[“Man Of Steel” is] a thundering dud that embodies everything wrong with modern day superhero yarns. David Goyer’s work on the “Dark Knight” trilogy was always in concert with Jonathan Nolan, and it’s more apparent than ever that the former had nothing to do with that series’ creative successes. Goyer’s work here is so uninspired, so hackneyed, that it’s a wonder anyone even considered handing him the keys to such a celebrated franchise. That Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures actually did it boggles the mind. It takes a special kind of writer to turn Michael Shannon (General Zod) into just another character actor, but the innately talented Shannon gets nothing to work with here and essentially fumbles around whenever he’s on screen.
Cavill makes an alarmingly undersized impression in the title role, but Goyer’s adaptation of the character is so lackluster that it would be wrong to judge Cavill’s ability to carry a film on this performance alone. Christopher Meloni and Richard Schiff get thankless supporting roles, while Laurence Fishburne competently plays Daily Planet Editor-In-Chief. It’s too bad that the screenplay requires so little of him. But Amy Adams, as Lois Lane, gets the shortest shrift, aimlessly following Clark around for no apparent reason and not getting any juicy dialogue to work with – although, no one does. Worse yet, even in Clark’s embrace, she seems galaxies away. The dearth of chemistry between the two is hard to watch.