Man of Steel As much as I could do without any further comic book movies in general, I am particularly over the Christopher Nolan-ized brand of heavy-handed phony seriousness. Man of Steel contains all these things in one mind-numbingly long package, but for the first 90 minutes I found much to admire. For that matter, there are good things to be found in the non-stop, soul-killing action orgy of the climactic 45 minutes — but you have to dig for them. In fact, I’m convinced that there’s probably a pretty darn good 105-minute movie wrapped inside this unwieldy 143-minute one. As expected, director Zack Snyder seems to be somewhat reined in on this film. The box office disaster of Sucker Punch guaranteed that, but it’s still surprising how much of Snyder’s pop culture sensibility has remained intact. More surprising is the fact that this makes up much of what is best about Man of Steel. All in all, the whole first part of the film works — for me. I liked the flashback structure that kept things moving while delivering the requisite background as to how Superman became Superman. However, there’s that last 45 minutes. Once Superman and Zod have their Thor-like showdown in Smallville, the movie goes berserkly into full Michael Bay mode. It’s not just that 45 minutes of non-stop action is overkill — not to mention boring — it’s that this 45 minutes of action is largely just the same action over and over and over. There’s no building excitement. It’s all on one massive level that doesn’t build to some incredible climax. It just goes on and on and then stops when it’s worn itself and the audience out. The bottom line is that Man of Steel is a partly good and partly dumb personality-free property damage blockbuster.
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