I hate Man of Steel so much that I tried to write this review three times before rage quitting. This is my fourth attempt.
Like Superman Returns, Man of Steel is a response to the two Richard Donner Superman movies. But where Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns was both a sequel and slavish homage to Superman I and II, Zack Snyder and David Goyer’s Man of Steel is a cynical retelling that hits the major plot points of the two movies, from the destruction of Krypton to the invasion of General Zod, but strips out all of the fun, color, and emotion. As the title suggests, Man of Steel is a cold machine of a summer blockbuster, so lacking in empathy that the final act is a brutal emotional assault on the audience.
Honestly, it is hard for me to list all the things I hate about Man of Steel, but in many ways it comes down the decision to make Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) a deeply distrustful person, so terrified of humanity’s possible response to the existence of super-beings that Clark hides his powers for thirty three years, only saving people if he happens upon them while they are in mortal danger. That’s not the character I know, not the character I love.