After a slight hiccup called Superman Returns (2006), a new Man of Steel, starting Henry Cavill, is ready for his 21st-century close-up. Executive produced by Christopher Nolan, with a script by David S. Goyer and directed by 300-stylist Zack Snyder, Man of Steel takes flight and rarely comes down for a breather. Fans of the director will be in awe of his world building, planet cracking and slow-motion everything tempo, while those looking for a more down-to-earth tale might get dizzy. Though the effects do make us believe a man can fly, rip through buildings and toss planes, Clark's struggle between life lessons from his two fathers keeps us invested.
With an all-star cast that includes Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne and Michael Shannon, Cavill outshines them all as the one and only son of Krypton. So what makes Man of Steel truly super? Our seven favorite moments.
1. Henry Cavill Is the Supes Who Doesn't Need Glasses: If there's one takeaway from Iron Man, it's that secret identities are lame. Steel is like Batman Begins—the flick is less interested in hiding a super suit and more interested in what kind of person such a suit on. Clark still grows up in Kansas, but for nearly the entire run time, he never wears glasses. Best of all, this means no frustrating scenes where Lois doesn't realize Clark is Superman. Speaking of Lois…
2. Lois Lane Is a Good Reporter: She's always been tough and smart, but never really all that observant. Amy Adams is charming as ever being a real investigative reporter. Her last line to Clark is perfect.
3. It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's CGI-tastic: Director Snyder has numerous scenes of spectacle: gun fire, fiery spaceships and an exploding planet. And that's just the prologue. The way Clark first discovers his X-ray vision is terrifying, which is fitting for a story that's less comic book flick, more alien invasion picture.
4. Zod Is Very Dangerous, No Silly Green Kryptonite Needed: Zod (Shannon) is interested in way more than earthlings kneeling before him. All Kryptonians are genetically engineered for a purpose. Zod's purpose is to protect his kind. No matter the cost. The cost here is the genocide of the human race. He's not exactly a sympathetic villain, but his motives are as strong as his head, a head used to bust open walls.
5. A Tale of Two Dads: Even at two and a half hours, the film is faster than a speeding bullet so casting was key. Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent imbue each part with their own screen presence: We trust Kent because he makes fields of dreams, Jor-El since he was a gladiator in a previous life.
6. Just Enough Flashbacks for an Origin Story: Sony Pictures learned the hard way with last year's Spider-man reboot: audiences get restless with a first whole hour solely focused on becoming a real American hero. Here, Clark's childhood is scattered across the story as memories in mind, which works well.
7. Connections to Dark Knight?: Christian Bale said he'd suit up if Nolan wants him for the Justice League film. Before Man of Steel hit theaters, that sounded off. If Superman was in the same universe as The Dark Knight Rises, why didn't he just swoop in and grab Bane while Wayne was recuperating in the pit? Turns out, the last of son of Krypton actually has a reason. After being on our planet for 32 years though, his presence is finally made known, which at that point, all bets are off. He's here to stay, so Gotham watch out!