By Edward Davis | The Playlist April 17, 2013 at 1:21PM
"You believe your son is safe?" General Zod says in the first moment he is seen in this trailer. But if you look closely, he’s not saying this to Pa Kent, he’s saying it to Jor-El and Lara. Why? Well, if children on Krypton are engineered to be something and Jor-El thinks children can aspire to be something else, it stands to reason that Kal-El has bypassed this engineering, and this could make him both special to the rest of his race and highly illegal on Krypton. Snyder has described Zod as a “supremacist,” but also adds in the recent EW, “He doesn’t really have any malignant feelings towards Superman; he just wants him to be patriotic.” This would mean joining Zod and his forces instead of the people of the Earth, and presumably helping Zod conquer these puny Earthlings. It all makes sense. Zod has already issued a warning to the people of Earth to hand over Superman -- presumably after he’s been revealed -- and he’s given Kal-El an ultimatum: join us, be part of your true people, or suffer the consequences. "I will find him!" he roars in the trailer at one point (with more than two Kryptonian soldiers at his side, mind you).
"How do you find someone who has spent a lifetime covering his tracks,” Lois Lane (Amy Adams) says in the trailer. And what’s clear -- and confirmed in the recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, is that Lois Lane is a dogged, intrepid journalist chasing reports across the country of a wandering stranger who is capable of superhuman feats of strength (described as a “guardian angel” or a “ghost”). Like a good reporter, she's got a hunch that these elements are connected. We know that, alienated from the world around him and feeling like he doesn't belong, Clark leads an nomadic existence working on ships in Alaska at one point. In the trailer we see Clark preventing what appears to be some kind of oil tanker disaster, and for Lois it’s one more lead in a long line of reports of an individual reported to demonstrate superhuman skills and powers.
This also backs up a previous posit of ours. Clark Kent is likely not a Daily Planet reporter in this movie. If Lois Lane is chasing this character and his feats around the country, how could Clark also be one of her colleagues at the newspaper? It's a bold and radical reinvention of the Superman canonical narrative, but it suggests Nolan, Snyder and Goyer are willing to kill some significant elements of historical lore in order to tell their story. If this is the case, and it truly looks that way, it also jettisons Superman's nerdy, nebbish Clark Kent alter ego and the traditional Clark and Lois dynamic, and again, these are bold choices that, frankly, we applaud. Getting the Superman character right for a modern setting is difficult -- something all the principal parties involved have acknowledged -- so ditching anything that can possibly strain or break credulity is a wise decision. The purists may not like it, but that's tough. Clearly the fractious Lois and Clark dynamic will now become the Lois and Superman dynamic, and to us, the entire concept sounds totally fresh -- recontextualizing the Superman narrative without ruining the foundations that make the character who he is.
Extra credit: "S" stands for hope.
Yep, everyone's noticed it. It's perhaps the biggest talking point of the trailer. Superman reveals that the "S" on his chest is not an "S" at all, but means hope on Krypton. However, this is not a Nolan/Goyer invention -- it's culled from various elements of the comic, mostly 2004’s “Superman: Birthright” by Mark Wade -- but it speaks to the creative team's desire to keep things as plausible as possible. He doesn't make a corny suit and dub himself Superman, Lois does, and the suit ... Well that's not totally revealed, but it seems to be some sort of birthright costume his father has given him, and the "hope" may be a Kal-El embellishment.
Bonus extra credit: LexCorp -- clever tease for fans or something more?
Nolan and co. tend not to engage in winking at fans without purpose or just for the sake of it, so what can we make of the brief glimpse of the LexCorp building at 2:18 of the trailer? Is this just a throwaway thing for fanboys, for world building, or does it tie into some (very spoilery) rumors that have been kicking around? We'll find out soon enough.
However the movie lands, "Man Of Steel" seems to have its heart and intentions in the right place, and we're very cautiously optimistic. How will “Man of Steel” work with a "Justice League" movie and does this movie hint towards that larger universe? Does it set up a world where that super hero universe can coexist? That's a conversation for another time, but we hope all nods are subtle with no tacked-on closing credits scene that isn't in character with the rest of the movie. "Man Of Steel" opens on June 14th.