Man of Steel

By Tom Quiner


Russell Crowe portrays the Man of Steel’s father from Krypton, Jor-el

Here’s the quick question: is the blockbuster new movie, Man of Steel, entertaining?


Did I love it?


The bones of this movie were great. Top notch director and screenwriters. Great casting. Lavish special effects. A story with some meat.

Director Zack Snyder went out of his way to project an air of profundity to the proceedings with Christ-like comparisons to Superman. Ultimately, though, this didn’t work for me.

Ten minutes into the film, my wife leaned over and said “I’m hating this movie.”  I told her to stick with it and enjoy the ride.

By film’s end, she said, “I hated this movie.”

So much for the ride.

Okay, I don’t share her loathing of the film. In fact, I enjoyed much of it. But here’s where Man of Steel gets off track. Like so many action movies anymore, the director wants to throw a lot of action at us. In Man of Steel, it keeps coming … and coming … and coming … until I wanted to scream, “for gosh sakes, take a break and have a Snickers.”

Director Snyder tries to throw in some character development with young Clark Kent and succeeds pretty well. With other characters, it really is just thrown in, sandwiched between scenes of explosions and fights.

The best movies present characters we really care about. For me, that’s why The Hobbit and the latest Star Trek movie worked so well. Man of Steel could have been so much more if they spent more time on letting characters with rich potential come alive.

Instead, Director Snyder felt compelled to turn the final hour of the movie into an extended fight scene, complete with explosions and non-stop devastation.

I got the point after the first ten minutes.

On a positive note, the casting was outstanding. Henry Cavill made a great Man of Steel, portraying him a little less comic bookish than the late Christopher Reeves did. And any movie with Amy Adams (Lois Lane) in it is one to see.

Russell Crowe brought a lot of heft to role as Superman’s biological father, Jor-el. I liked the way they kept his

Israeli actress, Ayelet Zurer, portrayed the Man of Steel's birth mother

Israeli actress, Ayelet Zurer, portrayed the Man of Steel’s birth mother, Lara

character in the movie, especially since his appearance usually signaled a break from the fight/explosion/carnage scenes.

Although she didn’t have much screen time, Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer, lit up the screen as Superman’s mother from her home world. I wish her character would have had more screen time.

On another positive note, I loved the way the director developed Superman’s iconic logo. We see it in the opening scenes on his home world, Krypton, and it plays a role throughout the entire movie. If you think the “S” stands for Superman, well, you’ve got another thing coming!

Man of Steel runs 143 minutes. For me, it would have worked better if they stole twenty minutes from the action sequences and devoted them to character development.

A teenage boy would disagree, and he is the target audience, not me.





  1. illero on June 18, 2013 at 7:14 am

    I am in total agreement. The ear-numbing, eye-numbing, and mind-numbing extended action scenes were over the top (in many of them, I couldn’t even tell what was going on), and the movie would have gained from more development of the characters. On the other hand, I had not been to an in-theater action movie for a decade or so, so I had not built up a tolerance. As you say, we aren’t the target audience anyway.

    • quinersdiner on June 18, 2013 at 7:38 am

      I think back to the advent of the modern action movie. Movies such as Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Arc had great plot lines and great characters. The action was intense, but it didn’t club us to death with unrelenting action sequences. Too many of the movies of the last decade seem compelled to do so. Thanks for writing.