It has been a black eye for Hollywood that throughout this, the unending and increasingly repetitive age of the superhero blockbuster, the most iconic son of the comics has eluded its grasp like a bird or, if you will, a plane.
New hopes of box-office riches and franchise serials rest on Zac Snyder's latest attempt to put Superman back into flight. But Snyder's joyless film, leaden as if composed of the stuff of its hero's metallic nickname, has nothing soaring about it.
Flying men in capes is grave business in Snyder's solemn Superman, an origin tale of the DC Comics hero that goes more than two hours before the slightest joke or smirk.
This is not your Superman of red tights, phone booth changes, or fortresses of solitude, but one of Christ imagery, Krypton politics and spaceships.
Beefy Brit Henry Cavill inherits the cape, with Russell Crowe and Ayelet Zurer serving as his Krypton parents, and Kevin Costner (back among the corn stalks) and Diane Lane as his earthly ones.
When General Zod (Michael Shannon) comes to Earth, Clark Kent must embrace his previously hidden away powers.
Snyder ("300") doesn't have the material or inclination to make his grim film as thought-provoking as "The Dark Knight" by Christopher Nolan (a producer here). The gravity that cloaks this Superman is merely an en vogue costume.
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language
Running time: 144 minutes
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