Publisher: Titan Books
Format: Large hardcover
Released: June 18th, 2013
The official companion for the new Man of Steel movie featuring Superman. Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman offers an intimate look at the reinvention of the world’s most iconic superhero through the eyes of acclaimed director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) and producer Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy). This unique companion book offers a rich selection of materials, from concept art and behind-the-scenes set photography to director commentary and interviews with key creatives, unlocking the secrets behind giving new life to an immortal hero.
*Contains mild film spoilers*
Man of Steel was my most anticipated film of 2013 (along with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, of course), it's my favourite film of the year and so far I've seen it six times. I'm writing this review as I listen to the amazing score soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and, at this moment in time, I firmly believe I'm living on a planet called Krypton. But enough of that (ahem), because I need to talk about this book, Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman.
For anyone who loves this film as much as I do, or even moderately likes it and thought it was just ok, this book is one that needs to be acquired and read immediately. From its patterned and embossed cover made to resemble Superman's new suit to the plethora of concept art found on its pages, this book is everything I was hoping for and more. It's an 184-page ode to Man of Steel - both the movie and the man - and gives a valuable insight into Zack Snyder's latest blockbuster hit.
Christopher Nolan of The Dark Knight fame provides a foreword detailing his love of Superman and the 1978 Richard Donner movie, while director Zack Snyder introduces the book and tells us about some of the challenges he faced. The introduction is situated right next to a great behind the scenes image of Zack and Henry Cavill as Superman and it's one of my favourites from the whole book!
There's so much to find and learn here, and luckily the book is divided into sections: Modern-Day Mythmaking, Casting Man of Steel, Welcome to Krypton, Welcome to Earth and The Heart of the Legend. Welcome to Krypton is sixty-six pages of absolute genius and my favourite section of the book (and film, for that matter). The design of Krypton and its capital Kandor are covered in great detail with the help of a good amount of text and dozens of jaw-dropping double page spreads of concept art. Everything is here including the Ruling Council's chambers, the Kryptonian language, technology and flora and fauna to name just a few.
This book delves deeper than the movie and provides more backstory, more facts, more interviews and more world building than we've seen anywhere else. If you're confused about the Scout Ship, you'll be enlightened after reading this. And the Genesis Chamber and its origins? Yep, that's all here too. My favourite tidbit comes in the form of a sub-section on the flora and fauna of Krypton, and more information on Jor-El's faithful war kite, H'raka, who we meet at the beginning of the film. It's a beautiful, intricately designed creature that actually has quite a pivotal role to play - who knows what would have happened if it hasn't been on hand to get Jor-El to the launch pod?!
Inside the Legendary World of Superman is more about the wealth of concept art rather than film stills, but that didn't bother me at all. I love seeing how the artists visualise characters and surroundings, and the art in this book is of the highest quality. I wish it included more designs for the Superman suit, but I'm not too fussed about them being omitted - there's so much information about my beloved Krypton that it more than makes up for it! Oh, and did I mention an image of Superman stood in front of the bank vault that I've never seen before?! 'Cos there's that too.
If you're a Superman fan, whether it be Superman the Movie, Man of Steel or both, then this book deserves to be in your library. My copy will be lovingly looked through on a weekly, if not daily, basis; well, when I can pry it away from my dad (wish me luck with that one!). Inside the Legendary World of Superman gets my vote as the best movie book of 2013 so far, and I'll let you know if Pacific Rim: Man, Machines and Monsters can knock it off the top spot. Until then, my war kite is waiting to escort me back to Krypton!
Please note: all above images are copyrighted to Titan Books and Warner Brothers and are posted here so you can see the layout of the book.