DC's Superman: Man of Steel is a live-action superhero film produced by Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Entertainment, based on the iconic DC Comics hero by the same name. It is the overall first film of the DC Extended Universe, being the original film of Phase 1 as well. It was released on June 14th 2013, meeting strong critical reviews.
Superman had many adaptations in the past. Including the original with Christopher Reeves, the almost started franchise with Nicholas Cage, and the failed franchise with Brandon Routh. DC Comics had wanted to reboot Superman as early as the mid two-thousands. Though the film remained in development as different directors, and creative teams kept pitching ideas for a new trilogy that were either rejected by Warner Bros & DC or simply stagnated traction from the creative minds themselves.
In early 2010 they had finally come to an arrangement for Darren Aronofsky to help make a rebooted Superman film with a slated release sometime in 2013. He had many ideas of how to make a modern, more realistic and harsher adaptation of the classic superhero, more similar to Christopher Nolan's smash-hit movie The Dark Knight and a far-cry from the less well-received Superman Returns, the movie was officially titled Superman: Man of Steel from Aronofsky himself.
As the film was just starting to be in the early stages of Pre-Production Geoff Johns had signed on with Warner Bros. and DC to produce a shared universe of films made to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it was then agreed the Superman movie would be the first film of their new continuity, with Johns himself helping to write & produce. Darren Aronofsky wanted the film much darker and more serious than other Superman adaptations, seeing Superman as more of a loner and a tragic outcast, being a Kryptonian amongst humans. But Aronofsky being a fan of the comics also wanted to keep the hopeful, optimistic, and overall good essence of the classic character. Aronofsky being the director kept his idea of Superman being an outcast on Earth, and his first choice for a villain, General Zod (Johns originally wanted Lex Luthor and Brainiac to be the villains). But he did need to add in references to the greater DC Comics universe, and the shared universe Warner Bros. was attempting to build.
Another aspect Aronofsky wanted to focus on were the visuals of the movie. That Superman would benefit from a much more Alien, sleek, and modernized adaptation of his classic costume (specifically talking omitting the Red Underwear, deeming it outdated). The movie's casting also seemed to go off without much of a hitch, with Michael Shannon being cast as General Zod, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lois Lane, and Henry Cavill as Superman respectively.
Principle photography was shot in 2012 and the film remained in Post-Production until June 2013, when it was released worldwide in Standard Format and 3-D.
- Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman
- Michael Shannon as Dru-Zod/General Zod
- Antje Traue as Faora-Ul
- Russell Crowe as Jor-El
- Ayelet Zurer as Lara Lor-Van
- Dennis Quaid as Jonathan Kent
- Diane Lane as Mary Kent
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lois Lane
- Caleb Landry Jones as Jimmy Olsen
- Christopher Meloni as General Nathaniel Hardcastle
- Danny Glover as Perry White
The movie starts on the planet of Krypton where General Dru-Zod is being brought before the Council along with his accomplices Faora and Nam-Ek. They claim he is on trial for environmental terrorism, and the General says that he is simply trying to save their people from inevitable destruction that is coming from reckless exploitation of the planet's resources. The council then calls out Science Guild Head Jor-El to speak on the matter. They ask him to explain if he believes Zod and his allies to be guilty and he claims they are, explaining all the terrible acts they have done in the name of "saving" Krypton. They then ask Jor-El if he agrees with their ideology of the planet dying, he looks down and says that he does not. What is happening is simply geographical reconfigurations that will correct themselves shortly. Zod gives Jor-El an angry look for saying that but remains silent. The Council after that says they find Zod, Faora and Nam-Ek guilty of treason, murder, brutality, and mass panic. They are to be sentenced to the Phantom Zone effective immediately.
Jor-El rushes out of the room hugs his worrying wife, Lara Lor-Van. Standing there the couple sees General Zod being taken away by the guards, he viciously yells at Jor-El saying how he was one of the founders of their cause and only because of his research did they know of Krypton's impending doom. Zod wishes that he and his family dies horribly in what's to come! Lara asks Jor-El what he's talking about and he tells her that General Zod is right about everything, Krypton is dying and the current chaos going on outside is just the beginning. That he wanted to find a peaceful, coherent solution but that when Zod found out he became more aggressive and violent to try and fix it. He refused to work with him once he took up terrorism! Lara asks why he lied to the council about this. He says that General Zod's action created a negative stigma towards those who believed in it, and he didn't want to be taken in by the Council, or else he wouldn't be able to do it. Lara asks what he wants to do and the two fly over to their home housing their baby son, Kal-El. Jor-El picks up the infant and then shows Lara an aircraft he had spent months building in a secret chamber, claiming it's the only one on Krypton based on the old model before Space Travel was forbidden as a result of the Daxam War. It'll send Kal-El to the planet Earth the native species are physically identical to Kryptonians and it's in a yellow sun system, he will be strong enough to survive whatever challenges he might face on their primitive world. Lara begins to weep saying how he'll be truly alone in the universe the Last Son of Krypton. Her husband comforts her saying he hopes that the young boy will be a braver man than he, good enough to keep their culture going.
After that a large tremor shakes the building and Jor-El says they have to ship him out now. They put Kal-El into the personalized pod section of the ship and inject a crystal looking piece of technology into it Jor-El simply saying it's "for guidance." After he says goodbye to his son while the ship flies out of the atmosphere, simultaneously General Zod and his accomplices are being sentenced to the Phantom Zone, while he mutters under his breathe how his deepest regret is not being able to personally enact revenge on the traitor Jor-El. The ship fully leaves and Zod is teleported away, while on Krypton land begins breaking apart brutally and everything collapsing Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van holding hands watching it unfold. In space the planet violently explodes, with Kal-El's ship safely leaving the Red Sun's gaze and heading to Earth.