Characters: Man of Steel

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This page lists the Superman characters of the DC Extended Universe who debuted in Man of Steel.

Protagonists

     Superman 

Superman / Clark Kent / Kal-El

"You're scared because you can't control me. You don't, and you never will. But that doesn't mean I'm your enemy."

Portrayed by: Henry Cavill
Appearances: Man of Steel | Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice | Justice League, Part 1

A child of Krypton sent to Earth as a baby to escape the destruction of his homeworld. He is the son of Jor-El and Lara, and the first naturally-born Kryptonian in centuries.
  • Action Hero: There is a reason why he has the best fight scenes in the movie.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: He was bullied a lot while growing up because his Super Senses tended to leave him freaking out and made him the "weird kid."
  • Badass: He's Superman, after all.
  • Badass Armfold: He calmly folds his arms while telling General Swanwick that he will not allow the military to learn his secret identity.
  • Badass Baritone: As Superman, he can make his voice incredibly deep.
  • Badass Beard: Sports one during the first quarter of the movie.
  • Badass Cape: So badass that, like the New 52 version, the cape seems to be even more resistant than Superman himself. While he gets bruised and wounded during the battles against Zod's army, the cape is unscathed.
  • Badass in Distress: After entering Zod's ship, he gets weakened by the ship's atmosphere and taken prisoner. He escapes with the help of Lois and Jor-El, and then saves Lois from crashing on Earth in a failing escape pod.
  • Beard of Sorrow: The usually clean-shaven Clark grows a beard during his years Walking the Earth seeking his purpose in life, before becoming Superman. Arguably, he looks better with it.
  • Beneath the Mask: As Superman, he seems to really take to playing the aloof-but-benevolent alien diplomat, being very confident and flawlessly composed. Beneath it, as we've seen, he's wracked with indecision and can come off as awkward from restraining himself so much.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening his human mom. Zod gets speared through two silos and sent flying through a gas station while receiving a Punctuated Pounding that damages his armor.
    Clark: YOU THINK...[PUNCH!]...YOU CAN THREATEN...[PUNCH]....MY MOTHER!?!..[PUNCH!]
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's an extremely nice guy, but pissing him off isn't a good idea, as seen by the bullying trucker and Zod threatening his mother.
  • Big Damn Heroes: As is the norm, Superman gets several moments.
  • Blessed with Suck: Growing up in an alien environment, he underwent a painful adaptation process that involved spending years being unable to control the stimuli his senses were exposed to. He could see every layer of everything at all times and he could hear everything all together to the point of having a flip-out and running away from class to hide in a closet. It was paralleled with sensory over-stimulation and reactions of children with autism. Martha eventually coached him in tuning out the excess.
  • Carpet of Virility: Seen during his Walking the Earth time.
  • Chest Insignia: A big red "S," which is the crest of his Kryptonian family and a symbol representing hope on Krypton.
  • Chick Magnet: Thanks to his Samaritan Syndrome, women tend to see Clark as more of a "guardian angel" than a threat. His handsome features are definitely a plus, as well.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Clark can never leave well enough alone, even though it goes against his adoptive father's wishes for prudence. The only time he doesn't jump in is when a tornado engulfs Jonathan, and even then it was only because Jonathan insisted he stand down, despite the consequences for both of them.
  • Civvie Spandex: His suit seems to be some sort of Kryptonian formal wear, either a scout uniform or, considering the ceremonial cape, some kind of diplomatic dress. The "S" symbol is the House of El crest standing for "hope." He wears it unaltered throughout the film.
  • Clark Kenting: Clark is shown disguising himself with nothing but a pair of glasses, as he joins the crew at the Daily Planet in the film's conclusion. For this movie, both Clark and Superman are the "real person" wearing different clothes, neither being a disguise. The issue of a disguise persona isn't dealt with until the end. It probably helps that no one at the Planet, apart from Lois, has ever seen him up close, and he spent the last several years keeping a low profile, jumping from odd job to odd job in places of low population and changing his name frequently.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: Probably the fundamental difference between Man of Steel and previous ones starring the character is that Superman isn't an Ideal Hero yet, being more of this instead. From a young age, Clark has to deal with insecurity about being accepted by the world in spite of his powers. Despite this, he has a sense of duty to use his powers for good, so as an adult, he's unable to settle down in a civilian job for long, since he skips town whenever his cover is blown. This ends when he becomes Superman and finally gets a job at the Daily Planet.
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: In Man of Steel, he is only called "Superman" by a few soldiers. By the time of Dawn of Justice, it appears that more people have taken to referring to him by name.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He is nothing if not a pleasant man, but his very straightforward and rather blunt approach to things give him an edge in this.
    Professor Hamilton: Hello sir, my name is—
    Superman: Dr. Emil Hamilton. I know. I can see your ID tag in your breast pocket. Along with a half-eaten role of wintergreen Life Savers.
    • He also has a refined wit, such as when he interacts with Lois Lane.
      Lois: You let them handcuff you?
      Superman: Wouldn't be much of a surrender if I resisted.
  • Destructive Savior: Though he's fighting to protect humanity, his battles with Zod's soldiers and later Zod himself cause lots of damage to nearby buildings.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Saving the crew of a burning oil rig.
  • Extremity Extremist: Whenever he fights, Superman almost exclusively uses his fists.
  • Fake American: In-Universe, being an alien and all. He even invoked this at the end, stating that "I'm about as American as it can get."
  • Farm Boy: Raised on a farm in Kansas.
  • Fish out of Water: The main conflict of the film, as Clark's abilities alienate him from society.
  • Flying Brick: It's friggin' Superman.
  • Foil: To Zod, another surviving member of Krypton with designs on being the messiah of their lost civilization. However, whereas Zod is a ruthless elitist, Kal-El is compassionate and altruistic. In this manner, Kal embodies all the hopes and aspirations of Krypton's people for a better future while Zod personifies the authoritarianism and Social Darwinism that drove Krypton to ruin in the first place.
  • Forced to Watch: During a tornado, Jonathan refused help from Clark in order for his adopted son to hide his abilities from the people there. Cue Manly Tears.
  • Genius Bruiser: Closer to his comics counterpart, this Clark is established as being quite intelligent, knowing how to treat wounds, maintaining a high degree of control over his powers, being a pretty good tactician, and being knowledgeable about science.
  • Genre Savvy: He correctly anticipates that Zod has no intention of keeping his promise to spare the human race if Clark surrenders and warns the military officials accordingly.
  • Good Is Not Soft: He levels devastating blows on villains (who are a match for him, so it's give-and-take). As Superman, he does not visibly hold back at any point, which is usually a major facet in his combat ability.
  • Happily Adopted: As usual. Clark may be an alien, but he and his adopted parents are closer than blood. Flashbacks make the relationship more nuanced; he went through a phase of rejecting Martha and Jonathan as just the people who found him. Though he seems to have gotten over it for the most part, he does refer to Jor-El as his father pretty consistently, which hits Martha pretty hard.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: He shares many affectionate moments with his dog.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Because Lois is a redhead in this adaptation.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: A number of anti-Superman protesters exist two years after the Battle of Metropolis.
  • Heroic Build: Justified. Spending years and years Walking the Earth and working in all kinds of jobs that require great physical effort tend to do that to you.
  • Hidden Depths: He displays some medical and scientific knowledge throughout the film, which is unexpected for someone we've mostly seen as a vagabond. He's also seen reading philosophy texts as a kid.
  • Hope Bringer: He tells Lois that the "S" on his chest is the Kryptonian symbol for "hope." Thus, Kryptonians would see someone with this crest flying towards them as "hope is coming."
  • How Do I Shot Web?: He took years honing his natural gifts (with a lot of help from his foster parents) and even took a hard crash on his first flight.
  • Hunk: Handsome, check. Manly, check. Jawline, check. Big arms, check. Large torso, check. Pronounced muscles, check. Body hair, check. There's no doubt that this version of Superman is a perfect example of Hunk.
  • Hurting Hero: While Superman has oftentimes been shown lifting a globe (the Daily Planet's), this is one version that shows how much just feeling one has to bear the weight of the world on one's shoulders can do to a guy with Superman's powers. Even before he finds the suit, just because he's a good person at heart.
  • Ideal Hero: He spends the entirety of Man of Steel striving to become this, and by the time of Dawn of Justice, he apparently fits the mold considerably better.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Clark's reaction after finding out he's a super-powered alien. As an adult, he moves from place to place trying to live a quiet life. But both as a child and an adult, he's compelled to be a Heroic Bystander until he finally becomes Superman.
  • Ill Boy: Martha mentions that it was hard for him to breathe as a child. Explained to be because Krypton's atmosphere is near, but not quite, Earth composition, and he needed to adjust. It also supports the Kryptonite Factor.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Of the heroic and idealistic variety.
  • Last of His Kind: The only survivor of Krypton until the reveal that Zod and his minions survived. And then they all die or get banished again.
  • Lightning Bruiser / Jack of All Stats: He's not as brutally fast as Faora, but holds his own quite well against her and Nam-Ek since he has the advantage of flight. And in the climactic battle with Zod, he flies fast and hits hard.
  • Living MacGuffin: Prior to launching Kal-El to Earth, Jor-El imbued his cells with the Codex, which holds the genetic potential of the entire Kryptonian species.
  • Manly Tears: Twice. First with the death of his adopted father, then his Tears of Remorse for killing Zod.
  • Momma's Boy: He cares very much about his mother, and attacking her when he's around probably won't end well for you.
  • Mr. Fanservice: A certified Hunk with at least one Shirtless Scene to show it off. Lampshaded when Captain Carrie Farris of the Air Force is completely Distracted by the Sexy when near him (and admits it to her commanding officer, General Swanwick).
  • My Greatest Failure: He feels guilty to some degree for the destruction that occurred in Metropolis, but he is also keeping said guilt in mind as a way to make sure that nothing so drastic ever occurs again on his watch.
  • Nice Guy: Despite being met with hostility from all sides, he's almost never less than courteous and helpful. At one point, he saves one of the soldiers that had been firing on him as well as on Zod's troops, and as he puts him down, he asks him sincerely and without any rancor if he's alright; this seems to dumbfound the soldier.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After saving his fellow students from a bus accident, most of them, as well as their parents, acted like Ungrateful Bastards and essentially labeled him a "freak."
  • One-Man Army: Downplayed; though individually, he is much more effective against Zod's army than the human Armed Forces, he wouldn't stand any chance of stopping it by himself, without their involvement.
  • The Paragon: Surprisingly, not quite. He has more than potential for it in him, that much is for sure, and both of his fathers understood this. However, throughout the film, he's mostly trying to discover what direction to take his powers in, settling on being the alien mediator and representative. So while Jor-El tells him to be "an ideal to strive towards," he is not his usual Ideal Hero self yet. (He also doesn't have the benefit of 12 years' training through Neural Implanting that Jor-El's avatar subjected him to in Superman: The Movie. In this movie, he spends the corresponding amount of time doing odd jobs.)
  • Power Floats: A very rare example of floating horizontally rather than vertically in the final battle against Zod.
  • Primary-Color Champion: A darker example, but still counts.
    • In Dawn of Justice, the colors on his costume are brighter.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: As a boy, he saves his classmates from drowning. As an adult Walking the Earth, this is what enables Lois to track him down. Lois's obsession even stems from Clark using his powers to save her when she was investigating an alien crash site.
  • Screaming Warrior: Whenever Superman is in a fight, especially after said opponent, be it man or machine, threatens his planet, he seems to scream a lot. Such as when he drags Zod through downtown Smallville for threatening his mother and when he destroys part of the World Engine.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Invoked by Zod when they're the only two living Kryptonians left after the rest got sent back to the Phantom Zone, as Superman destroys the last working ship (his, actually) that could have been used to breed new Kryptonians. Its Genesis Chamber is empty, though, as it needs Superman's DNA to work. Of course, Superman himself makes it perfectly clear that his people went down their self-destructive path of their own free will, and he doesn't want a repeat of that.
    Superman: KRYPTON HAD ITS CHANCE!
    • Also Zod himself is killed by Superman shortly after.
  • Shirtless Scene: He's had a few to show off Cavill's impressive physique. And hairy chest.
  • Shoot the Dog: Killing Zod to save an innocent family. He's visibly upset that it had to come to that. So much, even, that it may have caused him to adopt his familiar Thou Shalt Not Kill code.
  • The Stoic: Superman takes pains to control his emotions, mindful of accidentally killing people and/or exposing his powers.
    • Not So Stoic: And it all goes out of the window when lives are in danger. He spent an entire lifetime holding his anger in, and then Zod threatened his mom...
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: As with all depictions of Superman (Cavill is 6'1").
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Though he always avoided killing at all costs, it's finding no other way to save a family but killing Zod that pushes Superman firmly into this rule. He knows what it feels like to take a life, all that comes with it, and that is what makes him decide, once and for all, not to do it.
  • Took A Level In Idealism: Being obliged by circumstances to kill the last of his Kryptonian brethren only results in him adopting a Thou Shalt Not Kill code and becoming more idealistic and fettered.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Played with. He's only unskilled in that he isn't a trained warrior compared to the very well-trained elite Kryptonian soldiers he has to face off with for his first real outing. Note, for the brief time they were on Earth, Zod manages to overcome his Power Incontinence and need for a breather apparatus, and Faora manages to outright master Super Speed on second contact. All of which took Clark much longer to hone, and even then, he's never had a chance to test himself to the limits. However, since he has been exposed to the yellow sun for 33 years, he was able to match them on raw power, but it became a problem when Zod caught up.
    • It's also shown in the fight scenes that his style of hand-to-hand combat, while understandably not on par with the soldiers, is still more advanced that we've ever seen him display on screen where he often relies solely on his devastating power rather than technique.
  • When He Smiles: Given all the trauma he goes through, it's nice to see him when he's happy. Hell, just watch him when he achieves flight for the first time. He's like a kid in a candy store.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Only because he is forced to defend his adopted homeworld against a fanatical band of Kryptonian super-soldiers whose ranks happen to include women that are just as skilled and deadly as their male counterparts.

    Lois Lane 
"Welcome to the Planet."

Portrayed by: Amy Adams

A reporter who tries to investigate an anomaly in Canada (and the American military outpost studying it), who is nearly killed by a Kryptonian security system and is saved by Clark.
  • Action Survivor: Lois visibly has trouble wielding a Kryptonian handgun and only escapes the Kryptonian warship with the help of Jor-El's Virtual Ghost.
  • Adaptational Badass: Unlike other versions of this supposed hard-nosed Intrepid Reporter, this version is never fooled by Clark; she's in on his secrets from the beginning, considering she tracked him down right to his adoptive family's farm in Smallville and interviewed his mother. Downplayed in regards to her combat ability. Whereas Post-Crisis versions have a degree of military training, this one doesn't seem to; as noted above, she's really only effective in escaping the Kryptonian warship due to Jor-El's Virtual Ghost's assistance, though she does seem to be pretty handy with the Kryptonian sidearm she gets her hands on.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The usually black-haired Lois retains her actress Amy Adams' reddish locks. Though it bears mentioning that Lois was a redhead for the entirety of the 1990s, the same era that made her a Military Brat and had her learn Superman's identity and marry him.
  • Damsel out of Distress: She is Lois Lane, after all; kicking ass while in trouble is what she does for a living.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She's always got a good quip or two up her sleeve.
  • Guile Hero: Lois doesn't shy away from doing what she thinks is right, even if that means using some underhanded methods. This is clearly shown, for instance, when she "leaks" her "Superhuman Walking the Earth" story that had been vetoed by Perry due to its possible controversy, because she really does think people deserve to and should know.
  • The Heart: She helps motivate Clark to graduate from Heroic Bystander to Super Hero.
  • Hot Scoop: Par for the course for Lois.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Climbs around an ice shelf to follow a mysterious man into an alien spaceship, tries to photograph the small flying robot she runs into, and later travels across America chasing local legends to track down the Human Alien who saved her. But while she leaks her Antarctica story to a tabloid when her editor won't run it, she drops the story after actually finding Clark because telling anyone would put him in danger.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Played with when Lois starts out. When we first see her, she has forced her way onto a classified base, has the military helping her in with her bags, calls out the commander on the fact that he doesn't want her there and literally asks him to put his ruler (you know what ruler) away (some would say for no reason, but he did subtly start it by refusing to even shake her hand), and then she subverts their attempts to keep her safe in order to satisfy her curiosity (she ignores all safety precautions in order to sneak around an unstable glacier shelf at night and nearly gets herself killed following Clark with no equipment, no back-up and telling no one where she's gone). After we see more of her character, it turns out that although she is quite adept at manipulating people when necessary in her line of work, she doesn't do it maliciously, just out of pure curiosity and her need to know and spread the truth, and becomes more a Guile Hero than anything else. When she realizes something will do more damage that good, she takes herself out of the equation and refuses to out Clark as Kal-El in the press or to the military.
  • Secret Keeper: She knew about Clark quite early in the film and instantly recognized him with his glasses on.

Kryptonians

    General Zod 

General Dru-Zod

Portrayed by: Michael Shannon
Appearances: Man of Steel

The Leader of Krypton's military and a former longtime friend of Jor-El. Zod believes Jor-El's warnings about the state of Krypton and launches a coup after concluding that the Council is incapable of saving their race. When the coup fails, the Council has him and his followers imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, a decision which ironically spares them the fate of their home planet. After arriving on Earth in search of Kal-El, he initiates a war of annihilation against its population for the sake of building a new Krypton.
  • Anti-Villain: Type III. Unlike prior depictions of the character, this version of Zod is genuinely dedicated to acting in his people's best interest (albeit from his own narcissistic point of view). He is also a rather tragic figure given that his savage and ruthless personality is largely a byproduct of being bred and indoctrinated by Krypton's totalitarian system to be the perfect killing machine.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Of the surviving members of Krypton's military caste, Zod is the only one revealed to have mastered over the course of barely a day ALL the powers that took Superman years to fully control.
    Zod: I was bred to be a warrior, Kal. Trained my entire life to master my senses. Where did you train?! ON A FARM??!!
  • Ax-Crazy: Despite possessing noble intentions, it is clear that he has a highly confrontational and violent disposition which is only exacerbated by his fanatical elitism.
  • Badass Boast: After Kal-El's mother Lara confidently tells Zod that her son has escaped to a place far beyond his reach, he later menacingly promises her that he will dedicate his entire existence to tracking down Kal to the ends of the universe.
    Zod: You believe your son is safe? I will find him! I will reclaim what you have taken from us!! ... I will find him, Lara. ... I WILL FIND HIM!!!!
  • Badass Grandpa: Considering that he rose through the ranks of the military long enough to become Krypton's commander-in-chief and is portrayed by an actor in his 30s at the time of his home planet's destruction, Zod would be at least 60 years old at the time of the film's present. Nevertheless, despite the passage of 30 years since his banishment to the Phantom Zone, he exhibits hardly any signs of physically aging (most likely due to the advances of Kryptonian genetic engineering).
  • Beard of Evil: The evil Zod has grown a beard, like in Superman II, by the time Clark is an adult.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Implied to be this, as he's an Anti-Villain who genuinely cares about Krypton, and we only see him with the beard after Krypton is destroyed.
  • Big Bad: Of Man of Steel. He poses the greatest threat to Jor-El's vision of peacefully carrying on their civilization's legacy on Earth by first attempting to murder Kal-El as an infant on Krypton and later targeting Earth's entire population for extermination.
  • Chest Insignia: Wears the crest of the House of Zod on the chest of his armor and the uniform under it.
  • Dark Is Evil: He and his followers wear black bodysuits and armor.
  • Dark Messiah: To the surviving members of Krypton's warrior caste.
  • Death Seeker: After Kal-El destroys all hope of restoring Krypton and its people, he fights Kal-El to the death, no longer caring whether he lives or dies, because he knows that, without a people to protect and serve, he no longer has a purpose.
  • Determinator: Upon deciding on a course of action, he single-mindedly dedicates his entire being towards fulfilling it regardless of the consequences. Exemplified in his Famous Last Words:
    Superman: Stop!
    Zod: Never.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Jor-El. He and Jor-El shared a goal, but not the methods required to achieve it.
  • Evil Former Friend: Shares a respect with Jor-El, and even asks him to not fight him once he tries to take over Krypton. Even when he kills Jor-El, he looks regretful for what he had done. When he admits to killing him to a captured Kal-El, he confesses that the deed still haunts him.
  • Expy: He's essentially Mustapha Mond taken to a Logical Extreme.
  • Fallen Hero: Jor-El's words to him that he will "honor the man he once was" suggests that he was once a noble Kryptonian until his pride and ambition drove him to villainy.
  • Fantastic Racism: He considers humans to be insignificant and also holds disdain for some "inferior" Kryptonian bloodlines.
    Zod: (to Superman) If you care about these humans so much, then you can mourn for them!
  • Faux Affably Evil: Upon arriving on Earth, Zod seems to have changed greatly from the zealous megalomaniac he once was as he warmly greets Kal-El in a dignified, fatherly manner. However, it doesn't take long for him to reveal that time has done nothing to diminish his brutality as he attacks Kal's adopted mother and moves to annihilate Earth's entire population.
  • Flying Brick: Like Superman, he ultimately harnesses Super Strength, Super Speed, Super Senses, Eye Beams, Nigh-Invulnerability and, finally, Flight.
  • For The Greater Good: His excuse for every atrocity he commits.
  • Four-Star Badass: Well, he is a General, after all.
  • Friendly Enemy: To Jor-El, at first.
  • Genius Bruiser: In addition to being an outstanding military tactician and combatant, he is also revealed to be a gifted engineer as seen in flashbacks when he uses the Phantom Projector that originally imprisoned him and his followers to power up their ship's hyperdrive and escape the ruins of their homeworld.
  • General Ripper: He blames all of Krypton's problems on its ruling body and starts a violent civil war in order to take the power away from said ruling body, whom he accuses of making their race "weak" and allowing the planet to come to the verge of destruction.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Sports a big one on the left side of his face, which he got from a tussle with Jor-El.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Whenever his plans are frustrated or his ego feels slighted in any way, Zod immediately goes from being a dignified (albeit grim) authority figure to a raging brute (much unlike his icily calm Sub-Commander, Faora).
  • Hot-Blooded: "I will find him".
  • How Do I Shot Web?: After first experiencing the sensory enhancement (read: complete overload) a Kryptonian gains on Earth, and seeing Kal-El flying and using heat vision, Zod does some quick training to learn how to use his full potential that gets unleashed in the final fight with Kal-El.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: When Clark tells him You Killed My Father, Zod makes it clear that he regretted it, but that he would do it again if he had to.
  • Instant Expert: Justified, since he and his comrades in the Kryptonian military were genetically engineered to be perfect warriors and subsequently underwent rigorous training to master their senses.
  • Kill All Humans: Zod's plan to create a new Krypton involves this.
  • Knight Templar: His goal is to protect Krypton and its people, no matter the cost.
  • Kubrick Stare: It is Michael Shannon.
  • Large Ham: Crosses into this with his line "I WILL FIND HIM!" reminiscent of Sting in Dune.
  • Leitmotif: Zod's theme is a menacing composition consisting of rapidly ascending and descending strings, menacing war drums, and roaring trumpets that simultaneously evoke battle-fueled rage and fanatical determination. In this manner, his theme reflects not only his savagery and megalomania, but his single-minded obsession with becoming Krypton's savior as well. See the following tracks of the Man of Steel score: "I Will Find Him," "Arcade," and (naturally) "General Zod."
  • Moral Myopia: Zod and his followers mourn for the loss of their homeworld and people, but certainly don't give a damn about annihilating an entire race if it means Krypton can be reborn.
  • Narcissist: He displays several characteristics associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, including a deeply entrenched messiah complex, a highly pronounced intolerance of beliefs which diverge from his own, and a glaring lack of scruples in pursuit of his goals. As a genetically-engineered soldier who has risen to become the leader of Krypton's military, he views all those outside his caste as inferiors (with the possible exception of Jor-El) and treats them with undisguised contempt. Additionally, despite being a paternal commander who genuinely cares for those under his command, he nevertheless considers all of them secondary to realizing his vision of a new Krypton based on his elitist ideals.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: When coupled with his fanatical belief in Social Darwinism, his speeches about saving Krypton's race by rooting out "degenerate" bloodlines and exterminating "inferior" species (i.e: Earthlings) are eerily reminiscent of a certain totalitarian ideology that first gained notoriety in Europe during the the first half of the 20th century.
  • Never My Fault: Blames Krypton's Council for imprisoning him when he was the one who started a revolution and murdered Jor-El, as well as blaming Clark for his army being sent back into the Phantom Zone, conveniently forgetting that he was trying to horribly destroy humanity at the time.
  • Pet the Dog: A minor example, but he doesn't fault Superman for neglecting to address him as General Zod.
    Superman: I take it, your Zod?
    Faora: General Zod, our commander.
    General Zod: It's alright, Faora. You can forgive Kal any lapses in decorum. He's a stranger to our ways. This should be cause for celebration, not conflict.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Or, in this case, Proud Warrior Caste Guy. He takes great pride in his martial ability and believes it to be the key to saving Kryptonian civilization.
    • Note how it took Clark 33 years to master his powers when it only took Zod a day to gain complete control over his. Which, when you think about it, makes sense. Zod is a genetically engineered Kryptonian Super Soldier, which means that his body can absorb and adapt to yellow sunlight more easily than Clark, who was born in Krypton's intellectual caste.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Faora's Blue. In contrast to his stoic and calculating second-in-command, Zod has an fiery and combative personality, as well as a brutal and aggressive fighting style.
  • Slasher Smile: He only grins twice in the entire film, and this one is the second and most visible. It's also in response to Superman rising to fight him when Zod clearly wants to either crush him for foiling his plans or die in battle.
  • Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: He shows tell-tale signs of this given that he becomes outraged whenever anyone disagrees with him or opposes his will in any way. While he patronizingly dismisses Kal-El's failure to address him as "General" as the result of the latter's unfamiliarity with Kryptonian "decorum," Zod becomes absolutely incensed when the preserved consciousness of Jor-El, a man whom he held in high esteem, tells him that Kal is "twice the man" he ONCE was.
  • Taking You with Me: Uses his eye lasers to try and kill all the surrounding humans when Superman restrains him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Twice in the film: prior to his imprisonment in the Phantom Zone and, later, during the conclusion when his plan has been ruined beyond repair.
  • Villain Respect: To Jor-El whom he apparently viewed as an intellectual equal. However, any lingering affection Zod harbors for Jor-El disappears when the latter's preserved consciousness tells him he can never aspire to be the man his son is. And even then, he seems to grimace in distaste.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He experiences no joy in his actions (harvesting Kal-El's blood, annihilating humanity), but sees them as a necessary means to save his dying race and restore his homeworld.
  • We Used to Be Friends: To Jor-El, who is revealed to be an "old friend" of Zod. Based on their dialogue in the film, it is strongly implied that Jor-El was a mentor to Zod and possibly even something of a father figure.
    Zod: (to Jor-El) Haven't given up lecturing me, have you? Even in death.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He tries to murder Kal-El as an infant at the beginning of the film.

    Faora 

Sub-Commander Faora-Ul

"That you possess a sense of morality and we do not is your weakness. It gives us an evolutionary advantage. And if history has proven anything, it is that evolution always wins."

Portrayed by: Antje Traue
Appearances: Man of Steel

Zod's second-in-command, and the most dangerous warrior of his crew. She is physically brutal, and combines Kryptonian enhanced strength and speed with lethal martial arts.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She's very dismissive towards everyone except her allies, and is an Emotionless Girl to boot.
  • Badass Boast: When Superman rescues a few soldiers from a crashing chopper.
  • The Baroness: The "Sexpot" variety given her nature as a beautiful yet sadistic Super Soldier fanatically loyal to Zod's cause, although her beauty/gender never otherwise come into play.
  • Berserk Button: While appearing calm and reserved on the surface, she is fiercely proud of her caste and fanatically devoted to its leader, General Zod. This is evidenced when she becomes noticeably irritated after Kal-El neglects to address Zod as "General" out of respect for his military service. Similarly, after witnessing Superman incapacitate her commander after catching him off-guard, she takes visible pleasure putting him in his place by subjecting him to a brutal beatdown while derisively enumerating why he will always be inferior to their kind.
  • Bridal Carry: After she's knocked unconscious during a battle, one of her subordinates cradles her like this as they carry her to safety.
  • Composite Character: Like most adaptational versions of Faora, she combines the comic book Faora's martial arts skills with the Number Two position and loyalty to Zod of Ursa from Superman II.
  • Colonel Badass: Her rank of "Sub-Commander" seems to be roughly analogous to "Colonel," and she's very badass.
  • Creepy Monotone: Never raises her voice, no matter the provocation.
  • Dark Action Girl: Very, very dark. Most human deaths occur off-screen or are somewhat obscured by the clash and din of battle, but when Faora engages human soldiers in combat, we see and hear every brutal impact and shattering spine.
  • Dark Is Evil: Wears black armor like the rest of Zod's forces.
  • The Dragon: Acts as Zod's Number Two and primary enforcer, and is the most efficient and effective combatant among the Kryptonian invaders save for Zod himself.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Downplayed. When she first meets Superman face-to-face, she gives him a very satisfied once-over from top to bottom.
  • Emotionless Girl: Despite her capacity for violence, she maintains a cool and impassive demeanor throughout. A single tear shed for her lost homeworld, and a faint haughty satisfaction at the fear she generates in her human opponents are about the extent of her emotional displays. In marked contrast to Kal-El or Zod, she never once screams or loses her composure in battle, not even at the end, when coming face-to-face with a fairly epic Oh Crap! moment.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Opinions vary on whether it's truly excessive, but her eye make-up is smokey, dark and definitely more lavishly-applied than that of any other female in the film.
  • Expy: This incarnation of Faora is closer to Ursa than the man-hating Faora from the comics. Recursive, as Ursa herself was a loose Expy of Faora.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Colonel Hardy sends all of the Kryptonians into the Phantom Zone where Faora will either slowly starve to death or live forever in a barren landscape. Somewhat karmic as she is denied the death of a warrior in the heat of battle.
  • Faux Affably Evil: She may seem civilized upon the first meeting, but she'll kill you with a song in her heart at the first opportunity.
  • Flash Step: While fighting human soldiers, she exploits this power ruthlessly, sometimes taking down several in rapid-fire succession.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Made all the more striking by her dark eye-shadow.
  • Ice Queen: Villainous example. She is cold, silent and employs quick precision in battle.
  • In a Single Bound: She never quite masters flight, but makes up for it with astonishing leaps.
  • Ironic Echo: Faora compliments Colonel Hardy's spirit to continue fighting her by saying "A good death is its own reward." When she fails to stop the US Military from activating Superman's spaceship that will send her and Zod's men back to the Phantom Zone, Hardy's last words are to repeat what she said to him.
  • Lady of War: She's icily polite to Kal-El (at least in their first meeting) and, unlike Ursa, she doesn't go out of her way to hurt or belittle Lois, either. With all the raw power that comes with being a Kryptonian, it's hard to imagine one of them managing to fight in a truly elegant or ladylike way. That said, Faora makes a credible effort, favoring precision over grandiose displays of brute power.
  • Lightning Bruiser: She's the only Kryptonian to fully exploit her super-speed in combat and, despite the size difference, she manages to hold her own against Kal-El thanks to her superior speed, agility and martial arts skills.
  • Never Found the Body: Her ultimate fate is left unresolved. She was injured by sufficiently powerful Earth weapons earlier in the film, so it's entirely possible the impact of Kal's ship and the Kryptonian vessel could have killed her, but given the nearly limitless durability of her Kryptonian body, maybe not. Either way, subsequent events make it impossible to know for certain.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Zod's Red. In contrast to her Hot-Blooded and combative superior, she possesses a cool and calculating personality and likewise employs a fighting style that favors precision over brute force.
  • Ret Canon: Her portrayal in this movie would be used for her comics portrayal in the New 52.
  • The Social Darwinist: Gives a speech to Superman about how only the strongest and most evolved creature wins, and that she is stronger than him because she lacks "weaknesses" such as compassion.
  • Speed Blitz: Due to Flash Step, it becomes this pretty much every time she engages in battle.
  • The Stoic: She almost always remains calm and composed.
    • Not So Stoic: Upon witnessing Krypton's destruction, Faora is visibly grief-stricken.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Zod, whom she firmly believes to be her race's messiah.
  • The Unfettered: She remains stoic and glacial even when it comes to annihilate an entire population in order to take a planet away from them.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: To her commander, General Zod. While the extent of their relationship is never made clear, she has hardly any patience for those who disrespect her leader and targets all those who threaten him with extreme prejudice.
  • You Got Spunk:
    Faora: A good death is its own reward.
    • Even before that, she seems pretty impressed that he stood up to her when attempting to take Lois to the ship.
    Faora: Should I tell the General you are unwilling to comply?
    Hardy: I don't care what you tell him.

    Jor-El 
"That's what this symbol means. The symbol of the House of El means 'hope.'"

Portrayed by: Russell Crowe
Appearances: Man of Steel

Krypton's greatest scientist, he warned the Council about the dangers of interfering with their planet's core—and when they did it anyway, warned them about the imminent implosion. He was ignored again, so he sent his natural-born son to Earth with the Kryptonian Codex.

    Lara Lor-Van 
"Make a better world than ours, Kal."

Portrayed by: Ayelet Zurer
Appearances: Man of Steel

Kal-El's mother, and Jor-El's wife.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She possess a calm and collected demeanor, and it shows while keeping a Tranquil Fury aura when she's watching Zod and co. getting sentenced.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Given her ability to preside over Zod's sentencing with Krypton's ruling High Council, she and her husband clearly belonged to one of the most highly-ranked castes in her civilization, and she herself had the looks to match it.
  • Face Death with Dignity: As Krypton exploded, she didn't panic or futilely try to seek shelter.
  • Happily Married: To Jor-El.
  • Mama Bear: She does everything she can to protect her son from Zod.
  • Nerves of Steel: While she occasionally sheds a tear or two, she remains almost perpetually unflappable even when staring down a ruthless, insane Super Soldier like Zod.
  • Redemption Equals Death: According to Jor-El, they both decided they bore too much responsibility for the crimes of Krypton's totalitarian society to escape its fate.
  • Satellite Character: To Jor-El.
  • Science Heroine: Along with her husband Jor-El. They secretly give birth to Krypton's first naturally conceived child in centuries and organize his exodus so that he can usher in a new beginning for their race in harmony with the Earthlings.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She's kind and caring, but doesn't back down when threatened by Zod.
  • Undying Loyalty: To her husband Jor-El.
  • Watching Troy Burn: When Krypton begins to explode, she stands alone at her balcony and calmly but sadly watches the destruction.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: She only appears in a flashback of Krypton's destruction and is rarely spoken of afterward.

    Tor-An 
Portrayed by: Richard Cetrone
Appearances: Man of Steel

One of Zod's officers (of unspecified rank), he is mostly seen beside Faora-Ul.
  • All There in the Manual: His name and backstory are only revealed in the novelization.
  • Blinded by the Light: Kelex uses an impromptu flash attack on Tor-An to give Jor-El the time to kick butt.
  • Expy: He is an enormously tall and silent Kryptonian who double-teams Superman alongside Faora, so he may be styled after Non.
  • Genius Bruiser: Identified the signal from Kal-El's re-activation of the scout ship and deployed as a field commander on Krypton.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Leads the three-man squad that Zod orders to arrest Jor-El.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Doesn't realize the type of man Jor-El is until the older Kryptonian is punching him in the face.

    Nam-Ek 
Appearances: Man of Steel

The gigantic and imposing behemoth of Zod's crew. Complements Faora's speed with brute strength.
  • The Brute: A hulking behemoth who depends on his size and strength to support Faora.
  • Combat Pragmatist: After being punched to a train yard by Superman, Nam-Ek rejoined the fray by throwing a train at him.
  • Dark Is Evil: His armor's all black.
  • Expy: A huge, non-verbal bruiser distinguished by his incredible strength and loyalty to Zod? He's this film's stand-in for Non.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: The most obviously modified soldier from Krypton, with rumors circulating that some kind of dinosaur blood was used to make him.
  • Serkis Folk: His impossible height and physique are the result of motion capture, though we never glimpse his face that clearly.
  • Shout-Out: His name is a throwback to a Kryptonian adversary from the comics.
  • The Voiceless: Never speaks a single word; he only grunts and roars.

    Jax-Ur 
Portrayed by: Mackenzie Gray
Appearances: Man of Steel

A Kryptonian scientist on Zod's ship.

    Car-Vex 
Portrayed by: Samantha Jo
Appearances: Man of Steel

A minor officer under Zod's command.
  • Dark Action Girl: A more subdued example compared to Faora, but still counts. When Lois escapes from her cell in the Kryptonian spacecraft, Car-Vex attempts to use lethal force to stop her. At one point, she attempts to punch her in the head, an attack that most certainly would have killed Lois had Jor-El not warned her a few seconds before.
  • Dark Chick: By process of elimination, this is her role in Zod's army.
  • Shout-Out: Her name is a throwback to a Phantom Zone criminal character in the comics.
  • Silent Antagonist: She has no speaking lines.

    Kara Zor-El 

Kara Zor-El

Appearances: Man of Steel Prequel

The pride of the House of El who departs Krypton to participate in a campaign of expansion by terraforming a foreign planet and introducing a Kryptonian population. However, in an attempt to cover up his lack of an execution, Kryptonian councilors smuggle the insane murderer Dev-Em onto her ship; he kills her crew during their cryogenic sleep and diverts the ship toward the Sol system.

Kara wakes up from cold sleep ten years after departing and ends up fighting Dev-Em. The damage sustained by the ship from the battle between the two newly-empowered Kryptonians causes it to crash somewhere in Canada, where it is buried under the ice over the course of thousands of years. And sometime during Clark's adulthood, the ship begins emitting a distress signal...
  • All There in the Manual: The only medium to show her so far is the prequel comic book released by Wal-Mart.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: She has a dream of flying before waking up in the Sol system.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: She was a badass before ever coming into contact with yellow sunlight, as she demonstrates during her two fights with Dev-Em.
  • Good-Looking Privates: She's quite attractive, to say the least.
  • Never Found the Body: While she is absent from Man of Steel itself, her fate after the crash-landing was ambiguous. Something that would support the idea that she survived in the Fortress Of Solitude is that there are several pods opened containing Kryptonian skeletons, and one that is suspiciously empty.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: The murder of her lover Kell-Ur at the hands of Dev-Em seems to just serve as character building, demonstrating her strong sense of hope and her dedication to his memory.
  • Where Da White Women At?: Kara, a light-skinned Kryptonian, was romantically involved with Kell-Ur, a dark-skinned Kryptonian, prior to the latter's murder by Dev-Em.

Humans

    Jonathan Kent 
"You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad...he's gonna change the world."

Portrayed by: Kevin Costner
Appearances: Man of Steel

Clark's adoptive father, and the one most responsible for teaching him morality.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Jonathan tells young Clark that he has to decide what kind of man he wants to be since, with his powers, he can change the world.
  • The Cynic: Gets shades of this. He realizes how Clark can be a force for good, but tells him as a boy that The World Is Not Ready to receive him, so maybe it would be better for him to hide his powers until he feels the time is right. This attitude is borne out of love and concern for Clark, but it saddles Clark with emotional baggage.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Calmly accepts that he's screwed.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: This eventually leads to his death.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Allows himself to be killed by a tornado in order to allow Clark to continue concealing his powers.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: He keeps alternating between telling Clark he has a profound destiny and that he should keep his powers secret.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: One half with Martha.
  • Posthumous Character: Only appears in flashbacks.
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: He and Martha raised Clark to be a good person and ultimately that's why he tries to do good in the world. But Jonathan also raises Clark to believe the world would reject him because of his powers (and the people of Smallville prove him right at least). So Clark doesn't embrace his full potential until he gets the Superman suit as an adult, though prior to that, he still saves people when the need arises.

    Martha Kent 
"What are you going to do when you are not saving the world?"

Portrayed by: Diane Lane

Clark's adoptive mother.

    Perry White 
Portrayed by: Laurence Fishburne

The pragmatic chief editor of the Daily Planet, and Lois' direct superior. He initially refuses to run a story about aliens.
  • Benevolent Boss: When the Daily Planet is in danger, he organizes the evacuation and personally tries to free Jenny from the rubble, despite the approaching superweapon. When he can't, he refuses to leave her alone.
  • Da Editor: He's in charge of the Daily Planet.
  • Expy: Fishburne based his Perry on 60 Minutes member Ed Bradley. Both even have a pierced ear.
  • Large and In Charge: Thanks to Laurence Fishburne's bulky figure.
  • Race Lift: Perry White, who's Caucasian in the comics, is played by the African-American Laurence Fishburne.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He may be somewhat stern, but he's not unreasonable.

    Jenny Jurwich 
Portrayed by: Rebecca Buller
Appearances: Man of Steel

An intern at the Daily Planet.
  • Alliterative Name: Jenny Jurwich
  • Canon Foreigner: Hasn't appeared in anything Superman-related before this film.
  • Expy: She was rumored to be a gender-flipped Jimmy Olsen, but the movie reveals her surname is "Jurwich" by the end (and high-resolution publicity shots showing her ID card will reveal this, too). Confusingly, a tie-in book does name her as "Jenny Olsen."
  • The Generic Girl: Jenny doesn't have as much characterization as her fellow co-workers. There doesn't seem to be much about her other than being a Daily Planet employee.

    Steve Lombard 
Portrayed by: Michael Kelly
Appearances: Man of Steel

A somewhat lecherous reporter at the Daily Planet.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: To Lois and Jenny. Downplayed, as they react to his flirtations with more amused exasperation than outright disgust.
  • Adaptational Badass: In most versions of the mythos, Lombard's a would-be Sitcom Arch-Nemesis to Clark. Here, he's a brave, if annoying, employee and friend of the staff at the Planet.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Hits on Lois and Jenny in quick succession with no success.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: He didn't bolt yet, but you could tell he was considering it when he exclaimed "Dammit" when Perry called for his help in extricating Jenny during the terraforming.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may be a jerk who's always hitting on Lois and Jenny, but when it comes down it, conscience compels him to help Perry dig Jenny out of the wreckage as the terraforming wave approaches.

    General Swanwick 
Portrayed by: Harry Lennix

The American general in charge of taking custody of Kal-El, and dealing with the Kryptonians as a whole.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: He tries to find out where Superman lives by sending out drones. It fails.
  • The Brigadier: Skeptical of Superman's intentions at first. When he realizes that he's the only chance Earth has, he trusts him.
  • Canon Foreigner: Doesn't exist in the comics. However, he could be:
    • Expy: One for General Sam Lane (Lois' father), who has a prominent role in one of this film's sources, Superman: Secret Origin. It can be said that Swanwick is basically Sam Lane with a Race Lift and his family ties to Lois Lane removed.
  • Large and In Charge: He's even taller than Superman.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Pretty much everything he says and does is exactly what a real military official would do when faced with an alien.

    Carrie Farris 
Portrayed by: Christina Wren

A United States Air Force officer attached to the operations of United States Northern Command and the assistant to General Swanwick.
  • Adorkable: Oh yeah. She admits she finds Superman attractive, in front of her own commanding officer.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Disregards a destroyed satellite because she thinks Superman is kinda hot.
  • Mythology Gag: Her name is very similar to that of Carol Ferris, otherwise known as Star Sapphire and Hal Jordan's main love interest.

    Colonel Hardy 

Colonel Nathan Hardy

Portrayed by: Christopher Meloni
Appearances: Man of Steel

An American colonel initially introduced overseeing the study of an anomaly in Canada.

    Dr. Emil Hamilton 
Portrayed by: Richard Schiff
Appearances: Man of Steel

A scientist studying the anomaly buried deep in the Canadian ice.
  • Badass Bookworm: Even though he's a Non-Action Guy, Hamilton doesn't back down from helping Superman and the army against the attacking Kyptonians. Nor does he back down from dying for the cause if it comes to it.
  • Badass Beard: While he doesn't do anything particularly badass, he gets points for sheer brains.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Helps activate Kal-El's ship and stays on Colonel Hardy's plane with it as it crashes into the Kryptonian mothership.
  • Non-Action Guy: Doesn't display any physical abilities, helping solely with his knowledge.
  • The Smart Guy: Why else would a scientist be with a bunch of army commandos to study a humanoid alien life-form?