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