Zack Snyder Says Anything Superman Does Is a Visual Effect

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 1st, 2011 at 8:51 am,

Superman Man of Steel1 Zack Snyder Says Anything Superman Does Is a Visual Effect

Detractors of Zack Snyder’s most CGI-saturated films – for example, Sucker Punch – will no doubt be wondering how the man plans to handle the more unreal elements in Superman: Man of Steel (and more specifically, the gravity-defying, super strong, nigh-on invulnerable character of Superman).

Because Sucker Punch was just released, Zack Snyder has been talking left and right about the forthcoming Man of Steel and what he plans to do with it, going so far as to call it his “most realistic film” yet. Recently, Snyder discussed how he plans to handle the man of steel himself with regard to visual effects.

Cinema Spy asked Snyder – perhaps due to the revelation that Man of Steel would be “realistic” – if the film would be more character-driven than special-effects driven, to which Snyder said:

“Let me just say one thing about Superman – he can’t do anything that’s not a visual effect. He can walk around and talk, but if he’s going to do something physical, that’s a visual effect, because he’s Superman.”

Snyder then compared his Superman to previous franchise outings:

“I think in the past people have tried to figure out how to do that with strings and putting cars on hydraulics and having him stand under it, but we’re really trying to work on a way of doing this [with visual effects] that really makes that feel real. [We’re] trying to understand the actual physics of what would have to happen for those things to happen. It just brings reality to that whole concept of picking up a car or whatever. That’s gotta be completely based on reality.”

Obviously, a film like Superman: Man of Steel can’t be made without visual effects, but I think the question is – does Superman himself have to be CGI? And if that answer is yes, then the question becomes – how much of Superman has to be CGI? How often throughout the film does the man himself (his head, his arms, his skin, his eyes, et cetera) have to be CGI?

I’ll never forget how The Matrix Reloaded burly brawl devolved into a CGI-fest with pure videogame physics. Seriously, there was CG Neo, there were CG Agent Smiths — even the cinematography was CGI. Suddenly, any and all consequence was jettisoned from the film. Instead of being impressed by the stunt work and choreography of the fight, all I could think was, “Wow, those animators sure did a … sub-par job, didn’t they?”

Check out the burly brawl (which starts out pretty swimmingly!) below:

The worry – or at least mine – is that this sort of thing could happen to Superman. I’m fine with whatever Superman is interacting with being entirely CGI – go ahead and computer-generate some cars for him to throw, or some monsters for him to punch, or some gigantic buildings for him to crash into. But I would like to see as much of the actual, real-life Henry Cavill as is possible, because I’ve yet to see an animator convincingly replicate a human being’s physical movements (let alone their eyeballs).

That said, as much as I was disappointed by Watchmen, the special effects were pretty convincing, so maybe Zack Snyder has it in him to do the same with Man of Steel.

Superman: Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill and Amy Adams hits theaters December 2012.

Source: Cinema Spy

Superman header image by Jim Lee

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  1. I love how people can dislike something so much when they haven’t even seen what it looks like…

    • I think most of the naysayers don’t have confidence in Snyder. What if Uwe Boll, Brett Ratner or Michael Bay were directing it? Wouldn’t you have trepidations?

  2. After reading about all about Snyder’s film so far, can’t help it. Im not the only one. People think the sameway about The Avengers & other movies. Samething with Green Lantern, can’t wait to see that film, but still skeptical about it will turn out. I saw Superman Returns thinkin it will be great since it picks off after the 2nd film but even though it was good, i was still let down cause i felt it was too similiar to the original film. Anyways, to each their own opinion.

  3. You dont need heavy cgi for fighting. You can have killer action and at the same time ground it in reality. The fight scene in Oldboy is the perfect example.

  4. So….if Superman has to use the restroom…since that is physical, would Synder use VFX too?

    Seriously some of the stuff he says nowadays about this film worries me.

  5. movie will be sh*t. period. just like all of his movies.

    • You can say that all you want…It doesn’t make it true.


    • Well with a mind set like that you’ll never enjoy anything

  6. This movie will be so lame, do something different, bring in Aqua-man

  7. Every year, CGI gets more and more visually credible. I remember watching ‘American Werewolf in Paris’ like 15 years ago, and thinking, “Wow, those are so realistic!” And then Jurassic Park came out, and I thought, “Wow, those are so realistic!”…and in the meantime, assorted movies with CGI have come out, and some have been like nauseating cartoons, and others have been like Roger Rabbit….still, the ones which are the best are the ones that mix and blur the use and cooperation of Real Footage with CGI–even adding CGI to a live image, or adding Live footage to a CGI image….Jurassic Park did that, as did much of Lord of the Rings, and the Incredible Hulk, for examples….. The Key with CGI is to painstakingly not only make it look like Realistic Objects or Beings, but also try to blend the Reactivity and Action with Reality as much as “physically possible.” …That footage from the Matrix lacked conceivable emotion, realism (guys were getting hit hard enough to throw them 5-15 feet away- yet their clothes and sunglasses never moved?), and all of the characters had identical skin tone without blushing, flushing, scrapes, or tone….. I am sure that the producers of ‘Superman’ will use only the BEST CGI and Physical Effects in the industry today….The Man of Steel needs to look and move about much Stronger and Larger-than-life, but needs to reflect his surroundings, too. I have seen some ‘strongman’ shows or cartoons where a main character will lift or move something mountainous– and their footing will not scuff or depress differently into the ground or anything. I trust that our Directors will not have Superman do anything as immense as moving the Moon or adjusting the Earth’s axis… But, if so- the credibility is all contingent upon Details, details, details….

  8. Translation:
    “like, everything Supes does is, like, slow motion”

  9. CGI doesn’t belong in live-action movies.