This newest installation of the Superman franchise marks a complete break from the past of Superman films. 2006's "Superman Returns" was actually designed to be a sequel to the Christopher Reeve movies of the '70s and '80s. "The Man of Steel" also, not unlike "Iron Man 3" and "The Amazing Spider-Man", attempts to follow the trend set by Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy in creating an edgier and, yes, darker species of super hero movie. These facts are undoubtedly the motivation of the title which itself rebrands the eponymous hero and refuses to mention his most famous of names. Unfortunately, director Zack Snyder has failed to accomplish as successful and noteworthy a rebranding as Nolan did with Batman and his film cannot truly compare even with the new Spider-Man or Iron Man films.
At two and a half hours, one would presume that Snyder would need to edit down his film to improve it but in reality it feels as though he should have added elements and perhaps used the material he had for two films rather than one. "The Man of Steel" deals with simply too much material and none of it is really covered in a satisfactory manner.
It is, however, not without its charms or its achievements. I have always felt that Superman itself, the comic, the idea, is greatly flawed. An alien who is many, many times more powerful than any other being on Earth, who can fly and shoot laser beams from his eyes - surely Superman can have no real rival? His arch nemesis, Lex Luther, should have been easily defeated in their first encounter. That's not to mention, of course, perhaps the most infamous flaw in the Superman tale: the idea that if Superman merely dons a pair of glasses, he can disguise himself as the ordinary Clark Kent, whom no man or woman would identify as Superman.
Luckily, Superman's alter ego is not an issue for the majority of "The Man of Steel", nor is the villain a mere Earthling, but a fellow Kryptonian of similar strength. Furthermore, one aspect of the film which I, personally, will readily compliment is the choice of Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Traditionally one of the most boring and irksome super hero girlfriends, Adams presents a perfectly likable, if moderately redundant, heroine.
BUT, and this is a relatively big "but", having lured the audience into a false sense of security, the last 5 minutes returns to the old ways of the comics and the previous films as Clark decides to integrate himself into human society. I cannot go into detail without including multiple spoilers, but I assure you, you will know what I mean when you watch the film.
What "The Man of Steel" can be complimented for, without any "ifs" or "buts", is its spectacular visuals and stunning final scenes as Superman battles Zod and attempts to thwart his plot to destroy mankind. Snyder, though he often fails to deliver on story, consistently delivers fantastic fights and special effects and, although the plot-line is severely flawed, I would argue that "The Man of Steel" keeps you entertained throughout, merely by giving you something amazing to look at.