Film News

Man of Steel Color Correction: “Superman Should Fly In Blue Skies, Not Grey Ones”

Is it too late to re-shoot all of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with a completely new director? Is it too late to get rid of Zack Snyder?

Yeah, sorry. That ship has sailed. Plus, not everyone is down on the Batman v Superman teaser nor did everyone dislike Snyder’s Man of Steel. However, it is jarring that when Flickering Myth gathered its 10+ editors to discuss the Batman v Superman teaser almost everyone agreed “Zack Snyder is the biggest problem with the film.” That’s been my contention since day one. My first thought when I saw the teaser was it looked so thoroughly Zack Snyder. I have already explained that at length elsewhere on the site, highlighting the usage of a Superman statue as a quintessential Zack Snyder-did-it-because-he-thought-it-would-look-cool moment. However, I also mean that it quite literally looks just like a Zack Snyder movie normally would, color corrected to death to remove any vibrant visuals in favor of a more muted color palette meant to mimic some kind of gritty graphic novel or “dark, gritty” video game.

There are some directors (and usually their ever faithful cinematographer) who have a signature visual style, allowing us to instantly recognize their work. Christopher Nolan is one, Zack Snyder is another. In fact, before we’d actually seen any footage all of the publicity stills Snyder had been releasing for Batman v Superman were clearly color corrected, depicting not how Gal Gadot or Henry Cavill looked to the naked eye in their costumes but how they will appear on screen after they’ve been Snyder-ized with his signature color filters.

Now, in a video essay which is already being posted by just about every pop culture site VideoLab color corrected parts of Man of Steel and the Batman v Superman teaser to show what could have been. Why would they do this? “We’re big fans of both Superman and the film Man Of Steel. That’s why this was a fun project. But Superman isn’t just a brand. He’s a worldwide icon that has lasted 77 years. When you make a Superman movie, and not every kid running out of the theater wishes they were Superman… you’ve done something wrong.” The technical details? They used Synthetic Aperture’s Color Finesse and some color exclusion adjustments to try to restore some of the original color. The main takeaway? It’s obviously not part of Snyder’s original “artistic vision” and it’s ultimately up to personal preference, but I can’t believe how much better the color corrected visuals look. As VideoLab concluded, “Superman should fly in blue skies, not grey ones.”

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is due out March 25, 2016.

Source: Uproxx


  1. People are so fucking stupid the movie is already in fucking color. All this video did was put it in annoying over saturated color and people think it’s better. The skies weren’t fucking grew and superman wasn’t fucking dark. Seriously people are fucking pathetic.

    1. I would agree that saying “What if Man of Steel was in color?” is misleading and clearly factually incorrect. I would pretty much disagree with everything else you said, though. Man of Steel is a dark movie, visually. It just is, not in the sense of having lots of shadows or night scenes but in the sense of having been color filtered to make everything appear darker and very drab/flat. Whether or not that is a bad thing is up to personal preference, and clearly you have no problem with how it looks. That’s cool. I am just personally not a fan of Zack Snyder ‘ s typical design aesthetic, which was somewhat reigned in on man of Steel but will likely be let loose on batman v superman.

  2. I don’t think that another colour would have made the movie as a whole that much better, but it would have at least looked more like a Superman movie. And I agree that the interesting thing of Batman vs Superman fights are that those two are so distinctively different. It should look like what CW does when Arrow and Flash encounter each other. Instead we get…this…..

    I think the worst thing of the teaser was for me the “can you bleed” line, because it reminded me of the “I made you bleed” speech of Whiplash in Iron man 2 which in turn reminded me how a Superman movie could look like without having to go to the “everything fell into multi-coloured paint” style of the very first movies.

  3. Unfortunately when you do things because “wouldn’t it be cool?” it becomes cool, detached, calm, and disconnected. Coolness is not a storytelling virtue, it’s a surface-level aesthetic. Snyder wants to make cool movies but hopefully David Goyer has written a script with more nuance and character work this time around.

    1. Your comment made me think about this: David S. Goyer’s Batman Begins script was re-written by Christopher Nolan, and he only came up with the stories for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises which Chris and Jonathan Nolan then turned into screenplays. Chris took the final pass on the scripts for all three films, as he does with pretty much all of the films he directs. So, actually, Man of Steel was the first time in Goyer’s partnership with Nolan in which he was credited as the sole writer of the screenplay. As such, I find it all the more encouraging that Goyer’s Batman v Superman script was actually re-written, this time by Argo Oscar winner Chris Terrio. In the past, Goyer’s apparently been at his best when comes up with ideas which somebody else either writes or re-writes.

  4. What’s wrong with a muted colour palette that looks more like a gritty graphic novel? Films such as ‘The Avengers’ desensitise viewers to the fact that an alien race is attempting to invade earth, largely in part due to it’s colourful aesthetic appeal and witty humour. Snyder’s ‘The Watchmen’ was brilliantly shot, and with plenty of colour, so I think it’s harsh to criticise Snyder’s directorial style as grey, or too gritty. I’m looking forward to Batman v Superman precisely because it will shake superhero movie fans and finally give cinephiles a reason to ‘love’ superhero cinema and get away from the onslaught of Marvel Universe which quite frankly is driving me up the wall. We don’t need another Iron Man, we don’t need another Captain America, and no one cares about Bruce Banner unless he’s raging green and smashing Loki’s spine. That escalated quickly! Oh, and Man of Steel is beautifully divisive due to it’s decision to focus on beautiful shot selection and cinematography over the superman-saves-the-day-and-everyone-lives-happily-ever-after storyline.

    1. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a muted color palette or attempting to replicate the feel of a gritty, graphic novel. In Zack Snyder’s case, he does that especially well, and I really like parts of Watchmen and Man of Steel. However, Snyder seems more style than substance to me. Beyond that, I think of this whole color correction thing in terms of actual comic books. For example, I often rent graphic novels from my local library through an online ordering system in which I can see the cover and read the plot description. I now know to pay attention to the name of the writer and artists, and that if I want to see a sample of the artwork I can check out Comixology or Amazon. Back when I first started in my “I guess I should finally give comic books a chance” phase I would rent them having little idea what the actual novel would look like. I’d get home with a Thor graphic novel by J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel and instantly be drawn in by the vibrant, extremely easy-on-the-eyes artwork, yet I’d also have Thor: Ages of Thunder by Matt Fraction and find it far more difficult to get into the completely different, darker art style. I’ve since had similar experiences just maybe slightly reversed, rejecting one comic because it looked too cartoony for my tastes and embracing another featuring the same character in a more photo-realistic fashion. The point is that there are some actual comic books which just aren’t quite for me due to my personal preferences for the artwork, and in general that is how I usually react to Zack Snyder’s films. His visual aesthetic, while often gorgeous for individual shots and in small bursts, just isn’t quite for me. As such, whenever I watch one of his movies I am already at an arm’s length from him. Oddly enough, Man of Steel is his one big film which seemed to reign in his signature visual tics just a little, and Batman v Superman looks like he’s been let loose.

      1. Fair comments and eloquently put, Zack Snyder is certainly more style than substance, 300 is a great example, and Watchmen is beautifully easy on the eye. I guess when it comes to superhero movies the substance is what can let them down somewhat, I felt, despite Tony Stark’s usual arrogance and The Hulk smashing Loki to pieces, The Avengers suffered because it took itself a little too seriously, which is why I’m not its biggest fan, pause for effect. Snyder is the guy for me and I’m looking forward to Batman v Superman, just as much as Man of Steel precisely because he’s not afraid to shake it up a little and deliver something that looks fantastic, with a keen eye for detail, whilst maintaining the comic’s roots, concerning structure and content

  5. wow the difference is jaring and I like the brighter look. Although I was fine with and liked the darker color superman suit.

  6. I like the brighter look. However, my biggest problem with the film was actually the sound. It was just so loud and abrasive that it was actually unpleasant.

    A side note: I am still amazed there are not as many fan-edits around. Fans can be incredibly talented and skillful when they put their energies into something other than arguing on the Internet. In particular, I love how there is a Star Wars: Un-Special Edition.

    1. The sound mixing will definitely be interesting to hear in Batman v Superman because you’re not wrong about Man of Steel – I also remember the sound being a bit abrasive at times (although I really, really liked Hans Zimmer’s new Superman theme). For better or worse, loud sound mixing is a Christopher Nolan specialty, having followed him quite noticeably in controversy from The Dark Knight Rises to Interstellar. So, I don’t know how much of that in Man of Steel was the influence of the producer (Nolan) or director (Snyder).

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