I disdain, or thought I disdained, film novelizations. Why read a book based on a movie…what a cash-in. While I stand by these sentiments I have to admit ‘Man of Steel’ is a guilty pleasure that any lover of the film or bookworm would enjoy. The novel is written by Greg Cox, a New York Times best-selling author and Superman fanboy. Cox adapted other films as well, notably ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘Ghostrider’ as well as the comic to novel adaptation of DC’s ‘Infinite Crisis’, ‘52’, ‘Countdown’ and ‘Final Crisis’.
The book copies the script verbatim for most of the time but what is rewarding and makes the book unique is its focus on the inner monologues and thoughts of the characters. The reasoning and actions of Zod, Lois and Clarke are so much clearer. The weight of their burdens and decisions made more real and forceful, something only the written word can bring to light. Cox delves a little deeper into the history of Krypton, making you wish he had written a full on mythology for the planet and its people, akin to what Tolkien did for Middle Earth. Cox has a simple yet effective style; he leaves enough room for the action to unfold easily and fluidly. Even if you have seen the film you will have the same feelings, perhaps even amplified when reading about the characters and the stupendous events that unfold.
‘Man of Steel’ worked well as a film and I would say it works even better on paper. While it’s not a great work of literature-no novelization can be, ‘Man of Steel’ is a highly enjoyable read. I still look with scorn on novelizations but Cox’s work intrigues me enough to give this genre a second thought.