Opening on the heels of that other summer blockbuster "Star Trek Into Darkness," "Man of Steel" is no smaller in scale but feels much more personal. That's probably because director Zack Snyder ("300," "Sucker Punch") is a hands-on kind of filmmaker, who secretly feels that if he can't stamp his personality on his movies, there's no point.

"I always say that making movies is like being an architect," Synder tells The Japan Times during a promotional visit to Tokyo. "The scale of the project, the sheer number of people that have to be involved, dealing with the abstract on a daily basis before we can even glimpse the completed product emerging — the conditions are very similar. And there's a lot of compromise. It's always (about) how much of your vision you're willing to sacrifice to get the product made."

Snyder started out making TV commercials, for such brands as Budweiser and Jeep, and he says this experience set the stage for not only his career as a movie director but also his approach to the process.