Man of Steel

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Our third see-in-theatre summer blockbuster this year. A Superman movie is a must, of course. Even better when Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder are involved. Michael Shannon as General "Kneel Before" Zod! I was prepared to be blown away by its wonderfulness.

And I came away a bit let down. It was fine. Maybe even good. But …

Every sentient being knows the story here: it's a reboot, so the origin story is told again: Russell Crowe instead of Brando as Jor-El; Kevin Costner instead of Glenn Ford as Pa Kent; Diane Lane instead of Phyllis Thaxter as Ma Kent; Amy Adams in for Margot Kidder at the "Lois Lane" position; no Lex Luthor, although some sharp eyeballs spotted "Lexcorp" on a gasoline truck just before it blows up. What's not to like?

Well, it's significantly more pretentious than previous Superman flicks. You heard rumors of Christ analogies? They are there, and they are heavy-handed.

The epic battles between Superman and Zod's forces are special-effects heavy, and they wreak massive destruction to both Metropolis and Smallville. (This PG-13 flick, I guess, couldn't even hint at the massive death toll of innocent bystanders. It makes the New York battle in Avengers look like kids playing with cap guns.)

I was somewhat disappointed in the final fight scene. Without spoilers, I found myself thinking: That was it? Why didn't he do that before? Oh well.

And (again without spoilers): at a key confrontation, the Kryptonian bad guys make an unexplained, arbitrary demand that their human opponents must go along with; as it turns out, that becomes the eventual key to their undoing.

I'm griping a lot, but: the acting is fine, the effects are awe-inspiring, and the plot is mostly gripping and moving. So: four stars.