Eight years ago, Christopher Nolan reinvented a seemingly dead superhero franchise with his Dark Knight trilogy. Here he’s acting as a producer to attempt the same with another DC comic book hero and perhaps the most famous of all, Superman. There have been Superman films in the past of course and it’s only seven years since the forgettable Superman Returns hit screens to a decent critical and lukewarm box office reception. Taking control of Man of Steel is director Zack Snyder, a man a distinct style and experience of large, special effects movies. I’ve never had much affinity for the Superman character although I enjoyed the 90s TV series. The character, coupled with a director whose films I rarely enjoy lead me to having low expectations for the latest in a long line of superhero based blockbusters. Unfortunately even my low expectations failed to be met with Man of Steel, a dull movie which lasts for an age and goes nowhere.
The film does what all superhero re-boots are doing this century and gives us the origin story. The problem with Superman’s origin story is that it’s long and complex, or at least it is in this film. Spider-Man gets bitten by a spider, develops heightened senses and web stuff then goes with it. Batman invents stuff and goes from man to superhero. Superman though has a story which involves the end of a world, a race’s battle for survival, civil war, unusual childhood development and alienation before self discovery. That’s a lot to put in one movie and of course the movie doesn’t want to just give us the origin, it wants to entertain us with a villain and large scale battle. This results in a two and a half hour film which is full of long, unnecessary exposition and long winded flash backs.