Is The New Superman Meant To Look Like A Design School Photoshop Project?

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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Is The New Superman Meant To Look Like A Design School Photoshop Project?

Doing the rounds today is the first official image of Henry Cavill as Superman in Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel. And, honestly, I'm a bit surprised by how positive the response has been. Because at first glance I thought this was an unfinished screen shot for a video game.

While it is very much in keeping with what we have come to expect from Snyder, with its highly processed look and desaturated colors, this just does not look finished to me. At all. It's almost as though they simply pasted Cavill's features on to a piece of concept art and then threw it out into the wild. In fact, I sincerely hope that this is exactly what has happened because if the entire film is this glossy and weirdly free of texture it's going to feel distractingly like a bunch of plastic figures moving around on a computer screen rather than a film.

Love the cast for this one - Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe and Diane Lane all feature large - and am greatly encouraged by the presence of producer Christopher Nolan but this? Don't like it.
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SaltonerAugust 4, 2011 3:29 PM

I like it! The large, crushed vault is very Superman-esque, something Singer's version was missing. Nothing in his film felt like a comic book; THIS feels like a comic book. I'm sure it is somewhat unfinished, but even if it is final, I dig it. And let's be honest, when a film looks like a video game, that's a great thing. Video games have more beauty and uniqueness to them nowadays than any Hollywood film. I work in entertainment, and we're losing talented guys left and right to go work for video game design.

Sean "The Butcher" SmithsonAugust 4, 2011 3:46 PM

Todd writes "'s going to feel distractingly like a bunch of plastic figures moving around on a computer screen rather than a film."

My reply - It's par for course with Snyder's so-called films. he makes Michael Bay look like Terrance Malick.

icn1983August 4, 2011 4:10 PM

Except that generally speaking I never lose track of the action when Snyder's at the helm, whereas Bay almost always just throws a bunch of crap and sparks at the screen (unless it's a sequence devised almost entirely by his computer animators).

gotadventureAugust 4, 2011 4:16 PM

Todd Brown, I know we don't always get along, but saying that, "he makes Michael Bay look like Terrance Malick", makes me want to go all Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Junior" and have manly love babies with you. I know Snyder's film make money, but they also make me sadly nostalgic for the Lyrcra and wires Richard Donner days of ole.

icn1983August 4, 2011 4:17 PM

That image reminds me of the Fleischer Superman and only reminds me of a video game cut-scene in that there's a sense of dynamism and action that's been missing from almost every single live-action incarnation of "Superman," including Donner's.

Also, the costume actually looks pretty good and while he doesn't look like a Christopher Reeve clone, that's probably a good thing.

Finally, maybe the reason it doesn't look very finished is the final film won't be out until 2013 and it's just a production still given a once over because they want to start the buzz now? Or do you just want another reason to bitch about Zack Snyder? Ooh, maybe it's even from a SLOW-MO SHOT, the horror...

Todd BrownAugust 4, 2011 4:46 PM

I agree with you about the suit, actually. There are some bigger versions of the image out there where you can see it better and I like what they've done with it.

That said, I just don't understand why you would release this as your first image if it's not done and it certainly doesn't appear to be done to me. One chance to make a first impression, etc etc and the first impression for me is that the environment looks as fake and sterile as the pure CGI backdrops of the Star Wars prequels.

MarsHottentotAugust 4, 2011 5:09 PM

Personally, I like the bath mat look.

ethanshapankaAugust 4, 2011 5:13 PM

Just some points
1. He looks fucking diesel, which is exactly what Superman should look like.

2. I would wager this shot is from a camera test and that in part contributes to what you call the "photoshopped" look.

3.I would also bet they released this picture in response to those shots floating around of Cavill in a suit that people think are supposed to be him dressed as Clark Kent

4. If you don't like Snyder's style then you are probably not going to like this movie. I personally think he's a pretty decent director when it comes to adapting material. His only real misstep to date has been Sucker Punch

MarsHottentotAugust 4, 2011 5:16 PM

True enough - I probably won't like this as I really haven't liked much of his work. I will say, brave choice ditching the spit curl.

SaltonerAugust 4, 2011 5:20 PM

Wait, you got all over my shit for criticizing me over the Prometheus still they released at Con. I said the exact thing you just said about the first impression is the last impression kind of bullshit! Ha!

Personally, I love Snyder. I understand why people hate the guy. But to say he makes Bay look like Malick is just simply retarded. That's like saying Jim Lee makes Steve Yeowell look like Jack Kirby. Pull your head out of your ass!

HKFanaticAugust 4, 2011 6:06 PM

I think it looks good! Only thing is that the hairstyle isn't quite right and it looks like he singed his own eyebrows off with heat vision.

CuttermaranAugust 4, 2011 6:51 PM

I like it and i like the most stuff of Snyder.This could be the first comicadaptation that feels rathers like a comic then an average TV show
(Singer's X-Men comes to my mind).

whataminddumpAugust 4, 2011 8:34 PM

Looks like someone wants to be sensational and get clicks. Unfinished screen shot for a video game? Really? That's either a hack-ish opinion, or, as I said, built for clicks. It looks pretty awesome, actually.

billydakingAugust 4, 2011 8:43 PM

You're right, the image is hackish...oh wait, that's not what you're saying? My mistake...

Doesn't look awesome to me. Looks like Superman somehow crashed the set of The Spirit. That's nothing to look forward to.

Todd BrownAugust 4, 2011 11:00 PM

The Prometheus image was at least a finished shot, which I don't think is the case here. Which is just weird. And I didn't make the Malick comment, go yell at Sean. ;)

Todd BrownAugust 4, 2011 11:40 PM

If you take half a minute to go back through our previous coverage of this film you'll see we've been quite positive up until now. This is not at all about sensationalism or trying to pull clicks.

What this IS about is the first time I saw it on another site I though, "Oh, look. Concept art." Then I saw it somewhere else and thought "Hmm, a lot of people are running that concept art." Then I saw it in my inbox and realized it wasn't meant to be concept art at all but a finished shot. And that's not a good reaction to have at all. It just doesn't look like a real world setting. At all.

GeneralErrorAugust 5, 2011 1:12 AM

Can you explain how this image doesn't look done? Maybe it's because I'm not seeing a high res version, but it seems done to me. I just wanted to chime in because this does not appear to be a screen shot from the film, unless you cropped it -so I wouldn't be too concerned that the whole movie looks like a fashion photo. At least it looks better than that god awful Captain America screen shot that was released before that movie. (The shot where cap was running down a corridor) that still had the green fringe from the green screen on the actor, it was hideous. This reminds me of the poster for "Due Date", the people look like they are made of metal in a weird way.

brbro4August 5, 2011 2:11 AM

This shot is so dark Superman looks purple. He looks like Bizarro minus the backwards S. When you look at a larger image you can see some heavy texture was added. That's not terrible but it looks a little weird and scaly. I don't understand why they'd release this for our first look at Superman. Maybe they're saving the good stuff for later like with The Amazing Spider-Man. I just would've thought they'd release an image of Supes in a classic heroic pose. I hope this is just bad lighting or photoshop because the last thing I want is a Superman film that looks like it was shot on the set of Sucker Punch.

firechiefmusicAugust 5, 2011 11:57 AM

"...glossy and weirdly free of texture..."

Wait, how does this not describe Nolan's films?

Todd BrownAugust 5, 2011 12:22 PM

The biggest issue for me is the complete lack of texture in the metal behind him. He's supposedly just smashed the shit out of everything and yet the surface is completely, 100% pristine. Not a scratch on it. It looks like a CGI render where they haven't gotten around to adding the last layer of texture yet. The wall is too uniform as well and there are glaring inconsistencies in the lighting effects. For example the back of his left arm - which is fully exposed - is in shadow but the lower part of his cape - which is exposed in the same direction and therefore should also be in shadow - is fully lit. This was created in a computer, not on set.

TBYITBSITBHAugust 6, 2011 4:05 AM

@MarsHottentot "Personally, I like the bath mat look."

rofl thanks for rendering me unable to ever again see this or the new spidey suit in any other light, you haver of a way with words you

someone on AICN or somewhere commented that he almost looks like the bad guy, which I think is possibly a more damning indictment of the pic than any other criticism. As someone above said: wish they'd gone for a more suitable heroic pose. And I do find it a bit underwhelming generally, if not BAD per se. It's not exactly INSPIRED, or inspiring

(probably the fact that he's in front of a bank vault adds to that 'video-game'-iness, because that'd be a pretty stock opening for level 2 or something. And be just as banal in the game. It's not an image that screams iconic or is telling an interesting story or offers up mysteries, is it?)

@Todd: personally I'm totally indifferent to your Bay-Malick analogy ;)

GaryMLAugust 7, 2011 9:41 PM

My problem with the pic is the lack of context. It looks like someone threw the Man of Steel into the front of a huge safe and Supes is picking himself back up. Who's strong enough to toss him around like that? And do you really want the first image of your superhero to be him trying to stand up after someone's kicked him across a room and into a safe door? To complicate things, why does he look so confident if he did just get his butt kicked?