Though there is no sign the writer-director ever suffered through TV pilot season, somewhere Nolan picked up a knack for teasing out the unexplained. It was there in 2000's "Memento," his breakout film, and Nolan has been leaving much unsaid quite cannily ever since.
Which brings us back to "Man of Steel." The director is always first in the line of fire when it comes to laying blame for a film's shortcomings, but Snyder has never been accused of being cautious or fearful.
Snyder has been bold, starting with "300's" distinctive portrait of heroic death in 2006. More visually than verbally expressive, "300's" very brashness put Snyder on the map.
The director's last outing, 2011's "Sucker Punch," was certainly not shy. As one of maybe three critics in the world to like the movie, I did, and I do, see merit in its Dickensian morality tale.
The dialogue offered little about "Sucker Punch's" orphans, such as why the teen girls were hookers or mainly dressed in bustiers and baby doll pajamas. The reasons for the living hell they were in and the various purgatory war zones they were forced to survive were never spelled out. The stunning imagery answered most of the questions.
All this is not to suggest that "Man of Steel" should have been one big question mark. But the high-flying aerial showdown between Superman and his archnemesis Gen. Zod (Michael Shannon), an impressive way to leave a city in ruins, told us what we needed to know about their grudge match. Cavill and Adams' on-screen spark was so hot as Superman and Lois, it let us know without words that this could be a love story for the ages. But the specter of Jor-El coming in for another over-share was always looming.
Now a word to the filmmakers about the sequel, because you know — cha-ching — it is coming. Start by keeping in mind that audiences are a pretty discerning bunch these days. TV has learned to trust its viewers, serving up brilliantly challenging shows. We have rewarded them by watching.
So next time, instead of talking about a leap of faith, try taking one. On us.