Released on June 14, 2013, the blockbuster DCEU superhero film Man of Steel, which was filmed in Illinois, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary!
Directed by the divisive Zack Snyder, Man of Steel explored the origins and journey of Superman, one of DC Comics’ most iconic characters.
Henry Cavill took on the lead role, portraying Clark Kent, a young man with extraordinary abilities who discovers his true identity as Kal-El, an alien from the planet Krypton.
As Clark embraced his destiny as Superman, he confronted his past and faced General Zod, played by Michael Shannon, a Kryptonian military leader bent on Earth’s destruction. The film also featured Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, and Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Clark’s Kryptonian father.
With stunning visuals, intense action sequences, and a reimagined take on the beloved superhero, Man of Steel delivered a modern and epic portrayal of Superman’s iconic story. Despite Rotten Tomato’s 56% rating, the film did many things right.
Considering it’s Man of Steel’s 10-year anniversary, it’s a great time to remember all the ways the film is interconnected with Illinois. Here are some fun facts about the movie and its connection to Chicago:
While Man of Steel is set primarily in the fictional city of Metropolis, much of the movie was actually filmed in Chicago. Following in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and Dark Knight, the city provided the backdrop for several iconic scenes, including the destruction of buildings and the intense battle between Superman and General Zod.
Principal photography began in August 2011 in West Chicago before moving to Vancouver and Plano, Illinois. Locations include Chicago’s Loop, Union Station, Stetson Avenue, and more!
Metropolis Inspired by Chicago
The filmmakers drew inspiration from Chicago’s architecture and urban landscape when creating the fictional city of Metropolis. The distinctive skyline and iconic landmarks of Chicago influenced the visual design of Metropolis, giving it a gritty and realistic feel.
Sears Tower Cameo
The Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) in downtown Chicago made a brief appearance in the film. The Willis Tower served as the newspaper office for The Daily Planet.
While much of the movie takes place in Metropolis, Man of Steel also explores Superman’s origins in the town of Smallville, Kansas. The Smallville scenes were primarily filmed in Plano, Illinois, which is located about 60 miles west of Chicago.
Massive Destruction Scenes:
The filmmakers wanted to create a realistic sense of destruction in the film, and they chose Chicago as a backdrop because of its vast urban landscape. The city’s architecture and densely populated areas provided a visually stunning setting for the intense battles and massive destruction sequences.
The destruction sequences rivaled the scenes in Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Boost to Local Economy
Filming Man of Steel in Chicago brought significant economic benefits to the city. The production crew hired local talent, utilized local businesses, and contributed to the economy during the filming period. The movie’s presence in Chicago helped generate revenue and increase tourism interest in the city.
Overall, Man of Steel utilized Chicago as a prominent filming location, drawing inspiration from the city’s architecture and landmarks to create the fictional world of Metropolis. The film’s action-packed scenes and epic battles showcased the city’s grandeur while immersing viewers in Superman’s story.
In addition to its connection to Chicago, there are many other fun facts about Man of Steel we have to share as we look back. Here are a few more fun facts about Man of Steel:
The filmmakers created an entire Kryptonian language for the film. Linguist Dr. Christine Schreyer developed the language, incorporating a complex grammar and vocabulary. It added an extra layer of authenticity to the Kryptonian culture depicted in the movie.
Henry Cavill’s Superman Suit:
The Superman suit worn by Henry Cavill went through various modifications before the final version was chosen. The iconic “S” symbol on the chest was slightly altered, and the suit itself was made using a combination of practical and digital effects to enhance its appearance on screen.
Hans Zimmer’s Soundtrack
The film’s score was composed by renowned musician Hans Zimmer. Instead of incorporating the classic Superman theme by John Williams, Zimmer created a new and distinct musical score, aiming to capture the emotional journey of the character.
Jonathan Kent’s Advice
In one memorable scene, Jonathan Kent (played by Kevin Costner) advises a young Clark Kent (Superman) about the importance of hiding his powers. He tells Clark, “You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be because, Clark, someday you’re going to have to make a choice—whether to stand proud in front of the human race or not.” This line reflects the central theme of the movie, exploring Superman’s internal struggle to embrace his dual identity.
Box Office Success
Man of Steel was a commercial success, grossing over $668 million worldwide. Its strong box office performance paved the way for a new era of DC superhero films, which were spotty at best, and served as the launching point for the interconnected DC Extended Universe.
Sequel and Future Films
The success of Man of Steel led to the development of the divisive sequel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Superman shares the screen with Batman. It also laid the foundation for subsequent DCU films, including Justice League and standalone movies including Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash.
Man of Steel features several Easter eggs and references to the larger DC Comics universe. Here’s a list of the most notable easter eggs featured in Man of Steel.
Throughout the film, there are multiple instances where trucks bearing the “LexCorp” logo can be spotted. This foreshadows the presence of Lex Luthor, one of Superman’s most iconic adversaries.
Wayne Enterprises Satellite
In one scene, when Zod broadcasts a message to the entire world, the Wayne Enterprises satellite can be briefly seen. This is a reference to Batman, hinting at the shared universe and setting the stage for future crossovers.
The LexCorp Tower
During the climactic battle between Superman and General Zod, a building with the LexCorp logo is prominently featured. This is an additional nod to the presence of Lex Luthor within the Man of Steel universe.
The film incorporates various Kryptonian symbols and glyphs throughout its visuals. Some of these symbols, when translated, represent names or elements from the DC Comics lore. For instance, the “S” symbol on Superman’s chest is actually the Kryptonian glyph for “hope.”
The name “Black Zero” is referenced multiple times throughout the film. In the movie, “Black Zero” refers to a Kryptonian spaceship or vessel. It is a massive, advanced spacecraft that serves as the flagship of General Zod’s fleet.
The ship plays a significant role in the film as Zod and his followers use it to travel to Earth in search of the codex, a vital genetic repository that holds the key to Krypton’s future. In the comics, Black Zero is associated with a villainous character who is responsible for the destruction of Krypton. The name pays homage to the character’s significance in Superman’s backstory in the comics.
Watch the trailer from 2013 here:
These fun facts all provide a glimpse into the creative process and impact of Man of Steel, showcasing the efforts taken to bring the story of Superman to life and its significance in expanding the DCU.
And Chicago played a major role in the film.