'Man of Steel,' Henry Cavill, and a Redhead Lois Lane: What the Critics Are Saying

It was only a matter of time before Superman became Hollywood's next big franchise reboot. Hot off the heels of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy comes Zack Snyder's Man of Steel (produced by — who else? — Christopher Nolan), a film that surely will kick off a string of sequels. (Hey, there will already be one.) And while Man of Steel will undoubtedly make loads of cash at the box office regardless, here are what the critics are saying about the latest Superman reboot. Should you see Man of Steel, which comes out June 14? Read on to find out!

On Henry Cavill as Superman...

Henry Cavill doesn't have the big name pull of Christian Bale in The Dark Knight — in fact, the actor, who previously starred on The Tudors, has more in common with the actor formerly known as Superman, the then-unknown Brandon Routh of Superman Returns. That being said, Cavill is getting much better reviews than his predecessor.

“Cavill walks a tricky line between seriousness and having a silent smile, and winds up delivering the right amount of earnestness for the character. Like Christian Bale in the Batman films, Cavill's Britishness — hidden behind an American accent — helps give him an Otherness the film utilizes. And like the late Christopher Reeve did, Cavill wears the (revamped) suit, and doesn't let the suit wear him.” — Joe Neumaier, NY Daily News

We've seen the photos... the suit definitely doesn't wear him.

"This is a true leading man in a role that’s guaranteed to make him a superstar. He doesn’t yet possess the charm of Christopher Reeve, but Reeve’s Clark Kent was a more mature character. Cavill’s Superman is literally right at the beginning of what’s sure to be a long reign as the leader of DC’s heroes. He plays that origin with confidence and a physical presence that’s second to none." — Germain Lussier, SlashFilm

But while Cavill certainly looks the part of Superman, not all critics are so convinced that he can actually embody the character... at least, in comparison with some of the other actors who have donned the spandex.

"Blessed with the most classically chiseled jawline of any actor who’s yet donned the red cape, Cavill is also the most dour and brooding, lacking even the sardonic self-amusement of Christian Bale in Bruce Wayne mode — and he appears to have been directed to be exactly this way. Like its lead, Snyder’s entire movie seems afraid to crack a smile." Variety

On Snyder's Direction...

Can anyone do superheroes like Nolan? Not quite, but it seems Snyder comes close.

"Snyder's film, written by David Goyer and starring an impeccably cast ensemble, is remarkable mythmaking, a canny spin on the oft-told details that have defined the character over time. While there is plenty about it that can be described as new, the bones of it are instantly familiar. Make no mistake; this is Superman. For my own personal sensibilities, this is the most interesting, emotionally-satisfying, richly imagined version of the story. Ever." — Drew McWeeny, Hitflix

And because you once had to sit through Sucker Punch on a red-eye flight, the answer to your question is: Yes, Man of Steel is much better.

"The great news is that Snyder has stowed his fetish for slow down/speed up/slow down motion-meddling (300, Sucker Punch, that owl movie). The less-great news is that he doesn’t quite know when to quit, or how to vary the violence." — Matthew Leyland, TotalFilm

On the Changes to the 'Superman' Mythology...

Can the very retro Superman exist in a post-millennial universe?

"At times, you wish for a quick dash into a phone box and a cat that needs rescuing from a tree. Snyder is no party pooper, though. He might not resurrect Superman’s old theme tune, nor does he allow the word ‘Superman’ to be spoken (it’s all Clark and Kal). But by the end, he’s teased in some of the more amusing elements of the old story we thought were missing, leaving the way open for a sequel that will surely be more Earthbound." — Time Out

Like there was ever not going to be a sequel.

"For the most part, it works. In the previous big-screen treatments of the character, we've never seen a pubescent Clark Kent deal with the disconcerting sensory overload of suddenly realising he can hear things from miles away and see through everyone's skin with his X-ray vision. Nor have we ever seen a beginner Superman fall out of the sky." -- Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

On Amy Adams as Lois Lane...

Now, she's got to be better than Kate Bosworth's bore of a Lois Lane, right?

"Lane, as it happens, has much the more interesting narrative assigned to her – attempting to track the elusive superhero down, while trying to avoid the attentions of various security agencies – but her character is conceived far more sketchily than Kent's, with the result that the normally watchable Adams can't do much more than try for a kind of relentless perkiness as a counterweight to Cavill's frowning humourlessness."The Guardian

"This is a smart, active, modern Lois, one who does need to be rescued on occasion but is always keen to be in the thick of things. Adams and Cavill develop a spirited rapport that’s enjoyable to watch in admittedly short spurts." — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

A less damsel-in-the-distress-ed version of Lois Lane? That's something we'd totally watch.

"Adams is just as much Alpha Female as girl reporter, and gets sexiness into the first lady of comic books for the first time on the big screen. Also a first: Lois is a redhead. Get over it purists." — Joe Neumaier, NY Daily News

A redheaded Lois Lane? Blasphemy! Or, wait, no, that's just silly.

Image: Warner Bros