Man of Steel (****1/2)
No more red undies
How does Clark fit into shirts
So much destruction
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. I went in to Man of Steel without high hopes. Many of the reviews I'd heard prior to seeing it this weekend were that the movie was good, but not great. I'd also heard/read many rumors that Zach Snyder had changed so much about the Superman legend that it barely resembled the original idea. (I'm not a huge Superman fangirl, but I like the story, and I feel like there are certain canonical things that are sacred unless you're on purpose telling a completely new story.)
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the reviews were selling the movie short, and the changes that Snyder made, I think, only enhanced the Superman legend and made it work better both in a modern-day setting and with modern filmmaking technology.
Gone is the quasi-cartoony Superman (not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you) played by Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain (and most recently, Brandon Routh). In their stead is a Clark Kent who is both familiarly human and yet alien at the same time. Henry Cavil did a superb job at playing a Clark whose struggles with feelings of not belonging aren't at all, well, alien to those watching. I also appreciate that in Man of Steel we get a Lois Lane that lives up to her image as an observant and kick-ass reporter. Amy Adams certainly does the role justice. Michael Shannon is also quite awesome as General Zod, and the character has a sense of purpose that makes him feel much more like a whole person, rather than just a 'stache-twirling villain.
One complaint I do have is that the love story between Clark and Lois in the film felt very rushed. PROBABLE SPOILER AHEAD. Amy and Henry had good chemistry, but it was unnecessary to push them so far along their path to togetherness. I could have waited until the next movie, when Clark wasn't in the middle of fighting planet-destroying machines, for them to reach the point they did.
I also appreciated the brief easter eggs that tied Man of Steel into the Supermen that have come before, and to the DC universe as a whole. Man of Steel is definitely a step in the right direction for DC superhero films.