We're meanwhile introduced to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lois Lane (Amy Adams), fresh off a stint embedded with the military for the Daily Planet. Adams, as she usually does, helps animate the film, as she plunges into a bulldog investigating of Clark and spars with her editor (Laurence Fishburne).
Snyder brings to the film a sure hand for overly dramatic compositions that take after comic strip panels. He has a clearly sincere reverence for the source material (originally created in 1938 by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster). He's a filmmaker who, even with his last film, the abysmal "Sucker Punch," seems to precisely make the movie he intended.
Eager fans will likely thrall to the film's many overlong action set pieces, as Superman battles with Zod and his minions. There's little creativity to the fight sequences, though, which plow across countless building facades.
But Snyder doesn't have the material or the inclination to make "Man of Steel" as thought-provoking as Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy. Superman wrestles with his allegiance to humans or his home planet, but the quandaries of a superpowered man betwixt worlds doesn't have any real resonance. The gravity that cloaks "Man of Steel" is merely an en vogue costume.
While Snyder has succeeded in turning out a Superman that isn't silly (not a small feat) and will likely lay enough of a bedrock for further sequels, it's a missed opportunity - particularly with a bright cast of Shannon, Adams and Lane - for a more fun-loving spirit.
Cavill's performance is less memorable for his introspective brooding than for his six-pack (a fetish for Snyder, the director of "300"). He's handsome and capable, but one can't help missing Christopher Reeve's twinkle. At least he smiled.
The awkward acrobatics to modernize "Man of Steel" are most evident with its new explanation of Superman's shield. The "S," we are told, doesn't stand for Superman, but is a Krypton glyph meaning hope. But if "S" doesn't stand for "Superman," "Man of Steel" is the one with the identity issues - not to mention a spelling problem.
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