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Wed June 12, 2013
Man of Steel
Man of Steel
Grade: C Director: Zack Snyder (300)
Screenplay: David S. Goyer (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance)
Cast: Henry Cavill (Immortals), Amy Adams (The Master)
Rating: Pg-13 Runtime: 143 min.
by John DeSando
“You just have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be, Clark. Whoever that man is, he's going to change the world.” Jonathan Clark (Kevin Costner)
Man of Steel is more explosive than existential. Or in the words of a non-critic leaving the preview: “There was an awful lot of unnecessary destruction.” My nightmare has come true—maybe the most sacred super hero story is reduced to endless body blows and the rubble that piles up in almost 2 ½ hours of the Superman back story, loaded with mayhem, be it with childhood accidents young Clark Kent must attend to or the bad guys from Krypton playing nasty with earth. You got it: I dislike a surfeit of destruction, and this sci-fi actioner is chock-full of it.
Funny thing, though, you’d think director Zack Snyder would avoid images of Metropolis buildings falling down that remind us of 9/11. However, the hours are filled with disintegrating structures and their skeletons that are too similar to the iconic destruction of lower Manhattan a dozen years ago. Anyway, abundant destruction, not enough dialogue.
The time spent on Krypton is too much with too little importance for the earth story as Superman’s father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), sends baby Kal-El (Henry Cavil) to our planet. Then more unnecessary time is spent in Kansas as adoptive dad and mom (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) help him determine what kind of a human he’d like to be. “Unnecessary” because the heart of the Superman story is his adventures as an adult, which mirror the struggles of simple folk everywhere writ much larger. More waste in the little attention paid to the rich possibilities of challenges with Clark’s girlfriend (Lois Lane is played by a competent and not impressive Amy Adams).
Lawrence Fishburne brings promise to the role of editor Perry White, a part woefully underused. Michael Shannon as General Zod, very bad guy from Krypton, has so few good lines that any mean looking dude could have played him. That homely bowl haircut, though, is distracting. Diane Lane is a believable and attractive mother, but she can’t save this banal adventure by herself.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com