Man of Steel may not measure up to the classic 1978 Superman, but it’s a refreshingly grownup film in a sea of the summer sillies. Here’s why it easily tops Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Oblivion, After Earth and the rest of the blockbuster slate so far.
1. It’s a classic story told seriously, with no goofy elements.
If comic-book movies run from Batman & Robin on one side to The Dark Knight on the other, Man of Steel, which essentially begins like Superman and morphs into Superman II, is much closer to the psychological and foreboding end of the spectrum than the campy and ridiculous one. The Christ-like story of a godlike man sent to Earth as our savior is dressed up with impressive special effects on Krypton (where Kal-El’s father Jor-El, played by Russell Crowe, sends him to Earth as the planet expires beneath him) and again on this planet, where Superman moves with bullet-like speed in visceral, believable scenes shot like those in the found-footage film Chronicle. There are hardly any jokes in the film, and that’s a good thing.