Everything you need to know for 'Man of Steel' - Omaha.com
go logo
article photo
article photo
Henry Cavill stars as Superman in "Man of Steel," to be released Friday.(CLAY ENOS / WARNER BROS. PICTURES)

Everything you need to know for 'Man of Steel'
By Kevin Coffey | World-Herald staff writer

Clark Kent is the Man of Steel, the Last Son of Krypton — an alien orphan raised here on Earth where our yellow sun gives him powers of flight, strength, speed and invulnerability, as well as X-ray and heat vision and cold breath.

You know the story: As the planet Krypton is destroyed, a pair of Kryptonians send their only son into space to save him. The ship lands on Earth, and human parents find the Kryptonian baby and raise him. As he grows up, he realizes he has amazing powers. Cue the music and a passer-by shouting, “It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Superman.”

In “Man of Steel,” Henry Cavill wears the tights. The British actor explores Clark Kent's origins in Smallville, Kan., as well as the attack on Earth that turns him into the hero we all know.

General Zod

Originally appearing in 1961 as Dru-Zod, the character was popularized by his appearance with Ursa and Non in “Superman II.”

A megalomaniacal Kryptonian general, Zod (portrayed by Michael Shannon) is back in “Man of Steel” to turn Earth into a new Krypton and — of course — hunt down Superman.

“Zod doesn't really have a choice,” Shannon told the New York Daily News. “Ever since he was born, he's been training to be guardian of Krypton.”


In Smallville, Clark Kent's parents are Jonathan and Martha Kent. But before he traveled to Earth, Kal-El was born on Krypton to Jor-El.

Played in “Man of Steel” by Russell Crowe, Jor-El attempts to save Krypton as it is destroyed, but is only able to save his son. And after Superman has arrived on Earth, he reappears as a lifelike sort of hologram to continue to guide his child.

PHOTOS: "Man of Steel," Production Stills

Superman on Film

Does it feel like Superman just has a ton of movies and remakes? Well, he does. Since 1978, six men have donned the blue tights and red cape to portray Superman (and Clark Kent, of course), including Christopher Reeve in four films between 1978 and 1987, Brandon Routh in the 2006 film “Superman Returns,” John Haymes Newton in the 1988 TV show “Superboy,” Dean Cain in the TV series “Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman” and Tom Welling in “Smallville” (who only put on the costume in the final episode).

“Smallville” and “Lois & Clark” don't tie into any other versions of the character, but “Superman Returns” was envisioned as a sort of sequel to “Superman” and “Superman II.” Despite the movie's worldwide gross of nearly $400 million, Warner Bros. decided to reboot the franchise entirely.

Several versions of Superman films were also proposed between the early 1990s and 2002 but were never made. Scripts for “Superman Reborn” and “Superman Lives” in the '90s were supposed to be about the death of Superman, which at the time had just occurred in the comic books. A “Batman vs. Superman” story was also pitched, as well as a script by J.J. Abrams called “Superman: Flyby.”

Recommended Reading

“Man of Steel” draws on 75 years of Superman stories to bring a new mythology to life. The best stories about the hero are “great examples of Superman's beginnings as told from different eras, or examples of Superman's heroic ideal,” said Joe Patrick, manager at Legend Comics & Coffee and co-host of the “Two-Headed Nerd” comics podcast.

We looked through Supes's history and picked some of his best stories in case you're interested in getting acquainted with his comic roots.

» “Last Son”: Co-written by “Superman” film director Richard Donner, this series re-introduces General Zod to the comics.

» “Man of Steel”: This story by John Byrne is Patrick's favorite: “Byrne introduced the idea that, being raised on Earth, Clark Kent was his true identity while 'Superman' was the disguise he wore. In other words, he considered himself a part of the human race and related to us. As opposed to other versions where Superman/Kal-El, while certainly very noble, considered himself outside of humanity and wore the disguise of 'bumbling, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent' to blend in.”

» “Superman for All Seasons”: This story by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale incorporates elements of “Man of Steel” and follows Superman through the four seasons of one year.

» “All-Star Superman”: A story that sees Superman stripped down to his “timeless” essential qualities, as writer Grant Morrison said, “All-Star Superman” sees an epic battle between Superman and Lex Luthor as well as a Clark/Superman and Lois Lane love story.

» “Superman: Earth One”: Updating the Superman origin story for modern times, the “Earth One” story starts with Clark Kent arriving in Metropolis and his search for a job. An alien attack then gives him the inspiration to become Superman.

Free Superman Comics

• "All-Star Superman"
• "Last Song of Krypton"
• "The Man of Steel"
• "Superman No. 1"
• "H'EL on Earth"
• "Superman Adventures," more "Superman Adventures" and more "Superman Adventures"
• "Superman 101

Contact the writer:

402-444-1557, kevin.coffey@owh.com, twitter.com/owhmusicguy

See also: Everything you need to know about 'Iron Man 3'

Contact the writer: Kevin Coffey

kevin.coffey@owh.com    |   402-444-1557    |  

Kevin covers music, whether it's pop, indie or punk, through artist interviews, reviews and trend stories. He also occasionally covers other entertainment, including video games and comic books.

Read more stories by Kevin

Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom

Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Latest Stories

Country music's six biggest threesomes
Country music's six biggest threesomes

Country stars are often singular — one bright star orbited by a band, producers and songwriters.

Northwest Omaha bar closes its doors
Northwest Omaha bar closes its doors

The Loose Moose Bar and Grill has closed its doors.

Foreigner wants Nebraska to show them what love is
Foreigner wants Nebraska to show them what love is

Rock band Foreigner will perform at UNL's Lied Center for Performing Arts for the Lied's 25th anniversary season.

This is what thousands of pounds of discarded Omaha computers looks like
This is what thousands of pounds of discarded Omaha computers looks like

Thursday's Drive for Drives event was a bracing reminder that even the brightest, shiniest technology will someday die and be forgotten.

Omaha's dive-iest dive bars
Omaha's dive-iest dive bars

Omaha's many neighborhood bars run the gamut of experiences.

Dining notes: Famous Dave’s moving to new spot
Dining notes: Famous Dave’s moving to new spot

Council Bluffs’ Famous Dave’s is relocating.

South Omaha will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Mexican food fest
South Omaha will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Mexican food fest

This year, for the first time, South Omaha will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with an authentic Mexican food festival.

Sawyer Brown known for its 'Nebraska Song'

Sawyer Brown is known for its three No. 1 country hits and 16 studio albums, but here in Nebraska, it's mostly known for one thing.

Help Spirit World kill its bottles
Help Spirit World kill its bottles

Get your hands on whiskey this weekend at Spirit World's “Kill the Bottle” event.

Why is ketchup so hard to pour?
Why is ketchup so hard to pour?

Why is ketchup so hard to pour? It has to do the fact that it’s a strange kind of fluid that behaves like a solid. Sometimes.

Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings

Read this!


Tonight in Prime Time
© 2014 Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved