to hear this but how this can be a 5 star film? Seriously. Come on. It's divided critics a lot...and even those who love it do see flaws for example little romantic chemistry between Lois and Superman and making their hook up rushed and forced.

Dude, if you were Superman wouldn't you hook up with Lois or Amy Adams? But seriously, It wasn't forced nor rushed. And there's romantic chemistry between the two. They took their time.

@sandman_ said:

You guys should see the movie and not let other people dictate what you should watch and not watch. If you don't like it, that's fine. If you do cool. But at least watch it before you come to conclusion, since about 80% of the negative reviews are coming from people who love the Donner films and were expecting to see Christopher Reeves Superman in it.

QFT

Posted by smooie1

looks great;) seems great;)

Edited by Rich711

Saw it last night. This is my rating adjusted for whatever type of audience member you are.

Hysterical fan-boys that have lost all perspective and 8 year olds who think the last movie they saw is the greatest movie ever - 5/5

Everyone that loves D.C. Comic - 3.5/5

Non-comic book readers - 3/5

Posted by k4tzm4n

General reply:

-To the positive feedback, thank you and hopefully you'll enjoy the film as much as I did. As for a favorite moment, I'd prefer not to share that yet (even in a spoiler box) seeing as the film isn't out for most.

-To the "OTHER REVIEWS SAID" remarks: if I shared their complaints, I would have addressed them in my review. My biggest complaints surround specific plot points of the film (regarding Kryptonian culture) and therefore I did not dive into them. I had no gripe with the chemistry/romance. I had no gripe with Superman not being "charming" all the time. The movie had quite a few moments full of joy and levity, but since when did the film NEED to have that most of the time? I'm not comparing this to what has come before -- it's a reboot and striving to be its own product. I'm judging it for what it is -- and I obviously do not mind some of the alterations.

-To the "NO WAY THIS IS FIVE STARS, IT HAS ##% ON ROTTEN TOMATOES RIGHT NOW!" Cool, so the average score between a wide net of critics on a subjective matter means that's going to reflect how you'll feel for sure? This also disregards the fact the film has received numerous rave reviews as well, and many peers in the industry (who didn't review it) also expressed how much they loved it on social media. Hell, someone called it "the best comic book movie" on the latest TV spot, and clearly, I agree with him or her. Additionally, I assume many are making the mistake of thinking 5 stars means a film is flawless. Clearly, that's not how we handle the rating system here at Comic Vine. If anything, I view it like the "Netflix" rating system. 5 stars simply means I loved it. My pros vastly outweighed my cons and I did indeed absolutely love the film -- that should be more than obvious in the review, but it seems some people enjoy looking at scores and not the paragraphs presented. Truth be told, even if I could use half stars, I still would have opted for 5 stars in this case.

-Finally, just wait and see the movie before forming an opinion on it. Maybe you'll agree with me, maybe you'll disagree. You have every right to your own opinion, but to think it holds more weight than other opinions is laughably narrow-minded and makes you look foolish. But at least then you'll be forming your own verdict instead of claiming certain reviews are more "accurate" than others -- which is hilarious since we're dealing with subjective content, by the way.

Staff
Posted by SandMan_

@k4tzm4n: I can't believe this is actually an issue, some people just want to watch the world burn.

Posted by Squalleon

@k4tzm4n said:

Additionally, I assume many are making the mistake of thinking 5 stars means a film is flawless. Clearly, that's not how we handle the rating system here at Comic Vine. If anything, I view it like the "Netflix" rating system. 5 stars simply means I loved it. My pros vastly outweighed my cons and I did indeed absolutely love the film -- that should be more than obvious in the review, but it seems some people enjoy looking at scores and not the paragraphs presented. Truth be told, even if I could use half stars, I still would have opted for 5 stars in this case.

You should make an article about how the rating system works it will help with lots of the complains.Maybe anchor it in general discussion.How come you can't give half stars?

Also the opening day in greece is 20 of june.

I CANT WAIT ANYMORE!

Edited by k4tzm4n
Staff
Posted by Squalleon

@k4tzm4n said:

@squalleon:

Also, sorry to hear you have to wait an extra week. Hopefully no one spoils it for you!

Thank you :-(

Edited by fartvader

@k4tzm4n In the Philippines, Man of Steel breaks all-time first-day record with $1.6M (the record which was previously held by IM3 with $1.2M). I know it's not that much but the point is people here are enjoying it!

Edited by sethysquare

5 stars, eh? Well then...

My body is ready too!

Posted by entropy_aegis

Oh WOW at this rate this flick looks like it's gonna end up in Green Lantern territory instead of Batman Begins as everyone hoped.I dont know whether to laugh or cry.Poor Supes,but heh on the bright side both Bling Ring and World War Z are getting bad reviews too LOL.

It's clear though that critics dislike it cause it deviates from Donners movies,also with Nolan's name attached to it they were probably expecting something on the level of TDK trilogy instead of an Avengers style movie.

Edited by SandMan_
Posted by Black_Claw

It comes out tomorrow! My body is ready.

Posted by TheHeat

Damn! This movie rotten right now. At least, the critics on both Meta and RT enjoyed This is the End. That movie was HILARIOUS! Favorite movie of the year, for me.

Edited by maurdakar

It was alright. Not great. The movie is aimed at an extremely broad popcorn munching audience, but unlike truly stellar everyone films doesn't have anything that great running through it as an undercurrent. You will like the film if your an average Joe probably, but if your a movie aficionado it quickly falls apart or is outright boring.

On an internet where everything is THE BEST THING EVAR, or THE WORST, this falls into that awkward range of C+ to B.

Edited by SaintG

Whats supermans hairstyle in this?

Posted by k4tzm4n

@theheat said:

Damn! This movie rotten right now. At least, the critics on both Meta and RT enjoyed This is the End. That movie was HILARIOUS! Favorite movie of the year, for me.

The argument between McBride and Franco about the magazine nearly had me in tears.

Staff
Edited by SmashBrawler

@k4tzm4n said:

As for a favorite moment, I'd prefer not to share that yet (even in a spoiler box) seeing as the film isn't out for most.

:(

Well, mine was the ending. What a perfectly paced scene.

Edited by Birthright

Pro

- I loved how Krypton and Jor-El was handled in this movie.

- Henry Cavil is a oozes Superman. My only complaint would be he needed a little more better dialogue.

- Michael Shannon had a great performance as General Zod. It was completely different from Terrence Stamp's Zod but that's one of the thing I enjoyed the most. Even though Zod is the bad guy you can't help but to side with him because he is simply doing what he was genetically engineered to do which is protect Krypton. Kal-EL was born naturally and could make his own choice. I like how they demonstrate these two opposites in the movie. Supes and Zod complement each other very well in this movie.

- Faora stole the show.

-The action sequences were long but they are Kryptonians. They can go on forever and in my opinion I believe Snyder was trying to demonstrate this. Not to mention the first hour of the movie was origin and a little slow.

Cons

- Lois Lane was one of the weakest, if not the weakest, characters in this movie. She just didn't click with Superman.

- I personally didn't like a critical scene in the movie with Jonathan Kent for some reason. In a way I did get it but the other side of me was bothered by it.

- The other extra kryptonians that came with Zod weren't really needed in my opinion.

Edited by k4tzm4n

@k4tzm4n said:

As for a favorite moment, I'd prefer not to share that yet (even in a spoiler box) seeing as the film isn't out for most.

:(

Well, mine was the ending. What a perfectly paced scene.

When you say ending, do you mean:

The Zod Battle

The drone conversation

Or the Daily Planet?

Staff
Posted by SmashBrawler

@k4tzm4n: Daily Planet, of course.

The Zod scene would be my second favorite moment. Very Byrne-ish scene.

Posted by k4tzm4n

@smashbrawler: Ah, alright. Just wanted to clarify. And yes, it's an awesome way to conclude the film.

Staff
Posted by 14NC3

WOO HOO!!

Seeing it on saturday

Edited by Glitch_Spawn

The reviews are making me not even want to see this movie now and I've been looking forward to it for over a year...

Posted by fanboiii

I wonder if people who read Superman Birthright will like the movie more.

A LOT of the critics are complaining that it isn't the Donner Superman so apparently they weren't ready for any changes.

Edited by k4tzm4n

The reviews are making me not even want to see this movie now and I've been looking forward to it for over a year...

Just see it and make up your own mind.

Staff
Edited by Voltes

Aw a DC fanboy review how cute. RT and the majority of critics already panned this POS. With a critical success already lost DC can only hope for a financial success like the terrible Transformers movies how sad.

Edited by Stormbox

@voltes said:

Aw a DC fanboy review how cute. RT and the majority of critics already panned this POS. With a critical success already lost DC can only hope for a financial success like the terrible Transformers movies how sad.

Aw another tool criticizing this review just because he cant accept the fact that someone somehow could have a different opinion. Go back to the hole you crawled out of

Edited by k4tzm4n

@voltes said:

Aw a DC fanboy review how cute. RT and the majority of critics already panned this POS. With a critical success already lost DC can only hope for a financial success like the terrible Transformers movies how sad.

Thanks! It's tempting to point out how ignorant and narrow-minded your post is, but I think it manages to accomplish that just fine all on its own.

Staff
Posted by Misterwizz

Great review!

I got my tickets ready for tonight. It’ll be second time going to a midnight premiere (the first was TDKR).

Posted by k4tzm4n

Great review!

I got my tickets ready for tonight. It’ll be second time going to a midnight premiere (the first was TDKR).

Why thank you. Hopefully you'll enjoy it!

Staff
Posted by Queso6p4

I'm glad to hear another great review for it and definitely look forward to seeing it next week.

Posted by Extremis

@k4tzm4n: best comic book movie? Lol, not even close.

The CGI used in those fight scenes alone already dates itself and will look comparable to how the fight scenes look in Matrix 2 now in just a few years. The overuse of CGI really dates and ruins these films and its not necessary. The common argument against this is that superhero movies require a certain supernatural element that can only be achieved thru the use of CGI. This is true in many cases, however it's often exploited, WAY overused, and basically used as a crutch. And Im not just singling out MoS here. But since this is the movie of discussion it's worth noting. All great filmmakers practice restraint and assume a certain responsibility in this aspect as to not remove the magic of movie-making. This is a discipline Snyder, yet again, shows he lacks.

Another problem was the almost Bay-like amount of explosions, buildings falling, and just general destruction. There was actually so much of it that it drowns the viewer in it. We become desensitized to the visions before us and the shaky cameras and zoom effects do little to nullify this. They only make it more obvious to us that there is no magic here, not even an attempt to use smoke and mirrors. They do little to create a seamless exchange between the real and the synthetic. Films like Nolan's DK Trilogy knew how to use restraint in this regard; not to overload the viewer with destruction and explosions. In TDK trilogy, we have certain action sequences tht stick out. Specifically, the football stadium in TDKR, the boat scene in TDK. I use these as examples as these films are the apex of superhero filmmaking, and with these exmples we understand why. Also because you mention this movie being the new best comic book movie in town. The difference with a movie like MoS is that it drowns itself out in its own noise. There's no one or two great moments that stick out as there's too much destruction. In this sense the viewer has lost all resonance with the action as we watch buildings (and consequently) people dying left and right without the full display of horror that this really means.

There was some ethos to the film, but not enough in my opinion. The film was strongest in those emotional moments, but in the end they're few and far between. It's hard to pick out those shining moments once all the dust settles (quite literally I might add).

The score, on the otherhand, is quite brilliant. I give the score an 'A' for Hans Zimmer's masterful work. The movie: a 3/5.

Posted by FastestBlender

@k4tzm4n

A lot of people find the comic vine rating system lacking, confusing, or incongruent with the other pop culture critics out there. Lacking, in that you only get to work with a 5 point system. No one can point to a reason why there aren't 1/2 star ratings other than a persnickity web designer. Roger Ebert went with the two thumbs, yea. He was also a master at his craft and defined the critical review for future generations. You had some issues with the film, but you overall loved it. Shouldn't that be 4.5 stars? As for Rottentomatoes and Metacritic, they have no agenda. The aggregate reviews throughout all media formats big and small. This movie has been dropping throughout the week and now sits slightly above 50% (57 and 55 respectively) so approximately 1/2 the critics recommend it and half don't. I'm sure some people are just trolling or want DC to fail so they'll reevaluate their business strategy, but others like me find it be a trend on the site that's hard to not overlook. Look at the top reviews from day to day, there are mostly 5 stars, a couple of 4 stars and very rarely a three. It's incongruent with CBR, Newsarama, IGN and many more. If it's a case that you're just reviewing the properties you like, does that paint a balanced picture or help inform the comics reading community? I'm fine with your review and I'm going to see it tomorrow hoping for the best. But if the Comic Vine rating system needs to be spelled out in a 1000 word op ed on the forum, maybe something's wrong with the system and not the reader.

Posted by Icon

This site gives 5 Star reviews a lot, so I can't help but take this with a grain of salt, especially since this movie is garnering a lot of negativity. That said, I do respect the review and hope the movie is at least worth watching once.

Edited by IcePrince_X

@iceprince_x: What were the major pros and cons of the movie?

Pro: The Kryptonian culture is introduced (but not as other fans may want it); The two fathers' impact on Superman's life which is good...makes you understand why he just don't act without thinking. The climax of the fight scene, in retrospect, really brought you to a conclusion that it was the most painful thing you can possibly do. In defense of the actor, he did well...even though the film is gritty and not the usual take of what most people got used to a Superman movie...he delivered what the director wants him to be. Remember...its not easy growing up with all that power and yet not be able to do it. (Kinda X-Men-ish right?)

Cons: Consistency of fight scenes but that is just technical. The camera is moving too much ala indie film that my mom (a 63 year old woman) said the film is a bit dizzying which I also felt at the first part of the movie.(No, our cinemas here are ok and there is nothing wrong with the projector). Some characters are not fleshed out and some interaction is a bit rushed and just take it as it is.

What I personally like: My favorite character actually is the military man who fought the female Kryptonian. He kinda reminds me of an agent in the Avengers movie.

There are some twist from the Superman myth here which I like (they somewhat took the risk like Iron Man did in part 1 which one of the major characters knew and the smile is a major giveaway - if you watch the film you know what i mean). Anyway, If you notice I kept on referring to other Marvel movies, I believe, DC somewhat got the formula now that in making a successful comicbook film...one has to take risk in the character evolution...not shying away from the classic but taking the character in a different direction.

The Superman of Christopher Reeves is a classic...that is the Superman that most have known and loved - the hero, the secret lover and who can forget the sound track? - Can You Read My Mind.

The Man of Steel is an evolution of that myth and take on what makes the hero human and grounded. It was wise thing that they shown his origin yet again and adding elements to it to make us, see more or less, where they are going to take us if ever we love this movie.(Remember the box office always dictates if there will be another follow-up film) I look forward to it actually.

Edited by wade_wilson22
Posted by AmaterasuNoHasu

nothing gets my panties dropping like a good score. the sexy man meat bashing faces in while wearing figure flattering tights didn't hurt either. great movie. not the best comic book movie, but it raises the bar and I can't wait to see what DC does next.

Posted by TheHeat

@k4tzm4n said:

@theheat said:

Damn! This movie rotten right now. At least, the critics on both Meta and RT enjoyed This is the End. That movie was HILARIOUS! Favorite movie of the year, for me.

The argument between McBride and Franco about the magazine nearly had me in tears.

Haha! Yea, me too.

Edited by Thor_Ul

I just saw the movie.

Awesomeness visual.

I want to see it again.

Posted by RisingBean

On the 1-10 scale, this easily hits 12.

Posted by SandMan_

This was awesome it only shows how dimwitted the critics are with there stupid ''If its not Donnerman, it sucks'' propaganda. Shame though. This movie deserves to be at least in 90%.

Posted by Angelo2113

This movie was truly awesome. An absolute perfect way to bring the Superman Mythos back to the big screen.

Posted by StarKiller809

I just saw the movie and it''s fantastic. I get what the critics are talking about but it didn't ruin how epic and interesting everything was.

This review is great, I get some people think it's a little to high, but watch it first and then you can say it's too high.

It is my favorite comic book movie and despite critics not enjoying it as much as I did, I can't wait to see what else is in store for Superman and the CDCU.

Posted by t84nightfall

I personally loved it, I just finished it, even though I won't go into a full blown review, trust me, it lives to the hype and more. I think DC is FINALLY doing it right and although Marvel is quite ahead in movies and storylines, they will definitely be having some competition in the next few years with Justice League, and all the Leaguers individual movies. I can't wait to see what else they have to bring to the table. :)

Posted by mark15

just saw it. Man of Steel is the best comic book movie. Ever. Hell, best movie ever. and they didn't throw every single character in the Superman universe at you so there's so much more to go in a sequel. They especially could use similar flashbacks from this one to introduce Lex like Birthright did. Show me one person who said they didn't like it and i'll show you a liar