Man Of Steel: Remastered

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When I first viewed "Man of Steel" in the theater, I was struck by the dour tone that the whole film had. The color timing was very dull (I assumed it was actually the theater not using the correct projector bulbs, but had the same feeling on Blu-ray). Zimmer's score never quite had the levity of previous Superman scores. I really wondered what the film would be like with Williams's cues and a new look.

Wonder no more with Agent9's "Man of Steel: Remastered." While the addition of John Williams's music is front in center here, it's by no means the biggest revelations at play. The new color timing removes the ugly dark green hues from the film and showcase how amazing the new Superman suit looks. It really pops here and is hard to look away whenever it is on screen.

This is also by no means just a recolor and a new score. Agent9 has made some great cuts and restructuring of the entire film. A pared down opening gets the ball rolling much faster than the theatrical version and feels more in line with "Superman: The Movie." Sure, there's a few bits between Zod and Jor-El that leave questions for the viewer, but all those questions get answered (as they do for Clark in the film) just 20 minutes later. The edits that Agent9 makes to the first act of the film are truly revelatory, removing the confusing structure of the narrative with various flashbacks and SFX showpieces. After the destruction of Krypton, there is a title sequence that fits in with the Reeve films. I would have preferred less oil in water constellations (as in the Reeve films) and a little more NASA material, but that is a minor nitpick really.

Then we get straight into the story through Lois Lane's perspective. Clark barely shows up. It's an interesting choice that works out really well and I would love to see it with someone who never saw the original version. The forced action sequences like the oil rig rescue (cool but mostly for trailer moments), Lois Lane getting whipped by the Kryptonian computer (what?), Young Clark's X-ray vision (the actor isn't that good) are gone. Lois really has little to go on when she does her investigation and hearing about the rescues through her perspective is far more creative than merely showing them. It isn't until much later in the film that we can see what Clark can do, which provides the proper rising suspense for the viewer.

The destruction is toned down. It's sure there and there's little that will change that, but it never reaches the uncomfortable levels of the theatrical version. Now Superman takes down the world engine a little quicker and the suspense in the scene is solely on whether or not he can do it and not on whether or not Perry White will save a character in a soundstage that the audience doesn't care for. It's crazy how well this finale works.

Now, I have heaps of praise for this cut, but there are a couple of bits that keep it from being perfect. The bus flashback needs a little more editing. Pete Ross still says his very odd curses ("Dick splash?" Really?!) and there's a little too much music laid over the rescue of the bus. This should be a moment of Clark learning what he can do and should be toned down. It's more of a feeling of the audience of proper rises and falls with emotion. There's a few too many moments that utilize the march which makes the proper Superman moments not as strong. Just a suggestion.

Also, there are two moments that need the music swapped. The music swell from Superman Returns when Lois comforts Clark after what he's done to Zod is misplaced. It's very romantic and triumphant which is at odds with what the characters are feeling in the moment. If this music swell was put in the spot when Superman and Lois kiss for the first time (after teleporting Zod's ship and seemingly saving the day) that would work. The music for this scene should be for the train station moment. I think that would work thematically far better.

Oh! Lest I forget! Agent9's new conclusion works out far better than the theatrical version. We have a nice tease of Clark working for The Daily Planet (we no longer see the newsroom in perfect shape again, which left many questions about when the scene took place following the climax) and Clark's uneasy scene with the general is the closing. It no longer feels like Clark just destroyed half of Metropolis and right after is telling the military to get off his back. It felt weird in the theatrical version and is a nice denouement here. Plus, giving the film a moment to breathe for a second made the "I think he's hot line" work. And, yes, Agent9 found a way to make the film close triumphantly like the Reeve films. Well done.

I really hope that Agent9 makes another few tweaks to his already amazing cut. Like his cuts of "Prometheus" and "Terminator Salvation" this will probably be my go-to edit for watching the film. Give it a look and be surprised at how much fun "Man of Steel" can actually be with a bit of editing.

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Agent 9's fan edit of Man of Steel represents an enormous feet and excels as an alternate viewing experience of Zack Snyder's film.

Some reviewers have mentioned Clark comes together as Superman too quickly. Whilst I understand where they are coming from it personally didn't bother me and I found how the story took shape through Lois inspired.

Once we have that awesome transition from baby Kal-EL's ship passing over the barn to the helicopters in the Arctic I knew I was watching a different movie and welcomed it.

There were moments in the editing which didn't quite work for me and for some reason I found the Krypton scenes a little out of step with the pacing and structuring of the remainder of the fan edit.

I'd like to see the vulgarities like 'measuring dicks' and 'dick-splash' removed which if anything felt more out of place in this version of the film.

The restored colour pallet works in tandem with the replaced score in brightening up the movie. Some scenes looked a little washed out and lacking in contrast however overall the film was much more pleasing to look at.

Now the score......

Let me start by saying that whilst Zimmer's score is mostly noise when compared to what may arguably be Williams finest, I did however enjoy Zimmer's Superman theme. For a film supposedly about hope it contained just that little nugget of optimism. Problem was it only played during the end credits.

Replacing an entire score and orchestrating it in a way that sounds like it was always there is a herculean task and for most of the part Agent 9 has done an extraordinary job.

I must confess for the first fifteen minutes I felt the music was out of touch with this material with Williams's compositions only serving to remind me of the film I'd rather be watching. However as the edit evolved I found myself more and more charmed by it.

In particular I think the action scenes benefited and felt more comic book, uplifting and exciting rather than loud and dreary. It also helped with the pacing and energy of the battle scenes which in honesty left me bored and drained in the theatrical version.

Where I think the music needs more work is with the subtleties. Of greatest offence and an example which others have mentioned is after Superman kills Zod and the love theme from Superman Returns kicks in. However as part of the same scene the cue chosen up until this point is spot on. Likewise when young Clark rescues the school bus, here John Ottman's Superman Returns cue plays all over the scene and could've benefited from being more underscored. It's perhaps a classic case of less is more and some times the score simply felt too prominent.

The wrap-up and ending work tremendously well. With the scene of Superman lecturing the General much more palatable. Plus there's a lovely touch of emulating the Superman fly over scene from the original films.

I truly hope Agent 9 revisits his edit at some point in the future. It's not far off and as it stands is still an awesome experience. Highly Recommended !!!!!!

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(Updated: October 03, 2015)
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I enjoyed this edit more than I should and that is because of the massive replacement of the soundtrack with parts from John William's soundtrack* from older Superman-movies and because of the new colourgrading which is just nicer on the eye. Great work, Agent9, kudos for those!

But the narrative in the first half could use some work:

------------------------Spoiler-begin---------------------------------

spence already mentioned it, it's quite a problem that we don't see Clark grow up and learn about his abilities, instead we see him grown up and nearly immediately getting his superman-suite. This actually reminds me of the way it was in the "Supergirl"-movie, where she comes out from her dimension onto earth and immediately has her supergirl-outfit and flies around (I have to admit though that Helen Slater looked just beautiful flying around as Supergirl :)).

The other problem is that it is unclear that Zod and co were organizing a coup d'etat until they were captured, I thought that they were acting on the orders of the council, maybe some scenes cut made this more confusing.

*The use of the Williams score really helps improve the feeling, but during the scene of Superman killing Zod and his crying out, it was better with the silence of the original to underline the shock.

-------------Spoiler-End----------------

Editing by the way was very smooth and well done, and nice work on the credits in the beginning, similar to the credits of the original Superman-movies.

All in all, it's better than the theatrical version, because of the new score and colours, and because the destruction is reduced, but imho it could be and should be improved regarding the narrative of the first half. I hope you will consider a version 2.0 because you are on the right track, Agent 9.

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9.9
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I'd been looking forward to this one after being impressed with Agent9's editing skills on Prometheus and his overall sense of presentation and professionalism with his Prometheus Special Edition.c

I didn't think he could better himself after that edit... but he has surpassed himself in my opinion.

I read some of the comments in his "work in progress" forum thread but I resisted commenting until I'd seen the finished product. What I think is worth baring in mind are twofold:

1) what did he attempt to do?

2) did he achieve it?

Whether or not I think this film is helped by removing Hans Zimmer's wonderful score is irrelevant. That was Agent9's intent and I think he succeeded in a way that I haven't seen any other faneditor come close to, including my own meagre efforts at replacing an original score.

Secondly, his aim was to remove the dreary colour timing from the original and make it more vibrant and he was mostly successful as much as anyone without access to the original materials could be. Sometimes a scene or two looks a little too magenta but that is very occasional and I'm prepared to accept that because of all the wonderful work he did in making this look like a Superman film.

Both the colour timing and music replacement gave me goosebumps when I watched it for the first time. I actually believe the film looks better with a more natural palette than that horrible sickly green, over processed look that Zach Snyder released it in. It'll be interesting to see if Snyder dials it back a bit for BvS.

I can't imagine how much work went into doing all of that and if he'd just done that and not edited the movie I would still be applauding his efforts.

But here is where I believe the hidden star of this particular show is... the editing.

The re-structuring of the original story has been done brilliantly! I read a lot of criticism about how in the released version Lois was lazily dropped into the story whenever they needed her to stumble across something and I've agreed with that criticism. Also some of the other things, like the treatment of Pa Kent has also made me side with the internet critics. Agent 9, much like he did with the terrible character motivations in Prometheus and with that contentious rolling derelict, has made Lois make more sense in the story to me. After Krypton explodes, she becomes the dramatic thrust of the story, searching for the enigmatic saviour she's heard stories of. The re-structuring involved here lets us follow Lois's discoveries and that's how we meet Supes. The added bonus of this is that we lose a lot of superflous stuff that the rambling original flashback structure didn't need and inflated the run time to make the final act harder to sit through.

All the stuff cut, I don't miss. All the re-ordering of scenes are inspired. And all in all this is a triumph of editing! The best I've seen after all these years of downloading superb fan works from this community.

The only minor quibble I have is that it's not clear to me why Krypton exploded when it did or how many years have passed when we pick up the story but that's pretty pedantic of me as we all know this story well.

From top to bottom with it's adept colour re-imagining, it's maestro like sound editing and the creating of new titles and effects and editing makes this for me one of the greatest fan edits I've had the pleasure to watch.

Highly recommended.

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I loved this edit. The original cut is grey and dull, bordering on unwatchable. Agent 9 has brought it back to life and truly made it feel like a Superman film. Some of the aspects I enjoyed the most:
- The opening on Krypton. Beautifully trimmed and the score integration/mirror of 1978 Superman opening was really well executed.
- The credits sequence. They look professionally done!
- The re-ordering of the early scenes to focus on Lois learning about Clark as we do. Brilliant stuff, and through a combination of your visual editing and the insertion of the Lois theme, I really bought into their relationship much more in this cut.
- The colour correction. So great to see the red and blue back on the screen. I don't like my Superman movies to be predominantly grey...
- The Music!!! Amazing work, only very few scenes were the stitches evident. You chose the themes so well, and I could really see the effort that had gone into really nailing the key moments throughout the film in a way the original cut didn't get near.
- The pacing. There was not a single shot that you cut that was missed. And thank you muchly for getting rid of scene in the Church, among many others of its ilk.
- The kiss. No longer cringe worthy, it felt natural and appropriate.
- The final shot. Classic Superman. Should never have ended on anything else!

A couple of minor nitpicks
- I know it's a tough compromise with picture quality and file size, but there was a lot of digital distortion in the blacks/shadows, especially evident when Pa Kent shows Clark his spaceship.
- Despite the awesomeness of your score work, there were a couple of music transitions that were noticeably abrupt, such as from the daily planet theme to superman destroying the satellite.
- Some clunky dialogue that could possibly be trimmed remains. eg, Faora's "Evolution always wins" conversation with Clark.

So, all in all, a very professionally executed score replacement, but also so much more. I'll never watch the original again. This is a fanedit to show to your friends as a great example of what the medium can do. Well done Agent 9!

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