Man of Steel review round-up

Ben Arnold
Steeling himself... reviews come in for Superman reboot (Copyright: Warner)

So finally, the film that is said to do the Superman myth justice has arrived courtesy of '300' and 'Watchmen' director Zack Snyder.

That 'Man of Steel' has been produced by Christopher Nolan encouraged many from the get-go, what with his sterling work on his own 'Dark Knight' series.

But as Bryan Singer discovered with 'Superman Returns' in 2006, it's not easy to get right.

[Man of Steel almost recoups budget before it is released]

Does 'Man of Steel' measure up then? So far the consensus suggests 'just about'.

The film, starring Jersey-born actor Henry Cavill as Superman, is currently boasting a decent 84% 'fresh' rating on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Here's a round-up of what the critics are saying so far...

The Guardian – three stars

“It's [the] early part of the film that is most successful; Nolan and Snyder, along with scriptwriter David S Goyer, have created a plausible context for the introspection and self-doubt that dogs the adult version of their costumed warrior... 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. And for Superman and Lois Lane, that's hardly ideal.”

Empire – four stars

“'Man Of Steel' is huge... The robust and clearly confident Zack Snyder was certainly a good choice to call action on this; it is just what you’d expect of a Superman movie from the guy who made Watchmen. A man, appropriately, whose favourite word is 'awesome'... Closely followed by 'super-awesome'.”

Total Film – four stars

“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.”


“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. One longs to see this Superman change a flat or rescue a kitten from a tree or take Lois for a flight around the block... Pic is undeniably impressive, in the sense that little if any expense has been spared in bringing Snyder’s vision to the screen, though this is a case where less would almost surely have been more.”

The Wrap

“All in all... this 'Man of Steel' flies, even if it doesn’t quite soar. Snyder’s direction feels far more assured than it did in the misfires of 'Watchmen' and especially 'Sucker Punch', and now that the requisite first-movie origin story has been accomplished, the movie lays the ground for what could be some thrilling sequels featuring a Superman who’s both exactly what people want to see and a significantly different take on a well-established character.”


“'Man of Steel' is simultaneously bigger and smaller than you are expecting. What’s bigger? The action. Super-sizing even 'The Avengers', 'Man of Steel' has more action set pieces and devastating destruction than you’ve probably ever imagined. It’s jaw-dropping, heart-pumping stuff. What’s smaller? The story. Most of the film takes places in a very condensed, focused timeline, giving it an urgency and immediacy lacking in other superhero films. A smaller narrative raises the stakes as well as the emotional complexity. Zack Snyder has made an epic and heartfelt adventure that successfully reboots the Superman character in a realistic, and humanistic way.”

Indiewire - C+

“At first, 'Man of Steel' attempts an outstanding fusion of pricey imagery and narrative finesse. By the end, Henry Cavill's subdued performance in the lead role is the sole element of restraint left onscreen... In 'Man of Steel', Superman never suffers from exposure to fragments of Kryptonite. His single weakness - and the movie's, after promising earlier bits drop off to make room for the extravagant conclusion - is depth.”

The Playlist - B

“Goyer and Nolan have crafted in 'Man of Steel' a taut, exploratory vision, and Snyder's later inheritance of the material indeed proves his best work since 'Dawn of the Dead'. Together, they've humanized an icon in ways not unlike Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln', although they've undervalued the integral supporting roles in much of the same manner. The difference is that Snyder carries a franchise flexible to second attempts.”

'Man of Steel' is released on June 14.