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Spotlight: Man of Steel 

Hans Zimmer's bombastic score is a total of perhaps four musical notes, and as it escalates to unprecedented decibels in just about every scene of Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, you long desperately for earplugs and a moment of onscreen calm.

You won't get the latter. Snyder's Superman reboot — the first in the franchise not to use "Superman" in the title — is a non-stop CGI romp. And unlike Star Trek: Into Darkness, which was heavy on action but had a story beneath it which lent (at the very least) a pretense for recurring climaxes, Man of Steel is a monstrous mess. It doesn't even grant audiences the "origin story" pleasures of watching a superhero discovering his powers. Instead, Snyder begins the film with Clark Kent as an adult, providing essential back story via dreamy flashbacks —Beasts of the Kansas Wild?—featuring Kevin Costner, who seems incapable of doing anything but imparting Crucial Life Lessons.

The final battle sequence wreaks so much outlandish infrastructural chaos on Metropolis that it's impossible to take seriously. Skyscrapers literally crumble left and right. Michael Shannon is little more than a generic villain for hire, and Amy Adams is fine as Lois Lane, though it's not like she has much to work with.

Some interesting visual elements throughout and a strong showing from Henry Cavill as the eponymous Man of Steel, but it's a jumble of misplaced priorities here. (Allard)

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