Man of Steel (12A) ****

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In the 35 years since Christopher Reeve took flight as Superman, the iconic hero has been laid to rest in a best-selling DC Comics storyline, endured teen angst in the long-running TV series Smallville, and stumbled in the 2006 blockbuster Superman Returns.

In the 35 years since Christopher Reeve took flight as Superman, the iconic hero has been laid to rest in a best-selling DC Comics storyline, endured teen angst in the long-running TV series Smallville, and stumbled in the 2006 blockbuster Superman Returns.

Henry Cavill as Superman. ''Picture: PA Photo/Warner Bros Pictures.

Henry Cavill as Superman. ''Picture: PA Photo/Warner Bros Pictures.

Last year, Batman, another DC Comics stalwart, hung up his cowl in the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s award-winning Dark Knight trilogy, so the time has come to resurrect Krypton’s prodigal son.

Nolan’s fingerprints as producer and storyline co-writer are evident on every digitally enhanced frame of Zack Snyder’s film.

Man Of Steel is cast in the mould of Batman Begins, removing any traces of campness or charm that distinguished the 1970s and 1980s big screen incarnations.

What remains is a bombastic and bruising reboot, punctuated by overblown set pieces, which traces the central character’s journey from his war-ravaged home planet to the sun-kissed fields of Kansas.

It’s a thrilling opening salvo that frequently quickens the pulse, but seldom touches the heart.

Kryptonian General Zod (Michael Shannon) and sadistic right-hand woman Faora-Ul (Antje Traue) stage a coup on their doomed world.

So, leading scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) despatches his only son, Kal-El, to Earth where farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner, Diane Lane) raise the crash-landed infant and christen him Clark.

Many years later, Clark (Henry Cavill) is tracked down by plucky Daily Planet reporter, Lois Lane (Amy Adams), who agrees to keep his secret.

Until General Zod comes to Earth.

Cavill looks the part, but his performance lacks emotion.

Thankfully co-stars Shannon, Adams and Costner are in fine form, particularly the latter.