The critical orthodoxy has it that Man of Steel is a fine, pastoral origin-story for S******n, before it descends into an overlong, overloud finale. I agree with the second part of that assessment, but I barely noticed any modulation between soft/hard, fast/slow, quiet/LOUD in this movie. The trailer promised a morose, contemplative superhero, thoughtfully bearded, in search of himself. But, after a tacky cod-medieval prologue on Krypton, we get three minutes of shoe-gazing before S******n’s stripped to the waist, on fire, plucking workmen out of a blazing oil-rig. So much for the build-up.Everything else is just as madly paced. Hardly a scene goes by without a spectacular payoff: a schoolbus ride provides another disaster/rescue scenario moments after the oil-rig; a father-to-son conversation is interrupted by a tornado. The pacing of incidents is exhausting, and this restlessness transfers onto moments that are meant to be quiet: Kevin Costner walks through a door, and we get an extreme close-up of the thudding doorknob, to make sure we understand that a door has closed. If film is a language, Snyder is its Dan Brown. He puts the “b” in “subtle”. Snyder’s lack of sincere interest in yucky emotions or girls who aren’t firing guns in their knickers means that he manages to drain the spark from Amy Adams, although she does get to snog S******n in the rubble of Metropolis, presumably surrounding by the charred corpses of its citizens. Meanwhile, Michael Shannon caricatures his “intense!!!” reputation with an ALL-CAPS, snarling turn as General Zod, pantomiming the potentially interesting character of a race-supremacist antithesis to S******n’s father (played by Russell Crowe, who has stopped acting and now just marches around movies being noble).This was meant to be a corrective to Bryan Singer‘s reverent, stately Superman Returns, but there’s no action here as thrilling (nor as coherent) as that film’s passenger-jet-rescue sequence. And so soon after the witty, spry Iron Man 3, this Man of Steel feels interminably leaden. They wanted to make a superman film that was “dark”, but there’s a difference between “dark” and “dim”.