Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman

Author: Daniel Wallace

mosMore than just a grown up picture book, this ‘art of’ book delves deep into the design influenced behind the look of the film. From steampunk to Kryptonians evolution as artist-philosophers, the provenance of each set and costume is detailed meticulously.

This book is absolutely bursting at the seems with digital sketches and stills from the film. Every aspect of the the Kryptonian world is heavily referenced with the bulk of the pages devoted to costumes, creatures, robots, sets and weaponry. The book talks about going beyond set-building to world-building, something that is evident on these pages. It’s clear that they’ve devoted time and research to creating a rich, new, layered world that the narrative can convincingly exist within.

This tome is absolutely invaluable to fans of the film, everything from the ribbon-like surface of Kandor to the armour of General Zod has an explanation. The idea that there is no metal on Krypton and that even the robots have a character and history spanning thousands of years is testament to how seriously design was taken.

My only minor gripe, if you can call it that, is that the sketches aren’t named. It would be great to be able to search online for some of the artists, see their blogs etc, but perhaps that’s going into this at a whole other level.

Having read the book, I’m now even more desperate to see the world that Snyder created on the screen. As a book on film design and alien worlds, it is absolutely one of the best. It’s dark, glossy pages contain some fantastic bits of information that the film won’t have time to reveal; what more could you possibly want? In the words of Christopher Nolan “I’ve rarely seen such focussed visual power…But then that’s what Zack does.”

Maliha Basak

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