You know, there was a lot of talk about the fact that Man of Steel was produced by Christopher Nolan, not directed by Christopher Nolan. I wonder how, in all this talk, I missed the fact that Christopher Nolan wrote Man of Steel.
And you know, I often talk about Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan in comparison – especially Sucker Punch in comparison to Inception. So really, getting the two of them to work together on a project could only be good, right?
So I read Superman: Birthright in preparation for Man of Steel, because as I mentioned recently, I don’t have a lot of background with Superman. And, as a LitFlix – an exploration of the comic versus the movie. I can recommend both Man of Steel and Superman: Birthright – but do they tell the same story of Superman’s early days? Read on!
Superman: Birthright: Growing up in Smallville
Superman: Birthright is the modern retelling of the early days of Superman, of him deciding to take up the cape and become Superman, of him developing the alter-ego of Clark Kent the journalist.
I think it is based a bit in the Smallville TV show as well, which I have not seen. Clark Kent grew up with Lex Luthor, but Lex will not admit to it. He’s busy working on taking over the world – because no one matches him. At least, not in the mind. Much like no one matches Superman in the body.
I really liked the plot and the pacing to Birthright. It is a closed plot, as well; we go from the early days, of Clark working as a journalist and hiding his powers, to beating a large plot of Lex’s. I recommend this as a read.
Alright, so it’s time to enter spoiler-ville. Spoilers ahead for Superman: Birthright and Man of Steel!
What I thought I was going to see in Man of Steel
Because I had read Birthright, and maybe because the movies have been pulling this sort of stuff on us lately, I thought that Man of Steel was going to use the plot of Birthright a bit more.
In Birthright, Lex has found a wormhole, and can see into the past of Krypton. He uses this information to fight Superman. First, he works on breaking his spirit – revealing the death of Krypton to Kal-El, its last son. Then, he works on destroying his reputation.
He builds an army, and holographic projections, to look like Kryptonians attacking the Earth. He attacks, and Superman can’t be everywhere at once – especially with all the Kryptonite being used against him. Luckily, Lois Lane, always trusting in Superman, is on the lookout, and helps reveal what is actually happening.
I kind of thought the same sort of thing was going to happen in Man of Steel – that all the things we were seeing in the trailers, of General Zod and the attacking Kryptonians, was going to be a trick. Maybe it was being tricked by Star Trek: Into Darkness and Iron Man 3, but I thought it was where we were going. It would have been sneaky, too, to have this be a Lex Luthor plot.
What we got in Man of Steel
We got a very different origin story in Man of Steel. In the movie, Clark Kent had not turned to journalism, but is still exploring the world, finding a place to fit in. In the movie, we see no Lex Luthor – though there is a bit of Lexcorp product placement. In the movie, the Kryptonians destroyed their own world, but imprisoned General Zod first.
They definitely read Superman: Birthright. There are sections, lines, that are straight from the comic. Especially a lot of the stuff from his childhood, like Martha Kent telling him that her voice is an island, or Jor-El talking about how the young yellow sun of Earth will give him super powers.
Zod as a villain was well done, as the only villain in the film. I talked about this as a phenomenon the other day. However, it’s all real, and large swaths of the world are destroyed in the battle.
It will be interesting to see where the plot goes from here – because the place to go now is Lex Luthor, who now has access to Kryptonite and Kryptonian materials that weaken Superman. Who has seen Superman in action, and the world on his side. Then, we’ll see a plot that may remind us of The Dark Knight – the genius villain working on tear the hero down.