In Theatres: Now

Rating: **/4

The S on this Superman's chest might as well stand for "supremely disappointing."

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Actually, that goes for the charmless film, which plods along despite a pedigreed cast. For starters, why overcomplicate an origins tale that has held up for 75 years?

After Jor-El (Russell Crowe) ships his baby son from Krypton to Kansas, the story cuts to a grown Clark Kent (a bland Henry Cavill) serving as a deckhand on a random boat. Ok, then.

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Disconnected flashbacks lead Clark to his planet's Zod (Michael Shannon), who aims to destroy Earth with…secretly harvested DNA?! No fun costume change in a phone booth, no wowing humans with his powers and no repartee with reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams). Here, she's as gloomy as the obits page in the Daily Planet!

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Even the action feels labored, with the last hour devoted to people running from fireballs and getting thrown through walls - all by way of phony-looking CGI effects. Throughout the 143-minute opus, Clark is lectured about the importance of being a "force of good" in the world. Clearly, the filmmakers themselves weren't listening.

This article originally appeared on Man of Steel Review: Henry Cavill's Action Flick "Never Takes Flight"