Man of Steel may be one of the riskiest films of the year, but it's also one of the most-talked-about releases of the summer movie season. The film is faced with rebooting the character following both the enormous success of The Dark Knight trilogy and the disappointment of director Bryan Singer's Superman Returns.
For months, speculation has run rampant regarding exactly how Man of Steel will help Warner Bros. and DC finally launch a shared movie universe, and star Henry Cavill himself has offered his hopes for a Batman-Superman team-up in the near future. However, before any of that can happen, Man of Steel has to deliver for both hardcore fans and the general movie-going public.
In a recent interview with SFX Magazine, producer Deborah Snyder discussed how the film will embody the heart of Superman and therefore resonate with fans on an emotional level.
Here's what Snyder had to say:
"Someone said to me it’s the greatest adoption story in all of history. … The people of Earth adopt him and he adopts us, as well. A lot of the messaging in this film is about family, and who makes you who you are. Clark is on this journey of self discovery, trying to figure out who he is and where he fits in, and in the end he comes to see what Jor-El, his Kryptonian father, has sacrificed and given for him. And he also realises how his Earth parents made him who he is. All those themes and notions follow him throughout the whole film."
Numerous reports have claimed that Man of Steel is being treated more realistically than previous incarnations of the Last Son of Krypton. Yet, as more details are revealed, it looks like the creative team is aiming for the story to be more emotionally grounded and relatable than anything else, despite some alterations to Superman's origins.
This devotion to keeping the character intact – while sidestepping any potential campiness – also extended to Superman's iconic red-and-blue costume, Snyder said:
"It’s a daunting process, because you want to be true, and we’re very respectful of the canon. But you also have to look at what’s happening on the screen right now with superhero costumes. It has to be relatable to a modern audience. [But] it has to read, at first blush, as Superman. We went through so many iterations of the costume and yes, Zack did try very hard to make the underpants on the outside of the costume work – there are nods to it, with the belt and with some of the side detail on the costume, and that just felt more appropriate to the movie we were making."
Many versions of Superman's origin tie his costume directly to his homeworld of Krypton, and Snyder said that this was a prime example of how Man of Steel aims to legitimize the heroic persona Kal-El takes on when he arrives in Metropolis.
"The other thing that was important for Zack was that the costume not come out of nowhere. It had to have a reason. We were building a world. We go to Krypton and we see this world, and we see that everything has its place. If they’re in space he wanted it to feel like a space suit, and he wanted it to feel like the under-layer that they would maybe put armour over. It’s also a caped society, so when you go to Krypton he wanted to see variations of this costume. And knowing that it was a caped society he wanted that to be evident when we were on Krypton, so when Clark finally finds the costume and puts it on you’ve established where it’s come from."
Adapting Superman's rich mythology to fit into a real-world context (one that could later be used to incorporate other DC characters) makes sense from a big-picture perspective. After all, Marvel has faced similar challenges in finding a middle-ground between grounded characters like Iron Man and more supernatural ones like Thor. It only makes sense that DC would make some adjustments to the Superman mythos accordingly.
However, this doesn't address another one of the most controversial issues when crafting a superhero film: casting. Overall, fans seem optimistic about Cavill's take on the Man of Steel. But what about Amy Adams as intrepid Daily Planet reporter (and Superman love interest) Lois Lane?
Snyder touched on that topic too, explaining why Adams was the ideal choice for the part:
"Amy [Adams] is an amazing actor. With all the casting we tried to get the best actors we could, because it just gives it credibility. In so many ways we didn’t look at it as a genre superhero movie – we looked at it as a great story that we were telling, and we wanted to get the best people. Amy embodied so much of Lois – she’s feisty herself and she’s so versatile, and she was really just perfect for the role."
Even if Adams fits the role perfectly, Man of Steel will have a rough task in bringing Superman to the big screen, as the character's god-like powers and alien origins make his world notoriously tricky to adapt to a live-action film. Still, it looks like the creative team behind the film has a firm grasp on how to re-imagine the hero and please the vast majority of fans. Whether or not they succeed remains to be seen.
Do you think the team behind Man of Steel is on the right track, or are you worried that the film won't meet expectations? Let us know in the comments section below.
Man of Steel opens on June 14, 2013.
Source: SFX Magazine