Let me start by saying that while I felt it was one of 2006’s biggest flops, Superman Returns gave the world Brandon Routh, for which I am eternally grateful. That being said, if the guy who went on to cameo in Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is the best part of a Superman movie, something is tragically wrong. I will readily admit, that plane scene was pretty bad ass but it just wasn’t enough action for a Superman movie, especially in a post Batman Begins/Spiderman 2 world. Superman Returns tried to hard to appeal to err’body and became a weird hybrid movie; half “dark, gritty and brooding reboot” and half a slap-stickesque homage to the Christopher Reeve classics of years before.
Man of Steel has none of those problems. Its really fucking good. Its still a child of two worlds, but this time it works. Nolan and Goyer infuse a solid sense of realism and weight to the world. Things seem well paced and the story unfolds deliberately, then you have Snyders influence, which is visible in the quick cuts and impeccably paced action sequences. All of this would be for naught, if not for an excellent performance my Henry Cavill and his superb portrayal of Kryptons last son. While I initually took umbridge at the casting of a Brit in the role, his version of truth, justice and the American way is just dandy.
This flick isn’t without its faults. I have to really nitpick to find them, but it seems like, at a certain point about two thirds through the movie, Zack Snyder just turned to Nolan and Goyer and said, “Enough plot, lets just throw shit at Superman.” …and that is exactly what they did. Additionally, Amy Adams portrayed her well, but Lois Lane fell into too many “damsel in distress” scenarios that they began to seem archetypical and trite.
Long story short; Michael Shannon is good, Diane Lane is good, Kevin Costner, Lawrence Fishburn, Russell Crowe and all the above mentioned actors are good, and the movie itself is damn good. The direction is great, the lack of super undies is NBD, and I have no trouble imagining this version of Superman existing in the same world as Nolans Batman, which will hopefully make the inevitable mash-up that much easier, and thank god the plot wasnt about Lex Luthors real estate scheming. Oh, I didn’t really catch it, but someone also mentioned this may be a pretty powerful Christ allegory. I suppose you really have to read between the lines.