Man of Steel

Easily the most palatable Zack Snyder action movie to date, for what that’s worth. The cast of characters as written and acted are solid, from Amy Adams in the hard-to-pull-off role of Lois Lane, to Michael Shannon as the surprisingly sympathetic villain Zod, to Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe as alternating father figures. As for the Man himself, Henry Cavill very much has that essential noble quality of the classic hero (not to mention the square jaw and astounding physique). Writers David Goyer and Chris Nolan neatly pack an origin story, a coming-of-age story and some city-smashin’ action all into one briskly moving film, along with one of the more poignant scenes from a movie in recent months.

That said, Snyder still has difficulty filming action and effects that don’t look like a video game (aside from the prologue, where he’s clearly copying Avatar). Even that most staple of Superman effects – that of our hero levitating in the air – looks like a cutout of Cavill plastered over a background. There’s a good deal more superhero action than the last Superman reboot, but while seeing characters zip across the screen too fast for the eye to follow until they’re walloping someone upside the head looks cool at first, it loses its zap the fifteenth time around.

Despite the respectable attempts at installing human drama, come the end of the film it still just feels like an action movie. And an average one at that.