Nothing can top Christopher Reeve as the iconic Superman, but kudos to Henry Cavill for trying. He's not bad, after all, but the screenplay sure is a mess.
We start with Superman's birth on a planet that isn't earth, with Russell Crowe dressed something like his Gladiator character and a woman screaming in maternal pain. I'm still with it at this point, but rapidly fading.
Superman grows up (with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as adoptive parents) and suppresses his gift, with a few impulsive exceptions (like lifting a school bus out of a river following an accident). Pulitzer Prize-winner Lois Lane (Adams) later catches on to his powers and his secret is out (in modern-day fashion, she leaked the story herself).
This doesn't bode well for her when the bad guys from his planet come to collect on his DNA, etc. and she's dragged along for whatever reason.
At this point, I was craving the simplicity of the Superman movies I loved throughout childhood and making a game of counting how many times broken glass crashed during the action scenes (when I got bored of counting, I think I was up to 14).
Though the screen is coated with top-list talent (the guy from House of Cards; the guy from West Wing; the guy from Take Shelter)—and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy when Stabler from Law and Order: SVU showed up—their presence does not a good movie make.
The last (lengthy) half is all action and very little of it is exciting. There isn't a lot of fun or humor and only a trace of romance is to be found between the two leads.
This was a big, showy, loud, action-packed disappointment, which happened to be full of some of the best players in Hollywood.