Man of Steel is a 2013 British-American superhero film featuring the DC Comics character Superman. It is produced by Legendary Pictures, DC Entertainment and Syncopy Inc., distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, and is the first installment in the DC Extended Universe. Directed by Zack Snyder and written by David S. Goyer, the film stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni, and Russell Crowe. Man of Steel is a reboot of the Superman film series that retells the character's origin story. In the film, Clark Kent learns that he is a superpowered alien from the planet Krypton and assumes the role of mankind's protector as Superman, but finds himself having to prevent General Zod from destroying humanity.
Development began in 2008 when Warner Bros. Pictures took pitches from comic book writers, screenwriters and directors, opting to reboot the franchise. In 2009, a court ruling resulted in Jerry Siegel's family recapturing the rights to Superman's origins and Siegel's copyright. The decision stated that Warner Bros. did not owe the families additional royalties from previous films, but if they did not begin production on a Superman film by 2011, then the Shuster and Siegel estates would be able to sue for lost revenue on an unproduced film. Producer Christopher Nolan pitched Goyer's idea after story discussion on The Dark Knight Rises, and Snyder was hired as the film's director in October 2010. Principal photography began in August 2011 in West Chicago, Illinois, before moving to Vancouver and Plano, Illinois.
Man of Steel was released to the general public on June 14, 2013, in conventional, 3D, and IMAX theaters. Despite receiving mixed reviews, the film became a box office success, grossing over $668 million worldwide. Critics praised the film's visuals, action sequences and Hans Zimmer's musical score but criticized its pacing and lack of character development. A follow-up, titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was released on March 25, 2016.
The planet Krypton, unstable from years of industrial mining, faces impending destruction. Jor-El, chief advisor to Krypton's supreme council, recommends a full-scale evacuation of the planet's inhabitants. Before any action can be taken, soldiers led by General Zod, an old friend of Jor-El's, launch an uprising and arrest the councilors. Realizing that Krypton is doomed, Jor-El steals genetic codes sought by Zod and infuses them into the DNA of his infant son, Kal-El – the first naturally born Kryptonian child in centuries. Donning his old armor, Jor-El sacrifices his life to allow his son to escape on a preprogrammed spacecraft. Zod orders the rocket's destruction, only to learn that forces loyal to the council have suppressed the rebellion. In a brief trial, Zod and several of the surviving rebels are convicted of treason and sentenced to the Phantom Zone seconds before Krypton explodes.
Following Jor-El's coordinates, the ship crash lands on Earth in Smallville, Kansas. A childless couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent, find Kal-El and raise him as their own, naming him Clark. As he grows up, Clark becomes an isolated young man as a result of developing superhuman powers. He then learns his true origins from Jonathan, who urges him to keep his powers hidden. Several years later, Jonathan dies in a tornado while refusing to let Clark save him. Burdened by guilt, Clark leaves to travel the world under several aliases, seeking a new purpose.
Lois Lane, a reporter at the Daily Planet in Metropolis, receives an assignment to investigate the discovery of a Kryptonian scout ship in the Canadian Arctic. Disguised as a worker, Clark enters the ship and activates its central computer using a key left by Jor-El, allowing him to communicate with an artificial intelligence modeled after his father. The AI explains that Clark was sent to Earth to guide its people, and presents him with a Kryptonian uniform bearing his family's symbol. While following Clark, Lois inadvertently triggers the ship's security system. Clark uses his powers to rescue Lois before donning the uniform and testing his ability to fly. Lois attempts to have her supervisor Perry White publish an article on the incident, but he refuses to do so without proof. After tracking down Clark, Lois eventually agrees to keep his secret safe.
Escaping the Phantom Zone, Zod and his crew travel to Earth after intercepting a transmission from the scout vessel. Deducing that Kal-El is nearby, they broadcast a global address demanding that he surrender or risk war. Clark meets with the U.S. Army and agrees to comply, with Lois joining him as a hostage. Zod reveals that he possesses advanced terraforming equipment salvaged from Kryptonian outposts, which he intends to use to transform Earth into a new Krypton. His science officer, Jax-Ur, extracts Clark's genes to create Kryptonian colonists who will exterminate humanity and build a society based on Zod's ideals of genetic purity. With help from Jor-El, Clark and Lois escape and warn the Army, just as Zod orders an invasion.
Given the codename "Superman", Clark destroys the terraforming platform, while his human allies launch a suicide attack, killing Zod's troops. Vowing to eradicate humanity himself, Zod battles with Superman, and the two eventually crash into a train station. Zod turns his own heat vision on a group of passengers, which forces Superman to kill him.
Now the last surviving Kryptonian, Superman persuades the Army to let him act independently, so long as he does not turn against humanity. To allow access to dangerous situations without attracting attention, Superman is hired as a freelance reporter for the Daily Planet as Clark Kent.
- Henry Cavill as Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman
- Amy Adams as Lois Lane
- Michael Shannon as General Zod
- Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent
- Diane Lane as Martha Kent
- Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
- Antje Traue as Faora Hu-Ul
- Christopher Meloni as Colonel Nathan Hardy, USAF
- Ayelet Zurer as Lara Lor-Van
- Russell Crowe as Jor-El
- Main article: Man of Steel (soundtrack)
DC Extended Universe
- Main article: DC Extended Universe
Differences from the comic books