Review: Man of Steel – Inside the Legendary World of Superman / Author: Daniel Wallace / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: Out Now
Superman is the biggest superhero of them all, and it’s only fitting that Man of Steel is a suitably big film. It naturally follows that big films mean big merchandising, be it novelisations, t-shirts, CDs, trading cards – or the obligatory tie-in coffee table book. This type of book has evolved from the simple "making of" paperback that was around when Jaws and Close Encounters were released. These days, they’re large, impressive, epic tomes like Man of Steel: Inside the Legendary World of Superman, with price tags to match.
There can be no argument that this is a sumptuous, visual treat of a book. From its embossed "S" symbol on the cover, to the heavy stock glossy paper, it just oozes quality of presentation – and therein lies its drawback. The title is a little misleading and might draw potential buyers to part with some hard-earned cash in the hope of getting a detailed account of the making of the film, the trials and tribulations of the special effects, how the iconic superhero was brought to the screen in a version that is a bit darker than the comic book legend has ever been seen before, what happened to cause the changing release dates – all the minutiae of detail that genre fans love so deeply.
But beware - it’s not a "making of" book in that sense. It doesn’t cover the comic at all either. It’s actually more of what used to be called "The Art Of..." book. There’s a foreword by Christopher Nolan and an introduction by Zach Snyder, but the rest of the text is sparse, with the vast bulk of the 184 pages given over to lavish renditions of pre-production art of Krypton and some of the action sequences and costume designs. The on-set photographs are stunning in their detail, and to be fair, there are some interesting insights concerning the creative choices made in the film. Snyder tells us why the character no longer wears red trunks for instance. But, for the money, we would have preferred a more in-depth look behind the scenes from the original pitch to the final wrap. As a souvenir of a blockbuster film it succeeds fully, and is beautifully presented. As a document of the rebooting of a beloved character on the big screen, it’s a triumph of style over substance. We would urge browsing before buying.