Home Entertainment David S. Goyer wrote MAN OF STEEL like it was real, not a comic book movie

David S. Goyer wrote MAN OF STEEL like it was real, not a comic book movie

3 min read

If you’ve seen any of the trailers for Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman reboot, Man of Steel, you may have noticed a surprising lack of underwear on the outside. Couple that with the almost Terence Mallick-like visuals and score, and you have something that most definitely doesn’t look your grandpappy’s Superman comics anymore.

There’s a good reason for that: It isn’t. Instead writer David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Dark City, Blade) is apparently going to be keeping it real. Really real.

Speaking to Empire magazine (via CBM) in their upcoming Man of Steel– centric issue, Goyer revealed that his screenplay – based on a story he conceived with producer Christopher Nolan, who most famously grounded Batman in reality – would be less comic book and more real world.

“We’re approaching Superman as if it weren’t a comic book movie, as if it were real.”

While Joss Whedon and about $1.5 billion worth of reasons would beg to differ on whether that’s the wisest approach, especially with the character that most personifies the very unrealistic nature of comics, Goyer goes on to explain his motivations behind that statement.

“I adore the [original Superman Richard] Donner films. Absolutely adore them.  It just struck me that there was an idealist quality to them that may or may not work with today’s audience.  It just struck me that if Superman really existed in the world, first of all this story would be a story about first contact.”

“He’s an alien.  You can easily imagine a scenario in which we’d be doing a film like E.T., as opposed to him running around in tights.  If the world found out he existed, it would be the biggest thing that ever happened in human history.  It falls into that idea of trying to humanize the inhuman.  He’s made out of steel, he’s not made out of flesh, metaphorically speaking.  We are portraying him as a man, yet he’s not a man.”

Now while I agree that the original Superman movies were most definitely a product of their time, featuring an almost too-innocent wide-eyed wonder to them that is far different to today’s more cynical world, and that the whole “Superman is an alien” thing was handled a bit silly back in the day, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be made to work.  Especially when you consider that Superman is supposed to be one gigantic red and blue shining beacon of hope in a more grim world.

This means that Goyer and Snyder will have to walk a very fine line in their approach, as updating the character for a modern audience is all good and well, but they can’t sacrifice what makes him Superman – and that includes the crazy godlike abilities – along the way. Luckily this is something that Goyer realizes.

“It is obviously a much longer process with a character like Superman.  It is much easier to do a realistic take on Batman.  You know nothing can hurt Superman, presumably other than Kryptonite.  The challenge was simply: can we figure out a way to make those elements work, quote unquote, in the real world?  It’s very much a story of a man with two fathers.”

So what do you guys think? Is Goyer and co going down the wrong path with trying to ground the man who can leap tall buildings in a single bound? Or do you think that character needs a more realistic, 21st century approach to truly making it a success again?


Last Updated: January 29, 2013


  1. Sharkie Fin

    January 29, 2013 at 13:01

    Ironically the Batman trilogy by Nolan also felt like it was real instead of a comic book.


    • Matthew Holliday

      January 29, 2013 at 13:18

      same writer, same approach, i think thats the whole point of the article.

      im glad theyr going in the same direction as batman, sortof, separates the marvel and dc franchises.
      making the dc stuff almost phsycoligocal while the marvel stuff is difinitively fantasy.

      that way theyr not competing with each other.
      also, the continuity teases us with possibilities of the justice league.


    • DarthofZA

      January 29, 2013 at 14:03

      Ironically Sharkie Fin doesn’t know the meaning of the word Ironically.


  2. LordCaptainAwesomeness

    January 29, 2013 at 13:14

    Well in all honesty, they will have to completely ruin the movie, to make it any worse than Superman Returns. Besides the last movie in the Dark Knight trilogy, the rest were brilliant masterpieces. I would give Nolan a try…


  3. Sir Captain Rincethis

    January 29, 2013 at 13:32

    I think it looks bloody epic. I have always (here comes the hate) shied away from Superman as he was too ‘perfect’ his morals etc. He was never a broken mess and that is what most people can recognise. Still, we’ll see. I loved Dark City and if even 10% of that atmosphere can be brought into this, I’ll be stoked.


    • Matthew Holliday

      January 29, 2013 at 14:30

      dont expect hate
      superman is like the manchester utd of the comic world.
      Only expect hate when insulting batman, bitches love batman


      • Sir Captain Rincethis

        January 29, 2013 at 14:37

        lol! And agreed 😉


  4. Decembermaloy

    January 29, 2013 at 13:54

    Superman doesn’t have a defense against magic, why do people keep forgetting that. Wait!! maybe supes has a mind-wipe ability that…. what was I talking about again…..


  5. James Francis

    January 29, 2013 at 16:15

    Stupid Hollywood. Before Avengers they also played up the fact that it is ‘more real’. Then Avengers was a big hit, so the spin changed and it was ‘not all that real’. Then Dark Knight Rises does well and they are back to ‘more real’.

    I’m starting to suspect what is said in these interviews is about as genuine a reflection of a film as the trailers…

    But here’s a fact: if this film doesn’t crack the billion dollar mark, it will secretly be regarded as a failure.


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