"Man of Steel" critics' reviews: Film wallows in sorrow more than soars

The reviews are in, and while most movie critics agree that the newest retelling of the classic Superman story is worth seeing, "Man of Steel" is weighed down by pathos and too much kryptonite.

Featuring Henry Cavill in the red-and-blue tights, and Amy Adams as his love interest, this Zack Snyder-directed story by the "Dark Knight" trilogy's Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer (with Goyer penning the screenplay), gets bogged down by its own gravity, and lacks the fun and light-heartedness of previous movie and TV versions, according to the critics.

Stephanie Zacharek, the Village Voice: "'Man of Steel' is a movie event with an actual movie inside, crying to get out. Despite its preposterous self-seriousness, its overblown, CGI'ed-to-death climax, and its desperate efforts to depict the destruction of, well, everything on Earth, there's greatness in this retelling of the origin of Superman, moments of intimate grandeur, some marvelous, subtle acting, and a superhero costume that's a feat of mad mod genius."

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: "Given the 'Dark Knight' trilogy's Nolan and Goyer's involvement, it's no surprise that 'Man of Steel' is conceptualized in the Batman mold, a dark end of the street extravaganza where, theoretically at least, epic vision would be joined with dramatic heft. It hasn't worked out quite that way.

Ty Burr: The Boston Globe: "Snyder knows how to put on a show, and 'Man of Steel' has a massive scope that's hard to resist. ... But what's missing from this Superman saga is a sense of lightness, of pop joy."

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: "'Dark Knight'-style makeover never quite comes together. Sure, Superman is still faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive. ... But he's been transformed into the latest in a long line of soul-searching super-brooders, trapped between his devastated birth planet of Krypton and his adopted new home on Earth. He's just another haunted outsider grappling with issues."

Justin Craig, FoxNews.com: "Zack Snyder, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer have managed to become Superman's very own Kryptonite, stripping the iconic character of his greatest assets: wit, charm, and most importantly, hope; rendering "Man of Steel" this blockbuster season's biggest disappointment."

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: "This is a great, big, meaty, chewy superhero adventure, which broadly does what it sets out to do, though at excessive length. What I missed were the gentle, innocent pleasures of Superman's day-to-day crimefighting existence.... Due to the cataclysmic battle in this film, much of the Man of Steel's mystery and novelty have been used up. Subsequent adventures may lose altitude."

Dana Stevens, Slate: "Snyder provides an elegantly illuminated retelling of the origin story of that most saintly of superheroes, Superman."

David Edelstein, New York magazine: ["Man of Steel" offers] "lots of noise and clutter -- but never the simple charm of the original comic by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster or the faintly self-abashed handsomeness of Christopher Reeve. The movie isn't dead on arrival, like Snyder's over-reverent 'Watchmen.' But it's pleasure-free."

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: "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."

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: "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."

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times: "There's very little humor or joy in this Superman story, and not enough character development for us really to care once the big-budget pyrotechnics are under way."

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: "Caught in the slipstream between action and angst, 'Man of Steel' is a bumpy ride for sure. But there's no way to stay blind to its wonders."

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