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Mixed Reviews Greet 'Man Of Steel' As It Prepares To Fly Into Theaters

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 11, 2013 at 11:04AM

If you were anywhere near the internet late last night, you're probably saw social media light up as the first reviews for the Zack Snyder-directed, Christopher Nolan-produced "Man Of Steel" hit the web. This was just a couple of hours after the news arrived that Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer were going to return for a fast-tracked sequel, and while a billion dollars remains the benchmark the movie has to reach to be a success, it should be noted that after product/promo tie-ins alone (of which there are over 100, take that "The Internship") the picture has already banked $170 million. But wait, what's the verdict on the actual movie?
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Man Of Steel, Cavill

If you were anywhere near the internet late last night, you're probably saw social media light up as the first reviews for the Zack Snyder-directed, Christopher Nolan-produced "Man Of Steel" hit the web. This was just a couple of hours after the news arrived that Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer were going to return for a fast-tracked sequel, and while a billion dollars remains the benchmark the movie has to reach to be a success, it should be noted that after product/promo tie-ins alone (of which there are over 100, take that "The Internship") the picture has already banked $170 million. But wait, what's the verdict on the actual movie?

Well, reception certainly has been mixed. Our own review stated that "it strains under [Snyder]'s indulgent action tendencies, but succeeds on heart where brawn will not," but overall, reactions have varied from some calling it a masterpiece, to others saying it's a big miss. So we figured we'd collect some of the other voices out there and give a rundown of some of other reviews that have landed. And in case you missed it, be sure to check out our rankings of Superman movies worst to best.

POSITIVE

Time Out London: "‘Man of Steel’ is punchy, engaging and fun."

Empire: "It aches for more depth and warmth and humour, but this is spectacular sci-fi — huge, operatic, melodramatic, impressive. It feels the right Superman origin story for our era, and teases what would be a welcome new superfranchise."

Total Film: "And alongside all those Malicky moments (did we mention the jar of pencils?) are grace notes of purest popcorn. You’ll believe a man can fly. You’ll also believe he can look super-cool skidding across tarmac in the heat of battle."

New York Post: "I’ve not been a fan of director Zack Snyder (“Sucker Punch’’) in the past, but under Nolan’s supervision he largely lays off the ADD editing and does a highly respectable, and sometimes inspired job of retooling the basic Superman mythology in “Man of Steel.’’

THR: "To the oft-asked question of whether or not the world is really starving for yet another superhero origin story, Man of Steel simply responds by serving up what could be as much spectacle and action — minute-by-minute, frame-by-frame — as any movie anyone could think of."

HitFix: "With this version, Snyder's done far more than convince me that a man can fly. For the first time, I believe that Superman is the most important hero in the world of this movie, and that we need him, not just as a protector, but as a symbol of what we can be when we are raised by the right people and given a chance to find our way in the world."

Twitch: "Surging with contained energy, often grim, but never oppressive, Man of Steel presents a Superman who is far less concerned with "truth, justice, and the American way" than he is with surviving to fight another day with as much integrity as possible, while preserving alive as many people as possible. Somehow, it still feels like a triumph of the common man over evil."

MIXED

Indiewire: "[Superman's] single weakness -- and the movie's, after promising earlier bits drop off to make room for the extravagant conclusion -- is depth." 

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. There’s almost a story here."

Guardian: "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: no amount of whip-pans and crash-zooms, spaceship flameouts or collapsing edifices can compensate for an inert focal relationship."

Collider: "When Lois asks Kal-El what the “S” emblem stands for, he responds that it’s not an “S”.  He says on Krypton, it means “hope”.  But in Man of Steel, it’s a symbol without a Superman."

Rope Of Silicon: "Overall, Man of Steel is entertaining even though it runs about 25-30 minutes too long. It feels a lot like a film trying really hard not to fail more than trying really hard to work."

NEGATIVE

Screen Daily: "Superman is missing from the title of Man Of Steel, and likewise the spirit of the character’s elemental, while rousing heroism is a little too absent from the film."   

Variety: "At points, the action scenes even recall the hallucinogenic dream sequences from Snyder’s own crazily ambitious mental-hospital musical, “Sucker Punch,” except everyone here is supposed to be wide awake."

Associated Press: "The awkward acrobatics to modernize "Man of Steel" are most evident with its new explanation of Superman's shield. The "S," we are told, doesn't stand for Superman, but is a Krypton glyph meaning hope. But if "S'' doesn't stand for "Superman," ''Man of Steel" is the one with the identity issues — not to mention a spelling problem."

This article is related to: Man Of Steel, Zack Snyder, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon


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