Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel opened to record-breaking box office numbers, thanks in no small part to its arresting visual sequences. One of the individuals behind those scenes is the film’s visual effects supervisor, John “DJ” DesJardin. First drawn to effects work after seeing the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars, DesJardin has since carved out a distinguished career, with films like Watchmen, Sucker Punch, and the two Matrix sequels to his name. I spoke with him about what it took to reimagine the Kryptonian superhero for a modern audience, starting with Superman’s most iconic action: flying.

Warning: some very mild story spoilers are included below.