No Kryptonite in ‘Man of Steel’; Superman ‘Lost & Angry’; Powers Not Kryptonian? [Updated]

Published 2 years ago by , Updated April 23rd, 2013 at 10:04 am,

Superman Man of Steel No Kryptonite and Plot Details No Kryptonite in Man of Steel; Superman Lost & Angry; Powers Not Kryptonian? [Updated]

[WARNING: Possible Spoilers Ahead!]

[UPDATE: The reason behind Superman's "specialness" - even on Krypton - has leaked. Scroll for details.]

Though Man of Steel will be the first standalone Superman film since 1978 – Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns was more or less a sequel to Superman 2 – the anticipation for the film isn’t exactly through the roof at this point. According to Fandango’s Most Anticipated 2013 Summer Movies poll, MOS didn’t event break into the top five. Of course, that’s partly because the film’s marketing campaign has yet to be fully unleashed.

Speaking of marketing, the cast and crew – including director Zack Snyder, producer Charles Roven, star Henry Cavill (Superman/Clark Kent), and co-star Amy Adams (Lois Lane) – recently talked in some depth about what we can expect from this new take on the Man of Tomorrow.

The interview – courtesy of Entertainment Weekly – covered everything from plot details to action scenes to character development to superpowers to whether or not Superman’s greatest weakness, Kryptonite (that green rock that renders him weak and sometimes deathly ill), will make an appearance in the film.

But first, check out the June cover of EW, featuring Cavill as Superman in a fairly iconic-looking pose:



Man of Steel Entertainment Weekly Cover 280x170 No Kryptonite in Man of Steel; Superman Lost & Angry; Powers Not Kryptonian? [Updated]


According to EW, the focus of this new Superman film is, in many ways, to humanize the character. A common argument as to why Superman’s star hasn’t shone as brightly as it once did – both in the comic book world and in the movie world – is that he’s become too perfect, too much like a boyscout, too ridiculous, too much like a god, and therefore totally unrelatable. (It’s debatable how true this is - Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman (2008) created a Man of Steel that was all of the above and yet simultaneously relatable, successful, and hailed as a masterpiece far and wide.)

So the question is, how does Man of Steel intend to depict a flawed and “human” Superman? Well, not with Kryptonite, that’s for sure. Says Zack Snyder:

“I’ll be honest with you, there’s no Kryptonite in the movie.”

While Kryptonite has been successfully utilized in many Superman stories, it’s also true that it has often functioned as a crutch for creating convenient conflict. Apparently, Zack Snyder and company wanted to avoid using that crutch at all costs. (Which isn’t to say it couldn’t pop up in a sequel.) Instead, this Superman will be vulnerable emotionally. From EW:

Once on Earth, his adoptive parents, Ma and Pa Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane), urge him not to use his immense strength – even in dire emergencies — warning that not every human would be as accepting of him as they are. So Clark Kent grows up feeling isolated, longing for a connection to others, and constantly hiding who he is. As a result, Man of Steel presents the frustrated Superman, the angry Superman, the lost Superman. “Although he is not susceptible to the frailties of mankind, he is definitely susceptible to the emotional frailties,” Cavill says.

The “frustrated, angry, lost” Superman certainly brings to mind the one recently introduced by Grant Morrison in The New 52 Action Comics. That Superman – who more closely resembled the rough and tumble version that first appeared in 1938 – was angrier, more violent, and more likely to use outright intimidation tactics to stop criminals from committing dastardly deeds. In the comic, a portion of that anger came from the deaths of his parents. Will something similar happen in Man of Steel?

man of steel vfx joe letteri No Kryptonite in Man of Steel; Superman Lost & Angry; Powers Not Kryptonian? [Updated]

The EW article also reveals that, even on Krypton, Superman – or Kal-El – is considered to be “special.” So special that his birth “caused alarm” the world over. Uhh, say what?

So what does this mean exactly? Could Superman’s powers in Man of Steel be unrelated to his Kryptonian heritage? Might he have been endowed with said powers from birth by his scientist father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe)?

It would explain why Superman could plausibly defend the Earth from not only General Zod (Michael Shannon), but numerous Kryptonian enemies (possibly even an army). Perhaps Zod has no “superpowers” at all. Perhaps his strength comes from his Kryptonian armor and advanced alien technology. Of course, this is all speculation at this point, but it’s interesting to consider. If true, it would likely be a really controversial change for comic book fans.

What about Lois Lane? What can we expect from her relationship with Superman? According to Amy Adams:

“I think she’s very transient. She’s ready to pick up and go at a moment’s notice. I think that definitely could be part of what she sees in Superman — not really laying down roots, not developing trust.”

Lois Lane will end up being one of the main reasons Superman steps forward to defend Earth from Zod. While he’s grown into adulthood feeling alienated (see what I did there?) from the Earthlings around him, Lane will turn out to be someone he genuinely cares for and wants to protect.

Amy Adams Lois Lane Man of Steel1 No Kryptonite in Man of Steel; Superman Lost & Angry; Powers Not Kryptonian? [Updated]

Lastly, producer Charles Roven talked about the “building-smashing, train-slinging, heat-vision-blasting” action scenes we’ll see in the film – something Superman fans have been waiting for since the dawn of modern special effects technology:

“You want to give the audience great spectacle. You want them to go to the movie, be eating their popcorn and be like, ‘Wow!’ But it’s just not good enough to give them the ‘Wow.’ You want them to be emotionally engaged. Because if you just have the ‘wow,’ ultimately you get bludgeoned by that and you stop caring.”

Sounds good to me. Even if Man of Steel doesn’t end up “wowing” both in terms of action spectacle and emotional engagement, it’s encouraging to know that the filmmakers are determined to do just that. Only time will tell if they can pull it off.

What do you think, Screen Ranters? Are you okay with Kryptonite not being in the film? Are you interested in seeing an action spectacle that also happens to be emotionally engaging? Let us know in the comments.

If you want more details on why Kal-El might be extra-special (beyond just being the last of his alien species), you’ll have to read the June issue of Entertainment Weekly.

UPDATE: Thanks to ‘Brian MakeDaMovie’ in the comments, we now know that the reason Superman/Kal-El is special even on Krypton is because he was naturally conceived. Why does this make him special?  Because by the time Man of Steel begins, Kryptonians have turned to “scientific engineering” for reproduction. Natural reproduction is, apparently, illegal.

This vaguely recalls John Byrne’s post-Crisis origin reboot (incidentally titled The Man of Steel) from the 1980s, wherein Krypton was depicted as an emotionally cold and sterile planet and babies were regularly created in test tubes. Superman’s father and mother, Jor-El and Lara, were unique in that they actually loved one another.

Ultimately, Kal-El was sent on a ship to Earth not as an infant, but rather as a fetus inside of a “birthing matrix.”

Man of Steel hits theaters June 14th, 2013.


Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Follow Ben Moore on Twitter @benandrewmoore
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  1. looks like Nolan as cut off “Supes”s balls just like he did to batman. i will pass on this one .BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGG!

  2. I want so badly for this movie to be good. I love Superman. But this article really isn’t inspiring me. Between the “emotionally angry” touchy feely stuff to Jenny Olson non-sense, I’m going to take a wait and see approach.

  3. Once you attach Christopher Nolan to any movie then you know it is going to be a great masterpiece.

    • …possibly

      Not very fond of TDK or TDKR, but I do like Prestige, Inception, and BB

      • I would put TDK in there as well, but I’ll agree TDKR had some problems.

  4. “The EW article also reveals that, even on Krypton, Superman – or Kal-El – is considered to be “special.” So special that his birth “caused alarm” the world over. Uhh, say what?”

    My feelings exactly. What popped in my head there was : Was this the real new reason why Jor’El and his wyfe decided to send their only son to Earth, or is it indeed because Krypton was on the verge of destruction and they wanted to save him, just like in the first movie with C. Reeves?
    I want this movie to work, I really do because (amongst two reasons) a lot of the effort into Justice League depends on this one. And second, well, let’s not hide the fact : Superman is amongst the Big-Daddy of them all when it comes to superheroes.

    • I’m skeptical, but holding on to a thread of hope. I want Superman (and eventually Justice League) to be successful, because I grew up with Chris Reeves playing Supes. I read the comics as a kid. I even watched the ENTIRE series of Smallville, because I love the character so much. I’ve watched every Superman cartoon, that I can find. I sound a little obsessed, but my point is that as a fan of the comics, the animated movies/series and the live action movies, I want the new movie to be a successful story and movie. His birth causing alarm on Krypton does lead me to worry that the backstory there might be altered an uncomfortable amount, but then again, it may work. I’m not so orthodox that I can’t allow for some changes, as long as they make sense. I am NOT a fan of change for change’s sake…like changing Jimmy Olsen to Jenny Olsen just for the novelty of doing so.

      • Well, there was one Superman story arc that caused trouble on Krypton. In one story arc, normal ‘births’ were forbidden. Babies were ‘born’ from test tubes, and essentially love was forbidden. In this story arc, Jor-El and Lara fell in love, and had a baby, Kal-El. Maybe this is what will happen in this movie? Regardless, I can’t wait!

        • Spot on in regards to special birth. The difference being in M.O.S Kryptonians are somewhat genetically engineered or altered. Some become soldiers, others become scientists. Kal-El is a naturally born child, apparently illegal on Krypton

  5. sounds encouraging. superman is in need of some updating. not sure how to take him being special from birth and his powers not necessarily being related to his kryptonian heritage. i suppose it could work simply because having an army (or even 3) other kryptonians as adversaries could in reality easily overcome superman. also, this leaves the door open to his powers not being dependent by the yellow sun which would make him less vulnerable in the long run. I, for one, am happy there will be no kryptonite in this film. really sick of otherwise non-threatening villains pulling out that green rock and having superman at their mercy.

  6. I don’t mind if Kryptonite is left out in this first one because its really meant for human enemies to use against Superman, like with Lex, not with Zod who would also be weak against it. But to say that the yellow sun didn’t give Kal-El his powers would be a major disappointment. I was willing to adjust to very thing about this new movie before hearing that.

  7. Polite HEADS-UP to the Screen Rant crew – the producer you mention several times here is Charles Roven with an “N,” not Rover with an “R.” Figured it was worth pointing out. Thanks!

  8. I do love Rover’s expression “train-slinging”.
    If there is one image that conjures up
    super strength it is train-slinging.

  9. Here is the producer’s IMDB page listing him as RoveN, with a “Man of Steel” producer credit:
    He is also listed as Roven in all the Dark Knight trilogy’s special features.

  10. Amen! He will not feel invulernable to anything. Only the Sun that radiates him to be vulernable. I think Zod and Faora are his target. Maybe in MOS (Part 2) he will be invulernable to Kryptonite (Maybe Red, Green)

  11. I’m glad that Kryptonite won’t be in this movie. Like Jpn said in his comment above, it is usually used by human villains against Supes, so Zod couldn’t really use it without it affecting him also (unless he’s wearing lead lined battle armour, but then we’re going in Luthor territory with battlesuits).

    I have very mixed feelings as to how good this movie will be. On the one hand I love Christopher Nolan, and I totally understand his reasons for trying to make Superman more relatable. One criticism I’ve always had about Superman comics is he’s too perfect and flawless. One of the reasons we love comic book heroes is they have vulnerabilities as well as superpowers. Plus they always have something to relate to, whether it’s Spiderman’s desire to be accepted as a hero/balance his hero life with a normal one, or the X-men’s desire to be accepted for simply being born different.

    By focussing more on how it feels to be Superman, growing up with these powers and being in constant battle whether to help out or not, the movie can really achieve something emotional worthwhile. However, this worries me:

    “The EW article also reveals that, even on Krypton, Superman – or Kal-El – is considered to be “special.” So special that his birth “caused alarm” the world over. Uhh, say what?”

    I don’t mind a few minor changes to the backstory if it makes for a better more compelling movie. I can handle Laurence Fishburne as Perry White as it’s great casting of an amazing actor who can really embody the role and capture the essence needed. I’ll reserve judgement on the whole Jenny Olsen thing. But possibly not having the yellow sun as the source of his powers – I think many fans would revolt over this.

    Having him born “special” on Krypton, this could go two ways; wither they were so scientifically advancement that they used cloning and genetic engineering to reproduce, but Kal-el was born naturally. If so, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. If, he was the result of experiments by Jor-el and that’s the reason he has his abilities, and not the yellow sun, that would take away the possibility of others using red sun solar radiation against him in the future, although it may not explain how he heals from injuries if he comes up against any kryptonite villains in the future.

    I just hope they don’t use the “he was born special and we sent him to Earth to be their saviour” as a religious metaphor. I think it would cause a lot of criticism and damage the movie unnecessarily.

    • I don’t think that Kal-El should be considered “special” because doomsday was actually a Kryptonian created by scientists, so unless they suggested a similar version of him I really feel like the yellow sun abilities are pivotal. Especially since General Zod needs to be able to fight Superman in this one, so the yellow sun is best for that, and also a necessity in Superman lore.

      Even if they don’t allow Zod to fly like they suggested previously, he should still be affected by the yellow sun like Superman should be.

      • Maybe he’s given powers like heat vision that sets him apart from everyone on Krypton. That’s why he’s sent to Earth. Then the sun gives him the normal powers like strength and flying. So Zod will get those too when he reaches Earth. This could set up an emotional thing where he’s not only judged on Earth for his powers, but was even rejected on his home planet for this.

  12. Why does everyone think General Zod is part of Superman’s Origin? General Zod was not even created, written or developed by Siegel and Shuster. General Zod is a creation of Robert Bernstein as interpreted by George Papp. Zod in 1961 for Adventure Comics.

    He was created as a “Oh here is an idea.”

    So, Zod is not an original part of Superman Mythos.

    • I agree, I’d rather see Branic! Lex is good, but over down. And who doesn’t want too see Doomsday!

      • Doomsday should be a two part story that involves a second part explaining all of the other Supermen that try to replace him and Lex’s clones in the aftermath of that battle. But that should be done after Brainiac because I’d most like to see that work out

        • 100% agree!

    • Who said this, out of curiosity?

    • No, but he is a very good villain. That’s what matters

  13. Sounds like they are leaning more toward Smallville, which I loved. Clark being more emotional and fighting his destiny. As far a Kryptonite not being present, I good with that. It was over used in Smallvlle. It will be a nice change of pace. But he needs his powers from the sun!

  14. I do not go to Superhero movies to be emotionally engaged.

    • If you are not emotionally engaged, then the film was a failure. You must really love The Avengers then…all action/CG – no story, no engagement on any level. Do us all a favor, stay home, don’t see Man of Steel – you’re not worthy.

      • Sounds like your venting your Avengers hate on Jeff. I don’t agree with him but don’t be try and start something by banging on a popular film so I recommend that you do us all a favour, stay home and go rage about your dislike of Avengers somewhere else- you’re not worthy.

    • I like emotion in film, as long as it’s not stupid. I have a feeling I’m going to be disappointed in this film.

  15. Sounds great, I like the changes personally. I might actually come out of this movie liking Superman as a character.

    @Jeff W

    You may not go to see a superhero movie to be emotionally engaged but that’s why the Nolan movies stand out. He not only creates a world and a character we can all relate to and see as a possibility in real life (and give a “what if?” sense throughout), he also makes you emotionally invest in his movies.

    That’s what made every movie he’s made so far – from Memento all the way up to TDKR – so great. The emotional journey characters take, getting us into the psychology of people’s actions and intentions.

    His Batman movies stand out for a lot of people and created this huge desire for the majority of people to see superheroes on screen, so much so that we have so many either released or being developed.

    Sure, you may not go in for those things but you come out with a little more understanding, which is his intention and should be the intention of ALL writers and movie makers.

    • Man of Steel is not directed by Christopher Nolan.

      • He didn’t say that Nolan directed Man of Steel. He was referring to the emotionality of the Batman movies. Extrapolate man, extrapolate!

        • No, but he darn sure hinted at all of the movies Christopher Nolan directed.

          Which made me think he thinks Nolan directed Man of Steel.

        • No, you need to go back and read it again.

  16. @ Jeff W, wouldn’t it be fare to say since Zod was created for the Superman comics, that the he is part of Sups mythos? It’s almost like saying, Bane isn’t part of the Batman mythos because they created him later as a posed to when Batman first hit shelves.

    • @Ford Perfect

      True, but I never seen Zod as anymore than another foil or speed bump.

  17. I don’t care about the Kryptonite. It doesn’t need to be in every Superman movie. I also don’t care that he was special on his own planet – I’ll wait and see how that pans out.

    I think, however, that the biggest problem this movie has is that on the poster, Superman looks kind of like Mitt Romney (yeesh).

    • Well, we needed Romney to save us from Obama and that did not happen and now see what we got stuck with. A loser who has no idea how to run a country while he brings us deeper and deeper into destruction. Obama is kind of like Zod and Superman is kind of like Romney….Hopefully Supes wins in the movie though.

      • LOL

  18. The article’s last picture (of Faora) shows her with a translucent helmet to protect her from “sensory overload from Earth’s power giving sun.” S no, the son gives all of them powers. The special thing abou pt his birth is he was naturally conceived, not scientifically engineered like every other child on krypton. This makes him, by extension, illegal on Krypton.

  19. Well he has all these powers and we better get so see them. I want an edge of your seat Superman movie. ACTION PACKED! Sounds to me people will tear it apart and be disappointed.

  20. Can’t wait for this movie!!! The no kryptonite part really doesn’t bother me though. Just hope they dont change the part about how the sun gives him powers!

  21. I really do dig the Man of Steel costume, but I keep thinking “how great would it be to see the New 52 suit in real life?” I especially love the New 52 suit’s plate armor lines, and the cape with a point and black S.

  22. I can’t wait to for this movie!

  23. “building-smashing, train-slinging, heat-vision-blasting” –Im down to watching all that

  24. I won’t read this because i don’t want to spoil anything but based on the title i am so thrilled that there is no kryptonite in the movie i really feel like its over used at this point.

  25. Tha “lost and angry” Superman sounds a bit Smallville to me.I hope they don’t forget Superman is supposed to be inspiring.It’s OK to want him to be realistic,but without forgetting the core of the character.As the author says,the classic Superman by Morrison in All Star is considered really good.On the other hand,Dan Jurgens made a lot of realistic stories,involving social matters,and his run is considered really bad for many.

  26. I’ll be honest. I was really pumped to see this film, but I truly do not know now. I feel I should watch it, online for free, so that way, if I’m disappointed, I will not have to demand my money back. Also, I am a Nolan fan, but I got a feeling, “Hollywood” is going to make this film too darn serious and depressing. Oh well, we shall see. I’m going to try my best to be positive about MOS, but it’s getting hard.

  27. So no kryptonite, i guess Louis Lane will be his kryptonite smh

  28. This movie will suck,. period its being turned into a smallville soap opera,and with out that original superman music score it lacks the feel and spirit in what superman is meant to be. NOLAN SUCKS!!

    • You obviously don’t read comics or know a thing about Batman or Superman. The original score might have been good for the original movie, but this is a new, stand alone movie. Only a moron would want a score from a different movie for this one. Not to mention that scores are written for specific movies, the original score wouldn’t work for the new movie because it wasn’t written for it.

      Also, I prefer my Superman to be strong, a leader, and the epitome of Superhero – a boy scout! Not the campy fake version that Chris Reeves portrayed (although the first two movies were entertaining).

      I’ve seen you’re other posts as well, and if you have nothing good to contribute then don’t contribute at all.

      • I don’t think that mutantx23 meant ‘score’ – I think they meant the main theme used in the other Superman films (and, for some reason, at the end of Smallville…)

        However, perhaps mutantx23 is a little young or just doesn’t pay attention to who’s doing the music for each film. Aside from having an awesome name, Hans Zimmer… sorry, ‘Academy Award winning composer, Hans Zimmer’ scored The Lion King, The Prince of Egypt, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes and… Kung Fu Panda? Musically, Superman’s legacy is in safe hands.

  29. The kryptonite story had been over used way to much, it’s good that kryptonite isn’t part of the plot but it should be in there some how