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Of all of the various criticisms leveled at Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel, "too dark" is the one that resonates the loudest and the longest. And it’s not just the grim tone of the origin story. We’re talking hues and saturations, as the following video points out. Here’s Man of Steel, only in color:
"You’re looking at what might have been," the team at VideoLab states as they introduce a color-corrected version of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. The narrator talks about Snyder’s decision to go with a "bleak" color grading for the admittedly action-packed visuals in the film, noting that they likely were inspired by Christopher Nolan’s freakishly successful Dark Knight movies. So they wondered what Henry Cavill’s Kal-El would look like with some of the natural colors and hues. They show what they say is footage with "restored color," providing a visual that really pops off of the screen.
They come to the conclusion that "hidden under all of that darkness and desaturization is a Superman movie that looks like … Superman!" They even showcase set photos that shows the colors of Cavill’s actual costume, proving that the reds and blues of Superman’s attire are present. But Snyder made changes to the hero’s look in post-production, helping him look brooding, somber and sad.
It’s a conscious choice, and one that they believe was a direct reaction to the failure of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns -- an homage to the Richard Donner days that didn’t connect with fans. Faced with few options, DC, Warner Bros. and Snyder embraced the Nolan aesthetic. And it looks like it’s going to continue in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
I want Restored Color Man of Steel, and I want it right now. The folks at Video Lab go so far as to say that Zack Snyder should drastically play around with his color tones to further differentiate the worlds of Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) when these two titans clash in 2016. It’s not too late Zack. Bring Superman back into the light… where he belongs.