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Early 'Man of Steel' Reviews Are Strong But Not Super

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire June 11, 2013 at 12:47AM

Most critics like Zack Snyder's Superman reboot a lot. But it's not a unanimous verdict for the Last Son of Krypton.
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"Man of Steel."
"Man of Steel."

Faster than a speeding bullet, here are more than 25 of the first reviews of Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel" -- the new Superman reboot featuring Henry Cavill as the Last Son of Krypton and Amy Adams as intrepid Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane. So far, the critical reaction is strong -- but not super.

On one end of the spectrum, many reviews call the film more powerful than a locomotive -- Erik Davis of Movies.com, for example, says it's the best Superman movie to date, a sentiment echoed by several of his colleagues. On the other end of the spectrum, some critics say the movie never quite leaps over the hurdles (much less a tall building) of recycling Superman's origin story yet again, and it doesn't successfully mesh its character drama with a constant stream of action scenes. "It's not bad," says Joshua Starnes of Coming Soon. "But it could be better." That was another popular comment; people thought this movie was just okay, but felt it laid a good foundation for a better "Man of Steel 2" or a "Justice League" movie.

That's getting ahead of ourselves, though. "Man of Steel" doesn't even open in theaters until Friday. For now, here's the first batch of reviews:

William Bibbiani, Crave Online:

"By far, the best Superman movie ever made."

Alan Cerny, Ain't It Cool:

"Full of action, emotion, and spectacle, this is Zack Snyder's finest work so far."

Scott Chitwood, Coming Soon:

"The fantastic cast and mind-blowing action will impress both comic book fans and general audiences alike."

Erik Davis, Movies.com:

"The best Superman movie to date."

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap:

"For the most part, it works."

Devin Faraci, Badass Digest:

"Whatever problems 'Man of Steel' has -- and it has enough to keep it from being a cohesively great movie -- it has enough good to make it a must-see."

Scott Foundas, Variety:

"This heavily hyped, brilliantly marketed tentpole attraction seems destined to soar with worldwide audiences this summer, even if the humorless tone and relentlessly noisy (visually and sonically) aesthetics leave much to be desired."

Todd Gilchrist, The Verge:

"Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder deliver a superhero for the modern era."

Matt Goldberg, Collider:

"This isn't a careless adaptation as much as it's a misguided one."

Tim Grierson, Screen Daily:

"Doesn't lack for spectacle, but after a while its emphasis on grand gestures and unwavering gravitas stops feeling heroic and begins to seem like overkill."

Jordan Hoffman, ScreenCrush:

"The film of summer 2013."

Dan Jolin, Empire:

"Spectacular sci-fi -- huge, operatic, melodramatic, impressive."

Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies:

"'Man of Steel' (easily the best movie directed by 'Watchmen' helmer Snyder, in my opinion, by the way) blasts the archetypal American superhero into our uncertain new century in high style, neither selling him out or making a sap out of him."

Eric Kohn, Indiewire:

"It's easy to get swept up in the rollercoaster of buildup, but the climax is just a yawn."

Matthew Leyland, Total Film:

"A bracing attempt to bring the legend back into contention that successfully separates itself from other Super-movies but misses some of their warmth and charm. But given the craft and class, this could be the start of something special."

Germain Lussier, /Film:

"Zack Snyder has made an epic and heartfelt adventure that successfully reboots the Superman character in a realistic, and humanistic way."

Peter Martin, Twitch:

"Cavill broods effectively, while Adams imbues their tentative friendship with a cordial warmth that holds the potential for something more personal to develop."

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter:

"Snyder doesn't miss a beat once the tale spins down to Earth."

Drew McWeeny, HitFix:

"The Superman movie I've waited my whole life to see."

Scott Mendelson, Forbes:

"The film lacks the very things we expect from a Superman film, especially one telling his mythic origin.  There is no joy, no sense of discovery, no sense of wonder or hope."

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News:

"Has many super-cool moments. But when it gets clunky, it's super-meh."

Matt Patches, Film.com:

"'Man of Steel' has its fair share of talent, but with a potential to tell a truly epic tale, Snyder shoots for the heavens. He gets there."

Ben Pearson, Geek Nation:

"Lives up to years of expectation and soars as one of the best action films of the year."

Spencer Perry, Superhero Hype:

"'Man of Steel' is great. It takes stories that we all thought we knew and looks at them through a different prism, creating a solid superhero story that stands apart from all of the others."

Andrew Pulver, The Guardian:

"The whole film ends up feeling weighed down: though 'Man of Steel' bounds from one epic setpiece to another, you're left with the nagging feeling that you just can't work out what the central twosome see in each other."

Simon Reynolds, Digital Spy:

"Impressive as all this is, 'Man of Steel' is not quite the perfect movie."

Mike Ryan, Huffington Post:

"'Man of Steel' is excellent."

Charlie Schmidlin, The Playlist:

"The most successful part of Snyder's vision is two-fold: the laser-focused emphasis on Clark Kent's journey into Superman, and the impressive ease with which Cavill slides into the lead role."

Joshua Starnes, Coming Soon:

"It's not a bad start, but it could be better."

Jim Vejvoda, IGN:

"Action-packed, briskly-paced and featuring a stellar cast, 'Man of Steel' is the best Superman film since the 1978 original."

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News:

"When 'Man of Steel' gets dumb and predictable, it does so faster than a speeding bullet."

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice:

"Despite its preposterous self-seriousness, its overblown, CGI'ed-to-death climax, and its desperate efforts to depict the destruction of, well, everything on Earth, there's greatness in this retelling of the origin of Superman, moments of intimate grandeur, some marvelous, subtle acting, and a superhero costume that's a feat of mad mod genius."


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