Man of Steel (film)
|Man of Steel|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Zack Snyder|
|Produced by||Christopher Nolan
|Screenplay by||David S. Goyer|
|Story by||Christopher Nolan
David S. Goyer
by Jerry Siegel
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Editing by||David Brenner|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||143 minutes|
Man of Steel is a 2013 American superhero film directed by Zack Snyder, produced by Christopher Nolan, and scripted by David S. Goyer. Based on the DC Comics character Superman, the film is a reboot of the Superman film series that portrays the character's origin story. The film stars Henry Cavill in the title role with Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Michael Shannon as General Zod, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, and Russell Crowe as Jor-El. Man of Steel is intended to launch a shared fictional universe of DC Comics characters on film.
Development began in 2008 when Warner Bros. Pictures took pitches from comic book writers, screenwriters and directors, opting to reboot the franchise. In 2009, a court ruling resulted in Jerry Siegel's family recapturing the rights to Superman's origins and Siegel's copyright. The decision stated that Warner Bros. did not owe the families additional royalties from previous films, but if they did not begin production on a Superman film by 2011, then the Shuster and Siegel estates would be able to sue for lost revenue on an unproduced film. Nolan pitched Goyer's idea after story discussion on The Dark Knight Rises, and Snyder was hired as the film's director in October 2010. Principal photography started in August 2011 in West Chicago, Illinois, before moving to Vancouver and Plano, Illinois.
Man of Steel's red carpet premiere in the U.S. was attended by its principal cast members in New York City on June 10, 2013. The film was released to the general public on June 14, 2013, in conventional, 3D and IMAX theaters.
The planet Krypton faces imminent destruction due to its unstable core, and its ruling council is under the threat of rebel General Zod and his followers. Scientist Jor-El and his wife Lara launch their naturally conceived newborn son Kal-El on a spacecraft to Earth, infusing his cells with a genetic codex to preserve the Kryptonian race. After Zod murders Jor-El for stealing the codex, he and his followers are captured by Kryptonian soldiers and banished to the Phantom Zone. However, Krypton explodes some time afterwards.
The infant Kal-El is raised as the adopted son of Jonathan and Martha Kent, who name him Clark. Clark's Kryptonian physiology affords him superhuman abilities on Earth, which initially cause him confusion and ostracizing, but he gradually learns to harness his powers to help others. Jonathan reveals to a teenage Clark that he is an alien and advises him not to use his powers publicly, fearing that society will reject him. After Jonathan's death, an adult Clark spends several years living a nomadic lifestyle, working different jobs under false names. He eventually infiltrates a scientific discovery of a Kryptonian scout spaceship in the Arctic. Clark enters the alien ship, and it allows him to communicate with the preserved consciousness of Jor-El in the form of a hologram. Lois Lane, a journalist from the Daily Planet who was sent to write a story on the discovery, sneaks inside the ship while following Clark and is rescued by him when she is injured by the ship's automated defenses. Lois's editor Perry White rejects her story of a "superhuman" rescuer, so she traces Clark back to Kansas with the intention of writing an exposé. After hearing his story, she decides not to reveal his secret.
Having been freed from the Phantom Zone when Krypton exploded, Zod and his crew seek out other colony worlds only to find the Kryptonian inhabitants all deceased. They eventually follow a Kryptonian distress signal that was sent from the ship discovered on Earth. Zod demands that humans surrender Kal-El, who he believes has the codex, to him, or humanity will suffer the consequences. Clark agrees to surrender to the U.S. military, who hand Lois and Clark over to Zod's second-in-command, Faora. Zod reveals that he intends to use a terraforming "world engine" to transform Earth into a new Krypton, eradicating the human population in the process, and use the codex to repopulate the planet with genetically-engineered Kryptonians. After Clark and Lois escape Zod's ship, Clark defeats Faora in Kansas, convincing the military that he is on their side. Zod deploys the world engine and initiates the terraforming in Metropolis and over the Indian Ocean.
Clark, now dubbed "Superman", stops the world engine in the Indian Ocean. The military use the spacecraft that brought Clark to Earth in an aerial strike on Zod's ship over Metropolis, returning Zod's crew to the Phantom Zone. Only Zod remains, and he and Superman engage each other across Metropolis. When Zod attempts to murder civilians in revenge for his defeat, Superman is forced to kill him. Some time later, Superman continues to earn the U.S. government's trust, although evading their efforts to spy on him to uncover his secret identity. To create an alias that gives him access to dangerous situations without arousing suspicion, Clark takes a job as a bespectacled reporter at the Daily Planet.
- A Kryptonian whose parents sent him to Earth as an infant to escape the destruction of his homeworld Krypton. He is raised in Smallville, Kansas, by farmers Martha and Jonathan Kent and becomes Earth's greatest protector, Superman. Superman is depicted as being 33 years old, at least from the moment he was found, in the present timeline of the film. Cavill is the first British actor to play the character. He was previously considered for the role in the 2006 film Superman Returns, but lost out to Brandon Routh. Cavill has stated that "There's a very real story behind the Superman character", explaining that everyone's goal has been to explore the difficulties his character faces as a result of having multiple identities – including his birth name, Kal-El, and his alter ego, Clark Kent. Cavill also stated that "He's alone and there's no one like him," referring to Superman's vulnerabilities. "That must be incredibly scary and lonely, not to know who you are or what you are, and trying to find out what makes sense. Where's your baseline? What do you draw from? Where do you draw a limit with the power you have? In itself, that's an incredible weakness." In an interview with Total Film magazine, Cavill stated he had been consuming nearly 5,000 calories a day, training for over two hours daily and plowing protein to pack on the muscle mass. Dylan Sprayberry was cast as the 13-year-old Clark Kent while 11-year-old Cooper Timberline was cast as the 9-year-old Clark Kent in June.
- Reporter for the Daily Planet newspaper and love interest of Clark Kent. Adams was selected from a list of actresses that included Olivia Wilde, Mila Kunis and Kristen Stewart. "There was a big, giant search for Lois," Snyder said. "For us it was a big thing and obviously a really important role. We did a lot of auditioning but we had this meeting with Amy Adams and after that I just felt she was perfect for it." Adams was confirmed to play Lois Lane in March 2011. While announcing the role, Snyder said in statement, "We are excited to announce the casting of Amy Adams, one of the most versatile and respected actresses in films today. Amy has the talent to capture all of the qualities we love about Lois: smart, tough, funny, warm, ambitious and, of course, beautiful." On portraying Lois Lane, Adams has stated that the film would feature a Lois Lane who is an "independent, feisty woman... but set in a more identifiable world." Adams also stated that "She has become more a free ranging journalist, someone who likes to be hands on. The nature of the newspaper business has changed so much. There is so much more pressure."
- A Kryptonian general and megalomaniac with the same superpowers as Superman. Viggo Mortensen was considered for the role. Snyder stated, "Zod is not only one of Superman's most formidable enemies, but one of the most significant because he has insights into Superman that others don't. Michael is a powerful actor who can project both the intelligence and the malice of the character, making him perfect for the role." When Goyer was asked about why Zod was chosen as the villain, he stated, "The way (Christopher) Nolan and I have always approached movies as well is you never say, 'Hey, which villain would be cool for this movie?' You start with the story first. What kind of story? What kind of theme do you want to tell? So we worked that out. Then, usually the villain becomes obvious in terms of who's going to be the appropriate antagonist for that. When you guys see the movie, the only villain we could've used was Zod and the Kryptonians. I mean, when you see what the whole story is, nothing else would have even made sense." Shannon also commented on his portrayal in comparison to Terence Stamp's original take on Zod, "To follow Terence Stamp's iconic performance in the original, it is a [daunting] but I just focused on one day at a time. It's interesting that when we started with this, we did a lot of training together and I think that kind of helped loosen things up a little bit. It is a very physical movie at the end of the day. That's a good way to find your way 'into it' [as an actor]."
- The adoptive parents of Superman. Snyder explained his reason for his casting the on-screen couple is solely for the realism: "I think the thing you realize when you look at Diane and Kevin, in our decision to cast them so far, you sort of get a sense of how tonally we're looking at the movie, and what you realize is that those guys are serious actors, and we're taking this movie very seriously in terms of the tone of having those guys. You're talking about having a situation where whatever the action is or whatever the drama of the movie is, our first priority is to make sure it's rendered in the most realistic way we can get at." Lane was the first cast member to join the film since Cavill. "This was a very important piece of casting for me because Martha Kent is the woman whose values helped shape the man we know as Superman," Snyder said in the release. "We are thrilled to have Diane in the role because she can convey the wisdom and the wonder of a woman whose son has powers beyond her imagination."
- The Editor in Chief of the Daily Planet and the boss of Lois Lane. Fishburne is the first African American to play Perry White in a live-action film. Fishburne stated that he modeled his character after Ed Bradley, stating that "my inspiration really is the late Ed Bradley, who was a CBS correspondent on 60 Minutes for many years." Fishburne continued, stating that "[the] Legendary Ed Bradley... was a friend, a mentor, and a role model for me. Particularly because he worked in journalism, and he was the kind of guy who walked with kings, but he had the common touch. And so he was my inspiration for Perry."
- The biological father of Superman. Sean Penn and Clive Owen were also considered for the role. Crowe incorporates how his own fatherhood informed his reading of the script to portray Jor-El, stating that "...it was one of those things where that's how it was connecting me. That's the question that Jor-El faces, that's the situation that he's in." Crowe also comments on his preparation for the film stating that: "When I signed on... well, one, I didn't realize that I would be wearing spandex—'cause you know that's Superman's costume—I didn't realize that I'd have to fit into it as well," Crowe says. "But, I also didn't realize the type of organizer that Zack Snyder is, 'cause this was really old school prep. This is sort of David Lean level preparation, and I really appreciated him. And I was on the movie for three-and-a-half or four months before I even got in front of the camera."
- Zod's Sub-Commander and a commander of the Kryptonian military who is completely devoted and loyal to General Zod. Ruthless, cold, and brutal in her methods, Faora's military training and skills make her a very dangerous opponent to Superman. Faora is an expert in close quarters combat and melee weaponry.
- The biological mother of Superman and loyal wife to Jor-El. Julia Ormond had previously been announced as cast, but dropped out.Connie Nielsen was in negotiations for the role before Ormond was cast.
In June 2008, Warner Bros. took pitches from comic book writers, screenwriters and directors on how to successfully restart the Superman film series. Comic book writers Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns and Brad Meltzer were among those who pitched their ideas for a reboot. "I told them, it’s not that bad. Just treat Superman Returns as the Ang Lee Hulk," Morrison said. "The Incredible Hulk has proven the audience will forgive you and let you redo the franchise," said Waid. Morrison's idea was similar to his work on All-Star Superman, while Waid's was akin to Superman: Birthright.Mark Millar, teaming with director Matthew Vaughn, also planned an epic 8-hour Superman trilogy, each installment released a year apart, similar to The Lord of the Rings. Millar compared it to the Godfather trilogy, in which it would chronicle the entire life of Superman, from the early days of Krypton to the finale where Superman loses his powers as the Sun starts to supernova. In August 2008, Warner Bros. suggested to reboot the film series. Studio executive Jeff Robinov planned to have the film released either by 2010 or 2011, explaining "Superman Returns didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to. It didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned. Had Superman worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009. Now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a Batman and Superman movie at all." Paul Levitz stated in an interview that Batman holds the key to the Superman reboot. He elaborated, "Everyone is waiting for Nolan to sign on for another Batman, once that happens, the release date for Superman and all other future projects will follow." In February 2009, McG, who previously planned to direct Superman: Flyby, expressed interest in returning to the Superman franchise. August 2009 saw a court ruling in which Jerry Siegel's family recaptured 50% of the rights to Superman's origins and Siegel's share of the copyright in Action Comics #1. In addition, a judge ruled that Warner Bros. did not owe the families additional royalties from previous films. However, if they did not begin production on a Superman film by 2011, then the Siegel estate would have been able to sue for lost revenue on an unproduced film.
The plot of Man of Steel employs a nonlinear narrative, and tells parts of the story in flashback. During story discussions for The Dark Knight Rises in 2010, David S. Goyer told Christopher Nolan his idea on how to present Superman in a modern context. Impressed with Goyer's concept, Nolan pitched the idea to the studio, who hired Nolan to produce and Goyer to write based on the financial and critical success of The Dark Knight. Nolan admired Bryan Singer's work on Superman Returns for its connection to Richard Donner's version, stating that "A lot of people have approached Superman in a lot of different ways. I only know the way that has worked for us that's what I know how to do," emphasizing the idea that Batman exists in a world where he is the only superhero and a similar approach to the Man of Steel would assure the integrity needed for the film. "Each serves to the internal logic of the story. They have nothing to do with each other." Nolan, however, clarifies that the new film would not have any relationship with the previous film series. Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, spoke to Entertainment Weekly, and allowed a peek over the wall of secrecy surrounding their DC Comics plans: "It's setting the tone for what the movies are going to be like going forward. In that, it's definitely a first step." Plans included for the film to contain references to the existence of other superheroes, alluding to the possibility of a further DC Universe.Guillermo del Toro, with whom Goyer worked on Blade II, turned down the director's position on the reboot because of his commitment on a film adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness, while Robert Zemeckis was also approached.Ben Affleck, Darren Aronofsky, Duncan Jones, Jonathan Liebesman, Matt Reeves, and Tony Scott were considered as potential directors, before Zack Snyder was hired in October 2010. Casting began the following November. Zack Snyder confirmed both Booster Gold and Batman references in the film, furthering the DC Cinematic Universe possibility. When Zod destroys a satellite, the words "Wayne Enterprises" are scrolled on the satellite.
Man of Steel features a redesigned Superman costume by Jim Acheson and Michael Wilkinson. The costume preserves the colour scheme and "S" logo, but adopts darker tones, and notably does not feature the red trunks usually worn by Superman. Zack Snyder said the costume is "a modern aesthetic [sic]". He and the producers attempted to devise a suit featuring the red trunks, but could not design one that fit into the tone of the film, leading to their removal from the suit. Due to the substantial weight a practical suit would yield, the Kryptonian armour for General Zod was constructed through CGI to allow Shannon 'freedom of movement'.
Principal photography began on August 1, 2011, at an industrial park near DuPage Airport under the codename "Autumn Frost". Zack Snyder expressed reluctance to shooting the film in 3D, due to the technical limitations of the format, and instead chose to shoot the film two dimensionally and convert the film into 3-D in post production, for a 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D release. Snyder also chose to shoot the film on film instead of digitally, because he felt it would make the film, "a big movie experience". Filming was expected to last for two to three months. Production took place in Plano on August 22 to 29. According to an interview with Michael Shannon, filming would continue until February 2012.
Man of Steel had filming in the Chicago area and Burnaby’s Mammoth Studios was transformed into Superman’s home planet of Krypton and myriad extraterrestrial aircraft. Metro lands on Vancouver's North Shore waterfront hosted the shoot for the dramatic oil rig rescue that introduces audiences to Superman. Ucluelet and Nanaimo, BC feature prominently in the film’s first hour — the trademark winter mist and rough seas are passed off as Alaska in the film. Filming took place in the Chicago Loop from September 7 to 17. Vancouver production took place from September 21, 2011 to January 20, 2012. The Chicago shoot was a unit project meaning that filming could partake numerous establishing shots as well as cutaways and may not necessarily include principal cast members.Weta Digital, MPC, and Double Negative provided visual effects for the film.
Hans Zimmer initially denied popular rumours that he would be composing the film's score. However, in June 2012, it was confirmed that Zimmer would in fact be writing the film's musical score. To completely distinguish Man of Steel from the previous films, the iconic "Superman March" by John Williams was not used in the film. Hans Zimmer's soundtrack for Man of Steel was released publicly on June 11, 2013. An unofficial rip of the musical score from the third trailer, entitled "An Ideal of Hope", and confirmed to be a cut down version of the track "What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?"  was released on April 19, 2013. In late April 2013, the official track listing of the two-disc deluxe edition was revealed.
Warner Bros. and DC Comics won the rights to the domain name manofsteel.com, in use by a member of the public, as use for the film's official website. On November 20, 2012, for the release of The Dark Knight Rises DVD and Blu-ray, Warner Bros. launched a countdown on the film's website where fans could share the countdown on websites like Facebook or Twitter to unlock an "exclusive reward". On December 3, 2012, the "exclusive reward" was revealed to be an official Man of Steel teaser poster. The poster, which depicts Superman being arrested, generated a positive response and much speculation about the film's story. On December 10, 2012, a website appeared at dsrwproject.com that provided audio signals to be decoded by viewers. It was discovered to be related to the film due to the copyright on the website. By December 11, 2012, the decoded message led readers to another website with a countdown that led to the public release of the trailer. In anticipation of the film, Mattel unveiled a toy line which includes Movie Masters action figures. In addition, LEGO will release three Man of Steel sets, inspired by scenes from the film; Rubie’s Costume Co. also released a new line of Man of Steel-inspired costumes and accessories for both kids and adults. It is reported that the film has earned over $160 million from promotional tie-ins.
Viral marketing campaigns for the film began when the official website was replaced by "deep space radio waves". The message was decoded to reveal a voice that said "You Are Not Alone". The official site continued to be updated with new static files that slowly revealed the symbol for the film's antagonist, General Zod. Shortly after, the website was replaced with a "message" from Zod, who requests that Earth must return Kal-El to his custody and tells Kal-El to surrender within 24 hours or the world would suffer the consequences. A website viral site called "IWillFindHim.com" was released that showed a countdown to the third trailer for the film.
Man of Steel currently holds a 55% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 226 reviews, with a rating average of 6.3/10. The site's consensus is that "Superman's return to the big screen is mostly successful, as Man of Steel provides enough exhilarating action and spectacle to overcome its occasional detours into generic blockbuster territory."Metacritic has given the film a weighted average score of 55/100, based on 47 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade cinemagoers under 18 years old gave for the film was an "A-", with an "A" from those older than 50 years old, on a scale of "A+ to F".
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times said that Man of Steel did not cover any new grounds with regard to Superman films and instead "we're plunged back into a mostly underwhelming film, with underdeveloped characters and supercharged fight scenes that drag on and offer nothing new in the way of special-effects creativity".The Boston Globe's Ty Burr wrote "what’s missing from this Superman saga is a sense of lightness, of pop joy".The Washington Post's Ann Hornaday stated that with "Hans Zimmer’s turgid, over-produced score", the film "is an exceptionally unpleasant viewing experience". For The Denver Post's Lisa Kennedy, the chief problem with Man of Steel is the "rhythm and balance in the storytelling and directing" which resulted in a film that swings "between destructive overstatement and flat-footed homilies." Joe Morgensten of The Wall Street Journal in his review said that the film's eventual downfall was "its surrender to the lower power of coarse-grained action and computer-generated images of inexplicable banality."
Conversely, IGN gave Man of Steel a 9 out of 10, calling the film "amazing" and praising the action sequences and the performances of Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe and Michael Shannon.The Hollywood Reporter described the approach of rebooting the franchise again as unnecessary, but that the film was confident enough and Snyder's attention to detail careful enough that audiences could overlook another reboot. Steve Persall of the Tampa Bay Times stated that "Man of Steel is more than just Avengers-sized escapism; it's an artistic introduction to a movie superhero we only thought we knew."Time magazine's Richard Corliss said that "the movie finds its true, lofty footing not when it displays Kal-El’s extraordinary powers but when it dramatizes Clark Kent’s roiling humanity. The super part of Man of Steel is just O.K.; but the man part is super."
Man of Steel has earned $128,681,486 in North America, as of June 16, 2013, and an estimated $71,600,000 in other countries, as of June 16, 2013, for a worldwide total of $200,281,486. The film earned $202.1 million on its opening weekend, including $17.5 million from IMAX theaters.
- North America
Man of Steel made $12.1 million from a Thursday night Wal-Mart screening program, and an additional $9 million from midnight shows. This marked Warner Bros.' third highest advance night/midnight opening, and the biggest advance night/midnight debut for a non-sequel.  The film eventually earned $44.0 million during its opening Friday (including midnight grosses) and $56.1 million when the Thursday night showings are included. The opening-day gross was the second biggest for a non-sequel, and the twentieth largest overall. Its opening weekend gross of $116.6 million was the second-highest opening weekend of 2013, behind Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million), and the second-highest among non-sequels. It also broke Toy Story 3's record ($110.3 million) for the highest opening weekend in June.
- Outside North America
Man of Steel earned $73.3 million on its opening weekend from 24 countries, which includes $4.2 million from 79 IMAX theaters, setting a June opening-weekend record for IMAX. The film set an opening-day record in the Philippines with $1.66 million. In the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta, Man of Steel earned $5.6 million on its opening day, which was the biggest opening of 2013 so far.
|NewNowNext Award||Cause You're Hot||Henry Cavill||Nominated|
|Next Must-See Movie||Man of Steel||Won|
|Golden Trailer Awards||Best Summer 2013 Blockbuster Poster||Won|
|Best Teaser Poster||Nominated|
|Summer 2013 Blockbuster Trailer||Nominated|
On June 10, 2013, it was announced that director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer would both be returning for a Man of Steel sequel which is being fast tracked by Warner Bros. Goyer had previously signed a three-film deal, which included Man of Steel, its sequel, and a Justice League film featuring Superman. Christopher Nolan is also expected to return as producer, albeit in a lesser role than he had in this film. On June 16, 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that the studio is planning to release the sequel in 2014.
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- Official website
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- Man of Steel at Rotten Tomatoes
- Man of Steel at Box Office Mojo