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'Man Of Steel': 5 Key Moments In The Trailer

by Edward Davis
April 17, 2013 1:21 PM
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4. General Zod’s Motivation Stems From Supremacy & Patriotism
"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).

5. Lois Lane is chasing the story of Superman 
"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.

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  • Anand | June 1, 2013 4:38 PMReply

    Fuck Justice League. Bring on Batman/Superman

  • Phoenics | April 19, 2013 10:15 PMReply

    Great thoughts. Just one point about Clark. I do think he will still show up in the movie at the Daily Planet, but just not until after Superman has already been introduced to the world.

    It kinda makes perfect sense: no one will be looking for Supes' secret identity, because he will already have "come out" to the world. People will just assume he's Superman 24/7. Especially if Lois finds his "fortress" (the ship in the ice).

    I do think there will be a Lois/Clark interaction, but I don't think Clark will have to be goofy... He'll just be rather invisible (think Lois &Clark: The New Adentures of Superman).

    If you've read Birthright, you'll notice that there is still a Clark/Lois dynamic, just not a goofy one.

    My only question is: will Supes be presented as the perfect man and only adored because of his powers by Lois while she ignores the heart in Clark? That's kinda how Lois & Clark started off. Superman was presented as the "mask" (what he could do) while Clark was presented as who he was (at his core). I admit I found this rendition compelling. Superman couldn't really have friends in the way that Clark did. When you look at it like that, Superman becomes the mask giving Clark the ability to be a savior while still being able to live a normal life.

    Or will it still be that Clark is the mask and Superman is who he really is?

    One of the things that always bugged me was Clark as the mask. I couldn't relate to him.

    I guess we will see how it plays out. If they play it with Clark as the mask, then I hope they really explain it in a way that resonates so you connect with Superman.

    I wonder if that will be the whole point of the trilogy. Karl-El starting off with making Clark the mask (perhaps to stay close to Lois). Superman is who he really is, but maybe he isn't prepared for all of the hero worship (which is alienating too... It's hard to be friends with someone you hoist on a pedestal). Then in the last movie he finally reconciles the two?

  • cole | April 19, 2013 8:38 AMReply

    I cannot wait to see this movie. I, somehow, couldn't see something very very great in the trailer 1 and 2, but here I see everything that will give me a reason to see this movie. Even though, Nolan's name already makes me see the movie, but this epic trailer gives me more push.

  • My son was IN the bus | April 17, 2013 10:14 PMReply

    He SAW what Clark did. True Story.

  • Alan B | April 17, 2013 10:07 PMReply

    I think the Zod sequence is when he gets imprisoned into the Phantom Zone or an equivalent. In the "do you believe your son is safe" shot, he has his armor on; later, his armor has been removed. It's interesting that Snyder and Amir Mokri use overhead lighting in this moment (given the very memorable composition of the sequence in the original movie), although the 'Man of Steel' lighting is far softer and lower contrast.

  • DCGon | April 17, 2013 6:43 PMReply

    Just to point out. The author of Superman:BirthRight is Mark Waid. Not Mark Wade

  • Dryer | April 17, 2013 3:27 PMReply

    Meh. Sure it's glossy and dour but it's yet another origin story. Why can't a studio just start a film without any recycled mythos and just plunge the viewer into a story. I'll see the movie but I'm somewhat burnt out on the whole Nolan style, if anything TDKR or Inception showed what happens when his ego isn't in check and studio willfully hands over a blank check; you get a stylized mess

  • Alan B | April 19, 2013 11:00 AM

    Nolan co-wrote the story treatment. He didn't write the script.

  • cole | April 19, 2013 8:41 AM

    Dave, Nolan is not just producer. He is the one who write the script too with David Goyer... he is actually the one with biggest influence in this movie.

  • Alan B | April 17, 2013 10:10 PM

    Bah, origin story. Bah, Nolan, Bah, bahness. And the reason why you can't just throw an audience into an origin story is because there is an extensive universe that needs to be clearly defined. Otherwise, you get the television version, where Superman fights a monster this week without any affinity for who Clark is and what defines him. You only have to read ANY of the '90s unmade scripts to know that ...

  • Nick | April 17, 2013 8:02 PM

    So what if it's an origin story. The last time superman's origin was told on the big screen, was back in the late 70s. Superman's origin is well known, but I think showing it, and how it plays off is central to the theme of the film.
    Sorry those two films didn't work for you... but that's your fault, not Nolan's or the films. He made the films he wanted and if it didn't work for you, it's on you.

  • Dave | April 17, 2013 6:40 PM

    Superman is a hero who is rooted in his own sci-fi mythology. He's a character who really needs an origin film so that everyone knows the rules. Without an origin film, you'll have people coming to the character with preconceived notions of who he is and who the things around him operate, many of which may be wrong. You don't want Smallville fans, Donner fans and comic fans all coming to the film with different ideas of Superman's origins.

    I kinda agree concerning TDKR and Inception, however, from what I read the only hand he's had in this is as a producer, and his role has been relatively limited. It seems like they're pasting his name on the trailers just to give it some fan credibility.

  • cattt | April 17, 2013 4:49 PM

    You'll have to have an origin story, otherwise the audience doesn't care about the characters. Maybe it's not a traditional origin story like Ironman or Spiderman, maybe it's done using flashbacks like in Watchmen.

  • Henry | April 17, 2013 2:24 PMReply

    Don't like Snyder, not really a fan of Superman... but, damn... Shannon, Adams, Crowe... Plus, they're trying to do something new with the character... The odds of me actually watching this are increasing. :p

  • bohmer | April 17, 2013 1:42 PMReply

    for a while now the full screen options isn't available on your youtube embedded link, why is that exactly? it's really annoying to copy paste de damn url each time...

  • wes | April 18, 2013 11:19 AM

    yeah, must be tough.

  • bohmer | April 17, 2013 4:44 PM

    i like this site but damn the community sucks here; always a dicky thing to had.

  • wes | April 17, 2013 1:57 PM

    yeah, must be tough.

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