Zack Snyder’s new Superman movie has a villain. The all-American super dude in blue tights has an extensive rogues gallery filled with excellent villains that have never been seen on screen before, but they’re doing Zod again. In a press release issued today Warner Bros. has announced that Michael Shannon will play Zod in their new Superman film, to be titled Man of Steel.
Shannon is a character actor, probably best known for his critically acclaimed work with a supporting role in Revolutionary Road. More recently he stole scenes in The Runaways as band manager opposite Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning. Now he’ll play the deposed Kryptonian general first made famous in what is still the best Superman movie, Superman 2, where the character was turned into a pop culture icon when played by the great Terence Stamp.
Shannon has his work cut out for him living up to Stamp’s unforgettable performance, but he’s got the right look and the acting chops necessary to pull the character off. For those of you out of the Superman loop, what you need to know is that Zod, like Superman, is from Krypton. That means he has all the same powers as Superman, except he’s wholly evil. Zod was imprisoned in a place called “The Phantom Zone” by Kal-El’s father before the explosion of Krypton, only to escape and end up on Earth where he sets out to conquer and rule.
He’ll face off in Man of Steel against Henry Cavill, already cast as Clark Kent, and Amy Adams, already cast as Lois Lane. With all due respect to Cavill and Adams, Michael Shannon is now the best actor involved in this project. No word yet on whether Zod’s two cronies from Superman 2 will show up to serve as his makeshift army. Does he really need them? Probably not. He’s Zod.
The question for Superman fans shouldn’t be whether Shannon will be any good as Zod, he will be, the question here is whether or not it’s a good idea to use him as the villain. It’s already been done perfectly, and worse than that, using Zod falls into that superhero movie villain cliche which as plagued the Iron Man franchise recently. You know the one, where the hero is forced to face off against someone with exactly the same powers as his. In Iron Man that’s resulted in one metal robot running around fighting other metal robots. In Superman we’re getting one guy with super powers fighting a guy with exactly the same super powers. It’s kind of been done to death.
Zod is a great character and Michael Shannon will be good, but let’s be honest here, they’re only doing this for name recognition. Outside of Lex Luthor, Zod is Superman’s most famous villain. As with almost every decision Hollywood makes these days, they’re using him because people know him.
This is probably foreshadowing, you’re on notice Star Trek fans, expect to see Khan recycled in Star Trek: The Next. In the meantime, kneel before Zod:
For more info on Superman: Man of Steel visit its page in our Blend Film Database.