There’s no denying that Richard Donner set the bar for the “Superman” franchise with his 1978 film. The icy landscapes of Planet Krypton, John Williams’ vigorous musical score, Christopher Reeve’s iconic performance, every aspect of Donner’s movie remains definitive. Since then, most interpretations of Superman have either drawn inspiration from or paid homage to the original classic. One has to give director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan credit for taking “Man of Steel” in the complete opposite direction. Where Donner’s “Superman” was light, funny, and colorful, “Man of Steel” is dark, serious, and brooding. The film presents a vision of Superman that’s new and bold with a satisfying payoff.
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