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
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee