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Man of Steel Review: Or Why this Proper Superman is Getting Pummeled by Some Critics

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Be careful what you wish for.

Ever since the first Superman film directed by Richard Donner and iconically acted by Christopher Reeve came out in 1978, people–especially hardcore comic book fans–have yearned for a “proper” Superman movie. Not to say that all previous films about the guy in the blue and red suit were total failures;the two Donner films (one uncredited), in particular, are still loved by many. But Superman’s story is mighty ambitious and epic in scale even by comic book standards. And so while the live-action movies and TV series throughout the years got some of the story’s basics right, fans have still been left longing for more–more of the sci-fi that makes Krypton Krypton, more of the godly strength of Kryptonians, more of the thrill of flying when a man really denies the laws of physics, more of the mythos of Superman. Man of Steel, the latest reboot of the Superman hollywood franchise, aimed to do just that.

So why is it getting mixed reviews? Why does Superman Returns–a film sorely lacking in spectacle in comparison and so campy as to be mistaken from the ’90s–have a higher score on Rotten Tomatoes? Why the flak from more serious publications when most geeky sites, especially IGN, are praising the film as one of the finest superhero movies ever?

I set out to propose an argument. Continue reading

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