RT Podcast

"Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong" About... Man of Steel

We look back at the film that kicked off the DC Extended Universe to understand why it was Kryptonite to critics and spectacular to fans.

by | March 24, 2022 | Comments

Henry Cavill in Man of Steel

(Photo by Clay Enos/©Warner Bros. Pictures)

Warner Bros. and DC were smack dab in the middle of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy when Marvel released Iron Man in 2008, and by the time 2013 rolled around, the grand experiment known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe had released six films, completed Phase One of its ambitious plans, and proven to be a runaway global success. On the heels of 2012’s team-up extravaganza The Avengers, and just one year after Nolan’s series concluded with The Dark Knight Rises, WB/DC finally jumped into the “connected universe” game with Man of Steel.

Listen Now: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | StitcherTuneIn | Google Podcasts | Radio Public | Deezer | iHeart | Art19

Directed by Zack Snyder, Man of Steel saw a pre-household name Henry Cavill step into Clark Kent’s shoes, surrounded by an A-list supporting cast that included Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne, and Russell Crowe. Yeah, this was a stacked ensemble.

The film retraced some familiar story beats – a child named Kal-El escapes his home planet Krypton just as it is destroyed and lands on Earth, where he is adopted by human parents and learns to live a normal life until a great threat compels him to use his secret powers for good. This was, after all, an origin story and a contemporary reintroduction of the character.

But despite the talent on hand and Snyder’s stylized flourishes, critics were fairly split on the film, saddling it with a 56% Tomatometer score. While some found the action and the striking visuals appropriately spectacular, others found the film cold, generic, and surprisingly dark. A lot of folks had thoughts on whether or not Cavill — and Snyder, for that matter — really understood the character of Superman, and everybody had something to say about that climactic neck snap.

There’s a lot to be said about how the next several films of the DC Extended Universe eventually panned out (and we’ve covered a few of them here), but those discussions inevitably point back to the beginning, to the tone that was set by Man of Steel and the decision to hand the reins of the whole endeavor to Zack Snyder. Was it the right choice? Was this the Superman movie we needed? Was it the one that was right for its time? Judging by the 75% Audience Score, there are certainly enough fans who think the answer to all those questions is “yes.”

Joining regular co-hosts Jacqueline Coley and Mark Ellis is returning guest John Rocha, critic, writer, host and CEO of The Outlaw Nation podcast. He absolutely believes the Tomatometer for Man of Steel should be higher and, looking back at the past several years, not only is it a terrific movie, it was probably ahead of its time. He thinks this is a great time to rewatch the film and feels confident that those who do will find new appreciation for it, even if they didn’t care for it much when it was first released. Jacqueline, on the other hand, thinks the score is too low, and points to the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve films as the gold standard for Superman. Yes, things will get heated this week.

Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”

Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:

If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.

Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

Sundance National Geographic political drama Video Games reviews foreign Winners spider-man award winner animated dramedy all-time sag awards golden globe awards Star Wars dexter book adaptation christmas movies Action Country 72 Emmy Awards 2020 Vudu Ellie Kemper MGM natural history DGA movies NBC Mary Poppins Returns Sundance TV Nickelodeon Kids & Family teaser cartoon Mary poppins unscripted king kong rt labs critics edition Starz Quiz 24 frames Endgame CMT biography nbcuniversal Writers Guild of America Warner Bros. thriller 45 Oscar GLAAD comic DirecTV Black History Month ratings documentary First Look Calendar war comic book movies Syfy Grammys cancelled CBS transformers sitcom Schedule stop motion comiccon Captain marvel Year in Review 73rd Emmy Awards Women's History Month screenings OneApp Superheroes disaster Tomatazos satire Classic Film Film Festival high school news reboot Lionsgate Heroines sopranos scary best cooking Amazon Studios tv talk kong TIFF biopic social media SXSW travel directors Anna Paquin 2019 ABC Family mcc BBC America movie Reality elevated horror revenge Image Comics Universal sequel The Walking Dead Emmys halloween Shudder dc VH1 E! Spring TV telelvision ABC target feel good Showtime Best Actor Character Guide Paramount Plus Disney Plus rotten Instagram Live true crime facebook CW Seed critics Exclusive Video comic book movie Holiday WarnerMedia Musicals joker Drama basketball black Summer art house Food Network IFC TBS jamie lee curtis Marvel Television Baby Yoda TV One discovery ViacomCBS Prime Video video halloween tv concert Disney streaming service Red Carpet TNT TV movies Netflix PBS Amazon Prime 2015 dogs science fiction leaderboard spanish language psychological thriller films casting Mystery Sneak Peek AMC series ID 71st Emmy Awards Broadway new zealand twilight anthology Tags: Comedy robots adaptation crime TCA IFC Films Emmy Nominations Universal Pictures scorecard criterion Super Bowl San Diego Comic-Con theme song game show sequels Comic Book Black Mirror Ovation saw children's TV Horror women Pride Month a nightmare on elm street summer TV preview Hollywood Foreign Press Association Avengers blaxploitation Podcast Academy Awards South by Southwest Film Festival Alien Pet Sematary historical drama hispanic heritage month PaleyFest GIFs Tarantino Awards Tour El Rey black comedy franchise scary movies Discovery Channel Hear Us Out latino Logo aliens Fox Searchlight Turner Classic Movies Western popular superman canceled festival name the review SDCC President godzilla romantic comedy worst french Cosplay crime drama Rock television young adult documentaries universal monsters BBC fresh composers free movies olympics The Witch zero dark thirty summer preview AMC Plus Cannes Disney+ Disney Plus hispanic SXSW 2022 Marathons boxing harry potter 90s Comic-Con@Home 2021 cults Musical FX cops vampires Polls and Games LGBTQ Columbia Pictures Fantasy Crunchyroll Sundance Now FX on Hulu Freeform Epix Mindy Kaling 79th Golden Globes Awards obi wan space rotten movies we love Rom-Com Comedy Central trailers Pop stand-up comedy Travel Channel japanese USA Network mission: impossible binge Lifetime fast and furious BET Awards Apple TV Plus quibi marvel cinematic universe TLC 007 DC Comics CBS All Access First Reviews Funimation batman WGN psycho Chilling Adventures of Sabrina james bond Oscars spain Photos italian SundanceTV HBO Max lord of the rings Awards rt archives Pacific Islander Infographic gangster ESPN Watching Series Sci-Fi Premiere Dates action-comedy Disney Channel blockbuster Pixar docuseries crossover Reality Competition Countdown TV MSNBC south america Chernobyl spider-verse Shondaland remakes Lifetime Christmas movies History new york docudrama The Arrangement Song of Ice and Fire golden globes indiana jones football Peacock American Society of Cinematographers TCM critic resources child's play Star Trek Nominations Creative Arts Emmys Disney ghosts ITV Biopics Apple australia TV renewals comic books DC streaming service boxoffice The CW jurassic park royal family Pirates dark MTV Holidays Christmas Adult Swim adventure scene in color book Trophy Talk summer TV heist movie Nat Geo king arthur The Academy MCU Best Picture APB Trailer asian-american legend 2016 Comedy hidden camera 20th Century Fox marvel comics cars green book laika CNN Hallmark Christmas movies Masterpiece Music Neflix Esquire Mudbound Opinion obituary Arrowverse Marvel deadpool Comics on TV TCA Awards strong female leads finale BBC One Binge Guide Cartoon Network Best Actress Paramount Network live event YouTube based on movie Legendary stoner Dark Horse Comics singing competition slashers new star wars movies PlayStation Acorn TV mob period drama Spike werewolf dceu dragons international breaking bad live action Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt serial killer police drama Valentine's Day Toys kaiju renewed TV shows USA richard e. Grant blockbusters YouTube Premium Rocky rom-coms streaming movies A24 Interview ABC Signature supernatural debate suspense Television Critics Association nature Lucasfilm TruTV Film Amazon TCA Winter 2020 OWN mockumentary spanish The Walt Disney Company adenture toronto know your critic hollywood anime 1990s Apple TV+ Superheroe IMDb TV spinoff emmy awards nfl video on demand genre Amazon Prime Video Sony Pictures VOD 94th Oscars worst movies Walt Disney Pictures chucky streamig justice league classics Hulu venice aapi GoT Crackle Brie Larson miniseries trophy politics Martial Arts 21st Century Fox medical drama E3 versus YA FOX razzies Winter TV mutant Extras doctor who crime thriller BET parents spy thriller Spectrum Originals Best Director Election toy story Fox News Pop TV A&E technology YouTube Red Teen posters Bravo kids See It Skip It Fargo witnail game of thrones superhero RT21 Elton John rt labs Trivia Best and Worst Stephen King Certified Fresh 93rd Oscars zombie cancelled television 4/20 VICE japan 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards canceled TV shows Hallmark what to watch Wes Anderson Thanksgiving prank DC Universe diversity die hard Rocketman NBA Family talk show 99% cancelled TV shows Tubi Television Academy Britbox 2018 Paramount independent Box Office NYCC wonder woman The Purge festivals LGBT pirates of the caribbean Tokyo Olympics comedies TV Land HFPA Mary Tyler Moore HBO Go Set visit slasher Turner BAFTA FXX 2017 sports vs. zombies X-Men dreamworks hist streaming TCA 2017 cancelled TV series Marvel Studios 2021 cats archives Netflix Christmas movies New York Comic Con HBO Ghostbusters cinemax indie Tumblr screen actors guild comics monster movies Animation romance Fall TV RT History