We had to wait seven years for the return of superhero MAN OF STEEL (12: Warner) following the lukewarm reception given to Superman Returns.
But encouraged by the success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, the last son of Krypton is back in the strapping shape of British actor Henry Cavill.
Nolan is co-producer and story provider for a reboot that mixes the plots of the first two Christopher Reeve fantasy adventures,.
Unlike those classics, it’s more Matrix than mythic.
The Krypton depicted here is run by computers, although Russell Crowe as superdad scientist Jor-El at least gets his Gladiator mojo working when he battles to send baby Kal-El to Earth.
Flashbacks reveal Clark Kent’s time in Smallville with his parents (Kevin Costner, Diane Lane), but his struggle to deal with being “different” undermines the film’s momentum.
And while Cavill certainly looks the part, when he dons his iconic supersuit for the first time, it’s a strangely muted moment instead of a rousing one.
When General Zod (Michael Shannon) and his icy henchwoman start throwing their weight around, there’s plenty of Transformers-style destruction, with the smackdown in Metropolis making the climax of Avengers Assemble resemble a minor fracas.
But the failure to create sustained emotional depth feels like a lost opportunity, so let’s hope that any sequel has script and direction that’s more superpowered.
> Bizarre, bloodthirsty drama ONLY GOD FORGIVES (18: Lionsgate) sees the star and director of thriller Drive (Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn) reunited.
At times agonisingly slow and punctuated with graphic scenes of extreme violence, it will only reward those of you brave enough to stay with it.
I bet it will at the very least alienate the vast majority of Gosling’s teen fanbase.
He plays Julian, who runs a drug-dealing operation using the cover of his Bangkok boxing club.
When his psychotic brother is murdered, he comes under pressure from their domineering mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) to kill the man responsible.
A bog standard pulp gangster flick? Nothing of the sort as Refn focuses on Julian’s torment as he hides a terrible secret and unwittingly summons up a supernatural angel of vengeance in the form of a blade-wielding detective who stalks him through the city’s streets.
> Hysterical cop comedy THE HEAT (15: Twentieth Century Fox) follows a familiar formula, but a simple gender twist and great casting keeps things sizzling.
Sandra Bullock and Melissa (Bridesmaids) McCarthy make an inspired double act.
The film has a wobbly start as each woman separately tries to negotiate her way through a man’s world and bring a drugs baron to justice.
But as soon as they pool resources it becomes a fluid, fun and foul-mouthed buddy flick.
Despite being the bigger name, Bullock generously plays the straight ‘man’ as a prissy type knocked sideways by her partner.
Her gift for physical comedy is brilliantly employed and there’s some cracking banter between the pair, with much of it feeling improvised.
One of the best scenes – the girls getting drunk in a bar – trades on visual gags and clever cutting by director Paul Feig, who also made Bridesmaids.