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A no-nonsense Superman in ‘Man of Steel’

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Man of Steel (2.5 stars)

With “Man of Steel,” director Zack Snyder (”300”) has made a superhero blockbuster that carries the weight of its fraught times — at least until the movie gives in to the urge to just smash things in the last half hour.

The script by David S. Goyer, from a story by Christopher Nolan, imports the dramatic agonies of the pair’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, and it’s not always a comfortable fit. “Man of Steel” has a scope that’s hard to resist, but what’s missing is a sense of lightness, of pop joy. This is about a guy who can fly, for Pete’s sake. As Superman, Henry Cavill is very good without quite convincing us he’s a star. With Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Russell Crowe as Jor-El, and crazy-eyed Michael Shannon as General Zod.

-- Ty Burr, Globe Staff

How does the newest version of an iconic character stack up against his forefathers? From a financial standpoint, the Independent delves into the numbers behind the series’ superhuman box office figures, while the Week invites readers to test their Superman knowledge.

Feeling confused by the relatively anonymous lead actor Henry Cavill? In a perfect world, you would know who he is by now, but Cavill has had the misfortune of falling just short for many big roles prior to “Man of Steel,” as documented by GQ.

“It’s also true that there’s barely an iconic starmaking role of the last decade that Cavill has not come within a hair’s breadth of getting and then missed out on. Take your pick from narrowly losing out to Robert Pattinson for his role in ‘Harry Potter’; to Christian Bale for ‘Batman’; to Pattinson (again) for the lead in the ‘Twilight’ series (‘Twilight’ author Stephenie Meyer called Cavill ‘the perfect Edward’); to Daniel Craig for James Bond; and perhaps most remarkably, to Brandon Routh for Superman, otherwise known as the Superman before this one, the ill-fated 2006 Bryan Singer version ‘Superman Returns.’”

As far as how fans are taking the latest chapter, well, we had to see this coming. A new Superman movie and the NBA’s self-proclaimed “Superman” Dwight Howard is tweeting about it the moment it hits theaters.

But what do real Superman fans think? Still to be determined, though the early reviews look promising.

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