Man of Steel is a 2013 American superhero film directed by Zack Snyder, produced by Christopher Nolan, and written 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.
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 began in August 2011 in West Chicago, Illinois, before moving to Vancouver and Plano, Illinois. Man of Steel marks the first film in an intended shared fictional cinematic universe with other DC Comics characters.
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 film became a box office success, grossing $687,999,518million worldwide, despite a mixed response from critics. Some critics highlighted the film’s narrative, acting, visuals and reinvention of the titular character, while others were critical of the film’s pacing and lack of character development. A follow-up film featuring Batman and Wonder Woman is planned for May 6, 2016.
The planet Krypton faces imminent destruction due to its unstable core, the result of depleting Krypton’s natural resources. The ruling council is deposed by the planet’s military commander General Zod and his followers during a coup d’état. Knowing that the use of artificial population control has ruined their civilization, scientist Jor-El and his wife Lara launch their newborn son Kal-El, the first naturally born Kryptonian child in centuries, on a spacecraft to Earth after infusing his cells with a genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race. After General Zod kills Jor-El, he and his followers are captured and exiled to the Phantom Zone. However, they are indirectly freed after Krypton explodes.
Kal-El’s ship lands in Smallville, a small town in Kansas. He 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 ridicule. He gradually learns to harness his powers and uses them to help others. After revealing to a teenage Clark that he is an alien, Jonathan warns him not to use his powers in public out of concern that he will be rejected by society. After Jonathan’s death, an adult Clark spends several years living a nomadic lifestyle, working different jobs under false identities, anonymously performing good deeds, and struggling to cope with the loss of his adoptive father.
Clark eventually infiltrates a U.S. military investigation of a Kryptonian scout spaceship in the Arctic. When Clark enters the alien ship, he uses a Kryptonian “control-key” from the ship that brought him to Earth, which allows him to communicate with the preserved consciousness of Jor-El in the form of a hologram. Jor-El reveals Clark’s origins, the extinction of his race, and tells Clark that he was sent to Earth to bring hope to mankind for a better future. Lois Lane, a journalist from the Daily Planet newspaper 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 its security system. 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.
Meanwhile, Zod and his crew seek out other worlds that the Kryptonian race colonized long ago, only to find out that none of the outposts survived after Krypton abandoned them. Zod and the others eventually pick up a Kryptonian distress signal sent from the ship Clark discovered on Earth. Zod arrives and demands that the humans surrender Kal-El, whom he believes has the codex, or else Earth will be destroyed. Clark accepts, and the military hand him and Lois over to Zod’s second-in-command, Faora, at Zod’s request. Zod reveals that he intends to use a terraforming “world engine” to transform Earth into a new Krypton and use the codex to repopulate the planet with genetically-engineered Kryptonians, killing all of Earth’s indigenous life in the process. Clark and Lois escape Zod’s ship with Jor-El’s help, Clark defeats Faora and another Kryptonian, and convinces the military that he is an ally. Zod deploys the world engine and initiates the process in Metropolis and over the southern Indian Ocean, increasing the Earth’s mass and atmosphere.
Clark, now called “Superman”, destroys the world engine, while the military uses the spacecraft that brought him to Earth in an aerial strike on Zod’s ship over Metropolis, sending Zod’s forces back into the Phantom Zone. Only Zod remains, and he engages Superman in a destructive battle across Metropolis using his newly developed powers. When Zod attempts to murder cornered civilians as revenge for his defeat, Superman is forced to kill him. Some time later, Superman warns the government that, if it wants his help, it will be on his terms. To create an alias that gives him access to dangerous situations without arousing suspicion, Clark takes a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet.
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First Published: Jul 15, 2012 – Last Updated: Mar 30, 2014