Man of Steel: Inside The Legendary World of Superman

Man of Steel: Inside The Legendary World of Superman
Following hot on the heels of the this summer's blockbuster film comes the obligatory 'Making of..' book chock full of concept art and musings by all concerned, but while Man of Steel: Inside The Legendary World of Superman makes a good fist of it, there's a lot of stuff missing, making it feel like it was rushed out rather than meticulously planned.

That's not to say it's a bad book, it's not by any means, the on-set and stills photos are gorgeous as you'd expect, and the commentary, which is focused purely on the art direction and design of the film, is generally interesting and informative. The real issue, as I said, is what's not included in it.

First off, there's nothing on developing the Superman character for this film, precious little on how they evolved the look for Krypton, and only a tiny bit about the new suit design, mostly consisting of Zack Snyder telling us that wearing your underpants over your onesie just isn't cool (as if we needed telling). In fact the only character who's design evolution we see in any sort of detail is General Zod which, while good to see and nicely done, is really disappointing as I would have expected to see a lot more images from the early designs for Jor El, Lara Lor-Van, Ro-Zar, Faora-Ul, Jax-Ur et al but what we get are watercolours of the finished designs and production stills showing the actual costumes.

The sets and locations though we get in spades. The book is full of concept art showing us buildings and landscapes and a creature or two, some of them even have a character standing in the scene, but the quality is variable with hardly any detail and weirdly there's nothing from the actual shoot to compare to the paintings in the book, which brings me on to omission number two from the book - anything to do with the actual production.

Man of Steel: Inside The Legendary World of Superman

There are no true on-set photos, no props or practical effects to see, no little anecdotes from cast and crew, nothing to really take us backstage and let us in on the secrets of the shoot. There's also nothing on how the visual effects were done and, once again, no direct comparisons between the evolution of the production design and the finished production.

If you're a Superman completist, a fan of the film or a fan of Henry Cavill who, let's face it is pretty buff, then you'll enjoy this book, it's a got enough of interest that you won't have seen before to keep you happy and it's a nice reminder of the film. If you're a die-hard DC fan or a budding production designer looking for tales from the trenches and some design depth, then it will leave you wanting more, look elsewhere.

Man of Steel: Inside The Legendary World of Superman is published by Titan Books, and is available with free delivery from The Book Depository and on the high street from Blackwell and all good book stores.

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