Henry Cavill Says ‘Man of Steel’ Is Not A ‘Dark’ Movie; Mark Millar Approves

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 17th, 2013 at 11:57 pm,

Superman Man of Steel Not Dark Henry Cavill Says Man of Steel Is Not A Dark Movie; Mark Millar Approves

Ever since Man of Steel was announced, following the success of Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ Dark Knight trilogy, the comparisons have been drawn, and expectations established. But not without cause. Director Zack Snyder has called the film “edgy,” and the words ‘realistic’ and ‘grounded’ have been thrown around like so many speeding bullets. But now, Superman (Henry Cavill) himself is putting fears to rest.

Even though Man of Steel will no doubt be serious (or as serious as any modern superhero film), Cavill is explaining that as realistic as the movie may try to be, it’s a far cry from ‘dark.’

Christopher Nolan has maintained that he may be executive producing Man of Steel, but that the film is Zack Snyder’s above anyone else’s. Even David S. Goyer has explained that making Superman as dark a figure as Batman would have been much easier than trying to ground his character in something audiences could relate to.

Who better to ask about the mood, or so-called “serious” approach being taken by Snyder in this version of the ‘Man of Steel’s origin story than the man in the tights – er, Kryptonian armor – himself? Speaking with Empire Magazine (courtesy of CBM) Henry Cavill addressed the rumors that Man of Steel would be anywhere near as ‘dark’ as Nolan’s Batman films, in about as direct a manner as one could imagine:

“It’s not a dark movie by any means. Past representations of the character have been quite light… This is a more realistic view of the character, while still maintaining the very unrealistic, or potentially unrealistic features of an alien with superpowers.”

“There is more action in Man of Steel than any of the Dark Knight Films”

Given Superman’s extraterrestrial origins and superpowers we’d certainly hope that there would be more high-flying action, but Cavill is wise to confirm that Man of Steel is an adventure movie, after all. And more importantly, that previous Superman movies were always a bit “light” – that is, removed from reality by a healthy amount.

That’s the problem that Goyer is trying to solve with his script, approaching Man of Steel not as fantasy, but “as if it were real.” But as Cavill points out, the film will always center around a superhuman. In that sense, it’s likely in the film’s best interest to let the superpowers generate their own spectacle, and focus on humanizing ‘Clark’ when he’s not, you know, exchanging punches with Kryptonian soldiers.

Superman Man of Steel Not a Comic Book Movie Henry Cavill Says Man of Steel Is Not A Dark Movie; Mark Millar Approves

Over on his own website, comic book writer and outspoken movie fan Mark Millar decided to weigh in on Zack Snyder’s new take on Superman. Following the release of even more photos of Henry Cavill in costume, there’s a good chance that many skeptics will start coming around on the idea of the relatively-unknown actor being saddled with the pressure of playing Superman; Millar is one of them.

Even though Millar didn’t feel that the comic book character was successfully cast in the cases of either Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) or Tom Welling (Smallville), Cavill is a different story:

“It’s hard to put a finger on it, but sometimes it just feels right. Curt Swan and Alex Ross have captured Superman better than any other artist. Cary Bates, Elliot Maggin, Mark Waid, Gerry Conway and Alan Moore have nailed it more than any other writer. There have been some brilliant creators on Superman over the years telling wonderful stories, but my radar is attuned and I can spot an impersonation.”

“…But I completely buy Cavill in this role. That instinctive gut feeling that I’m looking at a pic of Superman… I don’t even mind the costume. Losing the trunks was pointless, throws the balance of the design off and looks truly, truly HORRIBLE in the comics. But the muted colours work really well, those dark blues and reds really making the pics look very rich and regal. I love how this is looking. Cavill was a great choice, but then Snyder has a great eye. Cracking team behind this so I have high hopes.”

Millar certainly isn’t alone on that front (or in taking issue with the changes to DC’s New 52), as Warner Bros. is waiting to see if Snyder and Cavill can deliver a hit with audiences before moving forward on plans for a Justice League film. Millar has previously claimed that screenwriter Will Beall (Gangster Squad) has already prepared a script for the team-up movie that is “dark and mature,” so perhaps his approval of Cavill stretches beyond a single film.

For now we’ll have to just wait and see, but these new updates should hopefully put some fears to rest, particularly among those who feel that Man of Steel won’t be action-packed or light-hearted at times; though, it probably won’t. How about you: any change in opinion, either way?

Man of Steel hits theaters June 14th, 2013. Pick up Empire‘s March issue on newsstands this Thursday.


Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Mark Millar, Empire (via CBM)

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. “There is more action in Man of Steel than any of the Dark Knight Films” is enough to get me in the theater seat.

  2. I’m really glad there’s gonna be loads of action in this movie an I’m sure every fighting scene will look amazing, the only other thing I’m hoping for is that the script and story will be on par with the action in it.

    • I agree superman has always needed action and it sounds like we are finally getting it, sounds great to me looking forward to this one

    • Exactly! I don’t really see why people are complaining when they’re finally, finally giving us a movie where perhaps the strongest superhero ever really, REALLY gets to break stuff.

  3. ^^ was now gonna quote that lol

  4. greatest news yet

  5. I’m just repeating myself when I say my excitement for this movie is growing by the second!

  6. Hell Yeah…

  7. I hope louis lane is not in this movie or just plays a small part. I think we all had enough of these romance scenes in superhero movies. green lantern would of been better without those constant romance scenes.

    • Louis Lane! Now THERE’S a twist!

    • you can’t have clark kent without louise!

    • Not sure about that Louis fellow, but Lois Lane will definitely play a major role. Think you might like her this time,
      as she’s played by 4 time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams, the best actor ever to work in a superhero film.

      • She’s certainly up there, along with Marlon Brando, Heath Ledger, Russell Crowe, Gary Oldman, Jack Nicholson, George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, etc.

        • I’d certainly kick Clooney out of that bunch and put Edward “the great” Norton in there … …

      • Not to mention people who have actually won Oscars. Like, say maybe Cliff Robertson, Gene Hackman, Ben Kingsley, Russell Crowe, Jeff Bridges, Christopher Walken, Michael Caine, Jack Palance, Tommy Lee Jones, Tim Robbins, Christian Bale, Sally Field, Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry, Marion Coltillard, Natalie Potman, Anna Paquin, Kim Basinger and Jennifer Connelly.

        • Wow, totally forgot Tim Robbins was in Green Lantern

          • He probably hopes everyone else did too.

            • Zing!

    • I’m sorry but love scene or not Green Lantern would have still sucked…

  8. More action doesnt make it a better movie… Its all about story! I have high hopes for this movie :)

    • F**k that I want my Superman movie filled with lots of action.

      • Action for the sake of action is pointless.

        If you don’t care about the characters or story, then the movie will surely bomb.

        • He cares about the Character hence the reason he wants action. If he wanted story he would watch Fried Green Tomatoes.

          • +1

    • Normally I would agree with you. However,

      I am 32 years old. I grew up watching Reeve as Superman… in my home.

      I watched Superman Returns in the theatre.

      What this means is… I have not, in my entire life, seen Superman fight on the big screen. I agree that story, direction and acting are all important, but in this movie, they need to really show what Superman can do.

      Make it “The Raid” of Superman movies. Please.

      • I so freakin agree!!!

  9. Well done, Cavill. He said just what I wanted to hear. Not that I was worried about this movie anyways…

  10. Can’t Wait!!!!

  11. Brainiac Cameo neone?

    • Im down with that and bring in doomsday for the third one

  12. It seems mark miller chimes in on every superhero film imaginable lol

  13. Not really excited for this, very very very very low expectations for it, i’ll most likely rent it or wait for it on cable. I least i know that Marvel won’t disappoint me, DC? not so much.

    • ah, the inevitable Marvel troll, trying to throw cold water on the latest threat to your self-proclaimed dominance. Back to Assgard with you, nattering nabob of

      • @Phil

        How is Norrin trolling? He’s expressing his opinion. Albeit, he’s a bit condescending towards DC, but certainly not trolling. You, on the other hand…

        • Yes but why do you go see (if you have) The Expendables? Why would you go see The Notebook? Why would you go see Texas Chainsaw Massacre(pick one)?

          Why would you go see a Superman movie?

          While im not saying they cant be thought provocative or well written they need a certain level of action. They need a certain level of comic book to them.

          DC has yet to be able to show this. Marvel has. Heck as far back as Blade and even Daredevil. To actually see it from DC you would have to go back prior to that.

    • We all know D.C is a bit of a fail with movies and shows…But yea right, we all know you are going to see this in theatres!!!

  14. Should be a good film, how good? Only time will tell. Its all on snyder imo.

  15. from the man himself!!

  16. Yay, Superman will actually punch someone this time

  17. For me, the big question when it comes to Justice League is Will Beall. Gangster Squad was…underwhelming despite a great cast and solid premise.

    • Same. I’m totally psyched for MOS, but Justice League… not so much. Besides the fact we have literally heard nothing concrete since the announcement, a huge factor of this was going to be the story. Cramming 5+ superheroes and 1+ villain into 1 film without origin movies (except maybe MOS and maybe GL), would be difficult for even talented writers. Seeing how Beall seemingly failed with Gangster Squad, I’m pretty damn worried.

      • I agree it was underwhelming, but one thing i took from the film was its dialouge which fit the time perfectly. Plus its a first script so i wont be to harsh. For me atleast the film was all style no substance.

    • The writing may be suspect (although I haven’t seen Gangster Squad to form a proper opinion), but I think that the success of the JL movie will ultimately rest with whoever directs the film.

      There are some obvious reasons why a director hasn’t been announced yet. But, the fact that there isn’t one concerns me.

  18. I’ve been making the point this whole time that it was never going to be ‘dark’ and that the term was being mishandled and overused. A ‘dark’ film is something like “Donnie Darko,” and not even The Batman Trilogy was close to that. When people say ‘dark,’ most of them either don’t know what they’re talking about or mean to say ‘serious’ or perhaps ‘grounded.’ To those terms, I say hallelujah! I find the Donner films rather light and somewhat corny at times now that I’m an adult, though they seemed cool when I was a kid. Smallville had it’s moments in the sun and over all, I enjoyed the series. Superman Returns was basically an homage and continuation to the Donner films and just lacked in action and in real emotion. It was kind of stale and flat. It wasn’t horrible, just not up to par with expectations of a Superman film.

    Now, we have “Man of Steel.” The story by both Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. Goyer had a hand in all three Batman movies, including the story for The Dark Knight (along with Christopher Nolan), which was by most people’s accounts, not only the best of the trilogy but also a masterpiece of a film. That script, however was penned by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan respectively. Goyer, however, did write the screenplay for Batman Begins and has lot’s of experience in origin stories and writing characters from comic books.

    With that said, I am feeling really good about the film based on the approach taken, the writers involved and the trailers up to this point. I think we may be looking at a record breaking film in the making. After all, Superman is probably the most well known of Super Heroes, and because of the names attached to this film, it will get a lot of attention in the months ahead…

    • Excuse the typing errors… Sorry.

    • I have been saying the exact same thing, thank god someone understands!!!

  19. I’m just ready to finally get a badass, kickass Superman. Seriously the action alone with all the great special effects these days will have me there opening night. I seriously don’t care if critics get wet over this film or not. I’m not expecting a masterpiece…I just want to see Superman doing his thing like a boss and straight merk the bad guys.

  20. More action?? Hell yeah!!!

  21. I have never heard of Cavill before but as soon as i saw a pic of him i felt that he looked like superman did in the comics.

  22. To be perfectly honest – and to risk being flamed and comment-assaulted – I would rather this movie weren’t “grounded and more realistic.”

    Why? Pretty straightforward, actually. It’s Superman. It’s supposed to be otherworldly, full of action, surreal elements, anything but grounded. Again risking fan(atic) backlash, I heavily dislike the “Nolan approach” and have found the Dark Knight trilogy to be pretty lacklustre (no pun intended) and despite claims that it was a realistic and more real-world take on Batman, nearly 90% of the trilogy are situations and elements that are as far from realistic as Pluto is from Malaysia.

    In my opinion – underlining “opinion” here – a movie featuring as fantastic a character as Superman should embrace the unreal and potentially ludicrous, not try to be realistic like Nolan’s three movies are wrongly claimed to be. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “make Superman a god and make it non-stop cgi action with no substance or character development,” that’s idiotic. However, if there is anything that superhero fiction has taught me (us?), it’s that these otherworldly stories and concepts can work and have worked when combined with grounded (I apologize for the repetition of certain terms and phrases) elements such as romance, question of identity, betrayal etc.

    While I won’t be first in line to watch this movie (mostly because I dislike crowds), I will watch it nonetheless and have high hopes for its success.

    P. S. I also apologize if this comment gets double-posted.

    • I get what you’re sayin & agree. Especially if they “WB/DC” want a shared universe with villains that aren’t grounded or easily taken seriously realistic as Batman’s.

    • I agree. Bright colors and high flying adventure… He’s Superman. He walks on the moon… Who cares if its a little unrealistic.

      • @ Jason


    • Oh come on. did you guys even read this or the easier articles about this film. yeah the wrong words have been used but they are starting to use the right words. this movie is anything but realistic except the fact its our real modern day world. they are keeping all the fantastic and unrealistic features that make him superman. he is an alien with there abilities beyond what has been possible to even create to their largest extent beyond cartoons. and is anyone really worried that a zac snyder film won’t have spectacular action. finally superman will get everything we have been wanting for him. amazing action good character driven story and the fact that humans lesser qualities will be overcome by his qualities. i will be there opening night 100 percent. and i will probably see this more than once in theaters. this movie will be great.

    • I don’t think the movie itself will be realistic since it does happen to feature the Last Son of Krypton. The “realism” that Goyer and Snyder have been pointing to is about the human reaction to being like Superman actually existing. If a superpowered being was found flying around Chicago, the military would be there in a heartbeat. We’d see different talking heads weighing in on the implications of such a being existing. That’s where the “realism” is going to come into play.

      Let’s consider another movie: Teen Wolf (if anyone mentions the MTV show… shame on you). If a kid transformed into a werewolf during a basketball game, do you think people would be cool with him because he can dunk? Of course not. That’s the thought process behind the “realism” in Man of Steel.

      Superman himself will be as he always is. He won’t be dark. He’s going to be strong. He’s going to fly. He’s going to have x-ray and heat vision. It’s just the world he inhabits on screen will be more recognizable to our own, including peoples’ reaction to a real Superman existing.

      • Well said. I completely agree.

  23. Looking forward to this movie – but I have always felt the villians have let Superman movies down in the past – Lex Luthor should never have come back after Superman The Movie.
    Superman has to have the best special effects of any superhero movie as he’s the Daddy of all superhero movies – It would be sad if this new film fails to capture the imagination of the next generation of hero fans.

  24. “Man of Steel hits theaters June 14th, 2013.”

    Well what a nice birthday gift for me, and while hitting another milestone with the big 5-oh at the same time.


    Big fan of Chris Reeve as Supes, but looking forward to this one.

    • Congrats on the landmark. More congrats on being able to operate a computer. ;)

      • oh no he di’nt!

      • Don’t scare all the old folk away! (^-^)

      • What’s a com-pu-ter? :-D

        • @Kahless the Unforgettable

          Scotty: Computer! Computer?
          [He's handed a mouse, and he speaks into it]
          Scotty: Hello, computer.
          Dr. Nichols: Just use the keyboard.
          Scotty: Keyboard. How quaint.

      • @leathercheerio

        Watch it or I’ll throw my abacus at you!


      • @leathercheerio

        I did forget to say ‘thank you’ even though it was a back handed compliment!


  25. Glad im not the only thinkin losing the red trucks was pointless & made the costume looked worse. Mark Miller agrees on that issue aswell.

    As for this article,it was good one & i hope MOS can deliver.

  26. I cannot wait to see “The Man of Steel” come on the big screen this summer.

  27. Superman is a character that needs to inspire hope. It needs to shy away from the Dark stories.
    One issue I have with Millar is that Superman is powerful but Clark needs to be a person you would believe hurt his foot when he Stubbs his toe. A built and bulky actor won’t be a believable Clark. Cavill toes lie line (so to speak).
    It will all go as we’ll as the story and acting take it. My hopes are high.