Movie 1 – The Man of Tomorrow
Clark Kent/Superman: David Corenswet
Lois Lane: Anya Taylor-Joy
Jimmy Olsen: RJ Cyler
Lex Luthor: Billy Zane
Metallo: David Castañeda
Kara Danvers/Supergirl: Logan Browning
John Henry Irons/Steel: Mamoudou Athie
Amanda Waller: Kerry Washington
General Sam Lane: Tom Hanks/John Malkovich
This story arc follows an inexperienced Superman, and Clark Kent is a journalist.
Personality: Clark Kent is a young, mild-mannered, slouching nerd. Superman is a confident, almost cocky, reckless god. Clark is still human. He’s late for work, spills coffee on his shirt, breaks things because he’s too strong, and can’t pay bills on time. Superman is a reckless, yet humble god.
Synopsis: The movie begins from the perspective of a child in a town in a Middle Eastern country occupied by American soldiers. A soldier with “Corbin” on his name tag plays with a kid and gives her some food. The town is then attacked by enemy rebels, and the soldiers defend the town. There are whizzing sounds from above. They say “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s Superman!” and run away in terror. Then we see Superman swoop in and show his vast array of powers to defeat the enemy soldiers (super-strength, invulnerability, laser vision, frost breath). Superman eventually recklessly lasers the building the kid is hiding in while searching for enemies. The kid dies in Corbin’s arms. Superman does not notice and flies away.
Opening credit roll with music playing. One year later, we then see an opening montage of someone lifting weights. It is revealed to be Jimmy Olsen lifting weights pretty well. Clark is in the gym lifting much heavier weights to juxtapose the two friends. Jimmy takes out his headphones and music muffles. There is a news show discussing Superman as a terrifying menace and also a sweetheart. There is footage of him getting a cat out of a tree, or bursting through a wall and causing damage giving an apologetic shrug, or stopping a convenience store robbery. Even though Superman does good things, he still is vilified.
In addition, every time Clark goes home, there is an eviction notice on his door that he tears away. This shows how he lives a normal life and struggles to pay bills just like everyone else.
At work, Clark Kent is a writer and researcher for a daily news/investigative journalism show, The Daily Planet. Lois Lane is a field/investigative journalist and Jimmy Olsen is the camera operator. Lois is famous, known for being hard-nosed, and asks the tough questions during interviews. The showrunner, Perry White, wants the show to run stories about how Superman is a potential threat to society and how Lex Luthor, a rich businessman, is the potential savior of society despite his rumors of corruption and harm to the environment. Perry is pressured by execs to run the story because Lex owns the station. He tells the others it’s not fair, but they must do so.
He also tries to provide insight into how the world perceives Superman–as a humanoid-alien god patrolling the skies whose abilities could allow him to be an unstoppable force. Clark rebuffs these stories, saying how Superman saves those in trouble, looks out for those who can’t help themselves, and is a symbol of hope.
In addition, Lois and Clark’s love affair begins while they are at work as Lois asks him out for a drink to discuss the new story they both are assigned to report on: Lex Luthor’s debut of a new military exosuit. The exosuit is said to be given to soldiers to protect humans in the event of anothrt alien battle (alludes to the battle of Superman vs Zod a few years ago). During the conversation, Clark cleans his glasses, and Lois notices how he looks familiar with his glasses off.
While investigating, Lois discovers that her estranged father, General Sam Lane, is working with Lex, along with her ex, Sergeant John Corben. Lois shares with Clark that they will report on the exosuit by breaking into STAR Labs and see if they can spot suspicious activity, going against Perry White’s orders.
A work related discussion would seem like the reason why Lois asks Clark out for drinks, but she is also secretly investigating Clark to see if he is “The Superman” as she suspects he is.
Lex Luthor publicly denounces Superman’s actions because he does not trust an all-powerful being patrolling Metropolis, and the world, unregulated. Privately, he’s devising a plot to kill Superman. He complains that superpowered humans across the country have been unregulated vigilantes for years such as The Batman in Gotham (even though he is unaware that Batman is just human), The Wonder Woman in Washington, and the Flash in Central City. Superman has also caused a massive amount of destruction and property damage, mainly with his battle with General Zod years back (implying Clark has been Superman for a short while). Luthor acts out of fear, not hate. The public is on Lex’s side as they appreciate Superman’s help but fear him. Public perception is low of Superman.
Meanwhile, John Corben is under the command of General Sam Lane, Lois Lane’s father. It is implied that Corben and Lois once had a relationship set up by her father that seems to have ended poorly. Corben volunteers in what appears to be a military project co-opted by Lex Luthor, General Lane, Amanda Waller, and young scientist Dr. John Henry Irons – “Project Metal-0” – to kill Superman. John Corben’s motivation to help stop Superman is because Superman helped his military unit in battle, but the collateral damage killed that one child. Their motivations seem to be made out of genuine fear, not malintent.
Later on, we see that Clark and Lois are the driving force of the film. As investigative journalists they’re trying to bring down Lex Luthor and STAR Labs who have been buying off politicians in Metropolis. Luthor, Lane, and Waller acquire enough cybernetics in STAR Labs, and its subdivision, Project Cadmus, to create Metal-0 as a deterrent for the Man of Steel all through illicit means. This is a personal story allowing us to connect with Clark and to see how he uses his powers in his day-to-day life. He does little things like X-Ray vision and super hearing to get the scoop.
While investigating, Clark meets an unnamed girl. He shakes her hand too hard and thinks he hurts her, but she’s fine. He says he can hear her heart beating rapidly; she replies that she’s mervous. She seems very inquisitive and asks many questions. Jimmy interprets this as her flirting with Clark and encourages him to follow through. Clark dismisses this notion.
This girl says she’s a recent college grad in Metropolis but is from National City. Clark finds her kind of quirky and annoying. We do not know her name. This girl is actually Supergirl, but the audience does not know this. She comically pops up randomly throughout the movie to ask annoying questions.
Corben is seen in the “Metal-0” suit with Irons practicing combat situations specific to a fight with Superman. Corben asks if he could use the large steel sledgehammer stashed away in the lab, but Irons claims that’s a personal project not quite ready for use. While in training with the suit on, an accident happens (the suit does not have a sufficient power source), and Irons uses parts from the metal suit and infuses it with Corbin’s body to keep him alive. Corben’s heart is damaged, and they use kryptonite as a power source to regulate his heart so it does not burst and to power the suit. They ask him a series of questions to see if he’s ok. “Where are you right now? What day is it? What’s your name?” He calls himself “Metallo” (Metal-0). Lex sees this apparent brainwashing as an opportunity. He convinces Metallo that he must kill Superman for the greater good of the world.
Later, there is a man who is holding a bank hostage. Lois, Jimmy, and Clark are all together worried, until Clark is suddenly gone. The random girl from the beginning pops up to ask where’d their friend go. They ask who she is, she says Kara Danvers (Supergirl).
Superman attempts to talk down the man with a gun, but it is revealed to be Metallo, and punches a weakened Superman out of the building. Metallo follows Superman to the streets. He wants him to fight, but notices that whenever he gets closer, Superman gets weaker. As they fight, Metallo reveals why he thinks Superman should be eliminated and tells him the story of the death of the little girl. Superman apologizes sincerely, but Metallo doesn’t care.
Metallo is now causing tons of collateral damage to the city as he fights Superman, something he previously condemned Superman for doing. Lois gets hurt during the frenzy and attempts to talk down her rampaging ex. Metallo feels bad that Lois got hurt. While distracted, Superman grabs Metallo in the air and they fall to a graveyard. Kara is seen running in that direction. Lois and Jimmy follow.
Metallo and Superman are in the graveyard where Corbin made a memorial for the girl who was killed at the beginning of the film claiming no one can be hurt here by Superman. Clark goes full-blown Superman using his vast array of powers in order to evade being weakened by Metallo’s kryptonite heart. Despite his best efforts, Superman is getting his butt kicked because of the kryptonite in Metallo’s chest. Metallo even draws blood from Superman.
Supergirl shows up in a climactic scene to partner up with Superman. Superman is confused by the addition of another kryptonian, but welcomes her help. However, they are both are still weak due to the kryptonite. It seems they might die.
Just then, Jeremy Irons comes on to the scene with just his sledge hammer prototype to help stop his Frankenstein-esque creation. Irons tells Superman that he isn’t fighting using his head and tells him to focus.
As Metallo is about to kill Supergirl, Superman x-ray visions Metallo to see that even though his heart is now kryptonite, his lungs are still organic. Superman lasers Supergirl’s skin and it ricochets to hit Metallo’s kryptonite heart, no longer weakening them as much. Superman then grabs Metallo and flies him up into space where they have an emotional exchange of words until they both pass out. Metallo and Superman fall to the ground. Sam Lane orders soldiers to arrest Superman for attacking a US soldier, but they refuse and Superman’s “team” backs him up: Supergirl, Jimmy, Jeremy, Lois.
Lois Lane comes to Superman’s aid while revealing that she knew his identity. She eventually reveals that while her original intention was deceitful, she actually began to like Clark more than Superman during their investigation.
Kara reveals that she also knew he was Kal-El, and did not want to tell him until she could confirm her suspicions. Jimmy and Jeremy now know his secret identity and joke about how Clark just looks like if Superman just put on glasses.
A.R.G.U.S. (Advanced Research Group Uniting Super-Humans) apprehends Metallo. A.R.G.U.S. is a United States federal agency operating under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security. It is under the command of Director Amanda Waller. She says they will take him to Belle Reve, a prison for metahuman criminals.
Lex and Superman have an exchange of words. Superman says he’s here to help and there is no need to be angry at him. Lex replies that he is not angry; he’s scared. Lex answers a call from his phonein front of Superman, smiles, and leaves.
After a long fought battle, Clark returns to his apartment and sees all of his belongings in the streets. He has been evicted.
In Smallville, Kansas, Clark is now shown to have moved back in with his parents on their farm. Kara is also there and explains her backstory to the Kents of how she got to Earth. Kara asks where Clark’s ship is located and asks Clark where is a location where they can find the most solitude. She and Clark fly to the North Pole and, together, hand in hand, watch Clark’s ship build the Fortress of Solitude through the ice with the satisfaction of knowing they have each other as a new family.
Mid-credits Scene: People in hazmat suits from STAR Labs take samples of Superman’s blood from the graveyard fight scene. This blood sample will be used by Project Cadmus to create Superboy, and is a main plot point in the upcoming Teen Titans movie.
After-credits scene: The camera blends from the black screen of the credits to the black abyss of space and shows Earth. The camera pans out to reveal it is a hologram display. The camera turns and shows Darkseid pointing to the planet. Steppenwolf, Kalibak, and Grayven bow and boom tube away.