Has the concluding fight between Superman and General Zod in Man of Steel ever seemed familiar? That’s probably because it was inspired by none other than science fiction movie classic The Matrix (or, to be more precise, The Matrix Revolutions). Director and storyboard artist Jay Oliva confirmed the fact, when imagery from The Matrix was compared with stills from Man of Steel online.
The artist said “When planning out the Zod Superman fight I told Zack [Snyder] that up until then the only time you had people flying engaging in combat was Superman 2 and The Matrix 3.” He then went on to share that his ambition was to “top the Matrix fight and do things I’ve only seen in animation.”
Whether or not the fight between Superman and General Zod did top the battle between Neo and Smith in The Matrix Revolutions is certainly debatable. The final, city-destroying fight in Zack Snyder’s DC movie, has been pretty controversial since its release, and the trope has even become something of a cliché within the superhero movie genre.
On the flip side, The Matrix movies still stand as some of the best science fiction films ever made, with their blend of stunning action set-pieces and thought-provoking concepts. The visual effects on the 2000s movies were also ground-breaking, and it helped to shape the visual language that we’ve seen displayed in action movies since. So, it’s little surprise to see that the influence is still being felt and reflected in filmmaking today.
Whether a second Zack Snyder-led Man of Steel movie would draw from previous movies so overtly might be a question that’s never answered. The wider DC extended universe plans for the Superman character are still being figured out, and it isn’t even certain that Henry Cavill will get another shot at the character again. Either way, if the DCEU is looking for inspiration in the future, it could do worse than taking another look at The Matrix.
If you’re desperate for more Superman content, check out our guide to watching every Superman movie in order.