Man of Steel: Reviews round-up - S is for Serious not Superman as Henry Cavill dons the tights

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Superman has Steel got it, according to the critics, just remember to call him Kal-El  - and don't expect to see his underpants over his tights

The latest reboot of the Superman film franchise, Man of Steel, opens in cinemas on Friday and promises to be one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters.

So what do the critics think of Zack Snyder’s Superman (aka Henry Cavill)?

S is for Serious, not Superman, according to Total Film:  

"With dynamic The Dark Knight duo Christopher Nolan (producer) and David S. Goyer (scripter) behind him, Snyder’s mounted an intelligent, earnest attempt to modernise and mature the original superhero. It’s hello, existential woes, goodbye, red over-pants. Longstanding elements of Superman mythology are given a darker spin: the Fortress Of Solitude is no longer the gleaming Swarovski-crystal haystack of the earlier movies but a shadowy labyrinth that doesn’t take kindly to visitors. Meanwhile, every schoolboy’s (wet) dream superpower, x-ray vision, here becomes the stuff of waking nightmares for a young Clark Kent."

Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane, played by Amy Adams, is a “smart, active modern Lois, one who does need to be rescued on occasion but is always keen to be in the thick of things,” according to The Hollywood reporter:

"Given the almost relentless pursuit of big scenes, Man of Steel manages to find the time to develop a reasonably plausible relationship between Kal-El and Lois Lane, who must balance her compulsion to deliver the scoop of the century with the suspicion, shared by the alien’s adoptive father, that the world is not ready for the likes of this superman (Superman? Does anyone here say "Superman"? Barely.)"

It’s Kal-El not Clark Kent (and definitely not Superman), write The Verge:

"The film opens on Krypton with the birth of Kal-El, the planet’s first natural-born child in centuries. Kal’s father Jor-El (Russell Crowe), a scientist, has warned the planet’s elders about an imminent environmental catastrophe, but a civil war engineered by Michael Shannon’s General Zod has distracted them from dealing with it until it’s too late. With mere hours remaining before the planet explodes Jor-El ships Kal off to Earth, both to save him and to protect the last vestiges of Kryptonian civilization, which he’s packed away in the newborn’s spaceship."

Kal-El is a modern superhero for these troubled times, but comic geeks won’t be too disappointed by the lack of tropes, writes Time Out.

"At times, you wish for a quick dash into a phone box and a cat that needs rescuing from a tree. Snyder is no party pooper, though. He might not resurrect Superman’s old theme tune, nor does he allow the word ‘Superman’ to be spoken (it’s all Clark and Kal). But by the end, he’s teased in some of the more amusing elements of the old story we thought were missing, leaving the way open for a sequel that will surely be more Earthbound."

Henry Cavill can’t match Christopher Reeve’s humble, stuttering, bumbling Kal-El, writes Empire.

"Writer David Goyer, under the aegis of Christopher Nolan, isn’t paying tribute to, or pastiching, the Richard Donner/Richard Lester movies of old. Bryan Singer already tried that, and despite Superman Returns’ many overlooked merits, it didn’t connect with audiences. In Goyer, Nolan and director Zack Snyder’s new take on the origin story, the Clark/Kal dichotomy is not a contrast between a spectacled clown and a knight-in-primary-colour-armour, it is between a Kryptonian and an Earthling: a child of two worlds, one deceased, one floundering. It’s a tough gig for the relatively green Cavill, and while there are some interesting touches (there’s a strong sense he’s releasing long-suppressed rage when he first strikes Zod, a bully he’s allowed to hit), his Kal is a bit stiff and slow to thaw."

But the film is lacking in super sex appeal and Lois’ character can only bring a perky, if badly sketched, perspective, writes The Guardian:  

"Lois Lane (Amy Adams) encounters Clark not in the newsroom of the Daily Planet, but when the nascent Superman is toting baggage as a gofer on a military mission to recover a mysterious alien vessel from 20,000-year-old pack ice. Lane, as it happens, has much the more interesting narrative assigned to her – attempting to track the elusive superhero down, while trying to avoid the attentions of various security agencies – but her character is conceived far more sketchily than Kent's, with the result that the normally watchable Adams can't do much more than try for a kind of relentless perkiness as a counterweight to Cavill's frowning humourlessness. It has to be said that the failure to cook up much in the way of meaningful interaction for the pair throughout the film's midsection means that Man of Steel begins to labour even as the visual spectacle intensifies."

Don't expect to see Superman, I mean Kal-El's, underpants worn over his tights, writes Variety:

"Blessed with the most classically chiseled jawline of any actor who’s yet donned the red cape, Cavill is also the most dour and brooding, lacking even the sardonic self-amusement of Christian Bale in Bruce Wayne mode — and he appears to have been directed to be exactly this way. Like its lead, Snyder’s entire movie seems afraid to crack a smile. The ambition to make a grittier kind of Superman pic is certainly admirable, but much of what Snyder and Goyer set out to fix wasn’t really broken in the first place."

The Independent's Man of Steel review will be published tomorrow

Video: Henry Cavill talks about Man of Steel

Arts and Entertainment Musical by Damon Albarn


Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment


film review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'