So just saw Man of Steel, and this is my impression of how the production of this movie went.

NOTE: There aren’t exactly any spoilers, but it does discuss the movie. So there you go.

Movie Exec 1: So we’re going to make a new Superman movie.

Movie Exec 2: Great! Who’s directing.

Movie Exec 1: Zach Snyder.

Movie Exec 2: Uh, wasn’t his last movie that Sucker Punch ‘thing’.

Movie Exec 1: Yes, but don’t worry I have a plan! We’re going hire someone else to keep him under control this time.

Movie Exec 2: Who’s that?

Movie Exec 1: Christopher Nolan. He’s going to produce.

Movie Exec 2: Oh that should go great then. We’ll get all the flashiness of Synder with the dark introspection of Nolan. And between the two of them we should actually get a balance of Clark Kent and Superman. Not like that last Batman movie. Batman Begins was so amazing, but was Batman in even in that last one? All I remember is a skinny Christian Bale looking moody.

Movie Exec 1: I remember a lot of mumbling and shadows, but who cares! This is Superman, it’s going to be awesome!

Some days later.

Christopher Nolan: Hey Zach, so looks like we’re making a new Superman movie.

Zach Snyder: We are! It’s going to be great! I’ve got it all planned out. Superman’s going to fight these super powered guys from Krypton. They’ll trash Smallville, and Metropolis! Explosions, slow-mo, lots flying and shaky camera work. It’ll look great!

Nolan: Uh, what about character development? Sounds like this is a reboot so we’ll really need to get inside Superman’s head. See what makes him tick. We can set him up all conflicted over being an alien and letting people know about it when he needs to save them.

Snyder: Right, back story, great idea. We’ll definitely toss some of that in.

Nolan: …

Snyder: Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll get it all in there.

Months later after filming is completed.

Snyder: And that’s a wrap! Ok, we’re good to go.

Nolan: Excellent. We’ve got a  deep, complex character and great action to boot. Should be fantastic.

Snyder: Indeed. Well, take care, thanks for working with me.

Nolan: Yeah it’s been great.

Snyder: Now we just need to put this all together…

After a first version is cut.

Movie Exec 1: Great stuff, Zach, but uh, this movie is 4 hours long.

Snyder: Whoops! Yeah well all those explosions and flying fight scenes sure take a lot of time.

Movie Exec 2: We’ll probably need it a tad shorter. Once we go over 2 hours those 440z’s really hit the audience hard.

Snyder: No problem, we’ll just trim it down a bit.

Editing ensues.

Snyder: Ok, I’m back with a new cut!

Movie Exec 1: Yeah we just saw it! It’s great, except, well it seems like we’ve got a bunch of explosions and action scenes and such with Superman kicking the stuffing out of everyone.

Snyder: Yeah isn’t it great.

Movie Exec 2: We were hoping for some more back story on Superman. Really get in his head, see what makes him tick.

Snyder: We totally have that. See here, here, and here are emotional bits, and then here’s some introspection.

Movie Exec 2: That’s only about 30 minutes out of 2 and a half hours.

Snyder: Yeah, well, everyone already knows who Superman is. They probably just want us to get on to the good stuff. Check out this scene here! There’s a collapsing building and an explosion!

Movie Exec 2: Yeah, about this part, don’t all these people die? I mean how many skyscrapers do you actually knock over in this movie? Seems like we’re looking at a lot of casualties…

Movie Exec 1: See here’s some concerned crowd shots, and besides, those skyscrapers are probably empty.

Movie Exec 2: Uh, there’s lots of crowds running around in these shots, pretty sure they buy it.

Movie Exec 1: Oh, I’m sure they’re fine, just scrapes and bruises. Besides look at this action! I have to admit, it looks pretty awesome.

Snyder: Yeah, it’s super!

Movie Exec 2: Uh, I’m see some inconsistencies here, I mean in this part, how did the entire city not get sucked away?

Movie Exec 1: Nonsense, I think it’s great. Besides the audience is going for the experience, we don’t need to worry about these details too much. We’ve got Superman being all charismatic, then we have him being moody, then we have him emotional. We’ve got big stars acting in some scenes. Then we have all these explosions and fights. We put that all together and we’re good to go! Release it!

And that is how I envision us getting the Man of Steel. A movie that tried to be deep and introspective, and wound up being glossy and moody instead. It’s a shame as I felt like they were really close. You spend just a few more minutes developing the characters and revealing motivations and it would have really done what I think they wanted.

Yes, the explosions and battles are flashy and visually impressive, but it felt like the rest was just a bunch of prep work to get to the fight scenes. Entire cities are treated as basically just window dressing for Superman and villains to get punched, kicked, and blasted through. Amazing stuff to be sure, but if the movie is trying to ground things and keep Superman real, would he not perhaps be slightly concerned about the mass number of casualties occurring here? Or, if he was caught up in the heat of the moment, not be changed by it afterwards?

It was like they made the attempt to give us a real Superman, but when push came to shove, flashy, heroic Superman won, and the “real” relatable Superman was left to be squeezed into a few minutes.

So basically, lots of Synder flash, with Nolan elements tacked on. An action movie version of what could have been a movie that truly redefined Superman. It looks great, sounds great, could be great, but only turns out okay.