Evidently satisfied with advanced reviews and very favorable box office tracking, Warner Bros. have reportedly pulled the trigger on the sequel to Man of Steel before the movie even opens in the US this weekend. According to Deadline, the film's director Zack Snyder will helm the next installment of the new Superman franchise, working from a script by the also-returning David S. Goyer, who's said to be contracted to work on a Justice League adaptation as well. The nature of Man of Steel co-writer and producer Christopher Nolan's role in the sequel is presently unknown.Based on the DC Comics characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Man of Steel has been increasingly anticipated by Superman fans as well as film industry watchers who've been bemused for literally decades by Hollywood's failure to position this most iconic of American superheroes in a successful new film franchise of his own. With the notable exception of charismatic star Brandon Routh, director Bryan Singer's 2006 effort Superman Returns left something to be desired in most respects. Critical reviews were neither especially harsh nor overly effusive, and the film's $200 million domestic gross was viewed as unimpressive next to a $270 million budget that (perhaps unfairly) included development costs for numerous would-be Superman films that were never made (like Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage's infamous Superman Lives). As such, the last universally celebrated Superman film is the original classic by Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve, which was released all the way back in 1978.

Conceived by Dark Knight film trilogy partners Nolan and Goyer, Man of Steel seems ready to break Superman's losing streak. The synthesis of Nolan and Goyer's distinctly sober approach to the comic book source material and Snyder's talents for fantastical imagery would appear to have agreed with critics, anyway. Ludicrously handsome Henry Cavill leads an impressive cast of Academy Award-winning or nominated stars like Amy Adams, Russel Crowe, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane, and early reviews indicate that he's quite good at it. Indeed, our planet's only recognized empirical system for gauging the objective quality of art, Rotten Tomatoes has computed that Man of Steel is, pending further data, 91 percent not-s***. This places the new Superman film well ahead of Singer's Returns and within touching distance of Donner's 93 percent rating.

UPDATE (06/11/13 10:00am PST): Rotten Tomatoes' score for Man of Steel has since dropped down to 74% as more reviews are crunched by the site's A.I. brain.

If you're interested in the money angle, The Hollywood Reporter suggests that Warner Bros. (also the parent company of Superman publisher DC Comics) is cautiously downplaying expectations by publicly predicting a very good $75 million opening for Man of Steel. However, the studio's competition believe this Superman actually has a chance of achieving the elusive $100 million weekend. This prediction is supported by the dark alchemy that is box office tracking data, which places advance movement of the Zack Snyder film ahead of the rest this summer's blockbusters, including the mighty Fast and Furious 6.

In summation, it would appear likely that we of a certain generation may actually get to sit in a cinema and watch a proper first-run Superman movie for the very first time in our lives; that it will probably make a lot of damn money (a portion of which Siegel's heirs are legally entitled to); and that as a consequence of those things, there will be another one coming shortly.

More From ComicsAlliance