Comic Vine Review


Man of Steel Review


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.

492 Comments Refresh
Edited by nrgb2814

This movie is the best thing to happen to Superman movies since the 70's...

Posted by Mandrewgora

Pretty disappointing, too many things I couldn't get over. One being Amy Adams.

Posted by Lunacyde

Just saw it at midnight and I was thoroughly impressed. It wasn't an Oscar winner but zack Snyder delivers action, emotion, and sheer awesomeness. I loved it.

Edited by ssejllenrad

@lunacyde said:

Just saw it at midnight and I was thoroughly impressed. It wasn't an Oscar winner but zack Snyder delivers action, emotion, and sheer awesomeness. I loved it.

My sentiments exactly!

Posted by JonesDeini

Very conflicted on this one. Some things I loved, liked, disliked,& hated in this movie. Overall I'd give it a 3.5

Posted by lilben42

@voltes: What's POS? MOS is at decent right now. With 3/5 rating.

Posted by thebluedragon07

Saw it just now, and gotta say, it should be a 110 stars!!

Edited by Saren

Just saw this, thoughts:

  • Kevin Costner gave the best performance in this movie by far, imo. He nailed all the important points about Jonathan Kent: his patience, his formative influence on Clark, the principles he passed on to his son, everything. The scene where he dies was the most powerful moment in the film for me, more so than any number of super-powered slugfests. The manner in which it happened, and the message it was supposed to convey, it all felt natural to the character.
  • As an Ursa fan, I was peeved about her being replaced by Faora, but Faora is essentially the same character at the end of the day. They both have that lethal femme fatale vibe and it's brought out very well here.
  • Everything is better with Christopher Meloni. Everything.
  • My fears about the direction were mostly unfounded but my fears about the scripting, not so much. On the one hand, the visual effects and action sequences are absolutely top-notch, and the fights are thrilling to watch (and they feel like you're watching superhumans throw down); all of which is Snyder's forte, on the other hand, I felt the dialogue portion of it was lacking and not particularly memorable. Which is mostly Goyer's fault, I suppose, but given that Snyder's past few films have had this problem as well, I find it hard to believe he had no input. If it was just Goyer, then this gives me apprehensions about him scripting the rest of the DC cinematic universe. The quality of the screenplay could use significant improvement, imo.
  • I know I shouldn't be comparing this to Donner's Superman II, but comparisons are inevitable. Shannon's Zod didn't leave as much of an impact on me as Terrance Stamp's. The final fight had a good amount of gravitas, however. The ending where Clark does something that would ordinarily be completely out of character (breaking Zod's neck) was done in such a way that it's an understandable outcome. You can see that he had no other choice.
  • I was waiting for "KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!" and it never came. Pity.....
  • All in all, this wasn't Green Lantern but it wasn't The Dark Knight either. I'd give this 3.75-4 at best. It was money well spent (I'm going to watch it again on Sunday), but I felt it could have been better than what it was.

Posted by Saren

(Side note, Pete Ross did not make the transition from page to screen the comics, he was at one point Vice President of the United States; in the film, he's a clerk).

Posted by JHorton10

*Fan Girl Scream*

Edited by flameboy298

It kind off pisses me of how some people aren't going to see the movie because they base everything around Rotten Tomatoes.

Posted by Rich711

Only the most hysterical of fanboys would give this a 5/5. If you give Batman Returns, Iron Man and Avengers 5/5 than this movie is a 3.5/5 at best for a comic book fan. Non-comic fans will have a 50/50 chance of enjoying it. As far a comic book movies, this one belongs down with Thor and Spiderman 3. Like all Zack Snyder films it if full of visual awesomeness and at the same time full of "What's going on? This makes no sense" moments. Snyder is a music video director at best and still doesnt know how to tell a story, direct actors or frame a scene. Better than Bryan Singer monstrosity of a Superman movie, but compared to other comic movies, it is forgettable.

Posted by lilben42

@flameboy298: I know right. But that didn't stop Transformers. I think as long as the audience likes it and the critics say its alright then people will still se it.

Edited by DEGRAAF

It was a great movie!!! I had a hard time comparing it to the original bc this one is so much more serious then the original but it is a great film. I would love to see it again. I got my tickets from Walmart so we got to see it at 7 pm last night cst

Posted by DEGRAAF

can't wait to watch this on Sunday!

will it be better than Dark Knight?

I would say its not better than Dark Knight but It is still a great movie. I could see a sequel getting closer to Dark Knight like drama, emotion and overall film.

Posted by toptom

@rich711 said:

Only the most hysterical of fanboys would give this a 5/5. If you give Batman Returns, Iron Man and Avengers 5/5 than this movie is a 3.5/5 at best for a comic book fan. Non-comic fans will have a 50/50 chance of enjoying it. As far a comic book movies, this one belongs down with Thor and Spiderman 3. Like all Zack Snyder films it if full of visual awesomeness and at the same time full of "What's going on? This makes no sense" moments. Snyder is a music video director at best and still doesnt know how to tell a story, direct actors or frame a scene. Better than Bryan Singer monstrosity of a Superman movie, but compared to other comic movies, it is forgettable.

..... i really hope that you are wrong with this..

at least the writings may be on that level ( i still have to see the film), but for what regards the action sequences ,from what i have heard, this one really tops them.

Now,while i know that the action and the visual effects are not the most important part to make a film relevant, they do a big improvement in that way.Even the plot should be more interesting than the thor's film. at least for me.

I really hope this film will not be another Spiderman 3....but i doubt it will fall so flat.

Edited by shieldzeal

Saw the movie last night. Still very torn about this. Was the movie worth going to see? Absolutely.

Is it my favorite Superman movie? No.

Don't flame me (huge Supes fan here), but I really did not care for the characterization of this Superman. He was too thin and I had no real sense of why he was protecting Earth. I mean yeah it is where he grew up and is his home, but I always feel Supes needs a strong moral grounding. This Supes has, what I felt, were some pretty vague reasons for doing what he was doing.

For me, what really gets me going about Superman, is this tremendous desire he has to serve and protect others. Yes he has strong moral fiber, but he is always concerned with others before himself. Hence why when the action gets too hairy, he has to get away city to protect the innocent people around who will inevitably get caught in the crossfire. You could argue that if he had done that here, Zod would just have leveled the city (granted this is after the gravity well was destroyed: during that Supes was doing his best to take it out to save lives). But Zod was so upset at Kal for basically removing any chance he had to rebuild Krypton, I do not think it would have been too big a logical leap for Supes to lure him away somewhere safe to finish him off.

I guess I never really cared what happened to this Superman and I did not get the goose bumps or feel very triumphant when he saved the day like I did in past movies (yes even in Superman Returns).Superman here is not noble. That is the product of trying to make him more realistic I guess, but Superman is an archetype and if I want reality, then I won’t go see a movie with a guy who flies in it.

Again, don’t flame me. I want to love this movie so bad, but I just can’t. And I am rambling a bit because I am so disappointed still (my hopes for this movie were BIG, probably too big). I am not trying to compare it to Chris Reeve, but it is hard not to when his portrayal in Superman the Movie was so classic and iconic. I will always have those movies, so nothing really changes for me. I appreciate everyone else’s opinions and am glad a lot of you guys love this movie. Here is hoping the movie does great so we can have another go around with the Man of Steel.

Posted by ThreadPool

WOW!!! Did I watch same movie?!?! Some of these critics have it dead wrong. I understand real critique but the majority of the negative reviews have these predetermined biases of what they think Superman should be.

Give real complaints about pacing, soundtrack, editing and cinematography. I'll listen to that. Just don't tell me what Superman should be when you haven't picked up a comic book since you were 10.

I had issues with the pacing a bit. Also the handheld & pan/zoom camerawork was overdone... For me.

The action was SO great! Only once did I think it was drawn out. The emotion in certain scenes was just great.

8/10 for me. If they learn from some mistakes (just like Superman in this movie) the sequel should be hard top.

Edited by shieldzeal

@threadpool said:

... but the majority of the negative reviews have these predetermined biases of what they think Superman should be...

I would agree with that statement 100% and I think that is why this film is so divisive with critics.

This movie definitely has a 21st Century Supes, very similar to (but not as fleshed out) what we are reading in New 52.

Posted by Supreme Marvel

Anyone hear the Daxamite reference?

Posted by Angelo2113

Anyone hear the Daxamite reference?

It was mentioned? I didn't notice, which scene was it in?

Posted by cyberchop979

Just got back from watching it in 2D and I absolutely LOVED it. Going back tomorrow to see it in 3D.

I have been reading Supe comics since the mid 80's and I gotta say this movie nails the character of Superman/Clark. Yes, there are tweaks to the character's origin and somethings go against established lore, but all-in-all the movie is spectacular.

Posted by Azura_Thena

I loved the film. Easily 5/5 for me and now my favorite super hero movie.

To those that don't like it, thank you for sharing but I don't see a just cause for insulting those that do like it.

Posted by kartron

Thanks for the review. I do have very high expectations. My worries came down a lot reading this non spoiling review. I'm all set to watch it ASAP this weekend!!!

Edited by Supreme Marvel

@angelo2113 said:

@supreme_marvel said:

Anyone hear the Daxamite reference?

It was mentioned? I didn't notice, which scene was it in?

It wasn't an out an out one. I think Jor-El spoke of their ancestors left to find another world. Well, that was the Daxamites.

Posted by shieldzeal

@supreme_marvel: But if I recall, the word Daxamite is not explicitly mentioned right? Still that absolutely makes sense. Good catch.

Edited by novi_homines

I actually liked MoS. But it was definitely a dissapointment. Was expecting much more. Maybe I was expecting too much.

- Last 2/3rds of the movie was a train wreck of action and CG. Needed much better pacing. The first half of the movie was MUCH better. I actually liked the direction they took with that section of the origin in using flashbacks. It was different and successful. It felt like a documentary for the first half. It was awesome.

- A negative, superman isn't superman in this film. His total and complete disregard for the safety of people when fighting people like faora and zod in populated places was cringe worthy. I was hoping that he took the fight elsewhere. But nope, he proved that he honestly just didn't care. In thor 1, thor managed to get everyone to safety before beginning a huge battle. This is an example of how it should have been done. He was more superman in Thor, than superman himself was in his own movie. I don't like that.

- I counted a total of like 4 skyscrapers that tipped over. Was definitely overkill.

- zod v superman was essentially a CG fight. Waaaaaaaaay to much CG. I actually respect the Avengers even MORE simply based on how they were able to make the battle of New York action packed, but still look REAL at the same time.

- They were shoving the whole "he's jesus" down my throat and it started to get annoying. Could've been much more subtle.

- Faora > Zod. She was a BADASS!!!

- I liked the dynamic of Jor-El and Jonathan's influence on clark. PERFECTLY done..

- Overall, I could see what everyone is saying about this film making superman cold. Its cold not in terms of tone, which was spot on, but in terms of the character. He is diluted, and barren, if that makes sense. He just doesn't feel like superman. He doesn't inspire anyone, he doesn't seem to care about the safety of people when he's brawling, and he certainly wasn't shown to be the superman that could save everyone, and be everywhere at anytime. As a result, as capturing the essence of what "Superman" is, this film comes up short. Still a good film though. Definitely not a bad one.

Overall: 7/10

Posted by CitizenJP

Saw this in IMAX for the midnight release and all I have to say is WOW! That movie was incredible. Action packed and was a blast from start to finish. THAT'S how you make a Superman movie! Honestly I'm going to go see it again later tonight.

Posted by csl316

Is there supposed to be a mid/post credits scene?

Edited by novi_homines

@csl316 said:

Is there supposed to be a mid/post credits scene?

no. And it saddens me because it means JL won't come until after MoS2 (which was officially confirmed). Which is 2 years from now, pushing a possible JL film at least 3 years from now. I just wish they would've had something so they could just go right into JL. Why would they wait for MoS2? Its not like they're doing what marvel did where they made everyone's origin's before The Avengers. But maybe i'm too anxious. Can you blame me though? lol

Posted by CrimsonAlchemist

With Micheal Shannon as Zod and Russel Crowe as Jor-El you can do no wrong!!

Posted by kriminal

superman is the greatest. i say 5 stars easy. great way to start a new cinematic universe

Posted by Rich711

Rottentomates is giving it a 58% which is the same rating John Carter of Mars got opening weekend. It's a fair comparison, both were not bad and as fans of both, I enjoyed both but neither were all that great. I enjoyed Superman a little more but not much more. Only someone totally high when they watch the movie would think it was comparable to Batman, Iron Man or Avengers. Luckily they have already committed to a sequel, hopefully they beg someone like Joss Whedon or JJ Abrams to do it so we can actual get some real story and character development in the sequel instead of just "totally super awesome!" action sequences for the fanboys to fap to.

Posted by KnightRise

It was spectacular.

Posted by Charlemagne

Loved the movie but never been a fan of Amy Adams. She wasnt horrible or even that bad, but its her, and she didnt feel like Lois. Displayed none of the characteristics commonly found in a Lois Lane portrayal minus one scene.

Edited by kuma_far

I loved the movie... loved it.

Henry Cavill is Superman

Edited by sentryman555

Russel Crowe was awesome in this movie. I don't think I've liked the guy in a movie this much since Gladiator! I actually liked Amy Adams way of playing Lois Lane. I think I'm in the minority there but she was pretty self resilient considering everything that was going on. She never came off like a damsel in distress to me and I thought she had good chemistry with Cavill. Michael Shannon as Zod was just cool. You really get his perspective in this movie to the point by the end of the film, granted he was definitely evil, I felt a little sympathetic to him. Henry Cavill killed it as Superman. He really does just embody everything superman is. I would definitely have given this film 5/5. And for all people comparing it to Avengers, I'm putting it out there, I liked this movie as much, if not a little more, than the avengers.

Edited by akbogert
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I was loving it till the last 10 minutes when Superman broke my heart with the flick of his wrists

Posted by Skunkstein

Just saw it like 40 min ago, biggest dissapointment in my life - well if you look at movie experiances :).

Still, i feel raped and broken inside, oh my god...... i hated it.

Posted by lilben42
Posted by lilben42

@jonny_anonymous: The thing people forget going into this movie is that right now Suoes is an amateur. He just started. His morals aren't as strong and he is kind of reckless. The second movie I think will be much better based on the way they ended it.

Posted by Skunkstein


The pacing in the film was bad, the character development was bad, the back story was horrible, the acting was so-so(Russell Crow was awesome though)... okay, i kinda expected that since that was all the bad reviews was rampling on about. What really made me happy before seeing the movie, was people talking about how great the action was and how it made the Avengers seem dull and low scale. Sure the scale was HUGE in Man of Steel, but that god damn shaky cam, i couldnt see what the hell happended.

I had the same problem in the Bourne trilogy - People praised them as great action films, i never understood the appeal, since i hated the shaky cam, it made everything confused and dissorientated.

Lets take Avengers - i had many great memories from the action sequences, because i remember the scenes cleary thanks to how they were presented to me, In Man of Steel i only got the glimpse and idea of what happended in the action scenes, but never the picture! I could never quite comprehend what actually happended between Superman and his opponent, because of how fast they moved with the combination of the insanly out focus and shaky picture they filmed them in.

It was like watching a child destroying a city build of blocks... just chaos..

Ive read alot of reviews that bashed the movie for being too serious, i personally dont think theres anything wrong with being a little serious. For the first 40 min i could easily look pass the horrible pacing, it all felt like it was building up to something insanly awesome, then... just kinda all of a sudden the main story with Zod pops up, and the action starts, i REALLY love action movies, but in this... meh.

When the serious action starts, it just goes into Transformers 3 filmed by a dude with parkinson decease. There were some scenes that tried to be dramatic with some of the secondary characters, but because they had no character development on screen (honestly Perry White is on screen 5 mins top in the whole movie) i didnt feel anything for them, and every scene with them in was boring because of that.

Snyder did some impressive scenes in 300 and Watchmen, he combined slow-mo with quick-powerful scenes which - for me atleast, made the fighting epic and fluid, you could see the muscles tensing, you could see the punches, it made the action fluid, epic, elegant. - i could appreciate everything, i hoped i would see just something like that in Man of Steel, yet i only got the chaotic part without any of the other elements, which for me just made it boring and unimpressive.

I so wanted to feel like a kid again, yet i just waited and waited on that big scene that made me goosebumps.... but they the credits starting rolling, and i sat back saying to myself ''THATS IT?!''

Posted by Janus12746

Saw Man of Steel today, overall really liked it somewhere between better then Avengers but not as good as the Dark Knight. Casting was superb, script was strong, and Snyder did a better job then usual as director. One thing I will say as a comic fan it didn't rely too much on source material as you might think a comic book genre movie would (or at least material that is obvious to a casual reader of superman, like myself). As far as my previous concern about who had more creative input Nolan or Snyder, you can tell by the way it was shot (especially the action scenes) that this was Snyder with a lot of control but overall story structure reminded me of Batman Begins a great deal which for me is the ideal way this would of worked. Highly recommend it though as both a fan of comics and a action film fan.

Edited by lilben42

@skunkstein: Okay I'll admit the pacing was weird in the beginning but then it gets better and the development was bad but the acting and the action were great. I didn't have a problem looking at the action at all. The backstory was probably one of the best features to the film. The daily planet is supposed to be teased in this movie and will be more in the next film.

Posted by The_Tree

@k4tzm4n: Well summed up. The visuals were absolutely stunning. My only minor gripe was with the time jumps, they were somewhat choppy, but other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

Posted by ULTRAstarkiller

Very conflicted on this one. Some things I loved, liked, disliked,& hated in this movie. Overall I'd give it a 3.5

Agreed it was decent but the first hour was bad while the last was perfect in my opinion with the exception of a few things.

Posted by The_Vein

I loved this movie, I was seriously shocked when I came out of it and saw all the negativity around it. I don't know how much of the bad reviews are people who didn't like it, people who wanted Reeves back, or people who don't like Superman, but I thought it was outstanding, a really, really great film. People comparing it to Green Lantern or Spiderman 3 are full of shit, seriously.

I cried real actual tears when Zod forced Superman to snap his neck and you saw Superman's horrified reaction to what he'd done. A super powerful scene.