Man of steel has feet of clay

MAN of Steel is a bit like its namesake – flashy and entertaining, but lacking substance.
Superman has the potential to be more of a flawed character but his perfectness is often his undoing.
Movies about the alien from Krypton always border on the comical and this poses a problem in the age of reboots when audiences are made to expect, and want, an edgier version of their favourite superheroes.
Zack Snyder, director of this latest incarnation of Clark Kent, has included several scenes which effectively draw on the emotion of the Superman narrative – specifically his, (ahem) alienation from humans – but they are often nullified by a corny follow-up scene or complicated by convoluted plot explanations.
Man of Steel focuses on the origins of Superman, also known as Kal-El, and how he comes to arrive in Kansas after life on his home planet of Krypton becomes untenable. Don’t ask exactly what happens to Krypton – after two and half hours of explanation it is still a bit unclear.
There are good performances across the board in Man of Steel, with Amy Adams playing an admirable Lois Lane despite her inexplicable knack for appearing out of nowhere whenever it suits the narrative.
Indeed it feels like Man of Steel had too much plot to fit within the time constraints and its editing makes the film appear a bit disjointed.
Superman’s two fathers are played impressively by Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner, the latter especially good as Clark’s adoptive dad, Jonathan Kent. The scenes with these two often make for the most powerful and even overshadow some of the generic action sequences.
Ah yes, the action scenes, the main reason audiences turn up to a Superman film.
The action in Man of Steel is expectedly indulgent at times and often jumpy and unfocused but as a whole it works pretty well.
When the extraordinary aliens from Krypton and the ordinary military from Earth collide, it is fittingly defined by one hell of a colossal battle which destroys half of Metropolis.
The final fisticuffs between Superman and the film’s antagonist General Zod is also impressive, despite making you feel a bit giddy afterwards.
Man of Steel leaves its audience entertained but that isn’t always enough.
Often we need something more – something super.
– Lachlan Moorhead

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