The biggest Superman movie of the last 3 years is probably Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Reclaiming the property from the less-than-well-received Superman Returns, MoS reinterprets the character in a post-Nolan cinematic landscape. Perfectly cast with Henry “The Last Son of Krypton” Cavill as the lead, the always delightful Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and intensely intense Michael Shannon as power mad and vengeful Zod, the film was praised by fan and critics alike earning it a collective, “Well, at least it’s better than the last one.”
Unfortunately for short-sighted critics and fans, Man of Steel borrowed heavily from 1997’s Disney animated classic, Hercules. So much in fact, they’re practically the same movie. Don’t believe us? Well, you don’t have to take our word for it…
When we first meet Hercules, he has just been born to Zeus and Hera on Mount Olympus where Zeus has a brief but tense encounter with Hades. In a similar scene, we see how Superman’s biological father Jor-El has a tense encounter with General Zod over the fate of their planet and their progeny followed by Kal-El’s birth on Krypton. While the orders are reversed as a feeble attempt to cover up Snyder’s hackneyed direction, the setup is identical in every detail.
Moving on to Hercules’ exile from Olympus, he is taken by Hades’ inept henchmen and turned mortal to prevent him from interfering with Hades’ plans for conquest. Because he was not turned fully mortal by Pain and Panic, he retained his god-like strength. He is found by some po’ country folk and raised as their own. Likewise, Superman is forced to leave his home on Krypton because of its explodeyness and is subsequently found by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, po’ country folk who raise him as their own. His DNA is effected by the Earth’s atmosphere, which enhances his strength, reflexes, and senses, and inexplicably gives him heat and X-ray vision.
All this leads to an awkward and somewhat troublesome childhood. Neither know what to make of themselves and feel like outsiders because of their abilities. Superman, being far less prone to singing, no doubt still felt as though he could go the distance. Despite their rejection, both know they are to use their abilities to help people, but their search for answers leads them to…
What follows is a predictable showdown of destruction between the heroes and their nemeses, with Zod standing in for Hades and that giant gravity machine for the Titans. In the end, they learn about sacrifice and doing good and Hades tries to kill an innocent Greek family with his heat vision before Hercules snaps his neck.
Conclusion: Did Man Of Steel rip off Hercules? Yes. And I defy anyone to prove otherwise.