Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The action is plentiful and thumping; Marvel-size thrills await you and the generations of kids who still believe in Superman.
Even though some of the attempts at gravitas don't work, the movie does make you believe that a flying man in tights is a thing of scary awe.
New York Times:
Mr. Snyder isn't capable of mythmaking, but in his sometimes poetic, sometimes crude way, he has given Superman a new lease on franchise life by affirming that this most American hero is also an alien yearning to breathe free.
New York Observer:
Despite an obscene budget that could have made a giant stride in the cure for cancer, there isn't much originality, and the whole endeavor appears to be the work of grown men who never outgrew puberty.
Wall Street Journal:
What seals the movie's doom ... is its surrender to the lower power of coarsegrained action and computer-generated images of inexplicable banality.
[It] is thoughtfully crafted and occasionally breathtaking; what it isn't, unfortunately, is much fun.
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.
By effectively denying Superman his defining traits-his complex relationships to duty and humanity-the movie robs the character of any depth or agency.
If you like your summer-movie explosions huge, "Man of Steel" delivers. But it seems as if it might have delivered even more than a glorious noise.
"Man of Steel" has a scope that's hard to resist, but what's missing is a sense of lightness, of pop joy.
J. R. Jones,
[Nolan and Goyer's] screenplay is a big improvement over the previous one, mainly because they've created a satisfying arc between the hero's genesis story and the big battle at the end.
Christian Science Monitor:
You get the feeling [Snyder] would rather have chucked the entire back story, not to mention the front story, and just delivered up nonstop bashing. Which he sort of does anyway.
Dallas Morning News:
The movie can't decide if it wants to be a particularly thoughtful brand of superhero saga or a deafeningly generic summer action movie. So it ends up being both, to the detriment of it and us.
The chief problem here is one of rhythm and balance in the storytelling and directing. The movie swings between destructive overstatement and flat-footed homilies.
Man of Steel packs quite a wallop. A few too many wallops, as it turns out.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com:
By the end, Man of Steel has mutated into just another superhero action movie, with explosions galore and city buildings toppling like so many Legos. Lather, rinse, repeat. That's too bad because ... Man of Steel has so much going for it.
Christliness has always been an element of the Superman myth. But this film's near literal insistence upon it becomes absurd since director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer don't dramatize the analogy, they presume it.
Zack Snyder's huge, backstory-heavy extravaganza is a rehab job that perhaps didn't cry out to be done but proves so overwhelmingly insistent in its size and strength that it's hard not to give in.
Los Angeles Times:
[Cavill is] a superb choice for someone who needs to convincingly convey innate modesty, occasional confusion and eventual strength.
San Jose Mercury News:
The result is a film that, while relentlessly grim and badly in need of humor, manages to be a smart, nuanced take on the Superman mythology.
Man of Steel starts feeling like just another generic superhero movie - the exact opposite to the radical and unique stamp Nolan placed on the Dark Knight trilogy
Cavill broods handsomely as Superman, but this reboot skimps on fun and romance.
The movie consists of endless declamation, endless violence.
Man of Steel's violence doesn't escalate; it simply, tediously, iterates. We keep waiting to thrill, to exult, to cheer our hero on. When the lights come up, we're still waiting.
New York Post:
[Snyder] does a highly respectable, and sometimes inspired job of retooling the basic Superman mythology in "Man of Steel.''
For those who crave cinematic mayhem, Man of Steel is right up your alley (and it will make a ton of money).
Man of Steel is a bumpy ride for sure. But there's no way to stay blind to its wonders.
"Man of Steel" is second-tier and third-generation Chris Nolan-flavored neo-superhero material.
If Man of Steel is Snyder at his most conventional, he's still more inspired and innovative than his competition.
Snyder provides an elegantly illuminated retelling of the origin story of that most saintly of superheroes, Superman.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"Man of Steel" doesn't do quite as much damage to the 75-year-old hero, but next time out I hope his lighter spirits are allowed to soar.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Every opportunity for humor, compassion or plausible responses to otherworldly phenomena is buried beneath product placements and CGI special effects.
There's plenty to like in Snyder's hectic, rowdy film. But by the time we reach the bludgeoning excesses of the last half-hour it's hard to shake the sense that this was an opportunity at least partially missed.
Globe and Mail:
It all gets exhaustingly bombastic although, sequence by sequence, Man of Steel is something worth seeing.
The casting is impeccable, beginning with Cavill as an uncommonly brooding but refreshingly deep Superman. The script doesn't give him much to say, but it doesn't need to.
Now that the requisite origin story has been accomplished, the movie lays the ground for 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 punchy, engaging and fun, even if it slips into a final 45 minutes of explosions and fights during which reason starts to vanish and the science gets muddy.
Mostly, the minutes stretch into great expanses of blahness, much of them filled with Transformers-grade skyscraper snapping and bloodless catastrophe.
Henry Cavill has the strapping good looks of the comic icon, and humanity to match his superheroism.
There's almost a story here. And the actors, including the picture's quietly dazzling star, Henry Cavill, do their damnedest to draw it out.
For now, audiences can only speculate as to the hidden depths of Cavill, who in Zack Snyder's busy, bombastic creation myth is reduced to little more than a joyless cipher or dazzling physical specimen.