Man of Steel is a 2013 British-American superhero film directed by Zack Snyder and featuring the DC Comics character Superman. The film was produced by Legendary Pictures, DC Entertainment, Syncopy Inc., Cruel and Unusual Films, and distributed by Warner Bros.. The film was released on June 14, 2013 and it is the first installment in the DC Extended Universe. A follow-up, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released on March 25, 2016, with a standalone sequel currently in development.
After years of industrial mining, the planet Krypton has become unstable and is now on the brink of destruction. Jor-El, chief advisor to Krypton's supreme council, recommends control of the genetic codes, but General Zod, Jor-El's old friend, launches an uprising and arrests the council. Realizing that Krypton is doomed, Jor-El steals genetic codes that Zod is soughting after and infuses them into the DNA of his infant son, Kal-El - the first naturally born Kryptonian child in centuries - and, donning his armor, sacrifices himself to allow his son to escape on a preprogrammed spacecraft. Zod attempts to destroy the rocket, but is captured by forces loyal to the council who 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 moments before Krypton explodes.
Following Jor-El's coordinates, the ship crash lands on Earth in Smallville, Kansas, where Kal-El is found by a childless couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent, who name him Clark and raise him as their own. Growing up, Clark becomes an isolated young man as a result of developing superpowers. Jonathan reveals his true origins to him, but urges him to keep his powers hidden. Several years later, Jonathan dies in a tornado while refusing to let Clark rescue him. Burdened with guilt and looking for a new purpose in life, Clark leaves to travel the world for an extended period of time under several disguises.
Several months later, a Kryptonian scout ship is discovered in the Canadian Arctic and Lois Lane, a reporter of Daily Planet, Metropolis, is sent to investigate. Clark disguises himself as a worker and sneaks inside the ship, and activates its central computer using a key left by Jor-El, which allows 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. Lois, who has followed Clark inside the ship, inadvertently triggers its security system. Using his powers, Clark rescues her before donning the suit and testing his flying abilities. Lois is unable to convince supervisor Perry White to publish an article on the incident and follows Clark to help keep his secret safe.
Zod and his crew, having escapes the Phantom Zone, intercept a transmission from the scout vessel and travel to Earth. Deducing that Kal-El is nearby, they broadcast a global addressing demanding his surrender lest he risk war. Clark meets with the United States army and agrees to comply, with Lois joining him as a hostage. Zod reveals that he possesses advanced terraforming equipment salvaged from Kryptonian outposts and he intends to use it to turn Earth into a new Krypton and has his science offier, Jax-Ur, extract Clark's genes to create Kryptonian colonists who will annihilate humanity and build a society based on his ideals of genetic purity. With help from Jor-El, Clark and Lois manage to escape and warn the U.S. military just as Zod orders an invasion.
Clark, now given the codename "Superman," destroys the terraforming platform, while his human allies launch a suicide attack that kills Zod's troops. With the ship destroyed and Krypton's only hope of revival gone, Zod vows to destroy the Earth and its inhabitants. A fight breaks out between Zod and Superman that results in the destruction of much of downtown Metropolis. The pair crash into a train station, where Zod attempts to kill some passengers, forcing Superman to snap his neck, killing him.
Superman persuades the government to let him act independently, so long as he does not turn against humanity. To allow access to dangerous situations without attracting attention, Clark takes a job as a freelance reporter for the Daily Planet.
- 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
Man of Steel grossed $291 million in the United States and Canada, and $377 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $668 million, making it the highest-grossing solo Superman film ever and the ninth highest-grossing film of 2013.
Man of Steel received mixed reviews from critics. Praise went to the film's visuals, action sequences, and Hans Zimmer's music score, while criticism went to its pace and lack of character development. Many claimed that it did not break any new ground from previous Superman film adaptations , and that the story was robbed of tension out of lack of connection to the characters. A common criticism among comic creators was for the decision to have Superman kill Zod, deeming it to be out of character. Despite this, the film has done well with audiences and the general public.
The film won a Golden Trailer Awards for Best Summer 2013 Blockbuster Poster, a NewNowNext Award for Next Must-See Movie, and an MTV Movie Award for Henry Cavill's performance as Best Hero.